McMicken College of Arts & SciencesUniversity of Cincinnati

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McMicken's New APIO Introduces Herself

Assistant Public Information Officer Kim Burdett has a lot to learn and is eager to get started.

Date: 1/7/2009
By: Kim Burdett
Phone: (513) 556-8577
Photos By: Melanie Cannon
"Write what you know.”

It’s one of those phrases high school English teachers tell students to get the creative juices flowing and keyboard keys clicking.

I never liked that phrase, and here’s why: I don’t know much.

It’s a scary thing to admit, but also one of the most important things I can say as the new assistant public information officer for the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.

Photo of Kim Burdett.
Kim Burdett is excited about getting to know the McMicken family.

If I really practiced the “write what you know” mantra, I’d be spending my time spewing my own agenda, writing about my severe aversion to spiders or my unfaltering loyalty for boy bands.

But I gain nothing by sharing such embarrassing snippets with the world, and I’ve learned from the minuscule number of hits on my personal blog that no one really cares to read it either.

As a journalist, though, I get to write about things I know nothing about. I get to ask oversimplified questions to experts and they generally don’t laugh in my face as they explain it to me. I seek out people who are affected by these things, and I get to tell their stories.

The great thing about working at UC is that everyone has great stories to tell. In my short time here, I’ve already met eccentric professors with an irresistible passion for their work and diligent students who are eager to achieve great things. I get to report overwhelmingly on positive news, a rarity for anyone in my field.

It was my inquisitive nature and passion for writing that pushed me into journalism, first at Northeastern University then to Ohio State, where I received my BA.

On my first day as an undergraduate student, my journalism professor barreled into the room, introduced himself and quickly distributed handouts to all the students.

“Consider this your first assignment. You have five minutes.” He was gone before we had a chance to look at the paper.

The handout consisted of about 10 questions, a pop quiz of sorts. Around the room were audible groans as the students realized why he bolted from the class so quickly.

What did I say when I entered the room? followed by What color tie am I wearing? lined the sheet with other simple questions. He asked for the proper spelling of his last name (Chiavelli) and the name of the building we were in (Kariotis).

His lesson was clear: pay attention to everything, no matter how trivial or irrelevant it may seem.

That’s what I hope to accomplish here at McMicken. I want to meticulously observe the people and the work that is being done here, and I want to convey those ideas to a wider audience—an audience that, like me, wouldn’t know otherwise.
 
So, please, give me a call or e-mail me if you have a story worth telling. Let me ask the stupid questions, so I can tell everybody the interesting work you are doing. I’m eager to help you tell the university and community the great things you’re accomplishing.

Ultimately, I’m asking you to educate me. Such a request shouldn’t be too absurd—this is a university after all.


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