When I first graduated from the University of Maryland with my journalism degree in 1979, I remember taking my layout and editing notes with me when I started my first job as the editor of The GAO Watchdog, which is now a Podcast series.
Unlike a lot of other college-level classes, I've always found that journalism professors shared practical information that we students can take directly into our profession, no matter how old we are.
This class is no different. Even though I've been in the business for a long time, and have worked in books, magazines and newspapers, I am already putting to use my newfound knowledge right away.
Here's the short list:
1. I have been challenged by doing a much better job about posting corrections and clarifications online. Like a lot of old-school editors, I fell into the trap of correcting the print edition but "just changing the content" on the Web site and calling it a day.
2. When verifying facts, I am much more aware of which sites I visit to gather credible information.
3. I had to go into the backend of our newspaper's Web site and change HTML coding. Can you believe this? I remember being asked to do this last fall and I was so indignant about it ("It's not my job," I remember saying to my publisher). I am slowly getting over being so intimidated by it all.
4. I have been tasked with improving the look of our Web site for The Sentinel, which currently has a staff of four. By analyzing the site for USA TODAY, I now see how far we have to go. Unfortunately, this is a challenge due to our small staff and limited resources, but now I see the wonderfully exciting possibilities.
5. I will be putting my newfound skills on multimedia presentations and slide shows to good use very soon!
I have to admit that I am being stretched every single day but learning new things is wonderfully exciting, even though it takes a little while for the newfound knowledge to sink in.