A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

Journalism Education IN-BRIEF

By Quill

Diversity training offered in Milwaukee

A column in the student paper at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha has heightened racial tensions on the school’s campus.

The column was written by Dan Hubert, who is the assistant editor of the Observer. Hubert cites a “baggy pants” clothing style “associated with the derelicts and bohemians of society,” and he charges that unwed fathers and mothers living on welfare make poor role models for children. “Who is gunning down black people in Milwaukee? Who is holding the black community in Milwaukee down?” he wrote. “The answer is simple: black people.”

Angry students have called for Hubert’s expulsion from school and have asked that the Observer be cut off from University funding. Administrators and students at the school say they are supporters of press freedom, but that Hubert’s generalizations about African-American neighborhoods, parents and fashion are insulting.

No disciplinary action is planned, but Dean Brad Stewart has offered Hubert free tuition in one of the college’s courses on multiculturalism. “The purpose of the institution is to combat ignorance,” Stewart said. “We’ll find a seat in the class for him.”

A political science student, Hubert, who is white, said he fears the incident has spoiled his chances at running for public office someday. “I know I’m going to be branded a racist,” he said. “I am not a racist.”

Converged media lab planned at Howard U.

Microsoft Corp., the National Newspaper Publishers Association and the Howard University Department of Journalism have joined forces to launch the Converged Media Lab. The new lab, which will be housed at Howard University, will combine broadcast, print, advertising and public relations studies and provide one of the most advanced converged journalism curricula found at a historically black college or university.

Microsoft provided software and more than $70,000 in cash for hardware, technical assistance and furniture to support the Converged Media Lab.

The multimedia facility, a classroom that has been modeled after an open newsroom, includes broadcast monitors and 10 workstations with computers, printers, scanners and digital graphic design equipment. Microsoft worked with the NNPA and the Howard Department of Journalism to develop a lab favorable to learning and equipped with high-tech tools to teach the curriculum to the 367 currently enrolled journalism majors.

Confidence, doubts over Hampton J-school

On Sept. 25, Hampton University in Virginia dedicated the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications, a multimedia facility funded by a $10-million commitment from the E.W. Scripps Co.’s philanthropic foundation. William R. Harvey, Hampton’s president for 24 years, repeated his prediction that the school would eventually be one of the top 10 journalism programs in the nation.

Behind the scenes, however, current and past Hampton faculty members – along with a loosely knit network of African-American journalists and journalism academics – quietly expressed their concerns that the quality of the J-school might fall victim to Harvey’s view that, as one faculty member quoted him, journalism is “to do good, not muckraking.”

The J-school controversy surfaced when Richard Prince, in his “Richard Prince’s Journal-isms” Internet newsletter on the Maynard Institute Web site, reprinted excerpts from an e-mail message sent to the school’s advisory council by Charlotte Grimes, a former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter who came to Hampton two years ago to head its department of media arts. Grimes had been expected to head the new Scripps Howard School, but interim leader Rosalynne Whitaker-Heck was chosen instead.

In an interview with Editor & Publisher, Grimes said she was offered the position but declined it when Harvey said he would appoint a committee to draft a mission statement reflecting his view that “muckraking” or “investigative journalism” – Grimes said Harvey uses the terms interchangeably – are not proper subjects for journalism education.