Graduates of the journalism school at the University of Missouri, Columbia, are known to be members of the Mizzou Mafia. They are everywhere in the news business and members include Russ Mitchell of CBS News, Elizabeth Vargas of ABC News and Jim Lehrer of PBS. Here in Chicago, there’s Ben Bradley of ABC7, Judy Wang of CLTV/WGN and my boss, Fox Chicago News Director Carol Fowler!
I graduated from the well-respected journalism school at the University of Oregon but I married into the Mizzou Mafia. Although my husband is no longer in the news business, he enjoys heading back to see friends and former classmates. Ahead of the big homecoming weekend (and the big loss to Texas in an ugly game), professor Jen Lee Reeves organizes a “Mizzou Mafia Real World Lunch” to allow journalism students to converse with those of us working in the real world of journalism. Jen and I are always in touch through social media so I got the pleasure of being a part of the mob lunch.
I was quite impressed by students live blogging and tweeting with a #realworld hashtag during the event. But, as they did, they heard about the grim situation in the real world. Some of the panelists had been laid off and they are looking for work. The rest are working harder than ever. I stressed the underlying need to truly love writing and journalism. Our business tools and avenues are changing but there will always be a need for effective storytellers and communicators.
My ongoing love for words has served me well during my career. Though when I got out of J-school, I never envisioned that it’d also lead me to my own blog and an addiction to Facebook Scrabble.