From the Acting Chair

Howard Kleiman

With Richard Campbell on leave for the academic year, I have the honor of serving as our department’s acting chair. And thanks to the efforts of our terrific faculty and staff—often aided by our incredibly loyal alums—great things have been going on in MJF since our last newsletter.

This past summer marked the inaugural “Stories from Cuba” program. Twelve students accompanied journalism faculty Patti Newberry and Joe Sampson to Cuba for a week and the class produced a number of stories—some of which were picked up by the Miami Herald’s website--about life on the island. We also once again offered our study away/abroad programs in Washington, New York City, and Kosovo. This January I’ll again offer our Inside Hollywood program, while Patti Newberry and Christe McKittrick respectively teach New York City Media and Inside Chicago. And this summer we’re excited to offer Inside London, taught by Bruce Drushel and Dan Behnke. This class will offer an overview of media in the U.K., along with the opportunity for the students to do a mini creative project for a British organization.

As always, MJF had a full slate of events of interest in the fall semester. First up was the second annual MJF Day to publicize the department's growing number of "away programs," as well as student media and clubs. The department had new Miami President Greg Crawford in the building twice -- once for a class press conference and later for a faculty Q&A. We also hosted University Lecture Series guest Bennet Omalu (of "Concussion" fame) and Cleveland Plain Dealer sports journalist Branson Wright. Midway through the semester we had two guests from the 18 of the Last 9 alumni recognition program -- Marni Goldberg ('07), director of public affairs for the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Emily Siedlak ('08), foreign service officer at the U.S. Department of State. Miami grad Joe Stephens ('81), a Washington Post investigative reporter, spent a day with us in November. And we rounded out the semester with a big crowd for J.D. Vance, author of the best-selling "Hillbilly Elegy" and a former resident of Middletown, Ohio.

The Journalism Program launched a pilot project with Patch.com, a national "hyperlocal" news site. Under the direction of faculty members Patti Newberry, and Chris Graves, students in Public Affairs Reporting covered news about the city of Oxford and Miami University. Over the course of the semester, they posted more than eight-dozen stories filling an important media gap since Oxford has no local media outlets beyond The Miami Student.

Chris Graves, who’s a staff columnist for The Cincinnati Enquirer, represents our growing use of highly-regarded professionals as part-time instructors. Another example is Jeff Conroy, a multiple Emmy-winning television producer, who is currently teaching a hybrid—part online and part in-person--course on producing reality television programming. Another Miami alum, Antonia Ellis who has been a producer on numerous shows including, “Sex in the City,” “Royal Pains,” and “Mozart in the Jungle,” will again be teaching a course in television producing this spring semester.

MJF continues to be the largest department in the College of Arts and Science, and our majors continue to be attractive both to students who came to Miami with the intention of studying some form of media, and others who “found us” after arriving on campus as undecided about their major.

Our challenge for this year and going forward is to effectively manage that growth and continue to improve our curriculum, facilities, student internship and job placement, and identify other strategic priorities. I have no doubt that many of these objectives will be accomplished with the help of MJF alumni.

Best wishes,

Howard Kleiman