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Media College eNews

28 Sep

In keeping with the growing interest in sports, we now have a new student organization on campus: Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM). The AWSM news release about our chapter may be found at .

Special thanks to Dr. Elizabeth Oppe, who was approached by students to begin and lead the new chapter as its first faculty advisor. According to Elizabeth, they already have plans to bring a number of women professionals to campus.

28 Sep

Over the course of 18 months, four Associated Press reporters risked their own safety to uncover slavery and abuse in the Southeast Asian fishing industry. Their courageous efforts freed 2000 men, led to dozens of arrests and exposed ties to American grocery stores and restaurants. Their project, “Seafood from Slaves,” won more than 30 journalism awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting, the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights International Journalism Award, the Gerald Loeb Award for Investigative Reporting and the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting.

Among the winning team is proud West Virginian and WVU alumna, Margie Mason. She is a 1997 graduate of the Reed College of Media. Mason and her colleagues will discuss the project during their presentation, “Seafood from Slaves: From Investigation to Pulitzer Prize” on Monday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Mountainlair Ballrooms.

The panelists

Screen Shot 2016-09-22 at 12.46.08 PM

(Featured from left to right: Esther Htusan, Robin McDowell, Martha Mendoza and Margie Mason)

For more than a decade, Margie Mason has covered some of the biggest stories in the Asia-Pacific. Though she specializes in medical writing, including reporting from the front lines of SARS and bird flu, much of her enterprise work has focused on poverty and human rights abuses, often involving women and children in remote areas. Her interest in pursuing migrant fishermen forced to work on boats in Indonesia surfaced while reporting on the long-persecuted Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Mason joined the AP in 1997 in Charleston, West Virginia, and was later based in San Francisco and Vietnam before her current posting in Indonesia. She has reported from more than 20 countries on four continents and co-authored an award-winning series on global drug resistance. She was a Nieman Global Health fellow at Harvard University and an Asian studies fellow at the University of Hawaii. She started working at her hometown newspaper, The Dominion Post, when she was 19 years old. She has a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

The slave fishing project was especially personal for Robin McDowell because it tied together the very countries she covered during her two-decade career in Southeast Asia. In Thailand, where for many poor men the brutal human trafficking trade began, she helped launch The Associated Press’ first regional editing desk. In Cambodia and Myanmar, home to most of the victims, she reported on the difficulties young democracies face after emerging from military rule, civil strife and horrific rights abuses. And in Indonesia, where men were trapped for years, sometimes decades, she oversaw a busy bureau as it responded to everything from earthquakes and tsunamis to terrorist attacks. McDowell went to Washington University in St. Louis and, after a few years in book publishing, to Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

Martha Mendoza is an Associated Press writer whose reports have won numerous awards and prompted Congressional hearings, Pentagon investigations and White House responses. She is part of the Asia-based team that wrote the 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning “Seafood from Slaves” reports, prompting the release of more than 2000 enslaved fishermen. She was also part of a team that won a 2000 Pulitzer Prize for reports that revealed the decades-old secret of how American soldiers early in the Korean War killed hundreds of civilians at the No Gun Ri bridge. Mendoza is the recipient of numerous state, regional, national and international journalism awards. She has reported for the AP since 1997, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, New York, the Silicon Valley and Mexico City. She was a 2001 Knight Fellow at Stanford University and a 2007 Ferris Professor of Humanities at Princeton University. In 2013 she was named a Champion of Freedom by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and is a graduate of University of California, Santa Cruz. She is currently based in Bangkok.

Since joining The Associated Press two years ago, Esther Htusan has relentlessly pursued stories about human rights abuses in Myanmar following a half-century of dictatorship. Her interest in covering Rohingya Muslims was almost unheard of in a country where much of the population—including local journalists—looked upon members of the long-persecuted minority with disdain. When Htusan joined the investigation into forced labor in Southeast Asia’s fishing industry, her compassion and resourcefulness in reporting led to some of the most powerful images the world has seen about modern day slavery: Men in a cage on a remote Indonesian island and interviews with men calling out over the side of their trawler. Some spoke of abuses at the hands of their captains and others begged The AP to tell families back home they were still alive.

“Seafood from Slaves: From Investigation to Pulitzer Prize” is a free, public event co-sponsored by the Reed College of Media, WVU’s Diversity Week and Festival of Ideas.

28 Sep

Wellness Workshop Series

September 28, 2016

With mid-terms fast approaching, it is normal for students to experience increased stress and anxiety. As part of the Wellness Workshop Series, The Carruth Center will be offering a free Workshop designed to help students manage these feelings in healthy, effective ways. The workshop will be on Tuesday, 10/4 from 6:30-7:30 in CPASS Room 101 and is open to all students. Students will learn about evidence-based strategies to help control worry, relieve tension, and reduce the overall impact of stress on their lives. For more information, please contact The Carruth Center at 304-293-4431. Additional seminars will be offered throughout the semester, so please visit the website for the full schedule!

See the attached flyer for more information.

21 Sep
4a0cc71b-9bd8-4f4b-a1ff-62f04e8a1426 When West Virginia University alumnus Frank Ahrens traded the newsroom for the boardroom, he was in for more than a career change. In 2010, Ahrens married a U.S. Diplomat and moved to Seoul, South Korea. While living there, he became a top executive at Hyundai Motor’s headquarters, a father and a reluctant internationalist.

Ahrens started at Hyundai as the company’s director of global communications and was later promoted to vice president of global corporate communications. Out of thousands of Korean employees at company headquarters, he was one of fewer than 10 non-Koreans and the only American.

In his book, “Seoul Man: A Memoir of Cars, Culture, Crisis, and Unintended Hilarity Inside a Corporate Titan,” Ahrens recounts the three years he spent at Hyundai — traveling to auto shows and press conferences around the world, and pitching his company to former colleagues while trying to navigate cultural differences at home and at work.

On Tuesday, October 4, at 6 p.m. in the Mountainlair Ballrooms, Ahrens will give a public lecture on his book and his experiences as the highest-ranking non-Korean executive at Hyundai and working abroad in an international corporation.

The event is co-sponsored by the WVU College of Business and Economics Distinguished Speaker Series and the WVU Reed College of Media Gruine Robinson Lectureship in Journalism Series. The B&E Distinguished Speaker Series is presented in part by Wells Fargo. The event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a book signing.

College of Media Dean Maryanne Reed is a long-time friend of Ahrens,’ and says his exceptional gift for storytelling will keep the audience entertained.

“Journalists are great storytellers, and Frank is no exception. His unique fish-out-of-water tale is guaranteed to make people laugh and perhaps, shed a tear or two,” said Reed. “Our students will learn from his story how to adapt to new situations and challenges.”

Ahrens is currently a vice president at BGR Public Relations in Washington, D.C., and a member of the WVU Reed College of Media’s Visiting Committee.

At Hyundai, Ahrens promoted the brand to media members around the world, traveling to every continent except Africa and Antarctica. His travels took him to Sao Paulo, Paris, Frankfurt, Muscat, Singapore, Beijing, Monaco, Dubai, and Delhi. At Hyundai HQ, he created the company’s first English-language corporate media site, hired the company’s first English editor, helped establish the company’s first PR operation in the Middle East in Dubai, and won numerous positive newspaper front-page and magazine-cover articles.

“We are delighted to welcome a pioneering businessman like Frank Ahrens to speak to the students at WVU,” said Javier Reyes, Milan Puskar Dean at the College of Business and Economics. “His background in journalism coupled with outstanding accomplishments in the business world will empower our students to set goals and inspire them to reach new heights.”

Ahrens previously worked for 18 years as an editor and reporter at The Washington Post. He covered the global financial crisis of 2008-2010 as well as the media and entertainment industries, interviewing heads of television networks and movie studios, and even William Shatner (twice). Ahrens appeared frequently as a media industry expert on CNBC, MSNBC, PBS and other networks.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from West Virginia University in 1987 and was editor of The Daily Athenaeum.

Read more about Frank Ahrens lecture online.

20 Sep

Barbara Fleischauer, the long-time House of Delegates representative from Monongalia County, is speaking to students about the 2016 election in West Virginia as well as how journalists should cover elections and state politics on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 11:30 am in Martin Hall 201. This event is free and open to WVU students. For more information contact Assistant Professor Alison Bass.

20 Sep

Are you a graduate student interested in entrepreneurship?
Have you ever wanted to learn more about technology transfer at universities?
Do you want to establish connections with industry partners?

If so, then please join us for lunch on October 6th from 12-1 in Room 201 Erma Byrd, Health Sciences, for the inaugural meeting of the “the WVU TEC” (Technology and Entrepreneurship Club).

The WVU TEC is a group dedicated to helping graduate students learn about entrepreneurship, technology transfer in an academic setting, and alternative approaches to traditional academic funding. Along with monthly discussion and informational meetings, the group intends to help initiate several programs including industry externship experiences, assistance programs for developing entrepreneurs, and collaborative work groups for research and business development. We are looking for graduate students who are interested in technology transfer, entrepreneurship, and working with others to improve business and research collaborations.

During the inaugural meeting we will discuss
– How West Virginia University can help graduate students pursue opportunities in entrepreneurship and industry collaborations
– Monthly meeting content
– Guest speakers
– Externships and other experiences that would be applicable to the goals of this group

Please RSVP if you are planning to attend and help launch this group! Questions contact Debra Beery.

16 Sep

Dr. S. Shyam Sundar, Distinguished Professor of Communications at Pennsylvania State University, will present “Media Effects In the Age Of Interactivity: Affordances that shape the way we think and act” on Friday, September 30 at 11:00 a.m. at the Media Innovation Center (Evansdale Crossing, 4th Floor).

Dr. Sundar is founder of the Media Effects Research Lab at Penn State and a world-renowned researcher in social and psychological effects of online communication technology and human-computer interaction (HCI). His research is supported by the National Science Foundation, Korea Science and EngineeringFoundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Services, among others. In recognition of his latest research, Dr. Sundar will outline his groundbreaking Theory of Interactive Media Effects (TIME) and interact with the audience.

A brief reception will follow. RSVP strongly encouraged (seats may be limited).

This lecture is hosted by Public Interest Communications Lab, WVU Reed College of Media and WVU Media Innovation Center.

Download the flyer for more information.

8 Sep

WV Flood Relief Food Drive

September 8, 2016

On June 23, a devastating flood hit West Virginia. Richwood High School was one of the schools destroyed, and students will be mobile for the next three to four years while the school is rebuilt.

Requested supplies: canned goods, microwavable mac and cheese, ramen noodles, crackers, baby food, other non-perishable food items, and gift cards to Wal-mart and Lowe’s.

Deliver supplies to Whitney Godwin in Martin Hall room 104, or Brianna Robinson at the Media Innovation Center.

The collection deadline is Thursday, September 15.

Interested in donating other items? You can contact Whitney.

For a complete list of supplies and information click here for a downloadable flyer .

7 Sep

The Fall 2016 WVU News anchors have been announced!
The main “WVU News” anchors for fall 2016 are (from front to back) Taylor Deer of Charleston, West Virginia, Kristen Tuell of Weirton, West Virginia, and Hannah Goetz of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The social square anchors are
Aaliyah Brown of Odenton, Maryland and
Morgan Mularski of Irwin, Pennsylvania.

The ESPNU sports reporters (from left to right) Reghan Bailey of Fairmont, West Virginia, Nikki Kaye of Brick, New
Jersey, Jonah Marcum of Weston, West Virginia, and Ashley Rogers of Baltimore, Maryland.

View a full list of anchors, reporters and producers here .

“WVU News” won a platinum and gold award from the 2016 AVA Digital Awards. The “WVU News’” Go Green episode won a platinum award, and “The Many Dimensions of Diversity” episode won a gold award. In spring 2015, “WVU News” won a first place national Emmy Award for “Best College Newscast” in the Country. Also, “WVU News,” was recognized in 2011 by the Broadcast Education Association as the “Best Student-Produced Newscast” in the country.

The television newscasts are produced by journalism students at the WVU Reed College of Media. “WVU News” reporters cover events on the University campus, and in the Morgantown community. Students report, write, shoot and edit television news stories for the program. They also serve as on-air anchors, producers, directors and technical crew during newscast tapings at WVU’s professional television studio.

The award-winning program provides students with hands-on experience and access to professional, state-of-the-art digital equipment. Students who enroll in the “WVU News” course are well prepared for careers in television journalism after they graduate.

“WVU News” airs statewide on West Virginia PBS as part of “Campus Connection” and on Time Warner Cable in North Central West Virginia. The production is available on YouTube. You can also follow “WVU News” on Twitter or visit the team’s website.

7 Sep
steele When photojournalist Alysia Burton Steele moved to Mississippi, she saw images that reminded her of childhood visits with her grandmother in South Carolina. She longed for a connection with her late grandmother and set out to meet and record the oral histories of her contemporaries — the Mississippi Delta’s beloved “church mothers.”

Steele spent nine months and logged 6,000 miles along the back roads and highways of Mississippi. The labor of love resulted in her book, “Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom.”

“Delta Jewels” is a collection of formal portraits and oral histories including civil rights activist Mrs. Myrlie Evers — widow of NAACP leader Medgar Evers. The women featured in “Delta Jewels” share poignant highlights about life during the Jim Crow era in Mississippi, including stories about the Civil Rights Movement, voting, fighting to receive an education and working on plantations.

On Thursday, September 22, at 7:30 p.m., Steele will give a presentation of her work at the West Virginia University Reed College of Media Innovation Center. “Delta Jewels: Black Women, Wit and Wisdom from the Mississippi Delta” will include excerpts from Steele’s book and a discussion about her photography.

Steele says she is eager to share her stories about the “church mothers” with residents of the Mountain State.

“I have never been to West Virginia University, so I’m very excited to see the campus and meet students, members of the community and faculty,” said Steele. “There are important oral histories to collect in every community, and to be able to share the Mississippi Delta’s with West Virginia University is an honor.”

delta-jewels_cover “Delta Jewels” has been featured in various national publications including: The New York Times, National Public Radio, Southern Living,, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Garden & Gun, and the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.In addition, “Delta Jewels” has been accepted into the Library of Congress.

Steele spent more than 12 years as a photojournalist at The Columbus Dispatch and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution where she worked as a picture editor and deputy director of photo. In 2006, she served as one of the picture editors on The Dallas Morning Star team that won the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News for their Hurricane Katrina coverage.

Currently, Steele is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media in Oxford, Mississippi.

“Delta Jewels: Black Women, Wit and Wisdom from the Mississippi Delta” is co-sponsored by the WVU Reed College of Media, the WVU English Department, and the WVU History Department. The event is free and open to the public. The Media Innovation Center is located on the fourth floor of the Evansdale Crossing building.

1 Sep

Welcome to the 11th annual West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition , hosted by BrickStreet Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University. The competition affords college students around the state the unique opportunity to make a business idea come to life with the support of state institutions of higher education and seasoned business professionals from around the country.

Goal: To provide students with the education, skills, contacts, and motivation necessary to create a viable, start-up company in West Virginia. Three grand prize packages consisting of $10,000 cash prize, accounting, legal, and virtual or physical incubator space are awarded to the top team in each category:

Lifestyle and Innovation – These can be products or services that are part of daily life or new innovations. They can be the introduction of new products or services, or new methods or techniques on existing products or services.

Hospitality and Tourism – Products or services with relevance to hospitality, restaurants, hotels, tourism or related fields.

STEM – Products or services with an emphasis in engineering, technology, energy, and healthcare

Eligibility: Any full-time college student attending a four-year, degree-granting West Virginia institution OR a full-time community college student at a West Virginia degree granting institution. Open to all majors! Full time status will be verified. Students participating in university-approved co-op programs are considered to be full-time students for the purpose of this competition. Students that graduate in December 2016 are eligible to compete, but MUST attend all mandatory functions related to the competition during the spring of 2017.

The deadline to enter is October 14, 2016 at noon ET.

31 Aug

Your digital footprint follows you everywhere — from online, to the grocery store, even to the gym. Companies are constantly collecting valuable data about our spending and lifestyle choices, and they’re using that data to customize and target their marketing messages to consumers.

In response to the critical industry need for data-savvy communicators, the West Virginia University Reed College of Media is now offering the nation’s first online master’s degree in Data Marketing Communications (DMC).

This fall semester, the program enrolled its first cohort of students. Among them is alumnus Alex McPherson, director of analytics and insights at FleishmanHillard, a global communications firm located in Dallas, Texas. McPherson, a 2011 public relations graduate, says the new DMC program will greatly expand his skillset.

“In looking for a graduate program, I wanted something grounded in the convergence of data analysis and the marketing/journalism industry, but I needed the flexibility of an online program,” McPherson said. “I never thought I’d be going back to WVU so it’s a thrill to once again be a student Mountaineer.”

Students in the DMC program will learn how to “read” and use audience data to drive marketing communications messaging and campaigns for clients in the public and private sectors. DMC Instructor Cyndi Greenglass, founding partner of Diamond Marketing Solutions, says graduates of the program will be in high demand”

“Graduates of this degree will stand out in the marketing field not only being able to understand the data and what it means, but they will also know how to use it effectively for better decision-making,” said Greenglass.

The 33-credit hour DMC program is designed to be completed in 16 months. Enrollment for the next cohort begins in fall 2017 and will continue on a rolling basis. For more information about DMC, visit

30 Aug

On June 23, a devastating flood hit West Virginia. Richwood High School was one of the schools destroyed, and students will be mobile for the next three to four years while the school is rebuilt.

Requested supplies: Files, rolling files & totes, collapsible carts, plastic storage totes, SD cards, gift cards to Walmart, Target and Office Depot, Staples.

Deliver supplies to Whitney Godwin in Martin Hall room 104, or Brianna Robinson at the Media Innovation Center.

The Student Ambassadors team will deliver the supplies to Richwood High School on Friday, September 2.

Interested in donating other items? You can contact Whitney.

For a complete list of supplies and information click here for a downloadable flyer.

26 Aug

All WVU students are invited to attend the fourth annual Career Kick-Off Tailgate Party Friday September 2 from noon tp 3 p.m. in the Mountainlair Plaza. Enjoy a free t-shirt, food, games, and prizes while you network with corporate recruiters. Four lucky students will win a flat-screen TV! Registration is not required.

19 Aug

In the Air Panel August 30

August 19, 2016

A distinguished panel of photographers will discuss their work in the first exhibit displayed at the Reed College of Media Innovation Center.

“In the Air: Visualizing What We Breathe,” is a photo essay by photographers Brian Cohen, Scott Goldsmith, Lynn Johnson and Annie O’Neil that illustrates the environmental, social and economic effects of air quality in Western Pennsylvania.

Funded by the Heinz Endowment, the exhibit is one of the first projects of The Documentary Works, a group of photographers focusing on social and environmental justice. Photos include images of survivors from one of the worst air pollution disasters in the nation’s history—the Donora inversion of 1948 in which 20 people died and more than 7,000 were sickened, the impact of coal-fired power plants on air quality in the communities of Cheswick and Springdale, and photos of concerned residents and their reactions to pollution. Excerpts from essays by Reid Frazier accompany the images to expand on the social, environmental and economic context seen in the visual work.

Moderator lois
Lois Raimondo, Assistant Professor, Shott Chair of Journalism

Raimondo is an international award-winning journalist and former staff photographer at The Washington Post. Prior to her 10 years at The Post, she worked as a freelance photographer and writer and spent four years as chief photographer for The Associated Press bureau in Hanoi, Vietnam. Raimondo’s work has appeared in National Geographic, The New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, Newsweek and Time. Currently, her photo exhibit, “fractured spaces: stories of resistance and resilience,” is touring the country. The exhibit gives viewers a look at communities disrupted and dislocated by political and cultural conflict.


Brian Cohen, co-curator and photographer
Cohen lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he works as a freelance photographer for a variety of clients including the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the Grable foundation, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Next Pittsburgh. As founder and director of the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project, Cohen is working with other photographers to document the social and environmental effects of drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania. Most recently, he founded The Documentary Works, a resource for documentary photography and photographers in Western Pennsylvania.

Lynn Johnson, photographer
As a freelance photographer, Johnson is a regular contributor to publications such as National Geographic and Sports Illustrated. She has documented celebrities and tragedies alike, bringing a subtle perspective to tough issues. She is a frequent educator at National Geographic’s Photo Camp, training the next generation of photojournalists in developing countries. In addition, she was recently awarded the National Geographic fellowship. Before becoming a freelance journalist, Johnson worked as a staff photographer at the Pittsburgh Press for seven years.

Scott Goldsmith, photographer
Goldsmith started his career at Indiana University where he won the Hearst College Photographer of the year Competition and the Indiana Photographer of the Year award. He has photographed feature stories for a wide variety of magazines including National Geographic, LIFE, TIME, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and People. His work has taken him to the jungles of Costa Rica, the swamps of Jamaica, the slums of Haiti, caves, deserts, and several rides on Air Force One.
Scott has worked in 49 of the 50 US states, 10 foreign countries and won over 100 awards for his work including Communication Arts and the 2011 Black & White International Spider Awards. In October of 2011, he was honored by the National Academy of Science for work published by National Geographic.

Annie O’Neill, photographer
After graduating from the University of Missouri, O’Neill spent two years at The Detroit News before moving to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for 13 years. In 2004, she was a Knight Fellow at the University of Ohio. Her work has been recognized by Pictures of the Year International, Society of News Design and the Golden Quill. O’Neill has been named photographer of the year for Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania multiple times. Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Space Gallery and Silver Eye Gallery have all displayed her photographs. O’Neill is currently an independent photographer based in Pittsburgh. She believes every photographer should have a long-term project. O’Neill’s has been working on “The Gift of Work” since 1995 where she photographs and interviews people who have had the same job for 50 years or more.

15 Aug

On Monday, August 15, the WVU Reed College of Media held its annual First-Year Academy (FYA) – the official academic kick-off to the fall semester. Courtney3

Dean Maryanne Reed welcomed to campus more than 130 students from 17 states. As part of FYA, students participated in a downtown campus scavenger hunt, learned about the various majors and had the opportunity to meet and network with their professors and classmates.

“It’s been such a great experience meeting all of these new people and learning my way around campus,” said freshman Jensen Mills. “Everyone is so friendly and is working to put their best foot forward to provide us the best education.”

FYA is held prior to the start of classes and complements the New Student Orientation experience most students participated in during the summer. Freshmen learn about the culture and values of WVU and gain onsite knowledge of the campus and its resources.

“We want our freshmen to make a connection to the College, each other and upperclassmen,” said Tricia Petty, assistant dean for student and enrollment services. “When students feel like they belong it helps them make a more successful transition into college.”

In addition to creating a sense of community, FYA aims to ease the transition between high school and college, connect students to student services staff and student ambassadors as well as educate them on the history of the College and offer insights into opportunities in the media and journalism fields.

Freshman Ireland Butler says she’s already feeling positive about her future.

“I’m excited to see how attending the College of Media will impact the way I utilize my journalistic skills now and how my education will change my future.”

You can learn more about FYA online.

8 Aug
All internships come with their own set of challenges, experiences and rewards; they teach us lessons and give us knowledge about our field of study. I try to do as many internships as possible to get a glimpse of what might lie ahead in my professional future. This summer, I was lucky enough to secure an amazing internship during the month of July. I figured this internship might be similar to work I have done, but there was one major difference- it was almost 10,000 miles away from home.

From July 1-23, I was a strategic communications intern at the Schizophrenia Fellowship of New South Wales (SFNSW) in Sydney, Australia. From day one, I was faced with countless hurdles. From applying for a working visa, to navigating the airports, to understanding the Australian lingo- it was all a learning experience.

When I first arrived, everything seemed backwards. The cars were driving in the left lane, the steering wheels were on the right side of the car and the water flowed counter-clockwise down the drain. For a brief second, as I was standing outside the baggage claim, I thought I was insane for traveling around the world alone. Thankfully, I never turned back (partially because airline tickets were so expensive). Traveling and interning in Australia not only gave me valuable work experience, it taught me more about myself than I could have ever imagined.

On my first day of work, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I had never done health-related communications work, but on that day, I had to be ready to jump right in.

The Schizophrenia Fellowship, located at the Old Gladesville Hospital, is a not for profit organization that works to improve the lives of people living with mental illness and their caregivers.SFNSW has several services for people in the community and often runs campaigns to help change the perceptions held by the public.

I walked through the doors of the fellowship at a particularly exciting time. SFNSW was preparing to create and launch a two-year national campaign called Do What You Can Do. In addition, they are also planning an annual event, called the Wellness Walk. I worked closely with the Communications Director and the Marketing/Event Planning Director to help generate ideas and work on these two projects.

During the three weeks that I was an intern, I was able to sit in on campaign meetings, drafted stories for the company website and planned 4 months’ worth of social media posts. It was amazing to utilize my current strategic communications knowledge, while also learning new techniques along the way.

However, my trip to Australia wasn’t all work, there was also a lot of time for play. I loved exploring Sydney. I spent time at the Opera House, I set foot on some breath-taking beaches and I was even able to fulfill my lifelong dream of cuddling a koala.


In the end, this entire experience was a dream and I wouldn’t change a thing. Traveling alone to an entirely different place can be scary, but every step of my journey was a learning experience and is now a cherished memory. I discovered that I am able to thrive and make it by myself, I feel prepared for my career and the secret to faking a good Australian accent, is to just say: “There’s a Shahk in the Wortah.”

15 Jul

On June 23, a devastating flood hit West Virginia. The powerful storms caused 23 deaths and left 44 counties in a state of emergency. Journalism senior Jennifer Gardner, a native of Parkersburg, West Virginia, is a reporting intern at the Charleston Gazette-Mail this summer.
Gardner has spent the past few weeks covering the tragedy. Although the stories have been emotionally challenging for her, the experience has given Gardner an opportunity to practice her craft through traditional news reporting and new forms of storytelling.
She spoke with communications assistant Kayla Kuntz about her work.

Kayla Kuntz: How did you get involved with the flood coverage?
Jennifer Gardner: Lecturer David Smith messaged me and suggested that we do a 360 video of the flood and pitch it to the Charleston Gazette-Mail. The Gazette-Mail had never done 360 video, and I was nervous about suggesting the idea, but Co-Editor-in-Chief Rob Byers approved it. He thought it was a cool concept.

KK: What was it like going into the flood-ravaged areas?
JG: The flood damage was massive — unlike anything I had ever seen before. I was intrigued by everything that was happening around me and the stories that people were telling me.
In that moment, I felt like I couldn’t do anything to help them [the flood victims] because there was so much damage. Those people have lost everything — their homes, their family members, their friends. It was an eerie feeling.

KK: What was the most impactful story that you heard from a flood victim?
JG: We interviewed a woman who had been stuck on her roof during the flood for three to four hours. She said the water rose from her ankles to her thighs within a matter of minutes. It was difficult to hold back my emotions, and as a reporter, I didn’t want to react at that moment. After we stopped filming, I let go and cried with her. At the end of the day, it is very hard to see the devastation right in front of you.

KK: What other stories have you done about the flood?
JG: Recently, I worked on a story about the YMCA providing free day camp to flood victims. The story that I did ended up being the cover story. I have been making the front page a lot lately. It keeps happening when I don’t expect it. This week three or four times my mom has called to tell me that I made the front page. I’m sometimes shocked because I don’t know which submission made the front page.

KK: How did your journalism classes prepare you to cover this story?
JG: My classes at the College of Media have taught me that it’s okay to take chances. When I started the experimental journalism class last semester, I had no idea what a 360 video was—I kind of fell in love with it. My basic reporting classes have also been extremely helpful. I learned that I had to get out of my comfort zone, go up to people, and ask questions. The skill of asking questions to get vital information and paying attention to detail is essential to effective storytelling.

KK: What was the response to your 360 video coverage of the flood?
JG: I have had a lot of people tell me that this was the first time they have seen a 360 video. People who haven’t seen it before don’t quite know how to use it. So if they try to view it on their phone, they don’t know to look behind them, turn their phone or move the screen with their finger. Once you show them, they understand how cool this new video technology is. The 360 video of the flood was powerful because people could understand the damage from a different perspective. Viewers can interact with the scenery because they are immersed within it and can explore the flood zones for themselves through their mobile devices.

You can view the video at It is best viewed on a mobile device.

13 Jul
1389390919 Some of the most influential voices in Hollywood, documentary filmmaking and the news industry are among the CINE Award’s distinguished alumni. This month, Associate Professor Joel Beeson received confirmation that he is a finalist for the prestigious award.

Beeson’s work, Fractured Tour: An Immersive Tour of Selma’s Divides, is a finalist for the CINE Golden Eagle Award the Virtual Reality/Documentary Short category.

CINE, which stands for Council on International Non-Theatrical Events, is a non-profit organization that honors and champions the creators of exceptional media content. Former winners include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Burnett, Anderson Cooper, Fred Rogers, Diane Sawyer, Kevin Costner, Barbra Streisand and William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.

“Fractured Tour” is a self-guided, immersive “tour” of the economic, racial and ideological divides in Selma, Alabama.

The immersive virtual reality project is a collaboration between Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication and the WVU Reed College of Media. Morgan State student Emily Pelland was the assistant producer for the piece.

“I’m so pleased that our work in new technology is being recognized — not only by the academy — but among top filmmakers and practitioners in the industry.” said Beeson.

In addition to being a finalist for the CINE award, “Fractured Tour” won the Broadcast Education Association’s (BEA) Festival of Media Arts’ 2016 Chairman’s Award, which is decided by the former chairs of the Festival and is awarded annually to the best overall student and faculty entry. “Fractured Tour” was singled out of more than 1,500 submissions to win the award, which competed in the Faculty Interactive Multimedia category. In addition to the Chairman’s Award, “Fractured Tour” won the BEA Best of Festival King Foundation Award—only 18 winners received this prestigious honor.

12 Jul

On July 11, 2016, West Virginia lost a legend — sportswriter Mickey Furfari. Known as the “dean” of West Virginia sportswriters, Furfari died at the age of 92 after covering his alma mater, West Virginia University, for 70 seasons.

Furfari graduated from the School of Journalism in 1948. Dean Emeritus Guy Stewart and Furfari were classmates. Stewart says Furfari was a great friend of the School and will be missed.

“When I was dean, Mickey taught a course or two at the School. I put him in as a pinch hitter because he was a good one,” said Stewart. “His influence on the young people he taught was important. I’m sure they learned a lot just from hearing his stories.”

Furfari was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 2006. He was the co-sports editor of The Daily Athenaeum, WVU’s student newspaper, along with the late Jack Fleming, who was known as the “Voice of the Mountaineers.”

Alumnus Hoppy Kercheval (BSJ, 1976) is vice president of operations for West Virginia Radio Corporation and host of Metronews Talkline. He says Furfari’s work ethic and willingness to ask tough questions inspired him as a journalist. Kercheval wrote about Furfari in his daily commentary on July 12.

“He was a throwback in this now rapidly-evolving business of reporting. His journalism was one of fundamentals– shoe leather, on-the-record sources, scribbling in a notebook and accurate quotes,” said Kercheval. “Rumors of Furfari’s death spread quickly on Twitter Monday, but Mickey would have wanted confirmation first.”

Furfari had been writing stories for the Times West Virginian since 1989 and continued to so for as long as he could. Even after he became legally blind, Furfari would call in his stories to a reporter at the Times West Virginian who would transcribe them.

Furfari has claimed a variety of honors, including: Young Man of the Year from the Morgantown Jaycees (1958), Gene Morehouse Memorial Award from West Virginia Sports Writers Association (1974), Proficiency Award from the Morgantown Touchdown Club (1976) and the Perley Isaac Reed Award from the WVU School of Journalism. The West Virginia Sports Writers Association’s college coach of the year award is named for him, and a Legends of West Virginia University basketball scholarship fund was created in his name.

A five-time West Virginia Sports Writer of the Year, Furfari is a lifetime member of the WVU Alumni Association, West Virginia Sports Writers Association and Baseball Writers Association of America. He served as a member of the WVU all-time sports and WVU Sports Hall of Fame selection committees.

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