Tag Archives: Media

Capital News Service Blankets the Conventions

A group shot of our CNS student reporters with faculty members Josh Davidsburg and Jim Carroll. Jessica is second from left in the first row. Photo: CNS

A group shot of our CNS student reporters with faculty members Josh Davidsburg and Jim Carroll. Photo: CNS

By James R. Carroll
Washington Bureau Chief
Capital News Service

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Oct. 31) – For reporters who cover politics and public affairs, the political conventions are coveted assignments, rare opportunities to witness and write about the spectacle of a national party gathering. Unfortunately, a lot of reporters don’t get the chance to experience a convention.

But Capital News Service last summer gave a group of undergraduate and graduate students that chance, sending two separate groups of reporters to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

In the days preceding and during the two conventions, CNS reporters in Ohio and Pennsylvania, aided by a group of colleagues in Knight Hall’s Studio C in College Park, produced dozens of stories on issues, Maryland political figures, various controversies, and interesting and quirky doings among party delegates.

In addition to CNS text stories and video packages (including some made with 360-degree cameras), reporters produced graphics, Facebook Live broadcasts, photos, assembled pieces on Storify, put video and photos on Snapchat, and tweeted hundreds of times on events and observations inside and outside the convention halls. Some of our CNS reporters also talked about their work and experiences in appearances on a local Fox television affiliate back in Washington and on C-Span.

We invite you to check out some of what we did on the CNS website.

Exciting and exhausting, convention coverage is challenging even for veteran journalists. (These were my 17th and 18thconsecutive conventions.) Our CNS teams dove right in like pros.

“Being a young reporter in the midst of the media is scary, but it’s also exhilarating,” CNS reporter Jessica Campisi wrote in a blog from the GOP convention. “Walking through the convention center, I’ve spotted reporters whom I’ve grown to know through their front-page stories or their morning newscasts on TV. While some people obsess over stars like Beyonce or Kim Kardashian, my celebrity crushes are known for scoops and winning Pulitzer Prizes. It’s slightly intimidating being next to them, but then I realize I’m just like them.”

Maggie Gottlieb wrote about her hectic days at the Democratic convention.

“If there is anything this experience taught me, it is that I am more knowledgeable, skillful and competent than I ever thought before I embarked on this journey,” she said. “My feelings of insecurity about working as a full-time broadcast reporter for CNS (this) semester have completely vanished. I learned to trust in myself, believe in my own abilities and take a leap of faith.”

Everybody came home with plenty of convention swag and souvenirs, but mostly with the tools to witness history and turn it into solid journalism.

(Carroll and broadcast lecturer Josh Davidsburg directed the coverage in Cleveland. Carroll and broadcast bureau director Sue Kopen Katcef oversaw the coverage in Philadelphia.) 



Nelson Lectures in Slovakia on Climate Change

Merrill College Associate Professor of Investigative Journalism Deborah Nelson talks with journalism students at Comenius University in Slovakia. Photo: Deborah Nelson.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Oct. 26) – Why is it so difficult for journalists to report on the environment – and especially climate change?  It’s an issue being discussed this week in Bratislava, Slovakia by Merrill College Associate Professor of Investigative Journalism Deborah Nelson.

Among a number of events, Nelson  lectured at Comenius University about climate change and talked to journalism students there.

Nelson – a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, has been reporting about the environment her entire life.  As recently as 2014, she was part of a major investigation for Reuters – called “Water’s Edge“- looking at rising sea levels caused by global warming. The report won numerous accolades – including a $20,000 National Academy of Sciences award. A new project with Reuters will look at antibiotic resistance infections.

Watch Professor Nelson’s speech titled “How to Report on a Changing World” at Comenius University:

Talking to the Slovak Spectator, she talked about not only climate change but also “the challenges that journalists face nowadays.”

During the interview, Professor Nelson was asked why journalists don’t know how to report on environmental issues:

“Many of us aren’t well grounded in science and statistics. Many journalists are scared away from reporting on environmental issues for that reason. I have done many science-based and data-driven projects and I had to learn those skills. I don’t consider myself an expert, but I’m always careful to consult those who are. There is a real need for journalists to learn science and in fact I’ve proposed a statistics course for journalism students.”

Read the entire interview in the Slovak Spectator.

Knight Chair Dana Priest Honored with Zenger Award

Dana Priest headshot

Adapted from a University of Arizona press release.

TUCSON, Ariz. (Oct. 21) – Merrill College Knight Chair Dana Priest has been honored with the John Peter Zenger Award for Press Freedom by the University of Arizona.

Priest accepted the award Friday night during a gala event in Tucson.

A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Priest was honored for her work at the Washington Post exposing secret prisons and the poor treatment of wounded soldiers.

“Dana Priest epitomizes what journalism is all about – courage, truth-seeking, holding those in power accountable, and providing people the information they need to adequately self-govern,” said David Cuillier, director of the journalism school.

About the John Peter Zenger Award

Given by the University of Arizona since 1954, the award is named after John Peter and Anna Catherine Zenger and honors journalists who fight for freedom of the press and the people’s right to know.

Writing by email after being told of the award last May, Priest wrote, “Today is World Press Freedom Day, which makes me particularly grateful to be receiving this award from the UA School of Journalism.” She added, “The school’s award-winning work is an example of American journalism at its finest and a reminder of the power of investigative reporting to change lives.”

Past winners include Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Bill Moyers, Walter Cronkite and Associated Press foreign correspondent Kathy Gannon, who returned to reporting this year after being wounded in a 2014 attack in Afghanistan.

On the set of UA's PBS MetroWeek news and public affairs program with host Andrea Kelly at Univ of Arizona at Tucson. Priest was Speaking about Russian attempts to influence US elections and talking to journalism students.

On the set of MetroWeek – a PBS news and public affairs program – with host Andrea Kelly at Univ of Arizona at Tucson. Priest was speaking about Russian attempts to influence U.S. elections and talking to journalism students. Photo: Dana Priest.

About Dana Priest

Priest won a 2006 Pulitzer for uncovering secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe and a 2008 Pulitzer for reporting on deplorable conditions for veterans at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington. She also is a John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

A three-time Pulitzer finalist, Priest is an alumna of UC Santa Cruz and is the author of two best-selling books: “The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America’s Military” (2003), and “Top Secret America: The Rise of the National Security State” (2010). The first book was a Pulitzer finalist and is still used in military academies. The second, developed into a “Frontline” documentary, covered the buildup in top-secret intelligence organizations in the aftermath of Sept. 11.

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.