Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cuil means knowledge

There's a brand new search engine out there called cuil (which means knowledge.) Works very differently from anything we've ever used. Take a look at it. I found a photo of my dog roadie and myself via cuil.

You can also read about cuil by clicking on the hotlink in this sentence.

Might be more powerful than Google.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My vita (as March 2010)

1808-B Ebenezer Rd.
Rock Hill, S.C. 29732
Phone: 803-323-4533

Vita Date: March 2010

POSITION: Associate Professor since 1993, Department of Mass Communication, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, S.C. 29733


1989 Ph.D. University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Iowa City, Iowa; title of dissertation: “Publisher Influence Outside the Newsroom: An Examination of the Power of the Chief Executive of the Press in the Local Community.”

1977 M.A. University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.; (Journalism) title of thesis:“How South Carolina Legislators Perceive Coverage of State Government in the Weekly Press.”

1972 B.A. Christopher Newport College of the College of William and Mary (English), Newport News, Va.


1985-present Associate Professor, Department of Mass Communication, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, S.C. Tenured in May 1991. Promoted to associate professor in May 1993.

1981-1985 Half-time instructor and Ph.D. candidate, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

1975-1981 Reporter, news editor, editor and general manager for newspapers owned by Landmark Community Newspapers, Inc., Shelbyville, Ky. Significant professional experience in reporting, writing, editing, photography, advertising, circulation, newspaper design and layout, and community newspaper management; winner of numerous writing awards in state press association contests.

1966-1969 Vietnam era veteran, U.S. Air Force, Aircraft control and warning, Texas, Mississippi, Virginia, Philippines (Honorable discharge)


Power of the press, community and civic journalism, journalism education, collegiate press, ethical and legal issues in mass communication, freedom of information, media technology, blogging, Web resources for journalists, newsroom diversity, intellectual property rights, travel journalism, press coverage of mental illness/mental health, on-line instruction, freelance writing.


Media Writing, News Editing, Feature Writing, Reporting Public Affairs, Law and Ethics, Academic Internship, Critical Issues Symposium, Community and Civic Journalism, Power of the Press (special topics course), Introduction to Mass Communication, Advertising Copy and Layout, Advertising Principles, Travel Writing, Publications Production, The Human Experience: Who Am I?


S.C. Press Association (Collegiate Division Committee)
Society of Professional Journalists (Freedom of Information Committee)
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
National Newspaper Association
S. C. Academy of Science
Carolinas Communication Association


Presenter, with Dr. Guy Reel and Mr. W.T. "Dub" Massey, of panel session titled "Civil Rights in the South: Local News Coverage of the Friendship Nine," at the AEJMC Southeast Colloquium, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, March 12, 2010.

Presenter of panel session titled "Social Media in the Teaching of Journalism and Communication" at the annual conference of the Carolina Communications Association, Wilmington, N.C., Sept. 25, 2009. (Dr. Guy Reel and integrated marketing communication majors Ryan Drumwright and Jai Jones helped in preparing this panel session.)

Invited speaker for Suicide Prevention Awareness Week at the Mountain Home Veterans Administration Medical Center in Johnson City, Tenn., Sept. 11, 2009. Title of 50-minute speech: "Out of the Depths and Shadows of Depression and Into the Sunlight: Reconnecting With Life."

Research presentation, with Dr. Guy Reel and Ms. Christy Mullins, at the Student Engagement, Excellence, & Development Conference, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, S.C., March 14, 2009. Title of presentation: "Campus Newspapers and Diverse Perpectives: Managing Tensions Through Campus Partnerships."

Research presentation, with Dr. Guy Reel, Ms. Judy Watts, Ms. Christy Mullins and Ms. India Richardson, at the Carolinas Communication Association Annual Conference, Columbia, S.C., Oct. 4, 2008. Title of presentation: "Cracking the Glass Ceiling: From Winthrop College (Where The White Flower Maidens of the South Once Came To Study Teaching, Homemaking and Agriculture) To Winthrop University in 2008 (Where Gender And Racial Diversity, Technology And New Media Thrive In A Mass Communication Department For The 21st Century)."

Research presentation, with Dr. Guy Reel and Ms. Gena Smith, at the Society of Professional Journalists Region 3 Conference at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C., March 28, 2008. Title of presentation: “Covering Students With Disabilities: A Case Study Project At Winthrop University.” (Also titled in SPJ Region 3 Spring Conference announcement as: “Specialty Reporting Case Study.”)

Research presentation, with Dr. Guy Reel, at the Annual Regional Conference of the Carolinas Communications Association, Boone, S.C., Sept. 29, 2007. Title of presentation: “Cyber Dissident Bloggers: Promoting Civil and Human Rights.”

Author of research paper, with Doug Fisher and Will Atkinson. Title: “How America’s Community Newspapers Handle (Or Don’t Handle) Their ‘Digital Attics’: An Investigation Into Ethical, Legal and Privacy Issues Emerging From Publications’ Web Archives.” Presented, with Doug Fisher, at the Newspapers and Community-Building Symposium XIII, National Newspaper Association Annual Convention, Norfolk, Va., September 27, 2007. Published and now available on the Web site of the Huck Boyd Center for Community Media-Kansas State University at:,%20Larry%20-%20Digital%20Attics.pdf

Above paper also published in Grassroots Editor, Volume, 48, No. 4, Winter 2007, pp. 11-18.

Presentation of “Some Newspapers In America Are “Getting It”—Switching From News And Information As Lecture To conversation: Insights From Journalist Bloggers About What They Do, How They Do It and Why,” April 20, 2007, Research presented at the April 20, 2007, Annual Meeting of the South Academy of Science, Airport Campus of Midlands Technical College, Columbia, S.C. (Abstract of presentation published in the Bulletin of the South Carolina Academy of Science, Volume LXIX, 2007, pp. 119-120.)

Author of “Some Community Newspapers In America Are “Getting It”—From Information As Lecture to Information As Conversation: Insights From Journalist Bloggers About What They Do, How They Do It and Why,” published on the Web site of the Huck Boyd Center for Community Media, Kansas State University. Also re-titled as “America’s Community Newspapers Go Digital: Insights From Journalist Bloggers Working in Hometown, America.” and presented at the Newspapers & Community Building Symposium XII, at the National Newspaper Association’s 120th Annual Convention & Trade Show, Oklahoma City, Okla., Oct. 12, 2006.

Presentation of “From Old Media to New Media: How Journalist Bloggers Are Changing America’s Newspapers And Transforming Themselves As Gatherers And Disseminators Of News,” (Research presented with Dr. Guy Reel.) The Carolinas Communications Association Annual Conference—“Communication, Culture and Common Ground,” Charleston, S.C., Sept. 15, 2006.

Author of "An Opinion Column, Anger, Resentment and the First Amendment: A Case Study in Freedom of the Press at Winthrop University," Presented at annual meeting of the South Carolina Academy of Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C. (Abstract of presentation published in the Bulletin of the South Carolina Academy of Science, Volume LXVIII, pp. 111-112, March 10, 2006.)

Presenter and author, with Judy Longshaw, of research titled “Keeping Your Sanity And Staying Positive(And Trying, Through Media Messages, To Convince Terrorists Not To Behead Your Kidnapped Brother): Lessons Learned By An Anxious Family Member Caught In The Middle Of An International Story,” presented to the spring 2005 convention of the South Carolina Academy of Science. Abstract of research published in Bulletin of the South Carolina Academy of Science, Volume LXVII, pp. 108-109.

Author, with Judy Longshaw, of professional research paper titled “A Beheading, A National Media Blitz, Hometown Grief, Suffering and Pain, And One Small Southern Newspaper”—presented to the Newspapers and Community-Building Symposium XI, at The National Newspaper Association’s 119th Annual Convention, Milwaukee, Wis., Sept. 30, 2005.

Author of refereed professional paper “When The Cop Said The All-American Boy Who Died Had Been Driving Under The Influence”: How One Small Southern Newspaper Responded To A Seeming “Disconnect” Between Its News Coverage Of That Death And Its Community”—presented to the Newspapers and Community-Building Symposium IX The National Newspaper Association’s 117th Annual Convention Kansas City, Mo., Sept. 24-27, 2003.

Author of refereed professional paper “I’m NOT crazy; I’m bipolar”: Why Newspapers Can’t Seem To Get It Right In Their Coverage of Mental Health Issues”—presented at the Hawaii International Conference on Social Sciences, Honolulu, Hawaii, June 2002.

Author of “From Hard-Hitting Investigative Journalism To Embracing Coverage Of Chicken Dinners, Schools, Church And Family: A Study Of A Veteran Community Journalist’s Self-Examination And Redefining His Approach To News”--presented at the Newspapers and Community-Building Symposium of the National NewspaperAssociation’s 115th Annual Convention & Trade Show, Louisville, Ky., October 2000.


Presenter of workshop session titled "Photoshop Principles" (Adobe Photoshop CS3) at Winthrop University High School Media, Theatre and Dance Workshop," Sept. 23, 2009. Also, co-presenter, with Dr. Guy Reel, of workshop session titled "Social Media: Beyond Facebook."

Presented, with Dr. Guy Reel, Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Adobe InDesign CS# workshop session on behalf of the Winthrop chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. (Session attended by 25 people). March 10, 2009, Winthrop University.

Presented workshop on story ideas, “newspaper re-invention” and the responsibility and mission of The Johnsonian and The Roddey-McMillan at the Student Publications Workshop, Aug. 21, 2008, Winthrop University.

Created and presented session titled “Feature Writing” for the Winthrop University High School Media & Theatre Workshop, Sept. 24, 2008. Also co-led workshop session, with Dr. Guy Reel, titled “Publication Design.”

Presented workshop on First Amendment freedoms and the importance of print journalism for the faculty adviser (Cindy Koon) and staff of “S.P.I.N.,” the student newspaper at South Pointe High School in Rock Hill. Session included markup and critique of recent editions of “S.P.I.N.” Nov. 14, 2008.

Judge of SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards contest entries (Region 8) for the following categories: Editorial Cartooning; Sports Column Writing; Sports Writing. February 2009.

Judge, with Dr. Guy Reel, of the following categories in the Syracuse Press Club 2008 Print Media Contest: Portrait; Feature Photo; and Photo Illustration.

Newspaper team leader and design/writing coach (with Dr. Guy Reel) of Leadership York County. April 2, 2009.

Created and led or co-led workshop sessions on electronic page design software (InDesign); image manipulation software (Adobe Photoshop CS); headline writing; news writing; and story/picture packaging at the summer 2004, 2005 and 2006 ASNE High School Journalism Institute at Winthrop University.

Presenter of workshop titled “The Impact of The Johnsonian and the Roddey-McMillan Record on Winthrop University” to staffers and prospective staffers of student publications at Winthrop University, Aug. 19, 2004.

Presenter--with Dr. Guy Reel, Terry Plumb from The (Rock Hill) Herald, and Nicole Bell of The Charlotte Observer--of workshop, in connection with Black History Month, titled “Fairness of Coverage of African-Americans in High Profile News Stories,” Feb. 12, 2004.

Presenter--with Dr. Guy Reel, Andrew Skeritt from The (Rock Hill) Herald, and Roland Wilkerson from the Charlotte Observer--of workshop, in connection with Black History Month, titled “Working Harder and Smarter to Achieve Diversity in America’s Newspapers,” Feb. 10, 2003.

Presenter of problem-solving breakout session on “Quick and Dirty Journalism” to approximately 35 high school students at Winthrop Olde English Consortium Junior/Senior Scholarship Day, Oct. 15, 2003.

Presented workshop and authored worksheet on “How To Develop Your Listening Skills” for a target audience of elderly men and women at Shepherd’s Center of Rock Hill, S.C., April 14, 2003.

Author, by invitation of Allyn & Bacon, of extensive, detailed critical/constructive review of draft manuscript of 21st Century Feature Writing (textbook under development at Allyn & Bacon)—February 2003.

Author, by invitation of Allyn & Bacon, of extensive, detailed critical/constructive review of draft manuscript of Feature Writing for Newspapers and Magazines (Fourth Edition), by Edward Jay Friedlander and John Lee. (textbook under development at Allyn & Bacon)—February 2002.

Author of January 2003 grant proposal which resulted in the Winthrop University chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists receiving a $500 grant from SPJ headquarters in Indianapolis, Ind., to help bring Washington Post investigative journalist Josh White to campus in April 2003. White was lead investigative reporter for the Post on the Washington, D.C., area sniper case that terrorized the nation late in 2002.

Principal author, with mass communication major and SPJ chapter vice president Alan Jenkins, of January 2002 grant proposal which resulted in the Winthrop University chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists receiving a $500 grant from SPJ headquarters in Indianapolis, Ind. Grant helped bring a Baltimore Sun feature writer and foreign correspondent (and former combat journalist in Afghanistan) to Winthrop’s campus as a guest lecturer for classes in mass communication and for a special evening campus-wide presentation.

Presented workshop on coverage of hard news to high school students and their teachers participating in the Winthrop Olde English Consortium Junior Scholars Day, March 13, 2001.


March 3, 2010 "Big changes underway at The Herald," published on the South Carolina Press Association Web site (

Nov. 2009 "Small SC weekly breaks big story," Publishers' Auxiliary, pp. 1, 28.

Nov. 2009 "Myrtle Beach Herald making its mark in journalism," South Carolina Press Association Web site (, November 4, 2009.

Oct. 2009 "You have to be patient with those new hires," Publishers' Auxiliary, p. 27.

July 2009 "One passage ignites ethical firestorm for community paper," Publishers' Auxiliary, pp. 27-28.

April 2009 "Should top execs take pay cuts?" Published on the S.C. Press Association Web site. (, April 1, 2009.

March 2009 "1-page freebies bring in dollars," Publishers' Auxiliary, pp. 1, 15.

Jan. 2009 "Where is the real media sacrifice?" Publishers' Auxiliary, p 4.

Nov. 2008 "Newspaper web site shows video of councilman's DUI arrest," Publishers' Auxiliary, pp. 1, 24.

Sept. 2008 "Covering nonprofits can yield strong stories," Publishers' Auxiliary, pp. 1, 24.

April 2, 2008 “Don’t kid yourself: It ain’t over yet, Barack,” by Larry Timbs, Publishers’ Auxiliary, p. 15.

Jan. 22, 2008 “Help restore Shoeless Joe Jackson’s reputation,” by Larry Timbs, published on the S.C. Press Association Web site. Same article by Larry Timbs published on the Web site of the (Spartanburg, S.C.) Herald-Journal. Jan. 28, 2008. Also published in Publishers’ Auxiliary, Feb. 2008, p. 5, and in The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald, Feb. 12, 2008, p. 4A.

December 2007 “Disability should be considered part of diversity,” Publishers’ Auxiliary, p. 28.

Sept. 19, 2007 “S.C. Editors Sound Off On Michael Vick Coverage,” by Larry Timbs, published on the S.C. Press Association Web site . (Same article by Larry Timbs published on Sept. 23, 2007, by The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald, pg. 3F, & in Publishers' Auxiliary, October 2007, p. 28.)

April 2007 “Will e-books replace the printed page?” Publishers’ Auxiliary, pp. 1, 24.

April 2007 “Publisher strives for small-town feel in big daily paper,” Publishers’ Auxiliary, pp. 7-8.

December 2006 “Author says news clips great source for books,” Publishers’ Auxiliary, pp. 1, 24.

October 2006 “Metro bloggers on local level,” Publishers’ Auxiliary, pp. 8, 10.

August 2006 “Popular column works much like a blog for weekly,” Publishers’ Auxiliary, p. 25.

July 2006 “Book details Vietnam war crimes case,” Publishers’ Auxiliary, pp. 1, 24.

February 2006 "Opinion column causes student uproar," Publishers' Auxiliary, pp. 1, 24.

January 2006 "An encounter to remember (and an Associated Press I.D., too)," Publishers' Auxiliary, p. 15.

Dec. 2005 “Uproar over column offers First Amendment lessons,” S.C. Press Association Bulletin, p. 11.

Oct. 2005 “”Same-sex ad stirs controversy for SC daily,” Publishers’ Auxiliary, pp. 1, 24.

May 2005 “Curiosity can help you make your mark,” Publishers’ Auxiliary, p. 23.

May 2005 “Curiosity a reporter’s best asset,” Quill: A Magazine for the Professional Journalist,” p. 43.

Oct. 2004 “Ground Zero: Is it just a commercial opportunity now?” Publishers’ Auxiliary, pp. 2, 5, 16.

January 2004 “Publisher proud of her career in community journalism,” Publishers’ Auxiliary,p. 28.

January 2004 “Retired SC publisher publishes book on London during WWII,” Publishers’ Auxiliary,p. 28.

July/Aug. 2003 “Storytelling key to good journalism,” The St. Louis Journalism Review, pp. 24-25.

July 2003 “Sources played a big part in sniper story,” Publishers’ Auxiliary,pp. 1, 24.

March 2003 “Black History Month deserves better coverage by newspapers,” Publishers’ Auxiliary, p. 28.

Feb. 2003 “Finding diversity in small towns,” Quill Magazine, pp. 26-27.

Feb. 2003 “Stray outside your sandbox,” Publishers’ Auxiliary, p. 15.

Dec. 2002 “SC paper faces ire of readers after story of teen’s death,” Publishers’ Auxiliary, p. 28.

Nov. 2002 “Study: Journalists need to get smarter about mental health,” Publishers’ Auxiliary,p. 28.

Sept. 2002 “Bledsoe: Use storytelling to improve your paper’s readership,” Publishers’ Auxiliary, p. 28.

April 2002 “Journalism is a wonderful business,” Publishers’ Auxiliary, p. 28.

Feb. 2002 “Don’t let steak get turned into hamburger,” Publishers’ Auxiliary,p. 28.

Jan. 1, 2002 “Mental illness reporting deserves a human face,” Publishers’ Auxiliary, pp. 1-24.

Nov. 1, 2001 ‘Osama numbers’ hurting papers,” Publishers’ Auxiliary, pp. 1-24.

Sept. 1, 2001 “Management decisi0ns can be tough for some to make,” Publishers’ Auxiliary, pg. 32.

July 2001 “Readers will trust papers that admit mistakes,” Publishers’ Auxiliary,pp. 1, 24.

March 5, 2001 “Diversity important for community papers,” Publishers’ Auxiliary,p. 5.

Jan. 8, 2001 “Once-explosive Fortenberry now calmer, wiser,” Publishers’ Auxiliary,pp. 1, 16.

Oct. 16, 2000 “Reduced to a clump of suffering miserable humanity,” Publishers’ Auxiliary, p. 13.


Dec. 26, 2009 "Student paper shows democracy in action," The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald, p. 5A.

Sept. 19, 2009 "The Challenges of working with NeXters," The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald, p. 4A.

Jan. 3, 2009 "Couric was hypocritical," The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald, p. 6

June 15, 2006 “Authors: Worst Vietnam war crimes still go unnoticed,” The (Spartanburg, S.C.) Herald-Journal, pp. C1.

May 28, 2006 “A crime uglier than My Lai?” The Charlotte Observer, p. 5E.

Dec. 24, 2005 “Winthrop journalists learn from controversy,” The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald, p. 5A.

Aug. 31, 2005 “Chance interview inspired a career,” The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald, p. 6A.

Oct. 10, 2004 “Loud music, T-shirts, tears: A moment at ground zero,” The Charlotte Observer, p. 9Y.

Oct. 6, 2004 “Charlotte anchor tells students she won’t pass judgment on Rather, CBS,” The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald, p. 2B.

March 7, 2004 “Chepesiuk chronicles the rise and fall of pervasive and deadly Colombian drug cartel.” The (Spartanburg, S.C.) Herald-Journal, p. C2.

Aug. 31, 2003 “Retired publisher writes about surviving WWII in London,” The (Spartanburg, S.C.) Herald-Journal, p. C2.

July 20, 2003 “Wartime London with a local touch: Retired Fort Mill, S.C., publisher mines his memories for first novel,” The Charlotte Observer, p. 6H.

May 26, 2003 “Reporter haunted by grisly sniper story,” The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald, p. 7A.

May 21, 2002 “Reporting abroad is no walk in the park,” The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald, p. 5A.

May 15, 2002 “I’m not going down that road:” Charlotte journalist on risks in Afghanistan,” Creative Loafing, Charlotte, N.C.

March 28, 2002 “Local TV journalist: Media has power to change society,” The Charlotte Post.

March 21, 2002 “Charlotte newswoman inspires students,” The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald, p. 6A.

April 15, 2001 “Journalists must earn readers’ trust,” Charlotte Observer, p. 8Y.

Feb. 24, 2001 “We’re in a ‘comeback culture’ that forgives, journalist says,” Charlotte Observer, Feb. 24, 2001, p. 3F.

Feb. 20, 2001 “U.S. journalists may be too comfortable,” The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald, p. 5A.

Sept. 24, 2000 “Ex-Fort Mill, S.C., publisher tells of war to conquer stroke,”
Charlotte Observer, Sept. 24, 2000, p. 9F.


June 8, 2008 "Museum to open in famed slugger's home in Greenville's West End," (Spartanburg, S.C.) Herald-Journal.

May 25, 2008 "Shoeless Joe's home will open as museum," The Charlotte Observer, p. 1I.

June 22, 2007 “Only one Bonds,” guest op-ed piece by Larry Timbs, published in The Chester News & Reporter, pg. 12, Chester, S.C

Winter 2005 “A SPECIAL TO QUILL,” South Carolina Academy of Science Newsletter, pp. 6-7.

Summer 2004 “Former Winthrop Student Visits Campus,” The (Winthrop University) Connection, p. 5

April 14-20, 2004 “Rembert Plans Her Return: County Commission candidate assesses her time on School Board,” Creative Loafing, pp. 15, 17, 20.

April 7, 2004 “Poet Conroy will read at alma mater,” The Charlotte Observer, pp. 1E, 5E.

Feb. 2, 2004 “Taking down Colombia’s Cali Cartel,” The Charlotte Observer, p. 19A.

Nov. 16, 2003 “Is ‘Bobcats’ a suitable name for basketball team?” The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald, p. 2E.

Oct. 3, 2003 “Sylvia Theater: An intimate venue for music,” The (Spartanburg, S.C.) Herald-Journal.

Feb. 20-26, 2003 “Activists: Look to make own mark for social change,” The Charlotte Post, p. 1A, 6A.

Sept. 19, 2002 “Twenty ways to drive your professor up the wall,” The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald, p. 6A.

Jan. 23, 2002 “More Than 400 Years Of Memories Under One Roof,” The (Mountain City, Tenn.) Tomahawk, pp. A-1, A-5.

Jan. 20, 2002 “Tidbits from celebrities, rearranged,” The Charlotte Observer, p. 9H.

Aug. 19, 2001 “All aboard Tweetsie, a ride back in time,” Charlotte Observer, pp. 1G, 7G.

Sept. 23, 2000 “Franklin Graham carries on gospel tradition his own way,”
Charlotte Observer, p. 47.


Judge of SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards contest entries (Region 3) for the following categories: Editorial Cartooning; Sports Column Writing; Sports Writing. February 2008.

Writing, editing and design coach for The Roane County News in Roane County, Tenn. November 2007.

Writing, editing and design coach for The Lancaster News in Lancaster, S.C.. Summer 2004.

Creator and co-teacher (with Dr. Guy Reel) of new course, “Community Newspaper Practicum” (MCOM 495) taught in “C” session of summer school, 2007. Purpose of the course is to give a handful of our students, with advanced journalism skills, hands-on experience at an area community newspaper (providing them 15-20 clips for their portfolios). MCOM 495 is also designed to enhance the newspaper, giving the editor and his staff support (through the students’ work) in developing special projects or pages. (There’s no other course like this in South Carolina, to my knowledge).

Created and presented sessions, every year I've been at Winthrop, on one or more of the following topics (page design, editing, basic news writing, feature writing, editing, interviewing, Web writing, photo enhancement) ” for the Annual Winthrop University High School Media & Theatre Workshop.

Member/key player/planner/organizer (of collegiate newspaper competition, job fairs and conferences) on S.C. Press Association Collegiate Division Committee—2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008.

Newspaper group leader/coach—Annual Leadership York County, Media/Crisis Communication Day--early February each year.

Judge of SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards contest entries (Region 3) for the following categories: Online News Reporting; Sports Column Writing; Editorial Cartooning. February 2007.

Judge, at the invitation of the S.C. Press Association, of entries (Headline Writing, Feature Writing and Editorial Writing) for Georgia Press Association newspaper awards competition. Feb. 8, 2007.

Instructor and co-leader, with Professor Jock Lauterer of UNC-Chapel Hill, of two-hour workshop on journalistic ethics at the N.C. Press Association Newspaper Academy, co-sponsored and hosted by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, UNC-Chapel Hill, May 17, 2002.

Presented workshop on editing for about 70 editors, publishers and other news editorial employees of the Athens, Ga., based Community Newspapers, Inc. (CNI Managers Meeting, Cornelia, Ga., Sept. 22, 2001.)

Writing, photography and design coach for the Lexington County Chronicle, Lexington, S.C., Bennettsville, S.C., May 2001.

Writing, photography and design coach for the Marlboro Herald-Advocate, Bennettsville, S.C., Feb. 2001.


S.C. Press Association Collegiate Meeting and Awards Presentation, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C., March 28, 2008. Workshop sessions on improving student journalist photography, writing and design skills; and on how to get that first job in journalism.

Society of Professional Journalists Region 3 Spring Conference, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C., March 28, 2008. Workshop sessions on new media challenges; preparing for tomorrow’s newsrooms; campus crime reporting; the changing political landscape and journalism; and the value of diversity in journalism.

S.C. Press Association Winter Meeting & Awards Presentation, Spartanburg, S.C., March 6-7, 2008. Workshops/presentations on building newspaper circulation, rethinking newspaper content, and community journalism in the 21st century.

ACES (American Copy Editors Society) workshop, Jan. 27, 2008. (Conducted at The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald. Sessions on news copy editing, sports copy editing, “separating the wheat from the chaff” in editing copy about politics and elections, and how the copy desk can help give readers the information they need in forms they can easily understand, and editing (or not editing) citizen blogs.

Carolinas Communication Association Annual Conference, Boone, N.C., Sept. 29, 2007. Workshop sessions on examining communication from the perspectives of culture and community; global issues in health communication; “great ideas” for teaching communication; case studies of communication in crisis situations; and a review of research on text messages, My Space and bloggers.

Newspapers and Community-Building Symposium XIII, the National Newspaper Association’s 121st Annual Convention, Norfolk, Va., Sept. 26-28, 2007. Workshop sessions on“great ideas” for growing advertising in community newspapers; connecting readers and advertisers with effective design; training background and needs of journalists at rural newspapers in the United States; recruiting students into community journalism; building community and the future; making ethical decisions in community and civic journalism; handling for newspaper Web archives.

Annual Convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Washington, D.C., August 2007. Workshop sessions on writing, editing, design, community and civic journalism, special targeted publications, ethics, law, and Web journalism.

S.C. Press Association Winter Meeting & Awards Presentation, Columbia, S.C., Feb. 23, 2007. Workshops/presentations on newspapers and the Internet, newspapers and political ads, and the future of the newspaper industry.

National Newspaper Association’s 120th Annual Convention & Trade Show, Oklahoma City, Oct. 11-14, 2006. Workshop sessions on niche publications, advertising and circulation development, newspaper management, postage, public notice, community building, digital archiving, photography and writing/editing.

Associated Collegiate Press 23rd Annual National College Newspaper & Yearbook Workshops, Aug. 3-Aug. 6, 2006, Washington, D.C. Workshop sessions and short courses on: advising student media; advertising, headline writing; copyediting; staff recruitment and development; newspaper design; new media (blogging) and Web-based journalism; news and feature writing; and First Amendment law.

Participated, along with three students (mass communication majors from Winthrop University), in the Society of Professional Journalists Southeast Regional Conference, University of Georgia, Athens, Ohio, April 7-8, 2006. Attended workshop sessions on blogging at community newspapers; freelance writing and media ethics.

Participated in six-hour Winthrop University Faculty Service Learning Institute--focusing on methods and models of integrating service learning into curricula; establishing community partnerships; facilitating critical reflection and evaluation; and resources for instructors who value this approach to teaching and learning. (May 9, 2006, Baruch Room, Joynes Hall, Winthrop University.)

Participant in numerous workshops, led by Keoni Everington, distance learning coordinator at Winthrop University, on how to use WebCT software to improve teaching and learning—2002, 2003 and 2004.

Participant in numerous workshops/sessions on writing, editing, photography, design, ethics, freedom of information, and technology—offered by the S.C. Press Association and the National Newspaper Association—1998-2008.

Judge, by invitation of the S.C. Press Association, of the General Excellence category in the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Contest—May 2004.

Judge, at the invitation of Society of Professional Journalists headquarters in Indianapolis, Ind., of SPJ’s final round of essays (top 12 finalists) in national high school essay contest on “What a Free Media Means to America”—summer 2004.

Named co-Society of Professional Journalism Sunshine Chair for South Carolina, effective summer 2004. Currently represent South Carolina at SPJ’s annual national convention and on SPJ’s Freedom of Information Committee.

Participant, Media Credibility Roundtable, York Technical College—by invitation of The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald; roundtable sponsored by the Associated Press Managing Editors’ National Credibility Roundtables Project, June 2003.

Judge, by invitation of the S.C. Press Association, of editorial material, photos and page design in the Arizona Newspaper Association Contest—July 2003.

Participant in writing workshop taught at The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald by Marjie Lundstrom, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, senior editor/columnist and writing coach for The Sacramento Bee—Nov. 8, 2001.

SERVICE (2000 To Present):

●Guided faculty/student research on newspaper Web archives, spring 2007.
●Member of "Teaching Squares" program at Winthrop University (faculty peer review of evaluation and improvement of teaching and learning), fall 2006.
●Faculty adviser/coach to the newspaper group (comprised of local community leaders) during Media Day of Leadership York County
●Emphasis on multi-media writing (for print and for the Web) and hands-on, deep learning (life-long learning) in all my writing and editing courses at Winthrop (requiring students to immerse themselves in the campus and greater Rock Hill/York County community.
●Volunteer and newspaper coach for Rawlinson Road Middle School students at The Connection (after-school ministry for children)
●Winthrop University Service Learning Committee
●Resource contact person (for employees, interns and freelance writers) for The Lancaster (S.C.) News, the Chester (S.C.) News & Reporter, The (Rock Hill) Herald, The Charlotte Observer, The (Spartanburg, S.C.) Herald-Journal, the Fort Mill Times and the York & Clover Enquirer.
●Faculty academic adviser to 25-30 mass communication/journalism majors or pre-majors
●Key role in obtaining/screening/selecting Winthrop student entries for Annual Hearst Journalism Awards Program
●Consultant, guest speaker, critiquer, workshop presenter for student publications for high schools in York County, S.C.--Northwestern High School and Southe Pointe High School--and for Bessemer City High School in Bessemer City, N.C. Professional Resource for these English/journalism faculty and their students--2004-2008
●Regularly require service learning projects in a sampling of my mass communication courses each semester. Examples of service learning accomplished by my students: Veteran History Project--focusing on capturing the stories and memories, via audiotape and in writing, of U.S. military veterans (student work archived permanently at Dacus Library and indexed on the Library of Congress Web site); Special Olympics brochure redesign--focusing Winthrop students on improving and re-thinking targeted publications boosting Special Olympics (for those with mental disabilities)in York, Chester and Lancaster counties.
●Panelist representing Winthrop University student publications at a panel discussion (attended by more than 200 people) on First Amendment freedoms and the role of the student newspaper on a college campus, Nov. 10, 2005, Dinkins Auditorium, Winthrop University.
●Chair of Departmental Tenure and Promotion Committee for Haney Howell
●Member, Department of Mass Communication Diversity Policy Review Committee (in connection with helping create departmental self-study report for ACEJMC.)
●Primary writer and editor of Alumni Survey sent via the Web and U.S. mail to 400+ mass communication alumni for the years 2001-2007. Survey is part of the department’s ACEJMC 2008 self-study.
●Faculty adviser for The Johnsonian, Winthrop University’s campus newspaper
●Faculty consultant and coach for many students who work on the staff of the Roddey-McMillan Record
●Founder and faculty adviser of Winthrop University chapter of the Society Professional
●Chair, Tenure and Promotion committees for Dr. Guy Reel.
●Member, Promotion Committee for Dr. Marilyn Sarow.
●Member, Promotion Committee for Dr. Padmini Patwardhan.
●Member, Tenure Committee for Dr. Padmini Patwardhan.
●Member, Mass Communication/Journalism Track Departmental Assessment Committee (with Dr. Guy Reel and Dr. Bill Click.) Spring 2007.
●Chair of Third-Year Review Committee for Marilyn Sarow; also member of her post-tenure review committee, 2006.
●Member, MCOM 205 Revision Committee (with Mark Nortz and Haney Howell), September 2006.
●Member, Senior Capstone Experience Committee (with Haney Howell, Guy Reel and Marilyn Sarow), Fall 2006.
● Chair, post-tenure review committee for Associate Haney Howell (Spring 2007).
●Member, pre-tenure review committee for Assistant Professor Padmini Patwardhan (Spring 2007).
●Mass Communication/Dacus Library acquisitions liaison
●Winthrop University Board of Student Publications
●President’s Task Force on Student Publications
●South Carolina Press Association (Collegiate Committee)
●Recipient of “Exemplary Single Service Project By A Group” award, by Winthrop University, for community service and service learning
●Key planner and coordinator of student recruiting and student interviewing (departmental) visits, over many years, by numerous newsroom executives
●American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) grant proposal committee
●ASNE Selection, Recruitment and Planning committees for Winthrop University, 2004, 2005, 2006
●United Way coordinator and liaison for the Department of Mass Communication
●GNED 102 planning and preparation team (summer 2003)
●Volunteer and member, Allocations Committee, United Way of York County, S.C. (Spring 2009)
•Recipient of Presidential Citation for Community Service at the April 2009 awards ceremony for Winthrop faculty and staff (in connection with my support of the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Danielle Steel writes steamy, sensuous stuff

It had been a tough, long, grinding day, with meetings, deadlines, presentations, and impossible-to-satisfy sniveling, whining customers.

And now, as 35-year-old up and coming corporate executive Mark Rhineman, his laptop in one hand and portfolio in the other, entered the elevator, en route to his 10th floor hotel room, he looked forward to decompressing.

As Mark liked to put it, he was more than ready for some "down time."

No, it was way past time.

What a day, and tomorrow, with more meetings, more agendas and more presentations, held no promise for relief.

But as Mark stepped into the elevator, his pulse quickened and sweat beaded up on the back of his neck.
There, the only other person in the elevator, she stood.

It was green-eyed, blond Jenny Martin, also carrying a laptop and a thick briefcase. He hadn't laid eyes on her, in what, 10 years?

Dressed fetchingly in a dark blue skirt and a simple, embroidered blouse, emblazoned with her company's logo, Jenny worked for the competition. Nevertheless, he had always admired her smarts and creativity, giving her a fast track to the upper echelons of management.

Not to mention, she was a definite stunning headturner. At this moment, her diamond earrings and matching necklace sparkled alluringly, dangling over just a hint of tempting cleavage.

Mark seemed to remember something about her being recently divorced. Or was it separated? Or was it that she was unhappily married?

Regardless, Mark couldn't keep from staring.

Their eyes locked.

His pulse quickened, and he struggled, with nervous hands, to loosen his tie.

"Going up?" she asked, smiling.

"Yes," he managed to reply nervously. "To the 10th floor."

Jenny flashed an even bigger smile: "What a coincidence! That's my floor. I'm in room 1029. How about you?"

"Right next door to you," Mark said. "Room 1030."

"Free for dinner tonight?" she asked. "If so, we can do it in my place. I'll call for room service. And, if you're interested, I've got a couple of movies...One thing's for sure: You wouldn't have a long walk back to your room."

The phrase "do it" seemed to freeze in Mark's brain...

No, best selling romance author Danielle Steel didn't write the above passage. That's straight from my own hands--just to give you a sense of what she writes.

It can be some steamy, sexy stuff.

And all this from a woman who's been married multiple times. Maybe that's where she gets some of her story ideas?

Read on for a recent interview with the best-selling Steel (author of 75 books!)

Author Danielle Steel writes to 'give people hope'

Associated Press

Published: 7/16/2008

NEW YORK -- It's only 9:33 a.m., but already Danielle Steel is having a lousy morning.

She's in a Rockefeller Plaza dressing room, having her hair tugged and her makeup tweaked. She's endured questioning from Matt Lauer on the "Today" show and soon faces a second round with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.

Crowding around are fashionably dressed publicists, agents with noisy cell phones, burly camera operators and various preening hangers-on. The plaza outside vibrates with throngs of screaming fans, aching to rub shoulders with the famous -- anyone famous.

Steel hates it.

From her pained expression, it's clear she'd rather be anywhere but here, her zone of privacy now no bigger than Al Roker himself.

"This is so not me," she says. "I hate having the spotlight on me. I hate being the focus of attention. I like being the invisible observer. So this is very painful."

Steel, who turns 61 in August, doesn't need fame: Her name is virtually synonymous with the romance novel. She doesn't need cash: Some 570 million of her books are in print. What she wants is a Garbo moment: to be left alone, to write more.

So why would she agree to an interview sandwiched between TV appearances? "Occasionally, I have to stick my nose out the door," she says, warily. "Otherwise, people are going to think I'm 100 years old and dead."

Any visit to a bookstore would disprove that -- an ever-lengthening list of such Steel titles as "The Wedding," ''Sisters" and "Second Chance" that crowd multiple shelves. She knocks out about three books a year.

What brings her to New York and the media glare is her 75th book, "Rogue," the tale of a sober-minded psychologist and her playboy ex-husband "whose kisses were as intoxicating as everything else about him." When one of the two considers remarriage, their lives take a turn.

The novel, which Publishers Weekly called "a familiar formula with fresh results," debuted at No. 4 on The New York Times list of best-sellers, No. 8 on USA Today's list and No. 6 on The Wall Street Journal's.

Atop such lists is a familiar Steel perch. Between 1996 and 2003, Publishers Weekly reports that 16 of her novels were best-sellers, and the Guinness World Records once cited her for having at least one book on the Times list for 390 consecutive weeks.

All that strangely doesn't calm her. She may have been writing novels since she was 19, but there's an insecurity that remains untouched, no matter the plaudits.

"I still never finish a book without being terrified I can't write another one. I never start one without being terrified I can't finish it," she says. "It's sort of a torturous process."

While it's hard to generalize, Steel's books are usually populated by smart, attractive heroines juggling work, love and family. About one in five are historical, set in, say, pre-World War II Europe or the Russian Revolution. Some tackle larger issues, such as homelessness in "Safe Harbour," domestic violence in "Journey," infertility in "Mixed Blessings" and even cloning in "The Klone and I."

"I think the one recurring theme that I didn't used to be aware of is that I try to give people hope," she says. "I think that's so important. Love is wonderful, but hope is more important. Without hope you can't live."

Critics haven't always appreciated the effort, often recoiling from her shallower characters, brand-name dropping and the sugary aftertaste her books leave behind.

No matter -- the woman is critic-proof, a Teflon one-woman publishing phenomenon. Steel is a leader of a genre that generated $1.37 billion in book sales in 2006, outselling every market category except religion/inspirational, according to the Romance Writers of America.

How does Steel handle critics? "It's very simple. I haven't read them in years," she says. "My feelings get very hurt when people say mean things about me. The trouble I find is that they don't just criticize the book -- they then get nasty personally. And so I stopped reading them."

Her mini-empire also includes 15 children's books, multiple adaptations for TV or DVDs, a volume of poetry and even a perfume from Elizabeth Arden. She was decorated by the French government in 2002 for her lifetime contribution to world culture.

The latest book came out of her head the way most of the others did, with a mixture of happenstance, a keen eye for potential drama and a dose of mystery.

"They just happen. I can't tell you how they come. I hear about an issue that I like or something comes to mind -- they always kind of drop out of the sky," she says. "I mean, I was in a closet years ago some putting stuff away and I heard a noise and I suddenly thought, 'A book about a ghost!' So I wrote a book about a ghost and I had to construct this whole elaborate thing to get there."

That book, naturally, became "The Ghost." Another time, inspiration came during a dinner party: Steel was seated next to a friend who confessed that his wife had left him with three young children. It led to the book, "Daddy."

She pounds out all her novels in a tiny office in her San Francisco home, where she lives half the year. (The other half is spent in Paris, where she refuses to work.)

All the books are written on a 1946 Olympia manual typewriter and first drafts are usually done in a punishing 20-hour shift while "dressed in my nighty with my hair sticking up straight."

"There are people who show up nicely dressed, they work from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. I can't do that," she says. "Sometimes I don't leave my house for two or three weeks."

In person, Steel is far more approachable than the woman whose regal photograph appears on her book jackets. Her chestnut hair flows freely and her jewelry sparkles in an understated way. She's a mix of elegant and down-to-earth, a fun rich aunt who might whisk you away for expensive adventures.

Nita Taublib, senior vice president and deputy publisher at Bantam Dell, confesses she didn't know what to expect before she started working with Steel nine years ago.

"From the second I met her, I just felt the warmth from her," says Taublib. "She really is charming and normal and probably the opposite of everything people would expect her to be. She's just a real human being."

The one thing Steel isn't warm about is questions -- ironically -- about her love life. She has been married and divorced five times, but visibly stiffens at queries about them.

Born in New York, she lived through her own parents' divorce and was working in public relations when she was urged by the then-editor of Ladies' Home Journal to write a book, which became "Going Home."

"I tried it. I thought it was a fun idea. And it sold very quickly. And then I wrote five more that nobody ever bought. They're in my basement in a box," she says with a laugh.

Steel, who has seven children and is the stepmother to two more, lifted her cocoon of privacy in 1999 to write "His Bright Light," the chronicle of her son Nick Traina's battle with manic depression and suicide in 1997 at age 19.

The loss of her son and collapse of her fourth marriage soon led to a cause she champions: ending homelessness. She says that when the bottom fell out of her world, she went to church.

"I was praying, 'Who can I help that's more miserable than I am?' And I got this thing in my head, 'Help the homeless.' I was like, 'You didn't understand. Let's try that again. A different message, please?' And it kept coming. So I thought, 'OK, OK.'"

So she traveled the streets of San Francisco and was haunted by what she saw. Steel set up an outreach team called Yo! Angel! and goes out about once every month, incognito, handing out sleeping bags, food and toiletries.

"I can't stop," she says.

Even so, she won't leave her typewriter for too long.

"I'm driven from inside. A story will come to mind and it has to come out, like a frog with a bubble," she says. "I want to work forever. And try to get better forever."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Good ole summertime

Ten ways to have fun in the summer.

1. Give our dog "Roadie" a bath.

2. Go swimming with our grandchildren.

3. Watch Little League baseball, starring our grandchild, Blake.

4. Catch fish (or don't catch them, what the heck) at Watauga Lake.

5. Soak in the spa.

6. Watch Larry King Live.

7. Kick back, relax and surf the net.

8. Eat fresh cucumbers that you've just picked from the garden.

9. Take a road trip to Melbourne, Fla.

10. Ride five miles every day on your stationary bicycle.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Josh Hamilton and his love for his mentor

Some of you may have seen Major League All-Star player Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers in the Home Run Derby a few evenings ago. I knew hardly anything about him before watching him blast a record 28 homers in the first round of that contest. Yankee Stadium fans went wild.

But who was pitching to Hamilton in the Home Run Derby?

Here (as Paul Harvey) says, is the REST OF THE STORY--from a blog, brought to my attention by a good friend and neighbor, titled "Occasional Sightings of the Gospel," by Thom M. Shuman of Cincinnati. (Shuman writes that his blog is about "quirky, sometimes irreverent, hopefully relevant reflections on where God is working in the world and in our lives." Find his posts @ & prayers @

Monday, July 14, 2008
Parable of the pitcher

A sower went out to sow . . .

only in this case, it was a volunteer baseball coach throwing batting practice to a teenager. Batting practice is used to prepare a ballplayer to begin to see the ball, to learn how to hit in different situations, to develop one's rhythm and stroke. Sometimes the ball is thrown to practice groundballs, other times fly balls, and sometimes just thrown to the batter nice and easy, big 'fat' pitches to drive out of the park.

For years, Clay Council threw batting practice to hundreds of young boys and men, simply casting out his time and support to them. One, Josh Hamilton, became the # 1 pick in the baseball draft a few years ago. He was considered to be on the fast track to the majors, a five-tool player, a pure hitter with an incredible arm. And as that # 1 pick, he signed for an incredible amount of money.

And that's when this incredibly gifted athlete got stupid. That's when this five-tool player began to focus on only one thing - getting high. Alcohol, drugs, crack cocaine, Josh Hamilton threw away his talents, his career, his chances, and almost his life because of his addiction. Like many addicts, he tattooed his body, with over 20 'signings' of flames, and especially demons. His family turned their backs on him, his wife threw him out, Major League Baseball suspended him for over three years. The patient work that Clay Council had done with him, the seeds of ability and promise that had been planted in all the hours of batting practice seemed to have fallen on barren ground.

But with his only option, in his mind, being to die, Josh Hamilton went to his grandmother, who agreed to take him in on the condition that he clean himself up. And to everyone's surprise, that's exactly what happened. Through faith, through determination, through struggle, he sobered up, he convinced his wife to give him a second chance (for the millionth time), he became a new person, a person dedicated to his family, and to his belief in Jesus Christ. And wonder of wonders, he decided to try to become a professional baseball player again.

In only his second season as a major league player, Hamilton leads the majors in runs batted in, and is in the top ten in a host of other categories. He has remained sober, through faith, through the love of his wife and family, and the support of his teammates. And tonight, at Yankee Stadium, Josh Hamilton will step up to the plate as an All-Star, to participate in the Home Run Derby.

Each player gets to select the person to pitch to him during his attempts to become the one to hit the most home runs in the contest. It is batting practice on an international stage. And out of all the people, the supporters, the friends, the teammates Josh Hamilton could choose to pitch to him, 71-year-old Clay Council will take the mound at Yankee Stadium, a volunteer coach who influenced Josh so many years ago.

A sower went out to sow . . .

(c) 2008 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Newspapers still alive and being read

Latest research from the Readership Institute says people 45 and over still covet their local newspaper and read it regulary.

Learn all about it in the above link.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ominous signs for print journalism

I keep getting vibrations from every which way that print journalism is on the decline.

I have argued against this thesis for many months.

But now I'm beginning to agree with the naysayers.

And this from a guy who trains people to become print journalists!

But take heart, all you people getting a degree in journalism or working professionally in the field.

Skills you're learning/practicing are embraced by many other professions.

Read on, from Poynteronline:

Dear 'Right-Sized' Journalists ...

By Butch Ward (more by author)
Poynter Institute Distinguished Fellow

I know I've been slow to get with the cutting-edge thinkers who are running America's media companies right now, but I think I'm finally getting it:

This column will be short. Sorry, I mean it will be right-sized.

And I promise not to stop there. If I can find the right "high-quality editorial and design services" vendor in India, I'll consider doing my part to support the outsourcing of American journalism.

For the moment, though, I'll use this space to send a heartfelt message to the hundreds of journalists (soon to be thousands, I'm guessing) who are losing their jobs in this ongoing -- and accelerating -- purge of American newsrooms. My message is simple:

Take heart. You have skills that will serve you well, no matter what you choose to do.

Yes, I hope you find a way to stay in journalism. But, frankly, no one should hold it against you if you decide that you and your families have had enough of this madness.

Recently I got a call from a journalist who knew from a past column that I had worked in public relations for a few years after leaving The Philadelphia Inquirer. The journalist was weighing a job in public relations and was concerned about three things: First, was it a betrayal of some sort to leave journalism? Second, would she miss the "electrifying rush of a good breaking story and the sense of purpose it instilled?" And third, can a former journalist come back to the business after working in public relations?

I asked the journalist why she was considering a public relations job. Because, she said, she and her husband -- a teacher -- simply could not afford to buy a house with their salaries.

I answered her questions like this: First, working in public relations does not preclude a return to journalism. I'd argue you might even be a better journalist for having had the experience of being covered by journalists. Second, there may well be days when you miss the rush; hopefully, there will be more days when you find great satisfaction in the work you choose to do. And finally, if anyone should feel betrayed, it should be the journalist who worked 11 hours a day for more than a decade and wasn't paid well enough to buy a house.

She took the public relations job.

Perhaps she'll return to journalism someday. I hope so. But I hope even more that she and her husband can look back in 20 years and say they did the right thing for their family.

I hope the same for the journalists who are facing similar career decisions -- many because they were dumped by their employers. Remember how talented you are: You can write. You can think critically. You can ask good questions. You are creative. You have passion. You can handle tight deadlines.

The business world, I assure you, values these skills and -- this might be too obvious a point -- needs more people who possess them.

Take heart. You will survive this.

As for your communities, I'd say the jury is out. What has happened recently in Baltimore, Boston, Hartford, Conn., Daytona Beach, Fla., Palm Beach, Fla., San Jose, Calif., and other cities will undoubtedly happen elsewhere in the weeks ahead as the economy, the media revolution and years of missed opportunities drive down revenues. In some newsrooms, the cuts are being accompanied by pledges to reorganize and fulfill a responsibility to public service. In others, the cuts are being justified by the equivalent of efficiency studies. We may as well be discussing the production of pickles.

No matter how carefully or reluctantly the downsizing is being executed, let's be clear: The disbanding of America's news-gathering force is gaining speed. And for a republic that relies on a free flow of credible information to thrive, we should all be frightened by this dismantling.

Sorry, I meant right-sizing.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Friend hooks poisonous fish in Melbourne, Fla.

My friend, Lyle Wolfe of Butler, Tenn., and I a few days ago took a 1,400-mile round-trip road trip in my VW Beetle. Drove from Mountain City, Tenn., to Melbourne, Fla., to visit with my son, Crawford.

Quite an adventure!

Someone said they noticed us in the Beetle and it reminded them of Thelma & Louise.

Me hugging my pillow on the passenger side (to protect my still fragile chest) and Lyle in his dark sunglasses driving; we must have seemed like the odd couple.

Anyway, the photo you see with this blog post shows Lyle, left, and Crawford. Lyle had just hooked this stingray while fishing off a pier at the Indian River (near the Atlantic Ocean) in Melbourne.

This is the same kind of lethal fish that killed TV wildlife/daredevil aficionado Steve Irwin, also known as the "Crocodile hunter," I believe. Seems a stingray fatally stung Irwin while he tried to film or wrassle with sharks off the coast of Australia.

Beware of stingrays.