University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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News Bureau . Schofield Hall 201 . Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
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UW-Eau Claire to Send Two Students
To ‘Inside the Times’ Symposium in New York

 MAILED:  Feb. 6, 2004

EAU CLAIRE — As part of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s participation in the American Democracy Project — the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ civic engagement initiative with The New York Times — two UW-Eau Claire journalism students will take part in a symposium for college newspaper editors that will explore the role of the press in a democratic society.

UW-Eau Claire, a charter member of ADP, is among a small group of institutions invited to send students to the “Inside the Times” symposium, which will be hosted by The New York Times at their headquarters in New York City on Feb. 20.

As part of an extensive ADP pilot project in the fall of 2003, twenty-seven UW-Eau Claire faculty members and more than 1,000 students and student mentors received The New York Times at no cost for 10 weeks. The papers were used in 42 classes in a variety of disciplines to help promote civic awareness and engagement among undergraduates. The project, which will be expanded for this year’s fall semester, was co-sponsored by UW-Eau Claire’s Office of Academic Affairs, the First Year Experiences Office, the Center for Service-Learning and the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

At the “Inside the Times” symposium, seniors Matthew Ollwerther, Eagan, Minn., and Tim Ahrens, Rogers, Minn., will have the opportunity to work directly with newsroom staff and meet with managing editors to discuss the role of newspapers and the First Amendment. They will participate in a workshop on the editing process and interact with individuals who make daily decisions about the content of the paper. They also will meet correspondents and editors from the different desks, as well as have time to interact with other student editors from around the country.

Ahrens, who has never been to New York before, said he still can’t believe it’s happening and is amazed that his first trip to that city will include a workshop at the Times.
“I probably won’t fully believe it until I step on the plane in February,” he said.

Ollwerther said he is also “stoked” about the trip.

“What I’m most excited about is the opportunity to interact and learn a bit from individuals working for such a respected and powerful media outlet,” said Ollwerther.

According to Mike Dorsher, assistant professor of journalism and faculty adviser to The Spectator, UW-Eau Claire’s award-winning student newspaper, The Spectator staff recently elected Ollwerther to be their editor in chief for spring semester, and Ahrens, who also has held a number of positions on the paper, once again will be the Spectator’s chief copy editor.

Tim is the best student sports reporter I’ve ever read, and Matt is a bulldog at tracking down stories and the sources that make them stand out,” said Dorsher. “No one deserves this opportunity more than these two students, and I’m sure they’ll pass on everything they learn in New York to the rest of The Spectator staff.”

On Jan. 30, both students received 2003 collegiate reporting awards from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. Ahrens won first place in the sports story competition and Ollwerther won second place in the general reporting category.

UW-Eau Claire Provost and Vice Chancellor Ron Satz, who is sponsoring the students’ trip to New York, said UW-Eau Claire has been invited to participate in these types of opportunities because the AASCU and the New York Times recognize that UW-Eau Claire, with its service-learning baccalaureate degree requirement for all undergraduate students, has long been the kind of civically-engaged campus that the ADP is trying to promote and encourage.

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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
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Updated: February 5, 2004