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A challenge: Do more workshops. (NCEW Foundation).

One of the bright new spots among the NCEW Foundation's initiatives has been the opinion-writing workshops conducted by our members at various university campuses. Under the leadership of Tom Berner and Fred Fiske, co-chairs of the Journalism Education Committee, six workshops last year introduced college student journalists to a variety of aspects of the craft. (Please see how they did soon pages 15-17.)

So enthusiastic have been the reports from participants that not only have the six campuses -- Penn State, Columbia, Vanderbilt, University of South Florida, St. Bonaventure, and Southern Methodist -- expressed a desire to sponsor subsequent workshops for 2002, but an additional four already are preparing to conduct similar seminars.

Those additional sessions are in the planning phase for the spring at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, led by Professor Howard Ziff; University of Western Washington, led by Carolyn Nielsen, editorial page editor of The Bellingham Herald; Penn State/Bloomsburg, led by professor Tom Klevan; and Syracuse University, led by professor Francis Ward and Fred Fiske.

This single-day "template" developed to guide students through the processes of editorial board deliberation and the reasoning and writing of topical editorials has proved to be extremely instructive and efficient. Such sessions offer splendid opportunities for our professional members to pull away from the routines of daily editorializing, fly the NCEW colors, and engage in the encouragement of the next generation of opinion writers.

Because of the obvious satisfaction that such workshops have provided for our members who have participated, I must conclude that we've struck on a program of outreach that should grow and prosper beyond its current humble boundaries.

Thanks to Carolyn Nielsen, the program is getting its first toe-hold beyond the East and South. With so many excellent journalism programs through the Midwest, Southwest, and West, I issued a challenge at the NCEW winter board meeting to replicate the workshops at major universities in those regions.

Let this serve as a summons to our members around the country to contact local or regional institutions of higher education that provide journalism instruction, or at least that publish student newspapers, and offer the services of NCEW. The Foundation has budgeted a certain amount of money to help defray incidental expenses for each workshop, such as snacks and beverages, which should be the clincher for any group of students hungry to learn more about how to negotiate the perilous shoals of opinion as they take on the pressing issues at their respective campuses.

As the primary mission of the NCEW Foundation is education, I believe there are few more appropriate undertakings that serve our craft better, and that provide our participating members more personal and professional satisfaction, than reaching out to plant the mustard seeds of the craft to which NCEW members have devoted themselves.

So go out, beat those academic bushes, and contact Berner and Fiske for the specific information that will make the next series of college workshops grow and prosper.

NCEW Foundation president Tommy Denton is editorial page of The Roanoke Times in Virginia. He is an NCEW past president. E-mail him at
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Title Annotation:National Conference of Editorial Writers
Author:Denton, Tommy
Publication:The Masthead
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2002
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