Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m., Royal Roads professor Robin Cox arrived at an Informed Opinions workshop organized by the University of Victoria’s Academic Women’s Caucus.
By the time she left the session eight hours later, Robin had articulated her central argument, identified the evidence she would use to support it, acknowledged and refuted predictable counter arguments, and crafted a compelling opening paragraph.
Sometime over the next 24 hours, she completed the piece and submitted it to the Victoria Times Colonist, where it was published today. That’s a record for the project, and a credit to Robin’s industriousness.
But inspiration also came from the timeliness of her topic, which directly related to the “ShakeOut” exercise British Columbia mounted yesterday to draw attention to disaster preparedness in the province, and the encouragement of Dave Obee, op ed pages editor of the Times Colonist. He joined the workshop at lunchtime and gave feedback to participants about how to effectively hook their topics to the news. When Robin described her idea, he said he’d love to run the piece on Thursday if she could get it to him the next day.
Journalism deadlines not being something that most scholars are used to, or easily able to accommodate on short notice, I’m guessing he wasn’t that optimistic. But Robin turned around her clear, relevant, informed and compelling piece in the required time frame, and the result is that readers of the TC were provided with valuable context for the likely outcome of a natural disaster likely to come sometime soon.