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    Atlanta Maymester

    Students visited alumnus Clay Owen (1982) and his wife Grainne at AT&T's Social Media Hub.

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    New York Maymester

    Students visited with alumna Ainsley Earhardt (1999) at Fox News.

June 2017

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From the Dean . . .


I spent a good part of the Memorial Day weekend reading “On the Frontlines of the Television War” by Yasatsune Hirashiki. Subtitle: A Legendary War Cameraman in Vietnam.  To everyone who’s ever worked with him, Hirashiki is known as Tony. It’s a battlefield nickname he picked up in Vietnam and, I discovered only by reading his book, a name he was not fond of. Nicknames were not part of Japanese culture.

But everyone is immensely fond of Tony. I worked with him a decade later in his career when we were both in the ABC News bureau in Bonn, West Germany. No combat stories there. We covered the Cold War in the 1980s.  I was reconnected with Tony  now retired, nearing 80 and living in New Jersey — through Bob Jamieson, another former ABC correspondent who was part of our accreditation team for the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Tony’s book is intriguing for several reasons. Neither the army nor my journalism tours ever took me to Vietnam. But there are many familiar colleagues in the book.  Tony wrote the book in Japanese. It came out in English this year. Tony tells me that I appear in his second book about reporting in Germany, but that one’s still only in Japanese. Tony is two books up on me.

Summer reading, for me at least, is akin to salmagundi. A little of this and that, whatever falls to hand and rarely planned. There is always a stack of unfinished newspapers by my reading chair, but those I consider required reading.  Summer reading is exploratory.

There are usually audio books in our cars. Great for summer drives to the mountains or beach.  By that measure, they count for summer reading. Jeff Shaara’s “A Blaze of Glory” — the Civil War battle of Shiloh — is in Susanne’s at the moment. We hope to visit the Tennessee battlefield this summer.  Ron Chernow’s “Alexander Hamilton” is in mine. All 29 discs. It’s taking forever.  There was a lot of life in Hamilton’s abruptly ended 47 (or was it 49) years.

Summer reading for the university’s incoming freshmen is “Callings” by Dave Isay, founder of StoryCorps. It’s subtitled “The Purpose and Passion of Work.”  (When did every work need a subtitle?  “War and Peace” was sufficient for Tolstoy.)  Susanne and I recorded a StoryCorps conversation last year, talking about when we both worked as White House correspondents covering the Reagan administration. We enjoyed the StoryCorps experience; an uninterrupted 40-minute conversation is a luxury.

There is one book already on my fall reading list: “Never Mind, We’ll Do It Ourselves: How a Team of Renegades Broke Rules, Shattered Barriers, and Changed the Face of Warfare Forever.”

It’s about the development of the Predator drone program and written by Alec Bierbauer and Col. Mark Cooter. Sounds like a good read. Alec’s my oldest son.  He’s one book up on me.

Perhaps I should do some summer writing.

Charles Bierbauer


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