To further our mission to not only craft and showcase journalism at Grady, but also talk about the process and quality of reporting itself, each guest curator has highlighted what he or she sees as the five “don’t want to miss” pieces posted to Grady Newsource that month, along with a few sentences of constructive reflection about the journalism.
About This Month’s Guest Curator
Dr. Janice Hume is head of the Department of Journalism and the Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair in UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Her teaching interests include media history, media management and feature writing. In 2012, she received the American Journalism Historians Association’s National Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Hume’s research focuses on the history of American journalism as it relates to American culture and public memory. She has written three books. Her latest, Popular Media and the American Revolution: Shaping Collective Memory (Routledge, 2014) considers the relationship between journalism and history in building a national narrative.
My first choice might surprise you. It’s not breaking news or human interest. Rather, it’s a basic “how to” package, what we call service journalism, by Janie Bohlmann. “How to Register to Vote in Athens” offers simple, step-by-step instructions as well as links to the Georgia Secretary of State’s website and the official form to request an absentee ballot. The video demonstrates just how easy it is to register to vote online. If I wasn’t registered, and was nervous about the process, this story would encourage me to act.
I believe the most fundamental role of journalism in a democratic society is to provide citizens credible information they need to self-govern. What could be more important than helping people register to vote?
“Bigger Vision: Not Just the Name of a Shelter” deserves a second look because of its voice and tone. It is about a winter shelter in Athens. The story by Eliza Castriota is well written, from its teaser lead -- “there’s no such thing as a homeless person” -- to its last sentence about safety. I love that it doesn’t just feature the shelter’s executive director but also compelling stories from former residents. Anyone who reads this story will learn about Bigger Vision, of course, but will also come away with real empathy for those who seek refuge from the cold.
“Deaf Student Brings Awareness to UGA” by Kristen Rary isn’t a long story, but it is packed with information and personality. It introduces us to Luke Bundrum, a partially deaf UGA student activist. It tells us what the University does to accommodate our deaf community, but it also makes us think. What more could we do? I never considered that an interpreter might help someone enjoy watching the Dawgs play, or help a student participate in homecoming. And the video is simply lovely. There’s no audio but music. We “hear” the story by reading its captions.
In the Sept. 6 episode of the podcast The Lead, Charlotte Norsworthy conducts a terrific interview with Elizabeth Jensen, ombudsman and public editor for National Public Radio. Jensen talks about being one of the last remaining full-time public editors in the country. Her task is to investigate any journalistic errors and misjudgments at NPR. It’s an important job. “We are all here because we want to produce trustworthy, quality journalism,” she said. This interview is well worth the 14-minute time investment. Spoiler alert: Listen to the end and you’ll hear some really good career advice. The Lead is a project of Grady’s Cox Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership.
My last choice is purely self-indulgent. Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about dogs. I love the semesters I have a service-puppy-in-training in my classroom, so I was delighted to see “It Takes a Village: Athens-Area Puppy Raisers Meet Vital Need.” Thanks to Savannah Peat’s reporting, now I know all about the organization that trains these pups. I enjoyed reading this piece, which is loaded with good information and lots of sources. The video is fantastic. It is well-produced and edited, and overflows with furry, four-legged happiness.