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Journalism: “Announcing the Center for Washington Cultural Traditions”

Announcing the Center for Washington Cultural Traditions: celebrate at a free all-day party in Seattle on Saturday, March 3. 

I wrote some corporate journalism for Humanities Washington as a part of my internship in the communications office. In this announcement story, I was tasked with explaining the concept of “cultural traditions” and “folk art”—and representing their importance. You can read the whole story on their website.

But what are cultural traditions? While the name “folk and traditional arts” or “cultural traditions” may evoke a dry, historical connotation for some, [anthropologist Kristin] Sullivan insists that is not the case.

“I think of cultural traditions as any practices or objects/material culture that are reflective of the life or identity of a community, and that are practiced over time—often generations,” she said.

While a focus on cultural tradition means highlighting traditions that originated in Washington State, that’s not the CWCT’s exclusive focus. The CWCT also hopes to conserve “all traditions that are carried on in Washington—those of immigrant populations, both long-established and more recently arrived.”

ArtsWA executive director Karen Hanan explains that these traditions are a part of everyday life for everyone. For her, that’s what makes the work of the CWCT not just exciting, but a priority.

“Everybody has come from a culture. Everybody has things that they are carrying on and passing on, regardless of where they’re from. They’re all valuable: they’re the richness of our different lives all woven together in this wonderful tapestry that makes a state like Washington as alive with history and stories as it is,” she said. “It’s fundamental, and supporting it is critical.”

Journalism: Q&A with PLU alumna and activist

There’s more to ‘Tell’: Margaret Witt ’86 on fighting homophobia and being tokenized

Writing in Pacific Lutheran University’s student social justice journal, The Matrix:

News flash: there were gay people at Pacific Lutheran University before there was a Center for Gender Equity, a Queer Ally Student Union, or any celebrations of a pride week. Major Margaret Witt, who will give the Meant to Live Lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, in the Scandinavian Cultural Center, is one of them.

…Her queer experience differs from mine. I came out at PLU with joyfully little fanfare: I announced my queer identity, and my friends said “Great, but… Duh?” and we moved on.

The first time Margie heard the words “Major Witt is gay,” it was from her attorney’s mouth in front of the press…

Read the whole Q&A here.

Scholarship: “Lighting it up” in CMR

Lighting it up: Journalism as a conversation at the private university

Dr. Joanne Lisosky and I are pleased to announce the publication of our article, “Lighting it up: Journalism as a conversation at the private university,” in College Media Review Vol. 54. You can read the article in its entirety at CMR or at my Academia.edu page as a PDF. The abstract is reproduced below:

Student journalists at private universities do the hard work of turning the lights on in the darkened, pseudo-public spheres on their campus. Without a clear idea of who is obligated to be the teller of unsavory truths on the private university’s campus, student media must often take up the torch. Building on Jurgen Habermas’s and Alexander Kluge’s work on the “public sphere” and Doreen Marchionni’s “journalism as a conversation,” student media publications can be examined for their coorientation, informality, and interactivity. Using two stories from the student media of Pacific Lutheran University as a case study illustrates how a robust student journalism outlet is a vital component of initiating important conversations in the public sphere of the private university. This investigation includes suggestions for implementing these strategies at other private universities.