From the Chair

MJF Shines in 2014

Richard CampbellMiami’s Department of Media, Journalism & Film in just its second full year has become the biggest undergraduate department at the university with more than 1,200 majors. We offer more online classes and media-related workshops than any department or program in our college. Driven and encouraged by our Miami alumni working in media, MJF workshops are now based in Washington, Los Angeles, New York, London, and Kosovo … with plans to develop another one in Chicago, as well as resume our participation in a Florence, Italy, program.

Our majors include Comparative Media Studies, Journalism, Media & Culture (formerly Mass Communication), Strategic Communication, and we will add a new film major in Fall 2015. All of our students are required to earn a second major outside our department as MJF remains committed to offering a broad liberal arts education focused on the critical analysis of media and the professional education of our students across a variety of media.

Year in Review - Highlights

Because of our growth, we are in the process of hiring several new tenure-track faculty who will join our current academic and professional faculty. In addition, this spring Wil Haygood will serve as MJF’s writer-in-residence for one semester per year over the next three years. A ’76 Miami grad, Haygood has had a distinguished career as a reporter-writer for the Washington Post. He is best known for his story about Eugene Allen, the White House butler who served eight presidents. Haygood’s Post story was the inspiration for Lee Daniels’ 2013 film about the butler. His latest book – about Supreme Court Justice and civil rights champion Thurgood Marshall -- will be published in 2015.

Asked by admissions to develop a scholars program, MJF launched the Writing for Media Scholars program in the fall, welcoming 15 talented and aspiring first-year writers. This fall they took a journalism class together with JRN prof James Tobin, and this spring will take a second writing class from Wil Haygood, who will also teach an honors film class. This fall MJF also pioneered a hybrid course, “Sports Reporting in a Digital Age,” co-taught by Miami alums Terence Moore and Fred Reeder Jr., taught one day a week on campus and one day online -- from Atlanta with Moore. An award-winning, national sports journalist, Moore does TV work for CNN while writing columns for and He previously worked as a reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer, the San Francisco Examiner, and spent 25 years at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Reeder is a co-founder and executive editor of OnCampus, a national platform for college student journalists to cover college sports. Reeder has also written for the Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati magazine.

MJF also brought in a series of distinguished guests and speakers this past year. In the spring, author/journalist Alex Kotlowitz talked about his approach to long-form non-fiction work while our own Jim Tobin talked about his new book, The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency. We also hosted Wil Haygood and participated in Lecture Series visits with journalists Jose Antonio Vargas, Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Juan Williams.

In the fall, we had a day with public radio’s Alex Blumberg, who just left a long career with National Public Radio to launch a podcast company called Gimlet Media. Additionally, we hosted alum and former NBC exec Rick Ludwin. And we “borrowed” others -- including Piper Kerman, author of “Orange is the New Black,” and Christine Brennan, the USA Today sports columnist, both Lecture Series guests; journalists Bruce Watson, Charles Cobb, Herbert Randall and Keith Beauchamp, all in Oxford for the 50th anniversary conference of Freedom Summer; and science writer Andrew Revkin, a guest of the Humanities Center.

If you get a chance also check out our podcast, Stats + Stories, which I co-host with John Bailer, Department of Statistics chair. Bob Long, MJF faculty member and former WMUB news director, moderates and produces the podcast, and Steve Beitzel, MJF’s chief engineer, directs the audio action.

As you dip inside the newsletter, make sure to catch the profiles on some young and talented alums -- Jon Gambrell, Molly Shanks and JM Rieger.

We wish all of you a safe and successful year in 2015.

Richard Campbell