Tuesday evening on the Samford University campus, Birmingham, Ala.
It is a lovely place. The people are all nice. The quad is peaceful. The architecture is charming. Samford is a great place to be. (The trees and sky pictured here are the view from the west end of the quad, and my hasty effort at creating a two-layer high definition photograph.)
And so I'm here all day today. And all night, at this rate. Working, first. Writing a quiz, making phone calls, making things happen. And then teaching, another day of Dreamweaver. There are things the students like and things they dislike. That makes sense.
Their projects are coming along. I'm looking forward to seeing their final product. I hope they take our advice to heart and not let their sites end with the semester, but keep them going as a project and a new skill to learn.
I did that years ago. A grad student friend of mine who was big and loud and dynamic and funny and who'd been out into the world
, making money and had come back>
to school said to me one day "If you can build web pages you can add $10,000 to your annual salary!"
That part didn't happen, but the advice served me well.
I spent that summer tinkering around in HTML. I figured if I was going to pay rent on my place at college I may as well be living there. And I figured if I was going to live there I may as well take classes. And since none of my friends used this logic I had the three months to myself. I spent it trying to figure out how to make websites run.
I did it by hand back then. Hammered it into stone with a hammer and chisel. I still do. (Using the simplest text editor I can find.) I find it soothing somehow. There's a certain repetitiousness to it that is actually refreshing, at least when things work. There's a certain comfort in making minor changes and seeing them happen live that I enjoy.
When I say it like that it makes me think I should maybe redesign my site.
My internship dealt, in part, with building web pages. (Some of those pages still exist, I ran across two this weekend for one reason or another.) I found myself running stories on the air and on the website a few jobs into my career. Back then very few newsrooms thought this way.
And then I spent four-and-a-half great years at al.com
. I learned more about writing pages than I thought possible. Some of the people there have forgotten more than I'll ever know.
Two years ago all of that brought me to Samford, where I've been fortunate to work with talented students and faculty and think and talk about journalism and broadcasting and newspapers and social media and call it work. They pay me for this.
That friend? He went on to get his PhD. He lectures at two colleges and works for the FDIC.
Moral: Find the smart people, take their advice. It can serve you well.
So aside from the teaching of Dreamweaver and this silly little trip down memory lane I'm still trying to wrap up this paper. It is due tomorrow evening. It has a way to go yet, so I'll stop write here and get back to it.
Tomorrow: More on this paper, and then I turn it in and move on to other projects. Everyone wins, especially if you are in such a nice place as this.