Monday, January 19, 2009

About me (as if you care ;-)

OK, so now I've got a blog with my name on it. Why? I didn't want to be the LAST person in the world to have one. And it seems like more than half the world already has at least one. ;-)

You'd think I would have signed up a bit sooner for a blog because I love to write and pretend someone's reading it.  My first career was working as a newspaper reporter and editor. So I got used to thinking people were reading what I wrote.  But while I was in college ('83-'87), I did a survey of college students back then to find out where they get their news and how many minutes/hours per day they spent with each type of media, and which one they trusted.

NEWSPAPERS? They spent very little time reading them and didn't trust them as much as what they saw in 30-second "stories" on TV news. What the heck?  Thank goodness the Internet hadn't blossomed yet to totally erode all newspaper readers of that age yet as it mostly has now.

What else have done?

COLLEGE BOOKSTORE MANAGER -- yea, that was fun for a while ... until I burned out on retail and management.

INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY & INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN & ONLINE COURSES -- Now I'm an eLearning Consultant for a university. Basically, I help faculty think about how to reinvent their courses when they move them to be totally online ... or just how to put parts of it online or otherwise enhance their face-to-face classes with online materials and activities. It's fun. It's cool. It's sort of like being an "eTherapist" for faculty as a colleague described it. "You can do it, Dr. ___.  Don't worry. It'll be OK. Take the mouse. Good."



WHERE HAVE I LIVED?

Born near Chicago.

Moved when 3 weeks old to Alabama and moved to several different cities in next 7 years within that state -- Birmingham (2 or 3 times), Tuscaloosa, Montevalo and Demopolis.

Just before my 8th birthday, we moved to Louisville, Ky., and stayed put in the same house until I graduated from high school in '83.

During college, one of my summer internships was in Cincinnati, Ohio.

After college, my first job was in Sarasota, Florida.

I'd go back to Kentucky later -- Elizabethtown and Louisville -- before moving to Michigan in 1992 (first to Plymouth -- between Detroit and Ann Arbor; later in Ypsilanti; and, finally, in Rochester when I got engaged to my now ex wife).

She and I moved to Columbus, Ohio, back in 1996 after deciding that we wanted to choose a city where we wanted to settle down and raise a family ... and then find jobs we truly loved -- regardless how much the pay cut might be from our bookstore management jobs with Barnes & Noble College Bookstores.  My pay cut was about 40%. And it was the best move I ever made.

We both still love Columbus ... even if we're not in love with each other any more.  We're still both dedicated to co-parenting our wonderful son, Kevin, who is 8.  You can see him at www.KevinStone.net (although it's been a couple of years since I updated photos there ... used to be a daily/weekly activity ;-).



OLD & NEW THOUGHTS ABOUT NEWSPAPERS:

During college, I had 5 internships at newspapers. I even helped a college professor START a newspaper from SCRATCH. It was a 5,000-circulation weekly in Smiths Grove, Ky. I got to design the nameplate, layout the pages, write most of the stories, take most of the pictures, drive the disk with all this stuff to the other paper he owned where they had a real staff that could paste things up. Then I drove it to a press another hour or so east. Then I'd drive the truck full of papers back to Bowling Green, Ky., where I lived. There were no apartments in the little town of Smiths Grove.  The next morning by 5 a.m., I'd meet the postal service workers at the back door with the load of papers to bulk mail. They'd deliver them that day.  And it all started over again.

I realized before I graduated from college that newspapers would not be my lifetime work. I'd already done most of what I wanted to do before I graduated. And I realized this was a business that acted like a dinosaur and was bent on dooming itself to extinction. Still today, most journalists are deluded into saying, "Don't let newspapers die" when they are already dead in the eyes of most people under the age of 40.  They need to reinvent themselves as a news operation that does not primarily distribute what it produces via print.



Some of my favorite quotes:

"The most important things in life aren't things."

"When a job quits being fun, quit and find one that is." (although I've found it better to find one before you quit)  Good advice from a journalism prof.  It's part of the reason I've left two careers and made sure that my current job is at a university with thousands of different job titles -- that way, I can change jobs without starting all over with retirement and benefits, etc. ;-)

"Be the change that you seek."

"Yes we can."

"Yes we did."

"Yes we will."

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