Some advice to communications students

I stumbled across my notes for a presentation I gave Oct. 15, 1988, to Christian college students pursuing careers in communications. I had been out of college 11 years at the time, had been managing editor of a daily newspaper, public relations director for a seminary, and associate editor of a state Baptist paper.

I’ve experienced much in the 29 years since this presentation, but I still kind of like these thoughts. I talked about communications as a way of putting faith in action. Here are the highlights:

— Maintain the highest standards of INTEGRITY (be trustworthy, truthful, fair)


— AVOID being NEGATIVE in outlook


— Attend CHURCH and serve there

— Watch your TONGUE

— Be prepared to give your personal TESTIMONY

— Be SENSITIVE to people’s needs and help meet them


Nothing says more about your faith than the way you live and work.


— DRESS as a businessperson (possibly better than peers).

— READ (get to know the language and how to use it; read the classics and contemporary works; establish a reading list and work through it; schedule time to read). (2017 Note: Today I would add to read outside of your personal cultural and gender comfort zone.)

Know your CRAFT (grammar, spelling, technique, terminology–you can learn).

Know your BEAT (the people, the rules, the past, the system).

Be up-to-date on CURRENT AFFAIRS (local, state, national, world).

Study HISTORY (you are young, you need perspective or context).

Be open to CRITICISM from others, especially supervisors (do it their way as long as it’s ethical; work on your weaknesses).

Keep your EGO in check (you’re in the public eye, don’t let it go to your head).

Keep your VISION set on what you want to become not on others.

Be a STUDENT OF PEOPLE (church can be a great help; join a civic club).

Devote your energy to OBJECTIVES (find out what the boss wants and give it to him/her).

Be PRODUCTIVE (set personal goals–a byline a day).

Find a FRIEND outside the organization who you can be open and honest with (dump on him or her not on those around you at work).



Be careful about seeking POWER. Seek INFLUENCE.

You have RESPONSIBILITY to others and to God.

Do your best, and God will bless.

I gave this presentation Oct. 15, 1988, at the Illinois BSU/BASIC Fall Convention.

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