Fort Riley, A.Q. Miller School of Journalism forge relationship


When K-State journalism students start looking for jobs and internships, they usually don’t go to Fort Riley. This may soon change. The A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications and Fort Riley are strengthening their ties, leading to increased employment opportunities for students in the exciting field of military journalism.

“One of the things I hope we really accomplish is we can gain a better understanding of each other,” Sgt. 1st Class, Abram Pinnington said. “From there, we can only enhance our relationship.”

On Oct. 9, the school hosted military journalists from the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley and the Garrison Public Affairs Office at K-State for the first time.

Journalism ambassadors led the group on a tour of K-State’s journalism and Collegian Media Group facilities including the student-run Collegian, the Royal Purple yearbook, radio station and television studio. For some soldiers, this was their first time on campus.

“I’m excited about the relationship,” Chief Internal Information Garrison Public Affairs Officer, Colen McGee, said. “We’re all going to win. We’re all going to learn something from each other.”

McGee also said that Fort Riley is trying to get more students interested in internships with them.

“You will be the journalists of tomorrow,” McGee said.

McGee said experience working with the military will give K-State journalism students a competitive edge in the job market.

While there is not currently an official relationship between the school and Fort Riley, Pinnington said this is changing rapidly.

Pinnington is working with K-State instructor, Debra Skidmore, and the school to create an official partnership between Fort Riley and the school.

“I’ve typed up a document that would be our memorandum of agreement. It’s in its final stages of approval,” Pinnington said. “It is something both parties have been wanting since we established this relationship, and it’s something we’ve been working towards for almost a year now.”

Skidmore said the military and students do not understand each other, so each benefit from the increased interaction.

“There’s so much to be learned from both populations,” Skidmore said.

The school now has a Military Public Relations class. Students in this class will observe an actual exercise at Fort Riley on Oct. 17.

Despite the imminent overseas deployment of 500 Fort Riley soldiers, there was palpable excitement in the air during the visit.

“The university and the post are very intertwined with their partnership but we decided here at the journalism department we wanted to further that partnership,” Skidmore said. “Over the past year we have sent professors out to Fort Riley to teach their journalists … and in turn they had been sending some of their experts to us to be guest speakers in our classes, which has been wonderful.”