Friday, May 6, 2011


Pigs & Hammocks

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax,
Of cabbages and kings.
And why the sea is boiling hot,
And whether pigs have wings."
—Lewis Carroll, 1872

This old walrus is lumbering off after another year of pontificating to talk and think of other things—or perhaps not to think much at all. The brain is cluttered and much too full. Commencement at Utah State University is tomorrow, and we're launching another 117 newly minted journalism and PR alumni into an unsuspecting world. Good luck to them and to the world.

This is the end of Season 15 of The WORD, and the nice young men in white coats from St. Mumbles Home for the Terminally Verbose are on the front porch to wrap me up and cart me off to the sanitarium for a nice, long, quiet rest. About time.

It's almost too tempting for a Professor of Interesting Stuff to offer one, last, perfect WORD to put the end point on the year. And after 15 years, the archives are full of almost perfect final words. But the best one comes, of course, from my mother, who famously said, “Shut up.”

Never did take good advice, so I’ll say one more thing and then shut up:

“What makes a good newspaperman? The answer is easy. He knows everything. He is aware not only of what goes on in the world today, but his brain is a repository of the accumulated wisdom of the ages. He is not only handsome, but he has the physical strength which enables him to perform great feats of energy. He can go for nights on end without sleep. He dresses well and talks with charm. Men admire him; women adore him; tycoons and statesmen are willing to share their secrets with him. He hates lies and meanness and sham, but he keeps his temper. He is loyal to his paper and to what he looks upon as the profession; whether it is a profession, or merely a craft, he resents attempts to debate it. When he dies, a lot of people are sorry, and some of them remember him for several days.”

—Stanley Walker, newspaperman,
The New York Herald-Tribune, 1924

Good thoughts, WORDs and hammocks to you all. See you in August.

Editorial Comment: Shaddup.

• A column for the end of the school year: Go, unlearn the lies we taught you

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

More Thoughts for Final Exam Week

Chem Final Today. Wish I Had My Brain!
A Sing-along WORD

“I could while away the hours,
Conferrin’ with the flowers
Consultin’ with the rain.
And my head I’d be scratchin’ while
my thoughts were busy hatchin’
If I only had a brain.

“I’d unravel every riddle for any individ’le,
In trouble or in pain.”

“With the thoughts you’ll be thinkin’
you could be another Lincoln
If you only had a brain.”

“Oh, I could tell you why
The ocean’s near the shore.
I could think of things I never thunk before.
And then I’d sit, and think some more.

“I would not be just a nothin’
my head all full of stuffin’
My heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry,
life would be a ding-a-derry,
If I only had a brain.”

—Ray Bolger and Judy Garland,
from The Wizard of Oz,
lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
(original 1902; film 1939)
Watch the clip and sing along!

Editorial Comment: Thinkin’ ain’t no rinky-dinkin’.

<-- Original 1902 poster

• A column for the end of the school year:
Go, unlearn the lies we taught you

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Final Exam Week Advice

Lissen to the Perfesser

“Read, read, read. Students ask me how to become a writer, and I ask them who is their favorite author. If they have none, they have no love of words.”
—Garry Wills, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian, Northwestern University, 2009

“Try to read a newspaper every day—at bedtime or at breakfast or when you take a break in the afternoon. … The newspaper will be your path to the world at large. … In addition, a great newspaper will teach you how to write; most articles are models of clarity and substance—with no academic jargon!”
—James MacGregor Burns, government professor emeritus, Williams College, 2009.

Author and Yale Humanities Professor Harold Bloom advises students to take “a voyage away from visual overstimulation into deep, sustained reading of what is most worth absorbing and understanding, the books that survive all ideological fashions.”

“I have taught many students whose SAT scores exempted them from the writing requirement, but a disheartening number of them couldn’t write and an equal number of them had never been asked to. They managed to get through high school without learning how to write a clean English sentence, and if you can’t do that, you can’t do anything.”
—Stanley Fish, New York Times columnist and law professor,
Florida International University, 2009

“Learn to write well. Most incoming college students, even the bright ones, do not do it and it hampers them in courses and in later life.”
—Garry Wills, Pulitzer winner and a pretty good writer, Northwestern University, 2009

Editorial Comment: Is it too late for this advice?

• A column for the end of the school year: Go, unlearn the lies we taught you

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

There’s Something Happening Here . . .

We Can’t Speculate, But . . .

“Last night, America got the news that U.S. forces raided a compound in Pakistan, took fire, and punched Osama bin Laden's ticket on the downtown train to the Nethers. But before we got that news, America got about a solid hour of ramping and vamping, as newspeople took to the teevee to make wild speculation about what it was that they were all summoned back to work to report.

“It made for an interesting night, to say the least. What was the big story? Was it the debt ceiling, or about tornadoes? No, it was about a ‘national security matter.’ Or maybe ‘war’ or ‘death’ or ‘terror.’ Was it maybe something in Syria? We’re going to war with Syria! Or is it Muammar Gaddafi? Is he dead? Was he killed? OH CRAP, THIS IS THE WHOLE 2012 PROPHECY, RIGHT? (What do you wear on a ‘survival ark?’ Surely not culottes.)

“Credit Geraldo Rivera, briefly, for being the first one on teevee to at least say the words ‘We got him,’ though it was pretty clear that the ‘him’ he thought was ‘got’ was Gaddafi. Over at CNN, Wolf Blitzer kept saying that he totally knew that the big news had nothing to do with Libya, because he is a precious news pony and his precious news pony sources told him it wasn’t about Libya, so those other networks should be quiet. . . .

“Good job, though, professional newsmen! Entertaining stuff.”

—Ben Craw, HuffPost “Eat the Press” blogger,
“Something Is Happening On A Sunday, So Let's Vamp: The Mediagasm,” May 2, 2011.

Editorial Comment: Wolf, Geraldo and the rest wet their pants. Film @ 11.

Buffalo Springfield: For What It’s Worth (There’s something happening here..., 1966)

• A column for the end of the school year: Go, unlearn the lies we taught you

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Hard News Café Week-in-Review

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Monday, May 2, 2011



“When I look back through life, I find lots of memories remain.

“Certain days stay in my mind and keep running though my brain….

“But there’s one day that I recall though it was years ago—all my life I will remember it, I know!

“I’ll never forget the day I read a book! It was contagious—seventy pages!

“There were pictures here and there so it wasn’t hard to bear.

“The day I read a book!

“It’s a shame I don’t recall the name of the book.

“It wasn’t a history—I know because it had no plot.

“It wasn’t a mystery, because nobody there got shot!

“The day I read a book—I can’t remember when! But one of these days, I’m gonna do it again!”

—Jimmy Durante (1893-1980),
singer/literary critic, 1947

Editorial Comment:
Read a book, students. It’s not too late. “Contagious...70 pages.” Brilliant.

• A column for the end of the school year: Go, unlearn the lies we taught you

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Hard News Café Week-in-Review

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

HARD NEWS CAFÉ (Ap 25-May 1)

HNC Week in Review
News about Cache Valley and USU
from the Department of Journalism & Communication

Utah State University • Logan, Utah
April 25-May 1, 2011

Addressing Immigration Issues in Utah.
7th Grade Teacher Volleyball ‘Smackdown.’
You’re in the Army Now? Embedded in ROTC.
‘Dreaded’ Mass Media Law Prof
. . . & more

GOOD MORNING!—May 1 moonrise over Logan. (Photo by Ted Pease)


Debate continues over ‘Utah Solution’ to immigration issue
April 30th, 2011
By Heidi Hansen
LOGAN—While many call for the U.S. attorney general to sue Utah over its new state guest-worker program, others are looking at the “Utah Solution” as a model for national immigration reform, sparking another round in the immigration debate. “Utah should not be punished. Rather we should be applauded for passing good public policy,” said Justin Hinh, president of the USU College Libertarians. “Utah’s immigration package has the best of both worlds. We increase enforcement but we also allow a route to citizenship.”

White Pine school’s ‘Volleyball Smackdown’ leaves teachers in the dust
April 29th, 2011
Story & photo by Kate Rouse
RICHMOND– Students at White Pine Middle School’s annual students vs. faculty “Volleyball Smackdown” made history in February, beating the faculty team 25-23 for the first time in the school’s 11-year history. “I’m totally devastated,” Principal Curt Hanks told the Pine Time News, a weekly news program produced by White Pine students, as he pretended to wipe his eyes. “I’ve been crying for a few minutes, I’m probably going to have to go home for the day.”

Man sentenced for violating protective order
April 29th, 2011

By Kate Rouse
LOGAN–Jose Roberto Oyuela pleaded guilty to violating a protective order, a class-B misdemeanor, in 1st District Court Wednesday and was sentenced to 180 days in the Cache County Jail.

Aggie TVNews anchors Ryan Parkinson, Jen Stevenson and Brett Lopinsky. (Photo by Bailey McMurdie)

Fat on campus: College life can be ‘perfect storm’ for obesity
April 29th, 2011

By Jamee Dyches
LOGAN — Before he got married in 2004, Ricky Harris ate whatever he wanted. His construction job kept him active, and he didn’t think about his weight. After marrying and returning to school, his life changed. According to the most recent statistics, approximately 25 percent of Utahns are obese , a 112 percent increase since 1989. In Utah, only Summit County meets the 2010 National Obesity Rate Target of 15 percent or less.

Peacenik-vegan-yogi embeds in Army, achieves unexpected balance
April 30th, 2011
Story & Photos by Natasha “Sarge” Bodily
LOGAN—As the semester ends, I think it is about time I reveal my little secret: I was never actually planning to join the Army. As in: never in a million years.

New York designer brings flare, color, inspiration to campus
April 30th, 2011
By Heidi Hansen
LOGAN—USU Interior Design students may think they’re good at what they do now, but Ghislaine Vinas, a New York City-based designer, told them they are only going to get better.

Penny Byrne:
JCOM prof is no-nonsense, respected, loved, sometimes ‘dreaded’

April 30th, 2011
Story & Photos by Shirrel Cooper
LOGAN—They either love her or hate her. That seems to be the consensus among Penny Byrne’s journalism students.

Course gets students in touch with their statistical side
April 25th, 2011

By Cathy Morgan
LOGAN—As the school year ends, so does the first semester of JCOM 2020—Communication Research Methods. It’s a major change for JCOM students who are “math-phobes.”

USU’s Old Main. (Photo by Ted Pease)

Trump, Obama ‘birther’ debate create dangerous distractions
April 30th, 2011
By Ben Zaritsky
Donald Trump has outdone himself. Again. “I’m proud of what I’ve done,” he said this week. Not only has he accused a president of the United States of being a liar, fraud and holding his office illegitimately, while at the same time ignoring (and helping the media to ignore) issues that drastically affect the entire nation, but he is proud of all that.

Pitching in at animal shelter cures puppy withdrawal
April 30th, 2011
By Ben Zaritsky
My family has always had an EXTREMELY soft spot for helpless animals, and it shows. At one point, we had 16 cats, four dogs, three birds, two fish and a bunny. Since coming to Utah State, I’ve suffered from some animal withdrawal, but, fortunately, I found a cure! Volunteering at the Cache Humane Society for the past few months has been one of my most fulfilling experiences since the beginning of my college career.

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© 2011
Department of Journalism & Communication
Utah State University
Logan, Utah 84322-4605
435-797-3292 • •

“Dedicated to free expression and mutual understanding in the information age.”

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