Trying New Things, Hearing New People…

In the spirit of trying new things, I thought it’d be cool to hear some new opinions.  Listening to speeches can create an eye-opening experience without even having to leave campus.  Penn State hosts countless guest speakers during any given week so it wasn’t too hard to find one.  In Carnegie this past Wednesday, there was a free public lecture by Roy Harris, author of “Pulitzer’s Gold: A Century of Public Service Journalism”.  The event was co-sponsored by Department of Journalism and University Libraries and seemed like the perfect lecture for a journalism major to attend.  “Pulitzer’s Gold” focuses on the long and interesting history of the coveted Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.  The prize, which recognizes some of the media’s greatest achievements, is awarded annually to a news organization rather than to individuals, and takes the form of the Joseph Pulitzer Gold Medal.

It was really cool to learn more about this award that goes to an entire news organization rather than the typical Pulitzer that only one journalist can win.  I also really liked being able to hear about the history of journalism, something that I hadn’t thought about too much before this point.  Usually when you think about awards for these kinds of things you imagine one person taking home the prize, but I think it’s really cool to think about writing as a team activity.  Collaboration of thoughts amongst writers can be very beneficial to the writing process and to the pieces being written.  This idea of collaboration within the writing process reminded me a lot of our RCL and passion blogs because commenting on our peers’ work almost allows for the same kind of partnership that this team award suggests.  Feedback from other writers can really improve a piece of writing drastically in the same way that getting thoughtful and constructive blog comments can help us to write better in upcoming blog posts.

All in all, I really liked listening to Mr. Harris speak.  He knew the journalism industry very well and, being that that is one of the industries I’m strongly considering going into in the future, I really liked hearing his thoughts on journalism today.  I really appreciated his claim that the journalism from and about our country provides a brilliant portrait of America.  All too often, I feel like journalism is overlooked and not appreciated for how well it paints a picture of America as a whole.  This experience allowed me to realize how much I love to just sit and listen for a little while, too.  Listening to a guest speaker allows you to follow what they’re saying and drift somewhere else mentally.  It’s almost like traveling without having to move from your seat.  He talked a lot about how he worked for The Wall Street Journal for 23 years and as senior editor of CFO Magazine for 13 years.  Harris also served as the national president of the American Society of Business Publication Editors, which was very cool to me especially because I plan on double majoring between marketing and journalism.

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