Thinking about getting a Master’s degree?

As some of you might know, I’m about a month away from earning my Master’s degree in News Media Studies from American University’s School of Communications. I’ve been in the weekend program there since late 2007 and have really enjoyed it.

Anyway, the program is actively seeking new students for the program, so I thought I’d post a letter from the associate director of the program, who is recruiting possible students.

I have nothing but high regard for the program. It meets on Saturdays and is perfect for working professionals, especially anyone interested in teaching or is simply looking to exercise their brains.

Anyway, without further ado… here’s that letter (and feel free to shoot me questions if you have any):

I write to ask that you tell your friends and colleagues about our weekend master’s program in News Media Studies here at AU’s School of Communication. This is a flexible, dynamic, and innovative program attractive to media professionals seeking to burnish their credentials and gain keener insights about directions the field may take in the years ahead. The News Media Studies program also can be a gateway to teaching.

Students in the News Media Studies program attend class on Saturdays and earn a master’s degree in 20 months. Each three-credit class meets for six, day-long sessions on the AU campus in Northwest Washington. Some distance learning courses are offered during the summer.

The News Media Studies program features some of the School of Communication’s top fulltime journalism faculty, including: Jane Hall (who teaches “Contemporary Media Issues”), John Watson (“Legal Aspects of Communication”), Christopher Simpson (“Research Methods”), Amy Eisman (“Teaching Communication”), Rick Rockwell (“Research Studies”), and W. Joseph Campbell (“Seminar in Public Affairs).

The News Media Studies program is designed for working professionals. The program’s alumni include journalists, congressional aides, public relations professionals, and high school teachers.

News Media Studies students work hard. And they find they benefit enormously from the discussion-based intellectual byplay of their classes. And they take away practical, useful insights about news media and their role, influence, and place in a complex society. Students also enhance their research skills and find they are encouraged to question conventional wisdom about the news media and their influences.

Anyone interested in learning more about the weekend News Media Studies program is invited to get in touch with Prof. Rick Rockwell, the Associate Director of Journalism Programs in the School of Communication at 202/885-2067 or at

Rick Rockwell

P.S.: Here’s the Web site for the program: Scroll down until you see “News Media Studies.”

Road Trip remembered: Day 6

Day 6

First, a correction from an earlier update. Not all vehicles are towing something. Many have things tied to their roofs (bikes, canoes, suitcases, chairs). We have neither something to tow or something to attach to our roof. I feel very unprepared.

There are also a lot of RVs and buses made to be RVs. One such vehicle I saw today actually had a chandelier hanging inside. If I ever own a vehicle with it’s own chandelier, please slap me.

I especially love the RVs that have bikes strapped to the front bumper. It’s like a threat: hey, don’t mess with me! I’ll run you right down like I did this bicyclist! I almost expect to see a chalk outline across the windshield.


Last night we ended up skipping the rodeo, opting to sleep instead. Hopefully we’ll find time to go before we steam out of town, but given the distances between things, we might just have to forgo it.

Cynthia woke up with a bit of a cold, which we think it probably partly due to elevation sickness. We’re sitting at about 7,000 feet above sea level, which means a walk up a little hill gets me breathing hard. It’s a little aggravating, and even worse when some schmoe jogs past me. I feel like shouting, “hey, I’m not really that out of shape,” but I don’t have enough air to say anything. Argh…

The wind has been mighty stiff the past couple of days. Driving into Cody it was all I could do to keep the car from being blown off the road. Today is much the same, although a bit calmer. The problem is, the view on the drive from Cody to Yellowstone is so spectacular with white-water rapids coursing through high canyon walls, it’s hard to stay focused on driving, and that’s even worse with the wind. Plus, I can’t help myself but to scan the landscape for bear, deer, elk, moose, etc. It’s a recipe for driving into a canyon wall while shouting, “hey look at the moo…”

Before reaching Yellowstone is another national forest where Bear Alert stations offer tips on how to avoid a bear attack, and what to do in the event you meet a bear without the proper introductions. The pamphlets offers such sage advise as “bear’s don’t like to be surprised.” The funny thing about this is that this piece of wisdom is part of the pamphlet for hunters. Now, I’m no bear, but wouldn’t getting shot count as just the kind of surprise bear’s don’t like?

We finally make it into the park and began another series of “look at that!” exclamations as we rounded the many mountainous curves, each giving us another spectacular view. Because the roads are so curvy and there is so much to see, it takes forever to get from place to place within Yellowstone. While we crossed the entire state of Wyoming in just a few hours, it can take that long to get from one part of Yellowstone to another, and as big as this park is, it’s not as big as all of Wyoming.

After an hour or two, we reached our small cabin on Lake Yellowstone, a massive fresh water lake 7,000 feet high in the mountains. Immediately, we set off exploring. One of our first stops was series of thermal pools. Since we’re sitting on what is still considered a thermally active volcano, magma just a couple miles beneath our feet boils water, which percolates to the surface. Brightly colored hot-water-loving bacteria lives in these pools and geysers, creating beautiful, although incredibly sulfurous, tourist attractions. Cynthia calls them stinkpots.

One of these pools actually sits in Yellowstone lake. Apparently fisherman of old used to catch fish near the pool, and then swing their rods around and dip the fish in the boiling water, cooking it on the line.

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After that, we checked out a beautiful canyon and waterfall, requiring a short hike that felt like a long hike, thanks to the paltry amount of oxygen in the air. Then it was dinner back at a lodge (where you can order such appetizing beers as “Moose Drool”) and a little drive around the park too seek out bear. None could be found.