A new path at Miami

10303872_10152300430428519_4656791019493953113_n-1As I prepare for the new school year at Miami, I also start on a new path. Instead of gearing up the machine for a new year of publishing The Miami Student (starting with the new student issue next week), I am going through CMS training to work on the MJF department website.

I’m sad to leave the students of The Miami Student behind. We’ve been through ups and downs together. I got to relive some of my college years as a student journalist from the other side of the equation. We won a few awards and I got to see some amazing people grow from scared young writers to confident editors.

But opportunities present itself. After receiving my master’s degree in technical and scientific communication in 2013, I wanted to use those tech writing skills to use as well as my journalistic skills. Starting this fall, I will be the “communications writer” for the department of Media, Journalism & Film. The title is a little hokey, but basically I’m in charge of the communications — the website, social media and alumni newsletter. I will get to use some of the skills I learned in grad school. Along with that came full-time status, a raise and no time to advise The Miami Student.

I will continue to teach journalism courses. This fall, I teach two sections of “Advanced Storytelling.” I will also continue to be adviser of the Recensio, Miami’s yearbook. And part of my new job is to work with student interns who will write for the websites and newsletters.  It’s a bittersweet change, but  I’m hoping it’s a good change.

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Photo stories

For the first Miami winter term or J-term, I’m teaching a news photography class.  Below, see a photo story on my mom’s assisted living facility, Colonial Gardens in Florence, Ky.


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Check out my youtube channel

As I have started doing more video pieces, I’ve created my own youtube channel. Here is the link.

Check out my latest piece: a preview of the La Salle Bowling team’s GCL quad matches.

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Learning multimedia in DC

As a young girl in The Netherlands, I visited the World War II cemeteries during school trips. During the Summer Advisers Workshops’ Hands-on Multimedia track in Washington, DC this week, I visited the World War II Memorial and did a video story on it.

Here is the video I shot during the Hands-on Multimedia Workshop:

I have wondered what would have happened to my family had the allies not stepped in and end the war and occupation in the Netherlands. Both of my parents were teen-agers during World War II and have told many stories of the German occupation and the liberation of the Americans.

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Thesis statement

After many years of classes and months early morning writing sessions, I officially graduate from Miami University this weekend with a Master’s Degree in Technical & Scientific Communication. Juggling time between family, multiple jobs and graduate school has been a challenge. I can’t believe I actually did it.

According to a story in US News and World Report, the number of people age 40 and older heading off to grad school has doubled since 1987. By 2007 (the latest tally), that group accounted for nearly a quarter of people seeking a master’s or Ph.D., they said quoting numbers from the Council of Graduate Schools.

I started in MTSC in 2008. I am part of that statistic and found it to be true.  I had a few fellow students over age 40.

So was it worth it? Definitely. First, it provided me with some great marketable skills for both my current job and others I may pursue in the future. But more than that, it provided me with a whole new perspective on getting a college education. I understood everything better, I appreciated everything better, I absorbed the information better than when I was a 20-year-old in college the first time.

My thesis: “A Study of Three Communities’ Communication Efforts to Encourage Recycling in a Changing Media Landscape” will soon be available for other scholars to use in their research.  But more than a thesis, getting my degree was a statement what I can still contribute to the workplace after raising my two beautiful sons.


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Winning a Pacemaker

In 1986, The Kentucky Kernel won the Pacemaker for being one of the best college newspapers in the country. I was the managing editor of the paper the year they won and I’ve always been very proud to be a small part of that win.

In 2012, The Recensio yearbook at Miami University received the same high honor of winning a Pacemaker. Although it is written, edited and designed by students, I played a small part in this win as their adviser. Not only did I OK the move for the two editors to work together that year, I worked with and help train the staff.

In both cases, I knew  it was special.

At the Kentucky Kernel, we were a great team (I’m still friends with many of the editors from that year) and all of us went on to have journalism careers in Cleveland, Lexington, Louisville, Columbus, and Cincinnati. We had a tradition at UK of winning Pacemakers. The Kentucky Kernel has won a handful of times since we won in 1986 and was a finalist dozens of times.

The Miami Student also was named finalist several times since I started advising it. It still hasn’t won a Pacemaker, but I’m still hoping one day it might. Then it really will be a trifecta.

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Have you read a magazine lately?

I am teaching magazine journalism this spring and I’m very excited to be. I taught a similar class about five years ago and had a blast with the students, who tend to really get into this topic. Many of our students at Miami want to go into magazine writing, but I worry whether the jobs will be there for them when they graduate.

A site with media jobs have listings from Hearst Magazines for various positions, Runner’s World, HGTV magazine and others.  That doesn’t even include the regional magazines, of which there are many. That’s where most likely my students will get jobs, as long as they work hard to get internships, get good clips and write about a variety of story topics.

Magazines will always be around because people continue to read them. Statistics by the Association of Magazine Media say that the number of magazines have grown by 6,000 in the last 20 years.  They also say Millenials read more magazines than even the Boomers or the GenXers.

They must have more time on their hands than me. I have stacks of unread magazines at home. I try to carry around one in my car to read when I have a few minutes waiting for the car pool or for bowling practice to end. But mostly I read magazines when I go to the doctor, dentist or hairstylist. I have been known to take them with me when I get called in because I’m in the middle of reading something.

Most recently, to prepare for this class, I took home a dozen magazines from the library —  Esquire, Wired, Ebony, GQ and such — and I realized I’ve been missing a lot not reading these regularly. With my thesis written, I must take advantage of the extra time to read more magazines.  Good stories should always find a way to fit in your schedule.

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