Thursday, July 26, 2007

Theresa Cranks Out Gold

Close readers of newspapers (and of writers' bylines) will notice a raft of unfamiliar names popping up in the paper each summer. Odds are good that these names below the headline belong to summer interns, who are generally college students. One of the better ones anywhere happens to be my young friend Theresa Edwards, a Kent State University journalism student who's now interning at the Columbus Dispatch.

Theresa, whom I met and subsequently befriended through the Society of Professional Journalists (she was president of the KSU student chapter as a freshman), has so much enthusiasm for the craft that she sometimes takes my breath away. It doesn't hurt that she also has the people skills of someone 10 years older, and that she just keeps showing up wherever journalists gather (there she is in the nearby photo, the girl in the front row to the right. She was part of the National Association of Black Journalists as they toured the Plain Dealer). You shouldn't be surprised to see her mixing easily among delegates of Hispanic, foreign, male, senior citizen or any other kind of journalists, because she'd just as easily transcend those boundaries too. She's just into journalism like no one I've ever met.

Anyway, every time I read another of the endless stream of stories about the impending death of journalism, I immediately think of a handful of hyperenthusiastic, extremely talented young journalists I've met who give the lie to that silly argument. But always, I think of Theresa first. I hope you'll get to meet her some day and hear from her directly. In the meantime, you can do the next best thing, by sampling some of her great work here, here, here, here, here and here. And I was especially pleased to see her take up the issue of cliches here.


At 2:55 PM, Anonymous M├Ądchen said...

Well, as long as we're on the topic of women in journalism, upon learning that she left the PD, I did a little googling of sarah treffinger, one of their medical reporters (former, that is). Now, I'm not pretending this is news to your plugged in readership, but in my circles, this raised a plucked eye brow or two. Turns out that sara had interesting ties in Cleveland, and more specifically, at the Cleveland Clinic, which happened to be her beat. Okay, depending on one's perspective, this could be a good thing, in terms of providing her with more access than her less connected brethern (or sistern), or a bad thing, in that it's a big fat conflict. Anyway, I don't ever recall the PD pointing out this rather interesting detail in a footnote attached to every one one of her stories.

So here's what I stumbled across--an NYT wedding announcement from 2001 (check out the last graph, in particular):

June 17, 2001
WEDDINGS; Sarah Treffinger, Larry Latson Jr.

Sarah Elizabeth Treffinger, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Treffinger of Verona, N.J., was married there yesterday to Larry Allen Latson Jr., the son of Dr. and Mrs. Latson of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. The Rev. Michael Hanly performed the ceremony at Our Lady of the Lake Roman Catholic Church.

The couple graduated from Colgate University, where they met.

The bride, 23, will continue to use her name professionally. She is a reporter for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. She received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia. Her father is the county executive for Essex County, N.J. Her mother, Janet Treffinger, is a registered nurse at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, N.J.

The bridegroom, 24, is a candidate for a master's degree in biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University and is a research assistant at the Lerner Research Institute of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. His father is the chief of pediatric cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic Hospital. The bridegroom's mother, Deborah Latson, is a graphic artist in Cleveland Heights.

At 4:53 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Now that's interesting. I met Sara once, when we appeared together on a writers' panel. She was a nice enough person, but I can't say I ever found her coverage of the Clinic to be very noteworthy (a friend of mine, who worked there and who knew where some of the bodies were buried, would constantly pepper her with ideas and critiques via email. He says she never seemed too interested in following up).

I did once chuckle as I watched her boss, business editor Paul O'Donnell, complain at a Press Club event about how the Clinic would often stiff its hometown paper and instead work with national papers on important breaking stories. He seemed wholly unaware that there are other ways of getting news, like digging on your own rather than relying on PR people to feed you.
But if true, as I assume it is, that would be a rather large conflict of interest, to report on a major institution where your husband works.


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