Monday, March 10, 2003
Advice to aspiring journalists: I've been in the journalism business for more than a decade (if I count my student-journalism days at Cal Poly SLO) and I've always been happy to help student journalists, aspiring writers and even talk about journalism to schoolkids. So, when asked, I often volunteer to share what I've learned. It usually comes down to "marry rich, because you're never going to make any money." (I often point out that the only job that requires a bachelor's degree that pays less than journalism is that of social worker. Public schoolteachers are rich as far as we're concerned.)
So, I was favorably inclined last week when an e-mail was sent around at the Union-Tribune from a university j-school professor at a BIG XII school seeking, for lack of a better term, pen-pals for some of her students.
That is, I was favorably inclined, until I read the message. Nothing turns me off as a journalist/editor/page-designer than sloppy writing, grammar and a failure to use the SHIFT key on the keyboard. Honestly, this professor, who shall remain nameless, wrote a seven paragraph letter soliciting help -- without capitalizing a thing. Not proper nouns. Not the first word of a sentence. Not the personal pronoun "I."
Professor, you're doing your students a big disservice.