Guest Speakers Add so Much to a Class–Until They Don’t

Posted on November 17, 2011

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One of the best parts of being part of a university like Ohio State in a close-knit town like Columbus is the quality and quantity of experienced guest speakers we welcome to our classes.

This quarter we have had major newspaper writers and videographers, Pulitzer Prize winners, bloggers, police chiefs, politicians and television news personalities.

This week we enjoyed a visit from Danielle Elias of 10TV, who brought us step by step through the shooting and script writing process with detail and flare. Danielle is so good at what she does, and her experiences in everything from CNN to local broadcast at smaller markets gives a true-to-life perspective that our students need.

We were also gifted today with a very special guest speaker–my former student Chelsea Castle who showed how she used her academic lessons in our classes to break a major story on campus related to a reported assault by football player Jamaal Berry. I cannot describe the pride that comes from watching ones who we have taught teach and inspire others (a big shout out to OSU grad Gerrick Kennedy at the LA Times for doing the same!).

Now some guest speakers are better than others, for sure, but we rarely have a bad one–except sometimes life gets in the way and they don’t show up at all.

I was contacted early in the quarter by Zoe Ann Del Borrell, public affairs manager for Fox 28/ABC 6 in Columbus, suggesting anchor Bob Kendrick as a guest speaker. We would, of course, be happy to host him during a class time.

We expected him after our quiz at 11:45 a.m. By 12:50 p.m., and discussions on Jerry Sandusky, Bob CostasArmen Keteyian, Jon Stewart and interviewing style, we realized he was not going to join us. Turns out Bob lost his smart phone calendar in a system collapse (“smart” phones indeed), and with it went our date. He called as apologetic as could be and promised to come next quarter.

We appreciate so much those who take time from their incredibly busy schedules filed with breaking the news of our day, and give their time and insights to our students, for we believe it is a true “pay-it-forward” moment. The next generation of journalists we raise we hope/know will do the same.

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