JMC Professor Calls for Ethical, Responsible, and Balanced Communication Practices

by  Robert Rucker, Director School of Journalism and Mass Communications

It was great to see yesterday so many people in my building and all across SJSU so excited about the election outcome, especially for Prop 30. Even individuals whose candidates or issues did not prevail were quite engaging and respectful. Everyone seemed a bit more upbeat and hopeful again about the future.

JMC School alumni who went on our very successful 2009 Inauguration trip also responded and urged me to tap into our innovative thinking again, in a much different way, with a timely learning opportunity the country now needs. Dr. Michael Cheers and I, who organized that DC trip, agree that SJSU is the ideal place NOW to host a national town hall discussion. A timely news peg would be the Republican Party’s post election need to expand and include more women and ethnic cultural groups. Recently former RNC Chairman Michael Steele told me the GOP must do that to survive, but he said we can’t be naive…We must first find a way to develop trust within those communities.

Local and national media could build on this town meeting with follow-up special focus reporting. This would be a most appropriate way to react to some of the ugliest national reactions from Election 2012. (Beware…rough language) when you see:

Racist Tweets:

Sad..but true, this stuff still exists in America. We should lead a more positive and informed approach.

JMC is all about ethics, responsible and balanced communications. We don’t need Oprah to lead more constructive national dialog. Our 2009 cross country trip through the landmarks of the Civil Rights Movement slowly captured national attention by reminding or educating many generations about the hard struggles that led to the first African-American President. A new effort triggering a national discussion could provide the major political parties and the entire nation with helpful new insights on how to relax, understand, value and embrace diversity that is growing in America.

I plan to pitch this dynamic idea to the media, and will ask for your help in showcasing how we can do this at SJSU. Stay tuned.

Unheard Voices: Screening and Potluck Event 11/20

A free short film screening & potluck event

DATE: Tuesday, November 20
TIME: 3:00-6:00pm
LOCATION: Engineering 285/287, San Jose State University

Take a break from writing your research paper and join us for an afternoon of short films and food. Meet other social work students and bring a dish to share! Please RSVP to and let us know what you can contribute to the potluck.

Unheard Voices is a series of short, digital stories that intersect art, film, social work, and other media & disciplines in order to provide an alternate, more humane voice to consumers of mental health services. Q&A with Phillip Cha (filmmaker and Case Manager at Citywide Focus Center) and possibly one or two consumers who are featured in the film.

The Digital Storytelling Project was launched in February 2009 at Citywide Focus Center (, an outpatient mental health clinic in San Francisco affiliated with the UCSF/SFGH Department of Psychiatry. The Digital Storytelling Project, which is now a subset of the newly named Intermedia Arts Project, is an open-ended, collaborative project that brings together local artists/filmmakers and consumers of mental health services at Citywide Focus Center to create short, digital stories that reflect the voices of those who are often ignored or misunderstood. The Intermedia Arts Project seeks to inspire, provoke, question, and challenge our established practices and institutions while simultaneously promoting interdisciplinary and collaborative effort to produce works of art that are healing, ethical, and beautiful.

While the process of making and screening the video can be both therapeutic and rewarding, the project does not stop there. It offers opportunities for clients to showcase their works and to talk about their story long after the initial screening at the annual film festival. By exhibiting their work and speaking on panels at various venues such as schools, universities, conferences, and other agencies, clients will be empowered to fight stigma and to have their voices heard by the community on an ongoing basis.

For more information, email or find us on Facebook:

JMC Students Make National News on PBS

By:  Michael Cheers, School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Eight students from my MCom 63 class got their Listen To Me videos selected by PBS editors and posted on the PBS Newshour website.

Twenty-five journalism schools from across the country participated in the national fall 2012 project.

More than 1000 videos were submitted, including videos from students at the University of Missouri/Arizona/Oregon/Montana/UC Berkeley/USC/NYU/Columbia U and Syracuse, to name a few.

We started this project the first day of class near the end of August. The students had never worked with DSLR cameras or flipcams, nor were they familiar audio gathering or with the Final Cut or Adobe Premiere editing systems.

How about a shout-out for good teaching!

Senior Wellness Fair – October 24th!

By: Sadhna Diwan, School of Social Work and Director, Center for Healthy Aging in Multicultural Populations

October 24, 2012 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Roosevelt Community Center, 901 E. Santa Clara Street (between 19th and 21st)

On behalf of the CHAMP faculty we would like to invite you to visit the Senior Wellness Fair co-hosted this year by CHAMP, CommUniverCity and the Santa Clara County Department of Adult & Aging Services (DAAS).

Students and faculty from Health Science, Kinesiology, Nursing, Nutrition, Occupational Therapy, Psychology, and Social Work are participating to provide health and wellness screenings, education, and physical activity demonstrations to seniors from the East San Jose neighborhood.

Check out the great looking flyer designed by the Advertising students at the DBH agency run by the School of Journalism faculty and students. Please post the flyer in your departments and forward it to as many people as you can!

We invite you to come and support your students and faculty, and learn about how your department might participate in future CHAMP and CommUniverCity activities.

Remember healthy aging is for everyone – if you aren’t older already, soon enough you will be! And you’ll learn about important resources available in the community to promote healthy aging for us all. So come by and check us out on October 24th at the Roosevelt Center!