1980s Featured Legacies Featured Legacies Home Home Legacies

Sheila Lorelle Jack (MSJ85)

Sheila Lorelle Jack was born May 26, 1953 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as the youngest child to the late Robert D. Jack, Sr., and the late Alberta V. Jack Scott. She was a beautiful, intelligent social butterfly, sincerely loved by her family and many dear friends. Her innate desire for knowledge led her to pursue an impressive career that allowed her to work in a variety of sectors including government, academia, and nonprofit. Sheila’s achievements included being a college lecturer, seasoned communications director, and Emmy award-winning producer.

Sheila was educated in Harrisburg public schools and graduated with honors from John Harris Senior High School. She chose to attend Spelman College where she joined the lifelong sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. before graduating cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English. Sheila continued her education at the University of Michigan, earning a master’s in urban planning with a concentration in housing and real estate.

Years later, she returned to her English educational roots and earned a master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University. She flourished in the communications field and worked at WUSA TV Channel 9, Washington, DC as a news Associate Producer and Public Affairs Producer; Reporter for WHMT Channel 17, Albany, NY; Press Secretary, New York City Human Resources Administration, New York, NY; National Director, Media and Press Relations for the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, White Plains, NY; Deputy Director of Marketing and Communications, Mayor Bill Campbell’s administration, Atlanta, GA; Director of Communications and Special Assistant to the President, Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA; Associate Director, Diversity Outreach, Alzheimer’s Association, Chicago, IL; Media Specialist, United States Census Bureau, Atlanta, GA; Communications Consultant, Cascade United Methodist Church, Atlanta, GA.

Sheila’s tenacity and hard work was recognized when she was awarded two Emmy Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences – Washington, DC Chapter for Outstanding Program Achievement for, “Alzheimer’s: The Painful Enigma” and “Deaf Rights Now!” Additionally, she received nine Emmy nominations in that market between 1985 and 1989.

Sheila volunteered and participated in several organizations including The Junior League; Leadership New York (1992-1993); National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ); Atlanta Association of Black Journalists (AABJ); and East Point/College Park Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.

Sheila was a loyal, proud, and active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She valued the friendships of her Delta Sisters, attended national conventions, regional conferences, local chapter events, and get-togethers with her line sisters. Sheila touched the lives of many people with her innate ability to engage in interesting conversations which could range from discussing politics to reality TV. She also just loved having a good chat.

Sheila always expressed her love to her close-knit family and enjoyed family get-togethers. She is survived by her sisters, Barbara A. Freeland of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Gloria E. Jack of Fairburn, Georgia, as well as her brothers, Wayne S. Jack of Atlanta, Georgia and Michael S. Jack of College Park, Georgia. Also surviving are six nieces, three nephews, six great-nieces, four great-nephews, one great-great-nephew, and a host of cherished cousins. Sheila’s two oldest brothers, Robert D. Jack, Jr., and Lawrence E. Jack preceded her in transitioning into eternal life.

2010s Featured Class Notes

Adriana Cargill (MSJ15)

Sandcastles, an independently produced podcast by Adriana Cargill won 4 Signal awards.
Limited Series- Gold for Best Documentary podcast
Limited Series- Silver Best Indie Podcast
Limited Series- Bronze for Best Sustainability & Environment Podcast
Craft- Gold Best Trailer

Sandcastles is a podcast about home, how we create it, and why we fight so hard for it. The first season is The Point Dume Bombers, about a group of childhood friends who came together to protect their home from the Woolsey Fire. When emergency first responders were overwhelmed by LA county’s most destructive fire, these surfers stepped up to defend their home turf in Point Dume, Malibu. Their devotion to home drove them to show up for their community in ways no one expected- not even them. In the days and years that followed what this unlikely band of surfers pioneered could have global consequences.


Curing Cancer-phobia How Risk, Fear, and Worry Mislead Us

David Ropeik (BSJ72, MSJ73)

In some ways our fear of cancer exceeds the risk, and the fear does great harm all by itself. “Curing Cancer-phobia How Risk, Fear, and Worry Mislead Us” explores the history and psychology of those fears, documents the massive harm they cause, and reviews efforts to reduce that harm.

Thousands are injured, and hundreds killed, by treatment for types of ‘overdiagnosed’ breast, prostate, thyroid, and lung cancer that would never harm the4 patient, frightened into more treatment than their clinical conditions require because the frightening “C word” is in the diagnosis. $5.3 b/yr is spent on this clinically unnecessary treatment.
Our fear of cancer leads millions to screen though not in the groups for which screening is recommended, even though research shows they are more likely to be harmed than helped. We spend $9.2 b/yr on this “overscreening”.

Fear of cancer leads to disproportionate government spending to reduce cancer risk compared to what is spent on other major health threats. We spend billions on products that promise to reduce our cancer risk, but don’t. Fear of cancer impedes the use of technologies that could provide great benefit, like fluoridation of drinking water and non-greenhouse gas emitting nuclear power.

By bringing this issue to public attention, “Curing Cancer-phobia How Risk, Fear, and Worry Mislead Us” hopes to help reduce all those harms.

1970s Legacies

Sherrie Cronin (BSJ76)

Born in the early morning hours of December 1, 1954, and raised on the great plains of Hays, Kansas, Sherrie Roth Cronin peacefully exhaled her last breath on the night of October 23, 2023, surrounded by love, in the mountains of North Carolina, after a hard fought battle with cancer.

She was an engaging child, curious about our planet and the limitless mysteries of space. She also had a vivid imagination and used it, from an early age, to create expansive new worlds, twisting plots and intriguing characters, through her gift of storytelling. That set the stage. Before graduating from Hays High School in 1972, she was a permanent fixture on the Honor Roll, Editor of the school newspaper, star on the Debate Team, won the State Championship for Extemporaneous Speaking, and was the State Chairman of a national teenage political association. She published a short story in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine at the age of 21, received a degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a degree in geology from Colorado School of Mines, then canoed 500 miles down the Coppermine River in 1978. This was the launch pad for a decades long career as a geophysicist, interpreting seismic data, and spending time out on the rigs, all while showing up tirelessly for her husband, three children and parents.

Her career took her from Chicago, Illinois to Golden, Colorado to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Fort Worth and Houston, Texas, before retiring in Black Mountain, North Carolina. To round out this remarkable life, Sherrie traveled extensively to 46 countries, earned her Private Pilot’s license, achieved the status of solo skydiver, drove cross-country to Burning Man, volunteered for a trio of meaningful causes; the local library, a domestic violence hotline, and the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association. And she still managed to find the time, energy, and inspiration to fulfill one of her greatest, lifelong passions, storytelling, as she proudly self-published 12 full-length novels.

Sherrie is loved and survived by her husband of 42 years, Kevin Cronin of Black Mountain, NC, her sister, June Roth Hanson (Gary) of Galena, Illinois, her three children, Francis-Casey Roth Cronin of San Francisco, CA, Shenandoah-Marie Vonfeldt Cronin (John Reyna) of Dallas, Texas and Emerald-Teresa McManus Cronin of Chicago, Illinois. She is preceded in death by her mom and dad, Mary Jane Von Feldt Roth and Francis Joseph Roth, both of Hays, Kansas. Sherrie was a wonderful mom, sister, wife, daughter, and friend.

She was fierce, interesting, kind, curious, driven, brilliant, creative and generous. She will be missed more than words can express. An inquisitive scientist, eloquent storyteller and avid adventurer, she gave of her time and her talents to help make this a better world.


IMC Black Alumni Alliance Launch Party Oct. 26

All are welcome to attend the Oct. 26 launch event at 303 E. Wacker with special guest Alisa Starks!

Our featured speaker is Medill alumna Alisa Starks, Chairman/CEO and majority owner of Inner City Entertainment, and the Manager of South Shore Commercial Properties LLC.

Date and time: Thursday, October 26, 2023, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Location: Medill Space at 303 E. Wacker Drive, Chicago, 60601,16th Floor

6 p.m. to 6:30 – Welcome Drinks and snacks
6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. – Keynote discussion with Alisa Starks
7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. – More drinks, snacks and mingling!

Cost: There is no cost for this event – but registration is required for the front desk security list!

More about our speaker:

Starks is developing and will be operating a new multi-“Eatertainment” center which will include a seven-screen, dine-in cinema, a Creole restaurant, an eight-lane boutique bowling center, and a rooftop event space. Responsible for all aspects of both companies, she brings 30+ years of marketing expertise, 16+years of film exhibition experience and a remarkable real estate development background to the business.

Starks founded Inner City Entertainment and made history in November 1997 when she and her former husband launched ICE Theaters. It was the first chain of Black owned and operated movie theaters in the country. These movie theaters were also the first in the city of Chicago to have stadium seating. This $40 million project involved new construction of three multiplex movie theaters in Chatham, Chicago Lawn, and Lawndale, and provided hundreds of jobs to minority residents.

Active in local nonprofit organizations for many years, Starks founded the Black Perspectives film program of the Chicago International Film Festival in 1997 while on the governing board of Cinema/Chicago, the festival’s producer. Most notably, she was appointed by former Mayor Richard M. Daley to the board of directors of Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority; she served on this board for more than 10 years and chaired its affirmative action committee.

RSVP required:

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Medill welcomes new faculty for 2023-24 academic year

New faculty members include: 

untitled-design-12.pngRayvon Fouché will serve as a professor of journalism at Medill with a dual appointment at Northwestern’s School of Communications. Fouché joins Medill from Purdue University where he was the director of the American Studies program. He has authored or edited three books exploring the multiple intersections and relationships between cultural representation, racial identification, and technological design. Fouché has received numerous grants and awards, including those from the Illinois Informatics Institute, National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. Fouché received a BA in Humanities from the University of Illinois, a PhD from Cornell University in the interdisciplinary field of Science & Technology Studies, and completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in African and African-American Studies at Washington University.

Fouché’s role will be with a PhD program that is a partnership of Medill, the School of Communication and the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. The Rhetoric, Media, and Publics program represents an innovative interdisciplinary collaboration across Northwestern to train future generations of scholars and public intellectuals to address pressing societal issues at the intersections of communication, politics, ethics and journalistic discourse.

untitled-design-14.pngA Medill alumna, Carolyn Tang Kmet (MSJ96) will serve as an associate professor of integrated marketing communications at Medill. Tang Kmet joins Medill from the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago, where she taught courses in both marketing and information systems. Her research interests include leveraging geospatial information platforms to connect local needs with local resources. Her efforts helped alleviate the personal protective equipment shortage for health care entities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and provided a prototype by which impoverished communities could independently maximize resources. Prior to this role, she was the CMO with All Inclusive Marketing, a full-service e-commerce agency that provides analytics, marketing and site optimization services for clients such as Southwest Vacations, Julep, and Fire Mountain Gems. Tang Kmet was also the director of affiliate marketing for Groupon, where she helped shape global affiliate marketing strategy. Tang Kmet holds an MBA from Loyola University Chicago, an MSJ from Medill, and a BA from University of California, Berkeley.


Kathy LaTour will serve as a professor in integrated marketing communications. LaTour’s research takes a consumer psychological perspective toward how marketers should approach branding, experience design, communications and loyalty programs. She uses both experimental designs and in-depth interview techniques to better understand consumer behavior. Her major research focus has been on the complexity of human memory. LaTour has been involved with many industry-related projects including consulting with Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Disney and the World Bank. 

untitled-design-17.pngJames Lee joins Medill as an associate professor of journalism with a dual appointment at Northwestern Libraries, serving as an associate university librarian for Academic Innovation. Prior to these roles, Lee was the associate vice provost for digital scholarship and associate dean of libraries at the University of Cincinnati. He also was the director of the Digital Scholarship Center and was associate professor of Digital Humanities. Lee’s research and teaching focus on the areas of digital humanities, machine learning and text mining techniques on historical archives, social network analysis, and data visualization. His research also investigates ways to visualize the results of machine learning algorithms in a human-interpretable way that enables non-technical audiences to glean useful information from the data.

untitled-design-13.pngRafael Matos will serve as lecturer in integrated marketing communications. His work explores the intersectionality of identities through the use of personal narrative. His research interests bring together corporate communications, cultural studies and technology. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Southern California, and a PhD in Communication Media and Instructional Technology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is the research chair for the Minorities and Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), vice chair of research and scholarship for the Coalition on Men and Masculinities. He is a facilitator and keynote speaker with CAMPUSPEAK.

untitled-design-18.pngRyan Reis is a lecturer in integrated marketing communications. He has helped to build and reinvigorate some of the world’s most recognizable brands. As vice president of marketing at MillerCoors, he led turn-arounds on the company’s two largest brands, Miller Lite and Coors Light. He was previously vice president of field marketing, leading the extensive local marketing team that leverages sports and entertainment properties, media partnerships, and the brewery tour center. As a sales team leader, he won Supplier of the Year honors from Rite Aid. Prior to MillerCoors, Reis worked in brand management and insights for Unilever on some of their largest U.S. brands, such as Suave and Axe. He was a managing consultant for Zyman Group, led by the former CMO of Coca-Cola, for engagements on ConAgra and Nationwide. He began his career working for Nielsen as an onsite consultant at General Mills. 

untitled-design-16.pngJeffrey W. Treem will be a professor of Integrated Marketing Communications. His research examines ways that digital technologies alter the visibility of communication in organizational contexts. This scholarship addresses the increased digitalization and datafication of work and the ways these changes transform processes such as employee surveillance, knowledge sharing, and collaboration. His research appears in publications such as Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Human Communication Research, and the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. He holds a BS in Communication Studies from Northwestern, an MA in Strategic Public Relations from the University of Southern California, and a PhD in Media, Technology, and Society from Northwestern. 

Home Medill Research

New Medill survey shows higher-than-expected news engagement among young people

An oft-cited factor in the continued struggles of traditional news outlets has been the sense that young people are disengaged from the news. But the News Socialization Study, a new survey commissioned by Medill reveals that teenagers may be keeping up with current events more than previously thought.

“The survey found more engagement with news among teens than we were expecting,” says Stephanie Edgerly, professor and Associate Dean for Research at Medill. Edgerly oversaw the survey, which was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago. “We found that 29% of teens said they encounter news daily. That’s encouraging.”

Paula Poindexter, professor at the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin, shares Edgerly’s positive reading of the survey results, though she says she would like to see those numbers grow.

“The daily engagement numbers in the survey were higher than I would have expected,” says Poindexter, author of “Millennials, News and Social Media: Is News Engagement a Thing of the Past?” “That’s a good thing, but there’s certainly an opportunity for teens to become even more engaged.”

Older teens (16 to 17 years old) showed slightly higher engagement levels than younger teens (13 to 15 years old). This finding may seem logical given that the college application process and eligibility to vote may trigger increased interest in national events.

More surprising may be the relatively robust consumption of local and network TV news among teens. The survey found that 46% of teens saw local TV news daily or weekly, while 42% encountered national network TV news daily or weekly. The numbers were lower for cable, sports and entertainment news as well as for news-related satire/comedy shows.

“It’s important to keep in mind that when we refer to TV news, we aren’t necessarily referring to watching a big box in your living room,” Edgerly says. “Teens may also encounter TV news on their phones and laptops. But there seems to be an accessibility to TV news that appeals to them.”

Poindexter adds a note of caution: “Regarding the survey’s TV news numbers, what’s not clear is whether teens deliberately turned on TV news or they encountered it because their parents were watching it,” she says. “We should keep that in mind.”

The survey also shows the continued influence of social media on teen news consumption. Roughly a quarter of all surveyed teens said they engaged with news on YouTube (37%), TikTok (35%) or Instagram (33%) on a daily or weekly basis, though the sources of that news remain in question.

“We have a much clearer idea of the sources of news teens are seeing on local and national TV outlets,” Edgerly says. “We have a less clear idea of the sources behind what they see on YouTube and TikTok. Those are more of a black box at this point.”

No surprise, the survey shows that teen engagement with newspapers is low. Only 5% of teens said they encountered news through local or national newspapers on a daily basis. The numbers were somewhat higher for weekly news encounters in local newspapers (18%) and national newspapers (13%). Given that the survey does not specify “print” when referring to newspapers, these low numbers may reflect minimal newspaper engagement even when considering digital formats.

“I think this poses some very important questions for newspaper organizations,” Edgerly says. “What is their strategy for trying to engage this younger group? They should be thinking about that now. Waiting until teens are in their 20s or 30s will be too late.”

The survey also explores the inclusion of news in school curricula.

When asked what kind of classroom news-related activities they engaged in at least once in the past year, 75% of the surveyed teens said they discussed news stories in class, and 62% followed news as part of a class assignment. Another 59% said they discussed how to tell whether information can be trusted.

“These findings are really, really important, especially at this moment in time,” Poindexter says. “It’s encouraging that schools are still bringing news into the classroom and even assessing its quality.”

At the same time, only 44% of teens said they “created a news story about an issue or event as part of a class assignment,” and only 31% said they learned about the job of a reporter in class. So Edgerly detects a discrepancy between news discussion and hands-on activities in schools.

Although Edgerly says she is pleased with how the new survey provides a window into teen news engagement, she acknowledges the need for further research.

“This survey provides a snapshot of how U.S. teens are engaging with news, and we don’t often get data this level of detail from a large national sample of U.S. teens,” she says. “It’s great in helping clarify trends.

“But there is still more to understand, particularly in terms of what is happening online and in social media spaces. We have much more to learn about what it means to have YouTube or Instagram be a teen’s door into news. Those spaces invite many more questions than answers at this point.”

The survey was funded by a grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation as part of its support for Medill’s Local News Initiative and its Metro Media Lab project.

The National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago surveyed 1,507 U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 from March 10 to April 26, 2023.

The survey used a mixture of probability and nonprobability sampling. Quotas used for the nonprobability sample: race/ethnicity, age, parent education, binary gender.

The survey was a mixture of phone and web survey methods.

Overall data is weighted to be representative in terms of age, gender, region, race/ethnicity, parent education, using TrueNorth Calibration methodology.

Survey margin of error was +/- 6.43%.

For this survey “news” was defined as stories about current events and public issues that come from media organizations. Examples include newspapers, television, podcasts, news programs and news websites. Sources may also include social media posts on platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram.

For research graphs in this story, visit:

Article image by Annie Spratt used under Unsplash license (Unsplash)

Home Medill News

New Dual Degree Combines Journalism with Social Policy

In response to a rapidly changing journalism industry, Northwestern University has launched a new five-year dual degree program between the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) and Medill.

The new offering allows undergraduates to learn journalistic skills in the context of education and social policy, ultimately earning degrees from both schools. Since SESP and Medill prioritize experiential learning, students can choose between Medill’s Journalism Residency or a traditional SESP practicum during their third year in the program.

A community workshop component lets them share what they’ve learned with each other in a participatory and interactive environment, facilitated by experts from both schools.

“Over the last five years, several students have sought an opportunity to match their interest in journalism with their interest in education or social policy,” Medill Dean Charles Whitaker said. “We see many connections in these fields, and we are delighted to be able to provide students with a formal path to pursue these interests.”

The dual degree, which fulfills the requirements of both schools, will help students learn how to use media as a tool for creating change in learning environments, human relationships, organizations, and for social policy movements.

It is designed to prepare students for a wide variety of careers, and targets those who hope to make an impact in the world through communication, policy analysis, and reporting skills.

“Some of them, for example, may be interested in being science writers,” said psychologist and learning scientist David Rapp, the Walter Dill Scott Professor and director of undergraduate education at SESP.

“How do they convey the accuracy of a vaccination procedure to communities who might not be amenable to it?” Rapp said. “If students opt to serve in a role where they need to testify in front of the government, how do they provide evidence in accessible terms to folks who might not be scientists? The dual degree would support that.”

Rapp, who studies fake news and how to overcome it, said joint courses will eventually be offered. “Our students want to know how they can take what they’re learning about individuals and communities and make change in real world settings by addressing real world issues,” he said.

Students would earn a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a Bachelor of Science in Education and Social Policy. In addition to social policy, they can select any of SESP’s undergraduate concentrations, including elementary and secondary teaching, learning and organizational change, learning sciences, and human development in context.

Undergraduate applicants can apply to the dual-degree program when they apply for admission to Northwestern, and current students can follow the process through the Registrar’s Office to request to add an additional bachelor’s program. All students in the program would complete all requirements for both degrees.

“Fundamentally, the School of Education and Social Policy prepares leaders,” said SESP Dean Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy. “Many come to us with this drive and they’re interested in community and relationships. Our job is to create the conditions for students to lead whatever lives they wish, and the new dual degree program with Medill is another piece of that.”

To learn more, contact:


1990s Class Notes Featured Class Notes

Katie Derbes (MSJ99)

WWL-TV Evening Anchor & Investigative Reporter Katie Moore was honored with a crystal pillar at the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences national News & Documentary Awards in September 2023 in the Outstanding Regional Report: Investigative Reporting category. Moore’s national honor was for a series of investigative reports she did on the horrific conditions more than 800 nursing home residents endured during Hurricane Ida and the business dealings of the nursing homes’ owner. Moore has received 8 regional Emmy Awards throughout her TV News career.

2000s Class Notes

Lauren Dunn (MSJ01)

Lauren was recently named Executive Editor of the Health & Medical Unit at NBC News, leading a team of producers, reporters and editors who produce medical news across all of the network’s broadcast and digital platforms.