Reid Hall Times, Summer 2012

Greetings from Reid Hall, where we are have endured a long hot summer and are looking forward to the start of classes again soon.  Here are some updates.

 — Pam Luecke, Department Head

Faculty and Staff

Ed Wasserman, who has been the Knight Chair in Journalism Ethics since 2003, will be leaving after fall term to become Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.  Ed has been an international presence in journalism ethics and education and will continue to make a big difference in the field from this prestigious vantage.   A search for his successor will begin in 2013. 

Wasserman is going out with a bang.  The first weekend of the fall term, he is hosting a conference on coverage of issues related to poverty, assembling several dozen journalists from around the country to ponder how this important social issue can be covered more effectively.  And the keynote speaker at the fall-term Ethics Institute Oct. 19-20 will be David Carr, who writes about the media industry for The New York Times.

 Indira Somani, who joined the faculty in 2008, is also leaving.  She will be teaching broadcast journalism at Howard University in Washington, D.C.  While at Washington and Lee, Indira made many contributions to the program, including developing a well-received spring-term course on Cross-cultural Documentary Filmmaking.  

 Phylissa Mitchell will be a visiting professor with us this coming year.  “Mitch,” as she is known, is no stranger to the program.  She is a 2001 graduate of W&L School of Law and taught in the department in 2001-2002 and again in 2006-2008.  She has also taught at West Virginia University and the University of Richmond and been a Fulbright Scholar in Ukraine. 

 For the second summer, Doug Cumming spent four weeks teaching journalism in Urbino, Italy, in a program coordinated by the Institute for Education in International Media.  This year, two W&L students were enrolled in the class: Elizabeth Steitz, ’14, and Hamlet Fort, ’15.  See their work here:  Doug’s blog about the experience is here:

 Dayo Abah presented a paper in Durban, South Africa, in mid-July during the annual conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research. The conference, attended by 3,000 scholars from around the globe, was held at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and was co-hosted by the South African Communication Association.  Dayo’s paper was entitled “Whose Internet is it Anyway? Anonymity and Privacy Rights in Online Communication.” 

Toni Locy spent four weeks in June observing work at this summer, hoping to pick up tips for the department’s multimedia newsroom.  In some cases, Locy reported, the Post could learn a few things from The Rockbridge Report!

Claudette Artwick will be on leave this fall to continue her research into social media and update her textbook “Reporting and Producing for the Digital Media.”

Five of the department’s faculty members (Brian Richardson, Somani, Cumming, Luecke and Wasserman) attended the AEJMC convention in Chicago this month to attend workshops, participate in panels and interview applicants for the position that will be vacated at the end of this academic year by the retirement of Bob De Maria.  Several of us got together with alum Stephanie (Hardiman) Simon, ’10, and Simon Perez, ’88, at the fabled Billy Goat Tavern while we there.  Alex Maragos, ’13, who interned this summer at ESPN Radio in Chicago, joined us. 

For the first time ever, journalism faculty members will be teaching the university’s writing composition course.  This responsibility has been the sole responsibility of the English Department until 2010, when faculty from other departments were invited to take part.  Bob De Maria and Doug Cumming will do so in the fall and Toni Locy will do so in the winter.

Photo Exhibits

The department is teaming up with the Marshall Foundation on the VMI post to host a photo exhibit in November on “Conflict Zone War Photography,” a traveling exhibit of photographs from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The idea for this arose out of a campus visit last winter by Jackie Spinner, who was the Fishback Lecturer.  Jackie is a former war correspondent for the Washington Post and a director of Conflict Zone.  For more information about the exhibit, see!__conflict-zone-home 

The department is also helping to bring to campus in late October an exhibit of compelling Associated Press photographs entitled “American President.” Leyburn Library is providing the exhibit space.  For more about this exhibit, see

 Students and Alumni

Brooke Sutherland, a journalism and French major, was the university’s valedictorian this year. No one can recall another instance when someone from the department held that distinction.   Brooke worked this summer as a post-graduate intern at Bloomberg News in New York City, where she received the 2012 Intern Award for the Americas – and a permanent job.

Michael McGuire, ’13, is the second W&L student to work at el Nuevo Herald as a Todd Smith Fellow, which honors a 1982 graduate of W&L. To be eligible, students must be fluent in Spanish.  Michael got his first test on Day One in Miami, when he was assigned to cover the strange cannibal story.  Read more about his experience here:

  Jill Bailey Chenet, ’03, died last month in a tragic drowning off the North Carolina coast. Jill was a double major in French and journalism and was a teacher at The River School in Washington, D.C.  The Roanoke Times carried this story about her death – and life.

 The Journalism Alumni Advisory Board met on campus during Alumni Weekend in May and offered counsel on many important issues.  Several members met with the incoming editors of the Ring-tum Phi to learn about their challenges and issues.  We are hopeful that other alumni will also take an interest in helping the Phi improve its quality.  Because the publication is proudly independent and has no faculty adviser, the department’s influence is limited.


 The department completed its self-study this summer in preparation for a re-accreditation site visit Oct. 28-31.  The department is one of only 110 accredited programs in the United States; of those, only 19 are private colleges or universities and few are small liberal arts colleges.

 The site team will be chaired by Jerry Ceppos, dean of the Manship School of Mass Communications at Louisiana State University.  The other two members are John Cochran, retired newsman from NBC News, and Dorothy Bland, director of the Journalism Division at Florida A&M University.

 Because the team will not be on campus on a Thursday to experience the department’s Rockbridge Report, the department’s community journalism lab, we have made a video to describe what that is.  Michael Todd, the department’s manager of technical operations, arranged for a videographer to capture the frenzied activity winter term and to interview several seniors about the experience in the spring.  He, Bob DeMaria and Brian Richardson prepared the script and did the editing over the summer. Senior Alex Maragos provided narrated.  Check it out at:

 Pam Luecke was elected to a three-year term on the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. She represents the ASJMC.    

 Reid Hall

 Ever since the renovation of Reid Hall in 2001-2002, the wall that visitors and students first encounter in the lobby has been, well, missing something.  After a stray comment from Prof. Cumming that the wall would be a good place for the words of the First Amendment, Michael Todd found a way to make that happen.  The project should be completed by the start of school; next time you’re on campus, stop by to admire it! 

 Also coming soon to the Reid Hall lobby will be digital signage.  This will replace the “old media” easel and the plasma television now in the lobby. We’ll still be able to broadcast 24/7 television news, but we will also be able to display departmental announcements and, if ever needed, campus-wide security alerts. 

We welcome your thoughts, updates and news; send items to Melissa Cox,  And please look us up if you’re coming to the Five-Star Generals’ weekend Sept. 13-15 or Young Alumni Weekend Oct. 5-6.



This entry was posted in Reid Hall Times.
Bookmark the permalink.
Log In | Log Out