The Miami Herald has chosen Miami Law student Charles Haskell to assist the paper in covering the second anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti.
Haskell, a JD/MA student, has been asked to write an article that explores the aftermath of the Jan. 12, 2010, disaster, which left an estimated 316,000 people dead, 300,000 injured and more than 1 million homeless. The quake destroyed wide swaths of the country's capital, Port-au-Prince, which had already struggled for decades with rampant poverty and a severely compromised infrastructure.
All student projects will post online at MiamiHerald.com and two participants will receive a $1,500 scholarship. The submission considered the best by the newspaper's editors will be published in the paper's print edition.
A native of Oklahoma, Haskell joined Miami Law in fall 2011 to pursue a joint degree in law and communications. Before enrolling, Haskell worked in Washington D.C. as a news production specialist for The Associated Press and as a producer for NBC News. While at NBC, he assisted Andrea Mitchell, the network's chief foreign affairs correspondent, in her coverage of the transition of power in Cuba from Fidel Castro to his brother, Raul Castro. Haskell also interviewed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy after they had appeared on "CBS Sunday Morning."
Haskell said he enjoyed those jobs, but admits that he was not completely satisfied. After meeting legal correspondent Pete Williams and Tim Russert – the journalist and lawyer who died in 2008 – Haskell was inspired to become an attorney. "Seeing how they fused their legal degrees with a degree in journalism, I thought maybe I could do the same," he said.
Only a few months into the school year, and he knows he made the right choice. "It makes me feel that I'm actually accomplishing something in my thinking," he said. "I enjoy every second of it."
Haskell also plans to launch the Secular Law Society, a new student organization, in January. It will enable students to discuss the separation of church and state, and will bring outside speakers to talk about current issues and cases. Haskell said it will also serve as an advocacy vehicle for atheist and secular organizations.
"I am very pleased to see Charles being selected to participate in a prestigious journalism project," said Sandy Abraham, the executive liaison for interdisciplinary programs at the law school who helped to launch the JD/MA program less than a year ago. "We know this will be the beginning of many such successes for our students and the program."