In Cole’s book, we’re all greats

“There’s nothing like it . It’s better than sex – The First Amendment.” This Dr. Cole quotation shares notebook space with countless other “Cole-isms” as we’ve come to call them. Some of us have made a ritual practice of logging and recounting them on Beats and Deadlines bus-rides or sharing them in our away messages.

The funny thing about Cole-isms is that as you go back and have a laugh at their witty phrasing or R-rated language, you realize their educational value. I’m sure there are plenty of ways to explain to journalism students the delicate ethical standards regarding gift-taking. But as a former Cole student, I’ll have no trouble making such distinctions because I know that “it’s OK to accept a bribe, if you can eat it, or . ” – I’ll leave the other condition up to your imagination.

I asked Dr. Cole, in all of his years in the field of journalism, what he was most proud of. After a little digging – you know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever seen his office – he brought me a list. Seventeen pages of names. Journalism students broken down by semester, starting with four in the Spring of 1974. Students who, through Cole’s guidance, have gone on to work in some form of journalism or media field.

Four hundred sixty-three names. Easily, the most touching moment for me was picking through the endless list of names and finding my own, there at the tail-end of so many great names.