Each month, the Newseum in Washington, D.C., features the best in virtual reality. This month, the WVU Reed College of Media and the Charleston Gazette-Mail made the top 10.
The 360░ video, “West Virginia Flood Recovery,” is featured on Newseum’s Top 10 VR Videos of the Month for November. College of Media Senior Lecturer David Smith and journalism senior Jennifer Gardner of Charleston, West Virginia, shot and produced the video, which was highlighted on wvgazettemail.com.
The video gives viewers an immersive look at cleanup efforts following the June 23 floods that devastated parts of southern West Virginia.
Gardner, a former student of Smith’s, was working for the Gazette-Mail as a summer intern when he came to her with the idea of covering the floods using 360░ video cameras.
“The 360░ video of the flood is powerful because people can understand the damage from a unique perspective,” said Gardner “Viewers can interact with the scenery because they are immersed within it and can explore the flood zones for themselves through their mobile devices.”
The video can be viewed with a phone or computer on Facebook and Youtube, or viewed in a VR headset such as a Google Cardboard or Oculus Rift.
The College of Media has been an early adopter of immersive media technology, incorporating experimental techniques into the curriculum since 2013.
Smith, who has taught two experimental journalism classes at WVU, says being featured in the Newseum shows the College is moving in the right direction when it comes to media and innovation.
“Google, GoPro, Huffington Post, NY Times and National Geographic are all showcased within the Newseum,” said Smith, “Our College and the Charleston Gazette-Mail being featured alongside these names validates our emphasis on new ways of storytelling. Right now viewers see 360░ video as a novelty but soon it will be mainstream.”
“West Virginia Flood Recovery” was selected based on a submission process and will be featured in the Newseums’ Top 10 VR Videos through the first part of December.
The Newseum, headquartered in Washington, D.C., promotes, explains and defends free expression and the five freedoms of the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. The Newseum offers seven levels of interactive exhibits include 15 galleries and 15 theaters. View their video online.
Numbers can tell a story, but they can also be misleading. And as we now know, pre-election polls in the 2016 Presidential Election predicted the wrong outcome with Donald Trump beating Hillary Clinton in the Electoral vote.
Wall Street Journal Data Reporter Paul Overberg shared his insights about the role data played in the historic election in his presentation, “By the Numbers: Data, Journalism and the 2016 Election,” at the College’s Media Innovation Center on November 28.
Overberg addressed problems in polling, such as outdated data-gathering methods and the “shy voter” phenomenon, in which voters aren’t always truthful about their choices. He also discussed the possible impact of both candidates’ historically high unfavorability ratings leading up to the election.
“There was a lot of trying to figure out this year who was going to show up to voteno one really knew,” said Overberg. “There has never been an election where both candidates were so underwater in terms of favorability.”
Overberg suggested that the large amount of money spent on polling could be better spent on funding data reporting before and after elections. And he demonstrated how demographic and economic data can be used to better explain what happens in elections and why. For example, through data analysis, he was able to show the connection between immigration patterns and voting in specific regions of the country.
Overberg said data journalism is only going to grow in importance over time, and he encouraged students to take more math classes, learn coding skills and use easy tools that enable journalists to analyze and “interrogate” data, such as Structure Query Language.
“All journalists will have to know how to use data,” he said “If you learn a little bit of data while you’re in school, you’ll be ahead of many professional journalists.
This professional opportunity, sponsored by the College’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter, allowed 14 strategic communications juniors and seniors to tour agency facilities, speak with upper-level management, engage in professional development and discuss entry-level positions.
At BrunnerWorks, students enjoyed a facilities tour, meeting multiple partners and employees. The group had the opportunity to ask questions and learn about the day-to-day functions of each agency department.
BrunnerWorks Vice President and Director of Public Relations Steve Radick says that the agency tours are mutually beneficial and provide a renewed sense of energy at the agency.
“You can always tell when there’s a group of students at the agency that day. There’s more energy, more laughter, more excitement,” said Radick of the WVU tour. “By hosting students, we do more than deepen our recruiting pipeline; we draft off their energy and personalities and learn about ourselves and our jobs. I think we benefit from their presence just as much as they do. I’m looking forward to working with them all in the near future.”
Gatesman+Dave provided the group with an hour-and-a-half conversation with seven different employees, ranging from new hires to senior account managers, to ask questions and learn about the agency experience. Employees were brought in one or two at a time, based on their experience, and had a candid discussion with the group about the ins and outs of agency life.
WVU’s chapter of PRSSA organizes and attends agency visits every semester, along with a variety of other professional development opportunities such as national & regional conferences, peer mentorship programs, community service ventures and published writing opportunities.
To learn more about WVU’s PRSSA chapter, visit http://prssa.orgs.wvu.edu/, or attend one of the bi-weekly Monday meetings at 5 p.m. in Martin Hall 205.
The “Law School Information Session” will be held on Tuesday November 29 at 3:30 p.m. in Martin Hall Room 201. We will be hosting Elissa Momen, Assistant Director of Admissions at WVU College of Law, for an information session on applying to law school, career opportunities, and answering questions you may have about the process.
View the attached flyer for additional information.
Starting this month, K-12 students won’t be the only ones receiving a report card. Public schools will be expected to demonstrate progress, according to a new school accountability system launched by the state with the help of students at West Virginia University Reed College of Media.
The College partnered with the West Virginia Department of Education to develop and implement a public awareness campaign for the new grading structure. The A-F School Accountability System measures how well students are learning, growing and achieving in key areas. Based on school rankings, the system will provide resources and support to schools, parents and teachers to increase student performance.
Dr. Geah Pressgrove is leading the capstone course this semester and has previously partnered with the WVDE.
“Our students act as an extension of the WVDE staff providing communication expertise as a trusted partner,”Pressgrove said. “The goal of the A-F school accountability communications campaign is to start a dialogue with parents and community members about supporting their local schools.”
Strategic communications students created the campaign as part of their capstone class. They created a full-scale, integrated marketing communications agency with real positions such as account managers, research directors and media relations strategists.
Senior Kimberly Dutcher of Milroy, Pennsylvania, was the agency’s account executive. She says the hands-on experience has prepared her to join the workforce.
“For many students, this is their first time negotiating media buys, writing communication copy and working off of a real budget,” Dutcher said.”I have prior experience in the communication field. However, after leading a team of nine peers I have more confidence entering the field once I graduate in December.”
Capstone students presented their final campaign to the West Virginia Board of Education in Charleston November 9. The campaign consists of traditional media, public relations and digital media tactics to promote awareness of the new A-F school accountability system.
West Virginia Department of Education Director of Communications Kristin Anderson has worked alongside the strategic communications students this semester and will carry on the campaign through next year.
“The West Virginia Department of Education has been extremely fortunate to partner with the College of Media and work with senior-level students as part of their capstone course,” Anderson said. “The students have become an extension of our communications team and provided strategic ideas that we will continue to implement after the completion of their capstone course.”
Check your school’s grade or learn more about the A-F School Accountability System by visiting http://wvde.state.wv.us/.
On Friday, December 16, graduates from the WVU Reed College of Media will celebrate the culmination of their college careers. The University will hold its December Commencement Ceremony at 1:30 p.m. in the WVU Coliseum.
The College of Media will hold an Open House at the Media Innovation Center from 10-11:30 a.m. The event is an opportunity for students to show their family and friends around the Media Innovation Center and mingle with faculty, staff and mentors.
Join Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) at WVU for a special viewing of the movie Spotlight on Thursday November 10 at 6 pm in Martin Hall Room 205. Anyone interested in joining SPJ is encouraged to attend. Snacks will be provided.
Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and the WVU Reed College of Media are collecting monetary donations and materials to make blankets for West Virginia flood victims and WVU Medicine Children.
-Fleece, two or two-and-a-half yards
-Lightly used blankets
-Gift cards to Wal-Mart or craft stores
Donations will be accepted until Dec.1 and can be dropped off at Room 104, Martin Hall.
WVU students will host the second annual CreateAthon@WVU event on November 11 at 2 p.m. and end November 12 at 2 p.m. at Martin Hall.
CreateAthon@WVU is a 24-hour creative blitz coordinated by Reed College of Media students in partnership with United Way. The event provides students the opportunity to work with professional mentors and offer free creative services to select 501c(3) nonprofit organizations in Monongalia and Preston Counties. WVU is proud to be a CreateAthon partner and is looking forward to giving back to three nonprofit organizations, including: Preston County Workshop, The Shack Neighborhood House, and Scott’s Run Settlement House.
CreateAthon@WVU offers students the opportunity to develop creative talents and learn to collaborate as well as lead teams and projects, all while gaining experience with real clients. The work that is created by the students can then be used in personal portfolios. For additional information, to view materials created by WVU students at the past CreateAthon@WVU visit www.createathonwvu.org .
WVU News won two MarCom Awards for the Spring 2016 semester. The team won a News Program Gold Award for their Newscast “Substance Abuse: A West Virginia Epidemic” and the team received an honorable mention for the newscast “Evolution of Diversity in the Mountain State”.
MarCom Awards is a creative international competition for any individual or company involved in the concept, writing and design of print, visual, audio and web materials and programs. Entries come from corporate marketing and communication departments, advertising agencies, PR firms, design shops, production companies and freelancers. The MarCom competition has grown to perhaps the largest of its kind in the world with about 6,000 entries per year. A look at the winners shows a range in size from individuals to media conglomerates and Fortune 50 companies. The competition is so well thought of in the industry that national public relations organizations, local ad clubs, and local business communicator chapters are entrants.
The WVU Chapter of The Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM) presents Celina Pompeani host of PensTV on Thursday November 3 at 6 pm in the Media Innovation Center. Pompeani will discuss her work for the Pittsburgh Penguins and how she established herself in the sports industry.
See the attached flyer for additional information.
Though finding romantic connection is a big part of the college experience, forming and maintaining healthy relationships can often be hard work. Do you feel comfortable asking for what you need from your partner? How do you know if things are moving too fast? How do you move beyond “Netflix and Chill?” And sometimes when relationships end, we find ourselves overwhelmed with intense emotions and feeling unsure of how to move on. As part of the Wellness Workshop Series, The Carruth Center will be offering a free Workshop designed to help students learn to recognize and form healthy relationships, and cope with the hurt of breaking up. The workshop will be on Tuesday, 11/1 from 6:30-7:30 in CPASS Room 101 and is open to all students.
See the attached flyer for additional information.
The WVU Reed College of Media ’s online programs department will host a panel discussion regarding the College’s online minors and Multidisciplinary Studies (MDS) major on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 4:30pm, in the Media Innovation Center’s Forum. Students will learn more about the College of Media’s seven online minorsAdvertising, Entertainment Media, Event Planning, Health Promotion, Public Relations, Sport Communications and Strategic Social Media as well as its MDS program.
“This is a great opportunity for students who are interested in online minors to hear from other students about their experiences in these programs,” said Aaron Hawley, program developer for the Reed College of Media’s online programs.
The discussion will feature both student and administrative representatives from the College’s online minors and MDS degree program. During the event, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions of both their peers and the programs’ administrators.
MDS Program Coordinator Casey Liston stresses the importance of this event for those considering the MDS degree program.
“From this event, students will learn how the MDS program can help them customize their degree to best serve their specific interests and individual career goals.”
Author and photojournalist Alysia Burton Steele spent nine months and traveled 2000 miles to capture the stories in her latest book, “Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom.” In September, Steele shared those stories, a written collection of oral histories of the Mississippi Delta’s beloved “church mothers,” with a packed audience at the College’s Media Innovation Center.
Steele set out on her journey with a desire to feel more connected to her own grandmother by meeting some of her contemporaries, listening to them and sharing their stories.
Steele’s presentation was an incredible journey of civil rights, humor, love and loss, as told through the eyes of the women in her book.
“Their voices are much more powerful than mine,” said Steele of the women she interviewed. “That’s the power of audio. You can hear these women tell their stories. Their families can have a piece of them when they have gone. It’s a powerful tool and every single one of you should use it.”
Steele’s ability to connect with her subjects allowed her to not only share their stories, but also to connect with the people in the audience during her presentation. She encouraged attendees to listen to the stories of their elders. She said there are stories to be heard in every community, and she stressed the importance of respecting their wisdom and the lessons they have to offer.
“Journalists and photographers usually like to stay behind the camera; but to be able to share the Mississippi Delta’s oral histories with West Virginia University is an honor,” said Steele. “For the journalism students out there, I want to tell you the importance of following your gut and following your passion. You’ve got to like what you do. You spend so much time at work that it has to matter.”
Copies of “Delta Jewels” were available for purchase at the event, and Steele remained after her presentation to discuss her work and sign each copy of her book. Some of Steele’s photos form the book are also on display at the Center and will remain there through December.
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.
West Virginia University journalism students are playing their part in the state’s flood relief efforts by helping one community rebuild its high school journalism program.
This summer’s floods devastated Richwood High School in Nicholas County, and its award-winning journalism program is now struggling to get back on its feet.
Richwood is the only high school journalism program in the state to have a partnership with Public Broadcasting Service’s NewsHour. But all of their cameras, microphones and other video equipment were destroyed in the flood.
To help Richwood’s journalism students continue to tell stories and produce news packages, the WVU Reed College of Media donated used video cameras, and other needed items, such as memory cards, storage containers and office supplies collected by students and faculty.
Richwood senior Kendra Amick says WVU’s support gives her renewed hope for the future.
“It was humbling to see the new cameras and equipment fill the empty shelves,” Amick said. “We are passionate about the stories we tell and can’t explain how thankful we are to the students and faculty at the College of Media who are working so hard to help our program survive.”
The College of Media is also leading a series of training workshops to help Richwood students develop their skills in interviewing, writing, news judgment and photojournalism. The first workshop was held earlier this month, at the College’s Media Innovation Center.
WVU Journalism senior Kristen Tuell of Weirton provided students with training for the new cameras.
“For me, it was incredible to see how genuinely interested these kids were as I showed them how to work the new cameras,” said Tuell. “I wasn’t a high school student that long ago, and I know getting some students to pay attention or ask questions is nearly impossible, but that wasn’t the case with them. I think they appreciated our gifts just as much as we enjoyed giving them.”
College of Media Dean Maryanne Reed says the College has an obligation to do its part.
“The scope of this disaster is staggering, and many of these communities are still in survival mode,” Reed said. “But this is something tangible that our students and faculty can do to help one community and provide a positive experience for aspiring journalism students.
WVU faculty will travel to Richwood later this semester to help students capture and share their stories of recovery and resilience. Those stories and photos will be shared with the public at a later date.
WVU alumna Margie Mason (BSJ, 1997) was on a seven-hour flight from Jakarta to a small city called Tual near the eastern edge of the Indonesian islands. When she arrived, the Associated Press Asia regional writer would meet hundreds of men, mostly from Myanmar, also known as Burma, who were so driven to earn their livelihood that they followed recruiters who claimed to offer decent pay onto Thai boats where they were enslaved. She wanted to change that. So she and her team told their story and by now more than 2,000 fishermen have been freed. Read the incredible true story of investigative journalism that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize at WVU Magazine online.
Margie 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.
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 http://awsmonline.org/west-virginia-joins-15th-active-awsm-student-chapter/ .
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.
For a year-and-a-half, alumna Margie Mason (BSJ, 1997) and three of her Associated Press (AP) colleagues fearlessly documented the harsh treatment of enslaved fishermen working on a remote Indonesian island.
Together they uncovered the stories of more than a thousand men who were locked in cages and abused to supply seafood to supermarkets and restaurants in the U.S. and around the world.
In 2015, the AP released the findings in the series “Seafood from Slaves.” The feature led to the arrests of dozens of alleged perpetrators, new U.S. legislation barring imports of slave-produced goods and the release of more than 2000 slaves.
For their investigation, Mason and her colleagues were awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service, as well as more than 30 additional journalism awards, including the George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights International Journalism Award.
On Monday, October 10 at 7 p.m. in the Mountainlair Ballrooms, Mason will return to West Virginia University along with fellow reporters, Esther Htusan, Robin McDowell and Martha Mendoza to present, “Seafood from Slaves: From Investigation to Pulitzer Prize.” The panelists will give a first-hand account of how their investigation unfolded, discuss their reporting tactics and what’s next for the investigation.
About the Moderator
Emily Corio is a teaching assistant professor at the WVU Reed College of Media who teaches courses in video and multimedia reporting. Before joining the staff in August 2011, Corio spent a decade working in journalism. She was Assistant News Director for the statewide public television and radio network in West Virginia. There she reported and produced stories for radio, television and the web, including award-winning pieces on environmental issues and breaking news. She was awarded a Knight Center for Environmental Journalism Fellowship in 2008 and traveled to Alaska to study impacts of climate change. Her radio reporting and stories have aired onáNPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition,” WNYC’s andáPRI’s “The Takeaway,” and theáCBC. In 2014, Corio won a “Best of Festival” award from the Broadcast Education Association for a story she produced on the recovery of the Cheat River due to mining pollution.
About the Panelists
(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.
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 populationincluding local journalistslooked 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.
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.
This free, public event is co-sponsored by the WVU Reed College of Media, Ogden Newspapers Seminar Series, David C. Hardesty Jr. Festival of Ideas and WVU’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
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.
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.
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