Tag Archives: Broadcast Journalism

Mel Coffee Named Next Capital News Service Broadcast Bureau Director

Mel Coffee. (Photo: David Stephenson)

Mel Coffee. (Photo: David Stephenson)

COLLEGE PARK (3/15/19) — Mel Coffee, who has split his three-decade journalism career between newsrooms and classrooms, will join the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism this fall to direct the Capital News Service broadcast bureau.

Coffee, an associate professor at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media since 2008, was previously a faculty member at Southern Methodist University and Syracuse University and an adjunct faculty member at Temple University.

His full-time teaching career followed 16 years as a reporter, anchor, producer and manager at local television stations in Dallas, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver. He’s also been a writer for CNN and participant in the international Fulbright Program.

“Mel Coffee’s broad experience in broadcast newsrooms and distinguished teaching record make him an exciting addition to Merrill College’s faculty,” Dean Lucy A. Dalglish said. “We’re confident he will help us grow our Capital News Service broadcast operation.”

Longtime CNS broadcast director Sue Kopen Katcef plans to retire after this semester.

Students in the broadcast bureau, who are treated like professional journalists, produce video packages for Maryland Newsline, a nightly news show that airs online and is broadcast to 400,000 households in suburban Washington through UMTV. The students also help produce web-only video, text and multimedia packages.

At Kentucky, Coffee launched the school’s first-ever live nightly student news broadcast. He oversees that show and teaches television and radio news reporting and production.

A Fulbright Scholar from September 2016 to July 2017 and a Fulbright Specialist in 2013 and 2018, Coffee used those awards to promote a free press in Zambia, where he helped the leading national broadcaster, ZNBC-TV, improve its investigative reporting and overall newsroom product.

Before that, he traveled 14 times to Zambia and Botswana with university colleagues to train television and radio journalists there to report on HIV and AIDS.

Coffee, who holds master’s and bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, said he was excited to join Merrill College’s faculty and to build upon the school’s tradition of reflecting and shaping the best news industry standards.

“What I love about coming to Merrill is being part of that outstanding tradition as well as being able to play a significant role in contributing to the college’s future,” Coffee said. “The work Merrill does protects journalism’s high standards and missions and in doing so protects and preserves the core of democracy in our country.”

For more information, contact:
Alexander A. Pyles

NewsBIN Vlog Wins National Media Innovation Award

NewsBIN Vlog won second in the National Association of Broadcasters' PILOT Innovation Challenge.

NewsBIN Vlog won second in the National Association of Broadcasters’ PILOT Innovation Challenge.

A video storytelling project led by Philip Merrill College of Journalism lecturer Josh Davidsburg (’01) is among the winners of a national broadcast media competition.

NewsBIN Vlog won second prize Sunday in the National Association of Broadcasters’ PILOT Innovation Challenge, awarded in partnership with the Knight Foundation.

The competition asked journalism educators to propose “an unconventional way” for broadcasters and other local media to serve their communities. More than 150 proposals were submitted.

For winning second prize, NewsBIN Vlog will receive $25,000 to help pay for its development. NewsBIN combines broadcast journalism with vlogging — a cross between a personal blog and video that has been popularized by YouTube users.

The goal of NewsBIN Vlog is to tell stories with news value using a format that’s both familiar and appealing to an online audience.

“It’s an amazing honor,” Davidsburg said of the award. “This will give our students the opportunity to explore a type of video production and storytelling that they are consuming. I can’t wait to see the work they produce.”

Davidsburg plans to take his concept to the Maryland General Assembly in January, where students will join Merrill College’s Capital News Service bureau in Annapolis to tell vlog-style stories from the state legislature’s annual 90-day session.

They will then use analytics to compare how those stories perform online compared to more traditional television broadcast packages.

Two Merrill College faculty members will collaborate with Davidsburg for the project’s duration: CNS broadcast bureau director and senior lecturer Sue Kopen Katcef (’76) and lecturer Bethany Swain.

A proof of concept will be presented at the National Association of Broadcasters’ April conference in Las Vegas.

NewsBIN Vlog started as a behind-the-scenes project in Davidsburg’s broadcast innovations course at Merrill College. Students used the vlog storytelling style to show viewers what was happening behind the scenes in those classes and at their internships.

Merrill College Dean Lucy Dalglish said the award “will greatly enhance the work Josh has been doing in his broadcast innovations class.”

“The award demonstrates that Merrill is on the cutting edge of journalism technology,” she said.

Broadcast Industry Veteran Larry Patrick Visits Knight Hall

Patrick Communications chief Larry Patrick talks to Leslie Walker's "The Business of News" class in Knight Hall.

Photo by Leslie Walker.

By Leslie Walker
Visiting Professor in Digital Innovation

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Oct. 13) – National broadcast industry veteran Larry Patrick spoke in Knight Hall this week, sharing his career experience and offering advice to 60 journalism students in “The Business of News” course.

Patrick, who is president and founder of Maryland-based media brokerage firm Patrick Communications, owns a variety of radio and TV stations. He previously was senior vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and a former full-time faculty member and adjunct instructor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, where he taught for more than a decade.

Patrick stressed the importance of hard work and focus in developing a career. Noting he always wanted to own radio stations ever since his youth, Patrick recounted how he parlayed his expertise in station management from an early job running Gilmore Broadcasting into his first purchase of radio stations, using venture capital he raised on Wall Street. Patrick went on to own many radio and TV stations and started a company that has brokered the sale of hundreds of other stations.

For students aspiring to report and produce broadcast news, he cautioned that they should be willing to pay their dues and learn the business in mid to small-size markets first, before trying to break into top U.S. markets.


Larry Patrick of Patrick Communications talks to JOUR480 students in Knight Hall. Photo by Leslie Walker.

“You need five years reporting experience in a mid-size TV market before you can become a reporter” in a major market like Philadelphia, he told the class.

Patrick served as chairman of the NAB’s Education Foundation in 2015. Previously, he served as president of the Broadcast Education Association and the National Association of Media Brokers, as well as chairman of the board of the NAB’s Political Action Committee.

Patrick holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, a Ph.D. in communications and management from Ohio University, an M.S. in communications from the University of Tennessee, and a B.A. in telecommunication from the University of Kentucky.

Master’s Degree Program Open Houses Announced

M.J. student Hannah Klarner on a ViewFinder shoot at the Anne Arundel County Fair. Photo: Bethany Swain.

Master’s student Hannah Klarner. Photo: Bethany Swain.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Oct. 7) – If you’re interested in learning how to tell great stories or just jump-start your journalism career, a Merrill College master’s degree is the answer. Come learn more about what it takes  to become a fearless journalist during one of our four upcoming open houses.

The Merrill College Graduate Program Offers:

  • A full-time master’s degree program in just one year;
  • A Saturday journalism certificate program for working journalists;
  • Tracts in multiplatform; broadcast; or returning journalist;
  • A focus on public affairs, sports, investigative and computational journalism;
  • Real-world, hands-on experience using the latest technologies including 360 video;
  • Taking classes from award-winning faculty members;
  • The ability to study and work just minutes from Washington, D.C., Annapolis and Baltimore.
  • Merrill College is ranked the #6 journalism school in the nation by USAToday College for 2016.

Open Houses Will Be Held:

Monday, Oct. 17, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., 1206 Knight Hall
Friday, Nov. 4, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., CNS D.C. Bureau
(Concourse Level C; Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.)
Monday, Nov. 21, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., CNS D.C. Bureau
Friday, Dec. 16, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., 1206 Knight Hall

Please RSVP by clicking on the above links to the open house you would like to attend.

Who Will Be Taking Part:


Adrianne Flynn
Internships and Career Development Director

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.