Tools for Reporting and Writing

After the end of my KSJ Fellowship at MIT, but before the resumption of my job at The Chronicle of Higher Education, I found myself in a position to do some professional writing for the first time in a while. I’ve missed writing, so I was happy to get back to it. But, I was also a bit nervous; For the most part, it had been a few years since I last wrote something for publication. I didn’t want to embarrass myself to peers, editors or readers.

On the other hand, I was excited to put those muscles back into action, to learn about the topics I’d be writing about, and to try out some new reporting and writing tools.

Continue reading “Tools for Reporting and Writing”

Ready, Set, MIT

This post is, in a sense, seven months late. Were I more transparent and possessed better writing habits, I would have written in January about the process of applying for journalism fellowships. That would have followed in March and April with posts about interviewing in Ann Arbor, Cambridge, and via Skype for said fellowships. And this space certainly would have featured a post on my birthday in May about receiving one of them (much to my shock and delight). Continue reading “Ready, Set, MIT”

En Route to Russia

There’s nothing like a trip to the other side of the planet to get me to update my blog. This time, I’m headed to Vladivostok, the one-time home to the USSR‘s Pacific Fleet. (Actually, I’m already here, but am behind on posting, so…)

Anyway, I’m here to do a week of teaching (followed by a few more days in nearby Khabarovsk). I’m teaching journalism students in both cities, as well as meeting with some local journalists. The purpose is to provide some insights into American journalism and what’s happening online. Ironically, many Americans are wondering the same thing!

Heading East… Far East

I left Friday evening and my journey took me the “long way” to Vladivostok. Instead of flying west, I headed east, landing first in Moscow. Consistent with my findings as I’ve traveled abroad in recent years, all of the signs were in both the local language and English. Although this is certainly useful, I can’t help but feel a twinge of embarrassment. For one, the proliferation of English signage suggests both a culture creep and an expectation of catering that feels a little, well, obnoxious. Second, I know how few signs in America offer anything other than English. It seems to be a double standard that would do little to increase American likability.

That said, I was grateful for the signs, especially in Moscow airport when I spotted one that directed everybody — except those from Kazakhstan — to the immigration agents. The Kazakhs were redirected down a set of stairs to Lord only knows where. Those poor people get no respect.

Anyway, I’m keeping my posts short on this trip. My goal is to post a few short bits a few times a day. More to come.

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.”