The beginning

The school year persists as the oddest method of measuring time. Students begin three-quarters of the way through a traditional calendar, take a break during the winter holidays and return for a few months before concluding in the middle of the (normal) year.

From a telephoto view, the blocks of time — high school, college, grad school — exist in concrete chunks. Graduation forms the cap to these blocked experiences, and thus, the mark of May as a sentimental time comes not from the end of school itself but from the reflection catalyzed by that end.

In other words, as my adviser at SAU wisely informed me, school provides a requisite period of contemplation about the time spent there. This, like many facets of school life, does not occur in the outside world.

As if another reason were needed to bolster the argument in favor of this amazing period of my life, the reflection syndrome only adds to the special significance of school vs. the world.

And as my adviser pointed out, this idea of reflection quickly loses value for many in their post-graduation years. Time speeds onward. No wedges of time are packaged neatly for meditation. A casting back of memories never surfaces.

My roommate, Kurt, and I discussed May’s feel, a time of closing. I never opened the thin book on my nightstand because starting a new project grates against the push to conclude, finalize, coordinate and end.

So it is with this blog. Like the failing strength of a witch’s broom, I noticed the decline a few weeks ago and have slowly prepared myself to let go. In this final post, I’ll briefly discuss the most important job we have as journalists.

We work as storytellers.

Our methods will surely evolve in the near future, and our roles are changing as this text goes live — not published in print, but accessible on your smartphone and tablet anywhere in the world.

We share stories to make readers care, but they must first understand why they need to care. This, too, comes with our job description because our readers’ choices multiply by the month.

To spin C. S. Lewis’ advice, three areas of coverage suffice:

1) Stories we ought to tell
2) Stories we’ve got to tell
3) Stories we like to tell

Beautiful words, evocative pictures, compelling video and informative graphics will always have a place in the world; bad form will not.

Thank you for reading and sharing in my time at Mizzou. Good night, good luck, God speed, and carry on.

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3 Responses to The beginning

  1. Alan Sivell says:

    Your advisor must be mighty pleased that you listened…and remembered. I’m sure his heart soars. Good luck to you, too.

  2. Alan Sivell says:

    And by the way, even if you leave this blog for a week or a month, you should keep writing down your thoughts. A journal with even just a line or two written every other night or substantial entries jotted every night or perhaps once a month, unclogs your brain (helps you understand and nail down the ideas dancing around in your head), releases what you can’t write in your day job and is a great snapshot into your 20-something soul 20 years from now. And it doesn’t have to be instantaneously public in a blog. When you write for yourself, privately, you can be as honest as you want to be. And that might rub off on your other writing.

  3. Dustin says:

    My business card actually says, “Professional Listener.” Always with the great advice, Sivell. Now if only you would make me one of those pizzas next time I stop by.

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