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Carissa Wolf aims to spread media literacy at Boise State

Courtesy: Zach Sparrow

As a child, Carissa Wolf knew she wanted to be a writer. From documents composed of scribbles, to publishing a family newspaper featuring stories of what the dog did each day, Wolf began writing at a young age.

Wolf carried passion for writing through junior high and high school, gaining experience working at the school

After a post-graduation, three-year cross-country road trip, Wolf returned to Boise to continue her

Wolf’s early passion for writing inevitably led her to journalism. Two bachelor’s and a master’s degree later, Wolf continues to be an active voice in the community.

As a freelance journalist, Wolf has had opportunities to write for various local newspapers including The Blue Review, Boise Weekly and The Idaho Statesman.

She was also a research assistant for the Wall Street Journal.  Wolf’s stories range from political coverage to human rights.

“I sometimes write stories about things people may not care about but it is my job to explain why they should care about an issue or person they have never heard about.  I love this part of my job,” Wolf said.

After years of proven success, Wolf embarked on another endeavor driven by her childhood love of teaching.

Wolf is now an adjunct professor, teaching courses in journalism, communication and sociology. Senior Karlo Mercene was a student in one of Wolf’s sociology classes.

“Honestly, I enrolled because I thought it would be an easy elective, but it ended up being one of the most helpful classes in preparing me for other courses,” Mercene said.

Since 1992, the United States has lost 30 percent of reporters.

Faced with this statistic, Wolf collaborated with Boise State professor Seth Ashley, Ph.D., and a committee of concerned journalists and co-founded the Idaho Media Initiative in 2013.

The Idaho Media Initiative is partnering with the university to create a non-profit journalism center, where students and professionals would collaborate to report on issues, which have gone uncovered.

“The opportunity might not be at the daily newspaper anymore, but I think the opportunities are going to be at these non-profit journalism centers, like what we’re developing here at Boise State,” Wolf said.

The Idaho Media Initiative would promote journalism by creating a curriculum for schools to provide younger generations with information and courses in investigative journalism.

Non-profit journalism centers implement programs that spread media literacy, creating a demand for better reporting, which in turn creates opportunities and jobs for journalists across the state.

“There’s 70 of them around the country, and 20 are affiliated with universities. Most of these have opened their doors in the last five years. So this  is a brand new platform for journalism,” Wolf said.

For more information on the Idaho Media Initiative, visit