I took a leap to teach at Ball State University last August, moving to Muncie, Indiana, and signing on the dotted line for one full year. One semester in, I’m reveling in my new perspective.
My last gig was wonderful: more than a decade on faculty at Poynter kept me migrating between professional newsrooms, research, workshops, conferences and consulting with universities around the world. Before that, I spent almost 20 years as an editor and designer in newspaper newsrooms.
As newsrooms continue to adapt in the face of disruption, classrooms have to change too. Those of us who have seen media work from many angles can bring those ideas to teaching. My various vantage points have helped me learn:
- what professional newsrooms are looking for when hiring young journalists
- what working journalists want (and need) to learn to stay ahead
- what non-profit groups value when it comes to telling their stories across platforms
- the fears and concerns of educators who strive to open doors for their students
Journalism is changing. It’s fascinating to watch the new crop of college journalists take on their first story assignments, after watching the process from lots of other viewpoints.
We all need to stay fresh. Sometimes, that calls for something new. I have something to offer here in academia. And much to learn.
I’m glad I’ve taken on this year-long commitment. Here are just a few things I’ve gleaned from semester one.
Sara Quinn teaches and speaks about journalism, leadership and multimedia. Before joining Poynter’s faculty in 2003, Sara spent nearly 20 years working in newspaper newsrooms, including the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida and her hometown newspaper, The Wichita Eagle in Kansas. She led Poynter’s college fellowship for almost a decade. Sara also directed Poynter’s EyeTrack research of newspaper, tablet and online reading habits, which helps journalists determine the best forms for storytelling.