Home » News » Liberty + Leadership News: Aug. 8, 2019

Liberty + Leadership News: Aug. 8, 2019


We hope you enjoy these top news stories about TFAS activities, alumni and events this week. Please visit us on social media for additional up-to-the-moment TFAS news and information and sign up for our newsletter to receive weekly updates.

Introducing the 2019 Rago Memorial Fellow

Matthew Taylor King is the 2019 recipient of the Joseph Rago Memorial Fellowship for Excellence in Journalism. Photo by Shaun King.

TFAS and our partners at The Wall Street Journal are pleased to announce Matthew Taylor King as the 2019 recipient of the Joseph Rago Memorial Fellowship for Excellence in Journalism. As a Rago Fellow, King will spend nine months interning with The Wall Street Journal’s Opinion page.

The fellowship is named in honor of Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer Joseph Rago, who was a rising star at The Wall Street Journal and a key member of its editorial page team before passing away at the age of 34 in 2017.

Among a field of exceptionally strong candidates, Matthew impressed us with his knowledge, integrity, dedication, and an ability to write clear, persuasive prose. He exemplifies the blend of talent and character we seek to honor the memory of our son.” – Paul and Nancy Rago

TFAS was chosen by the Rago Family, with the endorsement of the Journal, to establish the Fellowship last year as a permanent remembrance of Joe’s contributions to journalism. This year’s Rago Fellow, Matthew King, will work to continue Joe’s legacy. Read more about Matthew Taylor King and the Rago Fellowship program at TFAS.org/RagoFellow19.

The 2019 Rago Fellowship will be presented during the TFAS Journalism Awards Dinner at the Metropolitan Club in New York, N.Y., on Sept. 12, 2019. Paul Gigot, editorial page editor and vice president of the Journal, will help honor the memory of his late colleague by providing remarks on Joe’s accomplishments and lasting impact.

TFAS Professor Opines on How Reporting Has Changed Over the Course of His Career

TFAS Professor Richard Benedetto bestows one last bit of wisdom to TFAS journalism students at their Closing Ceremony.

How would today’s media cover the Apollo 11 moon landing and Sen. Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick crash that killed 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne? TFAS journalism professor and retired political reporter, Richard Benedetto, says the media, for better and for worse, has changed since these two historic events took place 50 years ago.

In a piece published in Washington Examiner, Benedetto looks back at how the media covered these stories when he himself was a rookie reporter and imagines how today’s highly charged news and social media atmosphere would impact the storytelling of these events had they occurred in 2019.

Clearly, the news media have great power in shaping how the public thinks about and reacts to the happenings of the day. Now, with media at our fingertips every waking second, that power has exponentially exploded. The media in 1969 were more respectful and dignified, more naïve and willing to overlook scandalous behavior. Over the last five-plus decades as a reporter, I have watched the situation evolve and slowly grow more adversarial and agenda driven.” – Richard Benedetto, TFAS Professor

Benedetto says that some of these changes are good, but worries about the overall societal effect of divisive coverage. “Reporters would not let Ted Kennedy get away with alleged murder if Chappaquiddick occurred yesterday, which is good. But the modern press corps has lost the ability to produce the unified and uplifting coverage that captivated the country when Apollo 11 reached the lunar surface, and that is very unfortunate,” he writes.

Benedetto, a retired USA Today White House reporter and columnist, teaches the Journalism Internship Seminar for TFAS D.C. Summer Programs and Capital Semester. At our D.C. Summer Programs Closing Ceremony last week, Benedetto spoke about the recently published piece to TFAS students in his closing remarks, reminding them to report with integrity. You can read the full piece in the Washington Examiner.

Annual TFAS Dinner Raises Record Amounts for Student Scholarships

Thanks to this year’s record giving, the annual TFAS Scholarship Dinner has now raised more than $6 million toward student scholarships since its founding 30 years ago.

Nicholas E. Calio (right), President and CEO of Airlines for America, presents Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina with the 2019 TFAS Congressional Leadership Award.
Photos by: Capitol Hill Photo

The annual event brought together business and congressional leaders to support student scholarships and honor our 2019 Leadership Award recipients: Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Susan K. Neely, president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers.

“Too often too few people in the free-market system stand up and beat their chest and say look at me. But the facts are very clear – the greatest economic opportunities presented to the world come through the free market and not government,” Senator Scott told the crowd of TFAS students and scholarship sponsors. He provided advice to the students, encouraging them to lean in to their failures and turn obstacles into opportunities. Neely also offered advice to the students, asking them to use their spirit and entrepreneurial drive in service to their country. “We need your engagement now more than ever because I think we as a country have a lot to look forward to,” she said.

You can read more about the 30th Annual TFAS Scholarship Dinner at www.TFAS.org/SD19.

Post of the Week

More than 340 future leaders completed their summer of “living, learning and interning” with TFAS during our D.C. Summer Programs Closing Ceremony last week. Below are a few excerpts from farewell testimonials of this year’s class.

I have learned an immense amount from the individuals that are in this room. I am humbled and honored to be in the same room as this generation’s next set of working professionals. I admire your work ethic, your diligence and your grit. I look forward to reconnecting and working with you all in the future.” – Kennedy Parkins ’19

I truly came here thinking that D.C. was just another step in my career path, and TFAS was just another internship program. However, this program gave me the courage to go up and shake the hand of someone I respect, rather than standing in the back of the room at guest lectures, networking events or the TFAS Annual Conference. Attending every extra event and having the courage to simply introduce myself connected me to many people in the TFAS family, who are so willing to help me start a career in D.C. after I graduate in December.” – Angela McCallum ’19


Quick Links

The Daily Signal featured a TFAS Capitol Hill Lecture by Johan Norberg during which the historian and native Swede debunked myths of a socialist Scandinavia and pointed to the clear capitalistic traits of Scandinavian markets as reasons for the region’s success. Read more in The Daily Signal.

New TFAS alumnus Cody Ogelsby ’19 and his TFAS experience were featured on the front page of the Calhoun Times in Georgia. Ogelsby, a student at Dalton State College, participated in the TFAS D.C. Summer Program on Leadership and the American Presidency. In the article, Ogelsby says his two months with TFAS reiterated a calling to public service that he has felt since a child. “I’m thinking of how to better our community and state as a whole. Those thoughts are more present in my mind than ever,” he said. You can read the full piece in the Calhoun Times.

Oriana Pawlyk ’10 reports on Air Force’s B-1 Bombers for Military.com.

TFAS Economics for Leaders alumnus Ian Kimbell is Harvard bound. Read how our Foundation for Teaching Economics high school program prepared him for the Ivy League on FTE.org.

TFAS Law Fellow Sarah Smerling, Law ’19, is featured by InsideNova for being one of 16 students nationally selected for the TFAS Law Fellowship.

Jillian Melchior, Novak ’11, appeared on “The Evening Edit” on Fox Business this week to discuss the fight for the labor union vote ahead of the 2020 elections. Melchior is an editorial page writer at The Wall Street Journal.

Naomi Schaefer Riley, Novak ’01, reviewed David Kirp’s “The College Dropout Scandal,” in The Wall Street Journal noting how some schools are finding effective, hands-on ways to increase graduation rates. Riley is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. TFAS Trustee Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, wrote a letter to the Journal, responding to Riley’s review and adding how “institutions and organizations are learning from each other and moving the sector toward student-centered transformation.”

TFAS high school program participants Rylee Feliczak and Nicole Kaminski are featured in the Manistee News Advocate for being selected to participate in the Economics for Leaders program conducted at the University of California at Los Angeles this summer.

The Business Journals’ Bizwomen’s weekly series recommends a podcast featuring TFAS alumna and productivity expert Laura Vanderkam ’99, Novak ’06.

Elliott Kaufman, Rago ’18, assistant editorial features editor at The Wall Street Journal, shared his take on the Democratic Socialists of America’s national convention that was held in Atlanta on Aug. 2.

Lauren Crawford Shaver ’04, executive director of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, wrote a letter to The Wall Street Journal arguing against a public option health-care system “that would cause patients to pay more and wait longer for worse care.”


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