I am in Karachi for the official launch of the Center for Excellence in Journalism at the Institute for Business Administration. The Medill School, where I teach, is a partner in the State Department-funded initiative along with the International Center for Journalists. I am the leader for Medill’s efforts (which include our faculty coming here to teach several times a year), and this was my fifth time in Pakistan. The event began with an opening ceremony with “chief guest” the US Ambassador to Pakistan, David Hale, and the Dean of IBA, Dr. Ishrat Husain. Then we went up to the Center itself for the official ribbon cutting. The Center has been under construction for over a year, and it has a full TV studio, newsroom/classroom space, edit rooms and a radio studio. Hats off to Christie Lauder and the staff at the CEJ for hosting such a great and memorable event. And to all the partners in the project who have worked so hard to get to this point. The press release for the event is below the photos.
I’m thrilled to say that a video produced, reported, filmed, written and edited by graduate student Mathias Meier has been published by the New York Times. Mathias was awarded a travel grant from the Medill School to travel to Bolivia to report on the legalization of child labor there. He traveled to La Paz for a week and created a first draft of the story with me in an advanced video journalism class in our graduate program. I was so impressed by the work that I sent the piece to Rich Tanner, a senior producer at the New York Times. I edited a shorter draft Mathias worked on based on his longer piece (which was also nominated for a college award in the Chicago/Midwest Emmys) and then he and Rich continued to fine tune the story over the summer. After a few delays in publication because of breaking news, the story finally ran on Saturday, December 19th, and led the NYTimes home page (a major feat). Mathias has since graduated from our program and is back in his native Chile, working in media and freelancing. Congratulations Mathias.
In the General Assignment Reporting category, Brandon Wilson won a nomination for ‘Graduation Day,’ a piece he reported in the video journalism class I teach. The story is about a high school senior and former soccer star who suffered a debilitating stroke. And Jesse Kirsch – who is in my video journalism class this quarter – is also nominated for a story he did for Northwestern News Network (NNN).
NNN is an extracurricular news program produced by Medill School undergraduates. Their Election Show (which was a Bronze national Emmy earlier this year) was nominated in the Best Newscast Category along with their “Chicago Show” in in May.
In the Student Sports production category, Adam Mintzer got a nod for his story about NU crew. Reporting that piece meant he had to get up before dawn several days last spring quarter when he made the story in my spring video storytelling class.
In the long form category, two Medill-produced documentaries produced in my colleague Brent Huffman’s class and one longer-form story reported in Bolivia by Mathias Meier were among the five nominees. Mathias’ story – which he produced in the graduate-level advanced video journalism course – focused on child labor in Bolivia, which the country legalized last year. That story is set to publish on a major news site soon.
On July 18th, I gave a lecture at Jinan University for the school’s media leadership conference. They asked me to speak about “convergence journalism,” a subject I know a lot about, even though I’m not a big fan of the word “convergence.” I emphasized that in the digital world we live in, many ways of storytelling have converged, and any news organization can work in practically any medium — text, photos, audio, video and interactive — with relative ease. So, essentially, all journalism is convergence journalism. Instead of dwelling on converging media, I urged the audience to be smart about finding the right medium for the story, rather than trying to shoe-horn a story into any individual storytelling method.
To make this point, I use a poem by Dylan Thomas, which has been used and adapted across various platforms. By reading it, listening to it being read, and seeing people (including the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield) perform it, we see the strength of each of the mediums and can then think about how that translates to news stories.
One of my favorite quotes of Dylan Thomas — who was known for this lilting baritone and the flourish of his reading aloud from his own work and that of others — is this:
“The printed page is the place in which to examine the works of a poem, and the platform the place on which to give the poem the works.”
In modern news reporting, we have so many platforms on which to give the story the works.
I was joined at Jinan by my Medill colleagues Scott Anderson, Michael Deas and Zach Wise, who made this collage of photos of attendees who came to speak to me after my talk.