SOC Journo Update

Investigate. Innovate. Inform.
Now is the time. SOC is the place.

Fall Impeachment Coverage

Studying journalism at SOC means our students have front-row access to Washington — gaining real-world experience covering the seats of power.

As we kick off a new semester, we're looking back at our students' coverage of the impeachment inquiry. They found local angles and unique perspectives.

Who knows what the most recent news events will bring?

Read their coverage.

Read our students' coverage on The Wash

Here's a roundup of stories we published this fall on The Wash, our Journalism Division publication:

Trump’s conduct ‘impeachable,’ legal experts say
Constitutional experts diverge on crucial next steps and Democrats hint at a long list of charges.

'This is history and I can't just sit back'
Meet the impeachment onlookers who hope to see history in the making. Visitors lined up at the break of dawn to witness Congressional testimony.

Advocates: Impeachment hearings spotlight sentiment about immigrants of all types
Immigration lawyers and advocates say the impeachment hearings raise uncomfortable issues about treatment of immigrants sitting at the witness table.

An hour of TV time with Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow
There are two sides to every impeachment story, but where is the truth?

Impeachment inquiry echoes across the Atlantic
European countries like Italy are influenced by American politics and culture, and the impeachment inquiry is no exception.

PODCAST: The public speaks and press coverage

PODCAST: Covering previous impeachments and the role of women

Politico Journalism Institute returns

More than 65 college students from around the mid-Atlantic met in POLITICO's newsroom on Nov. 2 for the second annual fall forum co-hosted by AU/SOC and the Maynard Institute. This program was an outgrowth of our six-year partnership with POLITICO in which we bring college students from around the country to intensive training on how to cover politics and public policy. One of the goals of both the summer and fall events is to increase diversity in Washington newsrooms. 

Prof. Lynne Perri co-created the program and Profs. Amy Eisman and Sherri Williams acted as facilitators during breakout sessions on how to develop and pitch stories. In addition, Katerina Kulagina, assistant dean for graduate academic services, was on hand to talk about SOC's master's programs.

Students Lauren Lumpkin, Emily Hayes, Lydia Calitri and Cordilia James attended the Politico workshop on Saturday, Nov. 2, as did recent SOC grad Emily Martin (BA '19).

My very own front-row seat to history

Austin Ramsey is a current graduate journalism student who covered the impeachment hearings in person this fall.

There’s still something thrilling about it, days after the fact, when I catch a glimpse of impeachment coverage on the television or hear a podcast snippet about one of the public hearings.

Usually, the producer or host will play an important sound bite, and I’ll pause, not just because of the gravitas of the moment, but because of the memory it elicits. I remember that; I was there.

I enrolled in American University’s Journalism and Public Affairs graduate program partly to build the credentials needed to be one of the reporters called on to cover historic moments of national importance like the impeachment of a president. I hardly expected it would be a class assignment. 

Keep reading.

SOC panel discusses how to make writing about race, culture and ethnicity tactful and not taboo

On Nov. 13, the Journalism Division hosted a conversation about How to Write about Race featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and adjunct Leonard Pitts, Jr; WAMU race and identity reporter Sasha-Ann Simons; and NPR writer, essayist and author Malaka Gharib. It was a candid and fast-moving discussion, a testament to how critically important the topic is. The guests contributed to a handout for the event.

Keep reading.

Susan Zirinsky awarded 2019 Cyrus A. Ansary Medal

American University has named CBS News President Susan Zirinsky as the recipient of the 2019 Cyrus A. Ansary Medal for leadership and service.

Zirinsky, who earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism at AU in 1974, has been a tireless advocate and supporter of AU as a mentor, panelist and commencement speaker. She has hosted AU students at CBS during the School of Communication’s NYC Career Intensive and much more. She received this top honor at AU’s 38th Annual President’s Circle Celebration at AU’s Washington College of Law. 

Keep reading.

D’Ante Smith’s journey from the football field to ESPN

From a young age, D’Ante Smith (SOC/MA ‘14) took on the role of being a model figure in his family. The oldest in his generation, Smith played football in high school and dreamed of playing in college as a first-generation student. Lincoln University, in Chester County, Pennsylvania, offered him an academic and athletic scholarship to further his dreams and education.

After graduation, he began looking for a school close to Prince George’s County, so he could be closer to his loved ones. Smith was seeking an advanced degree in journalism when he applied to American University. He said his decision to come to SOC, in part, was due to the ads in Metro stations and on buses around the city that he saw touting AU’s strengths.

“I like that American University stressed that graduates were working immediately after graduation from the program,” he exclaimed. “It really is the truth. I would say 15/20 of my class members worked in the industry post-graduation.” 

Keep reading.

Free press, global issue

The School of International Service and the Journalism Division co-sponsored a Nov. 6 presentation by Amanda Bennett, Director of VOA at SIS about the importance of a free press globally.

Veteran journalist, editor and author Bennett heads VOA, which provides content in 47 languages to 275 million people weekly on radio, TV, mobile and the web. Bennett was passionate about adding new language services, battling disinformation and growing VOA's investigative efforts.

Can she keep journalists safe worldwide? VOA really tries. But "we tell reporters 'do not jeopardize your life.'"

CNBC needed students. They called us.

Four SOC volunteers were among those who helped CNBC’s production team with a live broadcast of Halftime Report from The Women’s Memorial in honor of Veterans Day.

Volunteers helped the CNBC team prepare sets, host VIPs, manage projects and stick to the production schedule.

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

Other Updates

  • Prof. Jill Olmsted created a new course in podcasting for Spring 2020, based on her recently launched ebook, Tools for Podcasting. Explore the ebook's website.
  • Prof. Amy Eisman joined other notable journalists re-envisioning a Newseum of the future. Read more.
  • Prof. Jane Hall was quoted memorably in a NYTimes article about the voices of women as authorities in media and politics, pegged to the all-female panel of moderators and female candidates at the Democratic debate. She described the old “voice of God”-style of TV anchoring and said, “Guess what? 'God' is no longer male.” She said former female students got in touch with her and loved that, as did other women and colleagues.
  • Prof. Margot Susca was on Wisconsin Public Radio's Central Time show to discuss how Facebook and Twitter are taking vastly different approaches to political advertisements one year out from the 2020 election. Twitter will ban them all. Facebook will not just keep them but allow them to run even if they know the ads contain lies. Susca discussed the implications of these corporate media decisions for users and citizens understanding the power the platforms have in U.S. and global society.
  • Prof. Margot Susca in December went on Voice of America's Encounter program with Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales to talk about the future of journalism, fake news and what's left behind in this corporate newspaper landscape.
  • Prof. Jeremiah Patterson (right) talked to The Atlantic about The Washington Post's use of Tik Tok to engage with new audiences.
  • Meryl Kornfield, an intern at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, described her experience taking a comprehensive look at more than 250 immigration bills in the latest legislative session, state-by-state.
  • The Investigative Reporting Workshop's partnership with The Washington Post has led to a series of new hires. Read a roundup put together by Managing Editor Lynne Perri.
  • Debbie Truong (SOC, MA '18) (right) started in December as an education reporter at WAMU, where she'll be covering Virginia schools, in addition to D.C. and Maryland.
  • Khari Williams (SOC, MA '10) rejoins CQ Roll Call as a copy and production editor after more than two years as an editor at ESPN's The Undefeated.
  • The Eagle took first place for best multimedia feature at the College Media Association's Pinnacle Awards and also received third place for its podcast, which only launched a year ago.

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.
Investigate. Innovate. Inform.
Now is the time, SOC is the place.
Support #AUJournalism.

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 © 2020 AU School of Communication, Journalism Div, All rights reserved.

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