Les Rose’s Teaching Philosophy

My approach to teaching is no different than my approach to life – I approach both with passion, commitment, heart, humor and a number of back up plans – Les Rose

All I will ever ask of a student is all they have got to give.

Teaching is first and foremost about connecting with students; all students, the overachievers, the underachievers, the focused and the unfocused. My teaching has humor, heart and history. Laughter should be heard down the hallway. Humor engages and motivates learning; you must have heart to exemplify the importance of telling stories that matter to the viewer. I teach from a history of award winning stories, which serve as tangible benchmarks for which to strive.

As a professor, my goals are to have confident storytellers with strong journalistic ethics, script writing skills and the ability to “write” with the camera. They will walk away with a confident ability to understand the difference between reporting the news and telling a news story. They will recognize what constitutes a story, how to find one, and how to manage their time. My ongoing goal, is to turn students into storytellers.

They need technical skills to be a great visual journalist. Many will be multimedia journalists and will need a diverse skill set that includes being a reporter, producer, photojournalist, soundman, and editor. Students will then be able to enter the workforce equipped and prepared to be the “voice for the voiceless,’ to paraphrase Murrow.  I am compassionate and have a driving energy in hopes they will have the same in their lives and in their work.

I want to get students far beyond memorizing a textbook, while using examples from this week’s news. For example, if the topic is the First Amendment, just how far past their comfort range would they still be beacons for free speech. Students will experience a blossoming of their minds and possibilities they never dreamed of when walking into the classroom. They will leave with far more questions than when they arrived – instead of neat answers in black and white I want them to seek out the gray in the shadows. I expect them to have stories that could air in top 40 markets by their junior year. The standard is not student work – but great work on major networks.

I believe in the importance of maintaining and nourishing relationships with every student possible. I have helped dozens of students well beyond graduation day. They definitely need advice in real world newsroom pressures, workplace politics, and story coaching. I also believe that journalism is an actual calling. It makes no sense whatsoever to go into a dangerous place, covering a story, when everybody else in town is leaving. It also doesn’t make sense to make less money than business majors. But it makes plenty of sense if you cannot imagine doing anything else.

At the core of my teaching philosophy is the fundamental belief in the importance of journalistic integrity and belief in being held to the highest level of ethical standards. There is a great urgency for great journalist more than ever in a remarkably divided country; this is my personal motivation for teaching. I truly believe most of all that journalism and journalists matter. We are the only business protected by the Constitution and the first to be removed when a country is taken over by terrorists. Journalism and journalists matter and I cannot wait to help the next generation of great journalists.