News From the Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Guyana’s New President a Humphrey Fellows First

President David Granger of Guyana

Guyana’s David Granger is the first Humphrey Fellow to become head of state. Photo:

The new president of Guyana – David Arthur Granger – is the first Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow to become his nation’s head of state.

Granger came to the U.S. – and the University of Maryland’s Journalism school – twenty years ago for the one-year program that was started by President Jimmy Carter in 1978.

The Humphrey Fellowship Program at UMD is funded by U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Institute of International Education and the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

“In the program’s 22 years at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, the vast majority of our Humphrey Fellows have gone on to senior leadership positions in their home countries, but none has risen as high as President Granger,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh.  “We wish him and the Guyanese people the very best.”

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Blackistone To Write Sports Commentaries for the Washington Post

From a Washington Post News Release:

Announcement from Matt Vita, sports editor:

Kevin_large copyWe are very excited to announce that Kevin Blackistone, a veteran journalist and educator, will be writing regular commentary for the Sports section on topics ranging from our local sports teams to the relationship between sports and major social issues. He’ll also be a contributor to Post TV.

Kevin has a long and distinguished career in journalism and is currently a commentator for ESPN and a regular panelist on ESPN’s popular weekday show, “Around the Horn.” He’s worked as a reporter for the Boston Globe and Dallas Morning News, where he covered national and regional economics for the business section before being named a sports columnist.

In addition to his television work for ESPN, Kevin also has written in the digital arena, for AOL Fanhouse, the Daily tablet and the He’s the author of a 2009 memoir of former NFL player Everson Wall’s decision to become an organ donor for longtime teammate Ron Springs and he has published numerous academic papers on sports topics, many of which have focused on the lives of black athletes.

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Schweich Wins CAPBA Scholarship

629283COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Rising senior Emily Schweich has been awarded a $2500 Chesapeake AP Broadcasters Association scholarship.

She will receive the scholarship check during the CAPBA annual convention in Ocean City June 5-7.  The presentation will be made at the AP awards dinner that Saturday.

A past president of the SPJ student chapter at the Merrill College and Diamondback multimedia reporter, Schweich is interning this summer at the NBC DC Bureau this summer. A long-time Capital News Service volunteer, she will go in front of the camera this fall as part of Sue Kopen Katcef’s CNS Broadcast Bureau at UMTV.

Emily has had a love for storytelling from an early age. She says her ultimate goal is to “become a news anchor and give a voice to the voiceless through journalism, focusing special attention to issues impacting women, such as gender-based violence and poverty and fair treatment in the workplace.”

Read her bio.

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Merrill College, Diamondback National SPJ “Mark of Excellence” Winners

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 1.44.25 PMAdapted from a Society of Professional Journalists news release.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Society of Professional Journalists national 2014 “Mark of Excellence” awards are out with the Philip Merrill College of Journalism and the Diamondback student newspaper taking honors in a number of categories.

In a message to the Merrill College community, Dean Lucy Dalglish commended the Capital News Service (CNS), Viewfinder and Diamondback students for their outstanding work.

National Mark of Excellence Award winners are chosen from the category winners in each of SPJ’s 12 regions, and the awards are judged by journalism professionals with at least three years of experience. See the Merrill College news story about our regional winners.

SPJ will recognize first-place national winners at the Student Union event during Excellence in Journalism 2015 in Orlando, Fla., Sept. 18-20.
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Broadcast Journalism Major Mia Simon Student Commencement Speaker

MiaStudent Tong Wu contributed to this story.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Student speaker Mia Simon has just one word for the Philip Merrill College of Journalism: “family.” She told Merrill Journalist Tong Wu the college nurtured and supported her to be the person who she is today. “For me it is very self-fulfilling by knowing that, when I graduate I still have plenty of people to reach out to when I have questions,” she said.

Simon majored in broadcast journalism with a minor in leadership studies.  She held internships at Voice of America and the British Broadcasting Company. After working for the BBC in New York City last summer, she helped to jump-start the BBC Campus program and was offered a writing position with the Travel Section of for the duration of her senior year. On campus, she has worked for WMUC Sports Radio, Unwind Magazine, Capital News Service and Stories Beneath the Shell, which she co-founded with five other journalism seniors. Aside from journalism, she has been actively involved with the Alternative Breaks program, and was a member of the College Park Scholars’ Media, Self and Society cohort.

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Schweich Wins NPPF TV News Scholarship

629283– Adapted from an NPPF Press Release:

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Merrill Journalist Emily Schweich is the winner of the National Press Photographers Foundation (NPPF) TV News Scholarship. Schweich – a junior broadcast major – is one of seven college students selected by the NPPF to receive the $2,000 scholarships. “I’m very honored and excited to be recognized by this prestigious organization,” said Schweich.

Currently the president of the Society of Professional Journalists student chapter, Schweich also works as a multimedia reporter for The Diamondback, the University of Maryland’s independent daily student newspaper.  She has had a love for storytelling from an early age. She says her ultimate goal is to “become a news anchor and give a voice to the voiceless through journalism, focusing special attention to issues impacting women, such as gender-based violence and poverty and fair treatment in the workplace.”

Read her Bio here. Read More »

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Ph.D. Candidate Saranaz Barforoush Named Graduate School’s Outstanding Graduate Assistant

Saranaz Non Serious photoCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – Merrill College Ph.D. candidate Saranaz Barforoush has been named the University of Maryland’s Graduate School Outstanding Graduate Assistant.

In a letter to Barforoush, Graduate School Dean Charles Caramello said the new award was established this school year “to recognize and honor the outstanding contributions that Graduate Assistants provide to students, faculty, departments, administrative units, and the University as a whole. The award conveys the honor of being named among the top 2% of campus Graduate Assistants in a given year.”

“Merrill has become my home away from home,” said Barforoush.  “I have been honored to work with world class educators. The college has given me the opportunity to teach , which I love, and the ability to focus my research on issues that matter to me.”

Barforoush was honored this past week during the Fellowship and Awards Celebration in the Stamp Student Union.

About Saranaz Barforoush

Saranaz Barforoush earned her M.S. degree from Southern Illinois University in 2011, where she wrote a thesis on the news production of Persian television channels broadcast from Britain and the United States. During her studies at SIU she also worked as a PR officer for SIUE’s School of Business and its Emergency Operation Center. She completed an M.A. degree in Cultural Studies and Media from the University of Tehran in 2008, where she studied the social effects in Iranian popular cinema before and after the 1979 Islamic revolution. After gaining her BA in journalism from Allameh Tabatabai University she worked as a journalist and translator for a number of high profile Iranian newspapers and weekly magazines. In addition to her journalism experience, she has worked as a PR manager for well-known IT organizations and news publications in Iran. Her research interests include: international journalism, diasporic media production and use, conflict coverage in the media, and freedom of the press.

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Ph.D. Student Justin Hudson Named All-S.T.A.R. Fellow

1a4756bCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – Philip Merrill College of Journalism Ph.D. student Justin Hudson has been awarded one of sixteen Graduate School All-S.T.A.R. Fellowships for academic year 2015-16.

“I’m honored to be recognized for my work both in front of the classroom and as a researcher,” said Hudson. “As a graduate student, finances are never far from one’s mind. The All-S.T.A.R Fellowship allows me to focus on my upcoming dissertation and gives me the flexibility to travel for research, present at conferences, and job interviews.”

Approximately 4,000 UMD graduate students serve the campus as teaching, administrative, or research assistants. The Graduate School All-S.T.A.R. Fellowships support and honor graduate students who are both outstanding scholars and outstanding graduate assistants.   This Graduate School supplemental fellowship carries a $10,000 stipend.

About Justin Hudson

Justin Hudson graduated with an M.A. in education from the University of California-Berkeley in 2009.  He earned his B.A. from Rice University in 2008, where he majored in history. At Rice, he was a sportswriter for the Rice Thresher and worked as a sport marketing intern for Rice’s athletic department. He continued his work in sports communications at Berkeley, where he interned for the athletic media relations office.

Since graduating from Berkeley, he has been a copy editing intern at Bleacher Report and currently works as a writer for LA Focus, a monthly newspaper in his hometown of Los Angeles. He entered the Merrill College Ph.D. program in 2011. His research interests include examining historic and contemporary media representations of African American male athletes, as well as broader issues dealing with sports, media, and society, media history, media and race, and media literacy.

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Overly Named Knight-Bagehot Business Journalism Fellow


The Washington Post’s Steven Overly ’10 is a 2015-2016 Knight-Bagehot Business Journalism Fellow. Photo: LinkedIn.

Adapted from a Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism release.

NEW YORK, NY – The Washington Post’s Steven Overly – a 2010 graduate of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism – has been named a 2015-2016 Knight-Bagehot Business Journalism Fellow by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Overly  is a national reporter for the Post. He writes about federal technology and energy policy. Previously, he covered the technology, biotechnology and venture capital industries in the Washington metropolitan area. While attending Maryland, Overly was editor-in-chief of The Diamondback and spent his summers interning at The Daily Record in Baltimore, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and the St. Petersburg Times in Tampa.

In an email to Overly, Merrill College Dean Lucy Dalglish wrote her congratulations, adding, “You will make all Terps very proud.”

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El Nuevo Herald Executive Editor Myriam Marquez Headlines Merrill Commencement

Myriam-MarquezCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – Myriam Marquez, executive editor of Miami’s El Nuevo Herald newspaper, will be the commencement speaker for the Philip Merrill College of Journalism on May 22.

Marquez graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland in 1983.

“Myriam Marquez is one of Merrill College’s most distinguished alums,” said Dean Lucy Dalglish. “Since her graduation, she has distinguished herself as an award-winning reporter, an incisive editorial and commentary writer, and a newsroom leader. Our students have much to learn from her.”

For her part, Marquez says she is looking forward to speaking to the Merrill graduating class:

“These graduates are at the top of their game, taught by some of the best journalists in the country for a new millennium of journalism in a nation that’s growing ever more diverse. The industry has changed immensely from the time of my graduation, and these new journalists will be key to our success in telling crucial stories in innovative ways that grab audiences on digital, television or print. I’m excited by the possibilities.”

Marquez’s husband,  Tony Pipitone, also graduated from Merrill College in 1983. He is an Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter for WTVJ-TV in Miami. They have two sons. Read More »

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