Dean Lavine addresses Medill graduate students over lunch

Medill logoMedill Dean John Lavine told a group of Medill graduates today, “we are aggressively looking at a set of new clients” for their graduate run Medill News Service.

As we at Medill here have started turning more towards multimedia journalism, the clients who subscribe to our graduate-run wire service haven’t been able to support some of the Flash-based video pieces we’ve produced for our Web site Medill Reports.

The Medill News Service, a wire service run by graduate students at the Medill School of Journalism has provided local coverage on Chicago politics, business, legal affairs, etc. for area publications since 1995. Basically, Medill graduate students report in Chicago, and Chicago-area publications who can’t afford the reporting pay for the stories. (Clients include the Daily Herald, the Daily Southtown, the Northwest Indiana Times, the Chicago Defender, among others.) The Medill News Service also runs a Washington Bureau. Washington clients include the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier and the Greeley Tribune in Colorado.

Other points:

So why do we need to buy all this equipment?

What distinguishes a New Media student from the rest of the track?

Lavine didn’t have a good answer to this. He agreed that Flash will have a huge impact, but I didn’t think he clearly articulated a prediction for what the New Media curriculum, as distinguishable from the broader curriculum, would look like.

Where do I look for a job if I’m interested in forward-looking community journalism?

This was my question. Lavine mentioned a few of the obvious (Lawrence, KS, Bakersfield, etc.) but ultimately referred me to Rich Gordon.

What about the name change?

The Medill School of Journalism will always have “Medill” in the title. Period.
The push to reexamine the name came from alumni of the Journalism department who felt ill-served by the title “The Medill School of Journalism,” because it’s narrowing and old. Medill does more than that.

He used the League of Women Voters example. When they began admitting men, they had a discussion on whether or not to change the name. Ultimately they decided not to. But they had the discussion.

Finally, students asked a lot of micro-level questions such as, how long will we retain our Northwestern e-mail accounts, or classes pertaining to specific classes, or issues with registration. Anyone who knows the Dean knows he refers questions such as those to other people.

If you wanted to add reactions, your notes from the meeting, or any relevant information, e-mail me or comment and I’ll integrate it.

3 thoughts on “Dean Lavine addresses Medill graduate students over lunch

  1. Hey Matt,

    I really do believe the Dean has our best interests in mind. His struggle is to fit everyone here under the big tent of Medill. Every single student here is here for a different reason and looking to get an education from Medill tailored to his or her needs. However, he mentioned again today that thing about Dubai, some Middle Eastern magazine and a San Francisco, and I’m thinking, “what about better utilizing the clients we have here in Chicago?”

    I think he’s right about the technology. We should have a cheap camera that can capture short video for the web. I remember hearing Macenzie Warren, a Medill grad now working for Gannett, say that customers expect a lower quality of video online because of youtube. The iPod, however, bad idea. It’s really a waste of money to use it as just a recorder and I’ve found it can be distracting sticking a $350 iPod in someone’s face.

    Lastly, I vote for changing the school name to…”The Medill School of Curiosity”


  2. Does this mean he’ll find clients who actually want to use our work? They need to decide if the future of Medill includes reporting at all because in DC, our time is slowly being taken over by classes, seminars and workshops. We barely have time for reporting and what we do report doesn’t get picked up. The move to a beat-based system has also hurt our clips. We’re supposed to localize to 20 different clients on a beat system. It lacks focus, overall, as a program.


  3. Aggressively seeking new clients, huh? Would these be the folks who were at our Media Management Project presentations — you know, top-notch sources of journalism like


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