The Norman Transcript

Columns

September 8, 2013

Platforms may change but journalists remain storytellers

NORMAN — The modern broadcast studio tucked into the north wing of Gaylord Hall was awash in professional storytellers Friday afternoon. Broken down to our basic role in society, journalists are storytellers, Nothing more. We gathered, prompted by grads Bart Conner and Linda Cavanaugh, to reminisce and reflect on our college years and beyond.

The occasion was the 100th anniversary of the first journalism courses taught at the University of Oklahoma. Since that fall day in 1913, more than 11,000 have graduated with degrees and gone on to careers in journalism and other fields.

But no matter our job paths, all had stories to tell. One woman told of finding the courage to challenge a tough professor who awarded her a grade lower than she thought she deserved. She’s summoned that courage often in the business world.

More than a few students talked of the joy in receiving professional praise from faculty members later in their careers. A general told of receiving letters and gifts from OU journalism classmates while on the battlefield in Viet Nam. Another grad shared the story of putting a controversial headline on a story and getting the dreaded call from President George L. Cross.

Some told of breaking a big story using the training they received on the student newspaper.

———

There comes a time in most careers when you can honestly tell yourself you have arrived in the profession. For a doctor, it may be healing someone who has long suffered. A lawyer might win a big case or help someone achieve their business goals. For a journalist, it’s often a big story that you break and follow to the end.

For me, as a young police reporter in Oklahoma City, it was a child’s kidnapping that kept me on the front page for a week. The little girl was snatched from her yard on the city’s southeast side on a Tuesday morning.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Porch leap looked muchbigger as a kid

    It’s no secret that porch designs have changed over the years. Drive through new Norman developments and look at the porches. Most only have room for a potted plant and a spot to drop those UPS packages, no place for a porch swing or ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014