BY ALISON SMITH
Every night individuals across the nation tune in to the evening news. Their favorite news anchors come on screen to inform them about local, national and international happenings while the production crew behind the camera is in charge of making the operation run smoothly.
Rarely, however, does one think further than behind-the-scenes to the classroom where it all began.
One professor at MSUM has spent the last four decades of his career bringing major insight and education to the field of broadcast journalism. Mass communications professor Martin Grindeland has been recognized for his outstanding contributions to the field, winning this year’s Mitchell V. Charnley award from the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association.
“I was surprised, very surprised to be receiving the award,” he said.
Grindeland’s modesty only supports his outlook on the field of broadcast journalism. Viewing it as a “cooperative, collaborative process,” he credits past and present students and colleagues for where he is today.
“They are the people that have blessed me the most and have been the best to be around,” he said.
However, one can’t let Grindeland’s humble response overshadow the knowledge and passion he has brought to the field.
Throughout his career Grindeland has been responsible for starting newscasts at three universities. The first came about when he was fresh out of the Air Force where he was a television production officer. He was hired at Illinois State University and co-developed a five-night-a-week news program called TV-10 News which still airs today.
He then moved on to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he had a chance to work with former recipient of the Charnley award Henry Lippold and created a few news programs of his own.
Working alongside Lippold influenced Grindeland’s teaching mentality. “He always expected a lot from students,” Grindeland said. “I’ve tried to expect a lot from students too, and students I’ve worked with always came through on projects.”
Grindeland made his way to MSUM and in 1984 developed Campus News, a weekly newscast on Prairie Public Television. Two decades later the program is still going strong, now under the leadership of Aaron Quanbeck.
Besides Lippold, Grindeland has had a chance to work with two other winners of the award right here at MSUM, Marv Bossart and Al Aamondt, from which he’s modeled various aspects of his teaching and credits them for expanding his view on broadcast journalism.
Looking back, Grindeland never thought he would be a teacher.
“I didn’t understand at the time how someone could be so focused on one area,” he said. “I was interested in all aspects of life.”
However, after experiencing the rigidity of the Air Force, Grindeland went through a transformation and was ready for a change.
“A university environment was very appealing to me because there’s a lot of freedom for students and faculty members to explore areas that they’re interested in.”
Grindeland has more than embraced that freedom with his multiple accomplishments in the field, as well as encouraging those he instructs to do the same.
As a veteran teacher, Grindeland has embraced the technological changes broadcast journalism has undergone but realizes that some things never change.
“The aesthetics are still similar,” he said. “The students themselves have the same kind of aspirations and goals and interests in storytelling.”