Tag Archives: Media

Hearst Awards Show Merrill Students Among the Best in the Nation

Hearst Awards.

Adapted from a Hearst News Release.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (May 24) – The final overall results are out for the 2016-2017 Hearst Journalism Awards Program.

Often called “The Pulitzers of college journalism,” the Hearst program holds year-long competitions in writing, photojournalism, broadcast news and multimedia for journalism undergraduates.  Journalism schools accumulating the most points earned by their students in each category are designated the winners of the Intercollegiate Competitions.

Overall Results for Merrill College:

Intercollegiate Writing: Fifth Place
Intercollegiate Broadcast Radio & TV: Sixth Place
Overall Intercollegiate trophies: 10th Place.

Individual Honors:

Andrew Dunn ’18 took fifth place and a $1000 scholarship award in the Breaking News Writing category.

Michelle Chavez ’16 took second place and a $2000 award in the TV2 News category. Merrill College will receive $2000 as well.

Two Merrill College students won Hearst Radio Awards. Matt Kubisiak’16 took third place while Demi Chang’15 took 17th place. Both were top students in adjunct lecturer Jamie Forzato’s JOUR364 – Radio Broadcast class in Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 respectively.

Merrill student Ellie Silverman’17 made the Top 10 (#8) of the Hearst Enterprise Writing Contest. This year the competition received 119 entries from 66 eligible undergraduate journalism programs.

About the Hearst Journalism Awards Program

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program operates under the auspices of the accredited schools of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication.  It is fully funded and administered by The William Randolph Hearst Foundation.  Currently, 106 accredited undergraduate schools of journalism in the United States are eligible to participate in the program, which awards up to $500,000 in scholarships and grants annually.

The Intercollegiate Awards have been acknowledged since the inception of the program, and in 1990 monetary awards were added to the Hearst Journalism Awards Program budget.

The points earned by individual students in the monthly writing, photojournalism, radio, television and multimedia competitions determine each discipline’s Intercollegiate ranking.  The winners are those schools with the highest accumulated student points in each category.   The overall Intercollegiate winners are the schools with the highest accumulated student points in the writing, photojournalism, broadcast and multimedia competitions.

Publisher William Randolph Hearst established the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and The Hearst Foundation, Inc. in the 1940’s, a few years before his death in 1951.  Since then, the Foundations have awarded over one billion dollars in grants and programs.


Change and Challenge: 100 Days of Journalism and Trump Symposium

First 100 Days of Journalism and Trump Symposium @merrillcollege May 4.

By April Newton
Ph.D. Student

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (April 28) – The Philip Merrill College of Journalism is holding a scholarship and practice symposium titled, “Change and Challenge: 100 Days of Journalism During the Trump Administration,” on May 3, in Knight Hall. The symposium will feature University of Maryland researchers from across campus and reporters who are covering the White House and politics. The keynote speaker will be Margaret Talev, Bloomberg News reporter, vice president of the White House Correspondents Association, president of the Washington Press Club Foundation and Merrill College of Journalism alumna.

The Change and Challenge symposium will allow reporters, researchers, and journalism educators to share experiences and seek directions for better understanding how President Trump’s election took many by surprise, what to do about fake news, and much more.

The May 3rd Symposium begins at 4 p.m. in Knight Hall’s Eaton Theater to learn more about journalists’ experiences and what researchers are investigating. There will be a reception in the Knight Hall atrium after the panel and Ms. Talev’s speech, beginning at approximately 5:30pm.

For questions, please email April Newton, co-president of the Merrill Graduate Student Association.

Merrill College History: The First Journalism Building

First journalism building at UMD. From the 1956 Alumni News.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Nov. 23) – The weather may not have cooperated, but that didn’t stop some 200 guests – including news, public relations and political officials – from helping to dedicate the University of Maryland’s first modern building for the Department of Journalism and Public Relations on Nov. 23, 1957. The journey to that dedication ceremony was a long one.

A Dream Years in the Making

There had been a long-standing dream for a new building since the Department of Journalism and Public Relations was established in 1947 on the University of Maryland campus. By 1952, the Alumni News’ editor Robert Hurst reported that the university administration had finally put plans for a new building “in motion” that would include an auditorium, classrooms and offices, as well as extensive facilities for training in press photography. Even the University Press and “the activities of the Director of Publicity and Publications will also be housed in the new building.”

A committee of the Maryland Press Association recommended the construction of a new building the following year that would include a newspaper hall of fame (the MDDC (Maryland-DC-Delaware) Press Association sponsors one today for its members).

By 1955, the plans (by architects Walton and Madden) were complete and despite some controversy about where the building would be located, construction finally got underway.

1955 Alumni News editor Bill Kennedy said Department Chair Alfred Crowell had spent much of his year working with the architects and interviewing “dealers of equipment and compiling specifications for purchase of equipment for each room in the three-story building.”

The 1956 Alumni News reported that the building should be completed by February or March of 1957. Along with the $350,000 building, the state allocated an additional $40,000 for equipment, but more was needed since “earlier requests did not cover plumbing or sinks for the photography labs, nor parking facilities.”

Alumni News for 1954

Alumni News for 1955

Photos as guests toured the new journalism building on the campus of the University of Maryland on Nov. 23, 1957. Photos by Al Danegger

Guests tour the new journalism building on the Maryland campus. Photos by Al Danegger.

An Informal Inspection

The original journalism building nearing compleation on McKeldin Mall at the University of Maryland. Photo: Al Danneger.

The journalism building nears completion. Photo: Al Danegger.

The New York Times sent their Philadelphia Correspondent William Weart to College Park to cover the dedication. He reported, “Built and partly equipped at a cost of $390,000, the three story structure stands on the southwest corner of the mall, adjacent to the $3,200,000 (what would become McKeldin) library nearing completion. Both buildings are of Georgian architectural design.”

Before the dedication ceremonies and luncheon, there was what Weart called an “informal inspection” of the facility.

What the guests saw was described a few months earlier in the May, 1957 Alumni News (the building was able to open for classes for the spring term):

“There was a time when the journalism department was housed in the worst building on campus, but today it is a center of attraction at Maryland… The first floor is the new home of the Diamondback and the future press room. The DBK has a large newsroom, the editor’s office looks out over the mall, and there are individual offices for sports, the business manager, and advertising-circulation. The DBK domain takes up half of the first floor. The rest is given over to the lobby, printer’s office, and press room.”


Touring the photo lab by Al Danegger.

The Alumni News reported there was a photography laboratory with a printing room containing 14 enlargers, a finishing room and much more. There was space for two separate darkrooms – one for the Diamondback and one for the Terrapin Yearbook and Old Line publication – but there wasn’t enough money to equip them at that point.

In July of that year, the Alumni News reported that the department had enrolled 85 majors in the “upper division” compared to 64 in the previous spring. 38 journalism and PR majors graduated, an increase of 10 over 1956. By July, 1958, the Alumni News reported that while some labs had still not been equipped, the facilities were “top-notch” and that students were seeing the use of more visual aids like 16 mm movies, slides, tapes, records.”

The report concluded by saying, “After what we’ve come from, no writing can do this new building justice. You’ll have to see it at the dedication ceremonies next fall, to see how student publications and the Department of Journalism and Public Relations have grown to be the pride of the campus.”

Alumni News of May, 1957

Alumni News of July, 1957

Alumni News of July, 1958

The dedication ceremony for the new journalism building on the Maryland campus and a shot of some of the dignitaries including Journalism Department Chair Alfred Crowell (back left).

Al Danegger’s photos of the dedication ceremony with University President Wilson Elkins at the podium and a photo of some of the dignitaries including Journalism Chair Alfred Crowell (back left).

Dedication Ceremonies: “Fourth Estate in a New Home”

buildingdedication_yearbookThe 1957 Terrapin Yearbook wrote:

“The $350,000 Journalism Building became officially dedicated to democracy’s principle of freedom of the press November 23. Before a gathering of 200 guests in the Rotary Room of the dining hall, President (Wilson) Elkins welcomed the speakers for the occasion. President of the American Newspaper Publishers Association, William Dwight, was the main speaker at the ceremony along with Governor McKeldin; J. Freeman Pyle, dean of BPA; Louis L. Goldstein, president of the Maryland State Senate; and Daniel Brewster, vice-chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the Maryland House of Delegates.”

The New York Times’ Weart reported that Dwight’s keynote focused on “official secrecy” by the federal government. “The right of Americans to know what their officials were doing,” Dwight said, “was being repeatedly invaded at all levels of government.”

The ceremony was recorded and thanks to University Archives, we can bring it to you here:


On to Knight Hall

By the turn of the century, it was becoming painfully clear that the original journalism building was too small and outmoded to serve a growing student population and a changing journalism industry. On April 21, 2010, the Philip Merrill College of Journalism in John S. & James L. Knight Hall was dedicated to take journalism at Maryland into the future. The original journalism building on McKeldin Mall was renovated and is currently being used by the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. The original “JOURNALISM” lettering from the old building was moved to Knight Hall to help serve as a bridge from the old to the new.

Watch: Announcement of the building of the new Knight Hall in 2006 with Dean Tom Kunkel, UMD President Dan Mote and Philip and Eleanor (Ellie) Merrill:


Covering #Election2016 from London for CNS

Maggie and Mina

CNS reporters Maggie Gottlieb and Mina Haq in England.

By Maggie Gottlieb ’17
Broadcast Journalism Major

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Nov. 16) – Just a month before America’s fateful electoral day came, Merrill College’s Capital News Service reporters received some exciting news of their own.

“We’re sending two CNS reporters to London for Election Day to cover overseas reaction,” Broadcast Bureau Chief Sue Kopen Katcef told her students after Maryland Newsline one night.

I was practically jumping up and down in excitement.

I’ve been covering this election at various internships since the very first campaign announcements back in the spring of 2015. Vividly, I remember being at my internship at CNN Newsource when we heard over the scanner that Donald Trump would soon hold a press conference “regarding the 2016 presidential election.”

As a budding journalist, every moment since has been riveting, historic and perhaps a tad disturbing. I spent a week in Philadelphia last summer covering the Democratic National Convention for CNS. We witnessed the first woman be nominated for president of a major party, even amidst reports of collusion with the DNC and a walk-out by angry Bernie Sanders supporters. Just one week prior, America saw the divisive nomination of Donald Trump despite RNC delegates’ feeble attempts at a contested convention.

The America in the months since the party conventions has been one of tension and divisiveness. But it wasn’t just America who was watching on Election Day.

Merrill student Mina Haq working on a story for CNS.

CNS reporter Mina Haq works on deadline.

Off to London

As our plane took off to London just a few days before the election, we looked back at the nation’s capital below us, thinking the next time we stepped on American soil, our country would have elected its first woman president. We were wrong, much like most of the media industry and many American voters.

We arrived on Sunday tired but incredibly excited for the week ahead. Our friends at Bournemouth University, the partnership that enabled the reporter swap, picked us up at the airport and took us to our hotel near The Eye (thank goodness they did because the London tube system is ridiculously convoluted). After dropping off our bags, we hit the ground running and started interviewing people on the street about their thoughts on the U.S. election. Most were troubled by candidate Donald Trump, but also weary of Clinton because of her email scandal.

While exploring the city that day, we stumbled upon a U.S. election pop up shop in a random tube station. I was so excited because it was the perfect engaging news peg into my story on UK reaction to the candidates.

file_000On Sunday evening, Mina and I met up with some of my Salzburg Academy study abroad friends for dinner near Oxford Street, where the Christmas lights had just been turned on that night. It was a great to walk down such a beautiful city street and forget about the stress of the election for a night.

Monday morning, we interviewed an expert on Brexit to hear her insights into Trump-Brexit comparisons. Then, we wandered back to the tube station pop up shop, which had just opened for business that day. They had a fake voting booth, facetious t-shirts about the candidates, donuts decorated as Clinton and Trump and America themed music. Most we talked to there said they didn’t like either candidate and were glad they weren’t voting citizens who actually had to choose.

We took the train down to Bournemouth to meet with our colleagues at BU, help with their election night rehearsal and see some more of the country! It’s a beautiful beachside college town and it was nice to get out of the craziness of the city for a night. Tuesday morning it was back to London for Election Day and our nerves were off the walls.

Election 2016 and the American Embassy


CNS reporter Maggie Gottlieb records her standup at the U.S. Embassy election night party.

Our assignment Tuesday night was to report from the American embassy in London at its election night watch party. On the tube ride to the embassy, Mina and I couldn’t contain our excitement that we’d finally see who America would choose. Still, we were sure that the next day America would have elected its first female president.

It was exciting to be among other Americans as well as Brits that evening, even when so far away from home. It was 1 a.m. London-time when polls closed here in Maryland and quickly we started to see that Trump was leading in some key swing states. I recorded hourly “look-lives” for Maryland Newsline’s live updates. Most in the embassy were Clinton supporters so the atmosphere was one of anxiety, but hopeful optimism. When Trump won Florida, Mina and I knew where this was heading.

By 3 a.m., most party guests had filed out of the media center, some to head home, some to commiserate elsewhere. We noticed three lone Trump supporters milling about, no doubt to make themselves available for interviews. Around when they called Ohio, North Carolina and Wisconsin for Trump, the embassy asked media the start packing up. It certainly felt a lot like, ‘our candidate is losing, nothing to see here!’

When we got outside, it was pouring rain. We mused to ourselves that the weather reflected the emotions of our friends back home and the embassy guests. We got home at 5:30 a.m. and Pennsylvania still hadn’t been called. I was too exhausted to wait for the overall call, so I went to sleep feeling confused and anxious.

ELECTION NIGHT: Europeans keep close watch on American presidential election – by Maggie Gottlieb
First Brexit, now Trump: the British feel new political quake
– By Mina Haq

The Day After

The London Eye.Wednesday morning, we woke up and immediately felt a million emotions as we read our friends and families’ social media posts about Trump’s victory. It was a result that shocked the world, with most in our east coast circle feeling scared, hurt and angry. We headed out to get Londoners reactions, which were quite different than those at home. The general consensus was ‘shocked but not surprised.’ Many said this result was just like the UK’s Brexit and we’d just have to wait and see what kind of president Trump will be.

After we filed our stories, we got to ride the London Eye and walk around Big Ben. It was a much-needed break from all of the negativity surrounding the election results.

Time To Go Home

We headed to the airport Thursday – but didn’t feel much like coming home. The week since has been a roller coaster of emotions, especially with a lot of talk of how President-elect Trump could restrict reporters’ rights. But in the wise words of Merrill Visiting Fellow Tom Bettag, “When you have been jolted, you have to figure out how to get up and start moving forward again.” And as a journalist, that’s exactly what I intend to do.

Thank you to Merrill College and the CNS bureau chiefs for giving us this amazing overseas reporting opportunity. Despite the over-zealous speculation about what Trump’s presidency will look like, I’m incredibly excited to graduate in May and begin my professional journalism career covering his administration. It may not have been the result we expected, but that’s what makes this business so exhilarating. It’s time to get back to work.

Note: Maggie and Mina were interviewed on Fox5-DC after they returned, to talk about their experiences covering the election in London.

Photos: Maggie Gottlieb and Mina Haq.

A montage from London and a shot of Maggie and Mina at Fox5 after they were interviewed about their experiences in London.

FJ Blog – Election 2016: What Did Journalists Miss?

Pallavi Guha is a Merrill College adjunct lecturer and Ph.D. candidate.

By Pallavi Guha
Ph.D. Student
Philip Merrill College of Journalism

For the past few months, U.S. and global media have been engaged in predicting the next commander-in-chief of the country. Until the election results were announced, the various legacy media organizations favored Secretary Hillary Clinton in this political spectacle. It was nothing short of a horse race, in which the various media outlets focused on the surveys and polling numbers.

Before FBI Director James Comey announced reopening the investigation of the Clinton email, the New York Times predicted Clinton had a 99% chance of winning against Trump, eventually reducing it to 85% on the day of the election. But it was still way off the actual outcome. And the Times is not the only one that misread voters; others like AP, FOX, CNN and FiveThirtyEight got it wrong too. These inflated numbers completely blindsided the Democrats and the Clinton campaign.

Since then, journalists, political leaders and the citizenry, have been asking the same question: How was the fourth estate not able to gauge the public opinion?

Cut to June 2016, the Brexit polls in the United Kingdom, where the national British media took sides in the referendum. The prestigious ones like The Guardian, The Observer, The Times and a few others endorsed remaining in the European Union. The polls and predictions to remain or leave the EU once again were not close to the result. Yet again, the stalwarts of journalism got it wrong.

Why are we seeing repeated failures of the media to predict or understand public opinion? Having covered pre-election coverage in the UK and India, the reliance on data and statistics are much greater now compared to previous elections. Depending on social media platforms and survey results seldom gives journalists access to public opinion. Most individuals are skeptical to share their political preferences on social media platforms. According to Pew, only 9% of social media users engage politically on social media platforms. These platforms don’t always provide the true public opinion since they are known to be echo chambers.

Secondly, the phone-in surveys completely ignored the undecided voters. These voters were not all undecided – many were closeted Trump supporters. But the constant labeling of Trump supporters as “racists” by the legacy media, forced them to withhold their choice.

Being a resident of suburban Maryland, I saw numerous Trump-Pence signs on the road and front yards, compared to Clinton-Kaine. And Maryland is a true blue state. Isn’t this a sign of something? And I kept wondering how could journalists miss it?

One of the many reasons that this signals to is the increasing disconnect between the legacy media and the people. A key example would be the media endorsement of a candidate or an issue. Endorsing a candidate or an issue takes away the objectivity of journalism. The media fails to look beyond its position and assess it dispassionately, much like the signs and phone surveys.

In spring of 2016, we discussed the issue of media endorsements. Most of my students at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism objected to them. Irrespective of their political choice, they thought it was biased.

As a former journalist and a journalism educator, I have always believed objectivity is the cornerstone of journalism. A bit of media credibility erodes every time, when the media fails to understand public opinion. We fail the people, we fail ourselves and we fail the country every time the news media makes a wrong prediction.

Pallavi Guha has been a professional journalist and media educator for a decade. Pallavi has worked internationally for leading media organizations including BBC News and television in London and The Times of India in India. Pallavi has been a teaching assistant and taught courses on gender, race and class in media, Images of journalists in films and Media Literacy. Pallavi’s academic background is in international relations, politics, communication and women studies. She has been published in peer-reviewed journals on intersections of gender, social media and politics. Pallavi frequently presents her work at academic and professional conferences. Currently, Pallavi is working on multiple research projects including sexual harassment of women journalists in Indian newsrooms, implications of social media for voter engagement in India. Pallavi’s research interests include social media communication, gender, politics and media in India and US. Areas of expertise: India, social media, politics and feminist activism in India.