Back to school

Twice this month, I had the privilege of being asked to speak with college classes about my work.

I enjoy talking with college students and hearing their thoughts on journalism. (As I said to one group: “I talk with old people all the time. So I like hearing from young people.”)

Two days after the general election, my colleague/competitor Ron Snyder invited me to talk with his media ethics class at Towson University. (Ron and I worked together at the Capital-Gazette Newspapers, and now he’s a digital editor with WBAL-TV.)

I had planned to talk about ethical decision-making as a journalist and some of the steps I take to avoid ethical issues such as conflict of interest or showing bias. But with the surprising victory of President-elect Donald Trump, we threw that out the window and talked instead with students about media coverage of the campaign, where it fell short and how journalists can improve. The students were eager to talk about the election.

Then this week, I spoke to a political science class for the first time. Dr. Mileah Kromer invited me to talk with her introductory class at Goucher College.

For the Goucher class, I talked about the importance of the press as a watchdog on the government — especially as we enter a time with a Republican president, Republican-controlled Congress and a Supreme Court that’s likely soon to tilt conservative. I also talked about Baltimore County’s emerging role as a swing or bellweather county in Maryland politics. The students had lots of great questions for me.

Interestingly enough, the day that I spoke at Goucher started and ended on college campuses. My day started at 8 a.m. at Goucher in Towson and ended at 9 p.m. with the final session of a French class that I’ve been taking at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold.

Here I am with the Goucher students. Thanks to Dr. Kromer for the picture.