Pacific professor praises the written word

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You don’t need anyone’s permission to change the world. Not anymore.

The viral video Kony 2012, which calls for the capture of a brutal warlord and child-kidnapper in Uganda, was viewed more than 100 million times last week. Now more than ever the power to inform and persuade rests in the hands of smart people who can write and present images.

Since the printing press started in the 1400s, this potential has always been there and exploited. The novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” published in 1852, went viral 19th century style and was a catalyst for the American Civil War.

We are now experiencing an accelerated, warp-speed access to viewers and readers and the keys to that kingdom will go to individuals and groups able to shape compelling content and keep up with rapid developments in technology. Editors used to be seen as old guys drowning under piles of paper in a dusty basement office. Publishers were money-men who chain smoked cigars and worried about the bottom line. Not anymore.

Edit: To shape writing and images.

Publish: To get a message out to the audience who most needs or wants it.

Combine the skill to edit with the immediate outreach of the internet and the increasing affordability of printing presses and what you get is an immense power to persuade and transform. Add social networking (on the Internet and in person) to the equation and the possibilities are limitless.

At Pacific you get an education that empowers. You study who we are and how we got here. You figure out cause and effect relationships, the structure and vulnerabilities of organisms, and the creative combinations that can solve problems. Your professors model the confidence, learning, compassion, and collaborative thinking—local and international—necessary to achieve change.

The world’s needs are urgent and real—environmental crises, wars that destroy millions of lives, pointless economic and educational inequities. We know most of these problems could be solved if we could persuade each other to listen, learn, rethink and compromise.

To be a person who can help make that happen, you need to know how to put together and distribute crucial information so it does the good work.

This is why we have a new minor in Editing & Publishing.


Professor Kathlene Postma directs the creative writing program and edits Silk Road Review. She also founded and chairs Fuling Kids International, a nonprofit organization that opens doors for kids of all abilities at an orphanage in China.  She uses her growing editing and publishing skills every single day.


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