Chair's Corner: Winter 2021
During winter quarter, the department hosted the Media Ethics Speaker Series, which took place over Zoom for seven consecutive weeks and included 13 DU alumni and eight friends of the university, including DU Board of Trustee member Gregory Moore. Some of the panelists, such as Amy Nisenson (BA '90) and Ellie Schafer (BA '90), had maintained both personal friendships and successful media careers for decades, and others, including Chelsea Hernandez (BA '19) and Nicole Barker (BA '20), were new to the profession, having graduated from DU within the last two years. We even hosted a few former Clarion editors, including Cory Lamz (BA '12) and Evan Dreyer (BA '88).
The series took advantage of the remote class format, inviting alumni to speak with students about their career trajectories since college. Each media pro presented students with an actual ethical dilemma they’d encountered in their work life and then asked the students, "What would you do in this situation?" After the students discussed the ways that they would consider the facts and choose a course of action, panelists shared what actually had happened. Together, they discussed positive and negative consequences, workplace policies that were developed and personal convictions they had embraced as a result of the experiences.
“I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate [the Speaker Series]," Caroline Winch, a student in the class, wrote. “It is truly an amazing opportunity to learn about the real world and to be able to ask questions of people in the field. I hope this is something you can continue for other students!” DU alumni and friends who have participated have been similarly enthused about the opportunity to meet and hear from MFJS’s “thoughtful students” who “make me wish I were a student again,” as COLab Executive Director and previous DU guest speaker Laura Frank noted.
The series was inspired by the efforts of current Clarion Editor-in-Chief Kiana Marsan and Executive Editor Jake Gloth, who have been hosting DU alumni and media professionals to kick off their weekly Monday evening Clarion staff meetings all year long. Thanks to the alumni and friends who have participated in these informal meet-and-greets, as well! If you haven’t had a chance to be involved, would like a repeat invite next year, or you know someone you’d like us to contact for the future, please be in touch via email or LinkedIn. It’s been wonderful to reconnect alumni and friends to the university, and the students have greatly appreciated the interest shown in their aspirations as media professionals.
Now that we have embraced this means of connecting students with alumni and friends, we will continue to leverage communication technologies to connect and learn from one another. And thus, even after Zoom fatigue is a distant memory—a moment we all await eagerly—we can look forward to hosting more virtual opportunities in the future.