This was one of the questions asked of presenters at the Pierre Moran Middle School Career Day. Seemingly silly at first, but from that question the ice was broken for a classroom full of students who then went on to ask more serious questions.
What do you say to a group of eighth grade students with a broad area of interests? It can be intimidating if you let it or you can take my approach and work behind a camera, which is my comfort zone after all. As health marketing/communications expert Shelly Roda and Big Brothers/Big Sisters Executive Dir. Stephanie Patka made their presentations I worked the room much as I would on an assignment. I was perhaps more laid back, but still busied myself gathering images for this post.
When it was my turn in front of the class we talked about a few things that are important to me. First and foremost I talked about learning. Many students think that once they are finished with school they are done learning. But as I explained to the students I need to learn more today than I did in school. Making the transition from B&W film, to color, to digital and all of the workflow steps that changed along the way the last 25 years have been learned on the job, and most importantly, on deadline.
Learning today involves a heavy dose of social media. The students liked my Nikon DSLR, but I explained to them that for some of my work my iPhone is the most important tool. The images and videos I create allow me to communicate instantly with Instagram and Twitter followers anywhere. Social media was one of the common threads in all of our presentations. We all use the new platforms, but in slightly different ways, with different goals.
I didn't ask, but my educated guess is that most of those students don't see The Elkhart Truth often, but they consume information constantly and now they know they can get that information from elkharttruth.com and our social media platforms. That makes it a morning well spent in my book.
As I walked back to the media center to gather my things I noticed a Newspaper Club poster in the hallway. Hopefully, a student or two will become student journalists. Who knows, maybe one day they will work at The Elkhart Truth. That would make it even better.
Oh, and to answer the first question...yes, I like waffles. Thanks for asking.