Monthly Archives: February 2013

So many terrible wonderful stories

New-York-Times-Logohomepage

As we explore political commentary in my media class, I ask my students to have a daily diet of news. NPR, BBC, HuffPo, conservative talk radio, NYT, Esquire politics blog. As long as it is news. I want them to read, absorb, challenge, gain passion.  I hope this becomes a lifelong habit, exploring the world.

logo-foxnews-update               bbc-logo

We will explore “the fictional current that flows beneath the stream of reality.”
-Gay Talese
In order to discover that fictional current, we need to seek out competing opinions…but first, we need to find a story, just one, that will create enough passion to want to seek out more.
As I went around the classroom, asking what news the students had discovered, I was met with a few tidbits.  Certainly, the meteor and the Pope were discussed. And, a few students found some off-the-beaten-path-news.  We had a small impassioned discussion about recent comments made by an Alabama representative.  The class was engaged… but not on fire.
Cut to a peer review.  As students broke into pairs to review their recent community narratives, one student came over to my desk, laptop open, clearly excited.  She showed me a story, and we scrolled to the comments.  There was an air of can-you-believe-this in her tone, and then she said something that every professor of media longs to hear.
“There are so many wonderful, terrible statements in the news today.  I had a hard time picking just one.”
There. Engaged. Passionate.  Ready to write.
So, my assignment for Thursday was for all of my students to arrive
having found “wonderful, terrible” stories.
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Why we write…the final musings

The last installment of comments from my students in a college media class when asked “Why do you write?”

1. “When I interview people they give their story to me. I must tell it.”

2. “I’m a lucid dreamer. Writing accumulates in my room. Writing helps me get my words out…any way other than speaking. People in my head write their own story.”

3. “Writing is my way of giving myself purpose.”

4. “I write to articulate my experiences.”

 

Why we write (part three)…the student musings continue

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When asked “why do you write” in my college media class, students have some thoughtful answers:

1.”I write to heal myself.”

2. I’m the daughter of a language teacher.  It is in my epigenetic scheme. I write on napkins and coffee cups.”

3. I like to explain things in detail.  A lot of time in academia, even thinking about writing helps you develop ideas.”

4. This next comment needs quite a preface. I assign an interview piece each term. Students share successes and struggles as they navigate the terrain of speaking with someone else, of recoding another person, of having that person back up their assertions or challenge their assertions.  Often, they seek out experts. One student wrote an article on green burials.  When I asked “why do you write”, she noted, “I’m looking for a way to spend more time talking to funeral directors.”