M.A. Grad Having an Award-Filled Year

Posted on: June 13, 2017

Scott Eason ’00, who graduated from ComArtSci with a master’s in visual journalism, is having quite the year: a Society of Professional Journalists national award, a Gracie, a Headliner and three Emmy nominations for his work with the consumer investigative journalism team at KPIX 5 CBS.  

“When you find yourself standing Scott Easonon a stage in front of a few hundred of your peers who are applauding your effort and your work, it’s a little life-changing,” said Eason. “More accurately, it’s perspective-changing. It’s restorative. It’s re-inspiring. It helps you find a reinvigoration of purpose.”

Team Player

Aside from his freelance videography business, Eason has been working as the videographer for the ConsumerWatch Team for KPIX-TV in San Francisco, California with reporter Julie Watts and producer Whitney Gould.

“It takes some time and trust from everyone to build a team, but when you do, everyone on that team brings what they do best to the table,” said Eason. “That’s how you create stories that are full of great sound bites, great scripting and great pictures and sound.”

It’s clear that Eason has found himself a dream team. Two of their biggest stories have led to legislative change in California after being featured nationally on CBS This Morning, The Talk and in CBS affiliate news broadcasts. These investigations have been widely recognized for their positive impact on safety issues.

Toxic Safety

While child car seats are crucial for safety, and required by law in all 50 states, the investigative team found that they may also be causing inadvertent harm. Car seat manufacturers have been adding chemical flame retardants to their car seats in order to satisfy federal flammability regulations. However, these regulations were created 45 years ago to address fires in car interiors caused by matches and cigarettes, which are no longer mainstream.

The investigation began as a blog post on Watt’s website, NewsMom.com, and became a much larger story in the process. Their investigation gained national attention after revealing how false advertising, legal loopholes and outdated federal regulations may expose millions of children to concerning and well-known-cancer-causing chemicals.

The team’s coverage on the topic of child car seat safety led to the introduction of new legislation revising the standards. It also won them the SPJ Sigma Delta Chi Award for public service in television journalism, as well as a Gracie in local investigative feature.

Toddler with a Credit Card

The team also focused an investigation on the difficulty of protecting a child’s credit. According to their findings, “Research shows that kids could be 50 times more likely to have their identities stolen than adults, in part, because the kids’ pristine credit records provide a blank slate for thieves and often go unchecked for more than 18 years.” While most people would assume this could easily be fixed by a simple credit freeze, many credit bureaus refuse to let parents freeze their children's credit.

Eason mans the camera for Watt's daughter Cecelia.

Eason mans the camera for Watt's daughter Cecelia.

 

California Assemblyman Mike Gatto cited their coverage of the topic to introduce a new child credit freeze legislation. This new law will give parents the right to freeze their child’s credit. It unanimously passed the state senate and assembly and is now in effect.

The investigation, and subsequent step-by-step guide to freeze a child’s credit, won the team a Headliner for broadcast or cable television stations business and consumer reporting.

Life in the Spotlight

After working on such influential stories, it was only a matter of time before Eason and the rest of the team were recognized for their work. Though each of the awards were significant, Eason admits to having a favorite.

“The SPJ award is what I’m most proud of,” said Eason. “We did some of the most outstanding journalism in the country and our stories had such a great impact on so many people that the Society of Professional Journalists have chosen us as representing the best of what journalism can be.”

Though Eason’s work was also nominated for three Emmys, he walked out of the Northwest Regional Emmy Awards without a trophy on June 3. However, he was pulled up on stage by Watts upon her win. She thanked him for all of his hard work in front of the crowd.

“She got a little teary, which got me really choked up,” said Eason. “Sometimes it’s not the trophy that makes you feel special. It’s the recognition by your peers, in front of your peers, that makes you feel valued and important. It makes you feel like you’ve chosen the right direction in life.”

By Kaitlin Dudlets

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ComArtSci Professor Honored with Gene Burd Outstanding Dissertation Award

Posted on: June 8, 2017

RM Award WideRachel Mourao, assistant professor of journalism at ComArtSci, received the Gene Burd Outstanding Dissertation Award from the International Communication Association (ICA) this year.

“It’s very special,” said Mourao. “You spend a year working on a project, exclusively working on a dissertation, so it’s nice to know that in some way you did good work. It’s a nice way to finish a cycle.”

Mourao was a journalism P.h.D student at the University of Texas at Austin when she met Gene Burd, an associate professor emeritus. She studied under Steve Reese, the associate dean for academic affairs for the Moody College of Communication.

Mourao’s dissertation research focused on a wave of protests in Brazil from 2013-2015, which started out small, but evolved into massive right-wing demonstrations with elite support. She studied how journalists navigated this transformation to cover the protests, what influenced their work and how they made sense of the political strife.

Mourao’s findings contradict literature gathered in the U.S. and Europe that found news portrayal of protesters to be negative.

“The stories focus on spectacle and violence, and some argue that comes from an ideological resistance that journalists have to protesters,” Mourao said. “The story I found was different— it was the opposite of that.”

The majority of the reporters in Mourao’s study were against the demonstrations, especially in 2015, yet their coverage was supportive of the protests.

“It’s really indicative of Brazil— what really drove negative or positive portrayal of protesters was how aligned the protesters were with official sources,” Mourao said.

For example, if there were official sources, meaning elected officials or those appointed by elected officials, that were supportive of the protesters, the coverage of the demonstration would be supportive, regardless of the journalist's personal views.

From Reporting to Research

Mourao was born in Brazil and worked there for several years as a reporter, where she witnessed many of the problems she has encountered in her research. She said her research is a way for her to give back to Brazil.

“I knew I wanted to write something that would shed light on some of the issues faced by the press in developing countries, which are sometimes different and sometimes similar to issues faced by the press in the United States and Europe, where most studies focus,” Mourao said. “My main goal was to show that some of the processes that we take for granted here or that seem really evident in the literature produced in developed countries do not always work the same way in less developed nations.”

Mourao said there is lot of criticism of the press in Brazil, such as claims that the media self-censors and their coverage is against those under the poverty line. As a journalist, she did not see this criticism reflected in the newsroom. Now, her research aims to explain why and how journalists’ coverage reflects the beliefs of those in power.  

The Next Step: Broadening the Research

Mourao used content analysis to examine the way the mainstream press covered the demonstrations and compared that to survey data she gathered from journalists. She also has a third element that she hasn’t used yet— the journalists’ tweets.

“I want to know if the coverage they sent on social media is different than what they produced for mainstream newspapers,” Mourao said, “If it is, then there are different norms and expectations of social media. If you are producing a type of content for your employer, and then you are putting out something else for your personal brand, then there are some influences there. So that’s what’s next for me.”

Mourao’s studies focused on the mainstream press, elite journalists and big newspapers from the urban centers of Brazil. She hopes to expand her research by studying how journalists in the poor regions of Brazil cover protests.

“We don’t have a lot of access to [the journalists],”said Mourao. “I have a lot of access to them via survey, but the stories they write are harder to get.”

Mourao said she is still working on dividing the dissertation into smaller studies. She presented two of the papers at the 67th Annual Conference of the ICA. She will be presenting one more at the 2017 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).

By Rianna N. Middleton

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Journalism Graduate Lands Position at Men’s Health

Posted on: May 31, 2017

Haley Kluge graduated this past May with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in graphic design in hopes of breaking into the magazine industry. Well, her goal just turned into a reality.Kluge Image

Kluge will be working at Men’s Health magazine as a designer on the print publication. Despite receiving such a reputable position, this wasn’t her original plan.

“I had actually already secured a New York internship for the summer before I saw the Men’s Health post listed,” said Kluge. “I had every intention to go out to New York for the summer and then try and interview and find jobs while I was out there, but when I saw the posting online, I figured it couldn’t hurt.”

Landing the dream job was equal parts Kluge’s persistence and the magazine’s compatibility.

“I applied through the corporate HR website, and then when I didn’t hear anything a few weeks later, I emailed the creative director directly just to introduce myself. From there, he asked to meet me and I flew out for an interview that next week,” said Kluge. “I fell in love with their brand and the interview seemed so easy and conversational that I knew that if they offered it to me, I would flip my plans upside down to accommodate accepting it. Turns out, they did.”

Preparation for this position started long before Kluge walked across the stage and collected her diploma. Most recently, she was a graphic designer for both Michigan State Football and Michigan State Athletics, the art director at VIM Magazine, the presentation editor at Dialogue Newspaper as well as the president of Society for News Design. She was also heavily involved in Greek life: Vice President of Recruitment Guides for the MSU Panhellenic Council, Kappa Kappa Gamma’s marshal and a member of Order of Omega. Additionally, she was the design editor for the Red Cedar Log, a graphic designer for Communications and Brand Strategy and worked at the State News. As if that wasn’t enough, Kluge spent two summers in NYC interning with Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping.

Time Management Pro

“I’ve always said “better busy than bored,” and that sort of carries me through everyday life,” said Kluge. “I just naturally can’t sit still, and I think that allows me to thrive under pressure or work harder when I’m on deadlines. It’s just the best environment for me. But even with that, I just try and stay organized and caffeinated. I use my planner religiously and [drink] more Diet Cokes than I’d like to admit.”

While Kluge might not recommend her caffeine habits to others, she does have some advice for ComArtSci students looking for success.

“I think the biggest thing you can ever do is just to try new things,” said Kluge. “Push yourself out of your comfort zone and find job postings you never think you’ll get and apply anyway. On campus, join every club that interests you that you can handle, and throw yourself into them.”

Kluge spent two summers in her dream internships in New York, all because she was brave enough to press the send button.

“Never be worried about rejection,” said Kluge. “It’s just a part of the process and you’ll never know if you don’t try.”

By Kaitlin Dudlets 

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From MSU to BCN: Retired Professor Calls Barcelona Home

Posted on: May 25, 2017

Cheryl Pell walked the halls of ComArtSci for almost 30 years before retiring in August 2015. Now she walks the cobblestone streets of Barcelona.

“It was a big decision to sell my house and my car, stash all my belongings in two storage units, bid friends and family farewell and take a one-way flight to live in a foreign country,” said Pell. “Now that I’m here, I know it was the right decision for me.”

An international educator

Pell and Mario at Parc de la Ciutadella

Pell and Mario at Parc de la Ciutadella

Pell was hired in 1987 as the executive director of Michigan Interscholastic Press Association (MIPA), an organization headquartered in the School of Journalism. Twenty-five years later, she stepped down from MIPA and continued to be a senior specialist, teaching journalism classes and leading study abroad trips.

“I always felt fortunate that ComArtSci was and still is a big supporter of study abroad programs, and I think that’s awesome,” said Pell. “They supported students with scholarships and encouraged faculty to plan quality programs for our students.”

Pell single-handedly led The Creative Journey study abroad program in the summer of 2016, taking 15 students from Barcelona to Berlin to embrace the art of visual storytelling.

“Barcelona loves the arts and celebrates its area’s artists and architects, including Salvador Dalí, Antoni Gaudí, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso,” said Pell. “It’s a very inspirational city, and I was thrilled to be able to share its beauty with students.”

With ten previous visits to Barcelona under her belt, Pell introduced her students to the Dalí museum, Park Güell, La Sagrada Familia and the Mingarro brothers’ Brosmind Studio. She encouraged her students to collect flyers, brochures and other artifacts they found along the way. The images and clippings would aid in the construction of various student assignments and projects. Pell was also eager to share her passion for typography and design, frequently pointing out -- with either admiration or disdain -- the logos of various businesses and restaurants.

“My passion is design, in any form, but mostly graphic design,” said Pell. “I’ve been known to walk out of a restaurant if the typeface on the menu is lousy.”

From MSU to BCN

Now that Pell calls Barcelona her home, she spends most of her time exploring the city with her constant companion, an 11-year-old Maltese named Mario.

“Nearly every day I try to go to an area I haven’t been to before just to continue to get a feel for the city,” said Pell. “I seek out markets, art installations, street musicians, festivals, parades and protests. Every week I try to see something I haven’t seen before.”

It’s likely that Pell would never have ended up in the Catalonian city if it wasn’t for the travel grant she received from the Society for News Design (SND) while working for ComArtSci in 1995. The grant allowed her to work with 12 college students from all over the country at SND's annual convention, which was held in Barcelona that year.

“This was the first time I had ever gone to Europe, and that is precisely when I fell in love with Barcelona,” said Pell. “It is a bit of an unusual twist that in 2017, I flew back to the U.S. from Barcelona to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from SND. None of this would have happened if I had not been on the faculty of the J-School in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.”

Finding new hobbies

Pell at Guell New

Pell and Mario at Park Güell

Pell documents all of these experiences on her Instagram account, to which she posts daily. The retired professor’s account is filled with images and videos of city landmarks, store displays and, of course, the local cuisine. Each post is accompanied by the hashtags #myyearaway2017 and #photoadayfrombcn, as well as a short description.

“I’ve had fun with Instagram,” said Pell. “It’s a quick, easy way to document my time here. I’m honestly doing it more for my own record keeping than for the purpose of social media.”

Pell’s background in journalism can certainly be seen filtering into her account. There are very few photos of her, a testament of her dislike of the selfie stick. She wants to capture the moments of the places and people around her and share them with her followers.

“It’s not about me. Journalists inherently live this way, and they know the story is not about them,” said Pell. “My goal is to share the city’s greatness as well as its wonderful, small moments. Sometimes I am just compelled to add explanatory information to the Instagram posts, and that, of course, is rooted in wanting to inform, which journalists do every day.”

By Kaitlin Dudlets 

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MIPA reinforces value of journalism skills for students exploring college and careers

Posted on: April 21, 2017

IMG_0898
Haley Kluge decided to be a journalist at age 10. Rory, her favorite TV character from Gilmore Girls, worked as a student editor and writer at Yale University. Kluge wanted to be just like her.

So when it came time to pick electives at Grand Ledge High School, Kluge enrolled in journalism 101. That first class, she says, started a four-year odyssey that spanned working as a contributor and editor of her school newspaper and yearbook, and culminated in her decision to study journalism at Michigan State University.

Kluge's passion for the press grew into a real-life understanding of what it takes to gather and present news and information. And much of what she learned, she says, was solidified by the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association (MIPA): a statewide program for high school student journalists, teachers and advisers housed and coordinated by the MSU School of Journalism.

"MIPA gave me that backbone in scholastic journalism and ethics that is so valuable as a high school student," says Kluge, now a senior in the MSU School of Journalism. "It allowed me to get so much more value from my journalism education and exposure to different things than simply a normal classroom experience."

Building a strong core

Today, Kluge is wrapping up her bachelor's—a journey characterized by internships at high-profile media companies including Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan and the New York Times. She stays involved with MIPA by working in the program's office and helping coordinate the association's annual summer camp.

"Because of MIPA, I was already a step ahead of my peers when I started college," she says. "I was exposed to so many things, and still use the skills I learned in MIPA summer camp to this day."

MIPA Executive Director Jeremy Steele says students like Kluge represent the ultimate goal of the nonprofit organization: to spark young people's interest in journalism, and to prepare them for college and careers in journalism or other fields. Composed of scholastic journalism teachers and advisers and their students, MIPA promotes and recognizes excellence in high school journalism through training and educational resources, conferences, contests workshops and a summer camp on the campus of MSU.

"We're seeing a new appreciation for journalism and what it teaches," says Steele. "High school journalism classes are essentially a 21st century civics class. And they embody virtually all of the standards schools implement in English classes—including how to write in different styles like commentary and non-fiction and how to interview and research."

About 170 high schools and middle schools across the state are members of MIPA. This includes 300 student media outlets and 220 teachers. Students at those member schools typically enroll for courses or electives that involve the production of yearbooks, newspapers, broadcast video, and other forms of digital and contemporary media. MIPA also is a resource for high school journalism teachers.

Similar to an athletics or music organization, MIPA provides opportunities for members to participate in events—in this case, a variety of conferences, training sessions and workshops for journalism students, advisers and teachers. About 2,000 teachers and students attend a fall conference in Lansing each year, and another 1,500 come to the MIPA Awards each April to showcase their work. Winners are selected from more than 4,000 entries.  In the summer, an average of 350-400 students attend a five-day camp at MSU, enabling them to work with professional journalists and journalism educators in areas like design and graphics, photography, digital media, advertising, production and writing.

DSC_6692
Huron High School senior Lyna Ikharbine was among nearly 80 students from five schools who participated in a one-day workshop on the MSU campus in March. Ikharbine is enrolled in yearbook production class at her school, and says she takes journalism electives to learn more about design and how to express ideas.

"I'm strengthening my communication skills and learning how to write non-fiction," says Ikharbine. "I'm also learning how to write persuasively and without bias."

Huron High School junior Gena Harris says she was drawn to study journalism after she guest wrote articles for her school newspaper on the Black Lives Matter movement and the recent Trump travel ban.

"I enjoyed the process of researching, interviewing and writing the stories," she says. "It allowed me to understand what different people and races go through. I also saw that certain parts of journalism could be applied to other classes I'm taking, like law."

Steele acknowledges that while many students get their start on journalism careers through high school programs, many others don't.

"The core of what journalism teaches—researching, writing and visual communicating—are things kids can take with them to college or on any career path they're headed down," Steele says. "And there is a lot of research that shows that kids who are involved in scholastic journalism are more civically involved and active in their communities."

MIPA was founded in 1921 and has been housed at the Michigan State University School of Journalism since 1982. To learn more about MIPA, click here.

By Ann Kammerer

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ComArtSci freshman visits New York City through Field Experience course

Posted on: April 6, 2017

ashleyreedJournalism freshman Ashley Reed wasted no time gaining experience in the media industry.  She spent her first college spring break touring New York City with fellow classmates on the NYC Field Experience - Media Production trip with the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. ComArtSci offers six different field experiences designed to help students explore career options and network in their field.

“This trip was a huge eye-opener for me as a freshman, because I wasn’t completely sure of what I wanted to do when I came to MSU,” Reed said. “But going to New York put things into perspective for me and helped me see that I can pursue the dreams that I have.”

The trip took students to various media companies, ranging from coverage of music, radio, video — you name it. They met with executives that work in the business, as well as Spartan alums, who explained day-to-day life as professionals in the city.

A love for media at a young age

Growing up, Reed knew that she wanted to be involved in the media industry. She always imagined having her own television show. She decided that majoring in journalism would allow her to explore all of her media interests.

“My favorite part of the trip was seeing people do what they love,” Reed said. “I know in my family, most people who did or didn’t go to college, aren’t doing what they love to do. Going on this trip, I am now more hopeful that I can do what I love to do, especially going as a freshman and knowing I will still have more guidance.”

When Reed was around eight years old, she started singing and songwriting. She began with short stories, which turned into poetry, which turned into songs.

“After I started doing this, I just wanted to keep creating more things,” Reed said. “I really opened up and wanted to know what else I could create. I started making little music videos and getting into cameras. Everything I created, I had to figure it out by myself.”

Her senior year of high school, Reed started The Belle Society, which is a women empowerment group. She started the social media pages for the society and produced videos and facilitated photo shoots, too.

“This is where I self-taught and learned how to do most of this stuff. This society was also a way for my peers and me to lift each other up,” Reed said. “My love for all things media came in high school.”

Seeing opportunity in the city

Reed says she would love to be the female version of Ryan Seacrest one day. In fact, her biggest take-away from the trip was that dreams like this one are actually possible.

“One of the most memorable moments from that trip was meeting an alum that now works at MTV,” Reed said. “It was great to hear how he started as an intern and then came back to work full time.”

The students also visited an alumnus that is working as a news reporter at ABC News. He allowed the students to come back and watch his team in action.

Reed said it was great to be around media professionals and to see MSU alumni making an impact in such a large city.

If she could do anything, she would want to be a singer, songwriter, television personality and producer — she would do it all.

“I love hosting and producing videos, but sometimes it’s hard for me to just focus on one thing,” Reed said. “The possibilities and options of the media industry have always just grabbed my interest.”

By Meg Dedyne

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Linked Bachelor’s-Master’s Programs Offer Undergraduates Connection to Higher Education at MSU

Posted on: March 31, 2017

bamaStudents in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University are offered unique experiences and opportunities during their undergraduate years. From top-tier faculty to international competitions, state-of-the-art technology, innovative learning spaces and reoccurring networking events, it’s no wonder that many students want to stick around to continue their education.

With the Linked Bachelor’s-Master’s programs at Michigan State University, undergraduate students from across ComArtSci – including journalism, advertising + public relations, communication and media and information – can apply to complete their master’s degree in just one year.

The programs allow students to use nine credits from undergraduate courses toward receiving their master’s degree – cutting the two years often required to receive a master’s in half.

Constantinos Coursaris heads the Department of Media and Information’s Linked B.A.-M.A. program. He said the faculty who contribute their knowledge and resources to the program are a major advantage for students to consider when thinking about applying.

He added that students learn “the professional demands of not only today’s, but also tomorrow’s, workplace that leverages the power of media and information – from game design and the creative arts, to user experience and the management of information and communication technologies.”

In the classroom, Linked B.A.-M.A. students often apply their growing knowledge and skills to hands-on work created for real-world clients. Celina Wanek is currently enrolled in the media and information program for media management and said working with her classmates to develop client-ready projects for organizations outside of Michigan State University has been her favorite part.

I would highly encourage (other students) to apply,” said Wanek. “It's definitely a full year of work but knowing that it's just a year and being almost done is incredibly rewarding.”

Linda Good, director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Advertising + Public Relations, said these programs are for students dedicated to the pursuit of higher education and aiming to increase their value as professionals in their industries.

“As they seek positions that may not require a master’s degree, having the master’s degree gives them an edge over students that don’t have it. They’ve only added a year, basically, to their studies and they enhanced their knowledge base, their experience base and their network by completing the Linked Bachelor’s-Master’s degree (program).”

For more information about all of the Linked B.A.-M.A. programs, click here.

By Savannah Swix

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Five new members to be inducted to Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame

Posted on: March 28, 2017

MI-Journalism-Hall-of-Fame-300x82The Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame will induct five new members on April 9, 2017, at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, on the campus of Michigan State University.

Michigan State University’s School of Journalism has housed and administered the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame since 1985, and is an equal partner with co-sponsors from non-profit journalism associations from across the state, acknowledging journalists for outstanding contributions in journalism.

“This is an important occasion to recognize those who have advanced the legacy of a free and responsible press and who have inspired others to improve the quality of the profession,” said Lucinda Davenport, Director of the School of Journalism. “Induction memorializes extraordinary and clearly outstanding careers.”  

Five new members will be inducted, including medical journalist Patricia Anstett, investigative reporter Stephen Cain, business reporter John Gallagher, combat photojournalist David Gilkey and publisher Mary Kramer.

The banquet will be held at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing, beginning with a reception at 5 p.m. followed by dinner and inductions at 6 p.m. Reservations for the banquet can be made online. For more information about the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, its inductees and members, click here.

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Journalism student interns at KOFY-TV in San Francisco

Posted on: March 24, 2017

leeThis past summer, journalism senior Cynthia Lee accepted an internship with a local TV station in San Francisco called KOFY-TV. She was able to use interview and networking techniques she learned at MSU to prepare for and obtain the internship.

Lee was the station’s only intern, covering promotions and productions. She learned how the television market works and how the industry is changing. She also gained a better understanding of just how important teamwork is, especially in times of change.

“I gained so many valuable skills through my internship, especially being on the other side of the country and having to figure out everything on my own,” Lee said. “For example, I didn’t have design experience, so I just had the mindset of being willing to learn and work hard.”

Being the only intern at the station, Lee had to learn how to connect with and target a different demographic. She used this opportunity to learn from others at the station, who had years of experience.

Lee said her favorite project was helping out with the productions for the Pride Parade in San Francisco.

“It was really different and fun,” Lee said. “We had to stay up for hours to create notecards by hand, but to have had the chance to watch and help out with live events was really cool.”

Her internship helped her to discover what she does and doesn't want to do in her future career.

“I really like being in front of the camera,” Lee said. “I recommend letting the right people at your internship know the intentions of what you want to gain from the internship and to take control of your own learning experience. I wanted to build up my reel, and I told them this. You just also have to be prepared to prove yourself.”

Production appeals more to Lee, as she likes to be active and in the field. She found that working on promotions is more office work, but she is grateful for having both of those experiences in one internship.

“I also learned how life would be post-college and if I got a job out-of-state,” Lee said. “I would be commuting to work every day and I would be in a new area. Learning how to start fresh somewhere and how to adapt was great. It wouldn’t be so scary if I had to do that again.”

Since her internship, Lee has been working to continue to improve her skills through projects.

“I like productions and producing a lot,” Lee said. “I am creating a web series right now and trying to finish that up, as I want to have it done by April.”

The web series is based on her friend group’s experiences in college.

When considering internships and job opportunities, Lee suggests that you express to yourself, and even to the people you’d work with, what skills you are looking to build and what experiences you’d like to have.

“I would just really emphasize to be clear on what you want to gain when you obtain an internship,” Lee said. “Especially when you do phone interviews, always sound enthusiastic; pay attention to those little details about yourself. Above all, use all of the opportunities and resources MSU has to offer.”

By Meg Dedyne

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How to Spot Fake News: Educating the Next Generation of Journalists

Posted on: March 21, 2017

fake news

In an effort to educate students on “fake news”, faculty from the School of Journalism in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences are working to include fake news topics in their courses, teaching students to understand the definition of fake news and its different applications.

A big part of sniffing out real news from the fake is learning how to detect misinformation and promote media literacy.

“Our graduate-level social media class (JRN 821) has four weeks dedicated to 'fake news',” said Rachel Mourao, assistant professor in the School of Journalism. The class covers “misinformation, verification and political discussions on online networks.”

Students are taught to analyze how misinformation spreads on social networks, as well as strategies on how to detect and debunk false stories. But, that may be a tough job to accomplish.

It can be difficult to say with certainty whether something is 100% fake news right now. According to Mourao, some sites are not only in the business of fake news, but also post several real news stories with an added layer of opinion. Others are one-hit wonders, but never gain traction again.

“It is fairly common for them to just aggregate news stories from mainstream media and add a twist, like a sensational headline that actually never delivers. It is an issue that is much more complex than saying 'this is real' and 'this is fake,'" said Mourao.

Fake news is something the faculty and students at ComArtSci are working together to combat. A handful of faculty from the college, including Mourao, met for a roundtable discussion in March to discuss fake news with graduate students. Many are leading the charge on how to spot and fight fake news.

“The round table brought together so many different perspectives on this issue,” said Mourao. “It looks like we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to media effects and information processing. I look forward to the outcomes of all the research that is being conducted here.”

Though not a topic that can be fixed overnight, Mourao is working with a group of researchers to uncover the different types of fake news and their conceptual distinctions. This includes analyzing the impact of fake news on news media trust and building a taxonomy of false or misleading news articles.

By Nikki W. O'Meara

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