Todd Happer, Senior Manager of Member Engagement at the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), passed away on Wednesday, September 1, 2021, from complications of cancer. The ASTC Board of Directors and staff share our condolences with the many members of our community who treasured Todd as a trusted colleague and true friend.
Todd began his career at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago directly following his graduation from Northwestern University in 1988. In subsequent years, Todd led marketing and communications for several institutions, including Science Central, the Orlando Science Center, and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Todd continued to serve the museum and science center community as Associate Publisher of Scientific American Explorations, and he worked for more than a decade as Vice President, Science Education and Museums Editor at Natural History magazine.
Early in his career, Todd served as the Assistant Editor for Dimensions magazine and other ASTC publications. Todd returned to ASTC in 2016 where he most recently led ASTC’s member engagement efforts. In fact, there seemed nothing he enjoyed more than connecting with colleagues from the global science center community.
Throughout his career, Todd made major contributions to the association, including serving for many years on the ASTC Conference Program Planning Committee, helping to shape one of the premier professional development opportunities for our field. Todd’s support of ASTC members has been especially impactful during the COVID-19 pandemic as he has led multiple efforts to ensure that ASTC members have the connections and resources they need to navigate this crisis.
Todd built an encyclopedic knowledge of science centers, science museums, and informal learning institutions, which he used to facilitate connections between members, help share effective approaches, and increase the public’s understanding of the work and impact of these institutions. Todd’s work helped hundreds of institutions around the world to learn about innovative new strategies, develop their staff capacity, and scale their impact on the communities they serve.
Perhaps most important is Todd’s impact on the countless individuals with whom he built relationships over the years. Todd truly “knew everyone,” and he was always seeking to understand each person’s unique perspectives and find ways to support their priorities and strengthen their work. Todd’s loss will be felt by so many, but his memory and his legacy will continue.
To honor that legacy, ASTC has established the Todd Happer Memorial Scholarship Fund which will help support participation in future ASTC Annual Conferences from those at small or remote science centers who would otherwise be unable to attend. Click here for more information about the fund and how to contribute.
By Laird Kelly (BSJ66) and Kathleen Neumeyer (BSJ66)
Cover photo: Cherubs Class of 1961 with Professor Ben Baldwin.
Neither of us remembers the other from the life-changing summer of 1961 we spent studying journalism at the National High School Institute as Medill “Cherubs.” Odds are that we occasionally said hello in passing during our four undergraduate years. We didn’t keep in touch after graduation, either.
But in March 2021, Kathy was asked to help locate former Cherubs to celebrate the Medill Centennial at a Zoom Reunion. All she had to go on was a tattered original roster of the 53 boys and 56 girls, with their high schools and hometowns. No list existed of their current locations. Off-hand, she knew how to find one, and had possible leads on two or three more. Most names did not even ring a bell.
The 1966 Northwestern class directory included information on two dozen former Medill Cherubs who had graduated with her, eight marked deceased and a couple as lost, but for others there were married names, addresses, phone numbers and/or email addresses. So she began.
The first email reply was from Laird Kelly who said he had lost track of most of his Cherub pals. He spent a couple of hours on the internet, discovering that Prudence Mahaffey Mackintosh was still in Texas, a contributor to Texas Monthly for more than four decades, with several books published by Doubleday. He located an obituary for Dick Hodtwalker, another Cherub/NU friend.
Laird emailed Kathy his results, including links. Kathy emailed back: I am very impressed with your research and would like to welcome you as my co-chairman.
For the next four months, we were a bicoastal investigative team, and eventually found nearly all of the 109 1961 Cherubs. At least 25 have died, we couldn’t find nine of them, and three said they weren’t interested. But 70 wrote back enthusiastically describing the Cherub experience as a turning point in their lives. We sent short summaries of their life stories to everyone before an Aug. 1 Zoom Reunion to which about 35 logged in.
Laird set up a spreadsheet to help organize the sleuthing. Jack Rhodes, with 19 years experience as an editor and reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and Michael R. Whitney, (BSJ66, MSJ67), who won 23 Emmys at CBS News and 60 Minutes, volunteered to track people down. Laird arranged for an Internet service providing addresses, phone numbers, birth, death and criminal records. We looked for folks on Facebook and Linked In, called their high school alumni associations, and checked obituaries of their parents to see who was listed as next of kin, with current residences. We talked to ex-spouses, siblings and neighbors.
We got an invaluable assist from Carol Muller Doig, (BSJ 55, MSJ56) who met her husband, the acclaimed memoirist and novelist Ivan Doig (BSJ61 MSJ62) when both were instructors during our Cherub summer. After Ivan’s death in 2015, Carol donated his papers to Montana State University, including notes and memorabilia from when they were Cherub instructors. She gave us access to the archives.
The more former Cherubs we found, the more gratifying (and fun) the project became. Almost everyone was delighted to hear from us, and astonished to be found.
For both of us, that summer had been pivotal. An Indianapolis native, Kathy thought she had no option but Indiana University, but after the Cherub summer, she applied only to Northwestern. Her Medill degree was like a gold card in her profession, and her marriage to her Northwestern sweetheart took her to California, where she has lived ever since. Laird used his Medill training to start a business, now in its 45th year, in the specialized field of news, television and audio programming for physicians. He called the Cherub program “a beautifully-produced announcement of the Big Wide World for this kid from Kansas.”
As Cherubs, we spent five weeks writing news, features, sports and opinion stories six days a week, crammed into a classroom on the second floor of Fisk Hall, at long tables lined with rented manual typewriters. In the afternoons we heard lectures, did more writing, got in a quick hour on the beach, and in the evenings our minds were blown by startling new ideas from Northwestern professors and Chicago journalists. We lived in dormitories with 17-year-olds from all over the country.
We took field trips to the Museum of Science and Industry, the Chicago Art Institute, a steel mill, a pharmaceutical laboratory and the Chicago Tribune. We watched future Hall-of-Famers Ernie Banks and Stan Musial play in an extra-innings game at Wrigley Stadium. Some of us saw Ethel Merman in a pre-Broadway production of Gypsy, and all of us heard a young Byron Janis play with the Chicago Philharmonic at Ravinia, and Andy Williams sing Moon River in the Empire Room of the Palmer House at Chicago Night Out.
As a pitch to attend Northwestern, it worked. A couple dozen of us graduated from Northwestern five years later. But the experience also imbued a lifelong affection for the university in the ones who did not attend Northwestern.
Jim Spears, who became an editor at Newsday, graduated from Hamilton College in New York and earned his master’s degree at that other journalism school, Columbia University, but his Cherub experience was noted in his 2017 obituary.
Bruce Buck said he “really enjoyed the Northwestern program and really wanted to be a journalist for the long term, but my father was a journalist and he encouraged me to do something that could be more financially secure.” He kept his options open during Columbia Law School by spending weekends on the police beat for the Newark Evening News, then practiced law for Wall Street law firms in London. In 2003, Buck became chairman of Chelsea Football Club, one of the top European football (soccer) clubs.
During her undergraduate years at Medill, Linda Grove (BSJ66) developed an interest in China, and earned a master’s in Asian Studies and a PhD in history from University of California, Berkeley. In 1970, Grove moved to Japan to work on her dissertation on the social and economic background of the war in China. At that time Americans could not visit China. She married a Japanese art historian, and taught for many years at Tokyo’s Sophia University, serving as a dean and later vice president of the university.
Martin Stidham (BSJ65) studied Chinese during undergraduate summers. “After graduation, I took a freighter to Taiwan and did a part-time stint with the China Post in Taipei, but soon realized that an excruciatingly slow writer is not cut out to be a journalist.” He began translating contemporary novels, short stories and poetry from Chinese, writing a Chinese vegetarian cookbook and co-authoring two books on early childhood education. He now lives in San Francisco.
More than half of the Cherubs we found had spent at least some portion of their life in journalism, as writers or in a communications-related field.
On summer break from Harvard, Stu Pizer got a job in the mailroom at the New Yorker, then worked under managing editor William Shawn, writing “Talk of the Town.” While offered a full time job at the New Yorker upon graduation, he decided to pursue psychology. He helped found a psychoanalytic institute in Boston and started a writing program for health professionals.
Jack Rossotti (BSJ66) was a reporter, producer and anchor in television news in Syracuse before going to law school, practicing law and teaching law at American University.
Susan Holly Stocking (BSJ66, MSJ67) was a reporter for the Minneapolis Tribune, the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times, before earning a PhD from Indiana University and teaching journalism there for more than two decades.
Kathy was a reporter for United Press International in Los Angeles, covering the trials of Sirhan Sirhan, Charles Manson, Daniel Ellsberg and John DeLorean, was the Southern California correspondent to The Economist, and a contributing editor of Los Angeles Magazine. She taught journalism on both the high school and college level for 40 years.
Janis Bateman (BSJ66,MSJ67) had intended to be a sportswriter, but she said that spending her summers as a Cherub instructor made her a “lifer” as a journalism teacher, at her own alma mater, Crater High School in Central Point, Oregon.
Peter David Koenig (BSJ66) retired in Buenos Aires after a career as a writer, poet, and university professor, said that the Cherub program “took me out of a small town midwestern high school, and transported me a hundred miles away from my family for the first time in my life, to the Northwestern University campus I knew only vaguely by name, and into the presence of a whole group of able high school writers and professional journalists for a summer that was for me pure bliss, and as Ivan Doig might say in The Last Bus To Wisdom, a ticket to the start of a new life.”
The Zoom Reunion, Bateman noted, had reconnected her with old friends, and “to have your social life re-energized at 77 is something special.”
This international award is open to university faculty and marketing professionals who have demonstrated excellence in teaching the principles of IMC and bridging the gap between the academic and commercial arenas.
A committee of Medill faculty and industry experts will review nominations this fall. The winner will receive a cash prize of $5,000 and give a presentation on their work in Spring 2022.
The award is named for long-time Medill Professor Don Schultz. Schultz played a pivotal role in creating the field of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) and establishing the IMC department at Medill in the early 1990s. Medill was the first school to offer a graduate degree in Integrated Marketing Communications in the United States. Schultz is regarded internationally as the “father of IMC.” He died in 2020.
“Marketing scholars from all over the world who are developing new customer-centric frameworks and using novel technologies to communicate with customers, society and even whole markets to drive financial performance are encouraged to apply for this award,” said Vijay Viswanathan, Medill professor and associate dean of IMC. “We believe the award will help bring together IMC teachers, scholars and practitioners from around the world, and it will highlight the best practices in IMC and serve as an authoritative learning forum for the global IMC community.”
Schultz advocated for a marketing communication strategy that began with the customer’s perspective, that adopted a holistic view of media and communications planning across various channels and which could be linked to performance in the marketplace. This was a significant change from the dominant communication paradigms at that time where public relations, direct marketing and brand management efforts were disjointed and often with little or no accountability.
Marketers all over the world heeded his call and agencies and companies set up whole IMC departments.
While IMC like other fields has evolved, the core principles that Schultz espoused remain fundamental to the study and practice of IMC even today. Those principles include:
An unwavering focus on providing solutions and value to customers.
Achieving synergy and integration across all communication activities.
Media neutral planning and effective use of all relevant brand touchpoints.
Reliance on behavioral data to understand customer motivation, guide strategy development and measure outcomes.
Understanding how brand perceptions shape customer behaviors.
Executing communication activities for specific markets in meaningful ways while staying true to an overall integrated brand strategy.
Interactivity and ongoing customer-marketer relationships.
Emphasis on financial outcomes measured in terms of customer response, repeat purchases and brand asset value.
The winner will be selected by a committee that includes Jeanie Caggiano, EVP/executive creative director at Leo Burnett; Judy Franks, Medill assistant professor; Tariq Hassan, chief marketing and digital experience officer at McDonald’s; and Shekar Swamy, group CEO of RK Swamy BBDO.
Raymond C. Nelson, 92, retired professor and associate dean at Medill, died May 30, 2021, in Seattle. Survivors include his wife, Carol; a son, David; and a daughter, Leslie Nelson Kellogg.
He wanted to be remembered simply as a reporter, writer and teacher, which summarizes the three legs of his career. But he was far more than that—a man with a wide variety of interests, a deep knowledge of his disciplines, and abiding affection for friends and colleagues. Despite being a city boy, he developed an avid interest in the outdoors: sailing, bicycling, camping and skiing. He was also a lifelong baseball fan. His mother’s family was from the St. Louis area and he managed to become a St. Louis Cardinals bat boy. As a South Sider, he was a White Sox fan. He also played a bit of semi-pro baseball but disliked the bus travel.
“I think the singular, most important thing to know about my dad was his curiosity about anything,” said his son. “He always wanted the details about something with constant questions, always probing to try and get to the heart of understanding the topic in question.”
Retired faculty member David Nelson (no relation) praised him as “an efficient, loyal and low-key administrator” who “provided the detail work behind many of Medill’s major mid-20th century projects, serving as its associate dean. He made sure that multimillion-dollar grant proposals to the Gannett and Ford foundations were in perfect order. They were. And Medill launched its Urban Journalism Center for mid-career journalists to study race and social inequities nearly a half-century ago. He also played a major role in overseeing the school’s first journalism residency program. An unassuming man, Prof. Nelson left his mark as an able administrator. We owe him a debt of thanks and wish his family solace at this time.”
Born in Chicago in 1928, Ray attended Tilden Tech, then enlisted in the Army and did occupation duty in Korea with the 31st Infantry Regiment. At the time of his discharge in San Francisco, the Army tried to get soldiers to re-enlist by offering promotions. “We knew a war was coming in Korea,” said Ray. “The signs were everywhere and we wanted nothing to do with it.”
In 1952 he earned a journalism degree from the University of Missouri Columbia, working as a reporter until he went to Medill for a master’s in 1955, winning the Harrington Award for being an outstanding student in the Radio-TV sequence.
He caught on at KBUR in Burlington, Iowa. The story goes that Ray worked the 1956 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and came to the attention of NBC’s Sam Saran (Medill ‘5?), who helped bring him to Chicago and WMAQ as a reporter. One duty was a program called “Night Desk,” an early and innovative mobile-reporting effort. Using a broadcasting/recording setup in a panel truck, reporters did mobile stories throughout the city.
After a stint in public relations at the National Education Association in Washington, D.C., he rejoined Saran in 1963 in Northwestern’s public relations department at the time of the lakefront expansion. From there he moved to the Medill faculty in 1966, eventually serving as associate dean. “My dad was extremely proud of being associated with NU generally and Medill specifically,” his son said. “The Cherubs program was something he frequently spoke about as well as the Teaching Newspaper Program. From an immediate family perspective, my dad was proud that everyone in the family had earned a degree from NU.”
George Harmon, who was on the faculty when Ray was associate dean in the 1980s, remembers: “Ray was smart, cheerful and innovative. As associate dean he effectively mentored faculty members who joined Medill in the early 1980s. In later years he liked to experiment with new courses and with old courses that needed new wrinkles. When working downtown in news, he earned a reputation as a go-get-’em newsman who loved chasing stories.”
The Nelson family lived for years in Wilmette. After retiring in the 1990s, Ray and Carol moved to Seattle. Eventually they built a house in Port Townsend, where they enjoyed an active retirement.
Lisa Lee (MSJ93), senior vice president of creative and content for the Academy of Country Music died Aug. 21 after a battle with brain cancer. She was 52. Born Alicia Faye Young in Cabot, Arkansas, on Dec. 24, 1968, Lee earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Medill. After graduation, Lee got a reporting job at Cabot Star-Herald newspaper.
One of her early jobs was at KTAL-TV, an NBC affiliate serving Texarkana and Shreveport, Louisiana, where she began to be interested in entertainment stories. Although her assignments covered a variety of topics, Lee eventually convinced station management to allow her to do movie reviews; she promptly constructed her own little critic’s corner set. She also started covering country music concerts and events in the Arkansas area and surrounding states at this time.
Lee started a friendship with a reporter/producer from Jim Owens and Associates, the Nashville-based production company behind TNN Country News at the time. Soon she was checking in with the folks at Jim Owens, updating them on all the entertainment pieces she was working on, while not so subtly working to convince them to hire her. Her persistence paid off when Jim Owens and Associates hired her, and she moved to Nashville to work for the company from 1995 to 1999.
In 2000, Lee moved to CMT and CMT.com as a news correspondent and producer.
Lee also had a calling to expand the social conversation. She wrote and produced the Prism Award-winning special Addicted to Addiction, as well as the TV news specials Sex in Videos: Where’s the Line and Controversy: Tammy Wynette.
In 2004, Lisa moved to Los Angeles, becoming the Hollywood-based correspondent and West Coast News Bureau Chief for CMT Insider, the network’s interview-driven news show, where she covered music, movies, and television.
In 2007, three years after her move to L.A., Lisa accepted the Academy of Country Music’s offer to draw on her experience as a TV journalist and producer to help the Academy establish and grow their own in-house creative and video production department. As the Academy’s lead staff producer, she oversaw all video production as well as the design, creation, and editing of ACM logos, digital and printed materials including ACM Tempo magazine, the ACM Awards program book, and both the ACM and ACM Lifting Lives websites.
With her long history of production and network teamwork, Lee served as a liaison with CBS television’s creative departments and CBS.com for promos and creative content surrounding the annual ACM Awards. She was named producer of the Academy of Country Music Honors, a live industry event dedicated to celebrating the Academy’s special award honorees, off-camera category winners, and ACM Industry and Studio Recording Awards winners. Held each year at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Lisa imbued the event with a real love for the people who go the extra mile to support, expand, and protect Country Music in its most creative places.
In 2014, Lee wrote and created This Is Country: A Backstage Pass to the Academy of Country Music Awards. The deeply researched coffee table book celebrated the 50 the anniversary of the ACM Awards and included a forward by Reba McEntire.
Medill Associate Professor and Director of Research Stephanie Edgerly and Emily K. Vraga won the 22020 Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly (JMCQ) award for their article, “Deciding What’s News: News-ness as an Audience Concept for the Hybrid Media Environment.”
The typical way news has been defined is from a journalist’s point of view. This study proposes a new way of addressing the definition of “news” from the point of view of readers. The article places the audience’s sensemaking processes at the center to better understand how consumers define what media content counts as news and offers an essential framework for addressing the fluidity of news consumption. This framework opens new pathways for understanding the future of journalism studies internationally.
This annual award recognizes an article that makes significant contributions to theory and methodology in journalism and mass communication. The winner is selected by Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication members, the JMCQ editorial review board, and the editorial team of the journal. The authors of the winning article receive a certificate as well as $1,000 cash award during the AEJMC annual convention.
Joe Matthewson published his fifth book, “Ethical Journalism: Adopting the Ethics of Care,” published by Routledge (August 31, 2021)
In the book, Matthewson argues that that our democracy’s continuing pernicious shortcomings of racial inequity, economic disparity and climate change are simply unacceptable and must be more actively addressed by journalism, to mobilize public opinion to in turn persuade government and business leaders and other thought leaders to take effective action to ameliorate these shortcomings and eventually overcome them.
The template for this new initiative would be a distinctly American philosophy called the Ethics of Care, first formulated by feminist academic philosophers in the 1980s; it holds that emotions, not reason, actually govern human relationships (first postulated by Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume) and expects all people to actively assist family, friends, neighbors and perhaps a broader population when they’re in need. Empathy v. reason. These writers emphatically (and very persuasively) reject the thinking of the rational moral philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and his categorical imperative.
“When I encountered the philosophy of ethics of care, I was taken by the very humane approach to people’s relationships with each other, based on emotion rather than reasoning,” Matthewson said. “This philosophy, first articulated by feminist philosophers in the 1980s, postulates—quite correctly, in my view—that we human beings reach out to help family, friends and neighbors in need because of our feelings for them, not because we stop and apply the reason-based moral phi
losophy of what’s right and what can be universally applied to others in the same situation.”
Further, he added, “At the same time, when I ask my students what their aspirations are (as I always do in a little personal information questionnaire), many if not most of them reply that they want to make a difference, change the world, tackle problems like race discrimination. Don’t most practicing journalists today feel the same? They’re not in it for the money; they want to make an impact, and they’re in a position to do so. Even in the face of dishonest, corrupting “news” and social media, our public discourse is still driven by ethical journalism. No big societal problem like racial inequity, economic disparity or climate change can be successfully addressed without truthful, fact-based public information. So I sat down to write.”
Mathewson is a former Supreme Court correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and a practicing lawyer in Chicago. Mathewson also covered business for The Journal, was a reporter for WBBM-TV in Chicago, press secretary to Illinois Gov. Richard B. Ogilvie. He was a Cook County commissioner and a director of several community banks, was an officer of a minority-owned broker-dealer, and was a securities arbitrator for the National Association of Securities Dealers. He also served ten years as a trustee of Dartmouth College.
To purchase the book, please visit: https://www.routledge.com/Ethical-Journalism-Adopting-the-Ethics-of-Care/Mathewson/p/book/9780367690779
20% Discount Available – enter the code FLY21 at checkout!
Classic Amusement owner George D’Olivo is a former pro-wrestler who went by Beautiful Bo Paradise in his pro-wrestling days. It didn’t take him long to figure out that a journalist working in his carnival was problematic. Carnivals are about fantasies. Journalists crush fantasies. Soon, Mr. Paradise saw me as Mr. Trouble in Paradise.
No carnival owner will hire a writer like you, he said. And the “new face” of the American carny is a seasonal Mexican migrant worker. You don’t speak Spanish. Your traveling carnival project, he said, wasn’t well thought out. He may have even used the word “stupid.”
The more problems he raised, surprisingly, the more I felt like I was shooting sitting ducks at a carnival. Every obstacle presented a solution. Firstly, some Mexicans speak English, and I’ll get to know them. After the season ends, I’ll go to Mexico to see how they live in “winter quarters.”
If no carnival owner hires Mike the writer, then they’ll hire Mike the carny.
“Gone were the plans to spend the year with Classic,” I wrote in American OZ. “Gone too were open, honest interviews. From that morning forward, people wouldn’t know I was writing about them. Against my will, I became a spy.”
I became a “ride jockey” running rides and a “jointee” running games in California, New Jersey, New York, Chicago, Alaska, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, and Florida – where I worked in a freak show but they didn’t let me on stage “because they didn’t see the inner freak in me.”
After the season, I journeyed down to the mostly lawless foothills of Veracruz, Mexico to meet with workers I knew up north. The small town of Tlapacoyan is a feeder town that sends most of its men north to traveling carnivals every year. As a result, it’s nearly empty of men most of the year.
Living on carnival wages, I hitchhiked 13,700 miles from the Pacific to the Atlantic, Alaska to Florida. I became the #1 hitchhiker in North America that year. In all, I covered 21,570 miles via bus, train, and hitchhiking.
During the year, I wrote an ongoing blog for The Huffington Post, my own blog https://eyeslikecarnivals.com/, and I wrote a 2013 essay for Northwestern magazine’s column “Purple Prose” http://ow.ly/uhk750FktlS. I wrote the Purple Prose column at a McDonald’s outside the State Fair of Texas, where I was running a carnival game of dubious repute.
New York and Chicago publishing houses didn’t want a “carnival” book. And “hitchhiking” books still are publishing poison. I worked with a literary agent, but we parted ways when the big advance didn’t materialize.
Through six years of rejections and rewrites, the book grew more compelling until I self-published American OZ: An Astonishing Year Inside Traveling Carnivals at State Fairs & Festivals: Hitchhiking From California to New York, Alaska to Mexico in the summer of 2020. It remained a #1 Amazon bestseller well into this year.
The hidden core of American OZ became clearer to me with the rewrites. All the facts and quotes remained, but coworkers grew to represent the working poor, without healthcare, living in unsanitary conditions, and subject to labor abuses on the road. The stories fleshed out the humanity of people seeking love and meaning on the road. The year developed a story arc with deeper meanings and universal themes.
If I felt anxious about my loved ones far away from the carnival, I dug down to mine those feelings for American OZ. If I was tired, broke and feeling abused, it was a good guess I wasn’t the only one. American OZ took on an inner life.
It’s not that the book would not have seen the light of day without advances in self-publishing. George Orwell gained praise for writing Down and Out in Paris and London. Medill’s own practitioner of the “journalism of empathy,” Alex Kotlowicz, won the 2020 Lucas Prize for An American Summer, a chronicle of gun violence in Chicago. They successfully wrote about the harsh edges of society.
Yet it was the long, hard road writing American OZ that taught me that living the life made writing the life come to life.
Medill, in partnership with The Garage, Northwestern’s entrepreneurial incubator, has awarded the 2021 Medill and The Garage Media Entrepreneur Fellowship to Katherine Lewis and Chandra Thomas Whitfield.
Lewis and Whitfield are long-time journalists, having written for and worked with organizations such as Atlanta Magazine, In These Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post and The New York Times. They plan to use the fellowship to launch The Center for Independent Journalists (CIJ), an education, professional development, support and advocacy organization for independent journalists of color.
“BIPOC freelance journalists produce outstanding work and often struggle to make a living, with few resources centering on our needs,” said Lewis. “Journalists of color and women are more likely to build careers independently, and are frequently exploited and underpaid. The pandemic exacerbated this trend. CIJ will provide education in business development, cash flow, contracts, negotiation, prioritization and time management, as well as community support and mentorship.”
“We need to continually innovate to overcome the obstacles facing contemporary media, particularly on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion” said Medill Dean Charles Whitaker. “That is why talented entrepreneurs like Katherine and Chandra are so important and why Medill is proud to support them in their efforts.”
The one-year fellowship supports entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups—with an emphasis on women and people of color—who are working on innovation in the media industry. As part of the fellowship, Lewis and Whitfield will receive an $80,000 stipend for the year, and access to a variety of resources across Northwestern at Medill, The Garage, the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the University at-large to help them to continue to expand their work.
“I know it sounds cliché but words cannot adequately express what it means to me as a veteran journalist to not only be acknowledged by — but to also be affiliated with — the Medill School and The Garage at Northwestern University,” said Whitfield. “It is an honor, a privilege and definitely a highlight of my career. This is more than just a professional development opportunity for Katherine and me; it is also an opportunity for us to channel our passion, concerns and many years of journalism experience into creating an organization that we firmly believe can fill a huge void and address a long unaddressed need in our industry.”
Throughout its journalism and integrated marketing communications programs, Medill emphasizes the importance of technological innovation and telling the stories of diverse audiences.
The Garage at Northwestern is a community and physical space for every Northwestern student interested in entrepreneurship to learn, iterate and grow. The 11,000 square foot space, carved out of the North Campus parking structure, is currently home to more than 60 student-founded startups and projects.
“Katherine and Chandra are accomplished, seasoned journalists and promising entrepreneurs,” said Melissa Kaufman, founding executive director of The Garage. “We look forward to helping them launch their venture and welcoming them as a resource to our student-founders.”
“Out of an impressive field of candidates, Katherine and Chandra stood out not only for their accomplishments, but for their focus on supporting journalists in the evolving media ecosystem through The Center for Independent Journalists,” said Mike Raab, associate director at The Garage, who helped to select Lewis and Whitfield.
Katherine Reynolds Lewis is an award-winning journalist and author based in the Washington, D.C. area who writes about education, equity, mental health, parenting, science and social justice for publications including The Atlantic, The New York Times, Parents and The Washington Post. Her 2015 story on the school-to-prison pipeline became Mother Jones’ most-read article ever, and led to her bestselling 2018 book, “The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever — And What to Do About It.” Her current long-form narrative project on racial justice in education is supported by the O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism and the MIT Knight Science Journalism fellowship. As a biracial journalist (Asian American and White), she’s been active in the Asian American Journalists Association for more than 20 years. Before becoming a freelancer in 2008, she worked as a national correspondent for Newhouse News Service and Bloomberg News.
Chandra Thomas Whitfield
Chandra Thomas Whitfield is a multiple award-winning multimedia journalist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of media outlets, including NBCNews.com, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Undefeated, Essence, Ebony, People, Newsweek, The Root, The Grio, TIME.com, NPR.org and the Atlanta affiliate of NPR. As a 2019-2020 Leonard C. Goodman Institute for Investigative Journalism Fellow, she served as host and producer of “In The Gap,” a podcast for In These Times magazine about how the gender pay gap affects the lives — and livelihoods — of Black women in America. Whitfield has also been named “Journalist of the Year” by both the Atlanta Press Club and the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists and received honors from the Association for Women in Communications, the Colorado Association of Black Journalists and Mental Health America. A proud New Orleans native and Clark Atlanta University graduate, she is also an alum of a diverse mix of other journalism fellowship programs, including with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, the Education Writers Association, Ted Scripps Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder, Soros Justice Media, Kiplinger Public Affairs at the Ohio State University, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism programs, respectively. A feature story that she penned for Atlanta Magazine made the Atlanta Press Club’s “Atlanta’s Top 10 Favorite Stories of the Past 50 Years” list and it is also widely credited with contributing to a change in Georgia law and a teen’s early release from a 10-year prison sentence.
Richard “Dick” Stolley (BSJ52, MSJ53) died peacefully in Evanston, Illinois, on June 16 with his family at his side. He was 92. Stolley was a member of the inaugural class of the Medill Hall of Achievement of 1997 and a member of Medill’s Board of Advisers since its first meeting in 1984.
Stolley is remembered for his many historic career endeavors in magazine publishing and editing. At Medill, he is revered as a true friend and dedicated alumnus who was always willing to talk to and mentor students and alumni.
“Dick was not only a towering figure in 20th century journalism, he was a tremendous friend and supporter of Medill,” said Medill Dean Charles Whitaker. “The talks he gave to students about his legendary career were riveting. He generously lent his time and talent to every Medill dean who called upon him. He will be sorely missed.”
Stolley was the founding editor of PEOPLE magazine and a longtime writer and editor for Time Inc.
In a statement provided by Dan Wakeford, editor in chief of People, Wakeford said:
“Dick Stolley was a legendary editor whose vision and execution established the most successful magazine of all time that America fell in love with. He was an amazing journalist whose work and magazine craft we still refer to every day at PEOPLE as it’s still so relevant. He wrote in his first editor’s letter in 1974, ‘PEOPLE will focus entirely on the active personalities of our time-in all fields. On the headliners, the stars, the important doers, the comers, and on plenty of ordinary men and women caught up in extraordinary situations.’ And that is what we still do nearly 50 years later — we tell stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things and extraordinary people doing ordinary things. I’m indebted to Dick for creating a magazine with heart that is a force for good and continues to change millions of lives.”
Stolley is also remembered for his work for Life magazine, where he pushed boundaries in his coverage of the fight for Civil Rights in the South and, most historically, for his success in obtaining the Abraham Zapruder footage of the assassination of JFK in Dallas in 1963.
Stolley described his first interaction with Zapruder in an article in Time magazine in 2013. Stolley explained that he located Zapruder by finding his listed number in the Dallas phone book.
“He politely explained that he was exhausted and overcome by what he had witnessed,” Stolley wrote. “The decision I made next turned out to be quite possibly the most important of my career. In the news business, sometimes you push people hard, unsympathetically, without obvious remorse (even while you may be squirming inside). Sometimes, you don’t. This, I felt intuitively, was one of those times you don’t push. I reminded myself: This man had watched a murder. I said I understood. Clearly relieved, Zapruder asked me to come to his office at 9 the next morning.”
Eventually, he was able to secure Zapruder’s footage for Life magazine for $50,000. That amount was bumped to $150,000 a week later to add additional rights for the magazine’s use of the film.
Stolley helped create PEOPLE magazine in 1973. A test issue with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton gracing the cover “flew off the newsstands,” Stolley said in a 2015 interview, and the magazine launched in March 1974 with Stolley as editor.
“The one thing that I’ve always wanted to say, when we started, I said, this is not a celebrity magazine. This is personality journalism,” he said. “And we will be doing stories all over the world, which we did and still do, and it will be on all people in all walks of life. Some will be well known, some will not. Our motto was, ‘extraordinary people doing ordinary things, and ordinary people doing extraordinary things.’ And the formula worked then and still does.”
“Richard Stolley was a giant among journalists, one of the Medill School’s most accomplished alumni of all time,” said Roger Boye, associate professor emeritus-in-service. “His coverage of the John F. Kennedy assassination in 1963 for Life magazine, as well as of the civil rights movement in the South during the 1960s, will serve as models of initiative and professionalism for generations of journalists to come. His entrepreneurial vision helped to bring about the founding of People magazine in 1974, with Dick as the magazine’s first managing editor. He championed great story telling in journalism but only with meticulous attention to detail and total factual accuracy. That is perhaps his greatest legacy.”
In addition to his roles at People magazine, Stolley was assistant managing editor and managing editor of Life magazine, as well as director of special projects for Time Inc.