Dave is at home in Gainesville, resting.
His term ended at 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, 2006.
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Thursday, March 23, 2006

March 23: Mt. Pleasant, Mich.

Today, I flew from Milwaukee to Cincinnati to Detroit (who knows what makes the airlines tick) and then drove two hours northwest to Central Michigan University at Mt. Pleasant. Google map.

It was a prodigious amount of travel to visit a chapter, but its president, a CMU senior named Khristopher Brooks, had shown all the qualities of a great young reporter in convincing me to come. He kept asking until I finally said yes just to get him to leave me alone. (Note to students: The same strategy can work when trying to get a journalism job.)

The CMU student chapter and the Central Michigan Pro chapters of SPJ turned out a great crowd for me. I spoke about the breadth of activities of SPJ and our central missions -- the ethical practice of journalism, freedom of information, diversity and professional development. I tried to illustrate those missions by talking about the things SPJ leaders deal with, often in just a few days' time. We also talked about some of the challenges confronting our industry and the promise that technology holds for the journalists of the future. The photo was shot by student Russel B. Smith for the student newspaper, CMU Life.

After the meeting, we visited a venerable old CMU watering hole, The Bird, in downtown Mt. Pleasant, for local microbrew and pizza -- a thin crust with alfredo sauce, spinach, scallions and four cheeses, feta, blue, mozzarella and Parmesan. I bought a t-shirt as a souvenier.

Tomorrow, it's homeward bound, but I'll be traveling for about 10 hours to get there.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

March 22: Milwaukee, Wisc.
At lunch today, I had the honor of declaring the Milwaukee Press Club an SPJ Historic Site in Journalism.

The club, which formed in 1885, is the oldest continuously operating press club in the Americas. It's a fascinating place. Early in its history, members began asking dignitaries who visited to sign their names on the wall with white chalk. The tradition continues today and includes more than 1,300 autographs dating back to the 1890s.

Historic Site in Journalism plaqueWhen the club moved from the original site, members cut the signatures out of the wooden wall and took them along to the new location. Now, they are framed and a few hundred, which rotate every few months, hang on the wall at the current site. I saw the scrawls of Louis Armstrong, Babe Ruth and William Howard Taft to name a few. I was flattered when they asked me to sign one, but I won't blame them if mine does not see much time on the wall.

Another of the club's amazing posessions is a mumified cat, named Anubis, that was found at one of its locations over the years. It led to a club slogan, "Where the only thing dead is the cat."

After lunch, I talked about where I see the future of journalism and technology going. Tonight, there will be dinner. In Milwaukee, it must be sausages and beer.

The photo shows me (left) with Press Club President Steve Jagler and the bronze plaque that will grace the front of the building. More pictures.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

March 15: On national radio, 10-11 p.m.

As I write this, I am "appearing" on the radio, the Jim Bohannon Show, a nationally syndicated talk show on Westwood One Radio. We're discussing FOI day, which Bohannon is credited with having suggested in 1979 during the national SPJ convention in New York City. FOI day is March 16, James Madison's birthday.

Jim told me his impetus for making the suggestion was that shortly before the 1979 convention he had received a thick, slick public relations packet on Natonal Pickle Week. "I figured that if there was a week for the pickle," he said, "there could at least be a day for Freedom of Information."

I concur, Jim. Thanks for suggesting it.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

March 8: Oak Hammock, Gainesville, Fla.

This afternoon, I spoke at the Insitute for Learning in Retirement in Gainesville. It is, as its title suggests, a "college" for retirees headquartered at a retirement center called Oak Hammock at the University of Florida.

It was great fun. The crowd of 50 or so all were 65 and over, but they were very engaged and very interested in hearing my views on digital journalism, the future of media and, ironically, blogs. We even created a new blog for the institute. It will be interesting to see if anyone posts to it at institute-for-learning-in-retirement.blogspot.com. Everyone who was in the audience knows the password, so maybe someone will keep it going.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Feb. 24-March 8: Prague, Czech Republic

Actually, I'm not in Prague. I'm not even in Europe.

I had agreed to go to Prague, Vienna, Warsaw and Bratislava, Slovakia, to speak to journalists there about how and why to form professional organizations. It was a trip being arranged by the U.S. Department of State as part of its democracy program. But the dates kept coming closer and closer, and the arrangements had yet to be finalized. When it finally came together, it was only about 10 days before the departure date, and I just couldn't get away for that long without more advance notice. So, we postponed the trip.

It is now set for mid-May. At least it should be warmer for this thin-blooded Florida boy to venture so far north.