Archive | Alumni

The News celebrates 90 years

Posted on 06 January 2018 by jmcjournal

Doc McGaughey, left, Ryan Brooks and Ann Landini share memories at The Murray State News reunion in October.

The first issue of The College News can be seen here.

John Mark Roberts, left, and David Ramey look through some of the old issues of The Murray State News they helped produce in the 1985-86 school year. The paper celebrated its 90th anniversary with a newsroom reunion prior to the Homecoming football game.

Issues of The News from August 2012 to present can be found online on the paper’s Issuu channel at this link.

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Watson receives alumni award

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

Amy Bryan Watson, award-winning broadcast anchor and journalist, was one of the 2017 recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Murray State presents the Distinguished Alumni Award annually to alumni who have made meaningful contributions to their profession on a local, state and national level. Established in 1962, the award is the highest honor granted by the Murray State University Alumni Association, and its recipients include Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, renowned authors, research scientists, physicians and educators.

Amy Watson received the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award from Murray State President Dr. Bob Davies.

Watson graduated in 1989 with a degree in journalism. During her undergraduate career, Watson was a part of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and was heavily involved with MSU TV-11 News as an anchor, reporter and producer. Ever since she was a young girl, Watson knew she wanted to become a broadcast journalist.

Her first few years after graduation consisted of working with different broadcast news stations across Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky.

In 1990, she joined KFVS, a CBS affiliate, as a general assignment reporter and fill-in anchor in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. A couple years later, Watson moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee and joined another CBS affiliate, WDEF, as a weekend anchor and general assignment and consumer reporter. In 1993, Watson returned back to Kentucky to continue her career, this time with the NBC affiliate, WPSD-TV in Paducah. For thirteen years, Watson was a part of the WPSD-TV team as the six and ten o’clock anchor, the five o’clock anchor and a special assignments reporter.

Watson’s time with WPSD-TV came to a close when she and her husband Derrick, a fellow Murray State alumnus, moved to Hopkinsville to be closer to his job in 2006.

However, her absence from broadcast news did not last long. Later that year, WTVF-TV, the CBS affiliate in Nashville, Tennessee hired Watson to be the co-anchor for the 4-8 a.m. morning news. She continues in this position to this day, earning multiple awards during her tenure.

Since Watson joined WTVF-TV, the 4-8 a.m. news has been ranked as the number one morning news in Nashville for the last ten years, as well as being ranked number one nationally in metered markets.

Her reporting and morning news show have earned twelve Emmy nominations over the years and won Emmy awards for best special event coverage, best morning broadcast and weather coverage.

Watson has even been honored by the Associated Press, earning awards for best reporter, best feature story, best news writing and best planned stories.

“I never knew that broadcast journalism could be so rewarding. I knew I would have to work hard, but I love what I do. Honestly, I couldn’t wait to get out of college so I could get to work,” said Watson. “This career has come with a lot of personal sacrifices over the years, but I really feel that it’s all been given back to me, and I’m just so truly grateful.”

Watson gave credit to a Murray State faculty member for helping her along the way.

“Ironically, and thankfully for me, one of my dad’s best friends is Dr. Robert McGaughey, former long-time chair of the Murray State journalism department. He, personally, helped me tremendously throughout my career, and I am forever grateful for all his support,” said Watson.

The alumna has also served as a mentor, allowing Murray State journalism students to shadow her at WTVF-TV and critiquing students’ resumes and audition tapes.

“When I was a student, Murray State’s own television studio in the journalism and mass communications department really gave me those real-world experiences that prepared me for my career. We did it all. Whether it was anchoring, reporting and editing, we were learning how broadcast journalism pieces together. I am so thankful for those experiences,” said Watson.

“I just want current students to realize that even if you end up in a smaller market when you’re first starting out in the real world after college, just keep working hard and continue learning. If you love something, always be willing to try new things in this field. Don’t walk away from opportunities just because it’s new or that it’s scary. It will all be worth it.”

Watson was honored at the Distinguished Alumni Award banquet April 21.

Four outstanding Murray State University alumni were selected as the 2017 recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award: W. Earl Brown, ’86, Dr. Jesse D. Jones, ’64, Dr. Vishwas Talwalkar, ’89 and Amy Bryan Watson, ’89. The recipients were honored at a banquet held in the Curris Center Murray Room on April 21.

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Wright elected interactive multimedia, emerging technologies vice chair

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

Leigh Wright, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications, was elected vice chairman of the Interactive Multimedia and Emerging Technologies division of the Broadcast Education Association recently.

Wright will serve two years as vice chair and then will move to the chairman’s slot for two more years. As vice chairman, Wright will manage the research paper competition for the division.

She previously served a two-year term as the webmaster in IMET.

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Shemberger selected for Academic Leadership Academy

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

Dr. Melony Shemberger, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications, has been selected as a fellow for the Scripps Howard Academic Leadership Academy, June 11-14, at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

The Manship School of Mass Communication at LSU partners with the Scripps Howard Foundation each year to host 12 to 15 participants in the academy. The program brings together professionals, scholars and administrators to help fellows learn about the challenges and rewards of leading an academic program.

To be considered for the academy, applicants submitted cover letters discussing their interests in academic administration, resumes and two letters of recommendation.

Shemberger is in her fourth year of full-time teaching at Murray State. In addition to her teaching duties, she serves as the department’s undergraduate assessment coordinator.

She has published peer-reviewed journal articles, media education book chapters, and several public relations guidebook articles.

She has presented at several academic and professional conferences. Her research interests include journalism history, sunshine laws, and pedagogy.

In 2014, Shemberger was named a Business Journalism Professors Seminar Fellow by the Reynolds Journalism Institute. One of 14 faculty members from across the nation, she completed her fellowship at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in Phoenix.

At Murray State, she is a Provost Faculty Teaching Fellow, presenting workshops and writing articles that focus on pedagogy and course redesign.
She served as interim director of the Faculty Development Center in 2016.

Prior to teaching in 2013 at Murray State, she served eight years as the assistant director of communication in the public relations and marketing office at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn. Her PR work was honored by two groups, the Tennessee College Public Relations Association and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

She was adjunct faculty in the APSU Department of Communication, APSU College of Business and the Murray State Department of Educational Studies, Leadership and Counseling.

Before entering academia, Shemberger had successful, award-winning reporting careers at newspapers and radio stations, specializing in the education and court beats. Today, she continues to cover the education beat.

Since 2000, she has received numerous reporting and page design awards from the Kentucky Press Association.

Shemberger is a lifetime member of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and serves on the national board of directors, leading as chair of the advisory council for the organization’s Forum magazine. She also is chapter vice president at Murray State.

She also holds memberships in the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society and several academic discipline-specific honor societies.

Shemberger has a bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University, with a double major in mass communication, and history and government; master’s in mass communications from Murray State; master’s in management from Austin Peay State University; and a Doctor of Education in administration and supervision from Tennessee State University.

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Anderson named adviser for The Murray State News

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

Stephanie Anderson defended her dissertation in June. Her committee included, from left, Melony Shemberger, Teresa Clark, Anderson, and Robert McGaughey. She completed her doctorate in August.

Dr. Stephanie Anderson has joined the JMC department as an assistant professor in the journalism sequence and advisor for The Murray State News.

Anderson received all three of her degrees from Murray State. She earned her bachelor’s in electronic journalism in 2004 and her master’s in mass communications in 2008. She recently completed her doctorate of education in August 2017.

Anderson at her hooding ceremony

Anderson was a member of the inaugural cohort of the College of Education and Services’ P20 and community leadership doctoral program. This is the second doctoral program offered at Murray State.

Anderson specializes in the area of trauma journalism. Her dissertation topic, How to educate collegiate journalists to cover and cope with traumatic events, has already been integrated into her JMC 398 Reporting for Broadcast and Online Media course. She will present her findings at the Kentucky Press Association conference as well as the Broadcast Education Association’s national conference in 2018.

After working in television news in Paducah and Albuquerque as a producer and assignment editor, she transitioned to public relations in the casino entertainment and non-profit industries. Before beginning her career in academia, she worked in advertising sales for newspapers and magazines in Illinois and Kentucky.

Anderson began teaching as an adjunct in the JMC department in 2010, teaching at the Paducah campus as well as the main campus.

She is a lifelong member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and currently serves as the communications advisor. She was the recipient of the L.J. Horton Journalism Scholarship, which is what originally brought her to Murray State in 2000. In 2015, she was awarded the Vincent T. Wasilewski Award from the Broadcast Education Association.

She is married to Robert Anderson and has two stepchildren.

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Wright presents at broadcast conference

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

Leigh Wright, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications, presented three sessions at the Broadcast Education Association conference in Las Vegas.

Wright received a BEA Ignite Scholar designation for her peer-reviewed presentation “Never Let Them See You Cry: Teaching Student Journalists How to be Human First.” The BEA Ignite program is a peer-reviewed competition where 10 presentations of the best teaching ideas are selected.

She participated in two panels. For the first one, she highlighted Murray State’s journalism capstone and joined Sandy Henry of Drake University and Cliff Brockman of Wartburg University to discuss the challenges and rewards of conducting multimedia capstone journalism classes.

For the second one, she joined Chandra Clark of Alabama and Gina Baleria of San Francisco State to discuss how to use live-streaming tools in classes and how news organizations use these social media live-streaming apps.

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NATPE fellowship aids course revamp effort

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

For all those people who think college journalism professors get to spend their summers relaxing by the pool, think again.

Leigh Landini Wright, assistant professor of journalism at Murray State, spent much of July as an “intern” for WTVF Newschannel 5 in Nashville, Tenn. Wright received a faculty development fellowship from the National Association of Television Production Executives Educational Foundation to spend three weeks in a television newsroom. 

During her summer immersion, Wright followed news crews and multimedia journalists in the field, studied social media trends with the web editors, shadowed web editors and shadowed producers. 

The immersion proved helpful for revamping course assignments in the multimedia writing class and the journalism capstone. As the academic year continues, Wright plans to add new assignments based on her observations of a top 25 market. 

The fellowship provides Wright with an opportunity to attend the NATPE conference in Miami in mid-January.

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Innovation grant funds oral history project

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

Dr. Melony Shemberger, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications, was one of two inaugural recipients of the Faculty Innovation Initiative Grant awarded in April from the Giving Back Endowment at Murray State University. 

Dr. Melony Shemberger, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications, was selected in April 2017 as an inaugural recipient of the Faculty Innovation Initiative grant, which provides initial project support to faculty across campus seeking to incorporate innovative approaches to student community engagement into their courses. Pictured with Shemberger are MSU President Dr. Bob Davies, left, and Dr. David Whaley, dean of the College of Education and Human Services.

The grant funds were used to purchase two Tascam audio recorders and shotgun microphones, plus cover printing expenses, for a community engagement project that focused on using oral histories as a news-gathering technique. The project was launched in the fall 2017 semester in her JMC 397 Reporting for Print Media course (renamed In-Depth Reporting beginning in spring 2018) and will continue throughout the spring semester.

The students unveiled the oral history-news project at a Scholars Week presentation on Nov. 15. This project examined public education in Kentucky in the years before standardized testing became common.

The oral history-education news reporting project will continue in the spring 2018 semester. In December, she received a Bring Learning to Life grant to purchase additional Tascam devices for students to use in additional oral history interviewing assignments.

The project can be accessed online at A Facebook page is available at this link:

Shemberger delivered a presentation about using oral history across the disciplines at a research presentation for the Faculty Development Center.

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Thomas writes Star Trek book chapter

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

A book chapter published in May 2017 has been authored by Elizabeth A. Thomas, senior lecturer and public relations sequence head.

Published by DePaul University Press (Chicago), the book is Time Lords and Tribbles, Winchesters and Muggles. It covers the best of the Midwest Popular Culture Conference presentations from 2011 through 2016.

Thomas’ chapter, titled “50 Years of Trek and the Fascinating Lessons We’ve Learned,” covers the moral codes of Star Trek.  

According to Thomas, the original Star Trek television series set clear examples for living a moral life.

In her extensive study of the 50-year compilation of Trek’s television, literature, film and fan culture, she describes specific lessons taught in each of Star Trek’s incarnations.
Most science fiction fans know the basic lessons of Star Trek – non-interference is the prime directive, to boldly go where no one has gone before, Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few (or the one). Upon deeper inspection, Thomas unlocks a vast universe of Trek teachings in this latest publication. 

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McGaughey named Volunteer of the Year

Posted on 30 December 2016 by jmcjournal

Dr. Bob McGaughey, retired professor and chairman of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications, was named one of 20 Volunteers of the Year (2015-16) at the national Pi Kappa Alpha convention Aug. 6 in New Orleans. Seated is Dr. Bob McGaughey, Pike and Murray State alumni from left, Bobby Workman, Bobby Martin, Buford Anderson, George Oakley, Dan Miller, Jerry Penner and John Weatherly.

Dr. Bob McGaughey, retired chairman and professor of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications, was named one of 20 Volunteers of the Year (2015-16) at the national Pi Kappa Alpha convention Aug. 6 in New Orleans.

Nominated by the MSU Pike chapter adviser and the Murray-Calloway County Hospital CEO, Jerry Penner, McGaughey was the only fraternity alumnus from Kentucky named to the list.

The fraternity headquarters noted that this was the first year for the award. It recognizes “those alumni volunteers who serve in advisory board roles mentoring chapter leadership and members in ethical decision making, chapter operations, risk management, and strategic planning.”

McGaughey, a member of the “Fabulous Forty” pledge class of spring of 1962, has served on the alumni advisory board, on the house corporation and on the committee to raise funds and build the house on 16th street. The new house, built after the Pike Lodge north of campus burned in 2004, is named for the late Dr. Hal Houston.

In addition, McGaughey has helped sponsor Rush activities and been a major donor for building the current Pike house. He also has spoken to the Epsilon Lambda chapter on its history, communications, public relations and the roles of officers.

In 1977 he was named as second person to be the Pi Kappa Alpha Distinguished Alumnus. The first one was Dr. Houston.

McGaughey joined the MSU faculty in 1969 as the adviser to The Murray State News and journalism instructor. He became department chairman in 1974.

He retired in 1997 after 27 years and 23 as chairman. He then taught part time and worked with the BIS program in MSU’s Continuing Education unit until December 2010.

McGaughey has received several awards/honors for his work at Murray State. He won the Max Carman Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 1984 and was named the Distinguished Professor by the Alumni Association in 1990. In 2015 he received the Golden Horseshoe Award for continued outstanding service and support of the university.

Selected eight times to attend the International Radio and Television Society (IRTS) faculty-industry seminar in New York City, he was named the Frank Stanton Fellow as the distinguished broadcast educator in the U. S. by IRTS in 1987.

His other honors include being named to “Personalities of the South,” “International Men of the Year,” “Who’s Who in America,” “Who’s Who in the South and Southwest,” “Who’s Who Among American Teachers,” “Who’s Who in the Media and Communications,” “Who’s Who Registry of Business Leaders” and “Men of Achievement.” In 2012 he was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.

McGaughey may be best known for his presentations with his close friend, Bob Valentine. The two have done communications workshops/speeches and their comedy act of Dr. Trey and Dr. Vee since 1978.

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