The Event Begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 16, in Mizzou Arena
Columbia, Mo. (May 8, 2014) — The Missouri School of Journalism will welcome its 537 May and August graduates at its spring commencement ceremony. It begins at 7:30 p.m., Friday, May 16, in Mizzou Arena. Seating will be open. Family and friends do not need tickets.
Graduate degrees will be awarded to 61 master’s recipients, two of whom earned their degree online.
Of the 476 graduating seniors, 238 studied strategic communication; 74, radio-television journalism; 74, magazine journalism; 37, print and digital news; 37, convergence journalism; and 16, photojournalism.
Overall, 191 graduating seniors, approximately 40 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 3-4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 16, in the Palmer Room of the Reynolds Journalism Institute. This year’s inductees are:
|Doctor of Philosophy
Master of Arts
|Bachelor of Journalism
The alumna speaker will be Angela Greiling Keane, BJ ’98, a White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, covering breaking news and business-focused enterprise. Greiling Keane joined Bloomberg as a reporter in 2007, covering transportation beats.
As an award-winning journalist, Greiling Keane has covered autos, rail, politics, regulation, Washington’s lobbying industry and the Postal Service. She has led coverage of automotive recalls, transportation crashes and postal reform. Greiling Keane also contributes to Bloomberg Businessweek, Bloomberg Television and the Political Capital blog. She’s appeared on outside media including NPR and C-SPAN and is a frequent speaker on panels about journalism.
Greiling Keane was the 2013 National Press Club president, where she increased membership for the first time in more than a decade at the $13 million organization and served as the primary spokesperson for the club on topics including international and domestic press freedom. As Press Club president, Greiling Keane focused on press freedom issues and on highlighting women as newsmakers and in journalism.
Greiling Keane was a finalist for a 2012 Gerald Loeb Award for business journalism and won the Washington Automotive Press Association Golden Quill award in 2013. She serves on the board of the non-profit National Press Club Journalism Institute, is a member of Journalism and Women Symposium and has been a Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow. Before joining Bloomberg, Greiling Keane was an associate editor for Traffic World, a trade magazine covering freight transportation, and a Washington correspondent for the Small Newspaper Group.
The master of ceremonies will be Tom Doherty, a strategic communication major, Spanish minor from Riverside, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. A dean’s list student, Doherty was a member of Mizzou’s comedy troupe MU Improv and a founding father of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He served as a student intern for Mizzou Media Relations. Doherty interned with Starcom Mediavest Group, serving on the digital media planning strategy account for ESPN. After graduation, he plans to live and work in Chicago’s rich advertising and marketing culture.
The student speaker will be Alexis Rogers, a radio-television journalism major with a double minor in sociology and black studies from Naperville, Illinois. She reported and anchored for KOMU-TV as well as anchored and produced for Newsy.com. Rogers served internships at WRC News 4 in Washington, D.C., and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment in Chicago. She served a two-term presidency for the MU Chapter of National Association of Black Journalists and currently serves as the student deputy for the national office for NABJ. Rogers was selected for Mizzou 39 and was a Top 30 for MU Homecoming Royalty. She is member of MU’s Tour Team and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
Thoughts of the Class: “Our Journey Starts Here”
My fellow graduates, professors and mentors. Many of us dream of this day. Today is the day that marks our official completion of our journey through the rigorous Missouri School of Journalism. This is a huge life accomplishment.
Our journey here started way before the classroom. It may have been when we took our first tour, when we heard about the infamous and mysterious Mizzou Mafia. Or it may have been when we learned that we would actually get to work in real newsrooms and agencies with real assignments and deadlines.
We all came here with a purpose. Maybe it was our competitive nature, the bittersweet relationship with the Missouri Method, our pure curiosity, or our desire to be able to say I graduated from the number one school of journalism.
We thought we knew what we signed up for – like those early classes that taught us how to be a photographer, videographer and excellent writer all at the same time. Or when we took our first AP Style tests. Remember our first ungodly morning live reporting shifts, covering our first real story off campus, meeting with actual campaign clients, taking photographs or shooting video at actual events.
We’ve put together full-functioning magazines, newspapers, broadcasts and client presentations with the latest bells and whistles technology has to offer us. I mean who doesn’t report, anchor, take calls from viewers who wonder where their favorite shows are, do real presentations for clients, put together full-functioning magazines and newspapers while playing with fax machines and manage to go to class, sorority and fraternity meetings and be involved in other groups on campus every day?
Most people enroll in the school of hard knocks after college, during their first job. We’ve been dually enrolled.
Moral of the story, whatever path you pursued – convergence, magazine, print and digital news, photography, radio-TV, strategic communication – you learned what being a true jack-of-all-trades meant.
We are not and have never merely been students. We do it all, and we make it look easy.
Others got to sleep in on snow days, cheer at the basketball and football games and enjoy their winter, spring and summer breaks. We are out there, every day hustling around Mid-Mo or wherever our assignments take us. We learned about this community and about companies. In the process we learned about ourselves and how the world works.
All areas had those “hold your breath” moments – making mistakes on live TV, reviewing photos, critiquing the recent issues of the paper or magazine, reading client feedback, looking at comments from readers and viewers – all of these and more gave professors numerous teachable moments. It could be in class, small groups or through a lesson-learned email. You just hoped it wasn’t you who did something stupid.
But when we did make mistakes – and all of us did – we became therapists for one another such as when you got your first negative grade from Greeley and you sat back and asked yourself if that was even academically legal.
We became experts in less than 24 hours about things that we didn’t think we would have to learn about until we actually started paying bills. Who would have thought we would have so many experts on TIFF’s, potholes or tortilla chips.
What amazes me about us, we made it work. From the time we got in this place to the time we got out. We busted our butts to get those interviews, take those photographs, write those stories, create those campaigns. We worked side by side with seasoned professionals, presented in front of top Fortune companies, stood alongside the CNN’s, MSNBC’s and New York Times while covering Ferguson, The Cotton Bowl, the Oklahoma tornadoes.
We can say we did it. We were there. We are doing what most can only dream of.
None of us are leaving this place the same way we came. We entered this program as total strangers with individual goals. Little did we know that we helped make each other’s dreams come true.
Whether you figured out that this is or isn’t the field for you, or that you have the time of your life doing this work that not everyone can do, we all get to walk across this stage today changed people. We’ve become informed citizens of the world who have taken numerous steps outside of our comfort zones to understand the world in a different light. For that experience alone we are that much more for ahead.
This is our home; we are minutes away from joining the Mizzou Mafia. We have the comforting truth that no matter what, we get to feel at home wherever we are because we have a true family here.
We’ve had people helping us who only want the best for us. Now we get to do the same thing for the future hard-working dreamers who step through that door.
As we all go into our new seasons in life, and as we bid adieu to some of the most wonderful and life-changing professors, mentors, and colleagues that one could ever know, we are redefining what excellent journalism and strategic communication looks like. Both from the professional sense and from the personal. We are what quality looks like. We are changing the way the world sees things.
We made it. Our journey is just starting. Your next destination is up to you.
Congratulations, everyone. Be the spectacular change you want to see.
Angela Greiling Keane, BJ ’98
Congratulations graduates and welcome to your career in journalism. It’s a career that’s great for cocktail party conversation and for answering the “So what do you do?” question at your high school reunion. It’s moments like those that remind any journalist who’s gotten jaded about everyday life that you do work in a profession that’s as interesting as it is important.
Your degree from Missouri shows that you’re prepared and that you have the hands-on experience that you need to jump right in to report, produce, broadcast or shoot photos. There are advantages to just starting out, too. You’re young…and cheap. And I mean that in a good way. You’re more likely at this stage in your career to be able to take that dream job that doesn’t pay well than if you were 20 years older with a family and a mortgage.
If you don’t have a job yet, consider taking advantage of that, too. A week after I got my Mizzou diploma, I hopped on a plane – actually several planes because that was cheaper and I had no money – and flew to Argentina, where I spent the next month backpacking, hitchhiking, couch surfing, youth hosteling and seeing far-flung places that I mostly haven’t had a chance to return to since. Every year that passes, the more thankful I am that I took that month for me and for adventure before settling down into the world of work. Even though my parents would’ve been happier if I’d headed straight back to Washington to start the summer internship I had lined up, I wouldn’t trade the travel and adventure for a paycheck.
I was reminded about the meaning of a Missouri diploma when I switched to the White House beat for Bloomberg News earlier this year. In the first month on the beat, I found myself sitting in a briefing with senior administration officials next to one of my Mizzou roommates and Maneater newspaper colleagues who’s now a White House correspondent for USA Today. The Bloomberg seat in the White House briefing room is behind that of Major Garrett, chief White House correspondent for CBS News and another Mizzou grad. And last month when I was traveling on a day trip with President Obama, it turned out to be the day of the shooting at Fort Hood. Another Mizzou grad David Nakamura with the Washington Post and I were two of the five print reporters in the traveling pool with the president that day. Obama decided to give an impromptu statement on the tragedy, with reporters scrambling to be ready to cover it and convey his words ASAP to our editors and broadcast stations. No one was there to broadcast his statement live, so we were it to tell the nation and the world what the most powerful man in the country had to say. It was a moment that drove home why what we do matters and what would be lost if we didn’t have well-staffed newsrooms to send journalists to travel with the president and to cover all our elected officials and powerful decision makers in sectors such as business, entertainment and sports.
Speaking of staffing newsrooms, I’m sure some of you are wondering what your next steps will be after you receive your hard-earned diploma today. I’m not here to offer you all jobs or tell you your first job out of college will be your dream job, but I do have the benefit of having had 16 years since I sat where you’re sitting.
People ask me often about the future of journalism and whether there is one. If anything, the demand for information is greater now than it was when you began college, and it only stands to grow from here. I’m optimistic that today’s journalism entrepreneurs will also find a way to make money from providing information. You may end up like me and work for an employer that didn’t exist when you started high school. When I was in your seats, Twitter, Facebook and Politico were among the news dissemination channels that didn’t exist. Tomorrow will hold more new things.
The skills you’ve learned here and that you’ll add to as a journalist are applicable in many lines of work, too. Don’t take for granted the fact that you are competent writers and know how to collect information, meet deadlines and look objectively at situations. All of you, as graduates of this program, are unafraid to ask questions and can adapt quickly to changing situations. These skills are valuable.
You don’t have to have your entire career path mapped out now. Absolutely set goals, but be open to going along for the ride, too. If you’d told me when I was in your seat that I’d develop expertise in transportation, I’d have laughed. But one thing led to another and I spent four years writing for a trade magazine that covered only freight transportation, and that experience was what got me hired at Bloomberg. If you can know more than your competitors about a topic, you’ll be at an advantage both for landing a job and for writing more authoritatively.
I’ll tell you something it took me a while to figure out – older people and more experienced journalists don’t have all the answers either. When I was an intern in Washington with the Missouri semester in D.C., I remember the late great Washington Post columnist Mary McGrory turning to me and asking me a question about something at a congressional hearing. Me, an intern. More than 15 years later, I don’t remember what she asked, but I do remember the realization that even someone as experienced and accomplished as her didn’t know everything either.
You might not have all the answers right now, nor should you. When my daughter asked me recently what I like best about my job, without hesitation I told her it’s the chance to learn something new every day, meet new people, go new places. You never know where journalism may lead you. By all means, make a plan and set goals. But don’t be beholden to them. Be open to where life and your career may take you.
And speaking of life, as important and interesting as your work in journalism will be, work isn’t everything. There’s been a lot of talk lately about work-life balance, especially as it pertains to professional women, but I’d argue it’s something that should and does apply to men as well. Having a life outside of journalism or outside of work in general makes you a more well-rounded person and, frankly, a more interesting one.
When I was National Press Club president last year while also reporting more than full-time for Bloomberg and being a mother and a wife, I was asked at least once a week “How do you do it all?” My answer was usually something to the effect of that while the Press Club position was a lot of work – as well as interesting and a great honor – it was only for a year. I also told them it was key to ask for the flexibility you need from your employer and to have a supportive spouse. In my case, I think my husband and I were both surprised that I remembered how to find and use the washing machine when I did a load of laundry again after the Press Club presidency ended.
And my fourth-grader daughter’s life is richer for tagging along with me to work-related things sometimes. Two cabinet secretaries she’s met along the way regularly ask how she’s doing. She’s met the president of Iceland, lawmakers, the guy who does the voice of Grover on Sesame Street, and Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend of the Who. She thought they were just two old guys until she Googled them after meeting them and realized they were pretty cool still now as well as back in their heyday.
For most of you, worrying about work-life balance while juggling family responsibilities is probably a long way off. One of the pieces of “Lean In” advice from Sheryl Sandberg that I like best is her saying not to step back preemptively. Don’t decline the promotion or a challenging new assignment because you might someday want or need to devote more responsibility to family. Jump in with both feet now and soak it in. Travel, see new places, meet new people, have adventures.
So with that, I wish you success and happiness as you embark on the next adventure in your lives. Set your goals and work hard to achieve them, but also be open to turns along the way and riding the roller coaster of life wherever it might take you. And always remember the words of Henry Ford who said “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”
Updated: January 21, 2020