So when I’m not writing books, raising my kids or killing elk with my bare feet, I serve as an unofficial adviser to The Panther, Chapman University’s student newspaper.
It’s a fun way to spend a Monday afternoon. I meet with the staff, go over the previous week’s issue, hear their upcoming plans and offer any wisdom I might accidentally stumble upon. Back when I was at Delaware, my relationship with most of the journalism professors was largely hostile. They didn’t care for my approach, and 90 percent of the feedback was negative. I’ve always remembered that; how painful it felt. So, to me, this is a chance to assist, but also guide, prod, boost. I let them know when stuff doesn’t work, but I also keep in mind that they’re still in college, and it’s all (rightly) experimental. Plus, the staff is really good. Smart, dogged, unafraid, inquisitive. It’s been an inspiring few months.
When you’re surrounded by the same gaggle of college students week after week, it’s easy to forget that you’re old enough to be a (admittedly young) parent of the participants. Then, every so often—SMACK!—you’re reminded.
Yesterday, one of the editors asked about the app I’ve been using of late. I told her all about Prisma; how much I love it and blah … blah. Then I pulled up my phone, showed her a picture and said—excitedly—”Look, you can even make it look like a person’s in water!”
Enter: Jamie, the editor in chief: “Jeff,” she said, “you’re such a dad.”