Miami screens Iowa newspaper documentary ahead of premiere

The University of Miami’s Department of Media, Journalism and Film (MJF) joined the Department of History for a special screening of “Storm Lake” on Tuesday, October 19.

The documentary, which is set to debut publicly next month, was co-directed by Beth Levison and Jerry Risius. It follows Art Cullen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and editor of the local newspaper in Storm Lake, a city in Iowa with just over 10,000 residents, as he pinpoints immigration issues at COVID -19.

The Storm Lake Times is made up of a small team of 10, including Cullen’s wife Dolores, son Tom, brother John, and dog Peach.

Cullen said his role is to share the impact of national stories and local events on his community. The Storm lake weather reports of issues ranging from heavy rains due to climate change slowing maize growth to deaths in the community.

“It’s important to know who had a baby and who died in a community of 10 or 15,000 people,” he said.

MJF keynote speaker Patti Newberry co-hosted the event with Andrew Offenburger, Associate Professor of History.

“I’m a proud product of the State of Nebraska and always excited, of course, when the true heart of the country is celebrated,” Newberry said.

Offenburger, who received his undergraduate degree from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, offered a city-focused course last spring: HST450E Researching Midwestern History. He will offer the course again next semester and build on the research from the last course.

“It’s a fascinating little town,” said Offenburger. “It’s not like what you would think of when you think of a small town in Iowa. It is, in fact, a predominantly Spanish-speaking population now.

After the screening, Levison and Cullen joined the students for a virtual question-and-answer session.

Cullen emphasized the importance of local media to students, an important theme in the documentary. He said students can counter information deserts – vast areas without local coverage – by taking initiative and creating their own news organizations.

“When you’re not hired at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, you’ll instead be working in Algona, Iowa,” Cullen said. “It’s that simple… You have to start somewhere.”

Enjoy what you read?
Subscribe to our newsletter

Levison said she hoped the documentary would inspire journalists from communities like Oxford, which does not have a dedicated newspaper not affiliated with the university.

“I’m really stunned by the responsibility you guys have that there isn’t a local newspaper in Oxford and that you take that responsibility…” said Levison. “I hope in places like Oxford we can have conversations like these.”

Erin Renk, a nutrition graduate from Algona, said it was surreal to see a city-based film within two hours of her home.

“I cross Storm Lake a lot so I just loved it,” Renk said. “I love learning more about Iowa… I never expected a place like Storm Lake to be the subject of a documentary.”

Levison achieved his educational goal with Renk.

” I do not know [news deserts], and that makes sense, but it’s just not something you really think about, ”Renk said,“… just the importance of community journalism and the role they may have played in the community.

[email protected]

Source link

About Erin Redding

Check Also

Wawasee kicks off NLC opening at Concord

Friday, November 19, 2021 11:59 PM DUNLAP – It was an opening conference and the …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *