Writing for the Media: Not a Casting Call For Zombies

By Professor Vince Filak

An experience is only as good as you decide to make it.

If there’s one lesson to learned from Journalism 221, Writing for the Media, that should be it. It’s my great hope you’ll learn more than that, but since my class is usually held at 8 a.m., it’s a required course and most people would rather gargle with gasoline and spit on a brush fire than deal with either of those things, we’ll consider one lesson a win.

Required classes are required for a reason. Someone, somewhere thinks you’ll need this information in order to succeed. If you think it stinks for you, imagine what it feels like being on my end of that. If I screw this up for you, you’ll be ill-prepared for the rest of your time in college. To that end, the pressure to get it right and keep it light is pretty intense.

The one thing that always makes a course worth taking is the people in the class. The best courses I’ve taken and the worst courses I’ve taken as a student are geared more toward how good or bad my fellow travelers were, as opposed to what time they were or how weird the professor was.

Granted, a good professor can make the difference, but we tend to feed off of your energy as much as you feed off ours. Thus, if you’re sitting there with your head on your desk, looking like an extra from a “Dawn of the Dead” film, we’re not going to be all jazzed about what we’re doing, either. The only difference is, we can’t put our head on the podium, sigh audibly and say, “This sucks. You guys are borrrrinnnng….”

The point is, an experience is only as good as you want it to be.  You can coast through a J-221 course with all the elegance of a mouth-breathing twerp who can’t make change for you at the Burger King drive through. However, if you decide to do that, keep in mind, you’re partially to blame for how poorly that class turns out. It is possible to laugh and learn, so give it a shot.

Besides, you’ve got to be there anyways.


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