Don’t Drop Your Hard Drive

Well, it’s the last day of classes and whole new group of seniors are getting ready to grab their Journalism T-Shirts and get ready for Commencement Day festivities.

What I’ve noticed this year perhaps more than others is the conflicting emotions students have going out into the world of journalism.  Facebook and Twitter updates have kept me up to date on students’ fears and trepidations during the last month.  One of the advantages of social media is being able to stay in touch and pass along information with students but you also find out, well, about just about everything going on their lives.

But, while students are nervous and scared about entering a field undergoing revolution, I feel pretty good about this graduating class.  I mean, take a look at this list ….and, for the third consecutive year, a student from the Journalism Program will be the Student Commencement Speaker.

And, I get the real sense that students are graduating with the skills needed to succeed in the revolution.  These are students who are blogging, shooting video, producing audio slideshows, putting together Web sites — and they have a real entrepreneurial feel to them.  The are going to go out there and make it happen.  Many have jobs upon graduation (a very positive development), and those jobs cover the spectrum from traditional jobs with ‘old media’ news organizations to shoestring start-ups.

Unlike many prognosticators out there, this graduating class is positive, upbeat and determined to go out there and do good, ethical journalism.

For many it hasn’t been easy.  We require a lot out of our students — evoking narratives, compelling videos, well-designed Web sites.  The work produced by this senior class has been exceptional in and out of class, but it’s the drive of many of them that impresses me the most.  There are many cases in point but mostly I remember the case of the dropped hard drive.    One team of students (you know who you are) were literally in the final steps of uploading their video project last semester when they discovered that if you drop your hard drive, you lose your work (we didn’t know that.)  After much cursing and lamenting, they got back at it, determined to finish.

We’ve seen that determination over and over again and that’s a good thing.  Keep it, hold onto it.  Because, I’ll be watching/following y’all…on social media.  So, good luck and remember two things:

*  No Cheering in the Press Box, and…..

*  Don’t Drop Your Hard Drive.

And, as my old boss used to say:  HUZZAH!



About journalismprof

Steve joined the journalism faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in August 2007 and has been working to incorporate multimedia across the curriculum. Since arriving at UMass, Steve has developed three courses modeled after his multimedia journalism course. The courses allow students to work in teams in a newsroom-like environment where they work on packages -- using video, audio and photos to tell stories. He is also working with students on developing, a news Web site staffed completely by students. Steve has more than 25 years of experience as an editor and reporter for print and online publications, including 10 as an editor at He also edits part-time for with the NFL and college football network.
This entry was posted in Business of Journalism, Commencement, Future of Journalism. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Don’t Drop Your Hard Drive

  1. BJ Roche says:

    I would second everything Steve says, but I would also add the rising seniors who have just completed junior year to that list.

    I saw an unbelievable amount of growth in my students’ writing this semester, along with confidence and an awareness of issues like climate change and the economy.

    Check out this story by Danielle Kahn, produced in Journalism 301, that made it to the Worcester Telegram. Really proud of you folks.

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