Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching, Parenting

Help! Journalists Need Somebody

As a mom, I’ve learned to be resourceful from some of the best moms I know. I’ve learned that Febreeze comes in handy when PE uniforms are crumpled up in a book bag 30 minutes before school starts.

I now know that a quick lick of the finger wipes off cereal crumbs from a child’s face while pulling into school and that luckily, school cafeterias allow ‘charging’ for lunch once in awhile when I’ve forgotten to slip my kids $2 on the way out the door.

In a world where we deem ourselves as independent and self-sufficient, we sometimes forget that resources and a little help from our friends makes a difference in our productivity, performance and most of all, sanity.

But as journalists, we often view ourselves as loners, working on stories independently, hiding the cold hard facts and explosive leads until the published product reveals our hard work and stellar independence. Yes, we proclaim, I did it myself and I don’t need anyone else’s help. Continue reading

September 3, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Use This Only For Emergencies

When I traveled to Europe the summer after high school, my mom handed me a credit card right before I boarded the plane. She looked at me sternly and said, “Use this only for emergencies.” The next three weeks were filled with “emergencies.”

It was an emergency when I found the cutest jacket at EuroDisney. It was also an emergency when I was starving for a Belgian waffle on the streets of Belgium. The “emergencies” continued until I reached the $500 limit. Continue reading

May 17, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Reflecting, Teaching | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Grown-Up’ Journalists

I’m the first to admit that I’m a biased teacher. Just as I think my kids are the best kids ever, I also think that I have the best journalism students ever. I see firsthand how hard they work and the dedication they put into perfecting their craft.

I watch them closely in the newsroom as they consult with each other on ethical issues, scramble off to interview sources and torture themselves while writing and re-writing story after story.

I’m proud to be a part of the environment, part of their challenges and part of their successes. They never cease to amaze me with their professionalism.

Continue reading

March 10, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

On the Road Again as a College Media Adviser

The job of a college media adviser is sticky. Without any control over content or editorial decisions, a media adviser walks a fine line, trying to guide students to practice solid journalism without “taking over” or dominating decisions.

 I bite my nails on a regular basis, I hold my tongue as much as I can, and I try to keep my facial expressions at bay while pointing out the pros and cons of the decisions and proposals my students make. In the end, though, I trust them to go with their instincts and gut feelings. It is after all, their paper, not mine.

Continue reading

February 28, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching | , , , | Leave a comment

Proud to Sweat the Small Stuff

 If you know me well, you know how I fret over the little things. It irritates me when wet towels are left on the floor, when dishes are in the sink and my counters are cluttered.

 It irritates me when my newspaper students don’t even the text off at the end of each story or leave half-empty soda cans next to brand new Macs in the newsroom.

 It irritates me when periods are outside of quotation marks, when story leads don’t have a hook and when text is bold or italics within an article.

I sound neurotic already, but in my mind, the little things really do matter, no matter how much I get irritated. Continue reading

January 31, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Parenting, Reflecting, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

I Hear Voices

I love to read, but I have the shortest attention span. If a story does not hook me from the beginning, my mind starts to wander and I start thinking about my next meal, the laundry that is piling up and my never-ending to-do list.

A hook is crucial and for me, a good hook involves an interesting human subject in a good piece of writing (What is Good Writing?). I want to relate right away to a person’s life story, sense of tragedy or triumph and descriptive nature. Without a heartfelt, nail-biting hook, forget it. I’ll head off to do laundry. Continue reading

January 22, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What’s My Niche?

Since I started this blog in July, I have read everything possible about blogging. From how to increase traffic to how to engage readers, the experts out in the blogosphere have so much to say.

I have learned a lot and I’ve followed some of the advice, but to be honest, much of it I have not. In particular – narrowing my niche. Continue reading

December 28, 2009 Posted by | Blog, Writing | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Teaching the Teacher

studentteacherOne of the most exciting aspects of teaching is the fact that I don’t always have to teach. I’m not referring to the summer breaks but rather those teaching moments where the students teach the teacher.

I specifically chose a career in higher education because I want to be a lifelong learner. I want to learn just as much from my students as they learn from me. It’s a partnership – a coaching relationship – and it’s the best job I’ve ever had. Continue reading

November 4, 2009 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What I Love Most About Teaching

loveteachingNever in a million years did I ever think I would find myself in the teaching field. In third grade, I swore I was going to be a court reporter. In eighth grade, I was going to be the next Joan Jett. In high school, I wanted to pursue a career in music. At the onset of college, it was accounting, then music marketing, then public relations, then business, and ultimately, journalism.

I had big dreams to get OUT of school, not to stay in it. Continue reading

August 23, 2009 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing | , , , , | 1 Comment