Tag Archives: Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Merrill Students Win Gracie Awards

Angelo Bavaro and Michelle Chavez.

(Adapted from a press release as published in The Hollywood Reporter.)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (March 28) – Angelo Bavaro’17 and Michelle Chavez ’16 are  student Gracie Award winners.

Chavez won for her “Behind Closed Doors” Capital News Service story in the hard news category. She won a Gracie last year as well.

Bavaro won in the “soft news” category for his CNS story, “The Business of Moving On.”

The Gracie Awards are given annually by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation.

Angelo writes, “In the span of 15 years, Teresa Dawkins lost three of her children and watched one get sent to prison for 22 years. After each loss – despite the grief and anger and confusion – she managed to pick herself up and soldier on. When I first met Teresa, she told me all she wanted was the chance to tell her story and the stories of her children. I am incredibly proud to have given Teresa that chance, and I am beyond grateful to have received a Gracie Award for this piece, which I dedicate entirely to her. The Gracies honor stories that celebrate and empower women. Yes, Teresa’s story is one of tragedy, but more than that, it’s one that embodies the resilient and enduring power of strong and tested women.”

The Business of Moving On has already been honored by the White House News Photographers Association as part of its 2017 “Eyes of History®” Student Competition.

Angelo, Michelle and other local and student award winners will be recognized at the Gracie Awards Luncheon on June 27 at Cipriani in New York City.

About the Gracie Awards

The annual Gracie Awards are given by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation primarily to celebrate “female luminaries by recognizing their outstanding achievements across new and traditional media platforms.” The 2017 gala supports the AWMF’s educational programs and scholarship campaigns that benefit women in media.

This year’s winners include America Ferrera, Drew Barrymore, Samantha Bee, Savannah Guthrie and Mariska Hargitay. They are among the women who will be honored at the 42nd annual Gracie Awards gala Tuesday, June 6 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Ca. The release says, “Among the topics that will be addressed at the gala are immigration, reproduction rights, race relations and women in the workforce.”

(The Gracies have two components – Gala award winners, and separate local and student awards.)

Read the full Gracie Awards release via The Hollywood Reporter. See the complete list of award winners on the AWMF website.

Dr. Rob Wells wins the 2016 Ray Hiebert History of Journalism Endowed Award

Dr. Rob Wells is the inaugural recipient of the Ray Hiebert History of Journalism Endowed Award.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (March 27) – The Philip Merrill College of Journalism has awarded the first annual Ray Hiebert History of Journalism Endowed Award to Dr. Rob Wells for his 2016 Ph.D. dissertation, “A Reporter’s Paper: The National Thrift News, Journalistic Autonomy and the Savings and Loan Crisis.”

“I really owe a big debt of gratitude to Sarah Oates, David Sicilia, Kalyani Chadha, Ira Chinoy and Mark Feldstein, who were a very tough but supportive dissertation committee,” said Wells. “This is a great honor, considering the significant tradition of research and writing on journalism history at Maryland. I’m glad to see scholarship in business journalism is getting recognized. Merrill College has done a lot to back business journalism research and coursework.”

The Best Work in Journalism History

The Hiebert Award, which includes a $1,000 honorarium in its inaugural year, is for the best work in journalism history by any graduate student or faculty member at Merrill College.  The award may be given for a doctoral dissertation, master’s thesis, article published in peer-reviewed research journal, or a book published by a reputable publisher.

In his research, Dr. Wells asked how a small trade newspaper, the National Thrift News, was able to succeed in revelatory reporting on the 1980s savings and loan crisis at times when larger news organizations fell short in fulfilling a watchdog role.  “The National Thrift News,” he found, “created a newsroom environment that celebrated reporter autonomy and independence. In some cases, it used its insider knowledge and consistent beat reporting to serve both its core readers and the broader society by uncovering savings and loan corruption.”

The award committee hopes that this research will benefit journalists and news consumers by encouraging both the trade press and general-circulation news outlets to cover complicated financial issues effectively and to monitor corporate behavior and government regulation. The dissertation is available online.

Wells’ dissertation adviser was Merrill College Professor Sarah Oates.

The award committee was chaired by Merrill College Associate Professor Ira Chinoy and included Merrill Professors Linda Steiner and Carl Sessions Stepp and University of Maryland Department of History Associate Professor David Sicilia.

About Dr. Rob Wells

Since graduating in 2016, Dr. Wells has been an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. While at Merrill College, he taught basic and intermediate news reporting and writing, and he created and taught a course on business reporting. He earlier helped create a business journalism program as Reynolds Visiting Professor in the University of South Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications.  Before his academic career, Wells was a journalist for more than two decades. He was deputy bureau chief in Washington, D.C., for The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires, covered business for Bloomberg News and the Associated Press, and reported for newspapers in California.

About Dr. Ray Hiebert

This award reflects the interest of Dr. Ray Hiebert – founding dean of the College of Journalism at the University of Maryland and himself a journalism historian – in the historic role of journalism in American life, politics, government and culture.  His intent in establishing this award has been 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.

Rosemary Ostmann: No One Tells A Story Like a Journalist

Rosemary Ostmann of RoseComm.

By Rosemary Ostmann ’93

NEW YORK, NY (March 14) – Whenever I want to help people understand how much has changed since I was in college, I tell them how I had to pass a typing test on a manual typewriter to be admitted into journalism school. It was 1990 and, believe it or not, typing experience was not a given.

I realized I wanted to major in journalism when I was in high school. I love to write and I enjoy editing my work just as much as creating it. I’m also a big believer in the power of storytelling. A good narrative makes us care about what’s happening in the world around us and compels us to action. Stories help us make sense of society and connect us to history as well as to the future.

A great example is Lin-Manuel Miranda retelling the story of one of our country’s unsung heroes in the award-winning musical Hamilton. If you haven’t already, listen to the lyrics of “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”.

Once I passed that typing test and was admitted to the College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, I had to decide which of the four available tracks, or specialty areas, I wanted to choose: News Editorial, Broadcast, Public Relations or Advertising. At the time, I was an admirer of both Maria Shriver and Katie Couric. I gave some serious thought to broadcast, but I ultimately decided to go with Public Relations.

I remember hearing some of my classmates talk about how hard it was to interview people who didn’t want to be interviewed. I believe now more than ever in the role journalism plays in keeping people honest, but I decided to focus my academic energy on helping organizations and people tell the stories they want to be told.

A few years after I graduated, the College of Journalism decided to eliminate the public relations and advertising tracks. Frankly, it never made sense to me to put advertising anywhere but in the business school. But a degree in journalism has served me incredibly well in my 20+ year career in public relations and marketing.

My company, RoseComm, is a strategic communications firm that helps clients uncover and share their stories with the people who matter most. Whether engaging in direct conversation or enlisting the support of industry influencers – journalists and bloggers – we give our clients a voice.

Many companies today are looking at their brands through an editorial lens and creating “brand newsrooms” as part of a content marketing strategy. They want to be in a two-way conversation and develop content that is meaningful and shareable across traditional and digital channels.

My degree has not only helped me in engaging with the media; I was also taught to understand news value and to write journalistically. I’m not suggesting that we blur the line between true editorial and sponsored content. But if I’m asked what a young person should study if they want to prepare for the future of PR, I always tell them to consider a degree in journalism or to find a program that requires them to take journalism classes. No one tells a story like a journalist.


Senior Michael Stern: Never Stop Believing

By Michael Stern ’17

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (March 14) – When I speak to prospective and incoming Merrill College students I always tell them, “If there is something you want to do at school and you don’t see a way to do it, then start it yourself.”

When I came into the school my freshman year I started getting involved with as many activities as possible, but it wasn’t until Justin Meyer, Kofie Yeboah and myself teamed up to start The Left Bench that I really began to find my place at Merrill. It started as a place to write about our opinions, but it has transformed into a home for more than 80 sports journalists at Maryland.

Nothing that we have accomplished at Maryland could have been done without the support of the Merrill College. Without George Solomon, we never would have branched out past the three co-founders. Without Dave Ottalini, chances are our name would not have gotten out there. Without Associate Dean Lorente, TLBTV would not be a reality. The support from the faculty of Merrill has been overwhelming.

Since coming to Maryland I’ve had the opportunity to watch multiple publications launch or expand. Whether it be the start of satirical news publications, the growth of digital publications such as Stories Beneath the Shell, Plex and Writers Bloc or the innovation of existing publications like the Diamondback, the entrepreneurial nature Merrill College encourages inspires me to continue to innovate. Because of this encouragement, with one semester left at Merrill, I launched a new political publication (Beltway Bulletin).

I tell young students, “Never stop.” In my four years, I have been able to innovate with fellow students and I truly believe we have been able to change Merrill for the better. During a time when it seems like being a journalist is a dismal lifestyle, it’s up to us young journalists to keep pushing forward.

Never stop believing in the power of young minds. That’s what I’ve learned at Merrill.

Kopen-Katcef and Merrill Students Shine During NATAS Awards Dinner

Merrill College alumnus Adam Longo '00 presents Sue Kopen Katcef with her NATAS Silver Circle Award.

Merrill College alumnus Adam Longo ’00 presents Sue Kopen Katcef with her NATAS Silver Circle Award. Photo: Pablo Roa.

Updated: March 13, 2017

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Feb. 23) – A gala event at the Riggs Alumni Center honored professional and student award winners during the NATAS (National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter) Gold and Silver Circle Awards Dinner and Ceremony March 4.

The ceremony followed the annual student broadcast seminar Face Time with the Pros hosted by Merrill College earlier that day.

Pillars and certificates for “Outstanding Achievement in Student Production” winners  were awarded during the program in between Gold and Silver Circle Award winners. There were Merrill College winners throughout.


The highlight of the event for Merrill College was the awarding of a Silver Circle Award to CNS Broadcast Bureau Director Sue Kopen Katcef.

Lecturer Josh Davidsburg and senior Michael Stern put together a wonderful video highlighting Sue’s Career:

Sue’s speech was heartwarming and down-to-earth:

A complete list of NATAS Student Award winners:


Maryland Newsline, 11/30/16

News: General Assignment – Serious News:

CNS-Chicken Wars
Sara Dignan

CNS-Baltimore Deconstruction
Alex Pacinda

News: General Assignment – Light News

CNS-Bikes and Burden
Angelo Bavaro

CNS-Survivor Quilt
Michelle Chavez ’16

Video Innovation Class -The Fight for Ferrets in Washington, D.C.
Anna Muckerman

Video Innovation Class – Mission Muffins
Anna Muckerman

Video Innovation Class – Growing Together
Becca King

Public Affairs/Community Service

ViewFinder Team: Fall ’16 Strength and Shame


ViewFinder – The Southern Barnyard Runners
Mackenzie Happe and Hannah Burton


ViewFinder Team: Fall ’16: Faces of the Fair

Non-Fiction: Long Form category

UMD Rival News-the rival news episode
(Rival News is produced by a UMD student group.)