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SOC Journo Update

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Celebrating Milestones

As we transition into the new school year, the Journalism Division is celebrating two of our professors who have spent their careers at SOC — teaching, inspiring and molding generations of journalists. Professor Jill Olmsted celebrates 30 years of teaching. Professor Rodger Streitmatter celebrates 40 years.

Professor celebrates 30 years at “treasure trove" SOC

A lot can change in 30 years.

For SOC associate professor Jill Olmsted, one of those changes has been especially rewarding. While at SOC, Olmsted — one of the first women tenured in the Journalism division — saw a rise in women recognized by the school.

“We used to be on one floor of Mary Graydon and for a time there wasn’t even a women’s restroom there because academia had been dominated by males,” Olmsted said of the building.

Olmsted began at AU after spending most of her journalism career in her native Midwest covering community issues such as farmers fighting high-voltage power lines, school closings, profiling first responders and anchoring newscasts at the U.S. Open and PGA Golf tournaments. In Washington, D.C., Olmsted covered the White House, federal agencies and Congress for Tribune Media and other outlets.

Keep reading.

After 40 years, professor still sees same great qualities in SOC

While much has changed in the SOC over the last 40 years, professor Rodger Streitmatter says the school still has the same distinctive traits that drew him to AU.

“We still pride ourselves on preparing communication professionals,” Streitmatter said. “And we also still value high quality teaching, which means that every professor on our faculty is expected to succeed in the classroom.” Streitmatter was recently honored for his 40 years of service at American University.

Streitmatter joined SOC after working as a reporter for the Roanoke Times in Virginia and winning several awards from the Associated Press and the Virginia Press Association. During his first several years on the faculty, he taught journalism production courses. He routinely taught Reporting for Public Affairs for graduate students and Reporting for undergraduates. He also created and taught the “Boot Camp” course for incoming graduate students.

Keep reading.

2019 Streitmatter Awards

At the end of spring semester, SOC inducted 15 new members into the Kappa Tau Alpha (KTA) college honor society, which recognizes excellence in journalism and mass communication.

SOC also awarded the 2019 Rodger Streitmatter Journalism Prizes for the best stories in six categories, and the Rodger Streitmatter Award for Excellence, given out annually to an outstanding senior student majoring in journalism. Streitmatter, an SOC alumnus, former newspaper reporter and cultural historian is a SOC professor. The Award for Excellence was created by his husband, Thomas B. Grooms.

The Streitmatter Prize winners in each category are awarded $250 each, and second place winners receive $100 each. The Award for Excellence includes a $2,000 prize, a certificate, and the winner’s name engraved on a trophy that will be kept at SOC.

Keep reading and see all the winners.

Dr. Laura DeNardis named Interim Dean of the School of Communication

Dr. Laura DeNardis, SOC professor and globally distinguished scholar of Internet governance and cybersecurity, has assumed the role of interim dean of SOC, effective July 1, 2019. She succeeds Dean Jeff Rutenbeck, who is departing American University to become provost at Arcadia University.

As interim dean, DeNardis will be responsible for the school's overall management and strategic leadership. "I'm honored to lead the extraordinary School of Communication as media and communication systems profoundly shape and confront the great societal challenges of our generation," DeNardis said.

Keep reading.

Journalism Division Director Amy Eisman features work by SOC alumni and current journalism students on a Brag Board outside her office.

Shout Outs

Covering 2020?


Let us know if your internship or job is involved with 2020 election coverage. We want to talk to you for inclusion in a future newsletter.

Read, Watch, Listen

SOC Journo Update is a publication of the Journalism Division, from American University's School of Communication. Read more about storytelling in the digital age and see our faculty.
Copyright © 2019 AU School of Communication, Journalism Div, All rights reserved.


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