Blog: The Educated Reporter
Time magazine interviews Kevin Carey on college accountability—a subject I’m swimming in at the moment as I help run a very cool (well, fortunately we’re in Phoenix, so it is not too cool) conference for student journalists. Anyway, Kevin has a great line, when asked if colleges think they cannot be compared because each believes it is a beautiful, unique snowflake: “The thing about snowflakes is that they’re all small, they’re all white, and they’re all cold.
I liked this piece by Kate Zernike in the New York Times last week, about that whole “What are you going to do with your degree?” issue. I liked it just as much eight months ago when Joan Garrett, at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, took on the slow death of liberal arts at a more micro level, in the University of Tennessee system.
I never thought President Obama appointed Arne Duncan education secretary because he had done wonders in Chicago. Rather, he was a politically savvy choice whose approaches Obama approved of. Anyone who paid attention to Chicago media during Duncan’s tenure would have known that there was no consensus on the effectiveness of his reforms, except to say results were mixed. (Which seems to be the best you can say for any urban superintendent of the last decade, and anyway, who was the last education secretary who went into the job having had reformed a horrid system?)
When I look back at 2009, my first thought is: What a bad year for the Academy to name ten Best Picture nominees!
When I was a Metro section reporter at the Washington Post and double-time pay meant more to me than a day off, I used to volunteer to work Christmas. The holy grail was a feature with live art, and one year I offered a piece I knew would deliver: I wanted to spend the day with someone who had just converted, making this their first year without Christmas. As a nominal Jew who coveted Christmas, I couldn’t possibly imagine choosing such agony. The Metro editor said, “Great idea!
I beg you: Please don’t write another story this fat-envelope season about a senior’s difficult decision between Penn and Columbia and Duke and Berkeley and Cornell. Seriously. Enough already.
More than half of Denver Public Schools students have to take at least one remedial class when they hit college, Jeremy Meyer of the Denver Post reports. I am sure that is a pretty typical stat, one worth lots of exploration. This is a good story, or stories, for both higher ed and K-12 reporters.
Words that you don’t use in real life, so you shouldn’t in your writing either:
A lot of people ask me to edit their resumes and cover letters. (Sure, send me yours!) I am no career counseling expert, but two things stand out to me:
1. Don’t use your resume to get into all sorts of jazzy detail about the specific attributes you bring to your work. That’s what the cover letter is for.
2. Of COURSE your references are available upon request. Can anyone give me one reason to include that line on a resume? It just takes up space, and chances are your resume is already too long anyway.