Tag Archives: Journalism

USA Today College Ranks Merrill #6 – Rising Two Spots

Knight Hall by Ken Wyner

Photo by Ken Wyner.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Philip Merrill College of Journalism is now the 6th ranked journalism school in the nation. USA Today College recently reported the rankings by College Factual – a website that analyzes colleges across the country to come up with its rankings.

The list is an update from earlier in the year when Merrill College ranked #8.

“The Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland has some of the country’s best students, award-winning faculty and state-of-the-art facilities,” said Dean Lucy Dalglish. “Whether you want to cover politics or sports, shoot 360 video or analyze data to uncover untold stories, there’s no better place than a top-ranked school located next to the nation’s capital. It’s great that USA Today and College Factual recognize the fearless work of our students and faculty.”

How College Factual Ranks Journalism Schools

USA Today College said College Factual “bases their data on a unique selection of characteristics, including the quality of the overall school, Focus Coefficient and the starting and mid-career salaries of graduates within the major, among other factors.”

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.

Brothel Next Door Wins General Assembly Citation

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Oct. 5) – The Maryland General Assembly recently approved an official citation offering congratulations to the Philip Merrill College of Journalism’s student-run Capital News Service for its award-winning “Brothel Next Door” project. The citation was signed by delegate Jeff Waldstreicher of Montgomery County.

The CNS project – which involved some 100 students and five classes last school year, recently was named “The best of the best in collegiate journalism” by the Society of Professional Journalists.

The citation offers “sincerest congratulations” to CNS “in recognition of their dedication to excellence in journalism, as exemplified by the presentation of Best in Show in the Mark of Excellence Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.”

CNS Citation.


“Discharging Trouble” Looks at Maryland Nursing Homes

In Maryland, uneven oversight of nursing homes allows some patients to slip through the cracks.

UPDATE: Dec. 21, 2016: Maryland’s attorney general takes action against nursing home operator¬†Neiswanger Management Services (NMS). ¬†Attorney General Brian Frosh files suit in Montgomery County Circuit Court alleging NMS kicked out residents to increase Medicare payments. NMS denies any wrongdoing. See Washington Post reporter Dan Morse’s story for more.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Oct. 4) – A major new Capital News Service investigation of Maryland nursing homes called “Discharging Trouble” has found:

  • Patients like 59 year-old Vonda Wagner who literally fell into a “black hole” in the regulatory system designed to protect nursing home patients;
  • Maryland state nursing home regulators have a persistent staffing problem and are struggling to keep up;
  • Financial issues between two federal health insurance programs – Medicare and Medicaid – provides nursing home operators an incentive to discharge patients when the more generous Medicare benefit expires;
  • A creaky state regulatory system clashing with the bottom-line mentality of modern nursing home chains can leave vulnerable patients in unlicensed assisted living facilities that are often inadequate and dangerous.


The “Discharging Trouble” investigation was conducted last spring by students in then-Ph.D. student Rob Wells’ JOUR459e Business of Journalism class.

Now an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas, Wells wrote about the fearless journalism committed by his students:

“I am very proud of their work and dedication. The learning curve on this topic was steep and they put in an extraordinary effort to tie together the many threads. My hats are off especially to Zoe Sagalow, now a Merrill College graduate and a reporter at Tax Notes, and Morgan Eichensehr, also a Merrill graduate and a reporter at the Baltimore Business Journal.”

Wells added, “Sean Mussenden at Capital News Service (Digital Bureau Director) did a great job with the website and excellent editing. (Visiting Fellow) Tom Bettag and (Eaton Broadcast Chair) Mark Feldstein guided the video work. And (Abell Professor in Baltimore Journalism) Sandy Banisky devoted hours of her time brainstorming, editing, meeting with students and yet even more editing. I am honored to have worked with these students and first-class educators.”

Wells discussed the project with Merrill journalist Simone Thomas:

Zoe Sagalow – now a federal tax and data reporter at Tax Notes Today in Washington, D.C. – said, “I’m very glad that we found this story and that Merrill and CNS supported us in pursuing it. It was a rare and valuable experience to do investigative reporting while still in school. Rob Wells taught us about investigative reporting in general as well as specifics to apply to this significant project. He brought in other faculty to advise us on various aspects of the project. The way our class collaborated with other students and professors/editors outside of our class contributed to making CNS feel like a professional newsroom.”For more information contact:

David Ottalini
Sr. Communications Manager
Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Covering the Conventions: The 2008 RNC Convention

Bethany with the rest of the CNN photojournalists at the 2008 RNC Convention in St. Paul, Mn.

Bethany Swain poses with her fellow photojournalists at the RNC Convention in St. Paul, Mn. in 2008.

Note: Merrill College Lecturer Bethany Swain covered a number of political conventions over the years for CNN and other news organizations. For many, she would write narratives to family and friends about her experiences. In this note, she talks about the 2008 RNC Convention in St. Paul Mn. Photos: Bethany Swain.

By Bethany Swain
Sept. 1, 2008

When we arrived on site near the Excel Center at 3 a.m. today it was quiet, as Hurricane Gustov has taken away the usual convention energy. I’m working with CNN Newsource doing live shots for our affiliates with Sandra Endo. A line from her package really sums it up, “It was supposed to be a party for the Grand Old Party.”

Last night there were a dozen CNN photojournalists that collected in the hotel lounge to watch our colleagues covering the storm (photo – right). It was rare for all of us to be around and at the same time on the eve of an event like the convention. If it weren’t for the RNC, many of us would be in the Gulf Coast, too.

The group included Mark Biello, an Atlanta-based photojournalist who’s phone updates during the first hours of Katrina no doubt contributed to CNN’s Peabody award for breaking news coverage.

Our location on top of a parking garage overlooks the Excel center and the CNN Grill, a restaurant CNN took over with a special menu and CNN branded beer.

As the morning progresses, there are none of the lines and mobs of people I remember from the ’00 and ’04 conventions. Even some of the reporter live shot positions that would be busy previewing President Bush’s speech are empty as he canceled his visit to Minnesota because of the storm.

Our engineer set up a big TV this morning so we can watch the network report on the storm as we do our live shots on the scale back of the convention. If there is anything we do better than “CNN = Politics” is being “Hurricane Headquarters.”

A lot of planning went into this week here in the Twin Cities, but I don’t think anyone planned for this.

Montage of photos from Bethany Swain at the 2008 RNC Convention in St. Paul, Mn.