Tag Archives: Media

Merrill College Students Shine As SPJ Mark of Excellence Award Winners

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Award winners all – the Philip Merrill College of Journalism’s Capital News Service and ViewFinder class, as well as the independent Diamondback Newspaper brought home 13 winners and 18 finalists today during the Region 2 SPJ Mark of Excellence Award luncheon in Knight Hall. No other school in Region 2 had more winners or finalists. The awards were announced as part of the SPJ Region 2 Conference being hosted by the Merrill College (Twitter: #2015SPJ2).

Winners will be entered into the national SPJ Mark of Excellence awards contest.

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NPPA Workshop: “Give Us a Week and We’ll Change Your Life.”

Merrill Students who attended the NPPA News Video Workshop in Norman, Oklahoma included (Left to Right) Brandi Vincent, Brianna Hurwitz, Alanna Delfino, Brett Hall and Taylor Cairns.

Merrill Students who attended the NPPA News Video Workshop in Norman, Oklahoma included (Left to Right) Brandi Vincent, Brianna Hurwitz, Alanna Delfino, Brett Hall and Taylor Cairns.

“Give us a week and we’ll change your life.”

These are the words that were promised to each of the participants attending the 55th NV workshop. It’s a week designed to squash old habits and start a life of storytelling with a clean palette. So, did this video workshop change my life? Yes, and it was epic.

I have been planning for this trip for over a year. When I was a junior, taking 262 with Instructor Bethany Swain, I remember asking her, “How did you get so good?” She said that when she went to this workshop in college. After that, I knew I just had to go. In 2013, I helped launch our UMD NPPA student chapter and have been planning for this trip ever since.

This trip is not your typical spring break. I mean, there was certainly no beach and Norman Oklahoma isn’t exactly paradise. Luckily, I was able to take this trip with a few of my Merrill College friends: Graduate student Brandi Vincent and undergraduate students Taylor Cairns, Brett Hall and Brianna Hurwitz.

We began our week with an introduction to the faculty. Let me rephrase that: We were introduced to the most talented photojournalists and multimedia journalists in the country. Most of the faculty members are people I’ve learned about in Al Tompkin’s Aim for the Heart, which is the main book we are required to read in most of our Merrill College broadcast classes.  Some of the team included: Julie Jones, Adam Vance, Stan Heist, Dave Wertheimer, Greg Vandergrift, Les Rose, Matt Mrozinski, Josh Maranhas, Joe Mahoney, Joe Little, Michelle Michael, John Larson, Steve Hooker, Evelio Contreras, Lisa Berglund, John Sharify, Brett Akagi and Sharon Levy. Like I said, talented.

On Monday morning, we were assigned to our “room moms.” Our instructors were there to teach and give us feedback on assignments. My instructor was KGTV’s 10news reporter, Joe Little. This must have been fate because if you have ever taken a class with instructor Swain, then you would know that she incorporates Joe Little stand-up examples into her lectures. Joe really took me under his wing. He watched my resume reel, gave me advice on jobs and answered all of my questions. Looking back on my time in 262 that summer, I would have never thought that I would become so close with someone I had come to admire so much.

IMG_3718Outside of class time, we saw multiple presentations. We got to watch incredible work and learn the tricks of the trade. One of my favorite presentations was with CBS photojournalist, Les Rose. If that doesn’t ring a bell, then maybe I should tell you that he’s also Steve Hartman’s photojournalist for the series, On the Road with Steve Hartman. Les showed some of his favorite stories, but most importantly, he shed a light on what it’s like to love what you do for a living. Les emphasized the power storytellers have by saying, “We are the merchant of moments.”

The week was long, tiring, stressful, inspiring and fabulous all mixed into one. We were on assignments everyday, consumed in one-on-one critiques with professionals and tediously working late hours in the lab at the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism. The critiques were intense. There is no way to prepare for critiques with professionals. Each person ripped apart every single one of my stories. This may sound crazy, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I can now take this feedback and apply the advice to my next story. After all, we are here to learn and improve. Yet, even with all the work, the entire team got to enjoy one last final hurrah on Thursday night. Yes, karaoke was involved.

This workshop impacted me in many different ways. It re-ignited my storytelling fire, inspired me to improve my skills and helped me to confirm that being an MMJ is exactly what I am meant to do. To say this workshop has changed my life is a really big claim. Yet, I think I speak for every NPPA Norman workshop alumni when I say that I have left this workshop a better version of myself and that has got to be the greatest story of all.

Merrill Ph.D.s Present with Impact at AEJMC / Journalism History Conference

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 10.00.39 AMCOLLEGE PARK, Md. -Six Merrill College Ph.D. students presented papers this past Saturday in New York City during the 2015 Joint Journalism and Communication History Conference. The papers were class research projects for Dr. Mark Feldstein’s Seminar in Mass Media History course last fall.

The conference was sponsored by the American Journalism Historians Association and the History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).

See the Storify about the conference.

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Merrill Journalist Rajhevendran One of “12 Terps Who Inspire”

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  Beena Raghavendran ’15

Beena Raghavendran by John Consoli.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Beena Raghavendran never felt so fortunate to be an aspiring political reporter in the U.S. as when she left the country.

While taking a three-week investigative class in Latvia over winter break last year, she met journalists in the post-Soviet nation who were verbally harassed, wiretapped and even assaulted for pursuing their work.

“Even though journalists might find it difficult sometimes to report stories here,” she recalls thinking, “at least they don’t fear for their lives.”


Swain Honored as “Most Valuable Professor” During Women’s Basketball Game

Update: Swain will also be an “MVP” honoree March 8th at 2pm during the final gymnastics meet of the season at the XFINITY Center. Merrill Journalist and member of the gymnastics team, Karen Tang, nominated Bethany for the honor.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Philip Merrill College of Journalism faculty member Bethany Swain was honored this week as a “Most Valuable Professor” during the Maryland women’s basketball game vs. Penn State University. Swain is a photo journalist and lecturer in the Merrill College, and was nominated by junior Chloe Pavlech – a member of the team and a journalism major.  This is the fourth year faculty and staff have been honored by Athletics and Maryland’s student-athletes as part of Maryland Academic Services’ (Athletics) “Most Valuable Professor (M.V.P.) program.


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