Student Journalists Have Much to Learn
Reginald Stuart, a native of Nashville and a Tennessee State University alumni and retired journalist, posed questions to Meter staffers on Oct. 26 to make them think about what they need to know to be successful in the journalism business.
“What is a sesquipedalian,” Stuart said, “This question is worth money.” He told the students not to use their smart phones but to try and figure it out. Stuart worked at The Tennessean newspaper before becoming a reporter for the New York Times. He went on to work for Knight Ridder newspapers and the McClatchy Co.
As the students struggled to answer this along with other terms and names of people, Stuart just kept asking questions, and dropping hints. He gave the answers to some questions but most he kept to himself. He has challenged the students to remember all the names and terms and go find out the facts for themselves.
“A sesquicentennial is 150 years. And it’s been 150 years since the end of slavery which ended in 1865. Know for your own sake, not mine, who the people I named are and be able to summarize. Be concise and precise about what you’re saying too, the more clear you are the more people believe you,” Stuart said.
Stuart also gave the students a little history lesson about The Meter. He said it was started by Sam Yette, who went on to write “The Choice” and was a well-known journalist in the country. Yette is now deceased.
He then wrapped up the the evening’s conversation with a story about him being a young journalist and his boss telling him that if he covered a story he would get a free continental breakfast. The young Stuart had no idea what a continental breakfast was and thought it was a grand, large breakfast. He was excited to go and ended up being disappointed with free coffee and donuts.
“As young journalist you don’t start off being smart and elegant such as myself, you start as dumb as a box of rocks. I don’t expect you to know everything under the sun but I expect you to go out there and try to learn as much as you can,” Stuart said.