Tag Archives: Philip Merrill College of Journalism

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.

Morganfield (Ph.D. ’15) Named Mass Communication Chair at Grambling

Robbie Morganfield is the new Chairman, Department of Mass Communication Grambling State University.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Feb. 6) – Dr. Robbie Morganfield (Ph.D. ’15) is the new chair of the Dept. of Mass Communication at Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana.

He will head up a department that has an accredited bachelor’s degree program with concentrations in broadcasting, print, business, sports and visual journalism. A master’s degree in mass communication is also offered.

Since graduation, Dr. Morganfield, an ordained minister, has been on the faculty of Anne Arundel Community College and serving as the lead pastor for the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church.

While working on his Ph.D. at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, Dr. Morganfield worked with faculty advisor, (Emeritus) Professor Maurine Beasley. She reports his scholarly interests center on the depiction of religion in journalism. His dissertation was, “Framing Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.: A Comparative Analysis of Mainstream and Alternative Newspaper Coverage, 2007-2008.”

CNS Will Contribute News Stories to the Associated Press

CNS will now contribute stories to the Associated Press.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Jan. 27) – The University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism announced today that Capital News Service (CNS) will contribute news stories to The Associated Press.

CNS is the 26-year-old, student-powered and professionally edited news service of Merrill College, with bureaus in Washington, Annapolis and College Park. CNS delivers public affairs news about Maryland via partner news organizations, a destination website, a nightly on-air television newscast and affiliated social media channels. CNS routinely wins awards from major journalism organizations, including the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Press Photographers Association and others.

“Since its earliest days, CNS has strived to provide the kind of unbiased and accurate news that is the hallmark of The Associated Press,” said Lucy Dalglish, dean of the Merrill College. “Distributing CNS through the AP is another indication of the professionalism of our student journalists.”

“This collaboration with CNS will give more quality content to AP’s customers in Maryland even as it furthers the students’ experience,” said Ravi Nessman, AP’s interim South Region Editor.

The AP, founded in 1846, is the essential global news network, with teams in more than 260 locations in over 100 countries. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from AP.

Under the new agreement, which cements a trial arrangement started last year, the AP will move select stories produced by Capital News Service to its global clients. Already, CNS stories have appeared on the websites of news organizations across the country.

AP: www.ap.org

CNS: www.cnsmaryland.org

CNS Plans Robust Inauguration and Protest Coverage

University of Maryland Capital News Service

University of Maryland Capital News Service.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Jan. 19) – The Philip Merrill College of Journalism’s student-powered Capital News Service will be providing “blanket coverage” of Donald Trump’s Inauguration festivities Thursday and Friday and Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington protests.

You can follow along on the CNS website as well as the CNS YouTube page. On social media: Twitter: @cnsmd and on Facebook:

“We are flooding the zone with Capital News Service reporters, photographers and broadcasters for the presidential inauguration, said CNS D.C. Bureau Chief Jim Carroll. “All will be covering an historic day in the nation’s history: the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another. CNS continues to build on its more-than-quarter-century-old mission to bring important and timely journalism to its readers and clients.”

Here’s what to expect:

CNS Broadcast journalist George Gerbo in Studio B with his inaugural ticket.

CNS Broadcast journalist George Gerbo in Studio B with his inaugural ticket.

  • Thursday: A wide range of stories will be sent to CNS subscribers (including the Associated Press) ranging from a look at the upcoming inaugural concert, President Obama’s last day, area resident’s concerns about the impending repeal of the ACA (Obamacare) and even reaction from London about the impact of the new Trump administration on U.S.-British relations.
  • Friday: 20 reporters, videographers and photographers will be covering the inauguration;
  • CNS reporters will be at the US Capitol swearing-in ceremonies, in the crowds, along the parade routes, at some protests and counter-inaugural events;
  • An overall report will be filed focusing on the inaugural address, the crowd and color of the day;
  • There will be a reaction story as well as a story on the expected protests;
  • CNS photographers will not only be shooting stills, but there will be 360 degree video coverage as well;
  • Saturday: The Women’s March on Washington protest will be covered by a team of CNS reporters, photographers and videographers;
  • CNS Broadcast will also be sending a crew to Wilmington, Del. to cover the “welcome home” celebration for Joe and Jill Biden.

The logistics plan for the two days of coverage has taken months to compile.

Some examples:

CNS reporters on the National Mall during the Inauguration of Donald Trump.

CNS reporters on the National Mall during the Inauguration of Donald Trump.

Friday – Inauguration Day

  • All CNS reporters will be in the D.C. Bureau (Reagan Building) no later than 5:30 a.m. DC Bureau Chief Jim Carroll will distribute tickets at that time;
  • CNS reporters are being warned to wear layers (rain is forecast mid-day Friday) and to keep in mind that it will likely be difficult to find toilets;
  • CNS reporters covering the swearing-in ceremony must be on site and ready to go through security no later than 7:30 a.m.
  • Walking back to the bureau after the event could take a very long time!
  • CNS covers the inaugural parade that starts at 2:45 p.m.
  • CNS reporters will cover an “UnNagural Concert” in Silver Spring designed to support several progressive organizations that say their missions are threatened by the new Trump administration.

Saturday – Women’s March on Washington Protest

  • CNS reporters asked to be at the D.C. Bureau by 8:30 a.m.
  • Women’s March starts at 10 a.m. and will be covered by a team of reporters including multi-platform, broadcast and social media.

Going forward, CNS will continue to provide coverage of the new Trump administration and its actions – especially the impact on Marylanders. In Knight Hall, Visiting Fellow Tom Bettag is moving his Topics in Broadcast and Electronic Media class to focus on how the media is covering the Trump administration’s first 100 days. You can get to the 100 Days website from the CNS Maryland home page.


Dean Dalglish Announces New Hiebert Endowed Award

Dean Lucy Dalglish with former Dean Ray Hiebert in a 2015 photo.

Dean Lucy Dalglish with Former Dean Ray Hiebert, 2015.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Jan. 17) – Dean Lucy Dalglish announces the new Ray Hiebert History of Journalism Endowed Award, starting in the spring of 2017.

Hiebert is a professor emeritus and was founding dean of the College of Journalism (1968) at the University of Maryland. He is author and editor of books and articles on history, biography, journalism, public relations, public affairs, and mass media.

The award reflects the interest of Dr. Hiebert in the historic role of journalism in American life, politics, government and culture. His intent in establishing this award is to promote the teaching of journalism history in journalism education and to encourage research that sheds light on that history.

Dr. Hiebert believes that the University of Maryland is ideally located for research in journalism history, especially because of the university’s proximity to the U.S. government’s most important history archives as well as access to the world’s news media and their historic records.

Application Process

The Ray Hiebert History of Journalism Endowed Award will be awarded each spring, starting in April 2017, for the best work of journalism history in the previous calendar year by any graduate student or faculty member in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

  • In the inaugural year of the award, the winner will receive a $1,000 honorarium.
  • The award may be granted for a master’s thesis, PhD dissertation, published article in a peer-reviewed research journal, or book published by a reputable publisher.
  • The award committee will be chaired by Merrill College Associate Professor Ira Chinoy and will include Merrill Professors Linda Steiner and Carl Sessions Stepp and University of Maryland Department of History Associate Professor David Sicilia.
  • For theses and dissertations, the work must have been completed, defended, and filed with the university in 2016. Peer reviewed journal articles and books must have been published in 2016.

The application deadline is March 1, 2017.

To be considered, applications must include the following:

(1). For a dissertation, thesis or article, submit as a PDF file. For a book, two hard copies of the published work must be submitted, plus a PDF file of the title page, table of contents and a single chapter of the author’s choosing.

(2). An abstract of up to 350 words, also as a PDF file.

(3). A one-paragraph narrative bio as a PDF file.

(4). A CV as a PDF file.

(5). Applicants may include one letter of support from the following, as appropriate, as a PDF file:

(a). The chair of the dissertation committee.

(b). The chair of the thesis committee.

(c). The editor of the peer-reviewed journal or a faculty mentor familiar with article.

(d). The publisher of the book; a published review of the book may be included in lieu of or in addition to a letter from the editor.

Applications and all materials should be sent electronically (except for the hard copies of books) to Ira Chinoy at ichinoy@umd.edu and should contain “RAY HIEBERT AWARD APPLICATION” in the subject line. Book copies should be delivered to Ira Chinoy, Room 2100K, Knight Hall, in an envelope that includes the notation “ATTN: RAY HIEBERT AWARD APPLICATION.”