November 14, 2018

Spontaneity Says: Why media matters

In the days before GPS and Map Quest or even the internet, driving directions were most often given over the phone—the land line variety. I had just landed a new job and I was going to meet my new employer in a suburban town outside of Boston.  Coming from Connecticut, I would take the Mass Pike East, to 128 South, to Exit 21.  From there, I was to turn right on Washington St., hang a left on Forest, take one more right and the school gymnasium would be a half block down on the left. Instead of meeting downtown, my new supervisor at WEEI suggested that we get together at Celtics rookie camp, being held that summer at Babson College in a town called Wellesley.  It would be my first day on the job.

Not long after that, one of those first-year players — Dee Brown — was stopped by local police and ordered at gunpoint to lie face down on the pavement in a case of mistaken identity that would bring national headlines and eternal shame to the Wellesley Police Department.  In an odd way, I, too, experienced a case of mistaken identity:  I believed I was coming to Wellesley to start a long broadcasting career; little did I know that I would find my true calling as a teacher at a high school two blocks down the road from that college campus.   

Up to that fateful moment, I had devoted most of my life to the media. As a cub scout asked to build a town landmark, I constructed a cardboard replica of  my local radio station; in high school, I was the editor in chief of my school newspaper; in the summer I covered baseball for the local daily. By college, I made the transition from print to radio and spent far too many hours at the student station playing  the Beatles, Stones, Bruce, and Dylan. For a decade after graduation, my professional career would take me to radio outlets in Worcester;Montgomery , Alabama(that’s right, Alabama); Willimantic,  Connecticut;  Massapequa, Long  Island; Manhattan; and finally Boston, where I still have a Saturday morning show at the station that hired me a quarter century ago.   

That‘s why teaching the Media Matters course at WHS matters so much to me. It’s a journalism 101 of sorts that prepares future Bradford staff members for writing, reporting, editing, photojournalism, layout, digital,  and so many other aspects of the media and the world. But to be completely honest about it, it’s the way I get to be the editor in chief again, just  like I was all of those years ago as high school senior assigning news and sports stories, features, and editorials.  As a professional broadcaster, I was fortunate enough to cover Super Bowls, the World Series and Stanley Cups.  At other stations I got to reviews movies and restaurant. I bring all of those experiences into Media Matters.  Though I sometimes miss my old career, teaching this course makes me feel as though I am still a full-fledged member of the media.

Call it fate, kismet, karma, destiny, coincidence or just dumb luck — all I know is that a long time ago those roads led me to a town and a school that has enabled me to practice two crafts in one ideal place.

(Craig Mustard, Media Matters Adviser)

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