September's Bulldog of the Month: Journalism professor John Hatcher becomes Fulbright Scholar

A street in Ho Chi Minh, Courtesy of John Hatcher

A street in Ho Chi Minh, Courtesy of John Hatcher

John Hatcher, a professor at UMD with a Ph.D. in Journalism, has been exploring the many worlds of journalism for as long as he can remember.

Hatcher began working at UMD in 2007 and has been a centerpiece of the Journalism program ever since. Some of Hatcher’s classes have included Local Journalism, Media Law and Ethics, and Journalist’s Toolbox.

In addition to over a decade of work at UMD, Hatcher is the co-editor of “Foundations of Community Journalism” (Sage Publications) and has been published in peer-reviewed journals including “American Journalism”, “Journalism & Mass Communication Educator” and “Community Journalism”.

Now, a new journey has opened up for Hatcher to explore, one that will combine his life-long passions for journalism and teaching with a trip across the globe to Vietnam. 

Hatcher will be teaching journalism classes at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. 

In addition, he will be taking part in classes and workshops in other parts of Vietnam and Southeast Asia, though the focus of the project will be in Ho Chi Minh City. The entire journey is set to last ten months.

Hatcher will not be taking part in this adventure out of thin air. His trip is due to his new status as a Fulbright Scholar, via the Fulbright Program. 

The Fulbright Program has existed since the 1940s due to the work of Senator J. William Fulbright. The organization’s website explains its history further, expanding on its connections to Senator Fulbright.

John Hatcher in his new classroom in Ho Chi Minh, Courtesy of John Hatcher

John Hatcher in his new classroom in Ho Chi Minh, Courtesy of John Hatcher

“In 1945, Senator J. William Fulbright introduced a bill in the United States Congress that called for the use of surplus war property to fund the 'promotion of international goodwill through the exchange of students,” the Fulbright program’s site explains. “President Harry S. Truman signed the bill into law, and Congress created the Fulbright Program.”

The program works to find scholars in participating countries, which now include much of the world, and send them to different countries to help garner a cultural exchange. 

By doing so, students are able to learn from an outside perspective, while scholars are able to develop their own craft while working with an audience different from their usual students.

Hatcher has previous experience working across nations and cultures to find the binding threads of journalism, including his studies in Norway and South Africa. 

He feels that there is often more in common between countries than people realize. 

“I found that people from different parts of the world share many of the same ideas when it comes to journalism regardless of cultural differences,” Hatcher said.

“I look forward to seeing how Vietnam compares because it’s a different culture to the places I’ve focused on before and has a very different government, being a communist country,” Hatcher said. 

This will be his first time in Vietnam, having visited the nearby nations of Singapore and South Korea while serving in the United States Navy. 

“It will be a new adventure for me,” Hatcher said.

In a public announcement about the trip, Hatcher expanded on his excitement for the new chapter.

“I'm so grateful for this opportunity and humbled by the support and encouragement of friends and mentors who have helped me realize this milestone,” Hatcher said. “I am honored to carry on the Fulbright tradition of building intercultural relationships one person at a time and representing our country overseas during this tumultuous and troubling time.”

With years of experience crafted in Duluth, the 2019-2020 academic year will be an exciting one for one of UMD’s educators. The ten-month program will provide Hatcher with a unique opportunity to expand his own talents and reputation. 

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