Asian Correspondent » Medill NU Asian Correspondent Thu, 21 May 2015 02:07:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Specialize in magazine writing and editing at Northwestern University Tue, 27 Sep 2011 20:06:29 +0000

Assistant Professor Patti Wolter talks about the Magazine Writing and Editing concentration.

This concentration is for students who are captivated by the power of storytelling and strong narrative journalism and are unabashed fans of the magazine form. The Magazine Writing and Editing track is also for students who are intent on combining strong writing skills with the editing and business savvy that will allow them to succeed in the industry, or to launch their own magazine publishing venture in digital and print formats.

Students first concentrate on basic journalism skills and then specialize with classes that train them to understand the unique audience-centered, curated-content approach of the magazine form. Through intensive writing and editing courses they gain experience in writing for specific audiences with the appropriate tone and narrative. They steep themselves in information about how the industry works, from an editorial, digital and business perspective.

Students learn how to manage or oversee magazine content — understanding both current print formats as well as digital platforms and the booming opportunities for magazine content with digital formats, mobile applications and more.

Students also learn how to be successful magazine writers, including how to pitch and frame stories. Working alongside faculty who maintain strong connections in the magazine industry, they pursue many of their pieces all the way to publication in national and local magazines.

Learn more about the Magazine Writing and Editing concentration.

]]> 16
Assistant Professor showcases Afghanistan’s cultural treasures Wed, 10 Aug 2011 21:05:37 +0000

By Kayla Stoner

For years, people around the world have recognized Afghanistan for the natural resources hidden underground. However many Americans, and even Afghans, are unaware of the cultural resources that reside next to the copper and oil mines beneath the land’s surface. Ancient Buddhist relics lie hidden beneath the dirt in the Logar province of Afghanistan, a region known primarily for its violent association with the Taliban.

Assistant Professor Brent Huffman set out to expose the little-known cultural treasure through film. He traveled to the province on the first of three trips in July and returns having seen only a portion of the history at stake if copper mining continues its current trajectory.

“About 90 percent [of the artifacts] are still underground,” he says, “so there’s this huge wealth of cultural relics still underground and is potentially going to be destroyed, so archeologists are kind of scrambling.”

Huffman first became aware of the situation from an article in The New York Times. He says Chinese officials paid only $2.5 billion for the more than $100 billion worth of copper in the Logar region. They’re now giving archeologists less than a year to extract the ancient relics before they begin mining. The preservation process is difficult, he says, because some of the artifacts are too large to move.

See more pictures from Huffman’s first trip.

The mining site will displace modern culture as well. Abundant resources in the country mean sites are large and will dot the countryside. Entire villages will be relocated while copper is extracted from beneath Afghans’ former homes.

“There are so many complexities to this story, so many layers,” Huffman says.

His goal is to reveal each of those layers in a long-form documentary. On his July trip, Huffman only had the opportunity to speak with archeologists and Afghan people. His next trip will focus on the story from Chinese stakeholders. Huffman expects to return to Afghanistan in the fall or spring with a Mandarin speaker to aid him in interviews with Chinese officials.

Securing such interviews and traveling to the mining site in one of the most dangerous provinces in Afghanistan carries great risk. On roads peppered with landmines and explosives, Huffman says he tried to stay safe by “looking local.” He rode to the site in local taxis and pickup trucks.

“The more they are aware of you, the more you stand out, the more risk you’re taking,” he says.

However, he says the risk is worth preserving the “breathtaking, Indiana Jones-like” site, at least in film.

]]> 0
Focus on interactive publishing at Northwestern University Fri, 24 Jun 2011 21:06:12 +0000 Students at Medill choose this concentration if they aim to run, start or lead digital publishing ventures — whether working for media companies, businesses, institutions, nonprofits or themselves. In their studies, they learn how to manage content on the web and on other emerging platforms such as mobile phones, e-book readers and interactive TV.

Graduating students can write compelling online content by taking full advantage of interactive tools. Other skills include how to:

Think holistically about ways of packaging multimedia content for a variety of platforms.

Exercise news judgment in a 24-hour online news cycle and write headlines for search engine optimization.

Manipulate a content management system such as WordPress, package content in engaging ways and build audience through linking and social networks.

- Interpret and apply audience research and website analytics.

Become literate in interactive design and usability and be able to work effectively with technologists and designers to develop or improve digital products.

Understand the business of media and be able to collaborate to make digital media products profitable.

Publicize and share content with different audiences, and how to cultivate user participation and build community.

Through their Medill experience, students gain a deep appreciation of the value of original reporting and storytelling even if their post-Medill careers don’t require them to do this type of work themselves.

]]> 0
Journalist James Foley speaks at Medill after being released from Libya Fri, 10 Jun 2011 19:19:20 +0000 EVANSTON — Journalist James Foley (MSJ08) spoke at Medill as part of the Gertrude and G.D. Crain Jr. Lecture Series on Thursday, June 2, 15 days after being released from Libya, where he was held captive for more than six weeks.

Watch the entire discussion.

Foley, a reporter for Boston-based GlobalPost, was in Libya since mid-March reporting on the uprisings against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. It was on April 5 around the outskirts of Brega that Foley, American reporter Clare Gillis, Spanish photographer Manu Brabo and South African photographer Anton Hammerl were shot at by pro-Gadhafi troops.

“Our story is a very cautionary tale,” Foley said. “We made a lot of mistakes that day.”

After being punched in the face and hit in the head with the butt-end of an AK-47, Foley, along with Gillis and Brabo were handcuffed with electrical cords and taken to Tripoli, where they were held captive for more than six weeks. Hammerl was shot and killed during the attack.

The three journalists, as well as British freelancer Nigel Chandler, were released on May 18 after being convicted of entering Libya without a visa and fined approximately $150. Foley arrived in the United States and was reunited with his family on Saturday, May 21.

A fund has been established to help Foley’s family offset the cost of fighting for his release, as well as to offer aid to the family of Anton Hammerl. For more information, please visit

The Crain Lecture Series regularly brings journalists, newsmakers and others discussing current events and the news business to Northwestern’s Evanston campus.

]]> 0
Study videography and broadcast at Northwestern University Thu, 26 May 2011 21:46:54 +0000

The video concentration at Medill is ideal for students who plan to use video and audio as their principal formats for reporting stories, both short-form and long-form. Some students have previous video experience through internships or undergraduate study but many do not. It doesn’t matter – the program is tailored to varying degrees of experience and students are challenged and mentored to learn quickly. Medill faculty integrate technical learning, theory and practice to give students a mix of soft and hard skills needed in an industry where great storytelling and excellent technical skills go hand in hand.

Students learn to shoot their own video using professional cameras and editing equipment, similar to what they will use at television stations, documentary houses and news websites. These professional camera skills are far more advanced that those learned in using consumer-grade cameras.

What you’ll learn:

– Faculty work with students to enterprise, book, produce and write stories that are visually compelling for a Web audience and appropriate for a resume reel. Once students begin to produce polished video work, their stories are presented on the Web and local television stations.

– In addition to learning video work from the ground up, graduates leave the sequence with the news judgment and teamwork skills needed for management-track roles in today’s newsrooms or to start their own businesses.

– For students interested in a career in front of the camera, the sequence also offers delivery and presence training. For students interested in long-form producing and directing, the sequence includes a documentary class in which students shoot, write and edit their own films.

]]> 0
What will marketing communications look like in the future? Fri, 13 May 2011 15:45:38 +0000 DDB and Mode Project teamed up with Medill to produce this video featuring Chicago marketing and advertising experts talking about the future of marketing communications.

Click here to visit the Medill YouTube channel to watch the video.

]]> 0
Q&A with 2011 Pulitzer Prize Winner, Medill Alum Frank Main Mon, 25 Apr 2011 16:38:38 +0000 By Marc Zarefsky

Frank Main (MSJ87) has reported on tense situations all over the world, from war zones in the Persian Gulf to the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina. But it was Main’s diligent and dedicated reporting on violence in Chicago that earned him the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting.

Main was one of three Chicago Sun-Times staff members to share the award.

Frank exemplifies the core values of a Medill journalist. His work gives us insight into a complicated and dangerous world … In the end, he makes all citizens smarter and we are in his debt.” – Medill Dean John Lavine

Main, Mark Konkol and photographer John J. Kim received the award “for their immersive documentation of violence in Chicago neighborhoods, probing the lives of victims, criminals and detectives as a widespread code of silence impedes solutions,” according to the Pulitzer Prizes website.

Main, who has been at the Sun-Times since 1998, took some time away from celebrating to talk about his journalism background, the winning stories and drinking champagne out of Styrofoam cups.

Q: When did you find out the Chicago Sun-Times received the Pulitzer?
It was 2:12 p.m. (on April 18) and I was at my desk making out a photo assignment for a story. I knew the winners were supposed to be listed after 2 p.m., but they weren’t posted right away so I kept working. I didn’t really think we’d win anyway. Our editorial page editor, Tom McNamee, was home and kept clicking on the Pulitzer site to see the winners. He was shocked to see my name and called our city desk. No one in the newsroom knew the news yet. Our editorial assistant, Dale McCullough, yelled out: “Pulitzer! Konkol and Main. Konkol and Main won the Pulitzer!”

Q: How did you celebrate?
Lots of champagne. It was hard to find at first. The editors had to go up to the management offices to find it. We drank out of Styrofoam coffee cups until someone scrounged some plastic champagne flutes, which looked more professional in the next day’s photos of the celebration.

From right, Frank Main (MSJ87), Mark Konkol and John J. Kim celebrate the Chicago Sun-Times' 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting.

Q: How did the idea for the winning stories first come about?
My original inspiration was the 1992 book “Homicide” by David Simon and the series “Homicide 37; Seeking Justice for Lance” by Brendan McCarthy of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, which was a 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Simon and McCarthy had both shadowed homicide detectives to learn how they do their jobs. I admired both of their efforts and set out to do the same thing in 2009, following Chicago Area 5 detectives for four months on a murder case. When they didn’t solve the killing — a gang-related one — I put the reporting on a shelf and waited for the day they solved it.

In early 2010, Mark Konkol and I set out on a different project, revisiting a violent weekend in Chicago in April 2008 when 40 people were shot, seven fatally. What emerged from that reporting was that only one of those cases had resulted in a criminal charge. And the reason was that no one wanted to talk to the police, even if they knew who their shooter was.

We did not set out to do a story on the “no-snitch” code in Chicago, but that’s what we found.

After that series ran in July 2010, I took the Area 5 homicide reporting off the shelf. The case was still unsolved. I wrote a story about the lack of cooperation the detectives were receiving from the victim’s friends and fellow gang members. That series ran during the Christmas week.

We paired those series and a few other stories about the no-snitch code — including one about a man who refused to ID his killer as he lay dying — and that’s what we entered in the contest.

Q: What was the most challenging aspect of the reporting process?
It was difficult tracking down the shooting victims and persuading them to talk to us. On one occasion, we went to the victim’s workplace — a grocery — and were run out by management. We went to his home several times but he was gone. Finally, we were parked on the street and saw the man hanging out of a window talking to a friend. We yelled up from the car and the guy smiled and came down to talk. He was dodging us, but decided to give up.

Q: Of the stories entered in the contest, do you have a favorite?
That’s like choosing between children. But I would say the “59 Hours” series on the weekend in April 2008. It was one of those stories in which all the dominoes seemed to fall in place perfectly. I really enjoyed working with Mark Konkol, a died-in-the-wool South Sider who is a great writer with a nose for the street.

I remember the time we were speaking to a victim, Willie Brown, in a McDonald’s. He reached over and grabbed my cheeseburger and ate it. Mark looked at me and shook his head, as if to say, forget about it. Then the victim’s shooter walked in and they confronted each other. It was a memorable day of reporting, to say the least.

Q: Of the number of trying situations you’ve covered in your career, what story tested you the most?
Hurricane Katrina. I drove through the storm along Airline Highway and my rental SUV was nearly swamped a few times. I saw a metal roof rip right off a gas station as I drove from Baton Rouge. Navigating New Orleans after the levees burst was nearly impossible. I didn’t have a satellite phone on my first trip to the city, so I had to find people with a working landline. The victims’ stories were gut-wrenching. The heroes’ stories were inspiring. And the abandonment of the city by the police force was quickly evident. It seemed like a land without laws.

Q: Why did you first get into journalism?
I volunteered on my school newspaper at Emory University and caught the bug. I saw the profession as a passport to visit interesting places and talk to interesting people.

Q: Do you have any favorite memories that stick out from Medill?
I remember covering a story in North Chicago for a class. A sailor from the nearby naval base got his finger chopped off in a fight. I tried to go to the base to find the sailor and got kicked off. I tried again and they threatened to arrest me. But the police chief of North Chicago took pity on me and read me the police report — and I got the story.

I also vividly remember Bob McClory, a professor who was amazingly convincing as he stood in front of the class, evading our questions as he posed as a police spokesman. That was great training for what I do today.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Yes, everyone in the newsroom was sad that Jim Tyree, the owner and savior of the paper, died and was not there to see it. Also, the award was vindication for the hard work everyone on the staff has been doing despite layoffs and financial cutbacks over the last few years. It was a real boost for everyone, not just Mark, me and John Kim, the photographer who shared the award with us. Finally I credit our editors — Shamus Toomey, Paul Saltzman and Don Hayner and others — for setting us loose on the streets for months, when daily stories needed to get done.

]]> 0
Northwestern University Library exhibit asks, “Who is the Journalist?” Thu, 21 Apr 2011 21:01:33 +0000 EVANSTON, Ill. — A Northwestern University Library exhibition exploring the past, present and future of journalism includes an advertisement for the Chicago Daily News in the mid-1960s that boasts “Our Man in Havana is a Girl.”

Part of the exhibition that opened April 7, the ad promoted Georgie Anne Geyer, who went from a Brenda Starr comic strip fan to a celebrated foreign correspondent who conducted interviews with Fidel Castro, Muammar el-Qaddafi and other elusive world leaders at a time when women were a newsroom rarity.

Using books and rare library materials, artifacts from working journalists and videos of pop culture depictions of reporters, “Who is the Journalist: The Past, Present and Future of News” explores how the nation’s first newspaper publisher, Brenda Starr, Ida B. Wells, Clark Kent, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein and others used their power to instruct, inspire and innovate.

Developed by former Medill Dean Loren Ghiglione, the exhibit at the Main Library, 1970 Campus Drive on Northwestern’s Evanston campus, is free and open to the public. It runs from April 7 through Sept. 3.

“There is a sci-fi, dystopian vision of journalism’s future that says robots will replace the human journalist,” says Ghiglione. In contrast, the long-time journalism professor suggests that new storytelling tools and technologies instead may expand journalists’ potential and make virtually everyone a kind of journalist. “The golden age of journalism may well be ahead of, not behind us,” he says.

In curating the exhibition, Ghiglione repeatedly asked: who is a journalist? He ultimately decided that the journalist “often is a whole cast of contradictory characters in one: communicator and critic of propaganda, reporter and rumormonger, educator and entertainer.”

Brenda Starr, for instance, debuted as a tough reporter in 1940, and served as a role model to a generation of girls. In addition to Geyer, Brenda Starr fans included Lois Wille and Mary Schmich, who later became prize-winning journalists. Schmich, who took over writing the strip when creator Dale Messick retired in 1985, contributed a costumed Brenda Starr doll to the exhibit.

The reporter’s evolving identity in a world of websites, bloggers, and tweeters is explored in a series of video clips, assembled by Medill adjunct lecturer and Northwestern Web content producer Matt Paolelli and hosted by computer-generated avatars. The avatars were developed by Kris Hammond, director of Northwestern’s newly created Knight News Innovation Laboratory.

In addition to alumna Geyer, Medill alumni lending artifacts to the exhibit include Pulitzer Prize winner Hank Klibanoff; People magazine founding editor Richard Stolley; foreign correspondents Richard Longworth and Kevin Sites; and sports journalists Christine Brennan and Michael Wilbon. The family of Chester Gould, a Northwestern alumnus who created the comic strip detective Dick Tracy, also contributed.

The University Library exhibit is open to the public daily from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. from now through June 9. For exhibit information or to check on the exhibit’s summer hours after June 9, call (847) 467-5918.

]]> 0
IMC Graduate’s Company Named One Of Top Five Startups In Spain Wed, 20 Apr 2011 14:33:47 +0000 With more than a decade of professional experience, Valentin Hernandez Rodriguez thought he understood marketing communications.

When he started taking classes in Integrated Marketing Communications at Medill in 2006, though, he realized there was a whole different aspect to marketing he never thought about before.

“IMC was a radical shift in the way I understood marketing,” Hernandez (IMC07) said via email. “As a marketing professional, sometimes you look at the customer from only one perspective. But at the end, this customer has different contact points with your company, and what he really wants is to be understood and appreciated for all the areas at the same time.”

It was that idea that Hernandez used to help launch Guidance in May 2010. Guidance, a company based in Madrid, Spain, has two different business sectors: one called Guidelining, a proprietary methodology that helps companies integrate all its marketing processes, and one called MyObserver, an Internet tool that measures “Buzziness” about a company based on what is being said online and through social media. MyObserver allows companies to find out what is being said about them, where the comments are being made, and “what they have to do to improve their results,” all with 97 percent confidence in the results.

The information structure can be customized for every client, and clients all over the world are beginning to take notice. Guidance has helped build insurance company development and a business plan for a worldwide franchise chain and strategies for a multinational IT company, just as three examples.

IMC helped me to understand this new environment. It gave me a competitive advantage versus other marketing professionals and showed me new ways to be successful in the market.”

In less than a year, the company has blossomed, and it was recently recognized by Cinco Dias, one of the two most influential financial newspapers for the Spanish market. The newspaper published a special report on technology and small/medium companies, and within the report called Guidance one of the top five startup companies in Spain.

“That is one of the best things a company can expect, to be recognized (among) thousands of others because of its ideas, future and results,” said Hernandez, who is one of two CEOs of the company and also vice president for Marketing and Strategic Alliances. “It is a confirmation of expectations and ideas.

“We really believed that we could offer something different, a new approach that guarantees our customers’ success and something totally new that could hit the market from a very different point of view.”

If the company was blossoming before, it is booming now. Since the Cinco Dias recognition, Guidance has opened new projects in the U.S., U.K., Germany and France. Guidance is also preparing to expand with future projects in Mexico and Chile.

“Our students have so much impact on the quality of their education while at IMC, and Valen was a great example of a student with impact,” said Medill Associate Dean and IMC Department Chair Tom Collinger. “He joined us after a number of years of work in his native country, Spain, where he succeeded in marketing management at Microsoft. He brought this experience into the classroom, and coupled with his smart, curious and challenging view of what was being taught, he made the classes and his classmates better.”

As he continues to make Guidance better, Hernandez gives thanks for the education he received in Medill’s IMC program.

“IMC helped me to understand this new environment,” Hernandez said. “It gave me a competitive advantage versus other marketing professionals and showed me new ways to be successful in the market.”

]]> 0
Jonathan Katz awarded 2010 Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism Recipient Mon, 18 Apr 2011 21:59:12 +0000 Evanston, Ill., — Jonathan Katz, a reporter at the Associated Press, is the recipient of The 2010 Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism for his in-depth coverage of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010.

Katz was the only foreign correspondent working in Haiti when the most powerful earthquake in 200 years hit the Caribbean country. Katz ran outside barefoot as his house collapsed, then begged anyone he saw – in English, Creole, Spanish and French – for a cell phone to report the news. As a result, the AP delivered the first news alert to the world about the earthquake.

He would stay in the country in the following months to pursue the truth behind why the recovery process was so slow.

“Jonathan was on the island when the killer quake struck,” said Richard Stolley, one of the Medill Medal judges and founding editor of People Magazine. “He stayed there during severe aftershocks, a deadly cholera epidemic and dangerous political turmoil. And throughout, he filed brilliant stories to AP.

“He defines journalistic courage.”

John Daniszewski, senior managing editor for international and photos at the AP, nominated Katz for the award. In his nomination letter, Daniszewski wrote that Katz pursued the story with great dedication, despite a host of obstacles.

“Food, water, electricity and fuel were scarce, and he stepped around bodies in the streets,” Daniszewski wrote. “Without a house, Katz slept on the bricks outside, where he woke up several times a night as aftershocks pounded his head against the ground. Four of his friends died in the quake.”

Yet Katz remained focused on the story at hand. He held Haitian and international officials responsible for the actions that slowed the recovery process. The head of the government relocation commission stepped down because of Katz’s reporting.

Katz reported that horrible conditions at a United Nations camp led to a deadly cholera outbreak throughout the country. The U.N. denied the reports, but after Katz obtained a report from a French scientist that confirmed the origins of the cholera outbreak, the U.N. stopped its denials and appointed an independent panel to examine the issue.

Jonathan was on the island when the killer quake struck. He stayed there during severe aftershocks, a deadly cholera epidemic and dangerous political turmoil. And throughout, he filed brilliant stories to AP. He defines journalistic courage.” - Richard Stolley, founding editor of People Magazine

Katz earned a Bachelor’s degree in History and American Studies from Northwestern University in 2002. He received his masters in journalism from Medill in 2004.

The Medill Medal is given to the individual or team of journalists, working for a U.S.-based media outlet, who best displayed moral, ethical or physical courage in the pursuit of a story or series of stories. The contest is open to journalists from newspapers, television stations, online news operations, magazines and radio stations. The story subjects may be local, national or international in scope.

The two other finalists for this year’s Medill Medal were Joshua Kors, for his “Disposable Soldiers” piece that ran in The Nation, and Linda Valdez, for her series of editorials that ran in The Arizona Republic opposing the Immigration Law in Arizona.

For more information about the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism and to view past winners, please visit:

]]> 0