Tag Archives: Fearless Journalism

Your First Job: Learn Everything, Try Everything, Do Everything.

WEHT/WRVW (Evansville, In.) anchor Brad Bryd with Dennis Ting '14.

WEHT/WRVW (Evansville, In.) anchor Brad Bryd with Dennis Ting ’14.

Dennis Ting ’14 is definitely #MerrillMade.

He landed his first reporting job at Eyewitness News (WEHT/WTVW) in Evansville, In. in January, 2015. Two years later, he is is on his way to report in Louisville, Ky. for ABC Affiliate WHAS (Channel 11).

We asked Dennis to write a few words for us about his first job – what he learned and what he would suggest to our Merrill College students and recent graduates. Here’s what he told us:

“Your first reporting job is really like grad school. You might think you know what you’re doing when you leave school, but trust me, you find out pretty quickly how much you have to learn. My advice is to learn everything, try everything and be willing to do everything. I’ve had the chance to cover some really cool things in little Evansville, Indiana and I’ve met some amazing people. It’s not always going to be easy and it’s not always going to be fun, but at the end of the day, I can still think about how lucky I am that I get to call what I do “work,” and that makes all the difference.

On a side note – enjoy yourself! You might not always be in the best situation, but make it the best situation you can. I’ve made lifelong friends at my first job that I will genuinely miss. There’s something about being at a first job that just bonds you with other people. Don’t be so hasty looking to get out that you don’t stop and appreciate what you have. I know there’s some quote about smelling roses or forests and trees, but you get what I’m saying.

Have fun!”

You can see some of Dennis’ work on his website.

Dana Priest: Eight Steps Reporters Should Take Before Trump Assumes Office

Knight Chair and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Dana Priest.

Photo: Dana Priest.

By Knight Chair Dana Priest.
Reprinted with permission by the Columbia Journalism Review.
Originally published Nov. 14, 2016.

I was on the phone the other day with a senior US official, someone not usually eager to talk to a reporter, when the following conversation occurred:

“Is the FBI likely to follow up on tips that Trump might have some dubious connections to Russia now that he’s been elected?” I asked.

“If they hadn’t begun a serious investigation before the election,” the official responded, “it’s not likely now – unless something were to occur.”

“What do you mean by, ‘something were to occur?'”

“Well, that’s where you all come in.”

Wham! Of course.

With the two houses of Congress controlled by Republicans and a Democratic party in chaos, of course it falls on the shoulders of journalists to deepen the solid investigative work begun during the campaign.

Related: Journalism’s moment of reckoning has arrived.

The new president may merit a brief honeymoon in governing while he figures out what his policies will be and how he will implement them. But we should not wait one nanosecond to lay out the unprecedented set of conflicts of interests he and his family bring to the presidency, to compare his campaign rhetoric with his post-election decisions, and to chronicle post-election moves made by state and local governments where authorities may feel emboldened to push the boundaries of their power and our laws.

While we are dutifully reporting on the presidential transition, we should also dig out our helmets and flack jackets, harden our legal defenses, and get ready for the coming war on transparency. Here are eight steps to take immediately:

Rebuild sources: Call every source you’ve ever had who is either still in government or still connected to those who are. Touch base, renew old connections, and remind folks that you’re all ears.

Join forces: Triangulate tips and sources across the newsroom, like we did after 9/11, when reporting became more difficult.

Make outside partnerships: Reporting organizations outside your own newspaper, especially those abroad and with international reach, can help uncover the moves being considered and implemented in foreign countries.

Discover the first family: Now part of the White House team, Donald Trump’s children and son-in-law are an important target for deep-dive reporting into their own financial holdings and their professional and personal records.

Renew the hunt: Find those tax filings!

Out disinformation: Find a way to take on the many false news sites that now hold a destructive sway over some Americans.

Create a war chest: Donate and persuade your news organization to donate large sums to legal defense organizations preparing to jump in with legal challenges the moment Trump moves against access, or worse. The two groups that come to mind are the Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press and the American Civil Liberties Union. Encourage your senior editors to get ready for the inevitable, quickly.

Be grateful: Celebrate your freedom to do hard-hitting, illuminating work by doing much more of it.


Dana Priest is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning national security reporter at The Washington Post and the John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the University of Maryland’s journalism school. She is the co-founder of PressUncuffed.org, an organization promoting student research and journalism on press freedom issues and working to free imprisoned journalists abroad.

CNS Broadcast Announces Fall Anchors

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Sept. 15) – Capital News Service Broadcast Bureau Director Sue Kopen Katcef has announced this fall’s CNS “Maryland Newsline” anchors. The announcement came after a round of try-outs at UMTV with 14 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the bureau. Six additional Merrill College students tried out as sports anchors.

Working with Visiting Professor Tom Bettag and Adjunct Lecturer Cindy Wright, an all-star list of Merrill College alumni helped to judge the students.

In an email, Kopen-Katcef announced that students Michelle Chavez, Simone Thomas, Michael Stern and Angelo Bavaro would be lead anchors for the three-night-a-week news program through the fall semester.

The anchor teams will feature Chavez & Stern and Thomas & Bavaro.

Students Craig Weisenfeld and Sarah Dean will be “go-to” subs and will anchor the hour-long “Best of Show” program that is recorded in Studio B at UMTV just before Thanksgiving.

Broadcast Bureau student crew chiefs this year are Becca King, Barrett Goldberg and Jake Britton. Their experience and confidence helped keep the try-outs on track.

Sports anchors will be announced shortly (and we’ll update this release when names are announced.)

Screen Shot 2016-09-15 at 10.29.55 AMThe CNS broadcast program draws volunteers from throughout campus to run cameras and help in many other ways. They were in Studio B in full force Wednesday, as was Student Newsroom Supervisor Al Perry – who helped ensure the technical side of the operation was working smoothly.

The CNS broadcasts are expected to begin in early October. The program will be live at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday on UMTV. Watch on campus channel 38 or 78. Comcast customers can watch on Channel 73 in Prince George’s County and on Channel 2 in Montgomery County. On Verizon, UMTV is on channel 40 in both counties. The program is also streamed live in HD via the CNS YouTube page and archived there.

Montage

Merrill College: Fearless Journalism

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – What does Fearless Journalism mean at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism? We’ve given that a lot of thought – and we think that for our potential – and current – Merrill journalists, there’s a lot to say about what we will teach you and ultimately, how you will practice as a working journalist going into the future. Never has there been a time that required more from journalists. The training you will receive here – everything from investigative journalism to sports –  will make a difference. It will make you a fearless journalist.

Here’s what Fearless Journalism means:

  • The relentless search for what is true and meaningful;
  • The willingness to question conventional wisdom;
  • The courage to ask tough but fair questions;
  • The ability to set our own news agenda, and not follow that of others;
  • The perseverance to not give up when there are those who would deter you from pursuing a story;
  • The spirit to experiment with various modes of storytelling on many platforms;
  • The independence to hold the powerful accountable;
  • The wisdom to give voice to the powerless;
  • The vision to shape the agenda.

(Thanks to Jay Kernis ’74 and Chris Frates ’00)

There’s more!

Watch our new Fearless Journalism video that explains all the great classes, tools, experiences – in and out of class – that you’ll have here at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism:

 

Thanks to Ralph Crosby ’46 , John Seng ’79, David Butler (Butler Films) and Alanna Delfino ’14 for making this video possible.

 

The Perfect Location

The University of Maryland is uniquely located near Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Such a perfect location gives Philip Merrill College of Journalism students the special opportunity to examine, understand and report on the most important government activities and debates of our day. We help them… and will help you… become fearless journalists.

Our undergraduate and graduate journalism programs offer students the practical courses, investigative focus and proximity to experts and decision-makers to make this possible. Most recently, student work has appeared on the front pages of the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun. Our student investigation into human sex trafficking in Maryland was judged by the Society of Professional Journalists in Sept. 2016 as the best in the nation.

Be part of a program where ground-breaking journalism can make a difference. Become #MerrillMade at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Undergraduate Information

Graduate Information