9/13 meeting recap

Last night SPJ hosted Mark Somerson, an assistant city editor as well as science, environment and medical editor for the Columbus Dispatch. Thanks to all of you who came, but if you couldn’t make it here’s what you missed:

Mark was an editor at the Lantern and said he loved working for the paper. Starting off as a business major, Mark learned about writing for the paper from a co-worker at Lazarus.

“I loved writing but I didn’t realize you could do that for a living,” he said.

Mark Somerson spoke to SPJ members on 9/13

He brought copies of stories he had written for the Lantern, including his first from April 29, 1986 about the downfall of the record. While at OSU, he said he “didn’t respect his professors as much as he should have,” but instead focused on writing for the Lantern.

After graduation he applied to over 100 papers, but not the Columbus Dispatch. Eventually he started at the News Herald in Mentor,Oh. before moving onto the Columbus Dispatch.

As a science and medical reporter he has been able to be up close and involved in surgeries. He’s held someone’s heart and touched someone’s brain. He also worked at a Santa Claus in City Center mall for an hour and married a couple as an ordained minister. He said these experiences helped him be more descriptive in his stories and really paint a picture for readers.

He said a good reporter leaves their desk and does as many interviews as possible in person, come up with your own story ideas, get an internship, and learn how to write for the web.

He also advised students, “You only get better with writing the more you do.”

His tips for interviewing included: look the interviewer in the eye, be passionate about what you do, don’t say “like” or “um”, and say “I don’t know” if you really don’t know.


Thanks again to Mark for coming and speaking to us. We hope to see you at the next meeting on September 27th.




New meeting dates and more

You asked for it, so we’re adding more meeting dates to our calendar. SPJ will now meet every other Thursday at 6 p.m. in journalism 106. The new dates are: 9/13, 9/27,10/11, 10/25,11/8, and 11/29.

Our next meeting will feature Lantern alumnus and Columbus Dispatch science, environment, and medical editor Mark Somerson. Bring your questions about how to succeed in journalism today, science writing, and anything else you can think of.

If you couldn’t make it to our first meeting, feel free to email Alexis Preskar at preskar.1@osu.edu if you have any questions.

Also, if you have any suggestions for future meeting topics or other events, let us know! Whether you know someone who could be a great speaker, or you’d like to see us focus on a different part of journalism we want your input.

We hope to see you next Thursday!