The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Professor receives grant

Lyssa Beyer

For assistant professor of communication and journalism Mike Dorsher, being named a 2008-09 Fulbright scholar has been a long wait.

Dorsher said he began the application process for the Fulbright award in July 2007, which included a language test, references and around 25 pages of material concerning his project, such as where, what and how much the project would cost.

By October, Dorsher was notified that he was a finalist for the award. But due to the continued wait, he began planning other activities for his planned sabbatical (which he would be on while doing his project), in case he didn’t receive the award, he said. However, Dorsher was named a Fulbright scholar and received a $25,000 research grant.

“It was a great surprise and a great relief,” he said.

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Dorsher’s project, titled “Wal-Mart in the Media of Canada and the United States: from the Blogs of Arkansas to the Pages of La Presse,” will take him from Wal-Mart headquarters in Arkansas to Canada, where he will be based in Montreal at McGill University, he said.

Dorsher said he plans to visit towns with Wal-Mart stores to see the effects they brings to the towns as well as smaller businesses. He also will look at the differences between Canada and the United States., such as the universal health care system in Canada, he said. Dorsher also said Canada is more labor oriented, and plans to look at Wal-mart stores in Canada that have unionized.

He plans to spend around a month in Bottineau, North Dakota, a town 10 miles south of the Canadian border. A Wal-Mart Supercenter recently opened there, he said, and he plans to compare it to larger cities.

“It would be kind of a microcosm of the effect of Wal-Mart on a small city,” he said.

Dorsher said this year will give him time to concentrate on research and reporting, which he will be doing a lot of. The research project will contain reporting, researching and writing, Dorsher said, as well as some fairly confrontational interviews. However, it will all help him when he returns to Eau Claire, because the experience will also allow him to enrich some of his lectures. In an e-mail from England, Dorsher wrote the extra time will allow him to prepare classroom lessons and spend time with students outside of the classroom.

“I just think it’s going to be a great experience to pass to students,” Dorsher said.

Freshman Gina Malagold first met Dorsher this past summer at a Journalism and Beyond Camp, which he organized. Dorsher is also her advisor. She said during the camp, she and a group of other students were able to experience journalism in many forms. Dorsher was very interactive with the students, and the camp was a good journalism experience, she said.

Malagold also said Dorsher is a really great and creative person to do this.

“I think that Mike Dorsher is really great at getting thorough to students,” she said.

In addition to his research project as the Fulbright Scholar, Dorsher has also been selected to write four articles for the Sage Encyclopedia of Journalism. Ranging from 1,500 to 4,000 words, Dorsher will cover the history of journalism in Minneapolis and St. Paul, digital media in Europe, sports journalism and the history of sports writing, he wrote in an e-mail.

“As someone who spent many hours reading encyclopedia articles, almost at random, when I was growing up in Minneapolis, I like the idea that now I’m going to be writing some of those encyclopedia articles on my favorite topics – sports, new media and the Twin Cities,” he said.

Currently, Dorsher is teaching in Harlaxton, England, and his students there produce The Manor Mouse, an online news site. He also is working with others on the third edition of “Controversy in Media Ethics,” a textbook used here in the Mass Media Ethics course.

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Professor receives grant