Whatever happened to that kid?

The last week of the year is a challenge for anyone in the news business; there’s simply very little news going on.

So it’s a good time to waste time — cleaning out the e-mail, for example.

Today, I started chucking e-mails that I’ve saved in the “Stuff to Save” folder. There are e-mails from colleagues who are dead now, couples who are divorced, and the rare missive from someone who wrote something nice. There are passwords for sites that no longer exist. But some are e-mails I saved for reading later, and then never got around to.

There’s this one, for example, from November 2003 from a high school student at Jefferson High School in Bloomington, who attended a symposium MPR had offered for young people who might be interested in a career in journalism. I was managing editor for MPR’s online news division then (there were only two of us).

We do very few of these anymore, which is too bad because there’s nothing more invigorating for journalists than young people who are interested in the field.

Anyway, she wrote a thank-you note to the person who was my boss back then:

I can honestly say I enjoyed all the speakers, but I was especially intrigued by Mr. Collins’ speech about online journalism. I think it’s very interesting that radio as a news medium, in particular, has embraced online journalism to the degree that it has. I have heard quite often that online journalism means the end of journalistic reporting as we now know it. Of course, this is true, but Mr. Collins emphasized particularly how that is not a bad thing. He implied that it perhaps makes the job a bit more difficult, but it also allows the public access to more information. That, of course, is what journalism is all about. His speech made me realize that journalism is at a very exciting point right now, evolving and becoming something better than it was before. He also tied his speech in well with Mr. Skolar’s talk on Interactive Journalism. I also found this topic particularly interesting. I find that many people my age, myself sometimes included, tend to be quite apathetic about events that are happening around them. By allowing people to, in effect, become the news, it should increase interest. That’s simply human nature. What an absolutely ingenious idea.

I wondered whatever happened to that kid? So I “Googled” her and found her… at the Washington Post. She made it to the big time.

Good for you, Hayley Tsukayama!

I wonder what else is in this email folder?