Well, here we are.
In a little less than twelve hours we'll commence the 2004 commencement exercises of Columbia University, 250 years after the University was founded, and this time tomorrow I should have in my posession a Masters of Science in Journalism from said university.
In other words, I'll be done. In a few weeks I'll probably totally rearrange this blog and my web presence, just as I'll totally rearrange my life. This blog started as an exercise in observing life from the vantage point of a Columbia student in New York. I really got into it mainly because it became a letter "home" to my beloved friends and family around the country and around the world. While I've been very pleased to acquire some "stranger readers" and virtual friends, these friends and family are definitely the bulk of my audience, both intended and real. But soon it wil be time to go in earnest search of a wider audience.
You can watch me commence, if you reall want to, because Columbia webcasts the ceremony
. I just watched the combo clip from 2002 and 2003, and with my newfound awareness of camera angles and shot transitions combined with the itchy reality that is the gown I'll be wearing, it served as a strong reminder of the power media has to alter an experience even as it is communicating it. There are the dramatic shots of students standing and cheering, the swelling music, the dramatic sweep of this or that dean's robed arm as he or she presents the future to the past. Yet as I pack a bag to hold water and umbrellas and tissue paper, I'm quite aware that the three hours will not feel like that. There will be no hip soundtrack, no slow motion rise. You do not view your own graduation from above. Even scrupulously nonfictional journalism must present an altered portrait of reality, and the best journalists embrace their toolbox and choose the alterations as deliberately as possible.
The challenge is using that altering effect wisely, and I humbly request that you all will keep helping me as I try to make good choices. I also want to humbly thank you for all the encouragement and feedback and amusement you've all been sharing with me this year.