So let me jump into your first question: Who is this guy?
My name is Geoffrey Gevalt and I am a new NL guest blogger. For 33 years I was a journalist; I believed it a calling, a profession, really, that was affirmed by the First Amendment and that necessitated long hours, low pay, dogged and sometimes unsuccessful journeys and greasy food consumed late at night and washed down with beer. I was lucky enough to work with superb editors and writers and along the way I picked up a few awards as both a writer and editor. For two years I had the privilege of choosing the finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Beat Reporting and, if pressed, could give you details from many of the entries I read. I am proud to say that three people I selected, candidates that I fought for, eventually won and if we ever meet and you’ve gotten your head around the math problem there, I’ll tell you the story.
As you can tell, I was born in the Early Jurassic Period, which fell just before the Late Great Newspaper Demise Period. And, if ever we meet, I will get into my rap about how the retraction of the American news business has been the primary cause of the decrease in our nation’s collective civic knowledge and the increase in our lack of civility in public discourse. But I will spare you that discussion here.
Because I am now a digital educator. And my life has a different mission. And I have different concerns: I believe that if we can get kids to write well they will gain confidence, learn more, succeed more and become better citizens. But we are woefully neglecting writing in our schools and in this new digital world, where writing is needed more than ever, we are doing a tremendous disservice to our kids — particularly disadvantaged kids — by not teaching them how write their way out of a paper bag.
Thankfully, many students, teachers and principals agree with me.