Columbia, Mo. (Oct. 19, 2007) — Melissa Chee, a Missouri School of Journalism radio-television master’s student, is the recipient of the 2007-2008 David Kaplan Memorial Fellowship.
The fellowship, which is awarded each year to one Missouri Journalism student who has an interest in network field producing, includes a paid position at the ABC News Washington Bureau and a $10,000 stipend during the winter semester. Chee will be the School’s 15th Kaplan fellow.
The fellowship honors the memory of David Kaplan, MA ’75, who was a producer for ABC’s Sam Donaldson. Kaplan was killed while on assignment for ABC News in 1992 in Sarajevo. Donaldson, a 40-year veteran reporter, correspondent and anchor for ABC News, participates in the selection of Kaplan Fellows. Donaldson created the program with funds that he and his colleagues donated to honor Kaplan.
“David Kaplan was a great producer, and it is so appropriate that the fellowship established in his name is lodged at a great school of journalism,” Donaldson said. “Missouri’s students are so bright and so eager to learn, and each year the winner of the fellowship makes an important contribution to our news department here in Washington. We hope someday we can expand the fellowship; David would be very pleased by its success.”
Mike McKean, associate professor and chair of convergence journalism, has chaired the Kaplan Fellowship selection committee since it began in 1992. Also serving on the committee were Lynda Kraxberger, associate professor of convergence journalism; Lee Wilkins, professor of radio-television journalism; and Kent Collins, associate professor and chair of radio-television journalism.
“Melissa will be a fantastic representative of the J-School at ABC News in Washington,” McKean said. “She’s passionate about news, knows a lot about politics and public policy and has a strong broadcast background from her work at KOMU and previous internships.”
Chee, a native Oregonian, attended Cottey College in Nevada, Mo., for two years before transferring to Stanford University, where she completed her communication degree. In the summer of 2007, Chee served as the first Charles Gibson Fellow at ABC’s Good Morning America. Her other internship experiences include working as a Dow Jones business intern at the Idaho Statesman; a public affairs intern at ABC7/KGO-TV in San Francisco; and a Relay for Life intern with the American Cancer Society.
At the Missouri School of Journalism, she has worked as a news reporter at KBIA, the School’s NPR-affiliate radio station, and KOMU, the only university-owned commercial television affiliate whose newsroom is used as a training lab for students. She also has served as a research assistant in a study of cancer communication in newspapers. Chee is Navajo and a Marshall Fellow recipient at the University of Missouri.
While serving as the Kaplan Fellow, Chee will complete her master’s project on minority sourcing in network news programming. She said she hopes to build on her experience this past summer in New York City as ABC’s first Charles Gibson Fellow and further develop her producing skills.
“It’s the perfect way to spend my final semester – learning and working with journalists in a top-notch news organization,” Chee said. “I hope to follow in the footsteps of other Kaplan Fellows by covering press conferences, writing Web stories and researching investigative topics. I think the chance to work and learn in the nation’s capital will be an invaluable asset to my development as a journalist, not to mention a lot of fun. I feel very lucky to be chosen for this amazing opportunity.”
For the first time, the Kaplan Fellowship competition was open to undergraduates. This year’s finalists included master’s student Kryssy Pease and junior convergence major Beth Carpenter.