Where journalists are made

The Voice is grateful to our many Phillip Merrill College of Journalism student interns. The school recently held an open house, part of the University of Maryland’s “Maryland Day” open house. Author Max Bennett is one of our Merrill College student interns. – Ed.

BY MAX BENNETT

Students, parents, and alumni visited the journalism school at University of Maryland to meet students and alumni on the university’s annual expo day.

The Philip Merrill College of Journalism at UMD College Park campus hosted several events for the 16th Maryland Day, April 26.

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The college of journalism offers writing and broadcast tracks. Print journalism students also learn how to use video, audio, photos, and computer-based resources. In the broadcast journalism track students are taught how to produce video and audio stories. They also learn how to anchor and report for television or online news.

The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism also draws students interested in sports journalism. It often allows students to meet and network with famous on-air journalists such as ESPN’s Tim Kirkjian, Michael Wilbon, and Tony Kornheiser.

Anchoring

Maryland Day attendees had the chance to read a news script on camera in the UMTV newsroom.

Sitting at the anchor desk, prospective broadcast students read the story of Hansel and Gretel from the telerompter into the camera, allowing them to experience what it’s like to anchor for UMTV.

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Prospective students also had the chance to win an iPod touch for the best photos and Tweets of Maryland Day events, showing them what it’s like to be a mobile journalist.

Students who are part of the 2014 ViewFinder team, a group of students who shoot and edit video stories, screened their work from the semester, showing the high-quality work produced at the college.

From stories about Alzheimer’s disease to underwater hockey, the videos ranged from touching to amusing with high production value through the use of broadcast cameras, creative and unique shots, and natural sound from subjects of the videos.

From the students’ mouths

A student-led discussion featured 13 undergraduates who shared their experiences.

“Opportunities are endless,” said sophomore Marissa Morris. “Your dreams really can come true here.”

The students described first seeing their names in print, internship experiences in New York City and Los Angeles, and journalistic crises such as assignments with only 2 hours to complete on a Tuesday evening.

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Professors and internships allow networking to make industry contacts, an integral aspect of the program, said the the students.

“Coming to University of Maryland opens the doors to employers,” said sophomore Amanda Eisenberg.

Many focused on the faculty and how helpful they are, but the students also said they help one another with everything from stories to career searching.
Professors include CNN photojournalists and editors of newspapers such as the Baltimore Sun. Columnist Kevin Blackistone, a regular on the popular sports talk show Around the Horn on ESPN, is a visiting professor and a student favorite.

Bragging

“Maryland Day is really an enormous amount of fun,” said Merrill College Dean Lucy Dalglish. “It’s a chance to brag.”

Dalglish said she spoke to one young man who drove 250 miles just to be at the college’s events on Maryland Day.

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“He read about us, he heard about us. He and his mom came just for today,” she said. “That’s pretty amazing.”

Another panel featured alumni answering questions from George Solomon, director of the college’s Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism and recent inductee in the DC Sports Hall of Fame, and Blackistone.

Big names

The panel featured some prominent names in journalism including Washington Post Managing Editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, Washington Wizards Studio Analyst Christy Winters-Scott, and Washington Redskins Media Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Larry Michael.

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The journalists shared memories from their time at UMD, including the death of former Maryland basketball star and Boston Celtics draftee Len Bias, reporting sports events in pouring rain, and using emerging technologies.

The panel said social media sites, specifically Twitter, provide better access to stories as well as allow easier dissemination of stories.

Maryland Day originally began as Ag Day: an expo for the College of Agriculture.

Former UMD president C.D. Mote expanded Ag Day to include the rest of campus based on a similar event at U.C. Berkley where he was a faculty member for over 30 years.

“Last year [Maryland Day] had 100,000 people,” said David Ottalini, senior communications manager with the journalism school. “It’s really become one of the largest single day events in the state.”

About the Author

Max Bennett
Max Bennet is from Sayre, Pa. He earned his bachelors degree in English from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in 2011. After graduating he worked as a copy editor and sports stringer for the Morning Times in Sayre. He currently is working towards a masters degree in journalism at University of Maryland, College Park.