COLLEGE PARK (3/15/19) — Mel Coffee, who has split his three-decade journalism career between newsrooms and classrooms, will join the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism this fall to direct the Capital News Service broadcast bureau.
Coffee, an associate professor at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media since 2008, was previously a faculty member at Southern Methodist University and Syracuse University and an adjunct faculty member at Temple University.
His full-time teaching career followed 16 years as a reporter, anchor, producer and manager at local television stations in Dallas, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver. He’s also been a writer for CNN and participant in the international Fulbright Program.
“Mel Coffee’s broad experience in broadcast newsrooms and distinguished teaching record make him an exciting addition to Merrill College’s faculty,” Dean Lucy A. Dalglish said. “We’re confident he will help us grow our Capital News Service broadcast operation.”
Longtime CNS broadcast director Sue Kopen Katcef plans to retire after this semester.
Students in the broadcast bureau, who are treated like professional journalists, produce video packages for Maryland Newsline, a nightly news show that airs online and is broadcast to 400,000 households in suburban Washington through UMTV. The students also help produce web-only video, text and multimedia packages.
At Kentucky, Coffee launched the school’s first-ever live nightly student news broadcast. He oversees that show and teaches television and radio news reporting and production.
A Fulbright Scholar from September 2016 to July 2017 and a Fulbright Specialist in 2013 and 2018, Coffee used those awards to promote a free press in Zambia, where he helped the leading national broadcaster, ZNBC-TV, improve its investigative reporting and overall newsroom product.
Before that, he traveled 14 times to Zambia and Botswana with university colleagues to train television and radio journalists there to report on HIV and AIDS.
Coffee, who holds master’s and bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, said he was excited to join Merrill College’s faculty and to build upon the school’s tradition of reflecting and shaping the best news industry standards.
“What I love about coming to Merrill is being part of that outstanding tradition as well as being able to play a significant role in contributing to the college’s future,” Coffee said. “The work Merrill does protects journalism’s high standards and missions and in doing so protects and preserves the core of democracy in our country.”