Teaching and public speaking

Development has been part of me ever since college, when I majored in journalism and earned a teaching certificate. Student teaching taught me that high school kids are way too mean (thank your local teachers for doing it). I decided that newsrooms were safer than classrooms, but still …

I began teaching at Oakland University in the late 1970s this way: A member of the journalism department who had seen my camera column in The Oakland Press asked whether I would teach photojournalism. I was flattered and asked when he needed an answer. He said that the first class was to meet that night. Of course, I said I couldn’t. A couple hours later he called and said I was stuck with it because his other prospect had turned him down. I have been an adjunct professor at Oakland University or Oakland Community College ever since. For the 2008-2009 school year, I am a visiting editor in residence at the Michigan State University School of Journalism, where I teacher reporting and writing.

Newsroom training has been part of my job since 1990. Others at the Free Press are heavily involved in staff development, too. My pet peeve about training is people who think it is up to the newspaper to be in charge of their training. That is so dangerous. Smart people invest time and money in their own development. They do not leave it up to others.

Harassment prevention training

Newsroom Theater: An interactive session designed to help people become more comfortable with presenting in front of groups.

Interviewing Across Cultures: Developed for UNITY 1998, this helps editors do job interviews with people from cultures other than their own.

The Live Interview: In this session, participants here how job interviews are designed and then watch and dissect an actual interviews. This can help people for either side of the interview table.

Noses, Toes, Turf and Cracks: This is the stuff that they don’t teach you about in school – newsroom politics. What puts editors’ noses out of joint? When are you stepping on someone’s toes? What about turf wars or things that fall through the cracks? You’ll wrestle with case studies based on actual newsroom events. Then, the whole group will join in discussing whether they think your strategies will work.

Job-pardy: With a Jeopardy-like game, you’ll learn the do’s and do-not’s in every facet of the newspaper job paper chase. The paperwork is very often the first step in pursuing a job or internship, so getting everything right at this stage is critical for making it to the next. It’s all here: résumés, cover letters, clips, critiques, autobiographical essays. You’ll learn about common mistakes and master strokes.

The Résumé Doctor: Learn about some of the most common ailments to afflict résumés, from excessive capitalization to résumarrhea. The Résumé Doctor will help you recognize the symptoms and prescribe cures using sample résumés. This is a timely workshop for people putting together a first résumé or for those who wonder about the one they already have out there.

Non-Journalism Subjects

  • Songs of the Great Lakes sailors
  • Newsies in postcards

Where I have trained or lectured


  • Akron Beacon Journal
  • Detroit Free Press
  • Howard Newspapers (defunct)
  • Knight Ridder (Also defunct. I know this looks bad.)
  • Miami Herald
  • Myrtle Beach Sun News
  • San Jose Mercury News
  • The (Columbia, S.C.) State
  • Tallahassee Democrat


  • American Copy Editors Society
  • American Press Institute
  • American Society of Newspaper Editors
  • Asian American Journalists Association
  • Chips Quinn Scholars
  • College Media Advisers
  • Dow Jones Newspaper Fund (University of North Carolina, San Jose State University)
  • ERE Expo
  • Freedom Forum
  • Hermanoff & Associates public relations
  • International Listening Association (March, 2009)
  • Investigative Reporters and Editors
  • Kaiser Foundation media interns
  • Michigan Collegiate Press Association
  • Michigan Interscholastic Press Association
  • Michigan Press Association
  • National Association of Black Journalists
  • National Writers Workshops (Wilmington, Del., and Wichita)
  • Native American Journalists Association
  • National Association of Hispanic Journalists
  • Ohio Newspaper Publishers
  • Online News Association
  • Poynter Institute
  • Society of Professional Journalists (national, Midwest and Southeast regionals)
  • South Asian Journalists Association
  • Southern Interscholastic Press Association (March, 2009)
  • UNITY: Journalists of Color
  • Women in Communications


  • Ball State University
  • Central Michigan University
  • City University of New York
  • Columbia University, New York
  • DePauw University (March, 2009)
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Henry Ford Community College
  • Howard University
  • Indiana University
  • Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University (Evanston and D.C.)
  • Michigan State University
  • The Ohio University
  • Penn State University (guest lecturer)
  • Stanford University
  • University of California-Berkeley
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor and Dearborn)
  • University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Wayne State University
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