Dr. Carrie Buchanan
Tim Russert Department of Communication and Theatre Arts
John Carroll University
Question Everything


At John Carroll University (course descriptions from the college Bulletin with some additional information):

COM 140 Communication Technology & Society -- Surveys the evolution of media and communication technologies; theories and models of communication; media effects on society and culture, and trends in newspapers, magazines, books,radio, television, film, the internet, social media, advertising, public relations, visual messages, media law and ethics, and global connections.

COMM 240 Introduction to Mass Media -- A history of the mass media from print to broadcast to digital, which examines the business of media: how and why most U.S. media operate as for-profit businesses and how that influences their content and priorities. It presents research on media's effects on individuals and society and briefly examines communications law and regulation, media ethics, and international media, each of which has an entire course devoted to it in our department. 


CO 225/COMM 250/COM 350 Introduction to Journalism – Introduction to news writing and news analysis. Uses electronic newsroom. Emphasis on writing for a variety of media and developing information-gathering research skills for news production.

COMM 251 or COM 351/PH 117 Climate Change linked course that combines Introduction to Journalism (with an environmental focus) and a Physics course in Climate Change. 


CO 225H Honors Journalism – Covers the same material as the CO 225 course but in somewhat more depth, with extra readings and, in 2011, a special pilot project in which students produced a newsletter using iPads and iMac computers with Pages software. 


CO 286 Media Literacy – Examination of the interplay of media, self, information, and society to understand the role of media in shaping culture and social reality. Encourages the development of a critical approach to all mediated messages in a complex, information-based society. This course has a service-learning component which involves working with children to introduce them to basic concepts of media literacy in the classroom and after-school programs.

CO 389/COMM 354 Social Issues in Journalism – Prerequisite: CO 225. Researching and communicating social issues through journalism. Focus on use of data, interpreting and writing about public affairs, and examining how the news media report on social issues. Topics can include reporting on issues in health care, the environment, poverty, and immigration. 


CO 410 Editing and Design –  Prerequisite: CO 225. Advanced study of theory and practice in presenting news, features, and information in various formats, including newspapers, magazines and websites. A senior-level course that sums up journalism studies, polishes skills in copyediting, instructs students in the basics of print and web design, and examines future directions of the news media, specifically in convergent journalism.

CO438 Multimedia Journalism Prerequisite: CO 225. This course reviews and enlarges upon what students learned in basic Journalism about news values, ethics, practices and production techniques for print, online, audio, visual and social media. They produce news stories using mobile media (smartphone or iPad), as well as producing and posting text, photos, audio and video to a wiki. They use social media to find news stories as well as produce them. Each student develops and maintains a blog, analyzing and commenting on media coverage in an area of special interest to them. 


CO 449 Politics, Public Policy and the Media. Analysis and critique of the dynamics between the news media, political campaigns, and the voting public. Historical perspective on selected campaigns with an emphasis on social, political, and economic shifts in American society.


CO 455 Health and Environmental Writing – Prerequisite: a laboratory science. Researching and communicating environmental and health issues through the media. Focuses on interpreting and writing scientific and technical information in an accessible way and understanding strategies of risk communication. This is a designated Writing course. It is open to students from other departments and gives a basic introduction to journalistic research and writing, doing a scientific literature review, and editing other people’s work. 


CO 467/COM 349 Communications Law – First Amendment theory, legal opinion, and practical implications for the freedom of speech and press, including the mass media. Students learn to write legal briefs of landmark cases and develop expertise on a wide range of legal, constitutional, policy, and regulatory issues related to communication in the United States, with a short segment on international media law.

CO 495/COMM 496 Senior Capstone in Communication Studies (later revised to Senior Capstone in Digital Media)Required of all majors in their senior year . Students complete a comprehensive communication project or research study under the direction of faculty and develop an online portfolio . Based on knowledge and skills acquired through education and experience as a communication major . Includes presentation . 


As a board member of Cleveland chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and faculty adviser to the John Carroll University campus chapter of SPJ, I have been involved in planning and organizing many programs over the past 11 years, some in conjunction with other organizations. Some offered training to help working journalists master new skills and technology, others were panels or speakers on topics of interest to journalists. Many concerned ethics, access to information, diversity or the First Amendment -- the key SPJ topics. The following programs are ones I instigated, moderated or was particularly involved in planning: 

2021 Events

April 21: "Journalists Throughout the Years: Stages of a Career" co-hosted by SPJ's John Carroll Campus Chapter and the Cleveland Pro Chapter, featured nine journalists at different stages of their careers: student and campus newspaper editor Rachel Scully; recent graduates Laura Bednar, who was freelancing at the time of the panel (now at ScripType Publishing) and Julie Hullett, reporter for the Chagrin Valley Times; mid-career journalists Jackie Mitchell, senior editor of Pest Control Technoloy magazine for GIE Media, Stefanie Valentic, editorial director of Waste360 magazine, Angela Gartner, editor and content director of Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine, and David Campbell, sports and health editor for Cleveland.com. Two educators with long careers in the field also joined the panel: Cliff Anthony of Lorain County Community College and myself. Student Anna Meyer moderated the program. A video is posted on YouTube here https://youtu.be/5YVKH3MoHak 

April 28: "New Operations in Media," Zoom webinar hosted by SPJ Cleveland and the League of Women Voters, Cleveland chapter. It featured Sharon Broussard of the Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative; Lee Chilcote, editor and founder of The Land, a Cleveland local news startup; Rachel Dissell, a John S. Knight Community Impact Fellow and a member of the Cleveland Documenters Team; Patrice Watson, publisher of Soapbox Cincinnati, Springfield Hub and NKY; Lawrence Daniel Caswell, also with Cleveland Documenters, formerly Ideastream (Cleveland's combined PBS and NPR); and Matthew Hall, national president of the Society of Professional Journalists and editorial/opinion director of The San Diego Union-Tribune. 

2020 Events

March 6: Cleveland Council on World Affairs, meeting with a delegation of journalists from Argentina at ScripType Publishing in Richfield, Ohio. 

April 16: "The Crisis in Local News: Reinventing the Business of Journalism" webinar by the Society of Professional Journalists, Cleveland Pro Chapter, with the League of Women Voters, Eye on Ohio, Policy Matters Ohio. 

July 16: SPJ Cleveland Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremonies (online). 

Aug. 5-9: Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, annual conference (online). As research co-chair, I ran the poster session for research paper presentations on Aug. 8. 

Nov. 6: Ohio SPJ Awards ceremonies held on Zoom, hosted by the Cleveland Pro Chapter. 

2019 Events

Oct. 30-Nov. 3: Travelled with 10 editors from The Carroll News, our campus newspaper, to the College Media Association conference in Washington, D.C. with side trips to C-SPAN to meet with host Steve Scully and tour their studios and another one to NBC for the Sunday morning taping of "Meet the Press" and a post-show conversation with host Chuck Todd. 

March 8-9: Co-chaired the four-state Regional Conference, Society of Professional Journalists at Cleveland State University. Two panels I moderated were:


  • Super Session: “Crime Podcasting.” With panelists Amber Hunt and Amanda Rossman, Cincinnati Enquirer, hosts of the “Accused” podcast, and Rebecca Maurer, attorney, author of the “SerialLand” blog about the podcast “Serial.”


  • First Amendment Rights for Students.” With panelists Anup Kumar of Cleveland State University, Paul Kostyu of Ohio Wesleyan University, and Dane Claussen of Athena Study Abroad and Shanghai International Studies University.  


Feb. 22-24“Facilitating and Including Adjunct Faculty.” With John Carroll University Sociology Professor Richard Clark, facilitated a discussion at the Faculty Conversations conference for Jesuit universities at John Carroll University. 

2018 Events

Sept. 19: Facebook for Journalists. With national SPJ-Facebook trainer Lynn Walsh, this program focused on Facebook techniques and features particularly useful in journalism. Program by the Society of Professional Journalists, co-sponsored by the John Carroll Campus Chapter and the Cleveland Pro Chapter.

July 11: SPJ Cleveland Annual Meeting and Scholarship Presentation. With guest speakers Roxanne Washington and Susan Glaser of The Plain Dealer, and our scholarship winner Katie Salai of Medina High School who was heading for the University of Minnesota to study journalism and Chinese.  

April 12 (in Cleveland Heights) and May 2 (in Ohio City): Two community forums entitled "Journalism: We Don't Fake It," in which SPJ Cleveland partnered with the Greater Cleveland Association of Black Journalists (an NABJ chapter) and the Press Club of Cleveland to launch a series of community forums to be hosted by community groups, to explain and answer questions about journalism and how it differs from the fake and misleading news people often confuse with journalism. 

Jan. 16: "Seek Truth and Report It," a program by the Society of Professional Journalists, co-sponsored by the John Carroll Campus Chapter and the Cleveland Pro Chapter, focused on access to information. It featured Dan Cooney (PBS Newshour) and Ashley Bastock (then a freelancer, now at the Toledo Blade), two recent graduates who each spent a year at NBC's "Meet the Press" as winners of the Tim Russert Fellowship. Also on the panel was Colin Swearingen, a political science professor who previously worked for a state legislature and shared tips on accessing information from government and other political sources. David Marburger, a Cleveland attorney specializing in media law, arrived too late to participate in the panel, though he did stay for 45 minutes afterwards to answer questions from audience members.  

2017 Events

Oct. 5, 2017: “Climate Change: Looking to the Future”a panel with James Watling, Jeff Johansen, Mindy Peden, Carlo DeMarchi, Andrew Wilkie and myself at John Carroll University. A discussion with faculty from biology, business, political science, and physics. Organized by the College Democrats and the Environmental Issues Group. 

Nov. 9, 2017: “30 Digital Tools for Journalists." In Uniontown, an SPJ Cleveland Pro Chapter-organized panel with online tools galore from several people who work in news media locally. 

June 21: Awards Night, SPJ Cleveland Pro Chapter. The chapter honored Dr. Leo Jeffres of Cleveland State University with a Lifetime Achievement Award, Rachel Dissell of The Plain Dealer with its Distinguished Service Award, and Nora Spadoni of Shaker Heights High School with the Porter Scholarship to study for a career in journalism. 

March 16: Writing About Suicide. The Society of Professional Journalists' Cleveland Pro Chapter and John Carroll University Chapter co-sponsored a workshop on the challenges and ethics of writing about suicide. Led by Dr. John Ackerman of Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research, and Nerissa Young of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Hosted by John Carroll University. 

Feb. 16: Fighting Fake News: Discerning the Truth in a Time of Alternative Facts. This panel featured Ted Diadiun of The Plain Dealer's editorial board, Dr. Brent Brossman of John Carroll University, and Carrie Buchanan as moderator. 

2016 Events

Nov. 17: Getting Answers to Difficult Questions. A panel featuring journalists and non-fiction writers who focus on crime, sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists, Cleveland Pro Chapter. Featured William Kimberlin, psychology professor and author of "Watch me Die" about death row inmates; Cory Shaffer, crime and criminal justice reporter for cleveland.com; Captain Guy Turner of Westlake Police Department; and Rick Porello, an author of books on organized crime as well as the police chief in Lyndhurst. 

Oct. 4: News Engagement Day.  Students in my classes and at The Carroll News created short videos about why news matters to them and tweeted them out, using the #newsengagementday hashtag as part of a national campaign in universities across the country, sponsored by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. 

April 22: Healthy Journalism. I moderated this panel with three prominent local reporters who cover the health beat: Monica Robbins of WKYC television, Brie Zeltner of the Plain Dealer and Lydia Coutré of Crain’s Cleveland Business. three prominent local journalists who cover the health beat. Produced by the Society of Professional Journalists,John Carroll Chapter in conjunction with the Cleveland Pro chapter at John Carroll University. 

April 1: Silent Auction at the Region 4 Conference of the Society of Professional Journalists in Cincinnati. Organized by the campus chapter of SPJ at John Carroll, the event raised funds for the Student Press Law Center. 

March 8: Women in Cleveland Media. I moderated this panel, held on International Women's Day, with four prominent women in Cleveland journalism: Leila Atassi and Ryllie Danylko of Cleveland.com; Micki Byrne, general manager of WKYC; and Tonya Strong-Charles, media relations director at John Carroll University and former television reporter and anchor. The panel was co-produced by the Society of Professional Journalists, John Carroll campus chapter and Cleveland Pro chapter, and the Tim Russert Department of Communication and Theatre Arts. 

2015 Events:

April 22: Police Force and the Media. I moderated this panel to discuss police violence in Cleveland, featuring Ryllie Danylko, reporter for the Northeast Ohio Media Group; Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman, a member of the public security committee, which oversees the Cleveland Police; Mansfield Frazier, broadcaster and community worker; and Chris Esparza-Rivero, a third-year law student who has experienced police violence. Organized by the Society of Professional Journalists' Cleveland Pro and John Carroll University chapters. 

2014 Events:

March 11: Access to Public Records: Whose are They? Held at John Carroll University in cooperation with the college's SPJ chapter, this program featured two people from the City of Cleveland Heights — City Manager Tanisha Briley and Police Chief Jeffrey Robertson — and two from the Northeast Ohio Media Group — crime reporter Adam Ferrise and attorney David Marburger (an expert on freedom of information who represents The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com). The four panelists discussed a series of problems between the police chief and reporter over access to police files. 

June 25: Photojournalism: How I Got that Picture. Featured three Cleveland photojournalists: Marvin Fong from The Plain Dealer; Peggy Turbett who teaches photojournalism at John Carroll University and has worked for The Plain Dealer and Cincinnati Enquirer; and Kyle Lanzer, former with Sun Newspapers and now owner of his own photography business. Bill Barrow, curator of Special Collections at Cleveland State University, also spoke about the Heritage Project, which features historical photos from Cleveland publications. 

2013 Events

Jan. 23: Women in Sports Journalism with Robin Palmer of the News-Herald and Stephanie Storm of the Akron Beacon-Journal.


Feb. 23: Writing that Works Online and Follow the Noise. Two training workshops with SPJ national trainer Jeff Cutler, morning and afternoon, Feb. 23.


June 27: Nostalgia Night: Radio Days, Cleveland Style. Worked with WTAM news anchor Tom Moore to produce a panel of Cleveland radio personalities from years past, to discuss the dramatic changes to radio news in Cleveland over the past 50 years.


Oct. 29: Leveraging Social Media: A Guide for Journalists. Members of our executive drew upon their professional connections to organize a very knowledgable panel of social media experts. We had a great turnout and a highly successful evening. 

2012 Events

Jan. 11: Ethics in County Government: A Followup One Year Later. County Executive Ed FitzGerald, plus Lynda Mayer of the League of Women Voters and Harlan Spector of The Plain Dealer discussed progress toward creating an ethical culture at Cuyahoga County. Moderator: Carrie Buchanan

Feb. 22: Entrepreneurial Journalism, a panel by journalists who run their own businesses, doing freelance and contract work. Moderated by John Ettorre, with Mary Mihaly, Eileen Beal and Maria Shine Stewart. All four are local independent writers who have made a living from writing and editing for many years. They shared tips, stories and advice. 

April 12: Ethics Feud with the International Association of Business Communicators, Cleveland chapters.

June 28: Nostalgia Night. The theme was "When Women Crashed the Newsroom" and our event included women who were pioneering journalists in Cleveland as well as Dr. Mary Beadle of John Carroll University, who teaches a Women in the Media course. Bill Barrow of the Special Collections Library at Cleveland State University also spoke, and selected items from the library's collection that featured some Cleveland's female reporters and editors.

Oct. 4: Religion and Media panel, with Mark Rollenhagen, pastor at Faith Lutheran Church and a former Plain Dealer reporter, Nancy Erikson, editor of the Catholic Universe Bulletin and a former daily newspaper reporter, and Shih Ying-Fa, abbot of the Nien-Fo Ch’an Order of Buddhist Monks and founder of CloudWater Zendo, the Zen Center of Cleveland. A former broadcaster, Ying-Fa spent 20 years in radio before converting to Buddhism and adopting the religious life.

Nov. 15: Panel on Cleveland's News Future with Harlan Spector, Guild chapter president from The Plain Dealer; Jean Dubail, former PD editor who's now senior editor for Patch.com in the region; and Tom Moore, WTAM news anchor, whose experience as local radio stations were was bought up by Clear Channel serves as a possible model of things to come.

2011 Events

Jan. 10: Creating an Ethical Culture. Speaker Richard Condit, from the Government Accountability Project, came from Washington, D.C. to join members of the Cuyahoga County’s Code of Ethics Workgroup, set up by the Transition Advisory Group to  prepare a proposed Code of Ethics for the new Cuyahoga County Government. The speakers described the proposed code and explained the reasons for its key elements, in a luncheon at the City Club of Cleveland. Mr. Condit also provided a critique and comparison to codes of ethics in other areas, as well as a rationale for the whistleblower provisions in particular, which were his area of expertise. Moderator: Carrie Buchanan.

Jan. 31: Delegation of broadcasters from Kyrgyzstan welcomed with a luncheon at John Carroll University's Tim Russert Department of Communication and Theatre Arts. Moderator: Dr. Carrie Buchanan. Co-hosted by JCU, SPJ and the Cleveland Council on World Affairs. Here’s the Carroll News article about it: http://www.jcunews.com/2011/02/03/kyrgyzstan-journalists-speak-at-carroll/

Feb. 23: Luncheon with Debra Adams Simmons, the new Plain Dealer editor, co-hosted by the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists. Held at the City Club of Cleveland. Coverage in Writer’s Week here (scroll down):


March 27: Photography Workshop at John Carroll. The student chapter of SPJ at John Carroll organized this workshop to train students in the basics of photography. With Bill Gugliotta, photo director at The Plain Dealer. We had hoped to enter SPJ’s first-ever photography contest, scheduled in April, but it was cancelled due to lack of entries. 

June 2: Jewish Health Care Issues. Health writer Eileen Beal and I organized this Association of Health Care Journalists panel, which featured Dr. Mendel Singer, Associate Professor in Public Health at Case Western Reserve University and head of the Jewish Health Initiative, and Rabbi Akiva Feinstein, spiritual adviser at Montefiore Medical Center in Cleveland. It helped journalists to understand special issues that arise in providing health care to Jewish people. Held at the Cleveland Jewish News offices. Coverage in the Pittsburgh Press, which sent a reporter.

June 30: Nostalgia Night: Remembering the Cleveland Press. Held at the Cleveland Press Collection at Cleveland State University, with curator Bill Barrows and several Cleveland Press alumni who shared stories of their experiences at the newspaper. Moderator: Carrie Buchanan. Writeup online here: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs063/1103406221024/archive/1106342509290.html

Aug. 28: Underground Book Club, at John Carroll. A discussion with a small group of incoming freshmen of the book Say Everything by Scott Rosenberg, on the history of blogging. Organized by Angela Weimer of Student Activities.


Aug. 31: JCU Blogging Showcase, Jardine Room, Lombardo Student Center. John Carroll students J.P. Calubaquib, Elizabeth Stark and Sharonica Smedley presented their own blogs and discussed the experiences they have had in writing them. Moderator: Carrie Buchanan. Organized with Angela Weimer of Student Activities.

Sept. 6: "Breaking News, Breaking Down" – screening of an award-winning film about journalists who covered 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina with its director, Mike Walter, whom we brought in from Washington, D.C. This was SPJ Cleveland’s program commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9-11 and the sixth of Hurricane Katrina. Moderator: Carrie Buchanan

Note: Mike Walter, who has had a long career as a broadcast journalist and documentary filmmaker, also visited my two journalism classes the next day at JCU. Students saw the film in a separate class and had this opportunity to talk to the director.

Oct. 24: Turkish newspaper editor and foreign correspondent Kerim Balci visited the Tim Russert Department of Communication and Theatre Arts for an evening meeting with about 20 students. An article in The Carroll News about the event is available online at http://www.jcunews.com/2011/10/27/turkish-journalist-informs-inspires-jcu-students/

Nov. 15: Election Post Mortem at the Riverside Park Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, with panelists Joe Frolik and Henry Gomez of the Plain Dealer and Richard Perloff of Cleveland State University. Moderator: Carrie Buchanan

2010 Events


April 9-10: Rise up in Cleveland: Regional Conference for Society of Professional Journalists. This two-day conference drew hundreds of attendees from four states: Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. It featured a special afternoon for students at The Plain Dealer with sessions on using social media and newspaper design, meetings with columnists and reporters, a tour of the newsroom and a chance for some of us to sit in on the senior editors’ meeting in the mid-afternoon. Saturday featured a whole day of panels, workshops and speakers. I chaired a panel on Citizen Journalism with representatives from Cleveland's Observer chain of suburban newspapers. Complete program online at http://spjclevelandregion4.eventbrite.com/


June 1: Freedom of Information Workshop. David Cuillier of the University of Arizona, a national SPJ trainer on access to information, visited Cleveland for a program to train local journalists on doing more effective searches for documents and using the Freedom of Information Act and state statutes that provide access for journalists to government information.


July 20: Nostalgia Night. Featured Professor Alan Stephenson of the Tim Russert Department and his collection of broadcasting memorabilia from decades past, along with items brought in by other SPJ members. Several of us dressed up in 60s style outfits and brought things like old tape recorders, a portable Smith Corona typewriter, old microphones, and so on. Dr. Stephenson’s talk and collection sparked many memories form audience members about Cleveland journalism in earlier decades. The good attendance and enthusiastic reception for this event led to its becoming an annual thing. Moderator: Carrie Buchanan


Sept. 29: Google Training for Journalists. Jake Parillo, midwest representative for Google, Inc., visited Cleveland to deliver a workshop training journalists in the most effective use of Google’s many features. 

2009 Events


Sept. 29: Media Coverage of Immigration Issues. Featuring Julia Preston of the New York Times (we brought her in from New York City), Robert Smith of the Plain Dealer, and Cleveland immigration lawyer David Leopold. Moderator: Veronica Dahlberg, editor of the HOLA Journal (a Spanish/English publication for the local Hispanic community) and member of the SPJ Cleveland board of directors. This was held at John Carroll University.