Tag Archives: Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Merrill Students Take Top Awards at WHNPA

Bethany Swain ‏@BethanysStories 14h14 hours ago .@whnpa contest judging weekend is always busy and rewarding. Thanks to the awesome judges and @merrillcollege @vfstories #j262b volunteers - from Twitter.

(Adapted from a WHNPA news release.)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Feb. 13) – Merrill College students are major winners in the 2017 White House News Photographer’s Association “Eyes of History®” competition. Student contest judging was held Feb. 11 at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C.

In the Narrated (Reporter) Package category:

First Place 

Angelo Bavaro ’17
CNS: The Business of Moving On

Second Place
Michelle Chavez ’16
CNS: Survivor Quilt

In the Natural Sound Package category:

First Place Alexandra Simon ’17
ViewFinder: Two Guys Feed the Fair

Second Place
Ryan Eskalis ’16
ViewFinder: Last Chance

Award of Excellence Susann Shin ’17
ViewFinder: Cruising on Camels

Award of Excellence Hannah Burton ’17 and Mackenzie Happe ’17
ViewFinder: The Southern Barnyard Runners

Merrill College lecturer Bethany Swain serves as the Student Video Chair for the contest and said on Twitter that ten schools entered the video contest. (Updated) A number of Merrill College students from her JOUR262b class attended the judging event to help as volunteers.

The top winners of the still, video, multimedia and student contests will be honored at the annual ‘Eyes of History®’ gala on June 10, 2017, at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington. The black-tie event celebrates all the winning photojournalists and the President of the United States. Nearly 1,000 guests, including government dignitaries and industry celebrities, attend. The White House News Photographers Association is a 96-year-old non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the efforts of Washington’s professional photojournalists. The WHNPA aims to provide professional and educational outreach to its members and the community through scholarships, programming, an annual competition and a celebration of the industry at the annual “Eyes of History®” gala.

For more information, please contact Whitney Shefte at president@whnpa.org or executive director Heidi Elswick at heidi@whnpa.org (301-606-8251). For further information about ‘The Eyes of History®’ and to view the winning images and videos, visit the WHNPA website.


NPPA Honors ViewFinder, Swain

ViewFinder logo

(Adapted from an NPPA press release.)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Feb. 10) – The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) 2017 Northern Short Course Photo Contest winners were announced Thursday. Competing against professionals, the fall, 2016 ViewFinder team took third place in the “Team Multimedia” category for “Strength and Shame.”

On Vimeo, the series is explained this way:

“In June 2016, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, experienced one opioid overdose a day and a death a week. Just six months later, those numbers doubled. The Fall 2016 ViewFinder team of photojournalists traveled to Anne Arundel County to take an in-depth look at the opioid epidemic.We spoke to parents, children and community members who have been affected by this issue. Dealing with feelings of strength and shame aren’t easy—these stories give us a glimpse into the struggle these people face on a daily basis.”

The ViewFinder series is part of the University of Maryland PALS initiative.

Students involved with the production include: Hannah Burton ’17, Karen Castillo ’16, Ryan Eskalis ’16, Mya Green ’17, Mackenzie Happe ’17, Hannah Klarner (MJ ’17), Susann Shin ’17 and Alexandra Simon ’17.

In addition, Ricky Lasser ’16 took an honorable mention in the Longform Multimedia Individual category for “Forgiven.”

The Northern Short Course in Photojournalism, an annual NPPA event, will be held March 2-4 in Fairfax, Va. During the organization’s awards dinner on the 4th, Merrill College Lecturer Bethany Swain will be honored with the Robin F. Garland Educator Award for outstanding service as a photojournalism educator.

Portrait of Bethany Swain, Lecturer in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Holding a large video camera.   Faculty Q&A, TERP, Fall 2013.In a press release from Jan. 19, the NPPA said:

“Bethany Swain, a lecturer at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, has won the Robin F. Garland Educator Award for her dedication to her students, who have related about the breadth of professional knowledge she has shared with them. And not just from a technical perspective but also real “inside” advice and guidance about developing and maintaining relationships, both within the newsroom and with their subjects. She also done a wonderful job starting and advising Maryland’s very active and engaged NPPA student chapter, which is comprised primarily of students with a focus on broadcast photojournalism. The Garland Award is given for outstanding service as a photojournalism educator. Garland was a picture editor and war correspondent for the Saturday Evening Post until he joined Graflex Inc. as press technical representative after World War II. Later he became a press photography product specialist for Eastman Kodak Co.”

Merrill Alum Produced Viral 84 Lumber Ad for Super Bowl

By Lauren Brown
TERP Magazine Online

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Feb. 2017) – John Noble ’85 has produced over 1,000 TV commercials for big names like Coke, Budweiser and Amazon, but in 30 years in advertising, he’s never seen a reaction to his work like that following Sunday’s Super Bowl premiere of a spot for 84 Lumber.

The nearly five-minute ad (below), which FOX declined to run in its original form, depicts the journey of an impoverished Mexican woman and her daughter through cities and across deserts, in pickup trucks and on foot to reach the U.S. border. There, they are halted by a miles-long wall, but are surprised to discover a large, mysterious wooden door.

The flood of intrigued viewers who saw the shorter, edited version during the game crashed the company’s website. It has since racked up more than 10 million views on YouTube.

Noble and his co-founder at production firm FIXER Partners oversaw the entire process from script to screen—and on a stunningly short deadline. He paused amid the avalanche of publicity to tell us about the experience:

John Nobel and family in a photo from LinkedIn.

John Noble and family in a photo from LinkedIn.

TERP: What is FIXER Partners, and what do you do there?

Noble: FIXER Partners was founded by my partner Brad Powell and myself. After 20 years of working “for the man”, we decided to go for it and produce work under our own banner. FIXER is like a production SWAT team: As seasoned pros, we know how to get in and assess the situation quickly, we solve and fix efficiently, and then we get out. It’s a new model for production, whereas the agency and/or brand can use when they need us and avoid paying staff salaries and the overhead that comes with that all.

Read the rest of the interview on the TERP Magazine website.

You might also like: Super Bowl Ad: The Westport Roots

Joanna Nurmis Successfully Defends Dissertation

Dr. Joanna Nurmis with her Ph.D. Advisory Committee: From left to right: Dr. Nathan Hultman, Public Policy, Dr. Sarah Oates, advisor, Journalism, Joanna, Dr. Kalyani Chadha, Journalism, Dr. Linda Steiner, Journalism, and Dr. Edward Maibach, George Mason University.

Dr. Joanna Nurmis with her Ph.D. Advisory Committee: From left to right: Dr. Nathan Hultman, Public Policy, Dr. Sarah Oates, advisor, Journalism, Dr. Nurmis, Dr. Kalyani Chadha, Journalism, Dr. Linda Steiner, Journalism, and Dr. Edward Maibach, George Mason University.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Feb. 8) – Congratulations to Dr. Joanna Nurmis, who successfully defended her dissertation today in Knight Hall.

Her dissertation was titled, “Can photojournalism enhance public engagement with climate change?”

Dr. Nurmis’ committee included: Dr. Sarah Ann Oates (Chair), Dr. Linda Steiner, Dr. Kalyani Chadha, Dr. Nathan Hultman (Public Policy), and Dr. Edward Maibach (George Mason University).

Dr. Nurmis is currently a research affiliate at the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University.  Her biography online says:

“She joined the field of media studies after obtaining her Master’s in International Relations from Sciences Po Paris and working as a photo editor in France. Her interest for international politics and crisis communication and her passion for photography as a universal language combined to produce her current dissertation topic, the communication of climate change through photojournalistic images. Joanna is most interested in the way visual rhetorics are deployed in photography, and how they influence audience engagement, especially in the context of pressing global issues such as climate change.

At Maryland, she served as a teaching assistant for three years, and participated in two interdisciplinary research projects within the Future of Information Alliance.”

Fearless Blog: How Russian ‘Kompromat’ Destroys Political Opponents, No Facts Required

Professor Sarah Oates.

By Professor Sarah Oates

Originally published in the Washington Post, Jan. 13, 2017: Reprinted with permission

Short for “compromising material” in Russian, kompromat is all about the intersection of news and blackmail. It’s the ability to sully the reputations of political opponents or pressure allies through hints, images, videos, promises of disclosures, perhaps even some high-quality faked documentation. Sex or pornography often figures prominently. The beauty of kompromat is that it has to create only a sense of doubt, not prove its case conclusively. This sounds a bit like “fake news,” but in a classic kompromat operation, real Russian state media organizations work in tandem with the Kremlin to find appealing and effective ways to discredit the target. Often, that means in the most visceral and personal ways possible.

Now kompromat may have come to the United States.

This past week, news broke that U.S. intelligence officials had briefed Trump on unsubstantiated allegations that Russian operatives had gathered scandalous information on him or had had contacts with his advisers. But kompromat was a constant undercurrent in the campaign, too: National security officials say hackers linked to Russian intelligence got into the Democratic National Committee’s servers and the Gmail account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman in order to leak damaging information about her. And Trump’s love of conspiracy theories and baseless accusations isn’t so far from the Russian concept, either — which may be why the idea that he might have been a target of kompromat himself is resonating so clearly with his political opponents.

The Kremlin has denied that it sought to gather compromising information on Trump during his visits to Russia, as it has denied involvement in the DNC hacks. But a high-profile businessman such as Trump would be a prototypical target for such an operation. And denials are also standard.

Kompromat has evolved well beyond the clumsy photo-editing of the Stalin era, when political opponents were carefully airbrushed out. Several opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin or the Russian regime find themselves facing charges of possession of child pornography that they believe was planted by Russian operatives – in Russia, but also in Lithuania and Britain.

Another tactic of choice involves sex tapes. In 2010, videos of Russian opposition journalists and politicians who had been filmed separately having sex with the same young Russian woman were leaked online. Last year, an opposition political party was damaged when a tape emerged of a married party leader having sex with an aide. Putin has been involved in such operations for years: In 1999, when he was the head of the FSB (the post-Soviet successor to the KGB), Putin reportedly helped then-President Boris Yeltsin to discredit and dismiss powerful prosecutor Yuri Skuratov, who had threatened to reveal which Russian officials were siphoning money to foreign bank accounts. When Yeltsin could not persuade the parliament to fire Skuratov, a video of the prosecutor — or at least a man who resembled him — having sex with prostitutes was aired on television. This all may sound like something out of “The Americans,” but it’s politics as usual in Russia.
Read the full article on the Washington Post website.