Where USF faculty, students and graduates are invited to talk about journalism and its problems and opportunities. This blog is not affiliated with the University of San Francisco, nor is the university responsible for any of the opinions expressed herein -- though it is certainly responsible for the people who entertain those opinions, having educated them. They make us proud.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

A Dispatch from Our Ambassador to Minnesota

The Aerial Lift Bridge at DuluthImage via Wikipedia

Greetings from Minnesota! I've officially completed my first year of grad school and will begin my second (and last) year this September. I'm happy to report that my program of choice - Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership at the University of MN Duluth - has been a great experience so far and has expanded quite a bit since I started. New cohorts have increased in size and various schools across the country have expressed an interest in implementing similar programs in their states. (In fact, the director told me that one of the reasons MAPL got the huge grant that they did a few months ago was due to the fact they could say someone from CA moved all the way to MN to participate. Ha!) It's a great program for studying politics in a more applied manner, rather than theoretical; the best way I've heard it described is that MAPL is to political science what entrepreneurial programs are to business school.

My current job has also been a great learning experience. I'm working on a gubernatorial campaign, and my desire to work in politics is actually one of the reasons I haven't kept my personal USF Journalism blog up-to-date. The last campaign I interned on (before getting this current job) requested that no one associated with the campaign put anything "out there" that could be considered controversial, and everyone was asked to be very conscious of what we put on social networking sites - Facebook, Myspace, etc. - as well as blogs, so just to be on the safe side I took a break, which I've kind of carried over into my new role. I don't have a personal objection to such discretion, but believe it to be an interesting topic of conversation considering how relevant and crucial such media outlets are to politics these days. I doubt there will be anyone running for office 5, 10, or 15 years from now who won't have a personal history that can be tracked on the Internet through such sites, but at the same time I see the value of moderation, and even limitation.

All in all, Minnesota has been an interesting ride. The weather is less than ideal but the people are gracious and welcoming. I'm learning how to cast a fishing pole and deal with my In-N-Out cravings, and if I could just find a decent place to get a haircut, things would be pretty darn good.
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