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14
Aug 19

Why I brag about our students

I frequently tell students that empirical data points are important on the resume. A professor I had in undergrad taught me that. He’s teaching at a university in Texas now. Nice guy, questionable reviews on ratemyprofessor.com. Here’s one of them now: He marks every tiny mistake and your grade suffers.

The nerve of that guy! And a journalism instructor! Taking off points like that! He was a copy editor in a previous life, so I am sure that’s a big part of it. Also, there’s the issue of getting things right versus getting things wrong.

Anyway, it’s been almost 20 years, but I remember him as a kind man. Always had a big smile. Like a lot of teachers, once you decoded what he was after you could make some nice progress. He was big on feedback since so much of what he taught was grounded in subjectivity. And getting that feedback could often times be the most useful best part of his class. Some of those lessons still ring in my ears. He was also very patient during office hours. I hope some of that part rubbed off on me, by accident.

Back then there weren’t as many administrative support positions as students enjoy today and the few that were around were somewhat overwhelmed. Plus, I reasoned, the people who’d been in my field would be more helpful in drafting the right kind of resume for my field. So I went to the faculty and this one man was generous with his time, working through several drafts of the brutal document with me, marking every tiny mistake, like the copy editor he was. And he liked empirical data points.

So I’ve always had them in my resume. There’s not a job description that doesn’t include a mention of ratings boosts, enrollment increase or social media gains and some data points or percentages.

Which is a long way to say — because I’m vamping, clearly — that another kind of data is peer acceptance. The media industry, you might have heard, is big on awards and honors. It’s a marker of professional peerage. A plaque! Maybe a trophy, or even a certificate! Ultimately they mean you get to mention them from time to time, say you are award-winning and so on. Plus, and perhaps most critically, some of these things give you additional feedback and you get to see where you are next to others plying the same trade. They don’t wow many people at parties, but they do look nice on a resume. For all of these reasons I encourage students to take the necessary steps to get over the requisite hurdles that allow them to jump through the hoops of getting their media efforts nominated.

If nothing else, I get to brag about them:

This is where I trot out my old saw about how student media members do this stuff in addition to their class work, their real jobs and in dealing with whatever is going on with their lives. These particular sports guys in particular always seem to be working when there is a significant game that they, as fans, would enjoy watching. But they’re working. They do it late at night and late in the week, even on those weeks when the campus is a ghost town because everyone else has left for a long holiday. It takes dedication to be a high functioning college student anyway, but it takes another round of that same spirit to do something as demanding as media work. And then, of course, they have to deal with me. All of this is a kind of first step into the media’s dues-paying process. It can be a thankless task, sometimes, which is why I try to thank them and show them off as much as possible. Oh, look, here’s another group to brag on:

One really nice thing that the ACM contests do is they share the submissions of each category’s finalists, so you can see the work of some of the best people in the country. I can say the students I work with are doing work that gets nominated for big national awards, sure. I can also say they are being mentioned with students in other great programs like Syracuse, Kent State, Quinnipiac and more. And we can see the great work the people in those programs are doing, too.

But mostly, being a finalist for a Pinnacle Award, that’s not a bad bullet point on a sophomore or junior’s resume.


23
Jul 19

More underwater stuff on the site

Have you seen the home page of my site today? I updated it. Just go to W-W-W dot KennySmith dot Org to see some pretty new imagery on the front page. And then come back here, of course. We’ll wait.

(This’ll take about 30 seconds, but go at your own pace. I’m good.)

(Ready?)

Welcome back, then. And since you’re already here, you’ve likely already seen the good stuff from our dive trip, and if not, kindly click on that “Roatan” link above the post’s title. In addition to all of that wonderment, I had a lot of fun making these little social media promotional bits from the extra dive footage we shot.

This little number comes from an ill-timed photo burst. Sometimes it is challenging to figure out what the GoPro is doing underwater. We plugged the card into a computer later and saw a huge sequence of photographs of nothing in particular and this little thing was born:

When I say footage we shot it, I mean what my lovely wife shot. She was happy snapping away with the camera, and I was happy inhaling a tank of air much too quickly while watching the world go by. Probably 97 percent of the photos and videos we brought back are things she shot. Oh, I’d point out things not in her line of sight from time to time, and I edited all the things you’ve seen go on my site the last few weeks, but she captured almost all of it. She’s excellent at being talented.

Of course I had to get a few of her here and there. And I can’t take just one photograph. While she’s mugging for the camera, I’m firing off multiples, and that led to this fun little gif:

At least 20 people clicked through from those tweets, so it was worth it.

Also, my Photoshop and video editing software are presently loaded up with other spare and recycled clips that I’ll use for … something or another.


24
Jun 19

It was a quiet weekend

This is the Hemerocallis daylily. But you better enjoy it quickly; each bloom only sticks around for a day or so.

We went for a little bike ride on Saturday before the sunny weather turned gray. And then on Sunday we lost power for about seven hours. I was trying to remember the last time I was out of power for that long. I’m guessing it’s been 25 years. But the microburst we encountered yesterday was pretty serious and the local utility company doesn’t really clear the power line paths very well, besides.

So the power went out around 3 p.m. and we sat and read. We decided we’d rather go out for dinner than grill out as another storm cell began moving through. Guess where we went:

And after Cracker Barrel, we made it back home to find more darkness. So we read some more.

Finally as the sun slipped away, the power company’s app kept pushing back the projected repair time. I started kicking myself for not buying extra batteries while we were across town having dinner. So went to the big red box store and got big armfuls of AA and C batteries.

Just as we pulled back into the driveway, the neighborhood burst into light. So we have batteries for next time.


21
Jun 19

Still feels like an anniversary to me

We got roses for our anniversary and they’re now decorating our kitchen. Aren’t they lovely?

You know how it is. You decide to take pictures and then someone has to be goofy about it. And then someone else laughs at the goofiness and then just encourages the instigator. It’s an old story. It happened to us last night. I took the extra photos and made a little slideshow.

We saw this guy last night after dinner while we were out for ice cream.

(Update: He finished second in his age group.)


17
Jun 19

Hanging with the fam’

Friday I sat on the porch swing with my mother and enjoyed a beautiful spring morning. Spent some time at the pool, hung out with a college kid. You know, the usual. Saturday we visited with my grandfather and my uncle. And, just as importantly:

Also, we had a session with a lovely little pooch:

We went to church and had lunch with my grandfather on Sunday. We had dinner at a barbecue joint with my stepfather to round out the Father’s Day festivities. We had a lovely little weekend all the way around.