From NPR, a searchable sortable archive of the best commencement speeches, from 1774 to the present. What a resource. Two of my favorites, by David Foster Wallace and Steve Jobs, are represented.
Each speech is tagged by “theme or take-home message”, basically a taxonomy of commencement speech messaging. The most popular themes are:
12. Be kind
10. Make art
7. Remember history
6. Embrace failure
5. Work hard
4. Don’t give up
3. Inner voice
1. Change the world
Trite stuff perhaps, but delivered in the right way and by the right person, it makes people wanna run through walls. Let’s go! (via @tcarmody)
Ketzel Levine is a NPR senior correspondent who came up with the idea of doing a series about how Americans are handling the economic downturn…and then got laid off by NPR in the middle of her reporting. Here’s the series, American Moxie, How We Get By.
91-year-old NPR man Daniel Schorr has had it up to here with you kids and your internets. [Warning, print link to avoid stupid registration window.]
Q: In some commentaries, you touch on the latest journalistic trends, sometimes in not so complimentary a way. Such as blogs and citizen journalism. Is this a form of news gathering that you embrace?
A: I can’t embrace it. Not after what I’ve been through at the hands of the copy editors’ desks. I have suffered many, many arguments about what I’ve wanted to say — whether it was grammatically correct, factually correct and all of that — and I want everybody to have to experience what I experienced. But today, your blogger is totally free. He is his own reporter, his own editor, his own publisher, and he can do whatever he wants.
A person like me who believes in the tradition of a discipline in journalism can only rue the day we’ve arrived at where we don’t need discipline or anything. All you need is a keyboard.
He suffered, so you should too, you undisciplined mouthers-off! Update: A reader writes: “You are not giving the man the respect he deserves. He did not suffer—he honed his craft in an environment that expected professionalism, balance and honesty. What is unfortunate today is that today’s professional media are not held to the same standards. Most, if not all bloggers, do not rise to the quality of a Daniel Schorr. Unfortunately, neither do most of his younger colleagues.”
NPR report on The Elder Wisdom Circle, a group of seniors who use the combined wisdom of their ages to help people who write in with questions. What a nice idea. I love the response to the first letter…”if she really was serious about you, boy, oh boy, she would be running to the court to get a separation and divorce”. Here’s the EWC web site. (thx, jeff)
Established TV news stars are moving to NPR. “Network news is increasingly generating prospects for NPR in part because some broadcast journalists think the networks are veering away from serious, in-depth reports.”