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Missouri Photo Workshop

Posted by Hollyce Cervantes on September 12, 2008

Thursday morning started off a little crazy after my group sighted our first celebrity walking the Mizzou campus, John Anderson from ESPN. After basking in the glory of seeing our idol roaming in our habitat, we quickly ran over to the Missouri Photo Workshop. When we entered the room, there were people packed in rows and sitting on the floors. Many people might have thought that Britney Spears was hosting a seminar because it seems the paparazzi decided to come to the workshop. There were cameras everywhere–in front of me, behind me and to every side. After settling down in the front, I realized I was sitting right next to Kim Komenich in the front row. I was immersed in the action.

Bill Kuykendall started the seminar with a historic and informational slide show on the history of the Photo Workshop. I learned about how much this seminar has grown from a small gathering in Aurora, Missouri to reaching the J-School in Columbia, Missouri. He showed us slides of “Small Town America” pictures that were heartwarming and touching. Kuykendall discussed how these pictures show the fundamental values of Americans and our mythology. These pictures conveyed stories–stories that the photographers wanted to show us. The photographers acted as teachers showing us the importance of these values through pictures. The audience is cooing with oohs and aahs as he flips through the pictures. Everyone in the room was able to connect with the raw essence of human life captured in each photograph.

Next, Kim Komenich stood up to speak to the group. He started off by saying, “There has not been a year where I have not learned something about photography.” Komenich continued by saying that his favorite aspect of photography is the intimacy in photographs. Photographers truly get to live in the world and know the people within it. Then he talked a little bit about Bill Eppridge, who was not present at the seminar. You can view his blog at http://www.billeppridge.com/ . We listened to an audio clip as he reflected on MPW (Missouri Photo Workshop). It is evident how much these great photographers care about pictures as narrative stories. Komenich talked about how Missouri makes the MPW so important. He said, “It’s something about the Midwest. Homecookin’. People have a way of making time for you.” Missouri is the real world and the people make this great state what it is. I glanced at Kim’s notes sitting next to me (being the nosy journalism student that I am) and at the top of his yellow legal pad in doctor’s handwriting is, “Real pictures happen on their time, not yours.” I think that is very relevant to many things in life. However, pictures that truly capture the moment can capture the viewer’s heart. Komenich emphasized that statement multiple times throughout the seminar.

During the question and answer section, my attention was drawn to an older man sitting in the back row. He has been attending MPW since the second one many years ago. His grin fills his entire face. He has lived the “picture perfect” life, recording moments and memories with photographs. He is an inspiration to students, and I had a wonderful time hearing him speak.

Next, a sweet lady in the front row commented on the beginning of MPW. She said, “Show truth with the camera. Early workshops were a bootcamp.” This woman is precious with her light blonde hair and blush pink pants. Her nike shoes are pure as snow white with tiny light baby pink Nike checks. She has the cutest smile plastered on her face. You can tell she is so happy to be a part of this. Her pink cheeks and lips are truly picturesque. She should be in front of the camera instead of behind. Her name is Mimi Smith, and after the seminar, I had the chance of talking to this delightful woman. I will always look up to her.

Overall, even though I am not a photojournalism student, I enjoyed this seminar. Everyone relates to people in pictures because at one point or another, we are those people in the photogrphs. It is a lovely way to capture time and cherish it always. Props to the photo workshop!

More information here!

To contact me, e-mail hmczbd@mizzou.edu.


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Two alumni react to Politics and Religion discussion

Posted by Daniel Everson on September 12, 2008

After the Futures Forum discussion on Politics and Religion—God in the White House, held Thursday morning at the Reynolds Journalism Institute, I spoke with two alumni, Mary McHaney Bebout and Courtney Long James, who attended the session. Below are some of their thoughts.


Why did you choose to come to this particular presentation?

CLJ: Probably because of my own personal faith and my interest in how it is covered in the media—and whether it’s fairly covered. Also … as a media buyer for an ad agency, I place media on Beliefnet (the web site for which panelist Dan Gilgoff serves as political editor). They’re one of my clients. So it was interesting to actually see a face and a name.

MMB: It was something my daughter really wanted to see, and I, too, am interested in how faith is covered in the media. And as a lawyer and former journalism student, I always had an interest in political news coverage. And I wanted to see what they would have to say about the election and how faith issues have played a huge role.


What did you think of the presentations (given by Gilgoff and Chicago Sun-Times religion columnist Cathleen Falsani)?

CLJ: I thought it was fascinating. I thought it was varied. I thought they had very interesting information for us. I thought they had good dialogue between one another, and you could tell they had a lot of respect for each other, which was interesting. They weren’t afraid to answer any questions. They were very open.

MMB: At first I was disappointed that the original panelists were not able to show. We went to school with Major Garrett (of FOX News, originally scheduled to moderate the session). So we would have liked to see him. … But I thought the coverage was excellent, very professional. … And then I learned more about this center for religious studies (the Center on Religion & the Professions), which I don’t remember even hearing about when we were in school. … So I thought that was interesting, that there are classes (about religion reporting) that students can take.


What about the questions and discussion portion of the seminar?

CLJ: I thought that people asked some amazing questions. I thought it was very interesting in this discussion on religion and politics and faith that someone would ask a question that was so obviously very biased. It was full of hate, the way she said, “How could creationism be taught in the 21st Century?” I thought that was amazing.

MMB: I thought one of the best questions was from a student (Laura Kebede), the one about the Rick Warren forum. I thought it was fabulous. I thought it was terrific, and it was raised not by some alum or a person in the media, but a student. And I thought that was the best question that was asked.

CLJ: I agree, that was a great question, very timely. I probably could’ve sat in there for another hour. I found it to be that interesting. Obviously, as they mentioned, by the size of the people that were in the room—that it was standing room only—it was something that a lot of people are thinking about and are interested in learning more about.

MMB: Not only that, I think we’re now going to change our schedule and go to the next session that has to talk about faith.


If there are one or two things that you take away from this discussion and the presentations, what would that be?

CLJ: Mine would be that, as a person of faith, I felt that they were very good at reminding me how important it is to be open and understanding of other people’s faith and to not immediately jump to conclusions and labels. I felt it was a very good reminder to be respectful of other people’s faith, whether it’s something you believe in or not. It’s important to hear what people have to say. You don’t have to necessarily agree with them, but that’s part of what’s great about this country is that we have the opportunity to speak of our faith and our religion freely.

MMB: There are three things that hit me. First was the comment that was made (by Gilgoff) that American elections are now won or lost on character. I thought that was a very good point. The second thing that I thought was interesting was, now, our culture has changed or our society’s expectation has changed to the extent that you can no longer take the old-line view and say, “My faith is personal and I want to keep it quiet.” Now, really it’s a requirement, I think, based on what I heard today, for all candidates to be out there, very transparent and open about what they believe. And then they’re judged by the American public about their beliefs. I thought that was an interesting shift. … Then the third thing that I thought was fascinating is that it sounds like faith coverage is going to be most accessible on the Web. I haven’t ever blogged on Beliefnet, but now I probably will.

CLJ: I would be interested to ask (Gilgoff) a question: did any of the faith issues … become so important when we all walked through the Clinton era, where this man was obviously a churchgoer with his wife? … But yet the whole character issue came up as, “Wait a minute, who is this man really? What does he really believe in?” And I just wonder how that played into, all of a sudden, people talking about faith, what’s real and what isn’t, what is really personal, and the whole character issue. … Actually, as an evangelical, I have voted all over the spectrum, because I look at character more than I look at just specific religious preferences.

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VIDEO: Politics and Religion—God in the White House

Posted by Daniel Everson on September 11, 2008

Guest panelists Dan Gilgoff (of Beliefnet.com) and Cathleen Falsani (of the Chicago Sun-Times) spoke at the discussion titled “Politics and Religion—God in the White House,” part of Thursday’s Futures Forum. The discussion, held in room 100-A of the new Reynolds Journalism Institute, was co-sponsored by the Center on Religion & the Professions (CORP) and the Religion Newswriters Association (RNA). Debra Mason, director of CORP and executive director of RNA, introduced the panelists and the topic before Gilgoff and Falsani presented. Following their speeches, Mason moderated a question-and-answer session that covered topics such as the role of faith in Gov. Sarah Palin’s nomination for vice-president, the Rick Warren forum, and the future of religion reporting. Below are video clips from the beginning of the discussion.


The first clip gives a panoramic view of room 100-A, with only standing room available minutes ahead of the discussion. During the Q&A session, one attendee suggested that the full seminar room signified Americans’ strong interest in the role of faith in politics.


In the second video, Mason discusses CORP, RNA, and the rationale of holding a discussion on politics and religion.


In the next clip, Mason delivers a brief history of American reporting on politics and religion, dating back to President Jimmy Carter’s announcement in 1976 that he was a born-again Christian.


Here Mason introduces the two guests and briefly discusses their writings. Gilgoff and Falsani stepped in for the three scheduled panelists (Major Garrett of FOX News, Sally Quinn of the Washington Post, and Steve Waldman of Beliefnet.com), none of whom were able to make it to the Centennial celebration.


Lastly, in this clip Gilgoff presents his Beliefnet.com blog, the God-o-Meter, which aims to measure Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain’s religious outreach successes and failures on the campaign trail.

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Journalism of Humanity

Posted by Maggie Niemiec on September 11, 2008

As an aspiring newspaper/magazine journalism (I can’t decide which one- I just know that I want to write), I was looking forward to hearing from Steve Weinberg.  After getting his start in the newspaper business, Weinberg moved on to longer feature writing at magazines.   In addition, he served as the executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc., for seven years.  Since graduating from Mizzou, Weinberg has written numerous books.  I could not wait to hear Weinberg speak about his impressive background and time spent as an investigative reporter.

The session actually focused on Weinberg’s in depth knowledge of the j-school.  He took questions regarding his book,  A Journalism of Humanity: A Candid History of the World’s First Journalism School. I have not read this work, so I was afraid the session would be over my head.  Yet every factor Weinberg discussed related directly to me.

Weinberg stated that writing this “institutional history” was both frustrating and satisfying.  He was granted complete editorial independence, but knew there was no way to fit all 100 amazing years of the School of Journalism into a mere 300 pages. As a Mizzou graduate, he recognized that it would be difficult to keep any personal bias out of the book.  Rather than relying extensively on the “Mizzou mafia” to gather his knowledge, Weinberg rummaged through dusty archives.  His result brought dozens of alum, many of whom were brimming with questions, to the program today.

What stuck out to me at this session was the enthusiasm each audience member expressed for the School of Journalism.  One man, a journalism professor at Brigham Young University, spoke about how journalism is the “crown jewel” and “bigfoot” here at Mizzou.  At his school, this is simply not the case.  His comments made me realize how lucky I am to attend the world’s first and best school of journalism.  The Centennial celebration has inspired me so much, and I cannot wait to carry on our school’s history.   I learned today how Walter Williams had a decisive vision for this school.  His “boundless enthusiasm” never once wavered; it is because of his efforts that I am even writing this blog.  Weinberg said he was surprised at how well Walter Williams’s plan has held up.  After hearing the brief history on our school, I am more convinced than ever that we can all accomplish whatever we set our minds to.

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Scholarly Symposium

Posted by Jordan Elliott on September 10, 2008

The first day of the centennial finally arrived, and in all honesty, Matt and I had no idea what to expect as we approached our first event, the Scholarly Symposium.  As soon as we found the room where the symposium was taking place -thanks to the help of the kind man at the front desk of the Reynolds Alumni Center- we could feel the buzz of excitement in the air.

People of all ages, students and alumni alike, were scattered about the room.  The round tables strewn with the food and drinks left from the lunch gave the room the same appeal as a wedding reception.  The room was filled with friendly talk of past experiences at Missouri’s school of journalism as people walked from group to group without hesitation, giving the impression that they had been friends for years.

The symposium began at three on the dot, and once the seven speakers took the stage the room quieted and people sat down in anticipation.  Barbara Friedman, assistant professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, started off the meeting by introducing the speakers and describing their accomplishments and contributions towards the newly released book Journalism–1908: Birth of a Profession. 

The first speaker, Berkley Hudson, began with discussion of immigration and immigration press.  He spoke about the positive outlook on immigration at the turn of the century that made America such a melting pot at the time.  Because of this optimism, immigrant newspapers were a huge part of the national media: over 1500 publications across the nation were published in 33 different languages.  They let people know what was going on in their home countries, and they “…functioned as a schoolbook to help new immigrants get acclimated in the United States,” Hudson said. 

The next speaker, Hans Ibold, addressed the importance of globalizing journalism.  He spoke about Walter Williams’ support of globalization and how crucial he considered the portrayal of both local and worldwide issues in the media.  

Nods of approval and the scratches of pens and pencils echoed through the silent room as Maurine Beasley  took the microphone.  The hushed and serious tone in the room was almost instantly transformed, due to the energy that just beamed from Beasley.  She wasted no time in telling the audience a story about a front page news article in the 1900s dealing with a series of women pursuing a wealthy farmer for his money, causing him great confusion, when all he wanted in the first place was a housekeeper.  She told this story much to the amusement of the audience, and ended it by stating the importance of human interest stories in the news.  Along with her humorous anecdotes and radiating sense of joy, Beasley stressed a much more serious issue as well.  She urged her fellow alumni and eager students, “We can not move away from the values we learned at the Missouri School of Journalism.”  

Along a similar note, Tracy Everbach took over and spoke about sports journalism and its importance at the beginning of the 1900s.  She stressed the huge effect sports had in America’s statement of power during this time.  People began to get more and more involved in sports nationally and internationally, apparent in the 1908 olympics.  During these games, our main rival was Great Britain, who also happened to be hosting the legendary event.  The United States proved superior in the end, giving Americans a sense of power and accomplishment that had never been gained through athletic achievement before. She even mentioned our own Missouri Tigers (how could she not!?) by noting that even at that time the legendary MU/KU rivalry existed and was covered by the Missourian.

The last speaker, Earnest Perry, took the microphone with apprehension, as if the speech he was about to give would be excruciatingly painful.  After he began speaking, it was apparent why:  Perry, an African American man, spoke about the role of African Americans in the foundation of the Journalism school here at Missouri.  He began his talk by stating that this topic was a hard one for him to work on in regards to the book, because as he dove deeper and deeper into his research, the majority of the answers he found led him to the knowledge that African Americans had nothing but an uphill battle at MU.  Until 1948, black Americans were not given admission at Missouri University, and even after they were given this right, it was nothing short of rare for a person of color to be accepted.  Since then we have made progress, with the J-School housing one of the highest percentages of multi-racial students as compared to the other sections.  But he urged us that we still had work to do.  Perry ended his speech with a fact that made the audience sit back and squirm with discomfort, the fact that he is the only African American male who has attained a PhD from the Missouri School of Journalism.  With this, the audience sat in stunned silence, hit with the realization of the nature of racism in MU’s past and even present.

The speeches ended with 10 minutes to spare, and a Q & A section followed.  Men and women asked heated questions dealing with issues ranging from immigration to the change in media technologically.  Sadly though, the questions couldn’t continue, as the session finished.  Friedman invited the audience back in 15 minutes for the next session, another hour of open questioning.

As we left the building, the brotherhood between the alumni was again apparent.  They immediately went back to their conversations, speaking passionately about the symposium, or reminiscing on times at the school.  All I could think to myself as I left the scene was that Maurine Beasley had put it perfectly in her speech when she said, “Everytime I run into a fellow MU graduate, I think- there’s a friend.”

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Puff the Magic Dragon, and other enlightening performances at “Freedom Sings”

Posted by rpqk7 on September 10, 2008

Whoever decided “Freedom Sings” was to be held at the Mizzou Arena may have been a little too optimistic.

The opening ceremony kick-off to the J-School Centennial was quite well-attended, but between you and me (and anyone with an internet connection), the “multimedia experience,” as the Centennial Program puts it, could probably have been held at Jesse—though acoustics definitely wouldn’t have been up to par.

Nevertheless, host Ken Paulson (who moonlights as the editor of a little paper called USA TODAY) had no problem pumping up the crowd.

The night began with the Dean introducing a series of state and local representatives, two of whom were there on behalf of senators, and the Chancellor. All guests extolled the virtues of the J-School and the effects it’s had in the world of Journalism.

But onto the headliner: “Freedom Sings” was written and developed by Ken Paulson (a J-School graduate, of course; class of ’75) as a way to raise awareness of the First Amendment on college campuses. Along with myriad accomplished musicians, Mr. Paulson made his way through a medley of songs about everyone’s favorite controversial subjects: civil rights, gender equality, racism, sexuality, and drugs. Behind singers and instrumentalists Ashley Cleveland, Don Henry, Craig Krampf, Bill Lloyd, Jonell Mosser, Jason White, Joseph Wooten, Jackie Patterson, and Adam and Shannon Wright, images relevant to the music subject and albums covers flashed across a wide screen.

Performance highlights included Puff the Magic Dragon (an audience favorite, apparently), Where is the Love? (for the very enthusiastic students around me, at least) and Louie Louie.

The end of “Freedom Sings” was particularly apropos: a lively rendition of This Land, by Woody Guthrie, as the audience of J-School students, Mizzou alumni, and the general Columbia public stood and (in some cases) sung along. And that was it.

…except not. In what was the most arguably awkward moment of the night, the screen playing images behind the musicians went black for several moments and the audience, assuming this signaled the end of the night, began moving toward the exits before the Dean came back onto the stage to inform everyone that “it [wasn’t] over yet.”

The audience was then treated to the official Missouri School of Journalism Centennial Song, “Coming Home Again,” by Mizzou alumni Jenn Schott and Jack Smith, and accompanying slideshow of the MU campus and accomplished J-School grads. (But, no Jim Lehrer? For shame!)

The night was an impressive start to the Centennial. I’m off to spend a good chunk of money on iTunes–I have some new favorites.

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Institutional Rumblings and Modernization

Posted by Tina Casagrand on September 10, 2008

by Kristina Casagrand and Chad Hesson

When Chad Hesson and I met before the event at 1:15, in our dress shirts and jeans, YouTube pins tacked to our messenger bags, we struck an appropriate image of freshmen trying to act experienced.  We arrived early, we looked sharp, but we sat at the back of the room, not daring to take a place at the fancy tables with the alumni. We’re the bloggers.  They’re the professionals.

The question of professionalism permeated the Institutional Rumblings and Modernization roundtable.  A board of distinguished MU grads and professors, who were obviously bribed into writing a book, discussed their contributions to Journalism—1908: Birth of a Profession.

Bill Taft, an ornery elderly man of the distinguished age of 93, composed a chapter of the book detailing the history of newspapers up to 1908. He adequately described them as country newspapers and rural publications, simply because those were the communities before that time. The outlook towards journalism must have been along the lines of  “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but surely a more archaic phrase.  He claimed that on the edges of the 20th century, the idea was to simply change the demographics and not the wording.

Next we heard about Stephen Banning’s research (part of which he attributed to resources in Taft’s basement) on the influence of press associations in 1908.  In particular, the Missouri Press Association formed in 1867 to bring about unity in the field.  At the time, there were too many puff pieces, too many untrained editors.  And journalism, noted Banning, is “too noble of a calling to be left untrained.”

Lee Wilkins then “teased out the philosophical roots” of founding the journalism school, noting that journalists should be loyal to the public, only to be cancelled out by Fred Blevens’ talk of political and partisan press in 1908.  He described how some newspapers boasted how much control they had over public policy, and how newspapermen were hired to run campaigns, ending his thought with “and Olbermann and Matthews got the axe?”

Advertising in 1908 had yet to blossom into its current artistic force it is now, and Caryl Cooper’s enthusiasm for the subject mirrors the lack of inspiration educators felt for the field at the time.

During the question-and-answer session an alumnus argued that journalism is not a profession, saying it’s “not the same thing as what you have institutionalized in medicine and law.”  Betty Winfield countered, citing Walter Williams’ creed as proof of the profession.

Yet with technology and blogs rising as a form of communication it’s becoming harder to define journalism and professionalism.  One of the panel speakers pointed out that in the 1700’s, newspapers carried more analytic and critical essay writing.  Journalists have been working with the information collection model that has served us very well for 100 years, he said, and now we have a chance to examine that model.  He also added:

“We are people of moral worth beyond the money that we earn.  We count in a way that’s rooted in ethics and morals.  We need to recover OUR part of that conversation.”

Do bloggers reflect the new model, a return to the critical/analytic side of the pendulum?  We may not be professionals (yet), but as bloggers, we’re definitely the future.

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1908, The Scene

Posted by Becky Dale on September 10, 2008

Journalism Centennial attendees share lunch before the Scholarly Symposium begins.

The chatter of happily-returned alumni filled the banquet hall of the Reynolds Alumni Center creating the trademark Midwestern atmosphere of friendliness and welcome. The somewhat eclectic mix of people all had at least one thing in common–the historical beginnings of journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dean Mills introduced Betty Winfield, one of the authors of Journalism, 1908: Birth of a Profession, to the “party of [his] closest friends.”

Winfield proceeded to share with her captive audience “what journalism was in 1908.” Thirteen of the book chapter authors were present to hear the lecture on their own hard work, most of them former students and currently professors at MU or elsewhere.

After a short break for everyone to fill his or her stomach with anything from roasted potatoes to ratatouille to steak and sweet pepper marmalade, Betty Winfield took the podium again. While Mizzou as the home of the first School of Journalism is a celebrated fact, its rough beginnings are less well-known. It all began with the question: Is journalism a trade or a profession?

When circulation wars and muckraking gave journalism a shamefully bad name, the “need for specialized formal education and national standards” moved to the foreground. Walter Williams in May 1908 asked for the Missouri Method, a clinic supplemented to the classroom, giving students a hands-on opportunity to practice their skills in the real world. The method caught on, and various specialized departments sprung up in multiple cities.

The University Missourian, with its first edition printed in the fall of 1908, came into being during a very political year, yet still managed to focus on local news. The bankruptcy of the Missouri Theater made the front page.

Betty Winfield concluded with notes on the perseverance of the press despite its political bias, and chapter author Sandy Davidson picked up with the media laws in 1908. She shared anecdotes through laws on obscenity, privacy, and libel. With stories about whiskey ads in newspapers and the Reverend Jellyfish, Davidson drew several laughs from the audience.

As Betty Winfield adjourned the symposium for a break before the next session, the happy murmuring restarted. A steady, polite buzz of conversation was interspersed with hand shakes and exclamations of delight at the unexpected presence of various other people. The Centennial was off to a great start this first day. From the mood of the audience, it should continue through the rest of the week.

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