Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Journalism

Robot typing
Summer 2017

Robowriters

Subject. Verb. Object.

These are the basic building blocks of written communication. It’s what you need to make a complete sentence like the one you’re reading now.

Structured. Logical. Direct.

This also is why parts of my chosen career are ripe for takeover by robots.

For millions of Americans, the defining realization of how fast artificial intelligence is evolving came in 2011 when Watson — IBM’s now-celebrated language processing computer — won the popular TV quiz show Jeopardy by beating two of the game’s top champions.

I watched with fascination as well. But, for me, the point was driven home even harder a few years … » More …

John McCallum
Spring 2017

Writing pools, movie stars

The New York Yankees were establishing their dominance over America’s favorite pastime. The Golden Era of Hollywood was in full swing. And a nation recovering from the sacrifices of World War II had begun to heal and find itself.

It was a world of big cars and even bigger personalities. A world that sportswriter John D. McCallum, a U.S. Army veteran and former pro baseball player, found he could navigate with surprising ease.

McCallum resumed his English and journalism studies at Washington State after returning from the war, and briefly played for the Portland Beavers in 1947. But it was after he hung up his … » More …

Orcas
Winter 2012

Chris Dunagan ’74, ’75—Bearing witness to the sights and smells of our soggy backyard

If you cover the waterfront the way Chris Dunagan does, you have to expect a fair amount of smells. There’s the fresh, tangy scent of estuary and the mild musk of beach wrack. There’s the stench of rotting shellfish during the great Oyster Rescue of 2010, and the outsized rot of a beached gray whale. Dunagan, 60, has documented a lot of beached whales, although the numbers are hard to nail down.

Counting just grays, not killer whales or humpbacks or dead whale reports over the phone, he says, “I’ve probably gone out to 20.”

Dunagan (biochemistry ’74, ’75 communications) has been the environmental reporter … » More …

Summer 2012

The learned observer

“We should observe first, and think afterwards.”
—The Lancet 19 Oct. 1823

Part of the nature of a writer—but then again, perhaps I speak only for myself—is the constant reimagining of one’s self and context, the repeated immersion in myriad and esoteric subjects, all the while desperately hoping for infinite reincarnations in order to fulfill all the things one would like to understand, experience, and be. On the other hand, being a writer embraces the perfectly paradoxical satisfaction with one’s role as a learned observer.

Given the skeptical writer’s reluctance to rely on reincarnation, the only way to grasp these multitudinous desires and perspectives … » More …

Video: Excerpt of The Murrow Interview with Ayman Mohlyedin of Al Jazeera English

In March 2011, founding dean of WSU’s Murrow College of Communication Lawrence Pintak interviewed Ayman Mohlyedin, correspondent for Al Jazeera English, on Northwest Public Television‘s The Murrow Interview. Watch an excerpt of the interview below. 

You can read more about Mohlyedin and other journalists in the Arab world in “Revolutions are televised by Arab journalists.”

3 minutes, 26 seconds

// Add VideoJS to all video tags on the page when the DOM is ready
VideoJS.setupAllWhenReady();

Poster Image

Download Video:
MP4,
WebM,
Ogg

» More …

Summer 2011

Revolutions are televised by Arab journalists

The world watched people rise up this year against dictators and authoritarian regimes across the Middle East and northern Africa, their protests aired by satellite television and the Internet. In Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, and other countries, journalists televised, twittered, and spread the “electronic virus,” as Lawrence Pintak calls the media revolution, around the Arab world.

Pintak, founding dean of the Murrow College of Communication and a former Middle East correspondent for CBS, says satellite TV plays the critical role in the protests. Eighty percent of the Arab world gets its news from television, and international news in Arabic, produced by Arabs, displays the … » More …

Fall 2003

The first casualty

Vietnam was the last conflict in which reporters could speak and write with prudent freedom.

During one of the nation’s many wars, I wrote of a patrol that came under fire and killed an enemy soldier. Before continuing, the GIs cut off the dead man’s genitals, and forced them into his mouth, leaving also a playing card-Ace of Spades-on his body. The soldiers said that such were enemy superstitions, that they would not cross over a dead man so festooned, thus it was required to keep the other side effectively tethered if the patrol was to complete its mission.

It was a poor excuse for … » More …

Fall 2004

Viewing life through the lens of a camera

After a dozen years as a photojournalist with KIRO-TV, Brian Miller left the security of a television-station job in 1998 to start his own company, Wide Angle TV.

Two factors influenced his decision-time and money. And he yearned to be independent.

He now works one-third as much as he did before and earns three times the money, he says. But the freelance business can be unpredictable, subject to such variables as the weather and the economy.

Miller won’t venture a guess at an “average” work week. “There isn’t any”-and he’s fine with that. Some days he might put in 15-20 hours-when he’s working. The downside … » More …