Prof Jim MacMillan launches

Many of you will know or will have taken “Peace and Conflict Journalism” with Visiting Assistant Professor, Jim MacMillan, who teaches Peace and Conflict Journalism and serves as the Journalist in Residence for War News Radio,, and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.  Jim is turning his decades of experience as a journalist to help fight rampant gun violence in Philadelphia with a new project to shine as much journalistic light on the problem as possible. Visit and follow on facebook and Twitter @guncrisisnews


Philadelphia Weekly: How Two Photojournalists Are Taking on the City’s Gun Crisis

By Tara Murtha

Midnight comes and goes. For the first time in 11 nights, the city of Philadelphia has gone a full day and night without a homicide. The relief doesn’t last long. Just before 1 a.m., the scanner resting in photojournalist Joe “Kaz” Kaczmarek’s lap crackles to life: report of shots fired at 40th Street and Girard Avenue.

Kaz has been driving around the city with journalist and fellow crime-scene vet Jim MacMillan for hours when the call comes in….

Back in the car, MacMillan is already iPhone-editing video he shot of pulling up to the scene. In a few days, he’ll post the video to, an “open-source journalism experiment” he launched last month that aims to explore the city’s homicide-by-gun epidemic and possible solutions while carefully, purposefully, avoiding slipping down the rabbit holes of the gun-policy debate.

“The gun debate has been around as long as I’ve been alive,” says MacMillan, 51. “I’m looking for new solutions. I’m not interested in the gun rights debate from either side or blaming the police, or the mayor, or city budget. I want to know what we haven’t talked about and I want to know who is doing things that work. I just want to know what’s going to work.”

MacMillan doesn’t know what solutions will curb the gunfire crisis in Philadelphia, and he doesn’t yet know how to financially sustain the independent, new-media project he envisions, either. What he does know is that murder by gun is the most important story in Philadelphia-in national newspapers, it’s the story of Philadelphia-and that it needs to be explored intensely, from every angle, with every journalistic resource in the city.

“First thing I’m trying to do is build a community of like-minded people and start to gather information on all the other individuals and organizations in the city working on it,” says MacMillan, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and 17-year veteran of the Daily News. “It’s open-ended. I don’t know how it’s going to play out but I want everyone to participate.”…

After returning from Iraq, MacMillan grew increasingly interested in the intersection of journalism and trauma and new-media models. While he wasn’t sure of the exact direction of impactful, sustainable journalism, he was pretty sure it wasn’t happening at 400 N. Broad St. In 2007, he took an early buyout.

He spent the last few years studying the impact of violence on communities and exploring the impact media could have on reducing that violence. In 2007, he was an Ochberg fellow at the Dart Center. He taught classes in “Journalism and Psychological Trauma” at Temple University; “Multimedia and Social Media Journalism” at the University of Missouri; and “Peace and Conflict Journalism” at Swarthmore College, where he is currently the journalist-in-residence at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility. Meanwhile, he built his own indie-journalism following online. Today, he has more than 79,000 Twitter followers and more than 43,000 subscribers on Facebook….


Photo by Joe Kaczmarek. More:


War News Radio becomes

We would like to share some of the latest developments with War News Radio at Swarthmore College.

Since 2005, Lodge 6 at Swarthmore College has housed the newsroom, studio and community of War News Radio, a weekly public radio program intended to fill the gaps in the media’s coverage of the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond by providing balanced and in-depth reporting, historical perspective, and personal stories.

In late 2011, the WNR staff elected to suspend the weekly program in favor of focusing on more topics, more media platforms and more audience engagement.

In 2012, Lodge 6 is expanding to develop a media incubator, inviting more Swarthmore students and student groups interested in expanding or developing new endeavors in journalism.

During the spring semester, the students who staff War News Radio set out to raise the bar, confronted complex new challenges and eventually broke through to new levels of journalism innovation.

They chose to embrace new tools and media, and a broadened spectrum of topics — limiting themselves only to the boundaries of social responsibility and the principles of journalism. We launched as a platform for new topics.

Jim MacMillan, Visiting Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies and War News Radio Journalist in Residence has compiled some of the work from the past semester into a “Best of Spring 2012” report at This includes an announcement that War News Radio has been honored with two 2012 Mark of Excellence awards from Region One of theSociety of Professional Journalists. And, you can view radio and multimedia reports from students in Jim’s “Peace and Conflict Journalism” course.

Other highlights include:

* Amy DiPierro, Caroline Batten and Collin Smith collaborated to produce a multimedia report, curating existing content — but also producing our first remote video interviews via Skype — starting with an activist who was arrested in Bahrain on the anniversary of the 2011 uprising. Their companion reports reports challenged the validity of a press release from the government of Bahrain — claiming there had been no injuries to protesters — and another story traced tear gas used in Bahrain back to a company in Pennsylvania.

* Klara Aizupitis produced a pair of video reports following the #KONY2012 debacle. The Philadelphia report includes her own field reporting, studio narration, remote video reporting and curation of existing video. Collin produced a companion video report on the complexity of addressing human rights issues.

* Amy produced and compiled radio reports on oil and agriculture in Kurdistan into a feature length radio program. She sent a WNR recorder to Sulaymaniyah with an American aid worked and produced an accompanying video slide show from the resulting audio diary.

* Caroline produced a radio report entitled After the War: PTSD and Veterans’ Care, and Elliana Bisgaard-Church produced another on conditions for Iraq interpreters after the war. Aaron Moser produced a report on The Rebecca Davis Dance Company and their project intended to empower children through teaching dance in Rwanda.

* Alan Zhao produced a multimedia report, combining new remote audio interviews with an Afghan rock band he had interviewed two years ago — Kabul Dreams — with their online rock videos. Aaron produced and narrated an aggregated a video news report when the US Places $10 Million Bounty on Hafiz Saeed.

* Finally, Amy found the perfect balance while pressing traditional boundaries to produce our first musical news report: Uke the Nukes.

Next year, returning seniors Aaron and Elliana are the likely leaders, while Amy and Carolina will be returning from public radio internships — at One the Media and WBUR, respectively.

Please follow and !