The deadline looms as writers scramble to catch every single word of wisdom that top editor of The Washington Post Leonard Downie Jr is kind enough to share. A hidden time clock begins to tick in my mind as I shuffle through my notes and try to regain composure and focus on what key points this wise former executive editor of The Post shared.
Not only is he a legend in my mind, but he is the former Ohio State alumni that I have heard about since I was an undergraduate journalism student working with my professor Mike Masterson on my investigative journalism stories. I recount memories of watching "All The President's Men" and hearing about this top editor's role in the Watergate scandal who won 25 Pulitzer Prize during his 17 years as the top editor. He was an editor of The Lantern, the same school newspaper that I worked as a photographer and graphics editor some 20 some years later.
The pressure is my own perfectionist personality pressure that I put upon myself that suddenly paralyzes me and makes it almost impossible to sort through the thousands of thoughts and ideas. As I choose to sort through my notes and listen to Downie's speech again on my recorder, I am overwhelmed and just start to jot down bullet points of ideas... but the ideas are long and extensive. I am empathizing with my journalism students who just finished their last journalism story last week on deadline.
The madness. The exhilaration. The nerves.
What a great pleasure and honor it was to listen to Leonard Downie Jr. who shared about his thoughts on the future of journalism. His statements helped to reinforce my passion and the yearlong fight I had to fight against censorship to take my journalism program online. It was so gratifying to receive new "rewritten" web guidelines the same day from my school district's communications director that will allow me to go online next year.
The fight was worth it and Leonard Downie Jr confirmed that my thoughts about preparing for the future were right on.
Tracey B. Ward
Olentangy Liberty High School