Friday, June 10, 2011

Something From Nothing

Over 3 years ago we made friends with Chris Dietz who was managing EDS Corporation Hungary at the time. One night over dinner, I was moaning about the lack of computers at the university while stating that if I had some, I wanted to create a Peer to Peer Writing Center. Chris managed to get EDS to donate 10 computers and monitors. These were IBM computers and Dell flat screen monitors. I thought I had died and went to heaven. 

My department head had a vision of having a journalism program. It would be the first journalism program in English, in Hungary. Guess who became responsible for it? Well, a journalism program was born. It was a challenge, but I loved it.

BA students enter the specialization in their 2nd year. In their 3rd semester of the program, they have to do an internship after I have made contacts with the local English newspapers and magazines. Many where resistant to interns, but some places I was able to twist an arm here and there. Sometimes being a Frommer's author has a bit of power. 

One of my students from the 1st group to go through the program, Gabriel Mero Santucci, landed an internship with Time Out Budapest magazine. Time Out is published in over twenty-two cities around the world. At the end of his internship, he was given a monthly column of his own. Each month, he writes about dance performances or interviews choreographers. As the first star of the program, I held him up as the example for others.

Yesterday, I received this note.

Dr. James,
Just to catch up with you very quickly; I finished my internship at Where this month and I got paid to write the feature article for the June issue, which you can also read online here:

I had a great time at the magazine and Nick said that I am part of the team now. I can pitch up ideas for feature articles in the future and write them as a freelance writer. My next one will probably appear in the November issue. He also said that he would really like to have a new intern next year so if you could urge the second year students to apply, it would be great.
Have a nice summer, 
Peter Mészáros

I don't need kids of my own. I have had hundreds in my 25+ years of teaching and never had to pay for braces for any of them. 
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