The Event Begins at 6:30 p.m., Friday, May 17, in Mizzou Arena
Columbia, Mo. (May 10, 2013) — The Missouri School of Journalism will welcome its 508 May and August graduates at its upcoming commencement ceremony. It begins at 6:30 p.m., Friday, May 17, in Mizzou Arena. Seating will be open. Family and friends do not need tickets.
Graduate degrees will be awarded to one doctoral candidate and 58 master’s recipients, six of whom earned their degree online.
Of the 449 graduating seniors, 206 studied strategic communication; 78, radio-television journalism; 76, magazine journalism; 40, print and digital journalism; 31, convergence journalism; and 18, photojournalism.
Overall, 175 graduating seniors, approximately 39 percent, will be recognized with Latin honors, which are awarded to undergraduates with a 3.5 or higher grade point average for their last 60 graded credit hours.
The top 10 percent of the school’s graduates will be invited to join Kappa Tau Alpha, the national honor society for students majoring in journalism and mass communication. The KTA reception will be held from 3:30-5 p.m. on Friday, May 17, in room 100 of the Reynolds Journalism Institute. This year’s inductees are:
- Rachel Young
- Katherine Brannen
- Kristopher Hill
- Erica Jorgensen
The alumna speaker will be Meredith Artley, BJ ’95. She is the managing editor and vice president of CNN Digital, where she oversees the editorial initiatives for CNN.com and CNN Mobile. Artley leads a team of 130 talented reporters, producers and editors around the world to fuel the world’s top news site on Web and mobile platforms, as well as the most-followed news organization on social media. She joined CNN in 2009 and is based in Atlanta.
Before joining CNN, Artley was a managing editor for The Los Angeles Times and the executive editor of LATimes.com. Prior to that, she was based in Paris as the editor and digital development director for the International Herald Tribune.
She is vice president of the board for the Online News Association.
The master of ceremonies will be Ryan Brown, a strategic communication major, business minor from St. Louis. A Dean’s List student, Brown was a member of Alé student chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists and on the Dean’s List. He worked at the Mizzou Rec, and was the head coach for the MU women’s club basketball team. Brown’s capstone team created a campaign for Radiology Consultants, Inc., the exclusive radiologists for Boone Hospital. He will join Moosylvania in St. Louis this summer.
The student graduation speaker will be Mengti Xu, a radio-television journalism major from Tianjin, China. She reported and anchored for KOMU-TV, earning two regional Mark of Excellence Awards in television general news reporting and television news photography from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013. Xu served internships at Tianjin People’s Broadcasting Station and NewsChannel 5 in Nashville, worked for Missouri Digital News and the KMOX State Capitol Bureau, and participated in the Fox News College Challenge of 2013. Xu served as education committee chairwoman for the student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2012.
Meredith Artley, BJ ’95, Commencment Address
Missouri School of Journalism
May 17, 2013
My fellow journalists, welcome to the business.
We get to craft stories. We are pressured and privileged to do this in innovative and new ways these days, inside a disrupted industry. You’ve heard scary stuff about the media landscape. The truth is that there has never been a better time for you to be a journalist, to be in media. There have been easier times. All this disruption equals opportunity.
Since stories are at the core for all of us, let me tell you a story. In fact, I have three for you.
Story No. 1: Eighteen years ago, after graduating from this wonderful place with a degree in broadcast journalism, I walked into The New York Times wearing a dress which would later be described as “Pepto Bismol pink” with my resume in hand.
I sat in front of Bernie Gwertzman, the top boss there and a heavy-hitter. He was the former foreign editor of the paper, the Moscow bureau chief during much of the Cold War, and he held the record for the most page-one bylines. This God of Journalism inspected the piece of paper that summarized my life so far and said, “I don’t believe in journalism degrees.”
Great. All the lessons from Greeley Kyle down the drain. All the Shakespeare’s pizza and Harpo’s: Was it all for nothing? But wait, it gets worse. He’s watching the Yankee game over my shoulder. I landed a dream job interview and baseball – baseball – is more interesting than me and my resume. (I kind of get it, by the way. We’re talking about Derek Jeter in the mid 90s.)
So here’s one of the good things about journalism degrees: They are good for more than just journalism.
- Listen carefully. What’s Bernie saying? He doesn’t believe in journalism degrees. That’s not a personal indictment. Be open. Don’t get defensive.
- Be inquisitive. What’s led him to this belief? Who comes to mind? More questions, back and forth. A conversation begins. The Yankee game starts to fade into the background.
- Be prepared. Do your research. Bernie asks me what I know about the job, the NYT and the then nascent world of digital journalism. I had answers and points ready to go. Growing up, my dad was always going on about the 5Ps – Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. And my mom always told me, “No polish is better than chipped polish.” Both of those adages have the same core, really. Be prepared, be polished, and you’ll be confident.
Listening, probing, researching – sound familiar? These skills are good for acts of journalism and so much beyond. You may be surprised to know that not everyone has them. You have literally been schooled in them. That gives you an edge as you go and figure out the coming months and years of your lives.
I started a week later as a Web producer for The New York Times. It was the start of my journalism career.
Here’s my second story for you. After about seven years at the NYT, I was a top leader of the team that edited and produced NYTimes.com around the clock. And then a job posting caught my eye. A job posting in Paris.
I was ready for a new challenge. It was a smaller team and a chance to digitally develop the International Herald Tribune. My husband, Naka, and I both had parents who lived abroad and told us about the value of seeing life outside of the American lens. We wanted that experience ourselves. And Paris was the jackpot.
I interviewed for the job. I used those skills again – prepare, listen, ask. I got the offer. Then they told me the salary. It was less than half of what I was currently making. Uh, oh. I’m going to have to say no to that job. And then a very senior executive at the NYT advised me not to take the job. Too much risk, he said. Now I’m really going to have to say no.
Back at our Brooklyn apartment that night, over a bottle of French wine and French-style melancholy, Naka asked some questions: Why do we have to play by the “rules” that you have to keep going up and up and up? What if the job and the experience is worth it the risk in the long run? What if you follow your heart? It’s your decision, It’s our decision – not someone else’s.
What if we said yes? And that’s how I ended up in Paris for nearly five years with a great job and invaluable international experience.
So there are a few points to this story:
- Be open to all opportunities.
- Don’t be afraid to take a risk (or, go ahead and be afraid, but do it anyway).
- Go and be explorative and experimental. Do it as a journalist. Do it as a human being on this planet. Break away from the pack. Don’t tell the story in the same way everyone else is telling it. And, question authority.
- There’s one other point to this story. Pick a partner who supports you, who asks “Why not?” and “What if?” That’s what Naka did for me as we weighed a new life in Paris, and in countless other moments. Surround yourself with people who don’t always say yes, and who push and encourage you.
And my final story: I remember people telling me when I was in college and high school that “you’ll never have friends like this again.” That’s very true. And it’s not the full story.
Some of the bonds you have formed here will strengthen over the years. Some of them will fade into Facebook updates. There are strangers walking the planet right now who you will soon know more about, and see you far more frequently than many of the closest friends. You will form deep relationships with the people you work with. They will see the absolute best and worst of you, and vice versa.
I have endless stories of people I’ve worked with past and present – the time when we worked on the massive multimedia project with the long hours, little sleep and huge fulfillment. The daily moments where we huddle and struggle to find the perfect headline or the artful shot. The time when planes hit the towers and everything was altered and we all we wanted to do was to work, to be together as a team and try to make sense of catastrophe.
There’s nothing like the relationships you will have with your colleagues. Some will become friendships and some will be people who drive you absolutely nuts. But you have to work with them anyway.
My advice is simple:
Be kind. Gain the respect of the people you work with, from the interns to the executives, from your fellow journalists to the human resources team and the finance folks, even the advertising people.
Journalism is a collaborative line of work. It’s a team sport. Compliment someone when they do good work. (Pro tip: you don’t even have to know them.) Grab an extra coffee. Pick up an extra shift. Answer that newsroom phone that won’t stop ringing.
Prepare. Listen. Ask. Risk. Be kind.
Those are the things I wanted to tell you today, from my heart. I don’t always get it right, and neither will you – but you gotta try.
Go do those things in the melange of work and life.
Welcome to the business, and congratulations.
From the Class of 2013
Commencement Address by Mengti Xu, BJ ’13
Today is a special day…for me, my fellow graduates, and our families. It’s rare for international students to deliver this speech. A myriad of differences separate us. But, today, I am here to show we are all the same in that we are all Missouri Tigers.
I remember a professor telling me that teaching at the No. 1 journalism school in the world gives him an opportunity to make a global impact.
There’s an interesting map right there in the lobby of Jesse Hall. The map lists the 119 home countries of Mizzou’s students. 27 of them have been represented at the J-School, so, this school is probably the most diverse on campus! Imagine…these students go back to their countries after graduation with the knowledge and skills they gain here. The school makes it possible for us to connect, influence the world and make the Mizzou spirit felt around the globe. It’s unbelievable…the world comes to Mizzou for journalism and strategic communication, and the J-School sends its student to the world.
Today is very special because for many of us today is the last day of being a college student. Monday we will have to face the real world, maybe competing with thousands of graduates from other schools for the same opportunities in the job market.
And then there’s the added pressure of friends and family asking have you created a fancy portfolio website. Uh…Not yet. Or do you have a cool design for your resume…I’m working on it. Or how many resumes have you sent out…No, still zero.
But, we also know our experience here at Mizzou has given us the confidence to compete. More important than the academic knowledge, our school taught us how to communicate, how to cooperate, and how to understand each other.
You might not have thought about it, but we have changed a lot since we first came to campus. When we walk around this campus again, and see the columns, J Cafe, or even the journalism labs, we will realize how much we have grown…we will realize this school has taught us how to make impossibilities possible.
I told my best American friends, they can cry at my goodbye party because we share many precious memories we can think of in the future. There is still a really long way for us to go, but what I really want to say here is: Today, we are proud of being Missouri Tigers. Tomorrow, let Missouri be proud of us for our achievements and success! We are a family of Tigers no matter where we go.
Updated: August 15, 2019