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The Black Stripes of the Tiger: Reflections of Black Journalists on the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism

Posted by Bianca Aaron on September 12, 2008

Perhaps the main display of a tiger’s beauty is its black stripes– these badges of honor, strength, and pride that distinguish its beauty from any other feline. In a way, these same beauty marks can be aligned with the many black journalists who proudly deem the University of Missouri their alma mater, as they represent the touch of diversity on the school’s campus. However, as the panelists of Thursday morning’s forum, “Then and Now: Learning and Doing Journalism as an African American in Mid-Missouri,” expressed, the University did not always provide such a soft and welcoming foundation for journalists of color. 

A crowd of fascinated faces permeated the atmosphere of the Dr. Edward C. Lambert Seminar Room as the panelists shared their experiences of being rejected by many other white journalist students, faculty members, and even people in the community. Gail F. Baker, the Dean of the College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, discussed how her experiences with such rejection now helps her to be an aid to students of color. She expressed how she tells the students the reality that the business of journalism is far from a utopia, and that they will face racism and prejudice. Baker went on to express how, despite the ignorance of others, one must continue to pursue what ever it is that he or she longs to pursue.

A feeling of pride and unity began to diffuse throughout the room as audience members were able to relate certain experiences in their own lives to those of the panelists. In the open forum, one audience member, a young Chinese woman, talked about one situation in which a group of individuals made her feel uncomfortable about her racial appearance. She expressed how before the occurrence she didn’t realize how others may portray her because of her race, but became more concerned with her image after the incident. The panelists were able sympathize with the woman’s story and as a follow-up, I was able ask Kia Breaux, the Acting Bureau Chief for Missouri and Kansas, about her view of appearance in journalism, not only as a minority, but as a woman. Breaux told of how dealing with appearance as a reporter can be difficult at times, but it’s just one of the many struggles that minority journalists endure. 

Every memory expressed about the University did not all spring from frustration, however. All of the panelists could agree that, despite the disappointment concerning the continuation of racism as an issue today, the University provides a great education and foundation for future careers. Baker prided on the educational experiences she received from the school: “What I learned here, I have been able to transfer to every environment.”


Posted in 1, YouTube Project | 2 Comments »

Educating the Next Generation of Journalists

Posted by Emily Reinbott on September 11, 2008

I was really looking forward to this session because I AM THE NEXT GENERATION these speakers were going to be talking about.  Both Paris and Spain were represented as they talked about their respective colleges and their journalism programs.  The main topic was how do we keep up with our audience who are now looking at more digital styled media.  This question led to how do we educate our new journalists that have to deal with the changing audience.

After hearing from both La Porte, the representative from the University of Navarra School of Communication in Pamplona, Spain, and Jean-Francais, representing Sciences Po in Paris, France, about their journalism programs and worries, the University’s Dean Mills gave the “American Reaction”.  It still amazes me that I am able to sit in one of the best institutions for journalism and that America’s voice can be given to one of our own in Columbia, MIssouri but this is exactly what happened.  Dean Mills expressed the same concerns as his foreign colleagues: how to move with a changing audience.  His answer: the building we were currently sitting in, the Reynolds Journalism Institute.  More specifically, the room we were sitting in was also a part of the answer.

Looking around, you would think the room was off a drama involving world leaders or something of the sort.  Nearly everyone sat at two rows of tables that created a three-quarters circle and at the top of the circle was one table where the panel sat.  It wasn’t only the lay out of the room that gave me this impression but also the people watching and listening intently to the speakers.  There were people from all around the world, male and female, young and not so young.  “This room symbolizes the intellectual soul” of the Reynolds Institute, said Dean Mills.  The Reynolds Institute is charged with figuring out the changing world of journalism and this means reaching out internationally.  “Today is just the beginning,” replied a hopeful Mills.

I was very moved as I watched these important journalist talk about MY generation.  They aren’t worried about their own job security but that of mine and my future colleagues.  Their careers are stable whereas mine hasn’t even started and they’re already worried about my success.  Well, truthfully, I guess they are a little concerned with reaching out to the public.  That is the goal of most every journalist, hopefully.

This wasn’t a discussion about how to make more money or how to gain more success.  It was quite simple really.  How do we, as teachers, prepare our students for an uncertain future?  We just have to hope that these incredibly intelligent people are right.

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Video clips of interview with USA Today Editor Ken Paulson

Posted by Eva Dou on September 11, 2008

With his red travel-rumpled polo shirt, unassuming manner and complete lack of an entourage, Ken Paulson seemed surprisingly plebian for the editor of America’s most widely-circulated newspaper when he stepped into Mizzou Arena yesterday afternoon. While his band tuned up to rehearse for the evening’s “Freedom Sings” performance, Mr. Paulson sat down to discuss journalism with my fellow J1010H reporter Daniel Maxson and myself.

Although he didn’t seem accustomed to being interviewed by technological have-nots fumbling with a juice box-sized flip camera, Mr. Paulson graciously answered our questions for over twice the time period we had meekly requested. The lighting was not ideal in the arena, and there was considerable background noise (including one stage hand doing mike checks-“Two! Two! Two!”-that curiously never began with one and never progressed to three), but the interview on the whole turned out audible and visible, so I deem it a success. Here are some parts of our interview:

Advice from Ken Paulson

Ken Paulson on news judgment

Ken Paulson talks about the present, future of journalism

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Alumni unite!

Posted by Jen Lee Reeves on September 10, 2008

Our YouTube channel is starting to gather some really cool perspectives from alumni. This is one of the lessons learned from Susan Davidson who stopped by the YouTube stations:

While we’re capturing these stories, there’s been some really interesting conversations on Twitter. If you would like to look in, check out the tweets marked with our hashtag #mizzou. There have been some really interesting revelations about the Columbia Missourian and its future.

Posted in Media, YouTube Project | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »