I must respectfully disagree with Marcy Burstiner on her point #5 ("Media Maven," April 1).
Family members and pets often make for terrific columns. For example, Adair Lara, who used to write for the San Francisco Chronicle, rarely wrote a column without mentioning her twin sister, her children, her husband or her ex-husband, who lived upstairs. Her families members were often the main event. It was a riveting column, and never felt like wallet photos. These people were the dramatic personae of both her life and, subsequently, her writing. In another case, also from the SF Chronicle, Jon Carroll wrote about the death of his dog, which made me cry, and I love Jon Carroll and his dog even more.
So I think it was a poor tip, and serves both your readers and her students poorly. You are urging students to eliminate unnecessarily writing topics which could serve them well. I urge you to recant on this point!
I can only conclude that maybe you have neither newsworthy family members nor heart-tugging pets.
Marilyn Andrews, Arcata