I recently sat down for a chat with Mark Mederson, Assistant Professor of Media Studies. He joined the Loras faculty this year after a long career in broadcast journalism.
Mederson has a Bachelor’s degree in Radio, TV, and Film from the University of Kentucky, and a Master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Texas State, San Marcos. He is nearing completion of a Ph.D. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
This semester, Mederson is teaching Intro to Mass Comm and News Analysis. He has two children from a former marriage who live in Madison where he lives.
His professional experience includes work in audio and video production for a community college In Dallas. Then a little later, he worked for a production company that did sports television with the Dallas Cowboys. He also worked for two years as a sports reporter and anchor in Huntsville, Alabama.
During the 1990s, Mederson started doing freelance work in the field of video journalism. He told me, “I had my own (video) camera, with a tripod, and lights, and sound gear.” He spent several years after that making a series of independent documentary films. Students interested in viewing his work can find it on YouTube.
I asked Mederson about his interest in taking a position at Loras. He told me it was a good fit for him geographically as well as professionally. He said, “I like the liberal arts college setting, and I like the philosophy of the liberal arts college more than the big research institutions.”
I asked him if he would have any advice for students taking his classes. He told me, “If you’re willing to do the reading and show up for class, you will do well.”
In his Ph.D. thesis, Mederson said, he is looking at “documentary film as journalism.” Specifically, he told me, “I’m looking at something called ‘cultural memory’ or ‘collective memory,’ in connection with three African-American heavyweight boxers: Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, and Muhammed Ali.”
“I’m originally from the Louisville, Kentucky area,” he told, me, “which was (Muhammed Ali’s) home town … I met him when I was in high school in Louisville.” Mederson himself has been boxing — as a workout and a hobby — for about 20 years.
He is planning to put together a J-term course on boxing films – both documentaries and feature films. He told me, “I’m going to try to have actual boxing training as part of it.”
Mederson has a dorm room at the Viz where he sometimes stays. His favorite places in Dubuque include Salsa’s, the Mexican restaurant downtown, and Jitterz, the coffee shop next door.