News From the Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Merrill Journalists Win Prestigious MDDC Press Association Summer Internships


COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Five Philip Merrill College of Journalism students have won Reese Cleghorn Summer Internships from the Maryland – Delaware – DC Press Association (MDDC). Only six internships – and three alternates are named each January for the prestigious internships, named after long-time UMD Journalism Dean Reese Cleghorn. All internships are paid and students are assigned to newspapers who are members of the MDDC Press Association.

The winners were chosen from a pool of 14 applicants. They’ll attend a day-long internship orientation session at Knight Hall on May 28.

Maryland winners and newspapers where they will intern include:

Talia Richmond
The Baltimore Sun

Ellie Silverman
Annapolis Capital

Marissa Horn
The Frederick News-Post

Jordan Branch
The Gazette

Jon Banister
Carroll County Times

The sixth scholarship goes to:

Jacob Bogage
University of Missouri
The Daily Record


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A True Journalism Icon: Terp Dave McConnell ’59 Celebrates 50 Years with WTOP


This photo is from the 1959 Terrapin Yearbook.

By Megan Cloherty

Reprinted with the permission of WTOP Radio.

NOTE: Dave McConnell graduated from the University of Maryland in 1959 with a degree in English Literature and a minor in History. He was a loyal member of WMUC – serving as News Director his senior year, and was a copy editor for the Diamondback. He may not have been a journalism major, but we consider him an honorary alumnus here in Knight Hall!

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today his steady, resonant voice is synonymous with political reporting for Washington listeners, but 50 years ago this week Dave McConnell made his debut on WTOP Radio.

On Jan. 18, 1965, “I Dream of Jeannie” was on TV; “The Sound of Music” was in theaters, and The Beatles’ “I Feel Fine” topped the charts. It was also the day McConnell started reporting for what was then 1500 AM.

McConnell is celebrating five decades reporting for Washington’s Top News, most of it spent as the Capitol Hill correspondent, where he remains the lone full-time Congressional correspondent for a local radio station in the United States.

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Tips for Covering Difficult Elected Officials

Frederick News-Post Reporter Bethany Rodgers (from Facebook)

Frederick News-Post Reporter Bethany Rodgers ’08 (from Facebook)

Editor’s Note: Merrill Journalists can learn a great lesson on standing your ground as a reporter from UMD Journalism Alumna Bethany Rodgers ’08 . In early January, Rodgers, a reporter for the Frederick News-Post, was criticized by Frederick City Council Member Kirby Delauter on Facebook for what he said was the “unauthorized use” of his name in the paper.

Rodgers pointed out in a response that she didn’t need to get the permission of an elected official for a news story. The News-Post published a great headline, and the story caused a firestorm on social media, in the Washington Post and other media. It even became a segment on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show. Ultimately, Delauter issued an apology.

We asked Bethany to write some tips for us on how to deal with “difficult elected officials.”

By Bethany Rodgers

1) Know your rights better than they do. This is always important, but it’s especially crucial when you’re covering challenging public officials. They’re not necessarily going to recognize your rights, so you’ll probably have to fight for them. You’ll have the upper hand if you can point to the laws that protect you and allow you to do your work.

2) Do your reporting by the book. When officials stop returning your calls and start avoiding you, it can become difficult to represent their side of the story in your articles. Work even harder to make sure your stories are balanced. And keep reaching out to them, even if they don’t appreciate it.
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Merrill Journalists Get First Taste of Covering the General Assembly for CNS

Aisha Mbowe (far right) with fellow CNS reporters (l-r) Marcel Warfield, Brandie Peterson, Nicole Fierro and Brandi Vincent in Annapolis. They were just part of the CNS contingent covering the opening of the General Assembly.

Aisha Mbowe (far right) with fellow CNS reporters (l-r) Marcel Warfield, Brandie Peterson, Nicole Fierro and Brandi Vincent in Annapolis. They were just part of the Capital News Service contingent covering the opening of the General Assembly.
Photo by CNS Broadcast Bureau Director Sue Kopen Katcef.

By Aisha Mbowe

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The opening of the Maryland General Assembly Jan. 14 marked my first experience with covering local politicians. This was the first time in a long time that Maryland has elected a Republican governor and both the Senate and House of Delegates were welcoming new members. When we first discussed how the atmosphere at the Maryland state house was going to be on this day, I was extremely nervous, but by the end of it all,  it was one of the best experiences I have had so far as a journalism student.

We were divided up into teams to cover various aspects of the opening and my job was to get footage of the delegates with their families and visitors as they arrived in the hallway between the senate and house chambers. It was pretty empty when we first arrived but as the hours went by it became very crowded as the delegates were getting ready to go into the chambers. This was my first time being around lawmakers as a member of the press and my day took an even more exciting turn when Governor-elect Larry Hogan came in with outgoing Lt. Governor Larry Brown.

All members of the press who were in the room rushed towards both men to get their perfect shot and ask questions. My fellow CNSers and I were right in the middle of the action.  It was really hard trying to get a good shot of Hogan while there were fifteen other people trying to do the same thing but it was worth every minute of being in the midst of it all. A few of my peers were able to get interviews from Hogan and Brown where they were stationed which was also exciting. I am definitely looking forward to a semester of opportunities like this and learning and experiencing political reporting and reporting with CNS overall.

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Associate Professor Deborah Nelson and Reuters Team Take 3rd Place IRE Award

- From an IRE News Release

Assistant Professor Deborah Nelson.

Associate Professor
Deborah Nelson.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Associate Professor of Investigative Journalism Deborah Nelson and a team of reporters from Reuters have won a third place Philip Meyer Award from the Investigative Reporters and Editors. The award is given to reporters using the best social science research methods. Nelson – along with Reuter’s reporters Ryan McNeill and Duff Wilson – won for their series “Water’s Edge, The Crisis of Rising Sea Levels,” that “exposed that government at all levels remains unable or unwilling to address the problem of rising sea levels while continuing to incentivize growth in those areas most at risk.”

First place was awarded to “The Medicare Advantage Money Grab,” by Fred Schulte, David Donald, Erin Durkin, and Chris Zubak-Skees of The Center for Public Integrity. The project revealed nearly $70 billion in “improper” Medicare payments to health plans from 2008 through 2013. The investigation exposed how federal officials missed multiple opportunities to corral overcharges and other billing errors.

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Merrill Journalists: Award Winners

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The start of a new year brings word of numerous awards won recently by  Philip Merrill College of Journalism students. See our complete list of student award winners on the Merrill College website.

  • Valerie YoungValerie Young is a 2015 Meredith-Cronkite Fellowship at Arizona State University (Jan. 4-9)
    The Meredith Corporation and its Phoenix television station, KPHO CBS 5, sponsor a weeklong multimedia fellowship program for top broadcast journalism students from underrepresented groups at the Cronkite School and around the country. The students spend a week each January – during most schools’ winter break – working in the CBS 5 newsroom with KPHO reporters, producers, editors and videographers, and with instructors from the Cronkite School. The program is led by Mark Lodato, the Cronkite School’s assistant dean and news director, along with the CBS 5 news director.
  • AnnikaSenior Annika McGinnis takes 11th place in the 2014 Hearst Enterprise Reporting Competition. This is the highest a Merrill College applicant has ever placed! Annika is currently an editorial intern at Reuters.


  • Delfino also took 8th place in the 2014-2015 Hearst Journalism Awards Television Features Program and wins a certificate of merit for her video “Veteran Kitchen.”
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Merrill College Remembers Lois Kay

Lois Kay (Likely) retirment event in 1994 with Assistand Dean Frank Quine and wife Mary Ellen.

Lois Kay (left) with Journalism Assistant Dean Frank Quine and wife Mary Ellen. An undated photo, it is believed to have been taken when Ms. Kay retired from the college in 1994. (Photo: Frank Quine)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Lois Kay impacted the lives of many students at the old College of Journalism here on the University of Maryland campus. She is fondly remembered. Kay, 85, died of cancer in early December at a health care center in Williston, Vt. An English teacher who taught journalism for many years, she lived in Bethesda and taught at both Montgomery Blair and Winston Churchill high schools from 1968 to the mid 1980s. At that point, she came to College Park and began working for Journalism School Dean Reese Cleghorn as chief of the career development office, which included the internship program.

Former Associate Dean Frank Quine worked with Kay and remembers she  “helped identify talented students who could be recruited to come to Maryland.” She also served as the executive director of the Maryland/DC Scholastic Press Association for many years.

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Storify Recaps Journalism Study Abroad Trip to Slovakia and Hungary

StudyAbroadStudentsCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – 12 University of Maryland journalism students from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism traveled to Slovakia and Hungary Jan. 2- 16. Led by Abell Professor in Baltimore Journalism Sandy Banisky, the students studied the state of journalism in those two post-Soviet societies.

This is the second year Merrill College students have traveled to Eastern Europe to study just how much journalism is changing in the Eastern Bloc.

We are using Storify to help tell the tale of their discoveries and adventures as our students use Instagram, Twitter and a blog to highlight their trip – follow along!

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Dean Dalglish Joins Statement Decrying Charlie Hebdo Attack

Original release:


Using terror to intimidate and throttle free speech is not new. And it must not be allowed to succeed.

We, as members of the Carnegie-Knight consortium of journalism schools, stand with all those who defy murderous efforts to silence a free and open media.

We are sad and we are angry at the brutal assault on our colleagues in Paris.

But we will not be silenced.

Lorraine Branham
Dean, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
Syracuse University

Chris Callahan
Dean, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Arizona State University

Steve Coll
Dean, Graduate School of Journalism
Columbia University

Lucy Dalglish
Dean, Philip Merrill College of Journalism
University of Maryland

Brad Hamm
Dean, Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications
Northwestern University

Rod Hart
Dean, Moody College of Communication
University of Texas at Austin

Alex S. Jones
Director, Shorenstein Center on the Media, Politics and Public Policy
Harvard Kennedy School

Susan King
Dean, School of Journalism and Mass Communication
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Maria Marron
Dean, College of Journalism and Mass Communications
University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Ed Wasserman
Dean, Graduate School of Journalism
University of California, Berkeley

Ernest Wilson III
Dean, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
University of Southern California

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McIntyre, Ting Headline Merrill College Commencement Program

JamieMcIntyreWatch the Philip Merrill College of Journalism Commencement Exercise on YouTube.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Adjunct Professor Jamie McIntyre has just about done it all as a broadcast journalist. From his early days as a WTOP radio reporter in Washington, D.C. to CNN Pentagon Correspondent, NPR anchor and now back to the Pentagon for Al Jazeera America. He’s been an entrepreneur as well – maintaining his own military blog and consulting for news organizations seeking expertise in national security issues.

His reputation as a tough reporter with an easy-going style even got him into a book, Dragon Fire, by former Defense Secretary William Cohen. He described his fictional “CNN reporter” as “a first-rate journalist, who played it straight with the news, but never cut [the defense secretary] any slack.”

Sunday, McIntyre will graduate with his Master of Arts degree in Journalism from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism and is the college’s commencement speaker as well. Next spring, he’ll return to something else he loves to do – teach. A popular adjunct professor in Knight Hall for many years, McIntyre teaches multimedia journalism. And there’s one more thing – he’s known for his sense of humor. Jamie was named “DC’s Funniest Reporter” in 2010 at a charity stand-up comedy competition at the National Press Club.

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