Archive | Alumni

McGaughey remembered

Posted on 31 December 2019 by jmcjournal

By Bob Valentine

“To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Robert Howe McGaughey, III, arrived at Murray State in the late summer of 1961. By any important measure, he never left until the 14th of June, 2019.

He would have agreed with Abe Lincoln, but he would be thinking of Murray — not Springfield, Illinois.

He took with him two Murray State degrees, one Ohio University doctorate, and more accolades for teaching, educational leadership, and genuine scholarship than most people could acquire in two lifetimes. He left with us two generations of journalists, a handful of new programs, and a campus full of memories of the man everyone — from the President to the newest freshman — called “Doc.”

Doc McGaughey grew up in Hopkinsville loving sports, journalism and a good joke. He played baseball and basketball, wrote for student papers and publications, sold ads for newspapers and radio, and was a disc jockey for a while as a teenager.

He joined ROTC at Murray State where he was an outstanding student, an athlete, and lived at “The News.” He majored in History and Journalism. He served two years of active duty in the Army before returning to become the first Masters recipient in Journalism at Murray State. Then he was off to Ohio University where he earned his doctorate in record time.

His time in the army and his residency at Ohio University were the only times after 1961 that he was away from Murray or Murray State.

In 1969 he joined the faculty as an instructor in journalism. Five years later he became one of the youngest department chairmen in Kentucky as he began a 25-year career of building a small department with one major into something special. As one of his successors, Dr. Bob Lochte put it:

“Back in the 1970s and 80’s, when Murray State was barely a university, Doc almost single-handedly created a nationally-accredited program in Journalism and Mass Communications with four undergraduate majors, a Master’s degree, award-winning campus media, and nearly 400 students. All of this happened in a small remote Kentucky town, in a state whose appreciation of higher education largely starts and ends with how good your basketball team is.”

He created a legend. By the end of his active career, everyone recognized it.

His devotion to students was reflected in his Distinguished Professor award, the Max Carman Outstanding Teacher award from the SGA, and the crowds that surrounded him at every homecoming. He was advisor to several student groups and served for two years as co-head of Elizabeth Residential College.

As chair of Journalism, he influenced and led the growth of the University’s public radio station, WKMS-FM. He developed the Television Production, Advertising, and Public Relations majors, and saw them grow into regional suppliers of nationally-known talents.

His profession honored him with a number of awards from the Kentucky Press Association, election as the KPA Education Representative, repeated invitations to the International Radio and Television Society’s annual conference and selection by the IRTS as the Frank Stanton Fellow: the outstanding broadcast educator in America. In 2012 he was named to the Kentucky Press Hall of Fame, joining two of his teachers and one of his former students in that distinction.

The campus recognized him, as well. Doc was proud of pointing out that he had a building named for him: Faculty Hall. (That was a joke, of course. He had others.) Deans, fellow chairs and even Presidents referred to him as the students did; he was “Doc” to everyone.

His legend, however, is founded most in his care for the students. He was asked to be godfather to the children of his graduates. He provided unpublicized support for students who needed money to travel to a first job; who would have dropped out of school except for his encouragement and support; who would have failed to get needed medical help without his intervention. He even introduced young men and women who later married. He became a legend because he cared, and put everything he had into making his caring a reality.

You will not see him this year at Tent City, or doing “The Comedy Hour” at Lizo, or meeting at Cracker Barrel with his fellow MSU veterans at the periodic ROMEO meetings (“Retired Old Men Eating Out”). For the first time since 1961, Doc McGaughey has, as he used to say, “left the building.”

He left something for you.

Doc left to his colleagues on the faculty an example of devotion to Murray State and her students. His dedication was to each student — no matter how gifted or how needy.

He left to the students — whether you knew him or not — a legacy of enthusiasm for all things Racer. From athletic games to residential colleges, from All Campus Sing to Great Beginnings, from study times to road trips, he left an example of enjoyment and friendship. Party hard, play hard, study hard and make real friends. For Doc, friends lasted forever. Some of his dearest friends he made as a student at MSU; the rest he made as a faculty member.

And just in case you missed one of his shows — as funny a time as you are likely to have in your life — here is the message with which he left all his audiences:

“If you want to be a good communicator, don’t forget: First, you’ve got to listen. And second: no matter how bad it gets, never, ever lose your sense of humor.”

Robert Howe McGaughey, Feb. 18, 1941 – June 14, 2019.


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Doc McGaughey dies

Posted on 31 December 2019 by jmcjournal

Dr. Robert H. McGaughey, III, passed away on June 14 at the University of Louisville Medical Center at the age of 76.

He was born Feb. 18, 1943 to Robert H. McGaughey, II and Frances W. McGaughey in Anniston, Ala., where his father was serving in the Army. He is preceded in death by his parents and is survived by cousins Virginia Buchanan of Hopkinsville, Ky., Don Adair of Hopkinsville, Ky., Claudia Ricci of Deland, Fla., Rosalee Anderson of Frankfort, Ky., and Ed Owens of Naples, Fla. Also surviving are special friends, Don and Mary Moore of Hopkinsville, Ky., Phil and Sarah Bryan and family of Murray, Ky., and Bob Valentine and wife Vicki Jo of Puryear, Tenn.

The family returned to Hopkinsville after World War II where Bob attended local schools and graduated in 1961 from Hopkinsville High School where he was an outstanding athlete and student leader.

Dr. McGaughey was professor emeritus and retired chairman of the Murray State University’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications. As a student at Murray State, he was a member of the Murray State ROTC, a student athlete, and an active member of the staff of The Murray State News. After graduation he began his master’s degree studies in Journalism and became the first Master’s graduate of the Journalism program. He received his doctorate in Mass Communications from the Ohio University.

An honor graduate of the MSU ROTC program, he served two years on active duty, including a tour in Vietnam and 18 years with Kentucky’s 100th Army Reserve Division, from which he retired in 1985 with the rank of major.

His nine ribbons and medals include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal and the Vietnamese Service Ribbon. He received the Minaret Award for the publication The News of the Century (100th division) as one of the top newspapers in the Fifth Army area.

In 1969 he joined the faculty at Murray State University as adviser to The Murray State News and as instructor in Journalism. He became chairman of the department in 1974, succeeding the late Dr. L.J. Hortin.

He has had more than 40 publications or presentations, including national conferences of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, the Broadcast Education Association, College Media Advisors of the Associated Collegiate Press Association and Public Relations Society of America.

During his years as Chair, the department grew from 45 majors to more than 400 and received accreditation from the ACEJMC. The department provided 16 percent of all seniors selected to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities at Murray State.

McGaughey received several recognitions and awards for his work at Murray State. In 1984 he was named Max Carmen Outstanding Teacher of the Year by the Student Government Association. He was named Distinguished Professor of the Year by the Murray State Alumni Association in 1990.

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

Active as an adviser to student organizations and media organizations, he received several recognitions from groups such as Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, including the Pi Kappa Alpha Distinguished Alum in 1977, the Omicron Delta Kappa advisor of the Year, the Kentucky Press Association Distinguished Service Award in 1989. He served for ten years as executive director of the West Kentucky Press Association, and two terms as education representative on the KPA board of directors. In 2012, he was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.

He was named the Boss of the Year by the Murray Chapter of the Professional Secretaries Internationals in 1989. He retired as chair in 1997, but continued to teach, write and speak, often with his long-time associate professor Robert Valentine. Together they were known as “The Communicators” or, to their fans, “Dr. Trey and Dr. Vee.”

He was co-head of MSU’s Elizabeth Residential College from 2000 to 2002 but continued to serve on the faculty of Elizabeth College and presented his last program there in March 2019.

Visitation was held at the J.H. Churchill Funeral Home in Murray on June 19.

His funeral service was held in Murray State’s Lovett Auditorium on June 20. Some of McGaughey’s closest friends spoke at the ceremony, including longtime colleague and senior lecturer in advertising Bob Valentine, retired preacher John Dale and Murray State President Dr. Bob Jackson.

His burial followed in Riverside Cemetery in Hopkinsville, Ky., with full military honors. Dale offered the brief graveside service attended by family and friends.

Expressions of sympathy can be made to the Robert McGaughey Scholarship Fund, Murray State University, Office of Development, 200 Heritage Hall, Murray, Ky. 42071.

Honorary Pallbearers will be and representing Pi Kappa Alpha, Eddie Hunt, Jerry Penner and Tab Brockman, and the Romeo Club, and G.G.G. Golf Group.

Online condolences can be left at,

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Shemberger elected faculty regent

Posted on 31 December 2019 by jmcjournal

Dr. Melony Shemberger was elected Murray State faculty regent in April.

She was one of five faculty members seeking the position on the University’s Board of Regents.
Shemberger is an associate professor of journalism and mass communications at Murray State. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University, with a double major in mass communications and history & government. She also earned a master’s in mass communications from Murray State; a master’s in management from Austin Peay State University; and a doctorate in administration and supervision, with a concentration in higher education, from Tennessee State University.
She has published in several peer-reviewed publications, including Journalism History, Journalism and Mass Communications Educator and the Teaching Journalism and Mass Communications Journal. She also has several book chapters published and professional articles in guidebooks published by the PR News Press and has presented at several academic and professional conferences.

Shemberger was selected for the Wiki Scholars Program to edit and write Wikipedia entries pertaining to women’s suffrage. In 2017, she was a Scripps Howard Academic Leadership Academy Fellow at Louisiana State University.

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

At Murray State, she was a Provost Faculty Teaching Fellow, interim director of the Faculty Development Center in 2016 and an adjunct faculty member in the College of Education and Human Services in 2012-13.

Since Summer 2017, she has taught in the Governor’s Scholars Program, a five-week camp for top high school seniors in Kentucky. She is also a Level 1 Google Educator.

Since 2014 Shemberger has served as an at-large representative on the Murray State Faculty Senate and was vice president in 2016-17.

Shemberger is a lifetime member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society, the top academic interdisciplinary honor society in the nation and on campus, where she serves as chapter president. She was a director from 2016-18 on the Society’s national board and was chair of the advisory council for Phi Kappa Phi’s Forum magazine.

Honor society memberships also include the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society and others. She is a member of the American Journalism Historians Association, the History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the Education Writers Association.

Shemberger was sworn in as faculty regent at the Board’s Sept. 6 meeting. She will serve a three-year term, which expires in 2022.

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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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