SMPA is a pioneering teaching and research leader. Professor Silvio Waisbord is Editor of the International Journal of Press/Politics, an interdisciplinary journal for the analysis and discussion of the role of the press and politics in a globalized world.
Gain access to countless career opportunities
Students at our annual Communications Career Expo network with a CNN recruiter. SMPA helps students pursue rewarding careers in media, journalism, and communications via internships, networking events, and employment workshops.
Collaborate with faculty on research and special projects
Graduate student Rachel Weisel and Professor Kimberly Gross, in partnership with the Project for Excellence in Journalism, studied how the media uses Twitter. Their findings were published in a groundbreaking report that garnered national press coverage.
World-class speakers and events provide invaluable perspective
Students line up outside GW's Lisner Auditorium before Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates speak at an event hosted by SMPA. The event was broadcast on CNN.
Learn and operate industry-standard broadcasting equipment and software
SMPA Faculty and staff use the flash studio for live and recorded professional programming.
World-class speakers and events provide invaluable perspective
Longtime political reporter and broadcaster Gwen Ifill of The Newshour with Jim Lehrer addresses students.
World-class speakers and events provide invaluable perspective
CNN's Christiane Amanpour and SMPA Director Frank Sesno interview five former U.S. Secretaries of State, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Warren Christopher, Henry A. Kissinger and James A. Baker III. The free event was sponsored by SMPA.
Study media in heart of Washington, and the world
SMPA is home to Prime Movers Media, an organization that sends student interns and media professionals to public high schools in Washington, D.C. to teach journalism.
If you're interested in volunteering for any of the conference events - like the Best in Business Awards Dinner on Friday evening or the 50th Anniversary Gala on Saturday evening, please email Samara Sit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SMPA welcomed GW alum, PR/social media specialist and food blogger Marissa Bialecki on February 23 for a food blogging master class that included PowerPoints of dangerously appealing food blogs and photos, as well as Bialecki's own "10 Food Blogging Commandments." Bialecki began her food blog during her time as a GW student as a creative, and delicious, outlet to her academic classes as a Journalism and Mass Communication major.
Bialecki gives a rundown of the 10 Food Blogging Commandments.
Bialecki began the master class with the warning that a blog name is rarely temporary if one is lucky enough to reach popularity, so I promptly eliminated "I'm Really Hungry and Am Limited By My Lack of Cooking Ability" as my future blog's title.
GW's School of Media and Public Affairs in association with
the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC) presents...
Scandal and Silence
When the Watchdog Doesn't Bark
A Debate and Discussion with Robert Entman, J.B. and M.C. Shapiro
Professor of Media and Public Affairs
Michael Isikoff, National Investigative Correspondent, NBC News Egil "Bud" Krogh, Former Nixon Staffer & Senior Fellow, CSPC Mara Liasson, National Political Correspondent, NPR Frank Sesno, Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, moderator
The conventional wisdom holds that media crave and actively pursue scandals whenever they sense corruption, keeping politicians honest, or at least fearful of being exposed. Dr. Entman's book Scandal and Silence argues instead that:
Media neglect most corruption, providing too little, not too much scandal coverage.
Feeding frenzies are the exception, not the rule.
It's not the media but governments and political parties that drive the scandal process and any excesses that occur.
Cover-ups and lying often work, and truth remains essentially unrecorded, unremembered.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Jack Morton Auditorium
The George Washington University
801 21st Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
If you were unable to attend the Conversation Series event with former CIA and NSA Director Michael V. Hayden, you can check it out here: SMPA Conversation Series Webcast
Before becoming Director of the CIA, General Hayden served as the country’s first Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence and was the highest-ranking intelligence officer in the armed forces. Earlier, he served as Commander of the Air Intelligence Agency, Director of the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center, Director of the National Security Agency and Chief of the Central Security Service.
Objectivity: the idea that we must present both sides of every story, and as journalists, we must keep our own views out of the story. As a common thread in journalistic practice, objectivity ensures that we present information fairly and leave it up to our readers to decide what to think.
The more classes I take in SMPA, the more I am urged to call this into question. In learning the ropes of reporting in Intro to News Writing & Reporting, we learned the importance of consulting multiple sources. In evaluating Journalism Theory & Practice last year, my professor framed objectivity as a pursuit rather than an absolutely achievable notion. In Research Methods, my professor has cited how statistics and other numerical verifications give way for objectivity as a journey instead of a destination.
Schieffer reflects on the debate he moderated in October.
Objectivity represents a larger conversation that extends so much farther than our SMPA classrooms, as indicated in The Kalb Report's "Democracy in Action: A Review of the 2012 Presidential Debates" feature on January 28. Featuring Jim Lehrer, Martha Raddatz and Bob Schieffer, the program addressed the many elements of this past election season from the eyes of some of the industry's most valued journalists.
As presidential and vice presidential debate moderators, these journalists reflected on their experiences relating to their preparation for the debates, their vision for debates of the future, and their views on the role debates play in the political process and democracy.
On the question of their roles as moderators, each had different views. Lehrer believed his role was primarily to be a debate moderator while employing journalistic skills. His view was to let the candidates correct each other, rather than his intervening.
"You’re not electing a moderator—you’re electing a president," said Schieffer.
Raddatz echoed these sentiments, although her approach differed in how she made sure the candidates answered her questions. In being more hands-on than other moderators, she interjected and followed through to get apt responses from the candidates.
"You’re trying to be really fair," said Raddatz. "There's not always an absolute truth to those things [with nuanced questions and answers]."
To see how these moderators discussed objectivity as debate moderators followed what I have learned in my two years thus far in SMPA: while we must strive to be as objective as possible, it remains a process. As we collect and disperse information, it is our ultimate aspiration to present as many perspectives as possible in our stories. And in political communication: to strategically address these perspectives.
This past Thursday, I was fortunate enough to receive tickets to attend the Anderson Cooper 360 Town Hall at a familiar venue, the Jack Morton Auditorium in the School of Media and Public Affairs. An invaluable opportunity to view the taping of such a reputable program, the topic of the town hall was gun control, an issue of importance to me.
Anderson Cooper with several of the town hall guests.
Cooper introduced a series of prominent guests, including Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign, and Sandy Froman, a National Rifle Association board member. The Brady campaign is a nonprofit organization with the mission to create a gun-free America; there was noticeable tension on stage between Gross and Froman. I additionally enjoyed listening to Colin Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting and a documentarian.
However, to me Cooper’s most interesting guests included the diverse voices sitting in the audience. It is easy enough to discuss policymaking toward gun control, but the people who have been directly affected by the issue offer a significant perspective.
Liza Long, the writer of an influential blog post, "I am Adam Lanza’s Mother," written shortly after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, exposed an underlying outlook on incidents of gun violence – mental health. It is widely known that a disposition toward aggressive behavior has linked each one of the public shootings in recent years. Yet, Long's article pointed out the lack of resources for parents who see the signs of a violent child.
"I just feel like there's no transitional space between that acute care facility and jail. And that's certainly been the case with my son. He's 13 years old. He's already been in juvenile detention four times," said Long.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, agreed and stated that unfortunately most family members of the individuals who commit these horrible crimes did try to seek help for their conditions. It seems that a discussion of the stigmatization of mental health is finally gaining attention, however as a society, we are still unsure of how to deal with the issue itself.
The discussion was broadcast live on C-SPAN television and online.
I had the opportunity to attend the SMPA and Face the Facts USA event, "Out of Time: An American Crisis," at the Jack Morton Auditorium yesterday evening. The event featured experts tackling fictional scenarios of American crisis in a panel moderated by award-winning journalist and SMPA Director Frank Sesno. I felt that this was a classic example of an "only at GW" experience, because how many college students can say they were in the audience of a vibrant political discussion which was broadcast and streamed live to C-SPAN and The Huffington Post, respectively? I was honored to be a small part of such an historic event.
A sample of the topics discussed over the course of the evening includes the potential shutdown of a large factory and the subsequent loss of jobs, as well as a devastating bridge collapse. Business, political and media professionals came together in a dynamic panel to confront these problems and the broader issue of America's future. It was fantastic to see a variety of perspectives represented, including those of former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. I was pleased that the panel of guests was well rounded, including not only individuals with political experience but also those with careers in business and journalism. In my opinion, this helped the discussion become a stimulating conversation rather than an ordinary political debate.
I must admit that I was particularly excited to see one woman's name in the program, Ms. Farai Chideya. Chideya is a popular journalist, blogger and author. As a Journalism and Mass Communication major, I was very interested to see how Ms. Chideya would respond to the questions posed during the event. I am glad to report that she did not disappoint.
Sesno questions Iorio on her ideas.
I was delighted to see that every detail of the hypothetical crises had been thought out. For example, after Mr. Sesno mentioned certain scenarios, he played a fictional news clip from GNN, short for "Global News Network." I thought this was very creative, and it certainly went above and beyond what I was expecting. In addition, Mr. Sesno placed facts alongside the imaginary situations in order to convey the message that these fictional crises are not implausible in today's environment. The juxtaposition of fact and fiction helped me place the "political theater" background into a real-world context.
The participants were very passionate and dedicated not only to portraying their respective roles in each scenario but also to contributing their best responses to each question. I particularly enjoyed listening to former U.S. Senator Bob Bennett, who stood by his convictions and maintained a sense of humor. I loved his response to one question in which he stated that he would "call Frank Sesno" and get himself on television to have a discussion centered on the facts. This kind of inventive response kept me smiling and interested to hear what the panelists had to say.
The Media Student Community Council finished a successful first semester as an official student organization. Their Master Class series brought Bob Mondello, NPR’s film critic, to campus to teach a class on how to be a movie critic. Social media expert and 2010 SMPA alumnus Nikki Rappaport held a session on personal branding through social media. Here’s a recap from two of our freshman participants.
Bob Mondello, A Man For the Movies
By: Miriam Smallman, JMC ‘16
In late November, I had a chance to sit in a Master Class with NPR film critic Bob Mondello to learn how to be a film critic. Mondello played the opening clips from a variety of movies—including Frankenweenie, The Sessions, and Beasts of the Southern Wild—and prompted the audience to analyze what we saw. What are the things film critics should be searching for? Cleverness, connections to other ideas, and—between the lines—the story the director is trying to tell, according to Mondello.
He also noted a few of the differences between writing a film critique for print, as opposed to writing one for radio. One of the most apparent differences is that radio critiques can use sound bites from the films themselves, a phenomenon that draws the listener in. However, a good film critique must walk the line between being descriptive and giving too much away. Mondello talked about an NPR host he previously worked with that would plug his ears whenever he heard him reviewing a film, because he was of the opinion that Mondello gave too much of the plot away.
The students who spent time with Mondello got a glimpse into the work of film critiques on radio, a subject not often covered academically by the School of Media and Public Affairs. One of the most memorable moments was Mondello's advice to go into things with an open mind—except “the Bieber.”
Being You Online
By: Joanne Zalatoris, JMC ‘16
To call myself a social media novice is probably an overstatement. Before taking my first SMPA class this fall, I had never even considered creating a Twitter account. I have a Facebook account, but I rarely post anything. The only blog I tried writing was for a high school Spanish class. The opportunity to learn how to use social media to my advantage from an expert, not to mention an SMPA alum, certainly piqued my interest.
Nikki Rappaport explained how her blog, Cupcakes for Breakfast, developed from two SMPA classes taken during her senior year. It was a great example of how class projects can translate into meaningful post-graduation work. Rappaport urged current SMPA students to start working on their online personalities and portfolios early in their time at GW so they could be used for career searches later.
This all could have been overwhelming for a freshman just beginning his or her time at SMPA, but Rappaport provided several valuable pieces of advice. The first, to be in control of your Internet personality. Since the “Internet is like ink,” Rappaport encouraged students to manage their own messages online. She also advised that every person create consistency across their social media outlets—including username, tone, design, color, font and content. By the end of the class I certainly wasn’t an expert, but I gained valuable knowledge that many people often have to learn after graduation through trial and error.
Fortunately for me, and all the SMPA students in attendance, we had our very own expert imparting her knowledge to be used to our advantage.
Make sure you check the weekly SMPA Rundown so you don’t miss any Master Classes and other events from the Media Student Community Council.
Though the District air was at a frigid 40-something degrees on Tuesday night, the inside of Lisner Auditorium was buzzing with anticipation. On November 13, ﬁlmmaker and co-founder of Invisible Children, Jason Russell, spoke publicly for the ﬁrst time since his streaking incident that occurred shortly after his KONY2012 video - the most viral video in Internet history - was released.
Lisner Auditorium was far from full, but the event was highly interactive and audience members were encouraged to write, email or text any questions they had for Russell. Before Russell spoke, Invisible Children's newest video, "MOVE," was aired.
The video has gained around 26,000 views over the past two weeks, a small number when one considers the success of the ﬁrst KONY2012 movie. Still, Russell remains optimistic and dedicated to his cause - emphasizing the idea that every human life is valuable and every human interaction is a way of someone asking:
"Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?"
Russell was reverent about his streaking incident and apologized to anyone he may have offended, confused or disappointed. After his apology Russell discussed the power we, as the dubbed "millennial generation," have to make positive change in the world. He then proceeded to answer select audience questions, including: "What would you have done differently about the KONY2012 movement and video?"
Russell stated that he would have prepared the Invisible Children website more adequately. The site crashed as a result of the unprecedented amount of viewers and the Invisible Children organization could only communicate via Tumblr. Russell attributed this to much of the miscommunication and misinformation that occurred in the days following the video's release.
Currently, the organization is promoting and prepping for its big end-of-the-year KONY2012 events, LOBBY: DC and MOVE: DC, happening this Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17. These events are projected to have 10,000 people from around the world in attendance.
Zinhle with Jason Russell.
A group from the GW's Invisible Children Chapter will be leaving from Kogan Plaza at 7:15 a.m. Saturday morning to attend the event. The chapter connects with students through its Facebook and Twitter pages.
Whatever your qualms, questions or criticisms are regarding the KONY2012 movement, as media students we should see the work of Jason Russell as a reminder of our potential. He successfully made the most viral video in Internet history and has empowered youth across the world to believe they have the power to be the change-makers of today. As the end of the semester approaches, let his work remind us that we are attending GW not just to earn a degree, but to learn how to be effective journalists and political communicators who can make positive social change through media. Thank you, Jason Russell, for sharing your story and passion with us.
A lecture by Edward Rothstein, Culture Critic at Large for the New York Times
Tuesday, November 13
Jack Morton Auditorium
Free and open to the public, no RSVP necessary
In recent years, a new genre of museum has evolved that may end up as distinctive in our era as Enlightenment museums were in theirs. The "identity museum" and its origins are in the political movements of identity politics that developed after the 1960s. In the last few decades, there have been new Chinese American museums, Japanese American museums, Jewish American museums, an Asian American museum, African American museums, an Arab American museum, a Hispanic American museum, an American Indian museum, even a Nordic American museum. The most important African American museum is scheduled to open on The Mall in 2015. And there is heavy lobbying for the creation of a National Hispanic American Museum. The astonishing thing is how similar the narrative is in most of these institutions. It may right some wrongs, but it also introduces new distortions in our understanding of American life.
Edward Rothstein’s residency at The George Washington University is made possible by the Program in Judaic Studies and the generosity of Dr. Munr Kazmir and by the Museum Studies Program. Additional support is enthusiastically provided by the School of Media and Public Affairs and the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences.
Edward Rothstein is Critic at Large for The New York Times, where he writes regularly about museums. He is co-author of "Visions of Utopia" and the author of "Emblems of Mind: The Inner Life of Music and Mathematics.'' He has been Chief Music Critic of the New York Times and Music Critic for The New Republic. A graduate of Yale University, he holds a doctorate from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago and a Master's Degree in English literature from Columbia University, and did graduate work in mathematics at Brandeis University.