James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association, a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media, and a professor of communication studies at Whitworth University.

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Living vicariously through former students

Posted by James McPherson on May 12, 2008

One of the highlights of this job, as probably any professor will attest, is hearing from former students who are doing interesting and useful things. That happened this morning when Jessica Davis–who just last semester was an editor for the student newspaper here–e-mailed from Asia to say that she had sold three photos she took in Myanmar to the Associated Press. One can be seen today on the CBS Web site. Jessica is now headed for the part of China that just suffered the earthquake, and has been blogging about her adventures.

Another recent Whitworthian editor, now a reporter for McClatchy’s Fresno Bee, has traveled in recent months to Iraq (for work)and Africa (for personal adventure), blogging about both experiences.

Both though Chris has already become an award-winning mainstream journalist, both former students’ activities serve as reminders that technology has helped make up for much of what the mainstream media have largely given up on. While blog reports may obviously be more biased and provide less context than news reports from a major news operation, we all ought to be supplementing our knowledge through a variety of means. And sometimes bloggers get to places–including Myanmar–that recognized mainstream journalists have trouble covering because of local officials’ mistrust of the United States.

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2 Responses to “Living vicariously through former students”

  1. Darla said

    ummm. . . you can vicariously relive graduate school days through me . . .

  2. James McPherson said

    Living through that once was enough, thank you! Though it is good to have reminders, in case I’m ever tempted to pursue another degree.

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