journalism


20
Sep 19

News to be used

As of today all of the student shows are up and running. The semester’s first episodes of the morning show and the comedy show will be airing on Monday or so, but I have been remiss in sharing the other things that have already rolled out this week.

Here’s the news:

And the vitally important pop culture updates:

Catch all of your sports:

And here are people talking about sports:

It’s a good solid start to the year. They’re going to produce some great stuff as the year progresses.

But now: the weekend. Have a good one.


10
Sep 19

Soon to be open for business

Today we had the ribbon cutting for a new center, an investigative journalism program, in our school. It’ll start operations next spring. We had a day of panelists! And there was an actual ribbon that was actually cut!

The keynote was the terrific Scott Pelley. You might have heard of him from CBS or 60 Minutes. You might have heard of those from television.

Don’t pretend like you don’t know what a television is. You aren’t that hip. And people that do that aren’t hip, either. Pelley did a great job. I had student crews recording the keynote. You can click the image below to see his speech:

There were four other panels, as well, which we produced as two live videos. This one includes “Investigative Sports Journalism in a Multimedia World,” and then “Investigative Journalism’s New Golden Age? The Rise of the Nonprofits.”

Perhaps you’d prefer a variation on that last theme, and a panel on professional skill development. You can see those panels right here:

I also had a night in the television studio, as well. It was a long, busy day. And we managed to get everything in, as well.


21
Aug 19

Dateline Springs Valley

Classes start on Monday, but I’m out of the office for the rest of the week. So it was fortuitous that a former student stopped by just before quitting time this afternoon. And I was so pleased he thought to do so. He’s a newspaper man, now, and he wanted to give me his first edition.

The paperwork hasn’t even cleared and he’s already got seven bylines and a handful of photographs in his first paper.

Auston started in television, became an anchor and a talk show guest and worked his way up to being the sports director for the campus station. He was simultaneously driving up to Indianapolis and interning at one of the stations while working on his senior year classes. Somewhere along the way he decided he’d like to try his hand at print. Maybe it was one he was podcasting, or writing for one of the local sports websites. (Students can do so much these days, and the smart ones, like Auston, do all they can.

Anyway, now he’s a freshly graduated student and will become the new sports editor of one of the nearby weekly newspapers and cover two schools in a way that they deserve to be covered, a way that only dedicated weeklies can cover them. It’s going to be a great job for him, a fair launching pad to a promising young career. I couldn’t be more excited for him.

Not too long ago I learned that another former student, Sydney, who has run about five newspapers and won more awards than she can hang on an office wall, is moving up in her career into the world of book publishing.

It is wonderful when former students keep in touch and let you know how things are progressing for them. Some time back I created a map to chart everyone’s moves. Students, when they leave campus, can become mysteries or colleagues, but when you are lucky they come to think of you as a friend. I prefer that idea. Classes begin Monday, and they’ll end whenever the calendar tells us to wrap it up, but the friendships can be lasting.


14
Aug 19

Why I brag about our students

I frequently tell students that empirical data points are important on the resume. A professor I had in undergrad taught me that. He’s teaching at a university in Texas now. Nice guy, questionable reviews on ratemyprofessor.com. Here’s one of them now: He marks every tiny mistake and your grade suffers.

The nerve of that guy! And a journalism instructor! Taking off points like that! He was a copy editor in a previous life, so I am sure that’s a big part of it. Also, there’s the issue of getting things right versus getting things wrong.

Anyway, it’s been almost 20 years, but I remember him as a kind man. Always had a big smile. Like a lot of teachers, once you decoded what he was after you could make some nice progress. He was big on feedback since so much of what he taught was grounded in subjectivity. And getting that feedback could often times be the most useful best part of his class. Some of those lessons still ring in my ears. He was also very patient during office hours. I hope some of that part rubbed off on me, by accident.

Back then there weren’t as many administrative support positions as students enjoy today and the few that were around were somewhat overwhelmed. Plus, I reasoned, the people who’d been in my field would be more helpful in drafting the right kind of resume for my field. So I went to the faculty and this one man was generous with his time, working through several drafts of the brutal document with me, marking every tiny mistake, like the copy editor he was. And he liked empirical data points.

So I’ve always had them in my resume. There’s not a job description that doesn’t include a mention of ratings boosts, enrollment increase or social media gains and some data points or percentages.

Which is a long way to say — because I’m vamping, clearly — that another kind of data is peer acceptance. The media industry, you might have heard, is big on awards and honors. It’s a marker of professional peerage. A plaque! Maybe a trophy, or even a certificate! Ultimately they mean you get to mention them from time to time, say you are award-winning and so on. Plus, and perhaps most critically, some of these things give you additional feedback and you get to see where you are next to others plying the same trade. They don’t wow many people at parties, but they do look nice on a resume. For all of these reasons I encourage students to take the necessary steps to get over the requisite hurdles that allow them to jump through the hoops of getting their media efforts nominated.

If nothing else, I get to brag about them:

This is where I trot out my old saw about how student media members do this stuff in addition to their class work, their real jobs and in dealing with whatever is going on with their lives. These particular sports guys in particular always seem to be working when there is a significant game that they, as fans, would enjoy watching. But they’re working. They do it late at night and late in the week, even on those weeks when the campus is a ghost town because everyone else has left for a long holiday. It takes dedication to be a high functioning college student anyway, but it takes another round of that same spirit to do something as demanding as media work. And then, of course, they have to deal with me. All of this is a kind of first step into the media’s dues-paying process. It can be a thankless task, sometimes, which is why I try to thank them and show them off as much as possible. Oh, look, here’s another group to brag on:

One really nice thing that the ACM contests do is they share the submissions of each category’s finalists, so you can see the work of some of the best people in the country. I can say the students I work with are doing work that gets nominated for big national awards, sure. I can also say they are being mentioned with students in other great programs like Syracuse, Kent State, Quinnipiac and more. And we can see the great work the people in those programs are doing, too.

But mostly, being a finalist for a Pinnacle Award, that’s not a bad bullet point on a sophomore or junior’s resume.


3
Jun 19

Catching up with another friend and former student

‪I don’t know what you did with your Saturday afternoon, but I spent part of mine catching up with the great Lauren Becker. It’s like Old Home Week around here right now, which is great. It’s such a treat when nice people come back to visit.


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‪The IUSTV news director emeritus is currently covering South Bend and Michiana for WSBT. She was nice enough to spend part of her afternoon telling me all about how our program is helping set up tomorrow’s reporters, and realizing how so much of my advice is, in fact, brilliant. I should have rolled tape on that part, just to share with future students.

She told me about a few of the stories she’s working on, the experiences she’s had in her first year on the job and all she’s learned.

I’m going to have to get her back down here when the students are on campus and let her tell the TV folks what they’ve got ahead of them. And especially that part about how my advice is pretty useful.