Despite some beautiful Madison weather yesterday (almost 70 degrees!), I spent most of the day inside just reading because I feel like I have so much work to do! It was nice actually — I liked feeling like I was being a good student for a change. I anticipate another full day of reading and working ahead today, but with a break to get outside this afternoon.
The best part of yesterday was that I finished reading two books I checked out for school research projects. I can’t remember the last day when I finished two books — that felt awesome! I don’t feel like doing full reviews of them, but thought they might be interesting for some people to hear about. The first is a short book about a feminist and home economics pioneer that I might write a magazine story about, and the second is for a presentation I’m prepping on how nonprofits and community organizations can work with the media.
Caroline Hunt: Philosopher for Home Economics by Marjorie East
Like I’ve mentioned, my magazine writing class this semester is focusing on food. I went to an exhibit on campus about the history of eating and found out a former Wisconsin professor, Caroline Hunt, was the person who wrote the first set of USDA nutrition guidelines in 1916.
As I read more about her, I discovered she was actually a pioneer in the field of home economics, advocating for a more intellectual approach to the discipline rather than simply practical (ie learning to cook and sew). One quote in particular sold me that she’d be interesting to write about:
I think there is a place for Home Economics in colleges — and that the purpose of this work should be to teach women the social significance of the control which they have over wealth, of the fact that they can determine to a large extent what shall be made and under what conditions it shall be made. I see no place for cooking and sewing in such courses except as they give an understanding of materials and processes.
She wrote than in the early 1900s, I think around 1908. What’s fascinating is that she was thinking about the social implications of consumption and wealth a long time ago, and it’s something we’re still talking about. I’m not sure yet where the story will go, but the book was a big help in laying out her biography and including a lot of her original writing.
Making the News: A Guide for Nonprofits and Activists by Jason Salzman
I read this book to help me prep for a presentation I’m doing for one of my classes on how community organizations can work with the media. I was originally just going to use the stuff I already know about how journalists work, but then decided having some more sources would be good (especially to help me with how tv news and radio news works). I grabbed this one sort of randomly, but it turned out to be awesome.
I was really blown away by how accurate and helpful the book is. Salzman lays out a huge number of strategies that groups can use to work with the media — everything from planning effective events and protests to pitching feature stories to writing opinion columns. The book was written in 1998, but for the most part everything is still up-to-date. And all of his advice matches what I know about now a newsroom and news processes work. If you’re at all interested in working with the media, I feel like this is a must-read.
And What’s Up For Today?
More reading, I think. I have a book I need to finish for a review Tuesday as part of the Eco-Libris Green Books Campaign, plus a bunch of reading to do for my journalism in theory class and a presentation to get ready for. Then I have to work on writing my magazine story, researching articles for a couple final papers, and then I get to go hang out with friends outside for awhile — yay!
What book(s) did you finish this weekend? How was the weather — did you get to go outside and enjoy it?