The Best News You’ll Read All Day
It’s said in my business that a good reporter needs a “nose for news,” the ability to find stories in overlooked places.
So, naturally, I wanted to see if my new crop of college journalism students had functioning olfactory systems that could sniff out a story.
I looked over my left shoulder, to the clock on the wall, and the minute-hand had crept past 10 a.m. Time for the hunt to begin.
The Power Point slide flashed its welcome: “Welcome to class. You’re one step closer to becoming a reporter. Did you bring your Nose for News?”
I told the students they had exactly one minute to pair up, find notebooks and race for the door. In 25 minutes, they would uncover as many stories as they could — right on the campus where they lived.
Their eyes betrayed their mistrust, as if to say, “News? In this boring place?”
I clapped my hands together, grinning my enthusiasm wide. The best reporters wear out shoe-leather looking for stories and knocking on strangers’ doors and running fearlessly into the world in search of Truth.
They zipped open bookbags, fumbled for spiral-bound notebooks, and clung to the hope that this wild woman in the front knew what she was asking them to do. And some of them tasted the adventure before it even began. They were hungry for story.
Others wore the look of defenseless children being sent into the forest to have tea with wolves. One student dropped his head in cupped hands before he took the first step from desk to door.
I patted his back. “Go on,” I coaxed. “You’ll be fine. Promise.”
And off they went, on a new adventure to prove to their teacher (and to themselves) that they could find news in the most unlikely places.
I saw them in the hallways and in the library and in the bookstore, asking the questions and scribbling the answers. I went with one student, who marched straight into the college president’s office. The freshman woman smiled and fearlessly asked the president’s secretary: “I’m on the search for news. What’s new with the president?”
With God-fidence, they gathered the news up like bouquets of roses and weeds and daisies and crabgrass. It was all worth considering, even the stuff with thistles.
My friend Carla knew I was sending my students on a surprise news-gathering assignment, and she asked me later:
“How long, do you suppose, before they realize that life really is news?”
Because the news is right there, under our noses. The best news we’ll read all day is right around the corner, just down the hallway, tucked under the blankets, running wild toward the schoolbus. The best news all day is the nurse in the NICU, the farmer in the field, the girl in the gallery, the boy with the basketball.
It might not make the front page tomorrow, but the best stories are written in Living Letters, inked red on hearts.
And you and I? We’re the reporters.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it. We have breaking news. And is it ever good.
Grab your notebooks.
Find your story.
It’s waiting to be told.
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Well, you just made me want to throw down this laptop, stick my tongue out at the laundry machine, stomp on the dust bunnies, grab my notebook, and head for the door!
If I have a chance to take your class, I would definitely would want to be one of your students. The challenge you brought on, though frustrating must be for some to try to gather and finish their assignment, is definitely an awesome tool to learn and discover.
May others be able to read us, His letters, and point them to the Good News…In fact, the BEST NEWS!!!
Thank you sister Jennifer for your encouragement and prayers. Feeling better now by God's grace. Have a great weekend!
do ya mean they actually have to TALK to people???!!! face to face!? 😉
As a college student, back in the day…this assignment would have scared me to death. I would have been scarred! 🙂
As a grown woman, there is something about our stories that is exciting and news worthy. I saw that you posted this on FB the other day and it kind of made my heart skip with sympathy for your students and with anticipation at living life like that…eyes, ears open. Truth seekers. Not living afraid of what you will find and what you will have to do to find it, who you will meet along the way.
I want to live like that.
Now I wish I was in your class. You might be the first English/Journalism teacher I like. 🙂
Sandra — You have the nose for news, girl. Keep chasing the story. It's all yours …
RCUBEs — I'm glad to hear you are doing better now. Take care of yourself, and I'll be over soon to check out the story God's weaving in you lately! 🙂
Nancy — You're so funny. Yes, yes… face-to-face. I'm such a cruel teacher, aren't I?
Jessica — The cool thing was, all the students came back with light in their eyes and notebooks full of news. They were amazing.
Duane — I don't know. You might have to cross west over our great state to come up with a fair and balanced conclusion. One of my students described me as "quirky" in a discussion yesterday with one of my former students. I think that's a nice way of saying I'm just plain nuts.
Oh boy … Here's to a new semester of adventure.
The best news … I am called to report it, to shout it, to live it loud. May the stories of our lives reflect His, written in red.
Thank you friend for the encouragement today.
Beautifully presented. I've got lots of good news and I'm so thankful for the BEST NEWS as well. Thanks and blessings, Jennifer!
Yes…this was good…I too would have been the college student who dropped his head in his hands. However, now at 41 I would have asked the student next to me if they had any news to save me the extra steps…HA!
You are so fun, and I would have loved your class!
ps In case I don't tell you this enough, your pictures are amazing…makes me want to pick up this little red point and shoot next to me and start clicking.
If I lived a little closer I'd be clambering for a seat in your classroom Jennifer. I felt such excitement for those students. Just wonderful!!
Blessings, hugs, and prayers,
My favorite line! I want to be this fearless!
The freshman woman smiled and fearlessly asked the president's secretary: "I'm on the search for news. What's new with the president?"
And I would love to be in your class and I don't even LIKE writing! haha!
Love this……what a breath of fresh air!!!!!!!
One more thing to add to the list of Stuff I Wish I Could Do and Have to Content Myself Without Because God Didn't Put It in My Life: Jennifer's class.
That would have been a WAY cool assignment.
Life really is news! Mine's held enough in these past few weeks to hold me for a season. So thankful for the grace that weaves itself "in between the lines" to make it all worth it.
PS: I'd certainly love to be a student in the classroom.
What an awesome exercise!! Thank you for reminding me to appreciate the beauty of my own life. I've been getting that a lot from God lately–maybe I should listen!!
I am with Duane and Linda…I wanna be in your class. Have ever since I first discovered you are a journalism instructor.
How about you give us assignments? Right here. And some more lessons. I'll send you a red ink pen. And a sticker book. Some students like stickers. 😉
That settles it. I am packing up and moving so I can be in your class.
I never realized how much I like writing until I started my own blog. I am not a polished writer, but I do find a great amount of joy in sitting down to write a story; whether it be mine or someone else's.