Remarkable legacy continues

Remarkable+legacy+continues

Story by Nicole Miller, Staff Writer

Before the emergence of the internet and social media such as Twitter and Facebook, Ann Devroy and her colleagues at The Washington Post pounded out on typewriters stories that were literally hot off the press, still warm from the printing process.

Though times have changed, the memories of those days live on in the heart and mind of one of her colleagues, Ruth Marcus.

The spirit and legacy of Devroy came alive as Marcus spoke to a wide range of people gathered last Thursday in Schofield Auditorium at the Ann Devroy Memorial Forum.

Marcus said Devroy would have thought that Twitter was very resourceful, predicting how her former colleague might have reacted to the advancement of social media and its impact on the field of journalism, particularly in breaking news stories.

The same journey that brought Marcus to the university also led Devroy to a coveted position at The Washington Post.

It began unfolding when as a student, Devroy worked as a reporter and writer for The Spectator at UW-Eau Claire.

Her craftiness budded among the preparative steps she took on campus. She graduated with a journalism degree in 1970.

Nineteen years later and four years into her assignment at The Washington Post she held the position of top White House reporter.

The span of her career is marked by excellence. According to a press release, under her byline approximately 2,500 stories have been published with 857 of those worthy of the front page.

Marcus not only worked alongside Devroy in the newsroom but also in the field collaborating on stories with shared bylines.

Marcus said Devroy’s presence as a journalist was ‘fierce’ and ‘competitive’ and remembered her colleague and close friend during the speech.

In 1997, after an 18 month battle, Devroy died of cancer. Her friends and colleagues honor her memory each year by selecting a student who reflects her journalistic spirit to receive the Ann Devroy Fellowship.

The 16th annual Ann Devroy Fellow chosen this year is junior broadcast journalism major Rachel Minske.

Minske, the eldest of four children, grew up in Northfield, Minn. The one question she said her Dad always asked her was, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’

In her senior year of high school she said she knew she wanted to enter college as a journalism major. Her dream was to be a television reporter.

Minske’s dream inched closer as she joined Marcus last Thursday in the Schofield Auditorium to accept her award as this year’s recipient of the Ann Devroy Fellowship.

Part of the Fellowship includes a three-week assignment interning at The Washington Post during winterim. A paid summer internship at a Wisconsin daily newspaper awaits her upon graduation.

While at The Washington Post she said she hopes to report on politics, government and governmental affairs which she is passionate about.

As for why she was chosen for the Ann Devroy Fellowship she said that she’s extremely competitive just like Devroy.

“Ann had a strong sense of camaraderie with her reporters on the same beat,” she said. “She stood up for them and fought for her turf so I think that I do that too to a sense.”

Jack Kapfer, associate professor of journalism at the university has had the opportunity to work closely with Minske during her time on-campus.

Kapfer is her academic advisor in her major as well as overseer of the Society of Professional Journalists where she holds the position of treasurer.  His role is also extended as her teacher and the supervisor of her volunteer work in the departmental TV lab.

“I was not part of those that made the decision, but I suspect that it was not only her experience that she has gotten as a student in the student organizations, but also that she’s done a lot of outside news internships with news organizations as well,” he said. “It will be interesting to see where she goes at The Washington Post and where she spends time there.”

Though she won’t know too many faces on her first day at The Washington Post one familiar face will be Marcus.

Minske said Marcus’ speech brought a fresh perspective on social media and her favorite part was when she talked about how Devroy would use social media today.

“I thought that what she had to say about what Ann Devroy would think of social media today was really interesting,” she said. “And about how Ann Devroy would think that Facebook was narcissistic but she would love twitter and she’d be
tweeting non-stop.”

Junior journalism major Becky Olson said Marcus had a good balance of humor and seriousness in her speech. Olson has attended the forum every year since entering the university.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear from a very high up professional on how to do journalism well and what’s going on out there right now,” Olson said. “I think for any journalism student here that’s a good chance to find out what you can do better and what their looking for out their when we’re starting to look for jobs.”

Through the Ann Devroy Memorial Forum the remarkable spirit of Devroy continues to inspire others and shape the field of journalism as she calls journalists to pursue a standard of excellence.