Thursday, December 10, 2009

On board at the Press Foundation

I have been elected a trustee of the Maryland Delaware District of Columbia Press Foundation. The foundation, an offshoot of the MDDC Press Association, supports training of journalists, advocates open government, and proclaims to the public the importance of the First Amendment.

The foundation’s announcement describes me as the retired copy desk chief of The Baltimore Sun, which is not strictly accurate but more decorous than “sacked.” At any rate, I am happy to have an opportunity in my post-Sun career to perform some useful service to journalism.


  1. Congratulations. You're a great fit for the job.

  2. Congratulations. Please see that students are taught to use active verbs and never to write prose that rumbles like a think piece in the Washington Post. Also, be sure that journalism students are taught to live within limited means or even without means for extended periods. We can hope that journalism students will never be required to take vows of poverty, but it could happen. Be sure that journalism students understand that they will be lied to by sources and maybe even bosses. Make it clear to the students that everything they know will be useful sometime and that anything they think they know but don't will sooner or later bite them in the ass. Teach the students to be wrong if they must but to be wrong clearly. Tell the students, "If you are bored, your readers are doomed. So have fun." Mark down the grade of any student who never smiles. Recommend that students learn shorthand and be proficient typists. Finally, be sure to tell the students that democracy depends on them. Again, congratulations. Much is at stake.

  3. To tell students that "democracy depends on them" will only encourage self-importance, more uneducated biased opinion and less actual reporting, all of which flourish in the mainstream press. Democracy rises or falls depending on voters in an educated, informed electorate. If the press has no idea how government works and the public is fed idealistic pap from activist reporters, the outcome is certain to be grim. A student with only courses in journalism and no immersion in history, or languages, or science, or the arts, etc, is no one I want to read.

  4. Apropos the first comment (above), please see that students are taught that paragraphs matter.

    (If they can't be taught that, advise them to seek state of Maryland employment).

  5. from above:
    "If the press has no idea how government works and the public is fed idealistic pap from activist reporters, the outcome is certain to be grim."
    Agreed. Take that, Faux News fans.