Teaching Philosophy

Critical thinking is an important concept I teach in all of my classes. Reporters cannot ask the most relevant questions without it. Reporters and news documentarians are unable to produce controversial content or unveil new data in the absence of critical thinking.

As a teacher of broadcast journalism, it’s crucial my students learn how to analyze the media they consume. All of us are bombarded with messages from dozens of sources, some news, some entertainment, some advertising, and some with elements of all three. Many of my students have grown up in that environment and are quite comfortable with it, but they have not learned to look behind these messages to find out more about where this information comes from and to analyze its intended purpose.

I encourage students to engage in class discussion. This includes questioning the media they consume. In my reporting classes, I ask open-ended questions about the news of the day. I also seize every opportunity to incorporate history lessons. For example, it is difficult to understand Edward R. Murrow’s impact on the McCarthy Hearings in the 1950s with his “See it Now” program without understanding the Communist scare of the day.

Meeting deadlines are not an option in a real newsroom. By learning how to meet deadlines, students also learn how to be professionals. The best story ever produced may never make air if it’s turned in five seconds too late or it’s five seconds too long.

To advance my teaching skills and incorporate more technology in the classroom, I update my website to allow students to view my work currently in production, my completed documentaries, scripts and other material that will assist them in their own projects. I also use Blackboard, and have used iLearn, to reinforce teaching points and to reiterate assignment goals.

Since I began university teaching, I’ve always tried to find qualified production students to work with me on documentary projects. Fortunately, I’ve found many broadcasting/digital media students to be eager and able to tackle the rigor of professional work. It always seems to benefit them when compiling a portfolio for the job market.