Up for the indifference award
“Don’t delay, because you won’t see another weekend like this in your lifetime: Mingle with Pulitzer Prize-winning alumni; learn something new from one of your ‘old’ professors; boast about the job you have … or network for the one you want; bump into familiar faces in some of your favorite places.”Would I want to see another weekend like that in my lifetime? Having read the invite, I’m certainly not all aquiver at the prospect of subjecting myself to the first one, under the pretext of my alma mater’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication centennial celebration this spring. Granted, it does seem as if it has been 100 years since I graduated, but I doubt that’s the focus of this centennial shindig.Mingle with Pulitzer-Prize winning alumni? More likely, mingle with annoying overachievers. If success is its own reward, then why do I need to hear about someone else’s? There’s nothing worse than rewarding ambition with professional accolades. It only leads to greater ambition among the sort already predisposed to blab about their careers, and golf. There aren’t enough martinis out there to make me consort with alums in red plaid pants.Of course, the weekend also constitutes a handy opportunity to make a gift to the J-School. Hello. I majored in journalism. ‘Nuff said about my gift-giving capabilities. Besides, I already gave. It was called tuition.Of course, I could be up for a Distinguished Service Award for my work in the field, but after glancing at the bios of a few recent recipients, I’m thinking not. Apparently, a prerequisite is enough honorary plaques and framed degrees to shingle a roof, not to mention titles like editor, publisher or star investigative scribe for a big-city bird-cage liner.One former journalist who recently won a service award apparently went on to become the mayor of Dallas. I’ll bet I know how that happened. After years of covering the Dallas City Council, she probably discovered she knew more about the workings of city government than most everyone else running for office. She decided she might as well run the show, since she had to sit through all those meetings anyway.The campus confab also presents an opportunity to “share your professional achievements with the J-School – keep us updated on your career changes, awards and other notable events.”Hmmm. Like that time this winter when I was at Highlands instead of the office for what turned out to be the epic powder day of the year? Or, those early mornings on the river, flyrod in hand?Yes, I guess I could elaborate on a few achievements, but I’ve got better things to do than share them at the alumni bragfest.Janet Urquhart wants to know if participation on the staff softball team counts as service in the field. Her e-mail address is email@example.com
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Columnist Paul Andersen continues to hope that the moral arc of the universe trends toward justice.