Tag Archives: Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Giving Day 2017 Success – Thanks to You!

Thank You for Supporting Merrill College on Giving Day 2017 graphic.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (March 10)  – The University of Maryland’s annual Giving Day event held earlier this week is all about our students – raising real-world funding to help our students succeed in the real-world.

That’s especially true here at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, where we have a greater percentage of out-of-state students than any other unit on campus. Funds to help us bring the best and brightest to Knight Hall – and help them complete their studies with the best possible equipment is an on-going challenge.

Your support for Merrill College on Giving Day went a long way towards helping us help our Terps – especially at a time when journalism is facing bigger challenges than ever before.

Giving Day Wrap-Up

#GivingDayUMD was Wednesday, March 8 this year.

Donors were given two choices: They could support the Penny Bender Fuchs Scholarship Fund or the Dean’s Discretionary Fund.

At the end of 24 hours, Merrill College raised more than $32,000 – 9th overall on the Leaderboard. Our 232 gifts broke the previous record of 203. We also won two of the contests – The Two Thousandth Gift and the Three Thousandth Gift – good for an extra $500.00.

Merrill College students worked to support the day in a way we had never seen since the event started four years ago.

A special video helped highlight many of the great things our students are doing – anchored by Cam Rogers and Chelsea Jones:

Videos by Bethany Swain’s JOUR262 classes and posted on Facebook were (and still are being) viewed many, many times. The video by student Lauren Koenig about senior Michael Stern gets top honors – 1700 views the last time we looked!

Thanks also to Josh Davidsburg and his Video Innovation Class for a couple of outstanding VLOGS we used Wednesday.

A number of interviews with Merrill students discussed the impact scholarships have on them and their fellow students – courtesy of Bethany Swain’s JOUR262 classes and student worker Carly Kempler:

Senior George Gerbo even did a standup supporting Giving Day from Indianapolis at the BIG10 Women’s Basketball Tournament:


Additional Thanks

Thanks also to CNS, our faculty and classes that provided short “Thank You” videos we posted to social media throughout the day. 

Thanks to the NPPA for being part of the day by shooting headshots. Carly even did a Facebook Live report about it!

Thanks to our Development Team of Lele Levay (who did a Podcast with Carly) and Kayla Newton who worked tirelessly throughout the day to help ensure Giving Day’s success. And of course, Dean Dalglish sent out more than one email about the event!

One fun factoid: BSOS (which came in second after Athletics) raised some $83,000+ with 611 gifts – or an average of $136.83 per gift. Merrill raised $32,215 with 232 gifts or $138.86 per gift!

So thank you to everyone for making Giving Day special this year – it will do a lot of good for our students.

Krishnan Vasudevan Named Assistant Professor of Visual Communication

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (March 10) – Multimedia Journalist Krishnan Vasudevan will be Merrill College’s newest assistant professor. He is currently working to complete his Ph.D. at the University of Texas, Austin and will begin his teaching and research duties this fall.

We are lucky to have such a talented, energetic, creative journalist/scholar joining our faculty. We don’t appoint professors very often, so this is special news for Merrill College,” said Dean Lucy Dalglish.

Krishnan is also a researcher and creative lead for the visual storytelling project, Doing InnovationHis research interests include civic engagement, digital media, participatory cultures, and design.

“I’m excited to join a community of scholars and storytellers whose work collectively enriches the field of journalism through important and innovative research, practice and education,” he said. “I’m also excited to be at Merrill College at a time when faculty and students are experimenting with new ways of visual storytelling such as virtual reality, interactive graphics, and mobile video.”

Professor Sarah Oates led the search committee.  “Krishnan brings so many interesting skills and interests to Merrill College,” she said. “He combines the insights of being both an ethnography researcher and documentary filmmaker. His work analyzes the intersections among racial inequality, creative economies, and digital media. At this moment in journalism and journalism education, his work is so powerful and resonant with our society, our profession, and the interests of our students.”

Q and A with Krishnan Vasudevan

  1. Is digital storytelling the future for journalism? Why is it so important for our students to learn this skill? In today’s media environment, citizens are bombarded with digital content throughout their daily lives. I’m looking forward to collaboratively develop students’ critical thinking and design skills in confluence with their technical chops so they can produce visual media that meaningfully engages and informs citizens.
  2. Why Merrill College? As a visual scholar and filmmaker I wanted to be at an institution that truly supported interdisciplinary research. From the moment I stepped into Knight Hall, I felt so welcomed by the Merrill College faculty and knew it was the right home for my work.

About Krishnan Vasudevan

Vasudevan has a Bachelors in Economics from the College of William and Mary and a Master’s Degree in News and Documentary from New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. He is an Emmy-nominated multimedia journalist formerly with the New York Times and Slate Magazine. He has also published work with ProPublica, PandoDaily, and PBS. He is a co-founder of the multimedia company Explainer Music and the executive producer of the Wrong Bin, a 2011 documentary film about New York City’s recycling program which he has licensed to a number of universities and government institutions. Krishnan has taught multimedia storytelling courses at New York University and guest lectured at Columbia University Teacher’s College.

Merrill Students Win Top Hearst Radio Awards

Courtesy Hearst Website.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (March 10) –  Demi Chang and Matt Kubisiak were top students in adjunct Jamie Forzato’s JOUR364 – Radio Broadcast class in Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 respectively. Forzato entered a number of their radio projects in Hearst’s 2017 radio broadcast features and news competition for college students.

Now the results are in, and both finished in the top 20. In fact, Matt Kubisiak took 3rd place while Demi Chang took 17th. Normally, the top five winners in each awards category (radio, TV1 and TV2) would compete in Hearst’s national championships in San Francisco, but Matt is ineligible due to his spring, 2016 graduation. However, he has won a cash award that Hearst will match for Merrill College.


Matt Kubisiak '16Matt Kubisiak ’16 is currently a full-time web producer for WMDT 47 ABC in Salisbury, Md. and occasionally does freelance reporting and photography for The Calvert Recorder in Prince Frederick, Md. 

“I am very thankful that Jamie entered me into this contest; her class was definitely one of the best I ever took at UMD. I feel that the strong foundation in writing is what sets Merrill students apart. Whether you’re working in print, radio, television or exclusively on the web, solid writing is what makes all the difference,” he said.

Demi ChangIn November 2016, Demi Chang ’15 was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. She is currently attending The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia until June, at which time she will receive her military occupational specialty (MOS) and duty station assignment. 2ndLt. Chang hopes to use her Philip Merrill education and experiences to serve as a Public Affairs Officer (PAO).


Matt’s entry:

 Justice Scalia’s Death (news)

Thousands of mourners, including President Obama and the First Lady, gathered at the Supreme Court on Friday to pay their respects to the late Supreme Court Justice Scalia. Terp Weekly Edition’s Matt Kubisiak was there with the story.

Koto Ensemble (longform feature)

Growing up, many of us picked up musical instruments like trumpet, piano, and violin, even if we didn’t all stick with them. University of Maryland students have the unique opportunity to learn instruments you may have never even heard of before like the Japanese Koto.

Lee’s Surrender Anniversary (news)

April 9th marked the 151st anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Ulysses S. Grant at Appamatox Courthouse in Virginia. TWE’s Matt Kubisiak takes us to Arlington House, Lee’s former home.

Radio Preservation Task Force (news)

Radio is still one of the most important and widely used communication tools worldwide.

And now academics from all over the country are trying to preserve the magic of radio for generations to come.

Demi’s entry: 

Hip Hop Orchestra (longform feature)

Grammy nominations were announced this week, and here’s a group from the University of Maryland that may aspire to perform there some day.

Bread N Greens Opening (news)

A new restaurant in College Park has the right formula for today’s college students: healthy, portable and affordable.

Carnivore BBQ (news)

More than 300 food trucks that serve the Washington metropolitan area. So how does one roving restaurant stand out above the rest?

College Park Volunteer Fire Department (feature)

A volunteer firefighter from the College Park Volunteer Fire Department shares a few things emergency responders want you to know.

About the Hearst Journalism Awards (from the Hearst News Release)

The 57th annual Hearst Journalism Awards Program is held in 106 member universities of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication with accredited undergraduate journalism programs. The Broadcast News Competition was added in 1988 to the program which also includes writing, photojournalism, and multimedia competitions and offers awards totaling up to $500,000.

The judges, all award-winning broadcast professionals, are: Harvey Nagler, recently retired VP, Radio, CBS News, New York, NY; Lloyd Siegel, former Vice President of News Partnerships, NBC News, New York; and Fred Young, retired Senior Vice President of News, Hearst Television Inc., Yardley, PA.

Swain, NPPA Chapter Honored at Northern Short Course Event

NPPA student members and faculty sponsor Bethany Swain pose at the Northern Short Course event.

By: Susann Shinn

Student members of the University of Maryland’s chapter of the National Press Photographers Association joined national members at the Northern Short Course this past weekend. Over the course of these two days, UMD NPPA brought 12 students to Fairfax, Va., ranging from freshman to graduate students. The weekend’s agenda was filled with presentations from talented photojournalists, practical workshops and panels focused on visual journalism. Discussion topics ranged from covering the 2016 presidential campaign, balancing the relationship between photographers and editors and producing long-form passion projects.

In addition to all the scheduled events, the conference was a great networking opportunity. Students connected with various industry leaders, asking them questions and learning about their journey in the field of journalism. Bethany Swain's Award from NPPA.They also had the opportunity to have their work reviewed by these professionals during one-on-one meetings.

To end the workshop series, the Northern Short Course Awards ceremony took place Saturday night. Merrill College lecturer Bethany Swain was honored with the Robin R. Garland Educator Award, which her nominated her for outstanding service as a photojournalism mentor and educator.

Members of Swain’s Viewfinder capstone, which specializes in advanced video storytelling, were also honored with third place in the team multimedia category. Their reporting work from the fall 2016 semester on the heroin epidemic in Anne Arundel County competed against entries from professional publications such as Newsday and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.


Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold is Merrill Commencement Speaker

David Fahrenthold - Washington Pos.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (March 7) – Washington Post Investigative reporter David Fahrenthold will be Merrill College’s commencement speaker this coming May. The ceremony is set for the Memorial Chapel on Saturday, May 20 at 3 p.m.

During the recent presidential campaign, Fahrenthold’s coverage included a year-long series of articles that became must-read as he tried to find out what non-profit organizations Donald Trump had contributed to. He described the experience – using a simple pad of paper to list each non-profit as he called them – in a Post article on Dec. 29 of last year. (He found that Trump has made very few charitable contributions over the years – and used his foundation to pay for personal things like a portrait of himself and even cub scout dues for his son.)


Merrill Student Committee Plan

A Merrill College committee of seniors graduating in May met last semester to talk about possible speakers.The committee included Ellie Silverman, Talia Richman, Michael Stern, Cameron Rogers, Carm Saimbre, Ciara Cione, Maggie Gottlieb and Erica Bonelli.

They came up with a Doodle Pole for the senior class to get their top choices and Fahrenthold rose to the top.

The students came up with a two-part plan:

  • Knight Chair Dana Priest – who is also a Post reporter – talked with Fahrenthold about being commencement speaker and he indicated he would be excited to speak. But there was more to do:
  • The students decided to use social media (primarily Twitter) to reach out to him during Leslie Walker’s JOUR480 (The Business of Journalism) class. As Talia Richman observed in an email, “When Fahrenthold was reporting on Donald Trump’s charitable giving, he kept his Twitter followers up-to-date on his findings and crowdsourced to get more information. This was an incredible way to use new technology to do basic follow-the-money reporting. We thought it would be cool to use this method as a way to ask him to be our grad speaker.” Hand-written requests on plain paper would be used as a way to get the messaging out during their Twitter campaign Monday evening, March 6.

After some 100 posts our students had a definitive answer!


The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold.