March and the First Signs of Spring

Well, we made it to March, and I’m thrilled that February is history. And I’m looking forward to ending my self-imposed exile from hitting the concrete early a.m. This is the longest I’ve been off the roads in several decades — fretting about ice, snow and cold. Admittedly, there are bigger problems — but hey, it’s important in my little world.

And while chasing the treadmill belt this morning my thoughts for some reason turned to a journalism class I took at Kent State in the late ’60s. It was a class where we spent hours writing stories for radio news broadcasts — under the watchful eye and sometimes harsh editing pen of Kenny Halterman, a long-time and well-known Akron-area reporter and radio news director.

Mr. Halterman is typical of the many pros who at some stage in their careers enter the classroom while continuing their day jobs and really help students learn and prepare for careers. He was ruthless when it came to accuracy. He sliced unnecessary words — teaching how to tell a story (many times in 60 seconds or less) while being clear and concise. And he showed us the importance of writing for the ear — as well as for the eye.

One of our weekly assignments involved writing in class a short commentary. Mr. Halterman’s advice about content: write about the weather, if you don’t have anything else really compelling to talk about.

OK. That’s what I’m doing this morning even though I could be opining about the devastation in Chile and Haiti, the health care debacle debate, the continuing crisis with jobs and unemployment and the best hockey game ever, yesterday’s Olympic final with Canada and the USA.

But you what? As I walked our dog this morning I heard birds chirping.

And that made me smile.

A first sign of spring.

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3 responses to “March and the First Signs of Spring

  1. Hallelujah!! I’m glad I’m not the only goofy person smiling on her morning walk (albeit it to her car to go to work…) at the sound of birds. 🙂

  2. Well, that makes two of us. And I bet we’re not alone.

  3. Rob, although you wrote about the weather, something I love watching whatever the season, your posting was valuable to me for another reason: Kenny Halterman was my dad. I think you are the first person to have described anything he did as “ruthless,” but I get what you were saying. I was a KSU sophomore on May 4, 1970, and although I have worked at many different jobs, for the past fifteen years I have worked in the editorial field (I guess inherited that gene from him). Accuracy and economy of words are of paramount importance to me too, but I just loved seeing this reminder of my precious dad in print.

    Thanks for sharing your recollections of him and his class.

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