March 14, 2011
Greetings again from Reid Hall, where we’ve just completed “Feb Break.” Spring is in the air and students are trading in their Ugg boots for flip-flops. I write to fill you in on news about the department, faculty, students and the campus.
I also want to direct you to our new website: http://journalism.wlu.edu. The site, launched last week with hefty assistance from our friends in the communications office, is redesigned to complement the website style for the rest of the university. We still have a few bugs to work out and features to add – including rotating profiles of alumni. We welcome your suggestions and comments – and hope you’ll check it regularly for news!
Pam Luecke, Department Head
Brian Richardson is back this term after surgery on both of his shoulders last year. He doesn’t grimace as much when he puts on his sports coat but students report he still winces when they commit “fact errors” in “Introduction to Reporting” or “State and Local Government.”
Doug Cumming is on leave this term and next pursuing a number of research projects. He is also planning a book based on the “Lexington to the Editors” play that will be produced here in May. (See details below.)
We have two guests on the faculty this term:
Charlotte Hall, who retired as editor of The Orlando Sentinel in October, is the Reynolds Distinguished Visiting Professor. She is teaching “Opinion Writing,” guest speaking in numerous classes and helping out each week with The Rockbridge Report. As is customary for Reynolds visitors, Charlotte will give a public talk on campus during her residency. Hers is scheduled for March 21 and entitled: “Journalism 2.0: Chaos, Creativity and the New Culture of News.”
Lisa Tracy, a long-time editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, is again teaching “Copy Editing for Print and Online Media.” Lisa grew up in Lexington and returned here when she retired. She remains an active writer and will appear at the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville this Friday. Her latest book, “Objects of Our Affection,” was published by Random House last year to critical acclaim.
We are often asked whether students still want to major in Journalism and Mass Communications, given the turmoil in the industry. The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Sophomores had to declare majors by March 4 and we have a 42 percent jump from last year – from 26 to 37. We have no idea why. There is also growing interest in our Mass Communications minor, which we introduced in 2009 after the university faculty voted to allow minors for the first time. (Our majors choose between three concentrations: Journalism, Business Journalism and Mass Communications. In recognition of the multimedia nature of the communications professions, we no longer distinguish between broadcast and print majors, although students may specialize through their course choices.)
Our students are securing summer internships all over the country, including the Seattle Times, The Norwalk (Ct.) Hour, Bloomberg News, and NBC News in New York. Students typically hold internships after their junior years but more and more students are pursuing them after their sophomore years as well. (If you have any internships to offer or suggest, we’d love to hear about them!)
Four students who graduated in 2010 have been selected to receive a Mark of Excellence Award for Region 2 of the Society of Professional Journalists. The award will be announced at SPJ’s conference in Norfolk April 8-9. Catherine Carlock, Erin Galliher, Farrell Ulrich and Michael White are being honored for their in-depth look at African-Americans in Lexington: “Black in Lexington: Endurance and Hope in a Vanishing Community.”
We are re-activating the department’s journalism advisory board as a way to ensure that our curriculum and teaching keep up with the rapid changes in the communications professions. We are also establishing terms for the board members so we can regularly add new members. The first on-campus meeting of the new group will be in conjunction with Alumni Weekend, May 12-13. When the board’s roster is firmed up, we will post names on our website.
Dana Bolden, ’89, was the keynote speaker at this weekend’s Ethics Institute, held each term for students in the required ethics course taught by Ed Wasserman. Dana is group director for Coca Cola’s 90-country Eurasia and Africa corporate communications. Dana’s talk was entitled “Social Media and the Death of Common Sense.” Two other alums were among the seven professional fellows who presented cases at the event: Jeremiah McWilliams, ’05, a business reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Drew Perkins, a documentary filmmaker who graduated from W&L in 1984 with majors in history and drama.
The university’s four-week spring term begins April 25 and students will have a choice of five courses in the journalism department:
- In-Depth Reporting: The capstone course for our journalism and business-journalism sequences will be taught by Brian Richardson and Toni Locy.
- Cross Cultural Documentary Filmmaking : Indira Somani
- Digital Media and Society: Claudette Artwick
- Online Speech: Refuges, Harbors and Perils: Dayo Abah
- The Journalist in Fiction and Film: Pam Luecke
Descriptions of these courses are available at the registrar’s site (Click on “details”): https://managementtools.wlu.edu/CourseOfferings/Default.aspx?Subject=JOUR
Reid Hall Activities
The department has hosted numerous speakers this winter who have generously shared their time and expertise with our students:
Kelly Evans, ’07, a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, came to campus in January to talk with classes about economics reporting.
Jane Healy, the former Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of the Orlando Sentinel’s editorial page, visited in February, as did Dan Gilbert, the young writer who won a Pulitzer Prize last year for his work at the Bristol, Va., Herald Courier. (He is now with The Wall Street Journal in Houston.)
Mitra Kalita, a senior reporter for The Wall Street Journal, was on campus March 1-2 speaking to classes in both journalism and economics. She delivered a public talk on India’s rapidly growing economy.
Pamela Newkirk, a former journalist and now author and professor of journalism at New York University, delivered this year’s Fishback Lecture March 7. The title of her talk was “Letters, Legacy and the Liberation of Black Identities.”
Students in Bob de Maria’s popular Sports Journalism course have interviewed a prominent sports reporter – many of them alums – nearly every week this term, usually by conference call. Among the alumni-guests: Paul Daugherty, ’79, Sports Columnist, Cincinnati Enquirer; Lincoln Rose, ’03, studio host, San Antonio Spurs; Jake Trotter, ’04, sports reporter and columnist, The Oklahoman.
Bob Drogin, a national correspondent for The Los Angeles Times, will be on campus today to talk about his recent coverage of the revolutions in North Africa.
Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, will visit campus March 28-29.
Come Visit this Spring!
If you’re hankering to return to the Valley of Virginia this spring, try to time your visit around one of these weekends:
Alumni Weekend, May 12-14, will feature two journalism alums: Wall Street Journal reporter Kelly Evans, ’07, will take part in a panel discussion Friday morning with Al Broaddus and Bill Johnston, who are both celebrating their 50th reunions. Broaddus is a past president of the Richmond Federal Reserve and Johnston was chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange. And Mike Allen, who is celebrating his 25th reunion, will be featured at a panel Friday afternoon. For more details about Alumni Weekend, see this site: http://colonnadeconnections.wlu.edu/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=819
The weekend after Alumni Weekend, May 19-21, will mark the theatrical debut of “Lexington Letters to the Editor,” a joint project of Journalism Prof. Doug Cumming and Theater Prof. Kimberly Jew. The two worked with several students last summer to scour 200 years of The News-Gazette and its predecessors for noteworthy letters to the editor. A fall-term class devised a play and a spring-term class will produce it at Lime Kiln Theater under the direction of Rob Mish, ’76 and director of the Lenfest Center. For tickets, call the Lenfest Box Office at (540) 458-8000 or visit its website: http://www.wlu.edu/x48538.xml.