The winner of this year’s Edward L. Bliss Award for Distinguished Broadcast Journalism Education is Bob Gould, a Professor of Practice in the School of Journalism at Michigan State University. Gould began his career as a television news photographer in 1990 at WILX-TV in Lansing, spending the rest of his professional career at WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids. His 30 years in the field include 15 years instructing journalism majors at Michigan State University. Bob’s garnered over 40 awards from various organizations including the National Press Photographers Association, Associated Press, Michigan Association of Broadcasters and three regional Emmy awards before taking his experience to the classroom.
Gould was modest in accepting the news of this award, noting “there are many other deserving candidates.” And he was quick to credit others for his success, “I spent the early years of my career in T.V. news finding mentors and learning from others. Becoming a broadcast journalism instructor at Michigan State University allowed me to give back and train future industry leaders, but that didn’t stop in the classroom. I have found it extra rewarding to work with many professional organizations like the National Press Photographers Association, The Michigan Emmy Chapter, the Broadcast Education Association, and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.”
Gould’s commitment to teaching and building a broadcast journalism program was noted by Dr. Tim Vos, director of the School of Journalism at Michigan State, “Bob joined the Michigan State faculty and laid a foundation for today’s program. He helped build a strong team, and soon his students were winning state and then national awards. He also helped students get internships and jobs. So many alums of the program talk about his role in their education and careers.”
His letters of support show how much students appreciate Gould’s award-winning storytelling techniques and how much they learned from his instruction in videography. One student, Chloe Kiple, a former anchor with WWTV in Cadillac, noted her teacher’s special touch in the classroom. “Bob has a certain magic about him that was apparent to me from my first semester in his class. His genuine enthusiasm for visual storytelling, a geekiness for the mechanics of shooting, editing, and producing T.V. news, blended with a life-calling to create principled journalists when the world needs it most.”
Another one of the Michigan State journalists Gould prepared was Daniel Hamburg, now a multimedia journalist at WHTM-27 in Harrisburg, Pa. “Bob was in early and out late when we taped our newscasts, and he was available virtually any time of day when we needed help in the field or had problems editing. He has the unique ability to take reporters and turn them into storytellers. His classes don’t focus on reporting the news but on telling stories.” That difference “separates him from many other professors. His passion is unmatched, and his willingness to help is incredible.”
Another Spartan alum, Ian Gilmour, who just graduated, said one of Gould’s best qualities was how he built a rapport with students, “He places trust in his students so they may learn real-life skills and make mistakes that will make them better. And Bob has been by my side the whole way, as he has with all his students, guiding us with a helping hand and great advice.”
Regan Holgate, an outstanding senior at Michigan State’s School of Journalism (2021-22), noted Gould’s resourcefulness, “Even in the most trying times of a global pandemic, Bob continued to teach and innovate, allowing his students to grow to navigate the changing climate of journalism. It’s a testament to his hard work that his students have won hundreds of awards during his 15 years at this university.”
A panel of four judges – all former Bliss winners reviewed source materials for competitive portfolios, including letters from former students and current colleagues. Their comments reveal the merit of Gould’s portfolio of achievements.
Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism Associate Professor Mary Rogus (Bliss Award 2014) observed how often his teaching was cited by students. “In letter after letter, students described Bob’s attention and mentorship from their first days on campus, through graduation and well into their professional careers. Each student talked about how his individualized attention helped them discover their talents and passion and nurture it.”
Dr. Lee Hood of Loyola-Chicago (Bliss Award 2018) summed up his record as a mentor to many students, “It’s clear that Bob has had a significant impact as a tireless champion for his students over many years.”
Assistant Professor of Media Production at the University of Nebraska, Ken Fischer (Bliss Award 2017), believes the award’s namesake would find Gould worthy of this honor. “Bob Gould does yeoman’s work at Michigan State University as he prepares the next generation of storytellers. After Bob graduated and left the campus in 1990, he went on a journey in the trenches, first as an award-winning photojournalist and then as a manager (Chief Photographer). Finally, in 2007 he returned to East Lansing as an ideal person to get young journalists ready for their journeys.”
Dr. Bill Davie of the University of Louisiana (Bliss Award 2013) found Gould’s portfolio presented the correct elements for this honor. “Here was a broadcast journalism educator who enjoyed support from his students and colleagues at Michigan State University. In addition, he showed his support for the academic profession through his service to organizations like the National Press Photographers Association and the Broadcast Education Association.”
B.E.A. Executive Director Heather Birks has seen multiple sides of Bob Gould in broadcast education, offering service to others when needed. “He helped as an advisor and calming force when our B.E.A. Festival submission site crashed almost ten years ago. He served as a festival chair, managing hundreds of creative submissions more times than I can count. Finally, he is the true “proud professor” to countless top award-winning students he introduced me to while raving about their achievements.”
Gould will receive the award on Thursday, August 4, 2022, during a special ceremony produced by the Broadcast and Mobile Journalism division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Division Chair Harrison Hove, a lecturer at the University of Florida, added his perspective, “Professor Bob Gould has touched the lives of thousands of aspiring broadcast journalists. His students achieve at the highest levels of collegiate journalism. This award honors the best of the best, and Professor Bob Gould has a long track record of teaching achievements and student success stories, making him most deserving of such an honor.”
The distinguished broadcast journalism educator award is named for Edward L. Bliss, Jr., an author of six books, news producer, and editor for C.B.S. News. Bliss was known for his work with Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite and ended his career as an educator at American University. In the Ed Bliss memorial newsroom, colleagues will add Bob Gould’s name to a special plaque listing all past winners.
Past winners of the Bliss Award (formerly Distinguished Broadcast Educator Award) are Jack Shelly, Iowa State (1983); Ed Bliss, American (1984); Dick Yoakam, Indiana (1985); Henry Lippold, Wisconsin-Eau Claire (1986); Rod Gelatt, Missouri (1987); Mitchell Charnley, Minnesota (1988); Don Brown, Arizona State (1989); Irving Fang, Minnesota (1990): Ernest F. Andrews, Syracuse (1991); Al Anderson, Texas (1992); Michael Murray, Missouri-St Louis (1993); Joseph R. Dominick, Georgia (1994); Gordon Greb, San Jose State (1996); Travis Linn, Nevada-Reno (1997); Vernon Stone, Missouri (1998); Elmer Lower, A.B.C., N.B.C. (1999); Ken Keller, SIU-Carbondale (2000); Lincoln Furber, American (2001); James Hoyt, Wisconsin (2002); Phillip O. Keirstead, Florida A&M (2003); Thomas Griffiths, Brigham Young (2004): Peter Mayeux, Nebraska (2005); Bill Knowles, Montana (2006); Jim Upshaw, Oregon (2007); Glenn Johnson, Washington State (2008); Sam Swan, Tennessee (2009); Phillip Jeter, Winston Salem State (C.A.); C.A. “Charlie” Tuggle, North Carolina (2011); Robert Papper, Hofstra (2012); William R. Davie, Louisiana at Lafayette (2013); Mary Rogus, Ohio (2014); Mark Harmon, Tennessee (2015); Gary Hanson, Kent State (2016); Ken Fischer, Oklahoma (2017); Lee Hood, Loyola-Chicago (2018); Kent Collins, Missouri (2019); Max Utsler, Kansas (2020), Nancy DuPont, Mississippi (2021), and Bob Gould, Michigan State (2022.)