Robert De Niro got lots of attention last May when he told graduates of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts they were screwed.
The verb he used was actually harsher, and followed by the suggestion that they would have done better majoring in law, medicine or nursing. The grads responded with peals of laughter. Perhaps they were acting.
While acting jobs may be scarce, De Niro could easily have been talking to journalism grads. Layoffs in Philadelphia, Boston, and elsewhere do not bode well for the college student laboring today at media internships or the school paper in hopes of building up some clips and covering city hall for a major daily.
Please continue reading here.
To sign up for Steve’s “Back Story” blog, please follow this link.
One of the challenges of teaching writing classes to college kids is that they all come in with different levels of interest and experience.
Here are three things I do at American University to help smooth the way.
1 – Before the semester begins, I send out a short survey. I ask my incoming students how much they’ve written outside the classroom, why they’re taking the class (no penalty if it’s simply to fulfill a requirement), and their toughest writing challenges. I find the kids appreciate being asked and are happy to respond.
2 – On opening night, I pitch like a used car salesman. I know most will not go on to writing or communications careers. I tell them to think of their time with me as cross training for whatever field they eventually choose. I point to studies that show employers place high value in employees who are clear and concise. I warn they will hear a lot from me about precision and clarity.
3 – On finals night, I offer a bonus. Sharing a tip for success with my next students earns two free points. Most remember they were afforded this opportunity thanks to the previous class, and include some lesson learned. I’m always surprised by one or two comments on the tip sheet, which you can find (unedited) here on the class blog.
Follow Steve’s “Back Story” blog by clicking here.