Four students at the University of Arizona School of Journalism - Kiara Adams, Noor Haghighi, Sam Parker, and Liv Leonard - were selected as the first ever recipients of the Jamieson-Metcalf Family Scholarship for Public Affairs in Journalism.
The scholarship, created in 2022 by School of Journalism alumnus William “Bill” Jamieson (’65) and his granddaughter Hunter Metcalf (’21), gives students the opportunity to take on fellowships with local news partners and report on public affairs for a semester.
“Good political journalism is essential to democracy whether it's at a local level, a state level, or a national level,” Jamieson, whose extensive career includes work in business, government, and education, said.
After graduating from the University of Arizona, Jamieson served four years as a U.S. Navy Public Affairs Officer and was responsible for three publications — two English-language and one
Japanese-language. He then worked in nonprofits and government positions, including serving in the administrations of former Arizona governor Bruce Babbitt and former Georgia governor and U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
“Much of what I learned in my journalism education helped me when I moved into the public policy arena,” Jamieson said. “I understood the job of journalists and the deadline pressures they were under. I understood that developing relationships of trust and respect were essential to ensuring questions were answered and that the public received the full story, even when it was negative toward me.”
He now hopes this scholarship will help produce a new crop of reporters “who are ready to go out and cover local politics.”
Meet the scholars
Kiara Adams and Noor Haghighi will report for the Arizona Luminaria, a nonprofit news organization based in Tucson that was co-founded by School of Journalism adjunct professors Irene McKisson and Becky Pallack.
Haghighi, a junior who is triple-minoring in environmental sciences, environmental studies and Spanish, spent the fall semester as an intern at the Luminaria and is excited to continue her work with the team.
“I’ve gotten to learn so much as an intern about Tucson, which is my hometown,” Haghighi said. “I’m looking forward to deepening my understanding of Tucson issues even more this semester.”
Adams, a junior minoring in government and public policy, said she is also looking forward to learning more about the Tucson community and seeing how coverage of local government differs from covering the university campus as a student.
“I’m excited to go more in-depth with my reporting and see how my writing improves after taking on longer form stories [for the Luminaria],” Adams, who hopes to one day cover politics at a national level, said.
Prior to her becoming a Jamieson-Metcalf Scholar, Adams spent last summer interning at the Las Vegas Review Journal in her home state of Nevada and was the assistant news editor at the Daily Wildcat on campus.
Jamieson-Metcalf Scholars Sam Parker and Liv Leonard will spend the semester covering local news for the Tucson Agenda, a digital publication that was launched last summer by adjunct professor Caitlin Schmidt (’14) and fellow reporter Curt Prendergast (’11 M.A.).
Leonard, who plans to graduate in the spring, is looking forward to applying the skills she’s learned in the School of Journalism to her local coverage.
“I’m hoping I can bring human connection and emotion to these complex public affairs stories,” Leonard said.
During her studies, Leonard has worked as an on-air host for KAMP Student Radio, reported for the Daily Wildcat, and worked as the social media coordinator for the university’s men’s lacrosse team.
“I’m honored to end my career at the school this way,” Leonard said. “This opportunity feels like a great way to learn more about public affairs directly in a place where that kind of news is produced.”
Parker, a junior and the news editor of the Daily Wildcat, first became involved with covering local government through the school’s Reporting Public Affairs class last semester.
“Having to go to city council meetings [for the class] was interesting because they do more work than I was aware of,” Parker said. “They are responsible for so much and learning how city government works has been interesting.”
The Phoenix native hopes to continue learning about local politics through her fellowship with the Agenda.
“I’m definitely looking forward to learning more about the Tucson community in general and how to report on issues that matter to people in a way that’s accessible to them,” Parker said. “I’m interested in learning more about the on-the-ground approach of going out in our community and speaking with residents.”
Later this spring, the School of Journalism will host a luncheon for the scholars and affiliated news partners to meet with the Jamieson-Metcalf family and share their experiences and published work.
As the fellows begin their public affairs coverage, Jamieson offered some advice:
“Ask well-researched and thoroughly-thought out questions, and always seek out and listen to voices on different sides of an issue so that you can write the most accurate and fair story possible. This is the type of journalism coverage I experienced during my days in the Carter and Babbitt administrations. I think we have lost that art primarily because newspaper budget cuts have forced a decline in full-time public affairs reporters, and that its restoration is essential in a democracy. I am excited about the work the fellows are called to do and about the move to a different kind of local focus as represented by the Tucson Agenda and the Arizona Luminaria.''