As Associate Professor Sam Terilli, J.D., assumes the role of chair of the Department of Journalism & Media Management this fall, he sees strength and opportunity in the department’s dual mission.
By researching and teaching at the convergence of media and business, the department is positioned to support quality journalism and entertainment through unstable industry conditions, said Terilli, a 12-year veteran of the department. “A lot of the current issues in media are business issues,” he said. “The days when journalists believed they could remain isolated and unconcerned with how the business is working are over.”
Journalism skills remain important, though business models that supported it are being remade, Terilli said. “Fundamentally, journalism is about finding and understanding good information and figuring out how to share it, and doing it ethically,” he said. “Those are incredibly valuable skills.”
Rapid adoption of new technology, including recent HD studio upgrades, and emphasis on new media, including web design and social media, shows the department’s commitment to providing students with cutting-edge skills and diverse experiences, he said. The department also aims to help students leverage storytelling niches unique to Miami, including sports, fashion, entertainment, and travel.
While there are no certain answers on what’s next in the business of media, Terilli said the department continues seeking and testing new options to prepare students. “I believe the curriculum is a living organism, not a static set of courses, and we’re going to continue to look at it and adjust it,” he said.
Journalism education is also valuable to students who want to pursue careers outside of media, including law and other communication fields, he said. “Learning how to think analytically and how to present stories well is an education that will serve you well not only in journalism, but in any field,” he said.
Terilli has spent 30 years practicing media, commercial, and employment law, including 12 years as general counsel for the Miami Herald Publishing Company. He also served on the Herald editorial board, led a reorganization of its news operations, and worked as a reporter and editor to study those operations.
Terilli serves as Vice Chair of the Faculty Senate. He has been a member of the boards of directors of the National Scholastic Press Association and the South Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and he currently serves on the board of the Miami Children’s Museum.