A year-end letter from Dean Ceppos
Dear friend of the Manship School:
We want to wish you a happy holiday and thank you for your generosity. We look forward to another landmark year at the Manship School as accurate news and media literacy are becoming yet more important. We are known for teaching and research at the intersection of media and public affairs, an important signature in this election year. Here is a reminder of what we did in 2016, much of it reflecting that signature. We:
- Initiated coverage of the Louisiana legislature with as many as 10 Manship students -- twice the number of any other news organization. They produced 400 stories for 13 news organizations. Jay Shelledy, who directs the operation, was named national journalism educator of the year.
- Within a day of the police shooting of Alton Sterling, asked every student and faculty member to think about how we could integrate this important development into the curriculum. A few days later, when a gunman killed three policemen in Baton Rouge, we wrote again. The result is our "Summer of 2016" project, featuring a statewide survey about racial attitudes by our Public Policy Research Lab...research grants to faculty to investigate aspects of the summer...a student assignment to cover something outside of their comfort zones...and more.
- Added our optional media-diversity course to the school's core requirement and increased faculty diversity beginning in the fall to 26.6 per cent as of now, perhaps the highest on campus.
- Capitalized on our country's most interesting election by sending 20 students and three faculty members to study the Iowa caucus process and meet about a dozen presidential candidates...turned at least four courses into mini-studies of the election...with our Reilly Center, hosted numerous events for students...one of twelve universities participating in the Electionland voter-fraud project.
- Won reaccreditation, with a team of expert visitors declaring that we are in "the ranks of the country's strongest programs."
- Our PR Student Society received first place in the National Organ Donor Awareness Competition for a semester-long educational campaign. The team's adviser, Dr. Jinx Broussard, won the J. William Snorgrass Memorial Award of the American Journalism Historians Association for the outstanding paper on minorities. Our digital-advertising team won the regionals in the American Advertising Federation. Student Taylor Curet won second place in the national Hearst competition.
- Hosted a sports summit that dealt with both social and career issues. Mark Emmert, the former LSU chancellor who now heads the NCAA, spoke.
We're proud of what we accomplished in 2016 and we couldn't have done it without you. We have even higher goals for 2017 and are grateful that you will help us achieve them.
All the best for the holidays,
Jerry Ceppos, Dean