There are very few things out there that I can imagine would motivate me to post an entry over the weekend that would drop my Oscars post down, especially before the awards are even given out. Well one of those handful of occurrences has happened...
...the Hopkins Insider is front page news and has gone national!!!
by Susan Kinzie, Washington Post page A01
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Take a look, and I promise to write early next week a behind-the-scene entry with all the details about the interview, the story, etc.
Enjoy the article and the Oscars!!!
UPDATE - POSTED FEB. 26
As promised, I have returned to provide a bit of a back story to how this all came to be. I must say from the start I never imagined I would end up on the front page of the Washington Post and be enjoying my "15 minutes of fame" simply because I write an Admissions blog and tell tales of my dog, my niece, and my unusual passions. In no way is that a complaint, it just is quite a big surprise for me - one that I have been basking in since Saturday. OK, enough with the ego boost ...
So a few weeks ago I received a message from my boss, Director of Admissions John Latting, that a Washington Post journalist had contacted our Office of News and Information inquiring about the blogs and message boards featured on the Admissions site. The basic gist of the message was that Susan Kinzie of the Post was interested in writing a story about the admissions blogs and message boards which were becoming increasingly popular, and would she be able to speak to the admissions counselor working on such projects -- meaning could she chat with the infamous Admissions_Daniel? A very innocent beginning.
After a bit of message tag, I finally had the chance to speak with Susan on the phone for about 45 minutes on a wide range of topics spanning all aspects of the Admissions field. We talked about the Hopkins Insider blog, the Hopkins Forums, the student blogs and other parts of Hopkins Interactive, as well as more admissions specific topics of evaluating applications, application volume, and the cyclical nature of the job. The conversation ended with plans for Susan to come to the Homewood campus and "shadow" me for a day.
At that point I knew that this was not just some simple interview where I might have a passing quote in an article. See in the past I have been interviewed and quoted, and even had a few articles written specifically about me. Here is just a sampling:
- "Blogs Pull Back the Curtain on Undergrad Life" -- a JHU Gazette article detailing the initial launch of Hopkins Interactive. Click here.
- "MySpace in College Admissions" -- a NACAC online article about whether or not Admissions professionals are using applicants' online profile (MySpace, Facebook, Xanga, etc.) in the admissions review process. Click here.
- "Online Diarists Beware: Your Employer May Be Watching" -- a Columbia News Service report on a similar topic. Click here.
- "Admissions Counselors' Association Ends Its Online College Fairs" - a Chronicle of Higher Education article about online chats. Click here.
- "Scouting Out E-Recruits" -- an artcile about my experiences with online chats while working at American University. Click here.
But never had I arranged for a journalist to follow me around for a day. I knew this was something different, something bigger, something cool, but I had no idea how different, how big, and how cool it would ultimately turn out to be.
Susan came to Hopkins on a day that turned out to be one of the worst winter weather days we have experienced in the Baltimore/DC metro area. Thankfully, she was able to safely trek up the I-95 corridor and make it to the Homewood campus to watch me in action. (I must say as I type this right now I am actually thinking how boring it must be to actually shadow me for a day. But a good journalist can always find a great story, right?.) Throughout the day we discussed pretty much everything there could be to discuss -- in other words I talked her ears off. I am good at talking ... it is a trait of many of the top Admissions professionals.
As the day progressed we really ran the gamut of topics: I read a few files and discussed the process behind evaluating an application; I checked the message boards and the blogs and commented on some posts; some of my student volunteers stopped by and chatted with Susan; and as the work day came to an end Susan had the chance to speak with my other Admission colleagues and Dr. Latting. In the evening, Susan joined me at a Student Admissions Advisory Board meeting where I met for about 90 minutes with the 20+ students who make up the team behind Hopkins Interactive. The day ended with Susan heading back to D.C. with tons of notes, and me heading home to read applications.
The next few days we communicated over e-mail while Susan also connected with some of the Advisory Board students as well as some prospective students who had posted messages on the Hopkins Forums. As the article reveals, Susan also spoke with some of my fellow admissions colleagues who are leading the blogging trend, Ben Jones from MIT and Jeannine Lalonde from UVA.
Pretty much now we had moved into the waiting period ... I knew there was going to be a story but I didn't know when it would print, in what section, how long, and what the overall approach of the story would be. Curiosity had definitely set in but thankfully I had enough applications to read so I would not become too obsessed. During the wait for the story to be printed I realized how much I do enjoy speaking about the field I work in and the new initiatives myself and others work on each day. Admissions blogging has become one of my most enjoyable "work tasks" and it helps me each day to remember to be an Admissions counselor first and foremost. I also have to say I enjoy seeing my name in print.
When this past Saturday arrived and the story hit, I have to say I was shocked by a number of things. First, that the story actually made the front page of one of the most read national newspapers. Second, that the article was so extremely well written and really focused on how hard people like Dr. Latting, Ben, Jeannine, myself and countless others are working to alleviate some of the stresses created by the Admissions craze. And finally, that the picture of me in the paper and on the web site was not too scary -- the beard is looking good, pictures of Lilly are in the background, and I got to share the space with Michelle T. who has been working with me since my arrival at Hopkins.
Now a few days later and I am still really happy with the overall outcome of the article. The responses from family, friends, colleagues (past and present), and other professionals in the field has been wonderful. And now the coolest thing is when I "Google" my name, I come up as the #1 hit.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. So as usual, use the comments section. And for those reading the Hopkins Insider blog for the first time -- welcome and check out the archives. There are some great past entries, and some great ones to follow too.
I would be remiss if I didn't also provide a quick update on the Oscars. I could write a whole long entry about my disappointment over last night's broadcast. But let's focus on the positive -- I thought Ellen did a good job, I really enjoyed the opening nominees montage, I am glad "Marty" finally won, and wow Mark Walberg's girlfriend/wife? is really, really hot!
As for the predictions, the final outcome:
Daniel: 13 of 24
Soze: 12 of 24
Though I did win, just over 50% is really poor. Well, there is always next year ... and a lot of movies to see between now and then. Next up for me is Zodiac.