Journalism Faculty Honored for Community-engaged Teaching

Jeremy Steele, left center, and Joy Visconti. right center, receive an Outreach and Engagement award.

Two Michigan State University School of Journalism professors have been honored for their commitment to community-engaged teaching.

Jeremy Steele and Joy Visconti won Distinguished Partnership Awards at the Outreach and Engagement Awards Ceremony on Saturday, February 21. These awards recognize highly engaged and scholarly community-based research, creative activity, teaching, and service collaborations that positively impact both the community and scholarship.

Steele, a professor in the School of Journalism, coordinates scholastic journalism outreach activities for the school. Steele is an adviser to the Crain-MSU Detroit High School Journalism program, a partnership to support journalism in Detroit high schools.
Steele is also Executive Director of the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association. Steele coordinates MSU’s journalism education courses and works with journalism teachers across the state and students at MSU who are interested in teaching journalism.

Visconti, a professor in the School of Journalism, has a special interest in sports editing and has more than 20 years of experience as a sports reporter, copy editor, freelance writer and educator. Visconti works with journalism classes and clubs throughout Detroit as the director of Crain-MSU Detroit High School Journalism program.

Visconti, a fourth-generation Spartan, holds two journalism degrees from Michigan State.

Each year, the Crain-Michigan State University Detroit High School Journalism program mentors 200 to 300 students in 14 Detroit high schools, using journalism as a tool to develop critical skills that prepare them for college. Students learn how to gather information, think critically, write, and create information visually. 

They are connected with professionals — MSU faculty members and journalism students, as well as professional journalist mentors — to produce newspapers and website content about the issues affecting the students’ schools, neighborhoods and peers.

Students in the program work one-on-one with a mentor or MSU Journalism faculty member to develop and produce their story ideas. Four times a year, the program distributes more than 10,000 student-produced newspapers to students in Detroit schools.

The program began in 2015, when Crain Communications partnered with MSU’s School of Journalism to revitalize a decades-old Detroit Free Press program that taught journalistic skills to students in Detroit. The partnership provides sustainable funding, which allows the program to supply students with equipment and expertise to which they otherwise would not have access.