That's the way it was


Walter Cronkite’s signature signoff—“and that’s the way it is”—gives pause in today’s media world.  Is it—the multimedia universe of the Internet, blogs, Twitter and YouTube—the way it is? 


CBS’s long-time White House correspondent Mark Knoller tweeted that Cronkite, the CBS legend, “would have enjoyed Twitter…straight news reporting one sentence at a time.” Maybe.


We’re caught up in the capacities of instant communication these days. Yes, I’m on Twitter, too. How else to know the experience?


Cronkite was an experiential journalist. With the troops on D-Day. On the ground in Vietnam. At Cape Canaveral for the space launches. He was not the vicarious correspondent tied to cable news and Google. Not the blogger in the basement type with zero frequent flier miles and no time in the field.


In the wake of Cronkite’s death at 92, it is significant to note that he is still remembered and eulogized as “the most trusted man in America,” even though he left the CBS anchor chair 28 years ago. Nearly every remembrance notes Cronkite’s on-air declaration that the Vietnam War could not be won and President Lyndon Johnson’s lament that “if I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.” With respect for Katie, Brian and Charlie and their journalistic chops, no one would say that about today’s network anchors. It’s not their fault; times have changed. 


Cronkite’s editorial judgment on Vietnam notwithstanding, the line between news and opinion was clearer in his day. Cronkite, the anchor, anchored the news.  His colleague Eric Sevareid, at least for part of that tenure, provided the commentary. On some purported news shows today, the anchor is host, commentator, provocateur and, often, irritant.


I frequently ask journalism students what they aspire to be. The answer is often “a network anchor,” even in these tumultuous days for the business of journalism. (Note that I rarely hear “a blogger.”) 


I admonish, in a kindly, dean’s way, that the best anchors I’ve worked with were reporters first and foremost. Cronkite had not aspired to become a network anchor, only a journalist. Wire service reporters, as Cronkite was, revel in the grit of a story. (Disclosure:  I was a wire service reporter briefly, and I married one.) 


Part of Cronkite’s appeal to his loyal viewers must have been that he did not look like a TV anchor. Yes, he had that baritone broadcast voice. But the glasses, the hairline and the mustache were avuncular. No glitz, little glamor.


Ironic, in the way news often is, that Walter Cronkite’s death came in the week that we commemorated man’s first small step on the moon. Ironic, that the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric is introduced by the voice of Walter Cronkite.


That’s the way it is and the way it should be.





College News


Five Faculty Members Promoted


The following faculty members were promoted in June. Hats off to each of them!


Dr. August (Augie) Grant promoted to full professor in SJMC. Dr. Grant specializes in research on new media technologies and consumer behavior. His teaching and research combine the study of traditional and emerging media, with emphases on media management, organizational structure, integrated communications and consumer behavior.


Dr. Ran Wei promoted to full professor in SJMC. Dr. Wei’s teaching and research interests include principles of advertising, advertising research, advertising in cultural China, impact of new media technologies and media effects.


Dr. Andrea Tanner promoted to associate professor and granted tenure in SJMC. Dr. Tanner leads the school’s health communications initiative and teaches courses in broadcast news writing and advanced television news producing and reporting.


Dr. Feili Tu promoted to associate professor and granted tenure in SLIS. Dr. Tu’s area of expertise in research and teaching is in medical informatics and health sciences librarianship.  She’s also part of our health information collaboration.


Dr. Jennifer Arns promoted to associate professor and granted tenure in SLIS. Dr. Arns’ teaching and research areas include public librarianship, information systems policy, information systems in organizations and foundations of librarianship and information services.


Three New Faculty Members


The School of Journalism and Mass Communications will welcome the following three professors to campus in August. Stop by and meet them next time you’re in the area!


Dr. Seihill Kim, associate professor, is coming to us from Auburn University. He will be teaching a research method course. His research interests are in political communication, public health, and public relations. He has taught courses in public relations, media and politics, and research methods.


Dr. Kathy Roberts Forde, assistant professor, is coming to us from the University of Minnesota. She will be teaching a history and philosophy of the mass media course. She is a journalism historian with special interests in First Amendment issues, literary journalism, and the history of the book and print culture.


Dr. Miron Varouhakis, visiting assistant professor, is coming to us from Michigan State University. He will be teaching undergraduate journalism writing and research methods courses, as well as launching a new course focusing on reporting on the military. His area of expertise is international reporting, defense, security and human rights. His area of study is international news media and religion, with a focus on Islam and Judaism.


Kendra Albright Delivers Keynote


Dr. Kendra Albright, associate professor in the School of Library and Information Science, was a keynote speaker at the i3 information: interactions and impact conference, held in Aberdeen, Scotland in June. Her talk, entitled “Multidisciplinarity in Information Behavior: Expanding Boundaries or Fragmentation of the Field?” is available at



Alumni News


The State Newspaper Honors Journalism Alumnus



Adam Beam, ’05, was honored with the Gonzales Award from The State on Wednesday, July 22. Beam was nominated by his peers in the newsroom for his positive, can-do attitude. In his four years as a reporter for The State, Beam has covered crime, state and federal courts. His current assignment is Columbia city government. “There is nothing better than being recognized by your colleagues,” Beam said in a State article. “That is what makes this award so special, and that is why I am so thankful to receive it.” The Gonzales award, created in 1968, is named for one of the newspaper’s founders.



Library Alumna is New Executive Director of Richland County Public Library


Melanie Huggins, MLIS ’95, returned home in early July as RCPL’s new executive director. Prior to this, Huggins was the director of the St. Paul Public Library system in St. Paul, Minn.


Click here to read more.






Our Face of Y’ALL Finalist Needs Your Vote


This year, the person to vote for is journalism alumna Janet Parker, ’08. This is the second year that one of our graduates made it to the top five finalists in the University’s Face of Y’ALL campaign. Click here to watch her campaign video and read her essay about why she should be the University’s next Face of Y’ALL!



CMCIS New Student Convocation

August 16

2pm in Rutledge Chapel


First SLIS Convocation for WVVA Cohort

August 22

The WVVA Cohort will have its first convocation for all students who will complete their MLIS in 2009. Since they have taken their courses as distance education from their WV and VA sites, SLIS is having a distance education convocation celebration in Waynesboro, VA on Saturday, August 22 at 2 p.m. at the Waynesboro Country Club. Alumni are welcome to attend and offer congratulations to these graduates.


Fall Semester Classes Begin

August 20



    Friday, October 23

    Gamecocks on the Green

    4:30 – 7 p.m.

    Mark your calendar and plan to meet your fellow alumni and friends of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the School of Library and Information Science at our annual reception on Gibbes Green to celebrate Homecoming. We hope you’ll join us to catch up with former classmates, reconnect with professors and friends and enjoy some good food and drink.


    Please RSVP to Elaine Taylor at or 803-777-7118. Stay tuned to for more details.


    To see the full schedule of University events for Homecoming weekend, visit             

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