Glengarry Glen Ross & Preparing Students for the Saltiness of the Newsroom
More than once, reporters (or former reporters) have subtly or directly asked if and how we were going to prepare students for the culture of the newsroom. Not the pace, ethics or professionalism of it (those are major topics for another post), but the humor, word choice and general saltiness of it. A couple have wondered if we need sensitivity talks with the reporters, but the general opinion is that asking reporters to self-censor on a daily basis is a lost cause. And the concern seems to come only from the reporters (concerned about their colleagues’ behavior, of course). As far as I can tell, University administration and faculty don’t seem too worried about this. The Baptist heritage and sheltered upbringing of some students not withstanding, it’s a progressive institution not overly concerned with observing the niceties.
I joked that we should hold a showing of Glengarry Glen Ross, and someone said that might not be a bad idea. Maybe we should screen it for the media-studies value; I do love Mamet and that cast. But these days, I don’t know if there are sales offices that salty, competitive and cynical, let alone newsrooms. I’ve certainly not seen it here. The upside of the downturn is that media people are more humble, cooperative and open to innovation than ever. Sure, choice words will be spoken, but will they shock a new college student? I tend to think they’ve seen it all by this point (unless they’ve been sequestered away from the Internet, cable, satellite, mobile phones and friends).
What do you think? How shocking are newsrooms (or offices in general) to typical college students?
Still, it would be fun to re-watch this.