Posted tagged ‘journalism’

Meet a Member: Michelle Harmon

August 23, 2017

Michelle Harmon will soon be attending her first NFPW national conference in Birmingham, Alabama. It will be fun to introduce her to all our amazing members. When she was a senior at Borah High School in 1980, I was honored to award her first place in the high school writing contest feature writing category during my first term as the Idaho affiliate president. The past several years she has been special to Media Network Idaho in her position as adviser to the Borah High School newspaper and her work as president of the Idaho Student Journalism Association. The Borah student newspaper is one of the top journalism programs in Idaho and usually wins the MNI High School Communications Contest sweepstakes award, like it did this spring. Take a minute to get to know this unique and unbelievable member and be sure to welcome her during our conference in Alabama.

Name: Michelle Harmon

City and State: Boise, Idaho

Michelle Harmon

Michelle Harmon

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Media Network Idaho member and Idaho State Director, Journalism Education Association / President, Idaho Student Journalism Association

Years a member of NFPW: Two

Tell us a little about you.

My first foray into journalism was in eighth grade, when a teacher earmarked me to type the school newsletter. By high school, I had earned a full-ride tuition scholarship to The Ohio State University (1980-1984). I’m a bit of a butterfly in that I took jobs that would allow me to travel, lived in New York City for 12 years.

After 9-11, I rearranged priorities again, and got my master’s in education. I parlayed my teaching certificate to return to Boise, get married, and teach in the same high school news room that my mentor teacher was in. I retired from the Boise School District in May after 13 years of advising the newspaper staff. I finally feel savvy and confident enough to be a writer!

Any career advice you would give?

Never let money be your main motivation. Do what makes you happy, and the money will come.

Michelle Harmon was named 2014 Journalism Educator of the Year by Youth Journalism International

Michelle Harmon was named 2014 Journalism Educator of the Year by Youth Journalism International

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would love to be able to sing and dance. I wasn’t lucky enough for them to come with my writing talent.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Where I live, Boise, Idaho.

What book are you reading?

Rin Tin Tin by Susan Orlando. I also recently read Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose. I am also reading an academic introduction to Hamlet, because that is one of my next profile/feature pieces I will write.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I’m an Army brat — lived in 5 states by the time I was 5 years old. I think it gave me the travel bug that distracted me after I graduated college.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

1980 Idaho Press Women high school writing contest first place award

1980 Idaho Press Women high school writing contest first place award for feature writing.

Originally, NFPW and Media Network Idaho were important to me as a high school newspaper adviser. My students always did well, and the awards they won were invaluable to them and their parents. For example, one autistic student that graduated from my newspaper program went to college (a revived dream for the student’s parents) and wrote movie reviews for the university’s newspaper (print and online).

Earlier this year, I discovered my own high school first place feature award from Teri and the Idaho Affiliate. Now, NFPW is recognizing my writing on a national level nearly 40 years later. It’s confirmation that I have the talent to write, and I should be doing so.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.

Twitter: @mrharmon


Granger helps journalism students excel during 26 year career at Indiana high school

October 28, 2014

She was the 2014 Communicator of Achievement this year for the Woman’s Press Club of Indiana. She won first place in the faculty advisor for high school or college student publications category in the NFPW communications contest. Her friends proudly tell about the honors her student publication has earned during the 26 years she has been the student newspaper advisor. Now, she is challenging others to join her in reading about the different “states” over the next year. Meet another unique and unbelievable NFPW member, Elizabeth Granger, who excels in all she does.

Name: Elizabeth Granger

Elizabeth Granger

Elizabeth Granger

City and State: Fishers, Ind.

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Woman’s Press Club of Indiana Past president, past vice-president, current high school competition coordinator, current meeting coordinator

Years a member of NFPW: since 1999

Tell us a little about you.

I teach journalism and English in a minority high school of 2,400 students in Indianapolis. I’ve advised the student newspaper for 26 years and the yearbook for two.  The paper has a long list of honors over the years – just last week we were awarded another Hoosier Star (best in the state).  I am thinking about retiring in June 2015. I am open to all kinds of adventures in the next phase of my life.

I’d taught years earlier, too, right out of college. Then I was a stay-at-home mom. Returned to teaching part-time, as a GED instructor, when the kids were about 4 and 7. Made my way to a professional daily newspaper for a while – I was a reporter and then editor. Returned to teaching full-time in 1989. I had helped create a travel page for the paper, so I’ve been able to freelance as a travel writer ever since.

I’m married to Fred. I have two grown children, he has four. He also has 10 grandchildren.

Any career advice you would give?

Follow your heart. Work hard. Laugh often. Learn every day.  Appreciate those who have helped you along the way, and let them know you appreciate them. Then turn around and help others.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I wish I could sing.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

 High school publications adviser Elizabeth Granger and sports editor Alex Kryah look at ways to revamp the sports section of Lawrence Central High School's Cub Reporter newspaper. Kryah is now studying journalism at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. He claims the high point of his high school journalism career was working Super Bowl's Media Day when the game was in Indianapolis. When Kryah queried Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Brady replied, "Good question, kid."

High school publications adviser Elizabeth Granger and sports editor Alex Kryah look at ways to revamp the sports section of Lawrence Central High School’s Cub Reporter newspaper. Kryah is now studying journalism at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. He claims the high point of his high school journalism career was working Super Bowl’s Media Day when the game was in Indianapolis. When Kryah queried Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Brady replied, “Good question, kid.”

I love being an American, so I can’t imagine being anywhere else for an extended period of time. Actually, I’d love to live all over the U.S., perhaps 6-12 months in each place. My top picks? I grew up in Michigan and Minnesota, and the Call of My North is still strong, so I’d definitely pick those two. (A winter on Mackinac Island is in my dreams.) I’d also choose Maine, Montana, Alaska, Washington, D.C., parts of Texas, and of course Hawaii.

And certainly extended visits to Canada, Ireland, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, Scandinavia. I found the villages of all four of my grandparents in Croatia in 2010 – a return visit with my children accompanying me would be marvelous.

What book are you reading?

Two right now – Oprah Winfrey’s “What I Know For Sure” and Steve Hamilton’s “Die a Stranger.”

“What I Know For Sure” has me contemplating life, that’s for sure. Oprah’s put truth after truth after truth into words that have to be meaningful to every reader. It’s a fast read, but don’t read it fast. Stop often and savor the thoughts. It should be on everyone’s Christmas wish list.

I just read the section titled “Gratitude.” I think I’ll follow Oprah’s lead and make a list every night of five things I found myself grateful for that day.

Last year I marked my birthday by deciding to write and mail a handwritten note every week. I confess I didn’t quite follow the plan; some weeks I wrote nothing, but in other weeks I sent off several missives. My birthday was last week (Oct. 22); after one year, my note count is more than 52. I think I’ll continue for another year.

Die a Stranger” is quite different. It’s Hamilton’s ninth in his Alex McKnight series. I got caught by the first, “A Cold Day in Paradise,” because it’s set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where I was born, where I went to college, where my daughter went to college, where my son-in-law is from, and where I sometimes love to be. The books are fun mystery reads about a former police officer turned reluctant private eye – you can’t help but love McKnight.

Hey, who all wants to join me in reading every “state” next year? It’s an activity that some teachers do with their students – “traveling” across the U.S. by reading a book that’s set in each of the states. Our variation would have each of us picking our own choices and then suggesting them to others. I can start now – for Michigan, get any of the Alex McKnight novels by Steve Hamilton. So, who’s in? Let me know? I’m at

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Depends on the people, I’d say. Those who know me from a particular phase in my life sometimes don’t know a different me. For example, those who know me as a teacher or travel writer may not know the “Suzie Homemaker” side of me with its sewing and knitting and canning and baking. And vice versa. I remember volunteering with a crafts group one evening each week, until it was time for school to start. When I told the group I wouldn’t be returning the next Monday night because my GED class was starting then, one of the other volunteers asked, “You don’t have a high school diploma?” She had no idea I was the teacher.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I joined WPCI for the professional support I believed I could get. That I did, but the personal support from the members is over the top. I’m honored to be among their good friends.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.

On Facebook, find Elizabeth Granger. For Twitter, @ejgranger.

Varied career allows Meg Hunt to excel both as a journalist and NFPW leader

July 21, 2014

She is a great friend who always goes out of her way to do something for others. On my first trip to South Carolina, she drove many miles to Columbia to meet me and have dinner, show me the town and catch up with great conversation. This year she has put in hundreds of hours helping to organize a fabulous NFPW conference in South Carolina. She is one of the reasons this year’s conference will be outstanding. Meg and her team will show us Southern hospitality at its finest.  Read all about this unique and unbelievable woman and you will know why you don’t want to miss this year’s conference.

Name: Meg Hunt

Meg Hunt on a camel in Morocco.

Meg Hunt on a camel in Morocco.

City and State: Taylors, S.C.

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Member of NFPW for 25 years

Media Women of South Carolina (MWSC): President, Vice President, Secretary

NFPW: President (2005-2007), First Vice President, Second Vice President, Hospitality Director, and Director of Publications

Tell us a little about you:

I’m Meg Hunt, and, yes, I told my high school newspaper advisor that the last job I ever wanted was one in journalism. Thirty-four years later, I can’t imagine having lived my life doing anything else!

From the 21-year newspaper career with the New York Times Company to establishing my own company, C2 Solutions, to now also serving as special projects liaison in University Communications at the University of South Carolina Upstate, the skills and lessons learned as a journalist have made it possible and opened doors to experiences and adventures too numerous to count.

In addition to the professional elements, I’ve been blessed to use these talents in work around the globe with Teleios Ministry. Teleios is a Greek word that means “to bring to completion” or “to bridge a gap.” That’s really what Teleios is all about…we help turn God-given visions into present-day realities. Whether it’s working with nearly 300 children in a space for 30 during Vacation Bible School in Kenya, finding resources to build an orphanage and secondary school and drilling a water well in Tanzania, replacing a sewer system in Romania, or coordinating the many partners and various projects in all three countries, being able to tell the story of how lives have been changed has been more than rewarding; it’s been life changing.

 Any career advice I’d give:

Never say, “That’s not my job.” Be willing to listen; don’t think you know it all. Respect your co-workers and their experience. Be considerate of what you say and how you say it.

Which talent would I most like to have:

While I can play the piano, I’ve always wanted to play the guitar. I’m confident that enough spare time’s in my future to learn…conference planning can’t last forever, can it? J

Where else would I live?

I have been tremendously blessed to visit most of the United States and much of the world, yet I’m always content to return to my “neck of the woods.”

Books I’m reading:

Reading for me is like eating Lay’s potato chips…I can’t have just one. Currently I’m reading “The Iguana Tree” by Michel Stone (upcoming NFPW conference speaker), “Sum It Up” by legendary University of Tennessee basketball coach emeritus Pat Summitt, and “The Light in the Ruins” by Chris Bohjalian.


Meg Hunt

What people would be surprised to learn about me:

As difficult as it may seem, I’m actually rather shy. My comfort zone is somewhat narrow when it comes my extrovert side. It doesn’t mean that I can’t “rise to the occasion” (my Mama taught me well), but given a choice, I can be just as happy in my known world.

Also, I was the first female athlete to receive an athletic scholarship at Wofford College, and the first woman inducted into the Wofford College Athletic Hall of Fame. (women’s basketball)

 Why MWSC and NFPW are important to me:

They say the friendships you make in college are the ones that last a lifetime, and I believe that’s true. However, I can honestly say that some of my most endearing friendships have come from my 25 years of involvement in MWSC and NFPW.

Certainly the professional development/networking connections have been invaluable – after all, there’s something to be said for having direct contacts across the country. But for me, it’s the sincere willingness of fellow members to help, regardless of whether it’s a professional question or the “I’m in town, would you like to get together?” or even “I’m stranded at the airport, can I trouble you for a lift or a place to stay?” kinds of questions.

Beyond those tangibles, being a member of MWSC and NFPW has surrounded me with peers and dear friends who truly understand the communications realm in which we’ve chosen to devote ourselves to and the trials and tribulations that come with the job, as well as the joys and rewards that can only be appreciated and understood by those who’ve experienced this crazy world of deadlines, breaking news, technology advancements, presses and printers, the people’s right to know, and trying to maintain a code of ethics and integrity in an environment that has seen adherence to those traits dwindle.

Despite the attitude of many today toward joining organizations, being a member of NFPW reinforces my belief in the need we all have to belong; to be able to connect because of shared experiences without necessarily having to always explain the in’s and out’s of the business.

Inasmuch as I can’t imagine my life not having been a journalist, likewise, I can’t imagine my life had I not been a member of NFPW and MWSC.

Ways to follow me:

While I can appreciate all the ways to “stay in touch” today, I’m not really one to be too connected. You can reach me through e-mail, Facebook, and, yes, I will even answer an old-fashioned phone call!