State of the Union

Jan 24, 2004

George Bush delivered his uninspiring State of the Union address earlier this week. I’ll only comment that I hope the Democratic candidate nails Mr. Bush on his fuzzy math. On PBS’s Newshour with Jim Lehrer last night, commentator Mark Shields had this to say:

[A]ny time a president tells me I can spend my money better than the government can and, boy, indulges my vanity and my avarice, you know I really get a little angry, because he’s insulting me. I cannot clean up the environment by myself, I cannot provide health care to others, I can’t do the Center for Disease Control no matter how much money I have. I just really think that is, that’s an insult to the American people, when any leader stands up and says that.
I couldn’t agree more.

Anyway, I thought it a good time to provide the state of our union here in North Carolina. Here’s what happening:

Malia Katherine is healthy and well, and beginning to smile. Erin is up and about, though still not getting enough sleep. Our friends bring meals every other night – this is a pleasant surprise, and their generosity and good cooking provides us a sense of community to balance the long, lonely nights I spend in my basement office at school.

My final semester of graduate school (I’m in the Medical Journalism program at the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication) is here. I’m not taking classes; instead, I’m devoted solely to my masters thesis project, which is to be a long, narrative magazine report about an outbreak of HIV among North Carolina college men. I’ll be posting messages and HIV resources to throughout the project. My other effort at the j-school is my teaching assistantship for the JOMC 50 class about electronic information, database searching and web page design.

Regular readers of The Daily Chronicle will know that I’m also deeply involved in two big extracurricular projects. My idea for a weblogs event comes to fruition Monday and Tuesday with the Weblogs and Journalism seminar, which is cosponsored by the Tar Heel Bloggers group I formed last summer. In February, my idea for a series of HIV awareness events will kick off with a screening of the amazing documentary A Closer Walk, with the director, Robert Bilheimer, in attendance to discuss his film and why HIV/AIDS is a crucial topic for us to be involved in. The Narratives of HIV series will continue in late February with the visit of Pulitzer Prize-winning Wall Street Journalist Mark Schoofs, who will meet with journalism students to discuss international reporting of HIV/AIDS. In March, we’ll show a new documentary about HIV in Baltimore and hear from a panel of experts about how to fight AIDS here in the U.S. (parts of Baltimore have HIV rates higher than some African countries).

I plan to travel to Minneapolis in late March for the Association of Health Care Journalists conference, and possibly to San Francisco in February for the retroviruses conference. And dad and I are still trying to plan a trip to the Dominican Republic in May, which is about the time I hope to be graduating from UNC.

Starting in February, I’ll begin my job search and Erin and I will begin to solidify our plans for where we go next. My goal is to get a job as a writer/reporter/journalist for a major magazine or large city newspaper; I’d love to land a job in which I can use my reporting, weblogging and medical journalism skills. We’re considering a return to Cleveland, where we’d be near family and back with friends, but North Carolina is very much a comfortable home. There’s always Boston and Chicago and Honolulu and London and Chennai.

Our department of home and financial security is keen on us settling down in a house of our own and on us paying off school and personal loans. Our deepfelt thanks to all of you who have loaned us money, been generous with your gifts and kept us in your prayers. Aside from some current deficit spending, I’m happy to report that the state of our little union is excellent.

Anton Zuiker

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