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Volume 47, Number 2


Value Added: Charter Committee involvement expands students' opportunities for learning

A Parent and the President: David Skorton reflects on college visits, tuition increases, and financial aid

Greetings from the UI Parents Association

The Sky's the Limit: Student journalist and pilot soars toward professional success

A Rite of Passage: A first-year student makes the University her home away from home

The Accidental Director

Self-Assignment on the Web

Why Live on Campus? Compare the Costs

There is no such thing as free parking: The challenge of bringing a car to campus

Parental Approval: Mom and Dad of the Year represent all University of Iowa parents

A Message from the President

Important Dates

University Calendar


The University of Iowa

The Skyís the Limit: Student journalist and pilot soars toward professional success

Grant Schulte, notebook in hand, prepares for work in the DI newsroom.
Junior Grant Schulte, reporter’s notebook in hand, prepares for work in The Daily Iowan newsroom.

Grant Schulte’s mother is convinced he has a bed stashed away in The Daily Iowan newsroom.

Recently recognized as one of the top 10 college journalists in the country by the Scripps Howard Foundation, Schulte balances a 3.6 grade-point average, a double major in German and journalism, and a full-time job at the University’s award-winning student-run newspaper.

In his spare time, which is rare, the 21-year-old licensed pilot follows presidential politics and plays the occasional pick-up game of basketball or Ultimate Frisbee. And last summer, instead of lollygagging at the beach, Schulte was interning on the national desk of The Washington Times and studying economics and media ethics at Georgetown University.

J-School Changes:
New Faces, New Building

New faces and big changes are making headlines for the University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

A new director arrived on campus last year, five new instructors joined the faculty this year, and a new $19-million building is expected to open in fall 2005.

New director Pam Creedon, who came to Iowa from Kent State University’s journalism program, says the curriculum also is changing to increase the marketability of graduates in a competitive, ever-changing, and always competitive field.

“Our core mission, to train students with strong professional skills and a liberal arts background, has not changed over the years,” Creedon says. “What has changed is the need for us to expose students to various forms of mass communication rather than trying to pigeonhole them into one form or another.

“Our students are now exposed to all of the various forms of media—online, print, radio, and broadcasting—because it is likely that when they graduate, they will go somewhere where there will be cross-ownership of media platforms, or a need for someone who can write a story for a newspaper and put it online and then maybe broadcast it on the television or radio.”

Kate Corcoran, coordinator for assessment and internships, says the school already sends students to some of the best media organizations in the country, including Newsday, the Chicago Tribune, the St. Petersburg Times, and The Washington Post.

“Our students are competitive,” Corcoran says. “There is such a concentration of media in the big cities and on the east and west coasts that our students have to really do something special to get jobs or internships in New York or Portland, and they are doing so.”

The recent arrival of five new instructors should help increase the odds. The new professors include educators with specialties in international media, legal and ethical issues in journalism, and social and scientific methods. Two of the new professors have résumés that include stints at the Orlando Sentinel and Midwest Living.

Construction of the new building, which will be located on Iowa Avenue between the Becker Communication Studies Building and the English-Philosophy Building, already is under way. For more information, visit the UI Foundation site.

He has received several journalism awards, including recognition as Iowa’s Outstanding Young Journalist for 2003, and his most recent accolade arrived as a $5,000 scholarship from the Jim Murray Foundation, an award established in honor of a former sports writer for the Los Angeles Times. Schulte is the first recipient from The University of Iowa to win the national honor.

The Iowa City native credits his experiences at the University and at The Daily Iowan (DI) for his successes, although juggling school and work responsibilities can be tough.

“Working in the newsroom is a lot of fun, but it also can be very stressful. You have to work as hard as you can to balance classes and put in time at the office as well,” Schulte says from the newsroom on a slow Friday afternoon. “I tend to schedule classes in the morning so I can do my homework the night before and spend the afternoons and evenings in the newsroom. Usually, I’m there until 10 or 11 at night, sometimes later.”

In the past three years at the paper, Schulte has covered murder trials, city council meetings, a state governor’s race, and a multitude of other stories. As a first-year student, he wrote up to five stories per week for the paper. Now, he works as one of the paper’s news editors, helping other reporters refine their skills. He’s covering the presidential race during the reporting opportunities provided by his Presidential Politics class.

“I try not to look at my schedule more than a day in advance. Otherwise, I’d be more overwhelmed,” Schulte says.

The hectic schedule does not surprise his mother, Gloria Schulte, who says that even as a child, Grant was a “voracious reader” who would check out 20-25 books at a time from the library. Now, she occasionally finds her son at home on weekend afternoons–exhausted and collapsed on her living room couch.

“Even in high school, he was always burning the candle at both ends,” she says. “After the first week of classes at Iowa, he came home and started talking about how busy he was, but I had to tell him, ‘I’d rather not know.’ I am always reminding him that a body can’t function without sleep.”

Schulte says his success at Iowa began, in part, because of The Daily Iowan scholarship program, which the paper’s longtime publisher, Bill Casey, initiated 16 years ago to help maintain consistency in the DI’s newsroom.

“We were the first, and we’re still the only, Big Ten school with this kind of scholarship program,” Casey says. “We have no problem finding people to work here because we always have a core group of scholarship students on staff. Plus, the DI has a good enough reputation that people know that if they work here, they’ll get jobs.”

Since the scholarship program began, the DI has awarded almost $700,000 to incoming students and is attracting 35-50 scholarship applicants each year from high schools throughout the Midwest, Casey says. Recipients receive four years of in-state tuition plus compensation for their work in the newsroom. They also have to maintain a minimum 2.9 GPA.

Since he’s paying for college on his own, the scholarship lets Schulte focus on school and his love of journalism instead of on finances, he says.

“In high school, I considered other colleges and thought about studying aerospace engineering,” he says. “I’m grateful I applied for the scholarship at Iowa, because it took care of my financial issues.”

In the past three years at the paper, Schulte has covered murder trials, city council meetings, a state governorís race, and a multitude of other stories.Once he was on campus, Schulte found more opportunities to stretch his writing and German skills.

Kate Corcoran, a program assistant in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, helped Schulte apply for the Washington Times internship and for entry into Georgetown University’s Institute on Political Journalism, where Schulte won the session’s top award among print journalists.

“What I love about Grant is that he’s so humble and easygoing,” Corcoran says. “He’s such an Iowa kid. His curiosity and creativity, and obviously his writing and editing skills, are just excellent.”

Schulte also enjoys working with other instructors at Iowa, including some of the former professional journalists now on staff. His favorites include author and former Los Angeles Times writer Stephen Bloom, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Basil Talbott, a visiting associate professor and George H. Gallup professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Talbott was a political writer and columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, where he covered Capitol Hill.

Schulte also found inspiration in other places, he says. He compliments Bruce Spencer, an assistant professor of German in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, for creating an engaging classroom environment. Spencer says the feeling is mutual.

“Grant is just really, amazingly on the ball, doing everything on time or even early, and every little thing he did was very high quality,” Spencer says. “You could tell he invested effort in everything he did for the class, from homework to essays to class presentations.”

Schulte’s mother says she “just can’t wait until his work hits the bookstores.”

“I still have all of the handwritten stories–and the drawings of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” she jokes.

Schulte hopes other Iowa students take advantage of Iowa’s resources, because the payoff for him has been so great, he says.

“The opportunities are here,” he says. “It’s really just a matter of going out and grabbing them. If you actively pursue them and are willing to stick your neck out, the sky’s the limit.”

by Sara Langenberg


Published by University Relations Publications. Copyright The University of Iowa 2003. All rights reserved.

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