Yeah, I feel the need to do this. By the way, this is not my Lab 4 post–if you’re reading this and expecting it to be, you’re looking at the wrong post. My Lab 4 story is The Oakland Graduate Who We Lost, so you should probably read that before this.
So, my recent post about Trace Pillars. You’ve probably got some questions about it if you know what the assignment was. For those who don’t, here’s the criteria:
“Research, report and write and story about an OU graduate who is moving (or has moved) out of state OR a student that has a job lined up after graduation. Tell the story through photos.
You’ll need to identify student who is graduating, or who graduated in the last five years. You may not use a Communication or Journalism major as your source. You may use crowdsourcing to find potential sources.
Write a 300-400 word story and publish it as a blog post. Make sure you use SEO-friendly headlines, as well as tags and categories.
You will use at least three photos as part of your story – one portrait, one action shot and one establishing shot. Tweet at least one of the photos along with a brief summary of your story, using the class hashtag #jrn411ou.”
So let’s boil this down:
-Has to be or have been an OU student
-Graduated within the past five years, or was graduating this year
-Was not a COM or JRN major
-Due Tuesday, five days after it was assigned.
So, let me preface this: these restrictions and the time we were given to do all of this was pretty crazy. On top of two of those days being on a weekend when nobody would be at the campus, the conditions for the students we needed to find seriously limited my pool. I could not choose any classmates from JRN 411 or my other classes as they were all one of the majors I could not choose.
I asked around the Oakland Student Center after my classes. Most of the people I asked looked at me like I was crazy the moment I started listing off what they needed to be in order for me to interview them, and asked not to be interviewed–some less politely than others.
The few who DID agree to it, however, were also COM majors. No dice there.
As crowdsourcing was allowed, I gave that a shot. I posted to the Oakland University subreddit.
Go ahead and click it. Look at the grand total of none participants (yes I know that’s not a proper phrase.) I had nobody to interview.
Trace was one of my absolute best friends. He fit every condition for the assignment, and were he alive I know he would’ve gladly let me interview him for this. And even though through no fault of my own due to the assignment itself I had nobody to interview, I couldn’t just NOT write a paper. So rather than go with my initial idea–a scathing, sardonic post about the impossibility of writing such a paper–I chose instead to write with what I had.
All of the quotes in the post are indeed from Trace, spoken to me directly by him. Nowhere in my assignment does it say the student must be alive, nor that we had to obtain brand new quotes for them from the story. In fact, we were encouraged to write a feature story with a more general focus while incorporating the interview or the story of the student.
So my feature is a memorial. A memorial to a student who worked hard and succeeded at getting out of the college Hell with a job and his life ahead of him. A memorial to a good friend who has and still does inspire me to do my best. A friend and mentor who guided me to Oakland in the first place. I can think of nobody more fitting of such a story.
As you can see, I have not violated any of the assignment conditions–I have followed them to the letter. Trace graduated within the past five years, had a job the moment he left the university, and was a computer science major. I have all of the photos, the quotes, and hyper-links. I write this not to say ‘I deserve a perfect score’ but instead to say ‘It’s unconventional, but I did what was asked of me.’ This is not me writing excuses. This is a preliminary argument for what I did and how what I wrote was acceptable. That is all.