Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Closing out Column Writing class for the semester

CSU, SACRAMENTO, Sacramento, Calif. USA - The same technology that makes it possible for anyone with computer access to be a publisher (you are looking at it...) helped this semester to make my column writing class arguably the most successful ever.

It was successful because the students were able to write a column or two per week and post them for the entire class (and the world, via the Internet) to see.

From my end of the telescope, it created a nightmare of reading. Most weeks they had to write two columns, one assigned, the other on an area of specialization. But for them the practice was invaluable and the growth as writers was dramatic in a very short time.

I also learned a lot during the semester as these student-columnists wrote about nutrition, politics, cars, life at the mall, television and a dozen other areas. One young lady from Ireland (if she is from Ireland should I say young lass?) wrote about religion and did a fine job explaining different faiths in a humorous way that frequently had me laughing aloud.

But one column she penned about YouTube had the following paragraph, which, like several pieces written by other students, made me laugh so hard I sprayed my computer screen with remants of the Earl Grey tea I was sipping while reading.

"To summarize, if we were to take YouTube as a source we find that French people are apparently perverted, food loving, hotties, the Dutch enjoy nothing better than grabbing their tulips, the Irish are alcoholics with horrendous taste in music, the British are prudes and the Japanese are gadget-loving oddballs and, of course,
every nation has an unhealthy obsession with sex. No surprises there then."

The class gathered one last time on campus Monday night. It wasn't the Algonquin Roundtable - not yet. But with these writers, it might be someday.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Lisa Heyamoto talks about column writing with J-class

SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - The Sacramento Bee's newest three dot columnist came by my column writing class Monday night to share her insights into the column-writing bizz.

Bouncy and upbeat as always, Lisa Heyamoto managed to infect the room - even though most of the students are suffering from end-of-the-semester fatigue and near burn out.

She was as candid as candid can be in answering questions about where she gets her ideas, how she puts together her three-times-per-week column and how it is to work with various editors, either at The Bee or in Seattle where she worked before moving the California.

At 29, she is the youngest of all The Bee's columnists - by a factor of probably 25 years.
  • Lisa's column

  • She provided some serious inspiration for some of the students who have been reading all the doom and gloom about the newspaper and publishing industries. Work hard, she said, and take whatever job you need to get that foot in the door.

    Very wise words.

    Here's a brief clip of Lisa speaking to class.