Emmy Award Winning Journalist Mike Cerre Talks Global Storytelling with JMC Students

Emmy Award winning broadcast journalist Mike Cerre visited the School of Journalism and Mass Communication on Sept. 30, 2016 to inspire and guide students seeking a career in global storytelling.  

“Storytelling is the new buzzword for one of the oldest professions,” Cerre said.

Cerre found his journalistic inspiration in the work of storytellers Charles Kuralt, Studs Terkel and George Plimpton. Plimpton’s experiential storytelling tactics inspired Cerre to pursue a career in international storytelling.

Following Sept. 11, 2001, Cerre worked alongside journalists in different countries to focus on a new angle as the first anniversary approached. Cerre met with an Egyptian journalist and helped her report stories in America. She likewise hosted Cerre and helped him develop stories in Egypt, breaking down the cultural biases between America and Middle Eastern countries.

“The communication gap between the two cultures turned into an abyss, a canyon, with the Iraq war,” Cerre said.

In 2003, Cerre joined the first Marines in Afghanistan as an embedded journalist for ABC News Nightline. His piece about the first unit to cross into Iraq won him an Emmy Award.

Now one of the global crises affecting the world is refugee displacement, which has been slow to capture America’s attention. Cerre said a lack of funding for the Middle East led to the refugee story remaining untold.

Cerre and Stephanie Smith, an assistant professor in JMC, encouraged students to be part of the global conversation by posting about the crisis on social media, partnering with organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and telling the local success stories of refugees.  

“Let your storytelling speak for itself and keep your resume in your pocket,” Cerre said. 

POSTED: Tuesday, October 4, 2016 - 10:19am
UPDATED: Friday, October 7, 2016 - 3:52pm
By: Haley Keding, '17, and Arkayla Tenney-Howard, '19