Tag Archives: Capital News Service

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
aapyles@umd.edu
301-405-1321

Merrill College Students Report on Federal Government Shutdown

University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism students in Capital News Service spent January reporting on the federal government shutdown.

University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism students in Capital News Service spent January reporting on the federal government shutdown.

COLLEGE PARK (1/30/18) — The shutdown. Its consequences and the helpers. The politics and what happens next.

University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism students spending the semester working in the college’s Capital News Service spent the first few weeks of January reporting every angle of a story that gripped the nation: the partial federal government shutdown.

From the downtown Washington bureau — where students reported on Capitol Hill politics and the deal that finally ended the shutdown — to the Annapolis bureau, where state and local officials urged an end to the stalemate between the White House and Congress — CNS students told important stories about the shutdown, its consequences for Maryland residents and how some tried to help.

Amid a three-week truce between the White House and Congressional Democrats in Washington, CNS continues to report on what might happen if the federal government is again shut down next month.

CNS is a nonprofit, student-powered news organization run by Merrill College. With offices and news teams in College Park, Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington, the teaching hospital-style newsrooms are managed by full-time faculty members with distinguished careers as professional journalists.

CNS Shutdown Stories

For more information, contact:
Alexander A. Pyles
aapyles@umd.edu
301-405-1321

Newest ‘Trading Away Justice’ Stories Examine Plea Deals, Role of A.I. in Bail Decisions

"Trading Away Justice" is an ongoing national investigative journalism project led by the University of Maryland Capital News Service.

“Trading Away Justice” is an ongoing national investigative journalism project led by the University of Maryland Capital News Service.

COLLEGE PARK (1/2/19) — The latest stories in a national investigative journalism project led by the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism have been published by the college’s Capital News Service.

Trading Away Justice,” an ongoing investigation led by CNS student journalists and faculty members in partnership with Injustice Watch, the PBS NewsHour, the University of Arkansas and others, takes a critical look at what happens when innocent people plead guilty in the U.S. criminal justice system.

The newest stories, published late last month on the CNS website, detail how defendants with mental disabilities are at greater risk of admitting to crimes they did not commit, examine the growing role of artificial intelligence in determining whether a defendant should be eligible for bail, discuss ways in which pretrial services can be effective, show how deciding against pleading guilty can lead to a longer prison sentence if found guilty by a jury and much more.

The first stories were aired on the NewsHour and published on the CNS and Injustice Watch websites last spring.

CNS and its investigative bureau pursues national reporting projects thanks in part to funding from the Park Foundation.

New ‘Trading Away Justice’ Stories

For more information, contact:
Alexander A. Pyles
aapyles@umd.edu
301-405-1321

PBS NewsHour Airs CNS Ellicott City Project

PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff introduces a project by University of Maryland Capital News Service students and NewsHour correspondent John Yang.

PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff introduces a project by University of Maryland Capital News Service students and NewsHour correspondent John Yang.

COLLEGE PARK (12/12/18) — The PBS NewsHour on Wednesday aired part of a semester-long University of Maryland Capital News Service reporting project that takes a look at the future of historic mill town Ellicott City, Maryland — victimized by a pair of savage floods since 2016.

The news feature, “Saving A City,” includes terrifying security camera footage obtained by CNS student journalists that shows two people fighting for their lives as a store on Ellicott City’s iconic Main Street fills with rushing water from the flooding Tiber River.

The CNS field producing team, led by Eleanor Merrill Distinguished Visiting Fellow Tom Bettag and including students Lauren Anikis, Hannah Borison, Conor Hollingsworth and Chiamaka Ofulue, worked with NewsHour correspondent John Yang to tell the story. Students did the shooting and editing.

Students in several capstone courses at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism descended on Ellicott City this semester to report and tell stories about the destruction caused by the floods and the radical changes elected officials are considering to reduce the risk of future flooding.

CNS’ “Maryland Newsline,” a three-times-a-week television news broadcast led by broadcast bureau director Sue Kopen Katcef, aired live from Ellicott City early this month.

NewsBIN, an innovative video storytelling course led by lecturer Josh Davidsburg, published a 360 video showing how the most recent flood — in May this year — affected residents.

It’s the second time this year the NewsHour aired journalism produced by CNS students.

In May, Yang worked with students to show how the opposite choices made by two brothers wrongfully convicted of the same murder in Chicago dramatically changed their lives.

For more information, contact:
Alexander A. Pyles
aapyles@umd.edu
301-405-1321

Merrill College Students Cover Election for Capital News Service

A 360 photograph from the Capital News Service broadcast studio on election night. (Photo: Josh Davidsburg '01)

A 360 photograph from the Capital News Service broadcast studio on election night. (Photo: Josh Davidsburg ’01)

COLLEGE PARK (11/7/18) — Student journalists working for the University of Maryland Capital News Service were out in force Tuesday covering the midterm elections in Maryland.

Students led by Philip Merrill College of Journalism faculty members met with candidates, talked with voters, covered campaign parties and analyzed election results for a slew of consequential races across Maryland, including a historic governor’s race.

The journalism produced by Merrill College students reached audiences through the Maryland Newsline television broadcast, livestream video, social media and the CNS website.

CNS is the college’s nonprofit news organization with bureaus and news teams in Annapolis, Baltimore, College Park and Washington. It’s led by faculty members with distinguished journalism careers. Students are reporters, writers, photojournalists, broadcasters, data journalists and audience engagement managers.

Here’s a sampling of their work from the 2018 election:

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Photos: Bethany Swain

For more information, contact:
Alexander A. Pyles
aapyles@umd.edu
301-405-1321