Ohio University

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Published: April 23, 2019 Author: Alaina Bartel

Journalists from around the world gathered at Ohio University from April 7-11 to develop their digital storytelling skills as a part of the prestigious Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism.

The one-week fellowship, in its first year at OHIO after officially moving from The Ohio State University in February, offers mid-career journalists the chance to engage in intensive hands-on training to develop their social media, video, spreadsheet and other digital reporting skills to build relevance in the ever-changing media landscape.

Dr. Scott Titsworth, dean of OHIO’s Scripps College of Communication, and Dr. Robert Stewart, director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism speak to the fellows.

undefinedDr. Scott Titsworth, dean of OHIO’s Scripps College of Communication, and Dr. Robert Stewart, director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism speak to the fellows. Photo by Alaina Bartel “We’re really excited that you all are here and we’re really excited the Kiplinger Program is here,” said Dr. Scott Titsworth, dean of OHIO’s Scripps College of Communication, to the fellows. “… We take journalism still very, very seriously at our school and we think one of the best services that we can do is to continue training students with fundamental skills of what journalism is, and I think even more importantly, why it’s important for not only for our culture but for the world culture.”  The program lived at Ohio State for 45 years after being established by Austin H. Kiplinger, who created and endowed the program in honor of W.M. Kiplinger, one of the first two journalism graduates of Ohio State. W.M. Kiplinger was a proud Ohio native, according to his grandson, Knight Kiplinger, former editor-in-chief and chairman of the Kiplinger media company. 

Knight Kiplinger speaks with the Kiplinger Fellows on the goals of the fellowship as well as “big tech” and its effects on reporting in the digital age.

undefinedKnight Kiplinger speaks with the Kiplinger Fellows on the goals of the fellowship as well as “big tech” and its effects on reporting in the digital age. Photo by Alaina Bartel “There are a few great journalism schools left in America and the Scripps School right here at Ohio University is in that company,” Knight Kiplinger said to the fellows during a discussion on April 9. 

The Kiplinger Fellows engage with one another abnd develop their skills during their week-long program at OHIO. Photo by Dr. Robert Stewart.

undefinedThe Kiplinger Fellows engage with one another and develop their skills during their week-long program at OHIO. Photo by Dr. Robert Stewart Throughout the week, faculty experts from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism on Ohio University’s Athens campus and journalism experts from beyond Ohio held sessions for the 22 fellows, including Robb Montgomery, director of the Berlin-based Smart Film School, who spoke on mobile videography; and Lucia Walinchus, executive director of Eye on Ohio, who talked about the basics of data journalism.  OHIO Professor Dr. Elizabeth Hendrickson and Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Amber Hunt introduced the fellows to podcasting; OHIO Professor Juan Thommasie dove into data visualization in another session; and OHIO professors Dr. Chip Linscott, Dr. Eric Williams and John Bowditch spoke on virtual and augmented reality and 360 storytelling — something that might become commonplace in newsrooms in the future.  The fellows also heard from Doug Haddix, executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, on digital sleuthing. When news breaks, journalists need to be nimble and smart in finding sources, backgrounding people, verifying what’s real and what’s fake, and staying ahead of the competition, according to Haddix. 

A Kiplinger Fellow meets with an OHIO student. Photo by Robert Stewart

undefinedThis year's Kiplinger Fellows expressed great interest in meeting with OHIO's students and encouraged more fellow-student interactions in the years to come. Photo by Dr. Robert Stewart Haddix provided the fellows with key websites, mobile applications and social media strategies to quickly build a digital dossier on someone — which stuck with Kate Cook, city editor at the Herald-Citizen newspaper in Tennessee and one of this year’s Kiplinger fellows.  “It was really, really well done and really informative,” Cook said. “Doug is great, and that’s not to take anything away from the other presenters, they were equally wonderful. The digital sleuthing is something that I can (present to my reporters), and … it’s going to make the whole newsroom better.”  During their time at OHIO, the Kiplinger fellows also had a chance to network with the University’s faculty, staff and students at a reception on April 9.  Dr. Robert Stewart, director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, said that it was inspiring for him to meet the journalists, but what he appreciated most was their willingness to engage with OHIO’s community.  “One of our goals in having the program here is that our students can benefit from it as well, and many of the fellows engaged with our students and I was able to connect students with specific interests with fellows who specialize in that area, so it just helps build that network out for our students,” Dr. Stewart explained. “You never know which contact you make that affects the rest of your life.” 

The fellows gather for a group portrait with their certificates of completion, noting the end of their week-long stay in Athens for the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism. Photo by Hannah Ruhoff

undefinedThe fellows gather for a group portrait with their certificates of completion, noting the end of their week-long stay in Athens for the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism. Photo by Hannah Ruhoff  Kevin Smith, director of the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism, said the fellowship lived up to its reputation once again this year. He noted that while the main purpose of the fellowship is for continuing education, it’s also for the journalists to make connections.  Smith believes this year’s group of fellows bonded quite a bit and hopefully will be friends for years to come.  “Typically, our fellows continue that bond,” Smith added. “In previous classes, if someone is in another fellow’s hometown, they get together and have coffee or dinner, and those kinds of things. I’m certain this group will do that.”  For Maxwell White, digital executive producer at WXYZ in Detroit and one of this year’s Kiplinger fellows, it was also a chance to see how other journalists approach projects.  “I think the best part of the week was just being able to spend time with other journalists from across the country and across the world,” he said. “You get to know how people do things differently and you get to socialize, while also spending time in class and learning a ton of things. “I just think that it’s a great program … and I encourage other journalists who meet the criteria to apply,” White added. 

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