A brush with the paparazzi


On Monday I had my photo taken at least a thousand times by no less than 20 different photographers. It was one of those psuedo-famous moments where I felt like I was someone else, maybe even Lady Gaga. (Note: My butt cheeks weren’t hanging out.)

I was addressing high school students participating in Ball State’s summer journalism workshop. Photogs circled around the stage, in front and in back. At the top of the auditorium they stood on seats and tried to get an angle that no one else had imagined. I was less of a pseudo-celebrity and more of a bowl of fruit.

The title of my talk was “Confessions of an Untraditional Journalist.” You can read a summary of the talk on the site of the workshop. I talked about my path to do doing what I do today and how I didn’t wait for permission or assignments to go and tell the stories I wanted to tell. I should write this all down in a future blog post.

After my talk I did a 10-minute interview with some students that you can listen to here. The first question the student asked I found particularly interesting: “Have there been any stores that you’ve been emotionally unable to tell?”

A summary of my answer: It is my responsibility to the people who let me into their lives to tell their stories. I’ve yet to come across a story that, with the passing of some time, I’ve been unable to write about. That’s the thing I love about writing: it helps me make sense of the world.


Let your voice be heard!