Lori Blachford, the Peggy Fisher/Larry Stelter Chair of Magazine Journalism, received the Experiential Learning Course Award at the Experiential Learning/Service Learning Showcase and Banquet held last month on the Drake campus.
Blachford accepted the award for her course Media Responsibility Over Time (JMC:066) and the service learning work the class does for the Iowa Radio Reading Information Service for the Blind and Print Handicapped (IRIS). IRIS exists to bring the world of information to Iowans who cannot access the printed word because of blindness, visual or physical impairment or learning difference.
Professor Lori Blachford and her class adopted IRIS as a partner to provide a service learning opportunity that allows students to use mass media to not only provide a service, but to better understand the needs of a special population of media consumers. Each day students read aloud news from local newspapers to thousands of listeners who may not otherwise be able to access news from their community because of visual impairment.
Since the beginning of this partnership in fall of 2010, at least 300 students have done at least one day of reading and some have also committed to other projects and volunteer opportunities for IRIS. And with a studio for reading right here on campus, students other than those in this course are now participating in this service opportunity.
Congratulations to Lori Blachford and all the students who have made a difference through this work!