The panelists included Alberto Araujo, a masters student with a decade of experience reporting in his home country of Ecuador; Colleen McCain Nelson, j’97, vice president and editorial page editor of the Kansas City Star; Patricia Gaston, j’81, editor at the Washington Post; Kevin Helliker, c’82, who has 26 years of experience at the Wall Street Journal; and J.B. Forbes, j’73, chief photographer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The panel was moderated by Pam Fine, KU journalism professor and former managing editor of the Indianapolis Star.
Citing current tensions between political journalists and their readers, Fine opened the event by asking each panelist what political journalists are doing right in today’s climate. A central theme of journalists’ responsibilities emerged in the evening’s responses.
When asked about the idea of bias in media, Helliker reminded the audience that “journalists are totally self-serving. What I want is a great story. The idea that journalists are molding their coverage to fit their ideology gives them too much credit. We just want a good story.”
Nelson shared her experiences working on an editorial page in the era of partisan segmentation. When asked whether it’s her job to help create common ground, she responded, “It’s part of our goal. At the editorial page, our goal is to expose people to different points of view, and not create an echo chamber where you only have people agreeing with each other. We’re trying to create a civil conversation on the editorial page, which is tough right now. We’re trying to remind readers that it’s possible to disagree without being disagreeable; you can read something where you don’t embrace the idea but you still might learn something.”
Dean Ann Brill concluded the event by starting a tradition at the School of Journalism: presenting the group of Pulitzer Prize-winning panelists with Alumni of Distinction medals.
Sarah Smarsh, 2003 J-School graduate and a reporter on socioeconomic class, politics, and policy for The New Yorker, The Guardian, Harper’s online, and other publications, discussed media coverage of class in the United States in this Harvard University Shorenstein Center program. Read full article.
Since 1970, the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity has honored a select group of women to be inducted into the University of Kansas Women’s Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees include Sarah Deer, Terry Hoyt Evans, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, Saralyn Reece Hardy, Colleen McCain Nelson and Jan Bowen Sheldon. Read full article.
Starting in fall 2017, Sarah Deer will join the Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies and the School of Public Affairs & Administration in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences as a professor. Deer earned a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies and philosophy from KU in 1995 and a juris doctor from the KU School of Law in 1999. Read full article.
Lisa Donnelly, a Lawrence native and singer-songwriter, died Friday, April 7, in San Francisco. She earned degrees in psychology and theatre in 2002 from KU and was featured in issue no. 5, 2009, of Kansas Alumni magazine. Read full article.
In 2014, Austin Barone launched Just Play Sports Solutions while he was still a student at the University of Kansas School of Business studying finance and accounting. The idea for a new company came to Barone, b’16, while he was a kicker for the Kansas Jayhawks football team. Read full article.
Global law firm Dentons has strengthened its Litigation and Dispute Resolution and Arbitration practices with the recruitment of Heiko Heppner, l’08, who will join as a partner in Frankfurt. He joins Dentons from Clifford Chance. Read full article.
Brian McClendon, who recently left his post as a vice president at Uber, has joined the University of Kansas as a research professor in electrical engineering and computer science. McClendon, e’86, is a former vice president at Google and co-founded Google Earth. Read full article.
The University of Kansas School of Business will honor Gary Padgett and Mike Thompson with its 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award.Padgett and Thompson received the award for their dedication to business excellence, community service and commitment to KU on Thursday, April 20, during a private reception at the Kansas Union. Read full article.
Towering, crystal-filled twisters periodically swirl in a valley nestled between two volcanoes in the Andes Mountains, newly reported observations show. Geologist Kathleen Benison, PhD’98, of West Virginia University in Morgantown spotted the whirlwinds during an expedition in 2007 to an otherworldly region of northern Chile. Read full article.
Mindie Paget, c’98, g’01, and Joanne Eden, c’96, have been named Employees of the Month by the University of Kansas. Paget is the director of communications and marketing for the KU School of Law. Eden, c’96, is a grant officer with the Office of Research. Read full article.
Cody Wamsley has joined McDonald Hopkins LLC, a business advisory and advocacy law firm, as an associate in the firm’s national Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group. Wamsley holds an LL.M. in intellectual property law from The George Washington University Law School, a J.D. from University of Kansas School of Law, and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Kansas. Read full article.
Harry Herington, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of NIC Inc., was honored by Government Technology magazine as one of its “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers” of 2017. Mr. Herington, l’93, is the only individual honoree recognized this year from the private sector. Read full article.
Jordy Altman, a social media producer for CBS’s “The Talk” and 2008 University graduate, has worked for the multi-time Emmy nominated show since September 2016. Altman, c’06, coined the hashtag #EverybodyTalks to get followers involved online. Read full article.
Boise State Sen. Grant Burgoyne is one of 12 candidates seeking to fill a coming vacancy on the state Court of Appeals, Idaho’s second highest court. Burgoyne, 62, has a 26-year litigation practice and now concentrates on alternative dispute resolution and mediation. He is a graduate of the University of Idaho and the University of Kansas School of Law and has lived in Idaho since 1975. Read full article.
Justin Bauman, a 2004 and 2006 graduate of the Sport Management program, answered five questions for department chair Jordan Bass. Justin currently serves as the Director of Operations for the the Wake Forest Men’s Basketball team and head coach Danny Manning. Read full article.
Golden Globe nominated actor Kurt Russell, AKA Mr. Nobody, dons a Niall GMT “Noir” watch in the eighth sequel in the Fast and Furious series. Niall was founded five years ago in Kansas City, Missouri, by Michael Wilson, a graduate of the KU School of Business. Read full article.
Hannes Zacharias, county manager of Johnson County, has been named the 2017 Outstanding Public Administrator by the Kansas chapter of the American Society for Public Administration. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas. He is a native of Dodge City, Kansas. Read full article.
Michael Cain, who won a gold medal at a Nebraska high school meet, this year watched Americans go for the gold from a lofty perch—as director of business development for U.S. Olympic Training Centers. Cain, j’98, l’01, was featured on our blog a few weeks ago. Read full article
Mi-Ling Stone has always loved a good dance song. She, like everyone, found Prince’s 1983 hit “Little Red Corvette” an irresistible jam. Then she realized the song was about her. Stone, j’84, left Minnesota to attend the University of Kansas. Read full article
Gary Bedore, who covered the Jayhawks for the first time as a KU student in 1978, has joined the Kansas City Star as the new “KU insider.” Bedore, j’79, previously worked for newspapers in Emporia and Oklahoma City before joining the Lawrence Journal-World in 1979. Read full article
Former Kansas point guard Russell Robinson was back in town recently for his annual pilgrimage to the place he calls his second home. Robinson, c’08, played with various NBA summer leagues for three summers following his KU career, and he’s set to begin his ninth season playing professionally overseas. Read full article
Read about Rena Detrixhe’s artistic process for depicting water in various mediums. Detrixhe, c’13, earned a fine arts degree from KU and currently works from a studio in the Hardesty Arts Center in Tulsa. Read full article
A pair of Jayhawk journalists are heading back to the Midwest. Colleen McCain Nelson, j’97, who received a Pulitzer Prize for her work in editorial writing in 2010, will serve as vice president of The Star’s editorial board. Her husband, Eric Nelson, j’93, will lead digital news operations for the organization. Read full article
A $1.3 million challenge grant from the Hall Family Foundation and a commitment of $650,000 from the Sunderland Family Fund will establish the A. Drue Jennings Professorship in Medical Oncology at the University of Kansas Medical Center, named in honor of Drue Jennings, d’68, l’72. Read full article
The Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association, (PRSM), the authority on retail, multi-site facilities management, announced that its Board of Directors has selected Bill Yanek, l’01, as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the association. Read full article
Armstrong Teasdale announced that litigation partner Karrie Clinkinbeard has been elected to serve as managing attorney of the firm’s Kansas City office. Clinkinbeard, l’99, is the first woman elected to this role in the firm’s 115-year history. Read full article
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Following the tragic events that occurred this week at the Boston Marathon when two bombs exploded near the finish line, KU alumni have been sharing their first-hand experiences and perspectives:
Several KU alumni attended either as runners or spectators, including Clifton Railsback, e’97, a former KU distance runner, and Tiffany Francis, who is married to KU soccer coach Mark Francis. Peter Johnston, c’94, l’97, and his wife Sara, c’96, m’00, of Salina, also traveled to Boston with friends and fellow KU alumni Chris Rupe, c’00, m’04, and his wife Abby, c’01, m’05 (pictured together here).
Chris, a Salina surgeon, finished seconds before the first bomb exploded and rushed to assist medics on the scene. His story of heroism was reported locally in the Salina Journal and nationally by RunnersWorld.com.
Ramsey Mohsen, b’05, a Kansas City blogger and social media director, tweeted and blogged from Boston while there to support his girlfriend, Ali Hatfield, who also blogged about her experience. Mohsen’s blog includes a tweet-by-tweet accounting (pictured at right).
Another runner was School of Journalism alumna Colleen McCain Nelson, j’97, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and reporter for the Wall Street Journal in Washington, D.C. Nelson, who was editor of the University Daily Kansan while at KU, finished the marathon just before the bombing, and her personal account was published in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal. (Members might recall our feature story on Nelson in Kansas Alumni, issue 3, 2010.)
In Lawrence, many KU students joined an estimated 100 local runners in a “Run for Boston” event—similar to those taking place around the country—at South Park organized by KU alumnus Jon King, l’93.
Kansas City PR executive, Mike Swenson, j’76, posted this professional perspective on crisis communications and the news coverage that follows events like the tragedy in Boston.
Former KU basketball player Paul Pierce, ’98, (@PaulPierce34), who plays now for the Boston Celtics, shared this tweet with followers: “My prayers go out to everybody affected by yesterday. Boston, let’s come back stronger.”
These alumni join all of us in support of those affected.