from the archives

It’s time to wise up.

I’ll admit: I’ve been pretty bad at taking my own good advice. More than three years after I delivered a graduation speech asking my fellow J-school graduates to keep learning as we moved into the professional world, I’ve realized that I’ve lost sight of my own mandate to “learn from the past and grow into the future.”

Sure, I’ve learned more about my craft since I’ve left journalism school, and I have a Storify account that proves I’ve dabbled with a bit of new technology. But I feel like I do a better job of living a college-like life on the weekends and at the bars than at The Work, where I could also use some skills from that same era — though not the same daypart.

Luckily, the tide started turning in recent weeks as some colleagues and I hatched a plan to be more intentional about sharing successes with and learning from each other, and I also took a step or two of my own in the right direction today.

Tonight, I drove out to UC Riverside to hear former Des Moines Register editor and current USC J-school director Geneva Overholser give a lecture on the promise to be found amid the tumultuous times the news business is going through that was full of food for thought — and grist for the Twitter mill, of course.

Who knew that a university right in our backyard held an annual journalism lecture that’s attracted the likes of Katharine and Don Graham, George Will, Tom Johnson, Tom Curley and Walter Isaacson?

Well, I only knew about it because I happened to see it listed on the UCR home page today, and I was only poking around there and on Cal State San Bernardino‘s website after realizing that The Work really does still offer tuition assistance.

I mean, it’s listed in the employee handbook that I got when I started in ’09, but I figured that program went the way of the acronym VDT — which also appears in the handbook and seems to mean “computer” — when the economy tanked, if not long before. But there it was again (the tuition assistance section, not the archaic acronym) in the newly overhauled handbook we got earlier this year.

So now I’ve got that tool in my toolbox, but more importantly, these past few weeks have reignited my drive to not just get the job done and not even to simply do good work but also to be a more thoughtful, ever-learning journalist.