Timeline: Earth’s average temperature since the last Ice Age

I teach my multimedia students in the Global Business Journalism Program the importance of using graphics to tell stories. Timelines are one of the most effective narrative storytelling tools. This is one of the best timelines I’ve ever seen. It’s a history of Earth’s average temperature since the last Ice Age glaciation. Scroll to the end for a surprise. (Well, it’ll be a surprise to some of you.)

Thanks to xkcd for creating this ingenious timeline. It is reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

earth_temperature_timeline


Apply now for the Global Business Journalism Program, Tsinghua University

 

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The Global Business Journalism at Tsinghua University, a partnership with the International Center for Journalists and Bloomberg News, is the most prestigious English language journalism program on the Chinese mainland.

International graduates of the two-year program receive an M.A. in Global Business Journalism from the Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication, one of the top journalism schools in Asia.

The program is a cross-cultural educational experience featuring some of the best journalism students in China, along with a selection of elite business, journalism and international relations graduates from around the world. Students from more than 60 nations have participated in the program over its first decade. We welcome your application. The first round of applications is open until January 15, 2018. The second round of applications runs from January 16, 2018 to March 1, 2018. An earlier application improves your chances of receiving a scholarship.

Please contact me at rickdunham@aol.com if you have questions. Here’s the official information from GBJ.

 

 Why GBJ?  

 

Business journalism is one of the fastest growing sources of employment opportunities in the industry today. News audiences are eager to learn about the world of business, while media offices expect PR professionals to understand and analyze the complexities of business issues. With China playing a central role in the global economy, there is a soaring demand for trained professionals who can understand the exciting, complicated development of the world’s fastest-growing economy – and can explain it – clearly and in depth — to audiences in China and around the world.

Tsinghua’s Master of Global Business Journalism Program is designed to offer you the opportunity to meet these growing needs and, at the same time, master the fine points of economics, finance and business in China and the world. We welcome you to join us!

 

Program Website:
For more information about the program, please visit the GBJ website at:
http://gbj.tsjc.tsinghua.edu.cn/publish/jcgbj/index.html
Application Website:
For an application, please visit the Application Website at:
http://gradadmission.tsinghua.edu.cn

 

Required qualifications for Applicants

 

Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in related fields and a certificate for English proficiency.

 

Application Documents

 

1) Personal statement.

2) Degree certificate.The original, a notarized degree certificate or proof of education at an academic institution. (You need to submit an original or notarized degree certificate after it was awarded.)

3) Academic transcript.

4) Two academic recommendation letters from scholars of associate professorship or higher. They must include the referee’s phone number and email address on the letter.

5) For non-English speaking students, please provide English level certificates. e.g. TOEFL, IELTS, etc.
6) A copy of your passport page with personal information (personal and ordinary passport).
7) For detailed information about scholarships, please visit: http://is.tsinghua.edu.cn.

8) A non-refundable application fee of RMB600.

The certificates provided should be the original documents in Chinese or in English. Otherwise notarized translations in Chinese or English are required.

 

gbj-logo-Alexis

Application Procedure

 

Step 1: Online Application
Complete Online Application on the website:http://gradadmission.tsinghua.edu.cn.

Step 2: Application Fee Payment
There are two ways to pay the application fee:
1. Pay online using a credit card

After your online application form is verified and the materials are received by Tsinghua University, you will be given a choice to pay the application fee via online payment draft or via the online application system.

2. Pay in cash at the Foreign Student Affairs Office (Room 120,Zijing Building 22) on the campus of Tsinghua University.

Application Deadline

First Round: November 1, 2017 — January 15, 2018

Second Round: January 16, 2018 — March 1, 2018

 

Tuition and Scholarship

 

Tuition: Program tuition fee is RMB39000/year.
Accidental Injury and Hospitalization Insurance: RMB 600/year.

Please visit http://is.tsinghua.edu.cn  for more information about scholarships.

 

Other Costs

 

Accommodation: RMB 80/day·bed for single rooms and AB rooms, RMB 40/day·bed for double rooms in student dormitories.

GBJ at Bloomberg

GBJ’s 2017 incoming class visits Bloomberg News, Beijing

 

 GBJ Highlights

 

√ Setting the standard. Launched in 2007, GBJ has been recognized by students and recruiters alike as a world-class program. The program maintains high international standards for business journalism education, and its innovative curriculum meets the ever-changing demands of both the business world and technological advancements.

√ A diverse group of students. The student body is culturally and professionally diverse, reflecting strong global interest and a highly selective admissions process. In its first ten years, GBJ has educated more than 200 international graduates from more than 60 countries.
√ Valuable learning experiences. The full-time program spans two years of intense, fast-paced, rewarding study. Those who complete it successfully emerge with valuable connections, a rich array of opportunities and the business and journalism skills to capitalize on them. It is a two-year experience that will last a lifetime.

√ Specialized courses. GBJ offers an array of specialized courses that are at the forefront of global business journalism. Students can learn about international accounting standards, multimedia journalism, data mining, complex financial derivatives, journalism ethics, advanced feature writing techniques and the management of media organizations – knowledge that is transferable to other economies and other professions. At the same time, they gain a deeper knowledge of the Chinese language and economy.

√ International faculty. All GBJ courses are taught in English by internationally renowned scholars and accomplished journalists with extensive global experience.

√ Digital facilities. The program’s facilities rival those of other leading journalism schools worldwide. The news lab has the largest number of Bloomberg terminals donated to any university in the world.

√ Program partners. Tsinghua University has teamed up with the U.S.-based International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) to build GBJ. Other partners include Bloomberg News, Bank of America and the Knight Foundation. Visiting scholars have worked at prominent global media and financial-information companies such as Bloomberg, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, The New York Times, The Financial Times, CNN and The Washington Post.

√ Unique resources. The GBJ program benefits from other academic resources on the Tsinghua campus, including its prestigious School of Economics and Management and the Schwarzman College, as well as many Chinese and global media and technology companies in Beijing. Internships, field trips and recruiter visits are integral parts of the program.

√ Job Opportunities and Networking. Graduates of the program are working in a number of major media organizations such as Bloomberg, Reuters, CCTV and Xinhua News Agency. Others have landed communications positions at companies such as Ogilvy China and Bank of America, as well as technology and financial companies, Chinese government ministries and international organizations.
GBJ students have opportunities to attend conferences on new media, economic development and other business topics. They benefit from meetings and discussions with guest speakers, including top editors and reporters from leading Chinese and Western news outlets and international business executives. The GBJ has developed a growing network of smart, sophisticated reporters, editors and public relations professionals who can enhance the world’s understanding of economic and corporate developments in China and globally.

 

For further information, please contact:
Ms. Ma Chengcheng (Sarah Ma)
Room 302, Omnicom Building, School of Journalism and Communication
Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, P. R. China

Tel: +86 10 6279 6842
Fax: +86 10 6277 1410

E-mail: tsjcws@mail.tsinghua.edu.cn

Website:http://gbj.tsjc.tsinghua.edu.cn


Gain a global perspective as you improve your journalism skills with the USA Summer Journalism Training Program

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The Global Business Journalism Program is already one of the most prestigious business journalism master’s degree programs in the world. The partnership between the U.S.-based International Center for Journalists and Tsinghua University has produced more than 400 graduates from China and around the globe who are bringing advanced technological skills and business reporting expertise to news sites around the world.

This summer, GBJ’s co-director, Rick Dunham, a veteran of 29 years in Washington journalism, will launch a new initiative, the USA Summer Journalism Training Program in Washington, designed to train aspiring journalists from around the world in global best practices. The two-week program is scheduled to run from July 24 to August 4. Sessions will be held at the International Center for Journalists and other venues in Washington.

The USA Summer Journalism Training Program includes more than a dozen training sessions and workshops, hands-on reporting exercises, and tours of news organizations, as well as Washington-area sightseeing and special social activities. Guest speakers will include prominent Washington journalists, academics and policymakers.

The program is open to all university students and 2017 graduates. Thanks to a generous contribution from a supporter of the program, Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication students will receive a $500 scholarship to defray a portion of the program fee. Tsinghua students who also participate in the City University of New York Summer Intensive Program in July will receive a $750 scholarship.

To guarantee personal attention, the program is limited to 25 participants.

Professor Dunham is a former White House correspondent for Business Week magazine, editor of the magazine’s Washington Outlook page, Washington bureau chief of the Houston Chronicle and Hearst Newspapers, creator of the Texas on the Potomac blog, 2005 president of the National Press Club, and creator of RickDunhamBlog.com. He is a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, where he teaches multimedia reporting, data journalism storytelling, English news writing and U.S. media culture.

The deadline for applications is May 31. Click here for the program application.

If you have questions, please contact USA Summer Journalism Training Program at SummerProgramDC@gmail.com. You can reach teaching assistant Li Chengzhang at licz15@mails.tsinghua.edu.cn,  (Note: Tsinghua University is not involved in this program, its curriculum or management.)

Here is additional information on the program, in English and Chinese:

项目时间:2017年7月(注:项目时间与CUNY暑期项目不冲突)

项目时长:两周

地点:美国,华盛顿DC,美国记者俱乐部

结业证书:由美国记者协会(ICFJ)颁发

招收对象:在校大学生

Time:July 24-August 4, 2017 (Note: The timing of this program is designed to encourage students to also participate in the Summer Intensive Program at the City University of New York.)

Period: Two weeks

Place: USA, Washington, D.C., The International Center for Journalists and other locations

Completed certificate: From ICFJ, the leading training organization for journalists around the world

Eligibility: Participants must be university students or 2017 graduates

  • 夏令营项目形式:

业界导师授课、嘉宾讲座、研讨会、参观游览及娱乐活动

  • Program contents: Journalism training sessions and workshops, hands-on reporting exercises, tours of news organizations, Washington-area sightseeing, social activities
  • 课程内容:

多媒体全方位新闻技能培训

包括:采访技巧、如何讲好新闻故事、突发新闻报道、国际新闻报道、多媒体新闻报道、财经新闻写作技巧、华盛顿邮报案例研究、新闻从业者入行需知等版块

  • Journalism training courses

Program contents: Multimedia storytelling, advanced reporting, writing and editing seminars, interview tips, sharpening your business and economic journalism skills, tips for foreign correspondents and data journalism skills training

  • 讲座和研讨会内容:

资深记者分享新闻报道和从业经验,并与行业专家及政府议员探讨全球公共政策问题。

包括:移民问题、贸易问题、能源问题、双边关系、经济与政治相互作用关系等议题。

  • Lectures, sessions and workshops

Program contents: Hear from prominent journalists, academics, think tank representatives and policymakers. Training in journalism skills and policy issues important to a global audience

实践内容:

个人采访作业、小组采访作业

包括:新闻稿件、新闻图片、新闻音频和视频等。同学们通过街头采访的实践机会深入了解和体验美国。

  • Practice:

Individual journalism assignments, group journalism assignments

Program contents: You will work with veteran American journalists to improve your news article writing, news photography, video and audio skills. Students will get to know America and American life better via interviewing local people and policymakers by themselves.

  • 参观游览活动:

(1)参观媒体机构

包括:美国记者俱乐部、美国新闻博物馆、华盛顿邮报报社、彭博新闻社等。

(2)参观历史遗迹

包括:美国国会大厦、林肯纪念堂、杰斐逊纪念堂、马丁·路德·金纪念碑、华盛顿故居、林肯故居、二战纪念碑、朝鲜战争和越南战争纪念碑等。

(注:以上参观游览目的地为可选范围,具体参观游览路线将会视同学们的兴趣而定。负责该项目的美国教授和助教将会带领大家一起出行集体参观游览。)

  • Sightseeing

(1) Media organizations

Planned tours include the National Press Club and the Newseum. Additional visits may include the Washington Post, Bloomberg News and Politico

(2) Historical sites

Visits to selected historical sites including the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King Memorial, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, the Albert Einstein Statue, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial.

(Note: Students can select their preferred sightseeing destinations from above options, specific tour routes will depend on the students’ interests. Our professor and teaching assistant will lead the collective tour.)

  • 娱乐活动:

由Rick Dunham教授主持举办“Texas barbecue”野餐会

在美国记者俱乐部举办周五“Taco Night”活动

  • Social activities

Opening “Texas barbecue” cookout hosted by Professor Rick Dunham in Arlington, Virginia

Friday “Taco Night” reception at the National Press Club

Special event with National Press Club Young Members

Happy Hour with Asian American Journalists Association DC Chapter members

  • 师资力量:
  • Possible guest speakers:

Rick Dunham:清华大学全球财经新闻联合主任、美国记者俱乐部培训学院院长、《商业周刊》原驻白宫记者

Alex Nowrasteh: 美国卡托研究所经济学家

Al Weaver:《华盛顿审察者报》驻白宫记者

Cheryl Arvidson:前《达拉斯时代先驱报》总编辑

Cragg Hines:前《休斯顿纪事报》华盛顿分社总编辑、专栏作家

Emily Holden:E&E新闻机构记者

Doris Truong:《华盛顿邮报》记者

Doug Wong:《华盛顿邮报》记者

Gilbert Klein:美国大学新闻教授、前美国记者俱乐部主席

Doug Harbrecht:Kiplinger.com数字媒体总监

Angela Greiling Keane:《政客》编辑

Alan Bjerga:彭博新闻社农业报道记者、乔治城大学新闻教授

Jonathan Salant: 北新泽西州报纸驻华盛顿记者

Maria Recio: Washington journalist and former correspondent for Business Week, Knight Ridder Newspapers and McClatchy Newspapers

Mark Hamrick: Bankrate.com Washington bureau chief and former National Press Club president

Emily Wilkins: Education reporter, Roll Call

 

  • 费用:

项目费:1500美元

住宿费:600-750美元(由项目方提供统一住宿)

  • Estimated costs:

Fees   $1,500*

Housing (estimated, double occupancy)  $600-$750

Note: Global Business Journalism students and other Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication students are eligible for a scholarship to cover $500 of the costs, making their final fee $1,000.

Note: GBJ and other TSJC students who also enroll in the City University of New York Summer Intensive program are eligible for a scholarship to cover $750 of their costs, making their final fee $750.

Note: Visa fee, transportation, travel, meals, insurance are not included.

Note: Housing will be available from Sunday, July 23, to Saturday, August 5.

A completed application does not guarantee acceptance. To guarantee personal attention, the program will have a maximum of 25 participants. Admission is at the discretion of program organizers.

>>> Application form for the USA Summer Journalism Training Program

>>> Questions? Contact the USA Summer Journalism Training Program by email

>>> More information on CUNY Summer Intensive program

>>> Learn more about the Global Business Journalism Program at Tsinghua University

 


Major shifts in U.S. trade policy make it vitally important to study global business and China’s role in it

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Some of the top international students from the 2016 graduating class.

The global economic order is rapidly changing, and China, with the world’s second-largest economy, is becoming an increasingly important player. As U.S. international and trade policies shift dramatically under a new administration, China is aggressively seeking to bolster its leadership role in the world’s interconnected global economy on trade and other business issues.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in business journalism, now is a great time to study global business in China in the Global Business Journalism Master’s Program at Tsinghua University in Beijing. (Of course, your blog author has a personal stake in this program: I’m co-director.) The extended deadline to apply for admission to the GBJ program is March 20, 2017.

Tsinghua University is the most prestigious university in China, providing a genuine international environment to students from around the world. The Global Business Journalism Program at Tsinghua, founded in 2007, has won international acclaim for teaching global best practices in business journalism and the technical skills needed to succeed in today’s digital news environment.

The program, a partnership between Tsinghua, the International Center for Journalists and Bloomberg News, trains future journalists who can help the public understand the complexities of global business and the economy. Students in the program benefit from a faculty that includes award-winning journalists from prominent media organizations such as Bloomberg News, the National Press Club of Washington and Business Week, as well as renowned Chinese scholars with degrees from prestigious international institutions.

The two-year program is fully taught in English. Enrollment in the courses is about half international, half Chinese. The program provides internship opportunities at major media organizations and offers summer reporting programs in New York and Washington.

Scholarships are available to top applicants. The deadline to apply for scholarships, as well as admission, is February 28.

Graduates of the intensive program emerge with a network of valuable connections that can enrich their careers. You can contact GBJ or ICFJ with any questions.

To share the mini-documentary on GBJ, send your friends this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ6kr_rUeI8&feature=youtu.be

To apply, please visit the application site:
http://gbj.tsjc.tsinghua.edu.cn/publish/jcgbj/370/index.html

For more of the program, please visit the program’s official website:
http://gbj.tsjc.tsinghua.edu.cn/publish/jcgbj/index.html

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2016 GBJ grads Jordyn Dahl and Jade Ladal

Contact at Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication:
Ms. Ma Chengcheng (Sarah)
The GBJ Office
Room 302, Omnicom Building,
School of Journalism and Communication
Tsinghua University,
Beijing 100084, P. R. China
Tel: +86 10 6279 6842
Fax: +86 10 6277 1410
E-mail: tsjcws@mail.tsinghua.edu.cn


Video: Why the Global Business Journalism Program at Tsinghua is a great choice for graduate school

The Global Business Journalism Program is the subject of a documentary film that highlights the program’s unique role in teaching advanced economics reporting skills to Chinese and international graduate students.

The GBJ program, the first graduate business journalism program taught in English on the Chinese mainland, features a rigorous curriculum taught by leading Chinese academics and prominent international journalists.

The five-minute mini-documentary was produced and directed by second-year GBJ student Simone Martin of Italy. It was based on a project he completed for a documentary news course. First-year GBJ student Sarah Taylor Talaat of the United States was the film’s narrator.

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2016 GBJ grads Anish Pandey and Jade Ladal

“In its first decade, the GBJ program has been recognized as one of the top international programs in China — and now, students from around the world, together with Chinese students, are learning advanced business writing, corporate strategies, economics, accounting, data mining, multimedia storytelling and other skills,” Talaat says in the documentary.

The film features interviews with current students and GBJ faculty. GBJ student Tendekai Finos from Zimbabwe called the program “an interesting opportunity to learn in China, as well to study in China, where the economy is growing rapidly.” Viktoria Fricova, a second-year student from Slovakia, said she first discovered the program when searching for a high-quality international graduate journalism program. “When I found it on the internet, I knew this was the option for me,” she told the documentarian.

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Professor Dunham and GBJ grads celebrate, June 2016

The Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication will use the documentary to reach out to potential students internationally, to further enhance its reputation in China, and to attract partners and supporters to the program, said GBJ Co-Director Rick Dunham.

“We’d like continue to expand, so that we can be the leaders in training Chinese journalists of the next generation, and become a destination spot for global journalism,” Professor Dunham says in the film.

Launched in 2007 in partnership with the International Center for Journalists and Bloomberg News, the GBJ program has trained more than 400 graduates, many of whom have become journalists at prominent news outlets from Bloomberg to People’s Daily and Xinhua News Agency.

“We wish to welcome the world to join us,” GBJ Co-Director Dr. Hang Min says in the documentary. “We are setting the standard for business journalism education.”

>>> You can also watch the video on YouTube

>> For more information on the application process

>>> Here’s the GBJ website

>>> Here’s how you can begin the application process

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2016 graduation festivities


Global Business Journalism Program: Leading the next generation of journalism around the world

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It has been a honor to serve as international co-director of the Global Business Journalism Program at Tsinghua University for the past three years. Here is a transcript of my remarks at the 2016 commencement on June 30:

This is a very special day for all of us. To you, the graduating class of 2016, it is the culmination of a multicultural, global experience that is certain to benefit you personally and professionally. For me, this day is very special, too.

This is the first group of Chinese students I taught at Tsinghua, and you have made this veteran journalist into a better professor and a better person. Jiao Jie, Cynthia, Jarchine. I could go on and on. I have such respect and affection for you. I am so proud of all of you.

This is the first group of international students I interviewed, taught and mentored from beginning to end. Jade: you may not remember it, but I recall asking you in your interview: Who was your favorite character from En Attendant Godot? (I bet you didn’t prepare for that question.)

From the beginning, I can remember being supremely impressed by the qualifications and enthusiasm of Lauren and Gaelle, who have been leaders and high achievers since the day they arrived.

And I can remember recruiting Jordyn as if she were a star athlete in the United States and I were an eager coach. I knew she would be an invaluable addition to our program. Even while she’s still in school, she’s published superb articles in Forbes and Beijing Review, respected global news outlets.

I am honored, on behalf of the faculty of the Global Business Journalism Program and the International Center for Journalists, to congratulate all of you on your successful completion of graduate studies at the Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication.

You are entering an uncertain world of journalism … of business and economics … of geopolitics and global conflict. I guess any commencement speaker could have said that at any time. But the pace of technological change, the immediacy brought by social media and 24/7 news, and the interconnectedness of the world, have made it easier for human beings to create positive things — or sow destruction anywhere, anytime.

The disruption created by the digital communications revolution has affected businesses from Dallas to Da Tong. In our world of journalism and communication, traditional forms of communication are collapsing – rapidly in America and Europe, more slowly in China. But make no mistake about it, the old world is gone and will never be revived, despite the antediluvian longings of ultranationalists and isolationists and technophobes.

The good news is that there are so many opportunities for people who embrace change and embrace the latest technologies. You are among the fortunate few. You have been trained in the latest technologies, but you also understand the enduring basics of journalism: accuracy, fairness, accountability, ethics and compelling storytelling. The Global Business Journalism program is a combination of a rigorous academic education taught by some of the finest professors in China, and a real-world journalism newsroom where students learn from distinguished journalists from around the world and create professional multimedia projects and data journalism reports.

With the skills you have learned, and the intelligence and drive you bring to your work, I have no doubt some of you are going to be journalism industry leaders and innovators, in China and around the world.

The Global Business Journalism Program is about to begin its tenth academic year this fall. In its first decade — with the support of Bloomberg News, ICFJ, the Knight Foundation and Merrill Lynch/Bank of America — it has brought together students from about 60 countries to experience a diversity of cultures and ideas.

The GBJ program has been indispensable in creating a new generation of business journalists who are reshaping and improving journalism in China. Not only does Chinese journalism benefit from our superbly trained alumni, but international journalism benefits because the next generation of reporters from Cameroon to California have a more accurate and sophisticated view of the Chinese economy and its role in global growth – and an understanding of the highest standards in global reporting.

What’s more, GBJ has created de facto goodwill ambassadors for China in dozens of countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. It could not come at a more important time.

The journalism industry is facing an era of limits. In the United States and Europe, those limits are mostly economic: the profit imperative at a time of declining revenues, the mistaken choice of click bait journalism over quality. In China, those limits are mostly political.

But neither the journalism establishments of China nor the rest of the world can afford to be reactive. Traditional news outlets, whether in Beijing or Great Britain, are at risk of losing the next generation of information consumers to social media or alternative sources of information. We must – and we will –adapt, to create innovative new ways to share news.

IMG_9289

Barrows Dunham, 1947

I would like to close by quoting from my favorite philosopher, who happens to be my grandfather, Barrows Dunham. Seventy years ago, as the world emerged from the destruction wrought by fascists, he wrote in his book Man Against Myth that the peoples of our planet faced “ambiguous gloom, which may perhaps be twilight and may perhaps be dawn.”

Sounds like today. Looking at the pace of change, he wrote in 1947:

“In our day, indeed, events have attained so formidable a tempo that a single lifetime … will seem to contain more than there once appeared to be in history itself.”

Sounds like today.

Every generation sees an unprecedented pace of social change. That is the reality of human accomplishment, and human nature. There are always those who see the dawn and those who see the sunset. In the dawn of our new era, many in our chosen line of work will resist the changes that are needed.

This challenge reminds me of the Season 6 finale of Game of Thrones – specifically, the reaction of the receptionist at the Citadel, who, in response to a message delivered by Samwell Tarly, told our hero: “This is highly irregular.”

“Well,” Samwell responded, “I suppose that life is irregular.”

Indeed, life is irregular. But we can’t respond to occasional irregularities by retreating or taking the safe path. We must pursue the ambitious vision we learned in GBJ.

As all of you know, I am an optimist. I choose to see the dawn. I don’t fear the future, and you should not, either. You are uniquely prepared to be the change – to lead the change – as we approach the third decade of the 21st century.

To quote Dr. Dunham one last time: “Even now, we ourselves are determining the future, not by knowing what it will be, but by conceiving what it can be.”

Congratulations to the GBJ graduating class. Good luck to all of you. Thank you.


Explaining America to the world: I analyze Trump’s populist revolt for a Finnish audience

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When I moved to Beijing in 2013 to explain global best practices in journalism to a diverse group of Global Business Journalism Program students, I had not expected that I also would frequently be asked to explain American politics and democracy to a global audience. I’ve been interviewed regularly in Chinese media, but also in European news outlets from Finland to Slovakia (plus the good old USA).

This week, I discussed the rise of Donald Trump with my friend Matti Posio, who heads up the national news operation for a group of Finnish newspapers, Lannen Media. Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Q: You have met Donald Trump in person. Tell me about it.

I am one of thousands of people who has met Donald Trump at black-tie social events. For me, it was the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington several years ago. He was cordial and polite, very different than his public persona. He was clearly a celebrity among celebrities. Reporters were coming up to him an asking if they could pose for photos with him. He was patient, unlike the hot-tempered character on the campaign trail. Nobody I talked to thought he would ever run for president. I really didn’t do more than exchange small talk. He seems comfortable with social conversation and, obviously, he has been going to formal events for a half-century. From my very short glimpse into his life, I would say that he is a very good actor playing certain roles that are expected of him at different times.

Q: I don’t see how anyone can actually be like that. Is his personality the same in real life than portrayed on media?

How many of us get to see him in “real life”? Real life is his life in his big mansion in Florida. Real life is his family. I can imagine Orson Welles playing the role.

Screenshot 2015-12-26 11.17.49

Cruz + Trump = Volatile mix

Q: What is it that foreigners / Europeans really don’t get about Trump?

Do you mean, “Why is he getting so many votes? Why would anyone vote for him for president?” Politically, he is the right man at a very strange time in American political history. After two decades of anti-elitist rhetoric on right-wing talk radio and the Rupert Murdoch-owned conservative cable news network Fox, there is a large minority of the country that believes their way of life has been taken from away from them by the faceless “them” — minorities, immigrants, big companies shipping jobs overseas, corrupt speculators, too-big-to-fail banks, gays and lesbians, working women, feminists, or Big Government giving their tax dollars to undeserving others, Donald Trump is a reality TV performer and is playing to that audience. He is playing the role of populist demagogue, race-baiter, keeper of the working-class flame, proud leader of the “poorly educated,” ranter against the system and the elites and Wall Street and Big Business. So what if he is a son of privilege, a highly educated billionaire and someone who has played the system for years to make deals and make money.

Q: What are the main reasons he has become so popular?

He strikes a responsive chord with less-educated, lower-income white voters across the political spectrum. He is winning among moderate Republicans, conservative Republicans and Evangelical Christians.. He is even getting a modest share of higher-educated, higher-income voters. He is bringing new voters into the system, economically struggling people who thought they had no voice until Donald Trump appeared. While Trump moved relentlessly forward in a media frenzy, his opponents spent months destroying each other rather than going after him. His opponents sound like traditional politicians — which they are — at a time American voters yearn for the myth of “authenticity.” Trump is acting the role of “truth-sayer” supremely well, even if the fact-checking web sites say he is lying much of the time.

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Talking multimedia innovation at Lannen Media’s Helsinki offices last March

Q: He is behind both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for the real election. Could he still win?

When it is a one-on-one race, anything could happen. If there are independent candidates dividing the non-Trump vote, anything could happen. There has never been an election like this. Bill Clinton says he expects a close general election. Pundits, who have been wrong all year, are predicting a Trump defeat that costs Republicans control of the U.S. Senate. I’ve been predicting that the public will eventually tire of Trump and “cancel” his election-year reality TV show. But I’ve been wrong for months, along with my fellow political reporters and pundits. So, to repeat an American political cliche, never say never.

Q What would happen if he really became the president? How much would he change?

In recent days, his primary opponent rival Ted Cruz has claimed that Trump told the New York Times editorial board privately that he would act very differently as president than he has during the campaign, as least as far as immigration is concerned. None of us know. As a reporter, I’ve always said that the best way to judge what a politician will do after getting elected to office is to study what he or she promises during the campaign. We can’t read his mind. If he does everything he’s promising to do on the campaign trail, there will be a constitutional crisis and a global economic and diplomatic catastrophe. You’ll have the Putin-Trump axis versus the world. I can’t see it. He would have to change or he would be ineffective domestically and isolated internationally.

Q: Let’s assume he doesn’t become the president. Has he already achieved something, left a lasting mark in the country and its politics? What is it?

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Dismantling the Reagan coalition

Yes, he has achieved something of historical significance. He has destroyed Ronald Reagan’s Republican Party. If he wins the nomination, the party of Reagan will have ceased to exist. It is the same thing that happened to the Democrats in 1972, when George McGovern won the presidential nomination and destroyed the four-decade-old New Deal coalition of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Although Democrats won the White House four years later because of Nixon’s Watergate scandal, it took them two decades to recover institutionally from the crack-up of 1972.

Q: You are currently a professor in China. What is told about Trump there? How much of it is true?

Trump has been portrayed in Chinese media as an eccentric, bombastic showman and celebrity. He’s seen more as a curiosity than a threat, so far, at least. Most people who are savvy about the United States ask me, “Could Trump be elected? Why would Americans vote for Trump?” It’s similar to questions people would ask you in Europe. The coverage of him on Chinese state television is generally straightforward, so far, at least. There has been a bit of negative editorial commentary in traditional state print media, but nothing nearly as inflammatory as what Trump has said about China. And Japan. And Korea. And Mexico. And Iran. And Europe. And Obama.

Q: Would you consider moving to China all together, should Trump be elected?

How about Finland?

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Taping an interview at YLE, the Finnish radio network