Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Washed-Up Journalist Heads, in Spirit, to CSPA

Back in April 2005, I washed my hands of newspaper journalism.

Sick to death of it I was. And even with the prospect of underemployement as a hod carrier (to be followed up by stints at call centers and Target) I was glad to be out of the profession.

I’ve grown up a bit since then. Well, a lot.

I now realize I frittered away opportunities in the field. Still, I’m happy I left. I’m enjoying my career as a technical writer and have turned my desire to write into a handful of blogs, a strong presence at Uncharted and, at last count, a 114,000-word fantasy novel that I’m in the midst of editing. Also during that time I earned a Masters degree and, through Uncharted, have become associated with people who want my input on all sorts of things, writing being only one of many. I’m also teaching an online English class at Brigham Young University-Idaho, hopefully shaping students’ minds to become better writers, or at least not to regard writing with fear and loathing. I’ve also grown closer to my wife, with whom I collaborate at Uncharted, and who is going through the same masters program I finished in 2009.

And thanks to Uncharted – more specifically, to Alan Murray, our illustrious CEO and Sith Lord – I’m kinda in a back-doorsy way getting back into journalism.

For the past two years, Alan has traveled to Columbia University’s Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s spring and fall workshops, to teach high school students there everything he knows about writing for the web, collaborating with people dispersed across the globe, and other such stuff. Now this summer they’ve asked him to come back for a full week to teach a workshop on newspaper writing for the web.

He wants me to help.

All I can say is yikes. Two rubes like us working together to present something at Columbia. He’s feeling overwhelmed. I’m feeling overwhelmed. Yet excited and challenged at the same time.

I’m sure some of my compatriots in my former field of employment would raise their eyebrows at my participation in this. No matter. I’m not the same person I was back then. I’ve changed for the better, and don’t mind saying that, though I know I’ve still got a long way to go.

So here’s a rough draft of what we’re thinking:

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