Tag Archives: Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Your First Job: Learn Everything, Try Everything, Do Everything.

WEHT/WRVW (Evansville, In.) anchor Brad Bryd with Dennis Ting '14.

WEHT/WRVW (Evansville, In.) anchor Brad Bryd with Dennis Ting ’14.

Dennis Ting ’14 is definitely #MerrillMade.

He landed his first reporting job at Eyewitness News (WEHT/WTVW) in Evansville, In. in January, 2015. Two years later, he is is on his way to report in Louisville, Ky. for ABC Affiliate WHAS (Channel 11).

We asked Dennis to write a few words for us about his first job – what he learned and what he would suggest to our Merrill College students and recent graduates. Here’s what he told us:

“Your first reporting job is really like grad school. You might think you know what you’re doing when you leave school, but trust me, you find out pretty quickly how much you have to learn. My advice is to learn everything, try everything and be willing to do everything. I’ve had the chance to cover some really cool things in little Evansville, Indiana and I’ve met some amazing people. It’s not always going to be easy and it’s not always going to be fun, but at the end of the day, I can still think about how lucky I am that I get to call what I do “work,” and that makes all the difference.

On a side note – enjoy yourself! You might not always be in the best situation, but make it the best situation you can. I’ve made lifelong friends at my first job that I will genuinely miss. There’s something about being at a first job that just bonds you with other people. Don’t be so hasty looking to get out that you don’t stop and appreciate what you have. I know there’s some quote about smelling roses or forests and trees, but you get what I’m saying.

Have fun!”

You can see some of Dennis’ work on his website.

Dean Dalglish To Graduates: Speak Truth To Power

Philip Merrill College of Journalism Dean Lucy Dalglish by student Aiyah Sibay.

Dean Dalglish by Aiyah Sibay.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Dec. 21) – Dean Lucy Dalglish’s comments to graduating Merrill College students during the fall, 2016 commencement exercise:

You are entering journalism at an exciting and unsettling time. Many of you covered the political conventions and election results for Capital News Service. You witnessed an exceptional political campaign. All journalists have had to learn a few hard lessons in recent months about balance, fairness and facts.

As Ted Koppel told us earlier this month during his visit to Merrill College, just because you have a laptop doesn’t mean you are a journalist.  But you ARE journalists.

You know that your communities – indeed, our democracy – needs timely, factual, fair and insightful coverage of the issues that matter, whether they be a presidential election or a local zoning controversy. You will speak truth to power, and shed light on the forgotten.

Do not be discouraged by officials who lie, fraudsters who make up stories, social media networks that perpetuate falsehoods  and members of the public who vilify you for your occupation. We are counting on you. We NEED you.

Finally, you have worked very hard to earn your degrees. Thank you – and your families – for trusting us with your education. You have brought us great joy and you make us proud.  Work hard, follow your inner ethical compass, value teamwork and be kind. If you do these things, you will do well.

Go out in the world and show everybody that you are Merrill Made.  Always consider Merrill College and the University of Maryland home.

Today you join a vast network of fellow alumni who are making names for themselves in journalism, business, law, and academia.

We hope that you will always feel comfortable returning to the people and places that have helped you launch this next phase of your life. And make sure you always keep us up to date on the great things you are doing.


ViewFinder Team Presents PALS Project on Opioid Addiction

Photos by Bethany Swain.

Adapted from an article by Maggie Haslam, School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Dec. 20) – University of Maryland (UMD) students and faculty met with Annapolis city and Anne Arundel county officials this past week to present findings from 14 projects, the first results of a yearlong partnership between the City of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, and UMD’s Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS) program. The projects, which stem from social, economic and environmental sustainability priorities identified by city and county government officials, aim to offer regional stakeholders fresh ideas for old challenges.

The Philip Merrill College of Journalism’s Advanced Video Storytelling course, ViewFinder, tackled the opioid epidemic in Anne Arundel County, an idea that emerged during a meeting with county officials in June.  At that time, the county was facing one overdose a day and one death a week from heroin use.

“I have never been as proud of the work produced at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism as I have been of the work my students accomplished in Anne Arundel County this semester,” said Bethany Swain, who ran her sixth PALS class this semester. “We are telling stories that otherwise might not get told. Local media doesn’t do this stuff anymore, particularly not this in-depth.”


“This is a collaborative effort that spans every aspect of Anne Arundel County,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh. “The work these students have done is top notch and they did it in a very short period of time. I think their fresh eyes on some very old problems really paid off.”

Read more about the presentations in the Capital Gazette

14 Projects Over the Summer and Fall

Graduate and undergraduate students from colleges and departments around the UMD campus, completed the 14 projects – ten for the county and four for the city – throughout the past summer and fall semester. In addition to reports and recommendations on a number of topics, the coursework generated a recommendation and demonstration of software to help the county track electricity usage in county facilities in real time, and mapped analysis of public safety hotspots to help improve EMS service.

A landscape architecture studio, led by Dr. Christopher Ellis, developed initial plans for a trail extension between BWI Airport and Ellicott City, closing the gaps between several existing Maryland trails and essentially creating an uninterrupted pathway from Ellicott City to Annapolis’ Sandy Point Beach. The proposed 6.5 miles of trail would connect Baltimore, Howard and Anne Arundel Counties, as well as connect users to the East Coast Greenway, a path that runs from Florida to Maine.

- Photo by Bethany Swain.

Merrill College students who took part in the PALS presentation included Hannah Burton, Karen Castillo, Hannah Klarner and MacKenzie Happe from the fall, 2016 class and Gabriela Martinez, Henrietta Biayemi, Josh Loock and Emily Olsen from the spring ’17 team. -Photo by Bethany Swain.

“The final products were very impressive and well thought out,” said Dawn Thomas, Director of Anne Arundel County Parks and Recreation. “It’s something we would have seen from a consultant.”

“What is really exciting for me is the regional projects that have emerged, not only between the county and city, but across several counties,” said Uri Avin, director of the PALS program. “That’s one of the things that PALS can do. It can break down silos within agencies and it can do the same between programs and students within the university.”

An urban studies course, taught by Dr. Scott Dempwolf, examined ways to strengthen the maritime industry in Annapolis, an integral piece of the city’s economy and culture. Ideas include zoning changes, educational opportunities for maritime trades, such as sail making and a maker space that could potentially cultivate new start-ups.

“I am thrilled with the results of the project; the class went above and beyond my expectations,” said Hollis Minor, Economic Development Manager for Annapolis’ Department of Planning and Zoning. “The team collaborated continually with the maritime community throughout the project and produced very targeted recommendations with specific actions, rather than a broad report that would sit on a shelf and gather dust.”

The partnership with Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis marks the first time PALS has partnered with both a city and county concurrently, a nod to County Executive Shuh and Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides’ continued efforts to collaborate for stronger, more sustainable communities. The combined jurisdiction – over half a million people – is nearly double the size of last year’s efforts in Howard County.

“This is our biggest partnership and, in a sense, it has been the biggest challenge,” said Avin. “It’s a large county with a lot of departments; it’s only feasible because of the support we’ve received from city and county staff. This has been a fabulous experience.”

Avin estimates that this year’s investment is yielding $22 for every dollar spent by the city and county.

The plan for 2017 will bring an additional 19 projects to the county and city, including projects to help the county expand transit options to BWI, improve boat access to the bay and county waterways, create a master plan for the Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center and develop a public health and recreation plan for Annapolis.

About PALS and its Projects in Maryland

PALS LogoDeveloped by the University of Maryland’s National Center for Smart Growth, PALS pairs faculty expertise and student ingenuity with sustainability challenges facing Maryland communities. The PALS mission is to provide high quality, low-cost assistance to local governments while creating an active and valuable real-world learning experience for UMD students. PALS initiated its first partnership with The City of Frederick, Maryland, in September 2014, adding a second, smaller collaboration with College Park in January 2015. In the fall of 2015, PALS launched partnerships with Howard County, Md., and the Columbia Association (CA).

In addition, a smaller collaboration last fall with the Southwest Partnership in Baltimore helped create feasible development projects on several Southwest Baltimore sites and built a GIS database that shows key statistics, such as job opportunities, vacant housing and vehicle ownership. This fall, PALS also provided similar support to the Mount Royal Community Development Corporation in the City of Baltimore.

Read more about the PALS project by Maggie Haslam on the Architecture website.


Nichols-Holmes Named Assistant Dean for Business Operations

Vanessa Nichols-Holmes in Merrill College's new Assistant Dead for Business Operations.

Vanessa Nichols-Holmes.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Dec. 20) – COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Dec. 20) – Dean Lucy Dalglish announced Monday that Vanessa Nichols-Holmes will become Philip Merrill College of Journalism’s new assistant dean for business operations in January. She replaces Emily Hartz, who is moving to the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies as the institute’s new executive director of administration.

Nichols-Holmes came to the University of Maryland in 2004 after a career in the private sector that included Northrop Grumman, GTSI Corp. and ENTEX Information Services. She served in the U.S. Air Force for 13 years prior to that.

“Not only does Vanessa have superb financial management skills, she is a terrific problem solver who is adept at identifying colleagues and students in need,” said Dean Merrill College Dean Lucy Dalglish. “I have come to value Vanessa’s professionalism, service-oriented attitude and exceptional common sense.”

Nichols-Holmes will work with outgoing Associate Dean Emily Hartz over the next few weeks to ensure a seamless transition.

Dean Dalglish said Hartz will be missed. “Emily is competent, professional and unflappable. She arrived on the job seven years ago and set up a budgeting system and financial controls that had not existed, and that will serve us well into the future.  I take comfort in knowing that she will stay on campus, only a phone call away.”


Merrill Students Talk Media Failure In Covering Election 2016

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Dec. 14) – Merrill College students Becca King ’18 and Barrett Goldberg ’16 made prime-time news Tuesday. Fox5-DC reporter Tom Fitzgerald interviewed them during the station’s 6:30 p.m. newscast talking about their JOUR368E: Election 2016 – Managing a Broadcast class, and the class’ analysis of what went wrong for the news media.

In a 12-part series published on the Election Watch website, the students in Tom Bettag’s class wrote about Donald Trump’s surprise victory and why the media got the election so wrong. Their title for the series: “Anatomy of a Failure.”

The class spent the semester reviewing media coverage of the presidential election by ABC, CBS and NBC. As they wrote on the website, “Bottom line in the 2016 election: journalists missed the story. From start to finish serious journalists failed to grasp and report Donald Trump’s pull.”


Visiting Fellow Tom Bettag told Merrill student Simone Thomas just after the election that analyzing why the media got Election2016 so wrong is a great learning experience for budding journalists: