Panel discusses culture, business climate in China

China panel
From left, Christine Davis, Scott Kennedy, Emily Metzgar and Greg Andrews talked to the club about their visit to China. (Photo by Jack Dvorak)

A panel of reporters, IU researchers and educators presented their reflections and findings from a recent trip to China at the April 25 meeting of the Bloomington Press Club. The group met at the Wells House on the IU campus.

Members of the Indiana contingent who traveled to Shanghai in March included IU School of Journalism professor Emily Metzgar; IU’s media relations manager George Vlahakis; Scott Kennedy, director of IU’s Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business; Herald-Times reporter Chris Fyall; Christine Davis of the Leadership Development Institute at the Kelley School of Business; and Greg Andrews of the Indianapolis Business Journal.

They participated in a conference, “U.S.-China Business Cooperation in the 21st Century: U.S.-China economic and trade relations during the period of the post-global economic crisis,”  led by IU’s Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business and the Center for International Business Education and Research.

The conference was at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, but the group also visited Shanghai and surrounding areas to see Indiana and U.S. businesses at work in China.

Kennedy said the RCCPB  hosted the Chinese for a conference in 2009 to promote legal awareness among entrepreneurs, but decided to focus on media this year for the conference in Shanghai. Metzgar and colleague Lars Willnat  presented their research about Americans’ perceptions of China during the conference.

For reporters Fyall and Andrews, bringing the China story to their Hoosier newspapers was a challenge. Fyall said he worked to devise stories that would help Herald-Times readers relate to business issues in China.

“It was a challenge to make this an Indiana story, but not a challenge to find stories,” said IBJ’s Andrews. “For example, Indianapolis-based Lilly has 3,000 people in China, more than it has in any other one country outside the U.S.”

Vlahakis brought the story to IU audiences. He maintained a blog to share his impressions and photos with readers, documenting not only the business aspects of the trip but also the cultural.


Students share tales of ‘down under’

Australia trip by Michael Evans
Journalism students visited media outlets while in Australia. Here, Caitlin Peterkin (left) and Chaz Mottinger (right) learn about cameras from a CAAMA broadcaster. (Photo by Michael Evans)

Exploring the outback, meeting Aboriginal journalists and trying out local dance and cuisine are just a few of the adventures IU journalism students shared with members of the Bloomington Press Club at the March 28 meeting.

Associate professor Michael Evans’ class visited Australia over spring break to learn about culture and media “down under.” He brought eight students with him to talk about their experiences and show photos from the trip.

Evans, who has conducted research on the Inuit people of the arctic, has long been intrigued by Aboriginal peoples, especially those with active media groups. When conducting his own dissertation in the Arctic, other researchers suggested he also examine native culture in the outback of Australia. After several trips to do just that, Evans decided journalism students could benefit from the experience as well.

As they showed slides, students talked about what they saw. Lieran Ehmke talked about watching kangaroos – and later eating kangaroo meat. Chaz Mottinger explained how she and another student received instruction on video cameras while visiting the CAAMA Aboriginal media outlet in Alice Springs. Kourtney Liepelt recounted the camel-riding experience.

The luncheon was a day to celebrate IU journalism students. In addition to the Australia contingent, several other students who helped create a magazine last fall attended. Nancy Comiskey, their instructor, explained that the students collaborated on everything from design to content to editorial decisions create 812 magazine, which explore southern Indiana culture. The spring course students are hard at work on the next issue, she said.

The next meeting of the club is April 25 at the Wells House, Jordan Avenue and 10th Street, and guests will be five area journalists and professors who traveled to China to attend a conference in Shanghai.


CASA volunteers advocate for children in legal dilemmas

A “CASA” is a special kind of volunteer — not a social worker, not a legal representative — but one who can influence the lives of children facing all kinds of dilemmas.

“CASA volunteers donate their time to put themselves in sometimes horrific situations, but each makes a difference, makes a child feel he or she has a voice,” said Court Appointed Special Advocates’ Kristin Bishay, director of the Monroe County group, who talked to Bloomington Press Club Feb. 28 at its regular meeting.

Kristin Bishay
Monroe County CASA director Kristin Bishay talked about the group at the last BPC meeting.

Bishay described CASA’s mission as ensuring that children in the courts system for whatever reasons are adequately represented, that their own wishes and needs are heard. CASAs gather court documents, reports from social services or other professionals, and talk to children who find themselves in court for reasons ranging from abuse to homelessness. CASAs are fact finders, monitors and advocates, Bishay said.

“After collecting all the information, CASA volunteers can explain what the child wants,” said Bishay. “What services are best for the child? What placement is best for the child? Sometimes, the CASA’s recommendation may be different from that of the courts or social services.”

Bishay shared several cases. One four-year-old wouldn’t talk, so the CASA sent the child to be tested by a speech and hearing professional, someone no one had thought to do. The child had severe hearing loss, which impeded her ability to talk.

Other children have been abused or abandoned by a series of relatives, have been in and out of foster care and often are woefully behind in school for these reason, Bishay said.

CASA volunteers undergo 30 hours of training and commit to two years working with the group, as that often is the life span of some cases.

Need continues to increase, Bishay said. CASA of Monroe County started in 1983 with eight volunteers serving 14 children. Today, it has 115 volunteers serving 399 children, but many cases are turned away because the group doesn’t have enough volunteers.

And not only do volunteers act for children, they also save the courts money. Bishay said 100,000 hours of volunteer work saved Monroe County’s court system more than $400,000 in fees that would have been spent on guardians ad litem. The courts provided CASA with $167,000 last year, about 42 percent of CASA’s annual budget. The nonprofit group conducts fundraisers to make up the remaining 58 percent.

Check out Monroe County CASA at its website.

Conway describes current TV news climate

Journalism professor Mike Conway talked about TV news at the Jan. 24 meeting.

School of Journalism associate professor Mike Conway talked about the future of television news at the Jan. 24 meeting of the Bloomington Press Club.

A former television news reporter and producer, Conway researches and teaches broadcast news, and shared some information about today’s news consumer with his audience.

For example, while people are getting more news online, they spend about 70 minutes a day consuming news, 57 minutes of it with traditional sources. And of those traditional sources, TV news accounts for more than half of those minutes.

“But in that category, there are three types of TV news: network, cable and local,” said Conway. “We hear a lot about cable news and while network news has been dropping, it still accounts for many more viewers than cable.”

He used cable personalities’ viewership to demonstrate: Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly draws about 2.9 million viewers each night and CNN’s Anderson Cooper about 1 million. Meanwhile, network’s NBC’s nightly news draws 10.5 million, ABC 9.1 million and CBS about 7 million.

Conway used statistics to show how people consume news.

Local news, both morning and evening, remains the most popular among viewers, with about 60 million viewers, especially those in lower education and lower economic demographics. Local news also is the most believable, according to its viewers.

“For local stations, the big concern is with their networks,” said Conway, who worked at several affiliates during his 20 years in broadcast. “Networks aren’t sure they need local affiliates any more. In the old days, networks paid affiliates well, but that’s not the case now.”

Technology and new media conglomerates are affecting local stations, who are worried about retransmission content. Cable and satellite companies don’t need local content to make money, only network access. Conway said Fox already is starting to cut out locals. Other networks are owned by large conglomerates for which news is not a major part of the business.

“A lot of companies in charge of media outlets are good at protecting the profit margins,” Conway said. “Ownership in local television will go through tough times, but will have to figure out a new model.”

Local TV used to make 40 to 50 percent of its revenue from local news. Now, that’s not the case, and often, the first reaction when numbers go down isn’t to innovate but to cut staff – usually in the newsroom.

Conway is author of  The Origins of Television News in America: The Visualizers of CBS in the 1940s, which looks at development of the television newscast, specifically the people who experimented with the medium in its earliest years, developing what became the modern-day TV newscast. The book was nominated for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications’ Tankard Award last year.

A Terre Haute native and IU telecommunications alumnus, Conway received his Ph.D. at University of Texas. Conway also told members that as a senior in high school, he recieved a Bloomington Press Club scholarship.

Conway to discuss future of TV news

School of Journalism associate professor Mike Conway will talk about the future of television news at the next meeting of the Bloomington Press Club, noon Jan. 24 in the Coronation Room at the Indiana Memorial Union.

Other guests include School of Journalism communications director Beth Moellers, who will talk about the journalism’s centennial celebration activities this year, and journalism student Caitlin Johnston, who won first place in a national opinion writing competition recently.

Conway is author of The Origins of Television News in America: The Visualizers of CBS in the 1940s, which looks at development of the television newscast, specifically the people who experimented with the medium in its earliest years, developing what became the modern-day TV newscast. The book was nominated for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications’ Tankard Award last year.

A Terre Haute native and IU telecommunications alumnus, Conway worked in television news for nearly 20 years before attaining his PhD at University of Texas. He teaches broadcast news among other classes.

Kelly, students discuss Kenya course

Moi, IU students
IU students partnered with Moi University students to conduct their reporting. Here, Maureen Jiwaji (right) and Julia Haller outlined a story from their notes. (Photo courtesy of Dennis Elliott)

IU School of Journalism professor Jim Kelly and two journalism students talked about a class that took a dozen students to Kenya last summer to learn about reporting the HIV/AIDS epidemic at the Bloomington Press Club meeting Nov. 22 in the State Room East at the Indiana Memorial Union.

Using a photo slideshow, Kelly described the course and the trip, the first of the School of Journalism’s courses to take students to Africa. But to report on health care issues, specifically HIV/AIDS, nowhere is more central to the issue than sub-Saharan Africa,  he said, where rates of infection are among the highest in the world.

Kelly devised the course and travel component based on his own experiences leading workshops for journalists in Africa and Asia. For this course, he partnered with IU’s AMPATH project, which works in Eldoret, Kenya, to improve access to health care.

“Before the trip, we had guest speakers in class who talked to us about what to expect, about AMPATH and other topics,” Kelly said. Students also read about the region, the epidemic and current issues before embarking on the three-week trip.

The students did have a secret weapon waiting on them, though: Moi University students.

“In keeping with the AMPATH model, where local organizations pair with medical schools, the students paired with their counterparts at Moi University in Eldoret,” he said.

Working in teams of two, IU students and Moi students developed story ideas and then conducted newsgathering.

“It worked well because the Moi students spoke the language and knew how to get around,” said Lauren Stanley, who with Laura Sargent accompanied Kelly to the talk. “But many days, we’d head out together never sure of how the day would go.”

For most, each pair set off each morning to interview people at agencies or medical facilities, or to travel to villages to interview local people facing the disease or dealing with it in their families. Many of these villages were remote, Sargent said, places where a bus would drop off the two who then faced a long walk to villages.

Returning to IU House in Eldoret, the teams plotted their stories and photo packages. The resulting work was posted on the class blog, which students update while in Kenya, then polished and posted their final projects after their return.

Kelly plans to offer the course with the travel component in summer 2011.

Learn more:

Talese fundraiser nets about $1,000

Author Gay Talese
Author Gay Talese schmoozed with the crowd at the BPC fundraiser Sept. 15.

The Sept. 15 fundraiser with author Gay Talese was a big success, raising about $1,000 (early estimate) for the Bloomington Press Club scholarship fund.

Attendees, including press club members, guests and some journalism students, chatted with Talese as they enjoyed wine and hors d’oeuvres on the stage at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater before the author’s lecture to the public.

Talese was the first speaker of the IU School of Journalism’s Speaker Series. He is author of many magazine and newspaper pieces as well as best-sellers Unto the Sons, Honor Thy Father and Thy Neighbor’s Wife, among others.

Kelly to discuss Kenya class Nov. 22

IU School of Journalism associate professor Jim Kelly will talk about his course which took students to Kenya last summer to report on HIV/AIDS at the next meeting of the Bloomington Press Club at noon Nov. 22 at the State Room East in the Indiana Memorial Union. The State Room East is on the second floor, one above the Tudor Room.

Kelly, who also has led workshops for south Asian journalists seeking ways to report on the epidemic, devised and led the course in June. Students spent time in the classroom reading and discussing media and HIV/AIDS, then traveled to Eldoret and Nairobi to collaborate with students at Moi University in newsgathering in local communities.

Lunch will be your choice of chicken bistro grill or grilled portobello sandwiches, each with side salad, dessert and drinks for $13.

Make your reservation for the meeting and lunch with treasurer Sherry Rouse,, no later than Nov. 17.

Next meeting Oct. 25

After a successful fundraiser in September and traditional skipping of a meeting in August, Bloomington Press Club will reconvene Oct. 25 for its regular meeting at noon in the Coronation Room at the Indiana Memorial Union.

Our guest:

Guest speaker will be J.T. Coopman, superintendent of the Monroe County Community Schools. He’ll update us on newsworthy topics such as referenda and personnel challenges brought on by the recession. Coopman has been MCCSC superintendent since 2009, and he has led several other Indiana school districts.

He was honored as Indiana’s District V Superintendent of the Year in 2007, has held several national and state officer positions and offices of professional educational leadership organizations, serves as Indiana’s representative on the National Governing Board of the American Association of School Administrators, and was elected President of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents for 2009-2010.


The lunch buffet in the Tudor Room is $14 for the full buffet and $12 for soup, salad and dessert buffets. RSVP the week before the meetings to treasurer Sherry Rouse ( to hold your spot.

Dues are due:

Deadline to pay your dues is Oct. 31. All the information, including downloadable forms, is on this page.

Take a student to lunch:

While you have your checkbook out, considering supporting IU journalism students by paying for their lunches at Press Club  meetings. All you have to do is pay for one extra lunch at any time. Treasurer Sherry Rouse will arrange to invite students to meetings as funds allow.