Shining a light on the world of media

Central Michigan University hosts annual Sunshine Week and Journalism Rocks event

Central Michigan University’s Department of Journalism will host Sunshine Week on campus to celebrate media literacy and to promote careers in journalism. Celebrated nationally since 2005, Sunshine Week promotes open government and freedom of information. Beginning March 14, participants can attend sessions featuring alumni industry professionals and guest speakers from prominent organizations across Michigan to encourage transparency in local government.   

The week also includes Journalism Rocks, a workshop and recruiting event. The three sessions on March 19 are designed for high school students interested in the fields of journalism, communication and media, and allow them to learn from both CMU students and industry professionals virtually or on campus. 

Industry insight and connections

Both events are the result of a collaborative effort among numerous campus organizations, CMU faculty members and students. Michael Livingston, a CMU senior and the editor in chief for Central Michigan Life, is participating in the planning process for Sunshine Week and Journalism Rocks this year. 

As a high school student, this event helped Livingston decide to attend college because he was able to meet college students doing the work that he envisioned himself doing one day.

“Journalism Rocks gives high school students the chance to learn about journalism and see how it’s done here,” said Livingston. “I wouldn’t have the opportunities I have as I’m about to graduate without making those connections through networking. Students are going to have plenty of those opportunities during Sunshine Week.”

Livingston said he is particularly excited about a session that examines how diversity shapes the newsroom and the content people consume daily.

Kirkland Crawford, 2006 CMU graduate and a sports editor for Detroit Free Press, is the keynote speaker for Journalism Rocks and a speaker for the Sunshine Week Diversity in Your News and Newsrooms session.

“This session is about understanding the difference between diversity and inclusion,” said Crawford. “Diversity is when you’re in the room, but inclusion is when you’re involved in the conversation.”   

Crawford said he sees these events as an opportunity for students to gain exposure to the profession and to get to know working professionals.

“There are a lot of lessons that are too hard to learn within a classroom setting. I find myself continuing to participate in both events for this reason,” said Crawford. “As professionals, we must share our knowledge with the next generation. Knowledge is power.” 

Let the sunshine in

“CMU continues to be one of the best schools in the state to become a media professional,” Livingston said. 

Livingston said more information about each event is available on the CMU Sunshine Week 2022 Facebook page and the Journalism Rocks at Central Michigan University Facebook page.

Sunshine Week sessions are open to everyone and no registration is required. The deadline for Journalism Rocks registration is Tuesday, March 8, for high school students.

 Sunshine Week Scheduled Events
  • March 14: Sunshine U
  • March 15: Beers, Bets and Blunts: Emerging beats in Michigan media
  • March 16: How Media Literacy Can Combat Fake News
  • March 18: Diversity in Your News and Newsroom
  • March 19: Journalism Rocks
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