Two generations of UA journalism standouts make trip to Gainesville for SPJ regional conference

Five University of Alabama students at the Society of Professional Journalists Southeastern regional conference this weekend in Gainesville, Fla. represent two generations of collegiate journalists, most of whom have worked at The Crimson White.

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The UA delegation at the 2012 SPJ Southeastern Journalism conference includes three Crimson White Editors (from left) Victor Luckerson, Ashley Chaffin, Stephen Dethrage and two SPJ chapter officers Laura Metcalf and Amanda Sams (far right).

GAINESVILLE, Fla.– If you want to see the present and the future of journalism, you can usually find it at a Society of Professional Journalists spring regional conference.

Such is the case this weekend as five undergraduate students from the University of Alabama are here on the University of Florida campus where the Mark of Excellence student journalism awards will be handed out later today.

Students from the states of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida will find out whether or not they will advance to national competition for recognition as the nation’s best student newspapers, web sites, radio and television broadcasts.  A host of awards for individual stories and series will also be given.

Continue reading “Two generations of UA journalism standouts make trip to Gainesville for SPJ regional conference”

Twitter, Wiggio Expand Scope of 2012 Gulf South Summit Beyond Hattiesburg

Twitter and Wiggio each make a contribution to the 2012 Gulf South Summit. Glad we’re using these tools to take the conference beyond the Lake Terrace Convention Center.

HATTIESBURG, Miss–  A few days before the conference, I contacted one of the organizers to find out what our Twitter hashtag would be for this 2012 Gulf South Summit, my first such gathering.

The reply I received was “We’re using Wiggio and you should have gotten an invitation to join,”

I thought “Wiggio” What’s that?  Thankfully a YouTube video explained to me.

Even though I created my account before coming here to Hattiesburg, I was still a little fuzzy on how Wiggio could compete with Twitter in the social media arena,

It can’t.

Groups are not the same thing as social networks.  Each has a place at a conference like this.

Thankfully, someone had posted fliers around the Lake Terrace Convention Center notifying conference attendees to follow up on Twitter using the hashtag #GSS2012

The bigger point here is this gathering is using electronic means of sharing presentations, videos, handouts AND building community online, one that will last long after we leave Hattiesburg.


Patti Clayton facilitated a service learning seminar I attended at IUPUI last summer.

Today’s luncheon keynote with my friend Patti Clayton, involved a Tweet N’ Talk where people could respond to some of the prompts from Clayton either by talking to those at their tables on communicating in 140-character updates.

It was a real neat way to integrate social media into our deliberations.

While most at my table were not on Twitter (and I found myself educating them about this social media platform), it was encouraging how many service learning educators are there– communicating in the Twitterverse.

This afternoon, there were some presentations on social media and service learning.  I hate that I missed them.

But, thanks to Wiggio, I might be able to at least review the slides before the week is out.

George’s 42nd Birthday Start to Finish

This is a live blog from the events of March 17, 2012– my 42nd birthday.

Stacy Jones and Wesley Britt helped me remember this night with a quick birthday photo seconds after I blew out the candles on my birthday bread pudding.

9:15 p.m.  UA Friends Throw Impromptu Birthday Party At Chuck’s Fish

What started as a salmon supper at Chuck’s Fish in downtown Tuscaloosa became a 42nd birthday party among UA friends tonight.

One of my good friends, Stacy Jones, set everything in motion as we arrived for the dinner.

We started with Lobster Claws and then I was pretty full on my seafood platter.

Then, it was time for dessert and after I ordered my white chocolate bread pudding (YES, I know I will pay for it when it’s time to weigh in next week), Dr. Jones decided to make it a birthday bread pudding.

I thought, ‘What is she up to?”

Minutes lady the waitress brings out the dessert all lit up with the candles and the entire restaurant broke out in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” right before I blew out the candles…two of them– as I’m forty-TWO today.

It was a great way to top off a great birthday.

The other folks in the UA party– two of our graduates Katie Boyd Britt, former Student Government Association President and Wesley Britt, who played for the Alabama Crimson Tide before going on to a career on the New England Patriots.

Wesley is in graduate school now at Bama and I believe Katie is in law school.   Katie and Wesley happened to be sitting at the table next to us.

Where would I be without my Crimson Tide family?   This was definitely a memorable birthday celebration. 

5:11 p.m.  Can’t Escape Working on One’s Birthday

Finally, I’ve finished reading and grading a set of writing assignments.  There is still more work to be done.  But, I consider this a major accomplishment of the day.

It’s been hard to work while thinking about an upcoming birthday supper that is planned for later this evening.

1:50 p.m. Update   My Panera Surprise:Carrot Cake Muffin

OK- Remember that 2.6-mile walk this morning?   Yeh, I remembered it too as the cashier at Panera Bread revealed my birthday “surprise” was a free pastry.

When it opened a couple of years ago in Tuscaloosa, Panera Bread was a welcome addition to our hangouts for quick meetings and “treat yourself” kind of snacks and foods.

The company is known for its artisan breads.  But, the bakery cafe always features the delectable desserts that you’re not supposed to have if you’re concerned about your weight.

Each year, on your birthday, Panera notifies you that with your MyPanera card, you bring it in for a surprise.

It’s a great customer loyalty program.

I didn’t claim my surprise last year.  So this year, I was definitely going to take advantage of it.

I was thinking it would be an entree or a salad.  That was going to be my lunch today.   Turns out I’m walking out of  with a carrot cake muffin with walnuts and a lowfat strawberry smoothie. 

Felt good about the “lowfat” part of the smoothie, but not so good about the muffin.   I just tried to lock up the nutrition information on these items.  Not available.

1:25 p.m. Update   Uh-Oh, You Mean I Need New Running Shoes?

One of my errands for this 42nd birthday was to replace insoles in my relatively new running shoes that I purchased last summer.

“New” for me means that I’ve had the shoes for less than a year.   My last pair of tennis shoes lasted (and I still wear on and off) at least four or five years.

Well, it turns out that today I learned even more about shoes.

If they’re going to support your weight in exercise, they really only last a few months.

Today I learned there are shoes with built-in stability controls and that I should have shoes JUST for exercise/working out.  Really?

The description  online for “Brooks Beast” says my new shes provide “the ultimate in motion control shoes available to runners.

They’re “designed explicitly with the severe over pronator or larger runner in mind.”

Guess I’m that “LARGER runner”   I was NOT expecting to spend my birthday gift money on shoes.  But, such is life.

8:06 a.m. Update       A Birthday Waffle for Old time  Sake

I debated about whether to blunt the impact of my walk by having my favorite breakfast.

I promised myself not to make this birthday about food.

But, then I said– the more important thing is the eat what I want and keep track of it.   You see here my Birthday Waffle..

For the first time in my nine years in Tuscaloosa, I went to Waffle House and had myself a waffle itself, which is only 314 calories.

Weight Watchers says that’s 13 PointsPlus.

The waffle was delicious, but not the same without my morning anchors– WTVR’s Angie Miles and Meteorologist Kevin Selle.

We used to go out for waffles after our morning shows back in the mid 90s during my days at Richmond’s WTVR NewsChannel 6 (now CBS 6).

On my last day at the WTVR in 1993,  the morning team brought in the waffles for a real memorable send-off to my new job in Cincinnati.

Had so much fun getting up and producing the morning news at Channel 6.

Today at 42, I remember that fondly.

7 a.m.           2.6 miles in 53 minutes- DONE!

Well the sunrise walk around the UA Quad is done.  We accomplished our goal today of adding a lap, but our time was about the same — roughly 13 minutes for a lap.

I felt better today than I did yesterday in that I was not sore in my lower back.  (The soreness is usually a sign that I haven’t been exercising or walking)

No soreness today.

Best of all, I started in the final minute of moonlight at 6:06 a.m. and I completed the morning after stretching with beautiful daylight over a very quiet University of Alabama campus.

This sunrise walk was memorable.   And, yes I did dress out in (hunter) green shirt and (hunter) green shorts today.

After all, it’s Saint Patrick’s Day.

5 a.m.   Rise and prepare for Catch-Up Walk #2

Short version: I was supposed to be doing cardio workouts throughout the spring break and I kind of slacked off.  So I’m making it up in the final three days before spring break ends.

Yesterday– we managed three laps around the University of Alabama quad in 39 minutes.  Our goal today is to add a lap and improve our time.

Why We Are Live Blogging

Web logs are great for conveying up-to-the-minute information.

One way to provide such information is to be aggressive in updating what we are doing.

The transparency IN the PROCESS is what makes the medium appealing.

So we’re being transparent about what happens on this special day for me.

Assuming no one cares about my 42nd birthday but me, I am making my special day public and practicing a journalistic reporting tool that has defined my work over the last year– blogging.

We’ll see how it goes.

It’s Time to Pause and Reflect On One Who Arrived in this World 42 Years Ago Today

It was 42 years ago today that I came into this world. Photographs are great reminders of where we’ve been. These are just a few of the shots I’ve taken over the years.

1970-Richmond, Va.
1989-Richmond, Va.
1997-Atlanta, Ga.
2000-Hamburg, Germany
2006-Provo, UT
2011-Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Photographs are great tools for remembering where you’ve been.

Today as I celebrate the 42nd anniversary of my birth, I utilize these  images captured on film and disk to recall the steps taken along this journey called life.

My faith tells me that it is God who has ordered my steps.

My values tell me that it’s the people in this life whom we touch who are most important.

Each one of these images represents a place where  God has allowed me to touch someone’s life.

Taking no single day for granted, I look forward to the next 42 years.

It’s Neat To Be In the Company of Preachers This Week on Moody Radio South

As one of the guests on “For Such A Time As This” segment on Moody Radio South, I’ve found myself in the company of great preachers of the Gospel, who also were guests this week during Moody Radio South’s New Day Cafe.

I never thought that I would be able to say I’m in the company of preachers of the Gospel.

But, this week as one of the guests on “For Such a Time As This” segment on Moody Radio South, that’s exactly what happened.

Martin Houston, co-host of Moody Radio South’s Morning Show, New Day Cafe, invited me to talk about Christian alliances and partnerships and I’ve found myself among other pastors who were interviewed for the series.

The second part of my interview aired this morning. on Moody Radio South, which is heard on 88.9 FM in Tuscaloosa or over the Internet on the Website.

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Fearing the Fallout from Verdict in Virginia Tech Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Today’s verdict in the Virginia Tech wrongful death trial in Christiansburg, Va., has special meaning as it came down as I had just visited with people and places central to the tragic events on April 16, 2007.

BLACKSBURG, Va–  Spending three days here in the very building where hordes of media gathered nearly five years ago in the wake of the worst shooting on a college campus in U.S. history could not have happened at a better time.

This afternoon, a Montgomery County  jury unanimously awarded $4 million to Karen and Harry Pryde, and $4 million to Celeste and Grafton Peterson for the deaths of their daughters in Norris Hall on April 16, 2007.

The Inn at Virginia Tech is just a beautiful building. It was an ideal place for scores of news media to gather April 16, 2007 for news conferences. What Virginia Tech officials did not anticipate is that it would be the place where families of those students who were killed would also be housed.

The decision came just three days after the AEJMC Southeast Colloquium concluded here at the Inn at Virginia Tech, the place where 11 news conferences were held across the 8 days following the shooting.

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