When I noticed in the convention program that there would be a non-daily newspaper advisers workshop, I was pretty excited. I figured it would be a great time to network, share ideas and get some valuable input from folks who face, in most cases, the same kinds of problems I do. But I guess I should’ve expected that 50 minutes of back and forth would turn into 50 minutes of cathartic emotional release. We spent about 15-20 minutes discussing important issues, such as budgetary considerations and publication schedules. But the rest of the session featured the gathered round table (which consisted of eight people) complaining that their students don’t listen. They put text over art, they don’t know the difference between then and than, they won’t cover controversial stories. And yes, all these frustrations are understandable and widespread. I, myself, have faced them. And certainly, in this workshop setting, it’s easy to find a sympathetic ear. But I wanted all of us to prescribe solutions, not lament all that goes wrong.I sat silently virtually the entire time mostly because I had no interest in adding to the frustration. I probably should’ve spoken up, though, and perhaps steered the conversation in a different direction. (One adviser from a community college did mention the issues she’s facing in an attempt to have others in the room help her find new solutions. But that was rarely the outcome.)
I did get to meet some interesting people, though–folks who have been advising for many, many years and others who are new to the game, as I am. It’s always great meeting other advisers, so, overall, the session was beneficial. My suggestion would be to make the round table more results focused. Yes, raise an issue/problem that you’re having. But then let someone offer a solution.
– Colin Donohue