Tag Archives: Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Merrill Named Finalists in Two of Five SPJ Best of Show Awards

SPJ MOEy national award finalists - Merrill has two of the five finalists!

Sept. 19 Update: Merrill College won the top MOEY award tonight for the CNS investigation “The Brothel Nexr Door.”


COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Society of Professional Journalist announced this week that two Merrill College student productions have been named finalists in SPJ’s new national Mark of Excellence (MOEy) Award.

Dean Lucy Dalglish wrote on Twitter, “This has been a fantastic year for student recognition. This means that Merrill College has TWO of the FIVE finalists for the Best in Show award at the SPJ conference. ViewFinder and the Human Trafficking CNS project are both finalists. Way to go everyone!”

The top five finalists were selected from 85 Mark of Excellence National Winners across all categories in this year’s competition (for the 2015-2016 school year). The SPJ website says, “Only one entry will have the opportunity to take MOEy home and take the crown as the best of the best in collegiate journalism”

ViewFinder’s video by Ricky Lasser ’16 and Karen Tang (M.J. ’16) is called “Troops Deploy Game Ball” – and is a national finalist in the Television Sports Photography category. The long form video has already won numerous other awards.

The other finalist is a major investigative collaborative project conducted by Merrill College’s Capital News Service. “The Brothel Next Door” took an in-depth look at sex trafficking in the state of Maryland.

Brothel Next Door

The single winner will be announced at the Student Union at this year’s SPJ Excellence in Journalism 2016 Conference in New Orleans. The Student Union will be held on Monday, September 19 from 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The other three MOEy finalists include:


Merrill Lecturer Bethany Swain teaches ViewFinder and reports that: “Karen Tang moved to Medford, Oregon where she works the morning shift at KOBI (NBC5) as a video editor, photojournalist and even runs her own live van.”  She adds that, “Ricky is working as a unit leader for trainee campers at Camp Airy this summer teaching leadership skills. He is planning to travel to Asia and Australia in the fall. He is also working as a freelance video editor at 522 Productions, the production company in Alexandria, VA where ViewFinder fall ’14 alumnus Tim Drummond also works.”

Merrill Students Publish Convention Story in LA Times

Julie Gallagher and Ann Parangot

Merrill journalists Ann Parangot ’17 and Julie Gallagher ’17. Photos: Sean Filburn/CNS.

Updated to reflect the CNS article was published online and not in the LA Times newspaper.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Merrill College journalism students Julie Gallagher ’17 and Ann Parangot ’17 spent the past week in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention. When WikiLeaks released thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee they swung into action and produced a great story for their Capital News Service clients, “5 things we learned about Maryland from the DNC’s leaked emails.”

But they never imagined their story would end up in the Los Angeles Times, where it was published online July 26.

“Capital News Service is proud of the professional work of our journalists,” said CNS Washington, D.C. Bureau Director Jim Carroll. “Maryland newspapers and broadcast outlets are quite familiar with what we do and rely on us to help them cover the state. We are delighted to see major news organizations outside of Maryland also recognize CNS by sharing its fine reporting with their audiences.”

5 things we learned about Maryland from the DNC’s leaked emails


International Team of CNS Reporters from Three Leading Journalism Schools Covering the Republican and Democratic National Conventions

Fearless Journalism On Display in Cleveland and Philadelphia

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – For the fifth consecutive presidential election, the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service is reporting from the national political conventions. This time, the CNS convention crew includes journalists from Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom, as well as Penn State University in Pennsylvania.

“Since its first convention in 2000, CNS’ reputation and reach have steadily grown, making the news organization indispensable to audiences across the region,” said Lucy Dalglish, dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. “The addition of student reporters from the United Kingdom and Pennsylvania will broaden the coverage and provide a unique educational experience to students from both countries.”

CNS also has its College Park, Md., digital bureau staffed by graphics and social media journalists in support of the on-the-ground coverage in Cleveland and Philadelphia. All together, CNS will have more than 30 digital and visual journalists devoted to coverage of each convention.

Clients in Maryland, Washington, Delaware, Pennsylvania and the United Kingdom will receive text, video and graphics from the combined news operations at the Republican and Democratic national conventions. In addition, CNS will be operating on a number of social channels, including Facebook and Twitter, and updating its website, CNSMaryland.org.

Leading the teams in Cleveland and Philadelphia is CNS Washington Bureau Director Jim Carroll.

“CNS is providing a spectacular opportunity for our students to experience the national political conventions, a chance many veteran reporters would envy,” said Carroll, who has covered every political convention since 1984. “There is no substitute for being there and feeling the excitement, tensions, drama – and the sights, tastes and sounds – of the party gatherings.”

Karen Fowler-Watt, head of the School of Journalism, English and Communication at Bournemouth University described it as a “unique experience for our students.”

“There were always going to be fascinating cross-cultural reference points for the students to draw from working with their American counterparts, but in the light of Brexit in the UK, those comparisons will be even more vivid and resonant,” she said.

Russell Eshleman, head of the Department of Journalism at Penn State, and a 15-year veteran of The Philadelphia Inquirer, will lead the Pennsylvania contingent at both conventions.

“I anticipated that the conventions would be like the last ones … PR shows,” said Eshleman. “As it moved along, it became a better story journalistically. For a reporter, it doesn’t get much better than seeing real emotion and conflict.”

Joining Carroll at the Republican National Convention for CNS is Josh Davidsburg, a broadcast lecturer at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at Maryland.

At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Carroll will be joined by CNS Broadcast Bureau Director Sue Kopen Katcef.

The partnership among the three schools will provide students with a unique reporting and learning experience not available anywhere else.

CNS coverage available at:

CNS Website

Twitter: @CNSmd


Snapchat: CNS Maryland

Bournemouth University
Penn State University

About CNS:

Capital News Service is a student-powered news organization run by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. For two decades, we have provided deeply reported, award-winning coverage of issues of import to Marylanders.

With bureaus in College Park, Annapolis and Washington managed by professional journalists, CNS delivers news in multiple multimedia formats via partner news organizations, a destination Web site, a nightly on-air television newscast and affiliated social media channels (including Twitter and Facebook). We provide breaking news coverage, in-depth investigative and enterprise journalism, and serve as a laboratory for students to test and develop innovative methods of reporting and telling stories.

Media Contact:

Dave Ottalini
Senior Communications Manager

Merrill College Remembers: Eleanor Merrill

Philip Merrill and Eleanor Merrill in an undated University of Maryland photo.

Philip and Eleanor Merrill in an undated University of Maryland photo.

Memorial Service Information

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Philip Merrill College of Journalism has lost a long-time friend and benefactor. Eleanor Merrill, like her husband Phillip Merrill, was strongly committed to journalism education and their donation to the University of Maryland made the modern Philip Merrill College of Journalism possible. She will be greatly missed.

The Merrill family released the following statement this morning:

With sadness in our hearts we want to let you know that our mom passed away last night after a fall that caused brain trauma.

She was an incredible woman who was quick with a witty remark and loved her children and grandchildren deeply.  She had a very full life.  She was raised in her beloved Scranton as the daughter of Lithuanian immigrants.  She followed a successful and career in PR working for broadway shows such as Gypsy and Sound of Music as well as serving as a stellar press secretary on Capital Hill.   Later, she served as publisher of The Capital Newspaper and Washingtonian Magazine and served on numerous boards in Maryland and DC. She traveled the world with her late husband Phil Merrill, a partnership which lasted 50 years.


An early photo of the College of Journalism Board of Visitors. Mrs. Merrill is second from the left on the first row.

We will miss her immensely.

We will let you know once we make plans for a service.

Cathy, Doug and Nancy

Eleanor Merrill and the Merrill College of Journalism

Mrs. Merrill’s relationship with the college reaches back more than 30 years. In 1983, she joined the first Board of Visitors on the University of Maryland campus at what was then known as the College of Journalism. She became its chair in 1995. Mrs. Merrill contributed to the remarkable “Toward 1990” plan that then-Dean Reese Cleghorn and the Board of Visitors developed, a five-year plan released in 1985 to create a model professional journalism school.

In 2001, the Merrill family gave a $10 million gift that resulted in the college being named the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Mr. Merrill died in June, 2006. Their daughter, Cathy Merrill Williams, currently chairs the college’s Board of Visitors.

The Knight Hall Dedication Ceremonies at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, photographed for University of MD, 21 April 2010. Photo by Mike Morgan for the Merrill College.

The Knight Hall Dedication Ceremonies at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, April 21, 2010. Photo by Mike Morgan.

As the matriarch of the Merrill family, Mrs. Merrill was involved in philanthropic efforts across the University of Maryland campus, including the creation of the Merrill graduate school fellows program and the Merrill Scholars undergraduate recognition program.

“Eleanor Merrill’s leadership of the Merrill College Board of Visitors helped spearhead the college’s surge to national prominence,” said Merrill College Dean Lucy A. Dalglish. “With her husband, Phil, she truly made a difference in the lives of thousands of young people. Our hearts go out to her children, Cathy Merrill Williams, Nancy Merrill and Doug Merrill, and their families.”


The Merrill family has graciously asked that donations can be made to the Philip Merrill College of Journalism’s Dean’s Fund.  To make a gift in memory of Mrs. Merrill, please make check payable to:

The UMD College Park Foundation and note “In memory of Eleanor Merrill” in the memo.

Mailing Address:

Lele LeVay Ashworth
2200 Knight Hall
7765 Alumni Drive
College Park, Maryland 20742-8227

If you have any questions, please call Ms. Ashworth at 301-405-2420.

Maryland Sprinter Micha Powell: Journalism Major and Olympian

Micha Powell is a rising senior journalism major and a member of the Canadian Track and Field 4x499m relay team.

Photo from Twitter via Maryland Track and Field.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Merrill College student Micha Powell has broadcast journalism in her blood and the Olympics on her mind. Powell, a rising senior at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, is on this university’s track and field team as a world-class sprinter. A Canadian, she has just been named to her countries’ 4x400m relay team in the Rio Olympics. Track and Field events are set to run August 12-21.

“I look forward to putting on the Canadian uniform and competing for my country in front of thousands of people,” she said. “I am going to give it my all, and I also know that this is just one of many Olympics to come so I’ll also do my best to enjoy the moments I spend off the track, taking in the fact that I am one of a select few people on the planet to have the privilege of being an Olympian.”

Maryland Athletics: Powell Named to Canadian Olympic Squad.

Micha did not come to track and field early in life. In fact, as a child she was involved in a number of sports including swimming, soccer, figure skating, gymnastics and even tennis. She said, “I never felt limited. I took all of my skills from other sports and learned to use them in a new sport that I thought would be fun to try since my parents were pretty good at it. I’ve been asked before if it’s a disadvantage to start later running track, and I always say that I don’t see running as a chore. Every time I get on the track I learn something new, and as my coaches and teammates know very well, when I get a PR (personal best record), I can’t contain my excitement, and I’m already eager for more, always looking to better myself even more in the relay.”

Micha Powell.

Photo courtesy Maryland Athletics.

Broadcast Journalism In Her Blood

Powell was born into an Olympic family. But it was her mother who became a journalist. Micha watched – and became part of – her mother’s transition from athlete to television – even becoming her junior assistant correspondent at the 2010 and 2011 Teen Choice Awards when her mother was working for Entertainment Tonight Canada. “She was an anchor for Global News at Noon, and seeing her report stories so confidently and fluidly, made me realize that I would want to have my own television show someday, and speak to an audience about current topics and even produce my own show.”

Powell came to Maryland because, “The journalism program at the University of Maryland is arguably the best for student athletes who want to get hands-on, and actually get to work in the field before they graduate.” She adds, “I’ve had teachers who were in shock at my ability to train, travel and compete at such a high frequency, and they were always supportive of my efforts in and out of the classroom. I believe a program with its own television station is optimal for student athletes as well because we can learn how to gather, edit and present a package all within the confines of our campus. If student athletes are ever discouraged from applying to the Philip Merrill College of Journalism they shouldn’t because the resources are available 24/7 for us student athletes who are always on the go, and the opportunities to work in major networks in DC couldn’t be more accessible.”

“I Love a Challenge”

Micha is scheduled to graduate in 2017 but is taking three online courses this summer even as she prepares for the Olympics. She said many of the competitors she is running against have already graduated, so that burden of studying is behind them. Micha said whether it’s a test or a meet, she always knows she will be just fine. “I am an only child, and I believe that because I grew up with a very independent spirit, I taught myself how to properly manage my time and efficiently complete tasks. I love a challenge and when I run a good race and get an A on an assignment I make sure to treat myself with a little bit of frozen yogurt to remind myself to have fun along the way.”

Screenshot from CBC news package via YouTube.

The 65 member Canadian Olympic Team was introduced earlier this week in Edmonton. Screenshot from CBC news package via YouTube.