Dear Merrill College Graduates,
We know you’re concerned, and that might be putting it lightly. Between the global pandemic and the ongoing protests, you graduated amid a confluence of crises unseen in this country for decades. The job market is far from encouraging, and we know you’re scared.
We watched in horror over the past 10 days as the institutions we rely upon to serve and protect us targeted people of color and those in our profession. Most of us cannot even imagine the thoughts, feelings, frustrations and fears of our black graduates, in particular.
All of our students will forever be a part of our community, and that’s why we want to take specific actions that we hope will help you. You are not on your own.
Our faculty members consider you family and would like to make themselves available to you as resources and friends. We all want to see you be safe and successful.
For all of you covering the protests who don’t know exactly what to do if you find yourself in confrontations with police or protesters, or who have been injured or feel unsafe, we’re here to advise you.
For all our graduates struggling to find jobs, we’re here to help you. We’re here to provide you with resources for self-care as well as a compassionate, empathetic ear.
Our faculty members have covered protests, riots, racial tensions and more. Some have been the subjects of the racism and hatred that we all are standing up against at this seminal moment. The professional and life experience we spent the past four years imparting to you, that helped get you ready for the real world, is still available to you now.
And that’s why we’re reaching out to you today. You’ll find a list of faculty members who have volunteered to help you. We’ve included their preferred contact information and with some, we included specific expertise they can offer. We’ve also added a list of useful resources to the bottom of this message.
Our job as journalists is to inform the public fairly and thoroughly, represent the underrepresented, and shine a light on injustices in our society — now as much as ever. The work you prepared to do is integral to the very survival of our country. We are obligated to give citizens the information they need to stay healthy and empower them to act against injustices.
Our job as your alma mater is to help you succeed in life and in your chosen professions.
Never hesitate to contact any of us for any reason.
Your Merrill College Family
Kathy Best, Director, Howard Center for Investigative Journalism
Expertise: Practical, on-the-ground perspective for newsroom managers working with people covering protests, including how to protect journalists on the streets, how to help them cope with what they’re seeing and experiencing, and what to watch for once the protests end.
Preferred contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-465-4699
Tom Bettag, Eleanor Merrill Distinguished Visiting Fellow
Expertise: Reporting in dangerous situations and interviewing. Also can assist with job searches.
Preferred contact: email@example.com, 240-328-3713
Kevin Blackistone, Professor of the Practice
Expertise: The intersection of sports, race, politics and culture. Protest, and the history of the black athlete.
Preferred contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, DM @ProfBlackistone on Twitter
James Carroll, Director, Capital News Service Washington, D.C., Bureau
Expertise: Political coverage.
Preferred contact: email@example.com
Mel Coffee, Director, Capital News Service Broadcast Bureau
Expertise: Broadcast journalism.
Preferred contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 859-329-3137 (text)
Lucy Dalglish, Dean
Expertise: Legal assistance, First Amendment rights covering protests and demonstrations, how to minimize your chance of being arrested.
Preferred contact: email@example.com
Josh Davidsburg, Senior Lecturer
Expertise: Broadcast journalism.
Preferred contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Denny, Director, Capital News Service Annapolis Bureau; Senior Lecturer
Preferred contact: email@example.com
Mark Feldstein, Richard Eaton Chair of Broadcast Journalism
Expertise: TV broadcasters who need help when under duress.
Preferred contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 301-320-5832
Adrianne Flynn, Director, Internships and Career Development; Senior Lecturer
Expertise: Career advice and assistance. She holds virtual career counseling office hours every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon on Zoom (https://umd.zoom.us/j/8646723880?pwd=UG9wOGU4andRZjdzYXhmSVJFTDRBdz09). Also has wide experience covering protests and riots as a journalist.
Preferred contact: email@example.com, 301-405-7247
Chris Harvey, Director of Assessments; Director of the Graduate Multimedia Certificate Program; Senior Lecturer
Expertise: General strategies for staying safe. Also can help with job hunting during the pandemic.
Preferred contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Josh Land, Communications Manager
Preferred contact: email@example.com
Rafael Lorente, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Expertise: Political coverage, protest coverage.
Preferred contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deb Nelson, Associate Professor of Investigative Journalism
Expertise: Interviewing victims of trauma and hostile subjects.
Preferred contact: email@example.com, 301-706-3530
Dana Priest, John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism
Expertise: Freedom of the press issues and U.S. human rights policy.
Preferred contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
George Solomon, Director, The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism
Preferred contact: email@example.com, 301-770-4667
Bethany Swain, Lecturer
Expertise: Working in the field, visual journalism, mental health. Has covered D.C. protests, had AKE hostile region training and worked in Afghanistan for CNN.
Preferred contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-360-9093, Facebook messenger
Kaitlyn Wilson, Assistant Director, The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism
Preferred contact: email@example.com, 443-417-4021
Full Faculty Directory: https://merrill.umd.edu/about-merrill/faculty-directory/
- Police, Protestors and the Press
- Site that collects information about journalists attacked, etc.: https://pressfreedomtracker.us/
- How to Safely and Ethically Film Police Misconduct
- No Story Is More Important Than Your Life: Staying Safe in Risky Situations
- How to Safely Cover Street Protests
- National Press Photographers Association security website
- Interviewing people who have experienced trauma
- Investigating Police Misconduct