They will be in the area as a part of a field study course entitled “Beyond the Bubble: Reporting in Rural America.”
The students will spread out across San Juan County, interviewing local residents and working on stories of local, national, and international interest.
Local residents are invited to meet the students at an informal open house on Tuesday, May 15 at the Canyon Country Discovery Center in Monticello. The event begins at 7 p.m.
At the end of their visit, the San Juan Record plans to publish a special issue featuring the student work.
The goal is to help bridge the divide that seems to be growing between the media and many regular Americans.
One of the students, Tommy Brooksbank, writes, “I want to be a part of the program because of the perspective it provides.
“Although I’ve had several internships at the network level and extensive experience reporting and producing content at Annenberg, I haven’t had an opportunity to work on projects outside of Los Angeles or New York City.
“To a certain degree, I feel I’ve only been exposed to the ‘media bubble’ of the news industry in my college experience, and I want to get on the ground in an area that’s often overlooked.
“I’m looking to gain some understanding of what the concerns and needs of rural America are and hope to reflect that in my reporting. I feel this program could provide that perspective.”
The six students, from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC, will spend one week as reporters for the San Juan Record and the second week reporting for the Guardian.
Very brief profiles of the students are available to the right.
The students will be accompanied by faculty members, including veterans with years of network news experience.
They are led by Judy Muller, a retired professor of journalism who now lives in Norwood, CO. Muller worked for ABC News for many years, including Nightline and World News Tonight.
Rebecca Haggerty currently teaches at Annenberg. She has more than a decade of work for NBC News, including ten years as a producer for Dateline NBC.
George Lewis worked for NBC News for 43 years, covering the Vietnam War, Iranian Hostage Crisis, Tiananmen Square, and Desert Storm.
The Annenberg School at USC is a premier training center for journalists. It is ranked among the top five university journalism programs.
The course outline states, “This course will provide students with an unusual opportunity to embed for two weeks in a rural community and report on issues that concern both the local population and the nation, at a time when the country seems divided sharply between urban and rural cultures.
“Students will first learn how to identify their own biases (their own ‘bubbles’) and will improve their listening/interviewing skills in order to be open to what they learn and hear once they are embedded in the communities of Monticello and Blanding.
“Students will learn to search for nuance in stories, rather than ‘air-dropping in’ with pre-conceived notions based on what they might have heard or read.
“They will also get first-hand experience with the challenges (and accomplishments) of a small newsroom, while providing content for that newspaper/website in the form of text, video, audio, and digital material.
“Students will improve their skills in meeting tight deadlines, interviewing people of markedly different backgrounds, and pitching original stories without pre-conceptions.”