Deborah Gump

Deborah Gump

Organization: Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro

Title: I joined MTSU's School of Journalism as a three-year professional in residence in 2009. I teach editing and writing, as well as work on projects like our upcoming (free) conference, “Covering Islam in the Bible Belt.” ( Last year I assumed responsibility for the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies, which provides a variety of programs on the First Amendment's five freedoms.

Education: Bachelor's, University of Kansas; Doctorate, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

First paying job: Delivering the Topeka Capital-Journal at 5 a.m. in Oskaloosa, Kan., before heading off to seventh grade. My first paying job helping to produce a paper, though, was at the afternoon Rochester (N.Y.) Times-Union, where to put “yesterday” in a news lead was to admit defeat.

Best part of job: Helping the next pack of journalists leave the den and watching some of them run like wolves.

Worst part of job: Trying to save the “settlers”; for example, students who settle for learning grammar and writing from their friends on Twitter and other social media; who settle for better grades at the expense of practical experience; who settle for insufficient answers instead of talking to a real person – educators who settle for classrooms untouched by the real world – professional journalists who settle for the status quo.

Mentor or role model: Back in college, it was John “Daddy B” Bremner. Early in my career, they were editors like John Quinn and John Seigenthaler, who remain gods. Now, I'm a big fan of any editor who hires one of my students.

Favorite apps: I love working online, and I have several go-to sites. But my favorite app is still a dictionary.

If I weren't an educator I'd be ... A musician, I'd like to think.

What I hope to get out of ASNE: Access to the great ideas and experience of its members. I look forward to more ventures like “10 Best Practices for Social Media" and David Giles' copyright webinar.

Goal for this year: To remember that less is more.

To unwind I … try to figure out how to get to Little Cayman to do some diving.

When I am stressed I eat: (Or favorite food) Why wait until I'm stressed? Dungeness crab!

Favorite book, TV show or movie: "Dr. Who," for whom there is no deadline.

What music I am listening to: Before class, whatever the students suggest; in the gym, Motown; at home, Mozart.

Guilty pleasure (I hate to admit that I like...) Finding links like these for's “lighter side of editing.”