Magazine article The Quill

Road Map of Jobs Led to Career Teaching Abroad

Magazine article The Quill

Road Map of Jobs Led to Career Teaching Abroad

Article excerpt

In addition to a career in reporting and teaching, Bulla has done extensive research about journalism in the 1800s. His books include:

*"Sensationalism: Murder, Mayhem, Mudslinging, Scandals,and Disasters in 19th-Century Reporting"

*"Journalism in the Civil War Era (Mediating American History)"

*"Lincoln's Censor"

If David Bulla's career had a voice-activated GPS system, it would probably say, "Start driving on sports road, then merge onto journalism highway. From there, take a pit stop for more education and finally make an exit onto teaching street." Alas, GPS systems don't map out our futures so seamlessly (at least not yet).

Bulla found his way into journalism through a passion for sports. His career started in the late 1970s in the sports section of the Greensboro Daily News and Record, where he worked throughout his college days at University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

After college, he got a gig covering the local baseball team at the Durham Sun. He then took a sports editing position at the Chronicle in Winston-Salem, N.C., before taking his skills to an African-American community newspaper in the same town, where he covered historically black sports conferences. After his father passed away in 1986, he took time to reflect on what he really wanted to be doing in life. Sports journalism wasn't it.

"I didn't feel like I was contributing much to society," Bulla said. "I also had no great ambition to climb the ladder."

But Bulla did find satisfaction and talent in a field that allowed him to pass along the journalism skills he built for years: teaching. He left the newspaper world and became a journalism teacher in three different high schools in North Carolina. But sports never left his side. He coached basketball, track, cross county and tennis in those 12 years.

"I do think I have probably more of a talent for teaching and coaching than when I was a reporter or writer," Bulla said.

When he decided to move onto collegiate academia, he obtained his master's in journalism from Indiana University and his Ph.D. in mass communication at the University of Florida in the early 2000s. From there, he spent several years as a journalism professor at the University of Iowa.

"Life with David was exciting because there were so many ideas that were going on in his head and in other people's heads because of him, because of the way he approached life, essentially," said Mark Witherspoon, a former colleague at University of Iowa. …

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