Reflections

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Setting Standards

By Dave Saldana ’95
Communications Advisor

When I'm asked whether j-school is a good choice, I say yes, and no. For me, Columbia was a mixed blessing. It made me a much better journalist and writer. But it also set my standards for quality journalism very high. So high that I was too often disappointed in the profession. When I went on to become a journalism professor, I remembered what Prof. Rhoda Lipton told me about her exacting, sometimes harsh standards: "If I let you graduate," she said, "and you're not ready to be a professional, you cheapen my degree and my profession. And I'm not going to let that happen." That was the bulk of my message to my students (though a much gentler version): If I let you graduate and you're not prepared to work in this profession, then I'm doing both of us a disservice.

I made lifelong friends among my classmates and the faculty. There's love and camaraderie there like I've never encountered elsewhere, because each class has its own time and place, and that was ours. We suffered and triumphed together, and shared wondrous events and experiences. And for that, there are not words to express the gratitude and pride I feel.

Posted by: AlumniAlumni April 2012

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