For students behind the anchor desk in the basement of Tawes Hall this spring, the model for news in the 21st century is less the stern anchor behind the desk than the standup comic behind the microphone.
As journalism idols like Walter Cronkite give way to Samantha Bee, a new course is letting students inject some laughs into their news delivery by producing satirical pilots à la Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and HBO’s “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.”
The course, taught by Tom Bettag, a former executive producer for “ABC News Nightline with Ted Koppel,” is part of an effort at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism to explore new avenues for practicing the craft.
“The evening news is such a tired form,” Bettag says. “[Students] have seen it since they were born, and it’s all so canned and so hyped, it turns them off.”
Adapted from an MDDC Press Association Release.
Updated May 16, 2017
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (May 14) – The Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association has awarded Merrill College’s Capital News Service “News Organization of the Year” honors in its Online-Only category. The award was announced during the organization’s May 12 awards party in Annapolis.
Capital News Service Annapolis Bureau Director Karen Denny attended the event and accepted that award, as well as a number of student awards in the “Online-Only Division” category.
The judges said, “”Good reporting and investigation empowering readers to become an active participant in their community. Well written.”
The MDDC Press Association release said, “These winners represent the best work of member publications in Maryland, Delaware and DC – and competition was stiff, with over 2000 entries this year. Publications are divided into seven categories, based on circulation, and entries are judged, in most cases, by a sister press association. This year, judges from the West Virginia Press Association evaluated our entries.”
– Photo by rurakphoto.
A number of other Merrill College graduates also won awards, including Fatima Wasseem ’15 (right) – a staff writer for the Baltimore Sun Media Group – who was named “Rookie of the Year.”
Merrill adjuncts Jen Rynda (Baltimore Sun) and Alexander Pyles (Baltimore Sun) both won awards as did a number of Merrill College graduates now working in journalism including recent grad Ulysses Muñoz ’15 – a videographer at the Baltimore Sun and Danny Jacobs ’06 who is the legal editor at the Daily Record in Baltimore.
Merrill student Jake Brodsky ’18 (Editor-in-Chief of The Left Bench) also won awards for his work as a multimedia journalist for the Montgomery County Sentinel newspaper.
Merrill College CNS reporters who won awards in the Online-Only Division included:
Alana Pedalino (including Best of Show in the Arts/Entertainment category), Alex Bayline, Ben Harris, Brittany Britto, Catherine Sheffo, Charlie Wright, Connor Glowacki, Connor Mount, Dan Russo, Eleanor Mueller, Eliana Block, Hannah Lang, J.F. Meils, Jake Eisenberg, Jordan Branch, Katishi Maake, Leo Traub, Marina di Marzo, Matt Ellentuck, Mina Haq, Robbie Greenspan, Ryan Connors, Troy Jefferson, Vickie Connor and Zachary Melvin.
Andi Cwieka and Camille Chrysostom are DJNF paid interns this summer.
Adapted from a Dow Jones News Fund Release.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (May 15) – Merrill College students Camille Chrysostom ’17 (Data Journalism) and Andrea (Andi) Cwieka ’18 (American City Business Journal’s Business Reporting Class) have been chosen as Dow Jones News Fund interns this summer. Camille will be headed to USA Today after a week at the University of Missouri and Andi will spend a week at NYU before heading to the Washington Business Journal.
The summer internship programs are hosted at seven journalism schools in May and June. The interns will attend for a week before reporting to work at weekly salaries starting at $400. Those returning to college receive $1,000 scholarships.
Overall, the Dow Jones News Fund reports 85 undergraduate and graduate students will work this summer as data and digital journalists, business reporters and multiplatform editors in paid internships at 55 of the nation’s leading news organizations. The News Fund received more than 750 applications last fall.
This summer’s data journalism program more than doubled, with television and radio stations participating for the first time. Investigative Reporters and Editors will train 18 journalists at the University of Missouri to obtain and analyze data, visualize information and employ other computer-assisted reporting methods.
Eighteen students will attend the News Fund’s business reporting program at New York University, led by Paul Glader, an associate professor at The King’s College and an award-winning journalist at The Wall Street Journal. Glader will also instruct business reporters selected by DJNF board member Garry D. Howard, director of corporate initiatives at American City Business Journals, for publications in 10 markets. Howard is an alumnus of the 1981 editing program.
Among new media partners this year are BuzzFeed, Storyful, Starbucks Newsroom, BusinessDen, Stars & Stripes, The Augusta Chronicle, The Center for Public Integrity, Southern California Public Radio (KPCC), NBC 7 San Diego (KNSD) and Hawaii News Now (KNHL and KGMB).
Linda Shockley, managing director, said, “We are excited about new directions for these valuable internship programs. We appreciate media companies investing in promising journalists by partnering with the Fund to fulfill our mission.”
About the Dow Jones News Fund Internship Program
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the news editing internship program. The program was launched by Paul Swensson, executive director of the Fund from 1961 to 1968. Swensson believed bright college students could work well as copy editors, despite never having been daily professional reporters. Dr. Edward Trayes, Temple University’s Center for Editing Excellence director, is returning for his 50th summer leading the program.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (May 3) – As the end of the semester approaches, a number of Merrill seniors are anxious to graduate, but also to reflect on their time and opportunities throughout their college careers.
There are a variety of campus publications and other media, which provide an outlet for students to write and broadcast their passions. For senior Kyle Stackpole, a multiplatform major, The Diamondback was a place to write about his interests, specifically sports.
“I got involved with The Diamondback two weeks into my freshman year, and I ended up doing it throughout my four years here,” he said.
Stackpole, who formerly served as The Diamondback’s Sports Editor, advised freshmen to take advantage of the opportunities at this university, especially during their first months on campus.
“I just wouldn’t be afraid,” he said. “Put yourself out there, try a bunch of new things and find out exactly what you want to do early on.”
Listen to the Podcast version of this article by Carly Kempler.
It’s also important to find your niche, said Susann Shin, a senior broadcast major, adding, “Don’t get distracted by others around you.”
“Everyone is sort of on their own journey,” Shin said. “You have to take it one step at a time and you can’t always be looking at people around you . . . or you start comparing yourself to other people, it’s really about focusing on where you want to go and exploring your own interests and your own passions.”
Shin, who was also a member of the Fall 2016 ViewFinder team, said her capstone experience was an “incredible opportunity” not only for herself as a student, but also for her prospective career.
And though Merrill College provides a plethora of chances to get involved, students, like senior broadcast major Bailey Martin, are able to narrow down these opportunities to seek out their own interests.
“I’ve come so far. . . I didn’t even decide on the journalism major until I was already a junior and since then I’ve had three amazing internships,” Martin said. “I’ve met so many people, I’ve had the opportunity to cover some amazing stories and to just be a part of the inauguration, things that are making history.”
Both Martin and senior Chelsea Jones, also a broadcast major, were both reporters within the Broadcast Bureau of Merrill’s capstone course, Capital News Service. Jones served as one of the show’s anchors.
“I’ve done things that I never thought [were] possible,” Jones said. “For example becoming an anchor and reporter for Capital News Service, that’s something I always aspired to do, but never thought that with only two years to do a journalism curriculum, would I have the opportunity to.”
In addition to the hands-on experience Merrill provides, senior Talia Richman, a multiplatform major, also praised the school’s teachers, and said all students should take the time to get to know their professors.
“We are located in between Baltimore and D.C. so all the best journalists are there,” Richman said. “They come and teach us and you’re just so lucky to be able to have these people who should be your heroes that are also your teachers and are willing to help you and make you better and take the time to get to know you.”
Even with all of the opportunities and resources Merrill provides, senior Michael Stern, a broadcast major, found room for more. Stern started two online publications during his time in Merrill College, and encouraged students to take the first step in starting something new.
“There should never be a moment where you say, ‘I really wish I could do this on campus, oh wait it’s not here, so I’m not going to do it,'” Stern said. “That should never exist, if there’s something you want to do, that’s not there or there’s only one place to do it and you couldn’t get into that place, you should just start it yourself and still do it.”