Two experienced journalists have joined the JMSC’s teaching staff.
Kevin Sites has been appointed Associate Professor of Practice. He will start teaching in the Autumn semester; his initial courses are Introduction to TV and Television News. Kevin Drew is a new Assistant Professor of Practice, teaching graduate level Reporting and Writing – also in the coming semester.
Sites spent the past decade reporting on global war and disaster for ABC, NBC, CNN, and Yahoo! News. In 2005, he became Yahoo!’s first correspondent and covered every major conflict in the world in a single year for his website, Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone, earning himself the nickname “granddaddy of backpack journalists.”
He has received several major awards, including The Edward R. Murrow Award and The Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism, and was made a Nieman Journalism Fellow at Harvard University in 2010.
He will share his experiences of working alone while carrying a backpack of portable digital technology to shoot, write, edit and transmit multimedia reports from around the world.
“Teaching has always been intertwined with my reporting life, formally and casually,” Sites says. “It was during a teaching sabbatical that I realised backpack journalism could help reporters assume a smaller footprint, become more nimble and less invasive as a story unfolds around them. Speaking with colleagues, I learned that JMSC founding director Ying Chan shared, at an organisational level, that same approach.”
Sites notes that many journalism schools have been slow in responding to the changes wrought by the new media. “I respect and admire leaders who emphasise flexibility as an approach to problem solving,” he says. “Ying Chan has demonstrated that by assembling a diverse faculty and staff who represent a broad range of platform and geographic perspectives.”
Drew brings to the JMSC nearly three decades of reporting and editing experience for print, online and broadcast news organisations.
His most recent position was correspondent for The New York Times and International Herald Tribune, based in Hong Kong, for which he focused on breaking news. Before that he oversaw digital news operations for CNN International in the Asia-Pacific region, also based in Hong Kong.
He began his journalism career as a newspaper reporter on the West Coast of the United States before moving to Prague, and worked in Central and Eastern Europe for much of the 1990s, reporting and editing for various news organisations including The Associated Press and the Christian Science Monitor.
He was part of teams at CNN that won a duPont Award for coverage of the South Asian tsunami in 2004, and a Peabody Award for coverage of Hurricane Katrina that struck the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005.
Drew has been teaching courses at the JMSC for the past two years.
“My previous experience as an adjunct lecturer of journalism at the JMSC has led me here,” says Drew. “Coming across people who simply want to report what is happening in their countries is inspiring. My previous teaching here has reconnected me with the idea that people are worth helping and guiding. I also think it is vital that the West and Asia understand each other. That only comes through honest, fair and calm reporting.”
“I want to be part of the educational movement to sway student journalists back to the timeless values of integrity and ethics in reporting: specifically, fact-checking, sourcing and clear writing. Finally, as I leave full-time reporting to teach, I want to stress that journalists need to have the courage to say getting the story right is more important than being first.”