Monthly Archives: May 2013

Global engagement requires more than a glance at the day’s top headline

As a news junkie, I like to feel up-to-date. While my classmates click Facebook ritually, I click CNN, The Des Moines Register, USA TODAY, NPR, ESPN and The New York Times ritually. I even click Al Jazeera or BBC occasionally.

However, scanning the daily headlines doesn’t make me the up-to-date gal I claim to be, at times.

Global citizenship requires more than a glance at the day's top headline

Photo courtesy of Central Intelligence Agency

In just eight months, I’ll take a plane to Istanbul for three weeks of intense study. I’ll explore Islam’s evolving role in the world alongside 19 fellow Drake University students.

As I cracked “What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam” by John L. Esposito last week, I (mistakenly) expected to discover nothing new. I was an avid news junkie, one familiar with the Middle East. I was a global citizen, one who sought non-American news outlets.

I’m now 122 pages into the book, and my views of Islam and the Middle East have evolved noticeably.

I now see both sides of the hijab debate. I now see the likenesses among Islam, Christianity and Judaism. I now see the tough decision facing Muslims today — follow ancient religious laws or adapt those laws in the developing global society of 2013.

Likewise, Esposito’s book taught me that the news, while I love it, isn’t enough. As a news junkie, I have a responsibility to seek knowledge beyond the media discipline. I need to watch movies, watch documentaries, read academic essays, read fiction and read academic books.

Global engagement takes more than a glance at today’s top headline.

Until I land in Istanbul in eight months, I await a new discipline. While I discover new things about Islam on each page of Esposito’s book, I’m eager to jump into a discipline all my own: experience.

Like my responsibility to seek knowledge beyond the media discipline, I have a responsibility to experience the world — my world — beyond the pages of a book or the scenes of a movie.

Looking back at my second year as a Bulldog

It’s the end of the school year, so I have a steaming plate of spaghetti on my mind. OK, I have more than spaghetti on my mind, but I’ll get to that later.

At the end of the school year, my fellow Bulldogs and I always head to Spaghetti Works, a Des Moines staple, for one last meal. As we spin the slimy noodles and gulp ice-cold Italian sodas, we discuss the year — the highs, the lows, the mistakes, the lessons, the realizations.

I’ll give you a taste of my piece of the discussion (Don’t expect a taste of my pesto spaghetti, however).

This school year, I took on a new role as a manager. I was no longer solely responsible for my own work. As sports editor at The Times-Delphic, I had to manage a staff of 20 writers, some novice, some not.

Slowly, I realized what kind of support each writer needed. Some had never been to a tennis match. Some, I only had to say, “Hey! Write 500-600 words about men’s tennis,” to receive a well-sourced, publishable recap.

Management in the news is all about the staff and what it needs to succeed. It’s not about a title, a fancy nametag or using the “boss” voice whenever possible (I have yet to develop a “boss” voice, and that’s OK).

This school year, I also realized that I want to take my talents to a major city one day.

NBC building in ChicagoIn October, The Times-Delphic staff visited Chicago for the National College Media Convention. I was in awe as I gazed at the glowing NBC logo atop an insanely tall building. My awe didn’t stop at NBC, though.

Later that same day, I gazed up at the glowing logo at The Chicago Tribune. That was all it took to convince me that I want to live, work and write in a major city.

Lastly, I realized that I am bilingual as a J-School and English student. In a single day, I wrote an essay about revenge in the English Renaissance and a Times-Delphic story about the delay in the plans to install a key-card system in the residence halls.

The two disciplines mingled in my mind, making for two odd assignments, initially.

My revenge paper consisted entirely of one- to two-sentence paragraphs, an English no-no.

My Times-Delphic story included words like “oppositely,” a news no-no.

Luckily, my edits fixed the odd blend of English and news on the page.

Alas, my stomach is now roaring, so I am off to relish in a heap of pesto spaghetti, the company of my favorite Bulldogs and the realizations of my second year at Drake.

Giving The TD a new side of me

Recently, as I talked to a news-Internet professor, he said the sentence I had long avoided: “You know, Taylor, you won’t be able to write as much next year as editor-in-chief.”

While I realize the scope — and limitations — of my new job more and more every day, I had sought to delay the inevitable as long as I could. Maybe, I reasoned, if I ignored it long enough, I could devise a plot to trick both sides of my Times-Delphic identity.

Writer Taylor would simply avoid Editor Taylor, and Editor Taylor would simply avoid Writer Taylor. The two could coexist in mutual oblivion, and I could continue to write story on story as I edit the whole paper and manage the whole staff.

Since that talk, though, I have realized that I won’t be able to write every story that interests me.

Even the story about the set of identical twins on the Drake women’s golf team. Even the story about the Drake men’s basketball team’s buzzer-beating win over in-state rival UNI for the 2014 MVC title (I hope I don’t jinx the Bulldogs).

I have to rely on my staff to take over the bulk of a job I have long loved.

While I won’t be able to give The Times-Delphic as many stories in 2013-14, I hope to give guidance, instead.

It’s a give-and-take at The Times-Delphic, and it’s time I give The TD a new side of me.