By: Theo Burke
Not long ago, while working on a PSU Vanguard story, I received a return phone call, within 24 hours, from Scott Gallagher of the University Communications office. I nearly fell down from shock.
I had not received a live phone call in months from anyone other than my mother. And it seemed as though an ever-increasing amount of important people in my life had barricaded themselves behind “email walls.”
When I recently asked to meet with an editor at one of the three student media outlets I worked for, she simply refused to do it. Her supervisor had established a policy, she said, that editors could limit communications with writers to email. No meetings, live conversations, or body language required.
A professor supervising me on a huge term paper could only be reached by email and was only on campus two days per week. She had not even set up the voice mail on her office phone. But this makes her no different from most PSU profs —not a single professor in my three years here has used the office phone.
Mr. Gallagher reminded me what humans are capable of. Follow up. Consideration. Professionalism. Simple human respect and kindness. And he understands that the old standards of professionalism still matter to do your job.
I submit to you all that we will not be able to live without live voice communication and nonverbal body language over the long run. We will not be able to abandon those and hold onto the jobs that we like, as well.
No amount of quiet, feverish tapping on our devices will replace our voices and ourselves.