July 2014

Pick Up a Copy!

Double-Edged Sword

Posted: Wednesday, Aug. 01, 2012

Share Share

John Syme

John Syme graduated from Davidson College with a bachelor of arts degree in French in 1985. He worked as a general-assignment reporter at The Winston-Salem Journal, where he later wrote freelance travel stories during his first solo cross-country road trip in the summer of 1989. He worked as a copywriter at a Charlotte advertising agency, as a research translator at a French nutrition center outside Paris, and as a politics and education newspaper reporter in Charlotte. He returned in 2001 to Davidson, where he is senior writer, alumni editor and instigator of the "Road Trip 2009" blog, which evolved into his current blog, "Daybook Davidson."

Being a liberally educated generalist is a double-edged sword--in a good way.

This is especially true when one flies home to roost at one’s alma

mater among the smart eggs who provided said liberal education in the

first place.

I am of two minds. As a generalist, I tend to know a little about a

lot, deploying my inexpertise and short attention span across a broad

range of—SQUIRREL!!!

On the other hand, when I can sit still long enough to breathe and

think and feel and delve a little deeper, I find it reassuring that I

can keep up and at least understand the smartest and most specialized

of smart eggs.

Happily, these complementary approaches of breadth and depth lend

themselves to my main job description, telling stories about same.

Consider two stories I got to work on this week, both of them fresh

from the leading edges of liberal arts and sciences and athletics that

characterize Davidson.

• First comes the story of Olympic kayaker Caroline “Bam Bam” Queen

’14, prepping and psyching and training herself to paddle her heart

out at the Games of the XXX Olympiad in London starting Tuesday. Read

all about Caroline: Caroline Queen '14 Soaks Up Village Life While

Preparing for Olympic Kayak Competition

• Next comes the story of Davidson College students who’ve created a

uniquely global project for the Global Village of the XIX

International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., with help from

local high school students of the Community School of Davidson. Read

all about it: Students at HIV/AIDS Conference Post Experiences in

Online Diary

These are important global stories. They have Roman numerals in them

and everything, just like the Super Bowl.

And I remain happily of two minds, a generalist reporting on and

marveling at the directions both broad and deep that the liberal arts

and sciences can lead, lifting high a double-edged sword in a good

way. And, of course, paying my salary. I like that part, too.

Click and enjoy!

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more