Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Journalism Seminars More Focused Now

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Journalism Seminars More Focused Now

Article excerpt

Byline: Charlie Patton, Times-Union columnist

A consultant, they say, is someone who knows what you know but lives more than 50 miles away and so seems more impressive saying it.

That's sort of the principle behind what has been happening this week at the Times-Union. Journalists from places such as Miami, New York and Topeka, Kan., have conducted a series of seminars designed to inform and inspire us.

And while a lot of what they tell us are things we sometimes tell each other, when they say it, instead of getting angry and defensive, we nod in agreement.

Journalism Week was revived last year by Times-Union editor Pat Yack, who had fond memories of the early 1980s, when a previous Times-Union editor, Bob Clark, introduced the idea.

I have memories of those original journalism weeks as well, mostly fond memories. But I have to admit that a couple are rather hazy and embarrassing.

When I started in the newspaper business in 1977, it was at the end of an era when drinking wasn't just tolerated in newsrooms but almost encouraged. Nobody still kept a bottle of whiskey in the desk drawer. But newspaper staffs still tended to retire at the end of the day to a favorite bar, like Sherwood's or the Town Pump, to have a few drinks and tell war stories. So it was only natural that the original Journalism Week included a well-stocked hospitality suite.

Times have changed. If there is still a Times-Union watering hole, nobody has told me about it in years. And this week there is no hospitality suite, just a coffee pot and some soft drinks.

I say all this because my hazy, embarrassing memories of that long ago Journalism Week were caused, as hazy, embarrassing memories usually are, by an excess of hospitality.

Among our guest experts in 1981 was James J. Kilpatrick, then at the height of his fame as a columnist and television pundit. …

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