On the first day of Introduction to News Writing at Lyndon State, students interview Dan Williams and then devise creative ways for their teacher to expire. The exercise in obituary writing introduces them to Professor Williams and to such journalistic principles as accuracy, reliability and public service.
“I tell them there’s no greater sin than misspelling someone’s name,” he says. “If your audience can’t trust you to get the name right, why should they trust anything you say?”
Professor Williams started teaching after a career at CNN and brings to the classroom more than a quarter century of television and newspaper experience. He sees the online convergence of print and broadcast as a great challenge for the news industry and a great opportunity for his students. “They’re tech-savvy and unafraid to try new things – they are the future.”
As adviser to the Lyndon State Critic, Professor Williams tries to instill in the student reporters a sense of wonder about their world. “Journalism is a free ticket to the best show on Earth,” he says. “It’s a front-row seat on history.”