Greetings from Reid Hall, where classes are about to resume after a long hot summer and a massive construction project on Stemmons Plaza. As the jackhammers quiet down and the nights become cooler, I write as the new department head, to fill you in on news about faculty, students and the campus.
For those of you I haven’t met, a brief introduction: I came to Washington and Lee in 2001 to start the department’s new program in business journalism. Before arriving here, I had a 25-year career in daily newspaper journalism, ending as editor of The Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky. (For more details, click here.)
My hope is to update you several times a year in this way; if you have news, we’d love to hear from you!
Brian Richardson stepped down as department head in June, to take care of two bum shoulders. He had surgery on the first shoulder in June and is recovering nicely. His second surgery will be later this month and he will be on medical leave this term while he mends. He will return to the department in January as a full-time faculty member. We already miss him!
Lou Hodges, who retired as the Knight Chair in Journalism in 2003, is recovering at home after a nasty fall at his home in the spring. His wife Helen reports that he is making steady progress regaining his strength and dexterity. He welcomes visits (but call in advance) and letters: 688 Still House Drive, Lexington, VA 24450.
Much to our delight, many of our 2010 graduates have already found employment. Among those we’ve heard about: Brett Holton is producer of the morning show for WSLS-TV in Lynchburg; Cameron Steele and Jason Bacaj are reporters at the Anniston Star in Alabama; Catherine Carlock is on staff at the Greensboro (NC) Business Journal; Erin Galliher is editing at McMurry Publishing in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Alex Eichenbaum is working for Dutko Worldwide, a lobbying and public affairs firm in Washington, D.C.
Several students have found other fascinating pursuits: Marquita Robinson is enrolled in the MFA program at University of Southern California’s Film School and Joel Poelhuis is teaching English in the Republic of Georgia.
More than two dozen juniors and sophomores held journalism internships this summer, in newsrooms and communications organizations from coast to coast. (Several seniors also took post-graduate internships, a growing trend. Several of these internships have been extended and may lead to permanent jobs.) The returning students will give oral presentations about their experiences in late September and early October.
Students in our spring-term Indepth Reporting course produced four excellent reports on timely topics. View them at http://journalism.wlu.edu/indepth/
Patricia Lopes Harris, ’91, will be the university’s Convocation speaker this Wednesday. A Rhodes Scholar and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of W&L, Pat majored in politics and journalism. She is media relations director at San Jose State University and previously worked as a reporter for Washington Business News and the San Jose Mercury News.
Beginning Oct. 16, Kaylee Hartung, ’07, will be reporting from the sidelines of college football games for CBS Sports, while continuing her role assisting Bob Schieffer with “Face the Nation.”
Mike Hudson, ’85, will publish “The Monster,” a book on the rise of the subprime mortgage debacle, this fall (Henry Holt Books) and visit campus in November to speak to classes
Two alums were honored this summer by the South Asian Journalists Association.
Jessica Hopper, ’08, placed third in the student category and Mehul Srivastava, ’04, was a finalist in a professional category. As a 2009 master’s graduate of Columbia University’s journalism school, Hopper and her co-producer, Pracheta Sharma, submitted a documentary called “Behind Closed Doors.” The film explores the exploitation of domestic workers in New York City and what one group of women is doing to fight back. Srivastava was a finalist for “What’s Holding India Back” for Bloomberg Businessweek.
We hope to see many recent grads at the Young Alumni Weekend Oct. 8-10. Older alums are still welcomed at “the event formerly known as Homecoming” – and at Alumni Weekend May 12-14.
Reid Hall Activities
Philippe Labro, a well-regarded French author who attended W&L in the 1950s as an international student, will return to campus this month trailed by a film team that is making a documentary about his life. Journalism students will get a chance to interview him as part of that visit. One of his books, “The Foreign Student,” is a fictionalized account of his days at W&L.
Dan Rather will be the keynote speaker for this fall’s Ethics Institute. He is scheduled to speak on campus at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29.
Journalism Prof. Doug Cumming and Theater Prof. Kimberly Jew worked with several students over the summer to scour 200 years of The News-Gazette and its predecessors for noteworthy letters to the editor. From their trove will arise a play entitled “Lexington Letters to the Editor,” to be written by a class Prof. Jew will teach this fall. Weather permitting, the play will be performed at Lime Kiln Theater May 19-21. The project was inspired by a similar play written and staged by the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble in Pennsylvania.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation awarded the department a $1.5 million five-year grant to continue support of the business-journalism program started 10 years ago. The grant brings to more than $5.5 million the total that the foundation has given to the department for this and other activities. The grant also supports the continued work of Toni Locy as Reynolds Professor of legal reporting.
Reid Hall was again host to the Minority Journalism Workshop sponsored by The Roanoke Times this June. Eight high school students spent the night in a dorm and an intense 24 hours on campus learning the basics of reporting, writing and television anchoring. To see their blog: http://mjw10.blogspot.com/2010_06_21_archive.html