Sam Blackwell Named New Advisor to The Arrow


Photo of Sam Blackwell

Sam Blackwell has been named the new advisor to The Arrow, the student newspaper at Southeast Missouri State University.


June 27, 2008 – Sam Blackwell, former managing editor and a columnist with the Southeast Missourian, has been named the new advisor of The Arrow, the student newspaper at Southeast Missouri State University.

Blackwell will join the faculty in Southeast’s Department of Communication, where he also will teach “Feature Writing” beginning with the fall 2008 semester.

A Cape Girardeau, Mo., native, Blackwell earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Southeast in 1973. While at the University, he worked as a sportswriter for The Arrow and as a stringer for the Southeast Missourian. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1976 from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Blackwell brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to his new position at Southeast. During his career, Blackwell has been employed by several newspapers. He served as features editor of the Times-Standard in Eureka, Calif., from 1978-1983. He served as assistant features editor of the Press & Sun-Bulletin in Binghamton, N.Y., from 1985-1987. Blackwell was features editor of the Daily Pilot in Costa Mesa, Calif., from 1987-1989 before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area to become editor of the Redwood City News from 1989-1991. Returning to Cape Girardeau in 1991, he went back to the Southeast Missourian, where he was employed as a reporter, copy editor, arts and entertainment editor, managing editor and special projects reporter. He continues to write his award-winning column called “Letters from Home” for the Southeast Missourian.

Blackwell says he is excited to take on the challenge of teaching and advising. As the new faculty advisor to The Arrow, he said he wants to see some changes made in the student newspaper and expand its readership.

“The Arrow should be covering the community as well as the campus so that people on campus will be able to know what’s going on in the community,” Blackwell said.

He said he had a long career at the Southeast Missourian and heard about this opportunity.

“It was at a time in my life when I was ready for change,” he said.

He said he also hopes to improve the relationship between the Southeast Missourian and The Arrow in terms of internships and future projects. Blackwell said he also hopes to encourage convergence journalism and online media since “that’s where it’s going.”

He said he also is considering establishing a community beat reporter, setting a standard number of pages for The Arrow and expanding its online version.

Dr. Stuart Towns, chair of the Department of Communication, said he believes Blackwell will be an asset to Southeast.

“I am sure he will be a great addition to our journalism faculty, as he has a career full of experience and is a wonderful writer,” Towns said.

Towns, along with the rest of the department’s faculty and staff, said he is looking forward to welcoming Blackwell to the Southeast community.

“He has a lot of professional experience to bring to bear on the paper and to share with the students, and I suspect he will build on the solid foundation and tradition established,” Towns said.

Students in the Department of Communication also are anticipating Blackwell’s arrival at Southeast.

“I’m really excited to be working with Professor Blackwell on The Arrow next semester,” said Erin Mustain, a journalism major and co-managing editor of The Arrow. “I was really impressed by his credentials, and I really think he has a lot to offer to The Arrow. I can’t wait to hear more of his ideas on how to improve The Arrow.”

She said she looks forward to working with Blackwell and believes he will fit in well with the staff.

Blackwell said journalism is his “calling” and he has a “responsibility to do it well.”

In preparation for becoming The Arrow’s advisor, Blackwell says he has sought insights and advice from newspaper advisors from universities such as the University of Kansas, Eastern Illinois University and Northwest Missouri State University. He said he learned from them the critique is one of the primary tools an advisor can use to help journalism students improve their writing skills.

The mass communication program at Southeast is one of only two in Missouri and one of only 107 nationwide with accreditation from the Accrediting Council of Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC). Students who major in mass communication at Southeast can choose from the five professional and accredited options of journalism, public relations, advertising, radio and video production.