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Archive for January 20th, 2014

Des Moines Tribune front page, Jan. 20, 1981I had fun reviewing the front pages my father saved from the Kennedy assassination. So I’ve decided to make a look back at historic (or just interesting) front pages an occasional feature of this blog.

Since this is Jan. 20, I have to remember the day a bigger story pushed a presidential inauguration to secondary status: Jan. 20, 1981. Ronald Reagan taking the oath of office was a huge deal, but after 444 days of captivity in Tehran, the release of American hostages from Iran was bigger.

Of course, the capture of the hostages and Jimmy Carter‘s failure in attempts to free them by a military surprise rescue mission or by diplomacy was a key reason Reagan was taking his first oath as president rather than Carter taking his second. (Soaring prices and interest rates were other reasons, but the hostage crisis was the biggest humiliation and failure of the Carter presidency.)

I worked at the Des Moines Register at the time, and the Register and our sister afternoon paper, the Des Moines Tribune, worked frantically to cover the varying developments over the last days of the Carter presidency and the first day of the Reagan presidency.

The stories and pictures of both events came from the wire services, but this was a local story, too: One of the hostages, Kathryn Koob, was a native of Jesup, Iowa, and both papers had covered her captivity intensely for more than a year. And, of course, one of the thrills of working on a newspaper is putting together a historic paper, whether the story comes from your staff or not. The local staff writes the headlines, edits the stories and lays out the whole paper, including that historic front page. (more…)

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This continues my series on advice for a new adjunct journalism professor. This guest post is by Dr. Kathleen Woodruff Wickham, associate professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi (more about her at the end):

Kathleen Woodruff Wickham

Kathleen Woodruff Wickham

The previous posts had many wonderful suggestions. I will try not to repeat them. Experience tells me that many new adjuncts and instructors moving from the profession to academia do not understand the academic culture, nor grasp the necessities for what appear to be arcane practices. They also frequently come in deciding to run their classroom like a newsroom. You have to remember that if you are teaching lower-division classes you are teaching 18- and 19- year olds, not adults who are professionals. These are professionals-in-training.

For example, in a lower-division course don’t say, “You are expected to follow AP guidelines. Here is the book.”

Rather, hold them accountable for certain sections (titles, ages, addresses).  In our entry-level writing course, I would prepare a hand-out of the basics and start the penalty off at 1 point, increasing each week by a point to a maximum of 10. (more…)

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