The more things change

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I graduated with a journalism master's at the University of Nevada, Reno last week. Since I'm a terminal screw-up, I managed to do everything on deadline but apply to graduate, so my name didn't end up in the program or in the Reno Gazette-Journal. I should have known I'd left a T uncrossed because I hadn't paid the university any money for the pleasure of walking across the stage, but I did get the application in soon enough to officially finish.

People keep asking me what's next, and all I can really do is shrug. I have the only job in journalism in Nevada that I'd want, so I don't go to school thinking I'm going to improve my financial lot. I just like learning new things. I still have about a year left to complete the English master's I've been working on, but I'm thinking about trying to convert that master's over to either an MFA or a Ph.D. I hope running a 4.0 GPA in each of my concurrent masters will be enough to recommend me, but I don't assume anything.

I've got a bit less than two years left to complete the Fatal Encounters database. I'm hoping at that point that the federal government will have proven that it's committed to collecting the data with the same rigor that our team has been doing it. Honestly, though, machine-language learning, which is the method of writing a sophisticated script to perform internet searches the same way our volunteers do it, is advancing so fast, I think our human-powered efforts will be obsolete about the same time.

Hunter, my son, is off to college in the fall, which is a golden opportunity to downsize my life. I've been trying to unload possessions for a few years, and while I love my house, I need four bedrooms like I need a third ear.

So I guess the short answer is “Everything is next.” I've got a great summer planned with conferences and relaxation and exciting projects. It's my guess you'll be reading all about it.