Tag Archives: Media

Mara Schiavocampo: My Return to Merrill College

Mara Schiavocampo

By Mara Schiavocampo MA ’03

An Emmy award-winning journalist, Mara is currently a New York-based correspondent for ABC News. In 2014 she published the book ‘Thinsired: How I Lost 90 Pounds – My Plan for Lasting Weight Loss and Self-Acceptance.” Mara returned to Merrill in the spring (2015) to speak to students and to promote her book. She reflects on her visit below.

In early 2015, 12 years after leaving as a student, I had the rare and joyful opportunity to return to The Phillip Merrill College of Journalism, for a visit with current students, and book selling event. I was immediately struck by how different the new building, Knight Hall looked. It was nothing like the building I’d left behind. The newly renovated facilities are a true sanctuary for teaching the craft of journalism: spacious, bright, and even featuring a café for the staples of a reporter’s diet, caffeine and sugar. In the basement of nearby Tawes Hall, the studio where I first learned the foundations of broadcast journalism showcased some of the most up-to-date technology for writing, shooting, editing, and show production. I marveled at how much had changed. After all, when I’d been there, we were still shooting on VHS-tapes (yes, actual tapes). I was so proud and thrilled to see today’s students learning and developing their skills.

But as much as things were different, a lot was very much the same. The newsroom was as bustling and full of enthusiasm as ever, packed with eager students reviewing their scripts and producers tinkering with their show rundown, all under the watchful and loving guidance of Sue Kopen, who I had the pleasure of working with as well. When I got a chance to speak at length with a group of students one-on-one, I was so impressed by their inquisitiveness and energy, and tremendously encouraged to know they would one day be the next group of UM alums. It seems that the college has managed to strike the delicate balance between improving upon an excellent program, while maintaining the core character that is so key to shaping future journalists.


10th Annual Povich Symposium: Sportswriting Then and Now

Povich Center Director George Solomon.

by George Solomon
Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism

COLLEGE PARK, Md.  – What a perfect topic for the 10th annual Shirley Povich Symposium: “Sportswriting:  Then and Now.” Shirley Povich, who wrote sports for The Washington Post for 75 years until his death in 1998, is remembered by this symposium and the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism that was started by  the Povich family and other supporters in November of 2011  at the Philip Merrill College of  Journalism.

This year’s symposium will be held on Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. in the Samuel Riggs Alumni Center, with television host Maury Povich moderating a panel that includes ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, Washington Post sports columnist and author Sally Jenkins and USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan and sports journalism (ESPN) and author Jeremy Shapp. The evening’s activities will begin with remembrances of Shirley Povich by Donald Graham, CEO of  Graham Holdings and former owner of The Washington Post.

The symposium, one of the most popular events on the university’s fall calendar,  has over the years touched on such topics  as racism in sports, Maryland’s move to the Big Ten, the integration of the Washington Redskins and the Maryland football team, dramatic  changes in college sports and when athletes make front page news for the wrong reasons.

Povich 2013

Past panelists over the years have included Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson, ESPN anchor and Maryland alumnus Scott Van Pelt, Kara Lawson of the Washington Mystics and ESPN, Redskins’ owner Daniel Snyder, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, retired Maryland men’s basketball coach Gary Williams,  Washington’s NFL Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell, Darryl Hill (Maryland’s  first African-American football player), Merrill College faculty member Kevin Blackistone and former Maryland All-American basketball player and U.S. Congressman Tom McMillen.

Prior to the symposium  moving to the Maryland campus in 2006, the event had been held for three years at the D.C. Jewish Community Center and featured sports television icon Bob Costas and writer David Kindred, as well as the participants  in the book, “Shirley Povich: All those mornings….at The Post.”

The Povich family, including Maury Povich, author Lynn Povich and lawyer David Povich, established the Shirley Povich Chair in Sports Journalism at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism  in 2005 that was absorbed into  the Povich Center in 2011.

The center, supported by the family and other members of the community, serves Merrill students, professional journalists, high school students through its journalism workshops, panels of interest to the sports community, discussions, research and analysis.   This past summer, the center completed its second week-long Shirley Povich Sports Journalism Summer Camp run by center coordinator Beth Mechum for 60 high school students.

One of the center’s missions is to mentor and prepare sports journalism students for professional careers and assist  the college staff in seeking internships and post-graduate jobs in the ever-changing  and highly competitive world of sports media. It’s a task that continues long after our graduates walk off the stage holding a diploma.


The Internship Experience

Internships are a critical part of the Merrill College experience. In fact, it’s not uncommon for our students to land internships after just one year in Knight Hall. Many Merrill Journalists list several internships on their resume by graduation.

Internships are important for many reasons:

  • InternMontage01They provide real-world experience;
  • They provide networking opportunities;
  • They build responsibility;
  • They foster collaboration;
  • They provide focus by showing a student the many jobs that are available;
  • They’re fun!

Merrill journalism students regularly land school-year internships at such prestigious media outlets as National Geographic, Discovery, Washingtonian magazine, network and local TV news stations, SiriusXM, WTOP and WBAL radio stations, The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun and USA Today, McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Comcast SportsNet, ESPN and even the Washington Gardener magazine.

Additionally, students take advantage of opportunities in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, Indianapolis, Tampa and elsewhere during summer and winter breaks, at publications including NPR, the Indianapolis Star, Reuters, Miami New Times, CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox news and sports, and Cosmopolitan, More and Good Housekeeping magazines.

Everyone is impressed when they see where I obtained my Journalism degree. Doing my internship senior year at The Washingtonian magazine prepared me for the “real world.”   I am so happy I was a Journalism major over a Business major. To this day, I am grateful that I was accepted to University of Maryland. – NYC Freelance Journalist Roberta Lasky ’88

Learn more about internship opportunities at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Merrill College, Diamondback National SPJ “Mark of Excellence” Winners

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 1.44.25 PMAdapted from a Society of Professional Journalists news release.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Society of Professional Journalists national 2014 “Mark of Excellence” awards are out with the Philip Merrill College of Journalism and the Diamondback student newspaper taking honors in a number of categories.

In a message to the Merrill College community, Dean Lucy Dalglish commended the Capital News Service (CNS), Viewfinder and Diamondback students for their outstanding work.

National Mark of Excellence Award winners are chosen from the category winners in each of SPJ’s 12 regions, and the awards are judged by journalism professionals with at least three years of experience. See the Merrill College news story about our regional winners.

SPJ will recognize first-place national winners at the Student Union event during Excellence in Journalism 2015 in Orlando, Fla., Sept. 18-20.

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Schweich Wins NPPF TV News Scholarship

629283– Adapted from an NPPF Press Release:

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Merrill Journalist Emily Schweich is the winner of the National Press Photographers Foundation (NPPF) TV News Scholarship. Schweich – a junior broadcast major – is one of seven college students selected by the NPPF to receive the $2,000 scholarships. “I’m very honored and excited to be recognized by this prestigious organization,” said Schweich.

Currently the president of the Society of Professional Journalists student chapter, Schweich also works as a multimedia reporter for The Diamondback, the University of Maryland’s independent daily student newspaper.  She has had a love for storytelling from an early age. She says her ultimate goal is to “become a news anchor and give a voice to the voiceless through journalism, focusing special attention to issues impacting women, such as gender-based violence and poverty and fair treatment in the workplace.”

Read her Bio here.

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