Month: April 2014

The Hunter S. Thompson in all of us

Before “Fear and Loathing,” “Hell’s Angels” and pioneering “Gonzo journalism,” Hunter S. Thompson was just a strapping young journalist committed to the craft. (See: Before Gonzo: Hunter S. Thompson’s Early, Underrated Journalism Career) As he is indicted into the 2014 Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame today, let us remember his humble beginnings. Beginnings that may seem familiar to many junior journalists today. Even while his career evolved into a mere caricature of his life—exuberant, exaggerated, eccentric—he began as an eager reporter. (Sadly, his charismatic character still tends to outshine his undeniable journalistic and literary abilities.) Atlantic writer, Brian Kevin, set out to chronicle some of Thompson’s earlier work to prove he was more traditional than many tend to believe. We learn that as an apprentice he traveled the Western Hemisphere churning out travel guides, straight news stories, book reviews and essays—anything he could get his hands on. Thompson positioned himself as a jack of all beats. During his time as a freelancer he experienced, absorbed, learned and practiced. What more could you ask of an aspiring journalist? And so, Kevin yearns …

The power of the blogosphere

Like it or not, blogging is becoming a seriously viable player in the news media of the 21st century. Many businesses and corporations who don’t have blogs are taking hits in ways they never expected. Individuals blog to share thoughts and ideas with others whom they may never cross paths with. Blog (noun); a website on which someone writes about personal opinions, activities and experiences. In our arguably impersonal society, blogs offer a way of relating and humanizing. They take news reporting and business handling a step further. They allow companies to relate to people. They allow world issues to relate to people. They allow people to relate to people.  That’s not to say some blogs aren’t rubbish—but it’s also to say many present valid and respectable fact and opinion. My favorite blog, Thought Catalog, blogs on issues that span the spectrum. From social issues to political issues to personal issues, all thoughts are relevant, they say. Fairly often, a Thought Catalog piece will catch my eye. It will make me think, it will inform me, it will inspire me.* Blogging is a new form of …

The balancing act of digital journalism

Like many these days, I get my news online. Twitter and Facebook feeds provide me with bite-sized chunks of information that I can click, read (sometimes skim) and share or send to others. Thus, when an Atlantic article popped up in my Facebook feed today entitled “My Students Don’t Know How to Have a Conversation,” I clicked and read. What I learned made me realize that the future of journalism (and the rest of the world) is in the hands of these students. Some who can’t even hold a conversation… Paul Barnwell, a high school teacher and author of the Atlantic article, said that through projects aiming to practice the skill of conversation he is “focused on sharpening students’ ability to move back and forth between the digital and real world.” Barnwell notices a lack of intellectual discussion, online and in person, among his students and the millennial generation as a whole. Think about this: his class is surely comprised of future lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers, government officials and most importantly (for the sake of this blog) future journalists. …

Wisdom from a novelist

Jill McCorkle may be the most quotable writer I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking with. McCorkle, a fiction novelist and creative writing professor at NC State, visited Elon Monday to share some insight with us. Something struck me about McCorkle: the fact that she was able to so eloquently and honestly answer any and all questions my reporting class threw her way. I asked three questions during our 60-minute discussion with her. Here are my questions and her brilliant responses: 1. What are the major differences between a journalistic writing process and a creative non-fiction writing process? One of the biggest, most obvious differences, said McCorkle, is that non-fiction gives you the license to lie and to fill in the blanks. “On a good day, writing non-fiction does feel like a stream of consciousness,” McCorkle said. But, she said, the two have the aspect of self-disipline in common. Some of McCorkle’s most disciplined friends began with a career in journalism. Also, the revision process of creative writing is not unlike journalism, she said. But McCorkle admited …

‘A glorious ride’

Dr. J Earl Danieley still has his wits about him. That’s for sure. Today, during his convocation “conversation” with current President Leo Lambert, Dr. Danieley incited laughter, smiles and memories as he recounted his 70 years with Elon. The comedic moments: When Dr. Danieley said, “I took a job at the high school teaching chemistry. And (laughs) french! I can hardly Parlez–Vous!” On the conception of study abroad programs at Elon: Upon every professor’s inquiry to take his or her class on a trip during winter term, Dr. Danieley said, “sounds good to me!” Leo Lambert: So tell me how chemistry has changed over the last 70 years. [Dr. Danieley told a story for nearly 5 minutes] Leo Lambert: But you still haven’t told me about how chemistry has changed! Dr. Danieley: Oh yes! Wait, I have to tell you one more thing first! Dr. Danieley: I remember all my teachers, 1st, 2nd, “Oh, I loved my 3rd grade teacher, she was a beauty!” The insightful moments: Dr. Danieley’s storytelling: I counted at least seven, detailed, enthusiastic stories. When asked, “Why do you …