Scrutiny

Aug 18, 2002

When I was a senior at John Carroll University, I served as editor of the student newspaper, The Carroll News. This was a job I thoroughly enjoyed; it was also a challenging experience, both personally and journalistically. My best friends, Joe Cimperman and Bridget McGuinness, were president and vice-president, respectively, of the Student Union, and the newspaper’s coverage and editorial board views of the Union’s activities strained our friendships. In retrospect, I understand that time to be one of learning: I was learning the role of editor just as Joe and Bridget were learning their roles as political leaders. I’m proud of the newspaper’s coverage then, but even more proud of the perseverence of Joe and Bridget in the face of strong opposition they encountered from the student body.

Also testing me that year were a mostly nonexistent but quite abusive faculty newspaper advisor, disagreements over the business end of the newspaper, and classes that I wasn’t keeping up with. But I was falling in love with Erin, and her presence in my life fueled me through the long newspaper production nights.

Another person was with me each of those nights. Mark Schreiner, my managing editor, worked long and hard to make the newspaper sharp and invigorating. He went about his work with deep thought and broad intelligence, and our conversations were the kind that I imagined Bohemian students in Paris cafes having.

Mark, it turns out, lives in my backyard. Since he graduated, he’s worked for daily newspapers, deftly reporting community stories and uncovering gripping features. For the last couple of years he’s worked for the Wilmington Star-News; just this month he moved to Raleigh, the state capital, to be the bureau chief. Last night, we met up, and over beer at Chapel Hill’s storied Top of the Hill brewery we had another of our energized conversations. This on the first day of my graduate journalism program, and the passion with which he spoke about his work deeply inspired me.

Journalism education is getting some scrutiny these days, as the highly regarded Columbia School of Journalism goes through a self-reckoning; administrators and faculty there are thinking about reforms that would move the school away from the mere mechanics of journalism (interviewing, research, reporting, writing) and into other areas of expertise so that journalists can bring more insight, background and analysis to their reporting. See this piece in the NY Times yesterday. I’m excited to be in a j-school at the beginning of this discussion; having Mark’s experience nearby will certainly help me find my way.

Anton Zuiker

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