Archive | Faculty/Staff

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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Welsch honored for distinguished service

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

Murray State University has awarded Gill Welsch the Faculty Award for Distinguished Service in recognition for his contributions to the department and greater university. He received the honor at the 2017 Faculty Recognition Banquet in April.

Welsch, a senior lecturer, joined the faculty in August 1992 and has served as head of the advertising major and adviser for the MSU Ads Club since that time.

Gill Welsch, right, was recognized by MSU President Bob Davies for his service to the department and University at the spring Faculty Recognition Banquet.

He has been the department’s internship coordinator since 2012. He is also author of the department’s advising handbook. Welsch has been a judge for DECA and FBLA competitions since 2000. He has also served as secretary of the College of Business Undergraduate Programs Committee.

As a member of the university’s Bring Learning to Life Advisory Committee, he helps to oversee the university’s quality enhancement plan for experiential learning. Since 2014, he has been a faculty marshal at commencement exercises.

Welsch is a staunch supporter of the Residential College system. He is active in Hart College, serving as a member of the Hart College Advisory Committee. During the Great Beginnings move-in days, he coordinates the loading of the elevators in Hart College.

Welsch has also served as faculty adviser for the Nu-Rho Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. from its founding in 2000 to 2016. He currently serves as honorary faculty adviser.

He has also served as a referee for the American Academy of Advertising’s annual conference since 1994.

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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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Faculty fellow brings international legal insight to JMC

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

Sonya Noruwa, J.D., has joined the Journalism and Mass Communications Department as a Faculty Fellow as part of Murray State’s Diversity Development Initiative for 2016-2017. The Diversity Development Initiative is housed in the Office of the Provost.


Dr. Noruwa is a graduate of Thurgood Marshall School at Texas Southern University, Houston, with an International and Immigration Institute certification. She holds a Master of Legal Studies, Health Law LL.M., International Law LL.M. from the University of Houston, Houston, TX, where she also earned her bachelor of arts in public relations in communications.
“Dr. Noruwa is an exceptional addition to the JMC department and we welcome the opportunity to work with her as a visiting professor,” said Dr. Debbie Owens, interim department chair.

“Faculty as well as students have benefited from her public relations experience and her legal expertise in international issues.”

Owens added that Noruwa has contributed much to the department’s goal of providing JMC students with diverse perspectives on the media industry.

While at Murray State, she is teaching three undergraduate courses – contemporary mass media, international mass communications and mass media effects.

This fall, she participated in JMC’s student internship interviews and served as a judge for Organizational Communication Department’s Speech and Debate teams.

Dr. Noruwa’s international experience also includes travel to London, England, with the Southern University Law Center’s Study Abroad Program in 2013.

Next spring, Dr. Noruwa plans to present research at the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education conference.

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Three JMC faculty recognized for teaching milestones

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

Faculty years-of-service milestones were noted at the annual faculty recognition banquet in April. Nine were recognized for reaching the 25 year service mark. They are front row from left: MSU President Dr. Robert Davies; Dr. Staci Stone, interim dean, College of Humanities and Fine Arts; Ann Neelon, Department of English; Dr. Mary Sue Sroda, chair, Department of English; Dr. Tim Todd, dean, Bauernfeind College of Business. Back row from left:  Dr. Stephen Cobb, dean, Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology; Dr. Allen White, Department of Journalism and Mass Communications; Gill Welsch, Department of Journalism and Mass Communications; Squire Babcock, Department of English and Philosophy; Dr. Seid Hassan, Department of Economics and Finance.

Dr. Allen White and Mr. Gill Welsch were recognized for 25 years of teaching service to Murray State while Dr. Debbie Owens was recognized for 15 years of service.

White joined the faculty in August 1991. He teaches courses in advertising, public relations, and in the graduate program. He has served as graduate coordinator, interim assistant dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, and interim JMC department chair. He was the founding college head for White Residential College, part of Murray State’s residential college system.

White earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Murray State. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee. He has been a commissioned officer in the United States Navy and has worked as a newspaper reporter, sports editor and as a public opinion researcher for a research company.

Prior to coming to Murray State, White taught at Kansas State University and Duquesne University.

Welsch joined the faculty in August 1992 as head of the advertising major and adviser to the MSU Ads Club, positions he still holds. He has taught courses in advertising, journalism and public relations over the years. His teaching duties currently include teaching the internship course and senior seminar.

He earned his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Southern Mississippi. He has done doctoral studies at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Welsch has worked as a newspaper reporter, public relations and advertising consultant. Prior to coming to Murray State, he taught at Southeast Missouri State University.

Ten were recognized for reaching the 15 year service mark at the annual faculty recognition banquet in April 2017. They are front row from left: MSU President Dr. Robert Davies; Dean Ann Provine, Hutson School Of Agriculture; James Clinger, Humanities and Fine Arts; Barbara Cobb, Humanities and Fine Arts; Debbie Owens, interim chair, Dept. of Journalism and Mass Communications, Peggy Pittman-Munke, Education and Human Services. Back row from left: Ryan Morrow, Hutson School Of Agriculture; Cynthia Gayman, Humanities and Fine Arts; Dubravko Icansic, Humanities and Fine Arts; Joe DeBella, Education and Human Services; and Abdulrahman Yarali, Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

Owens joined the faculty in August 2002. She has served as head of the electronic media major (now known as television production), internship coordinator and graduate director. She currently serves as interim department chair.

She has worked as a newspaper and broadcast journalist, a marketing/public affairs communications writer, and an English/reading teacher.

Owens earned a B.A. from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, an M.S. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and Ph.D. from the University of Florida

Prior to joining the JMC faculty, Owens taught at Fayetteville State University, Bowling Green State University, and East Carolina University.

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Thomas presents at pop culture event

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

Elizabeth Thomas (MS, 2009), senior lecturer and PR sequence head, presented research at the 2017 Popular Culture Association (PCA) National Convention in San Diego in March 2017.
Her paper titled “Star Trek: The 50-Year Mission” chronicled fan culture through Star Trek events and subsequent other fan conventions dating from the early 1970s through 2016 for the fabled Star Trek television and movie franchise.

Scholars who comprise the PCA are a group of educators and enthusiasts who study popular culture.

The Popular Culture Association (formally the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association) is a non-profit organization which offers a venue to share ideas and interests about the field or about a particular subject within the field. It also provides publication opportunities.

Thomas has presented at eight PCA conferences since 2009.

Two of her presentation papers have subsequently been expanded into published book chapters, both involving the legacy of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and Trek’s lasting impact on American popular culture.  

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Chair chronicles a year of accomplishments

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

We continue to make progress in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications. In the last year, we’ve experienced two academic program reviews, a departmental retreat, new faculty hires and numerous accolades. Here are a few highlights:

Dr. Bella Ezumah is the new graduate program director.


Dr. Stephanie Anderson has settled into her appointment as assistant professor and adviser to The Murray State News.

Dr. Sonya Noruwa, J.D., joins us as an assistant professor and 2017-18 Provost Diversity Fellow. She teaches both introductory and intermediate undergraduate courses.

Chad Lampe, MS ’08, and WKMS station manager, joins us as an adjunct to teach a special topics course titled, “Podcasting: Telling a Human Story.”

Advertising instructor Gill Welsch received MSU’s Distinguished Service Award.

Broadcaster Amy Bryan Watson, ‘89, received an MSU 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr. Melony Shemberger held a 2017 Scripps Howard Academic Leadership Academy Fellowship.

JMC faculty are making progress
Another successful round of workshops brought high school journalism and broadcast students to campus, hosted Google training sessions for faculty, students and journalists, and brought professionals on campus to interact with JMC students during Meet the Pros and Gravure Day.

Faculty won “Bring Learning to Life” grants which will enhance their ability to teach using digital technology.

This summer, a team of JMC faculty and a graduate student collaborated with Kendall Hunt publishing company to produce a curriculum-specific version of an undergraduate textbook for Contemporary Mass Media, a required core course for all our majors.

Additionally, faculty presented their research at ACA/PCA, AEJMC, BEA and MAPOR, to name a few.

We’ve rebooted our undergraduate curriculum. Faculty have renamed several courses that reflect the types of industry-skills that our JMC students are both learning and producing. Revamped titles include Advertising Capstone: The Campaign; Advanced Multimedia Reporting; Collaborative Journalism Capstone; PR Capstone: Cases and Campaigns; Capstone in Media Production. We’re further integrating Graphic Communications Media into the core curriculum for all majors through a newly designed co-requisite course, Introduction to Digital Imaging.

Graduate faculty worked with deans in the Bauernfeind College of Business to design an accelerated mass communications master’s degree program.

At our JMC departmental retreat in November, faculty explored ideas to develop an extended summer workshop for area high school media advisors and students. Participants also addressed strategies for increasing our efforts to promote diversity and inclusiveness throughout the curriculum, which we generally do practice. However, faculty agreed that in order to better emphasize these issues to our students, diversity-related items should be clearly identified in course syllabi. We will revisit the current departmental diversity plan in order to determine where new challenges might arise. The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) Diversity and Inclusiveness Standard includes matters of race, gender, physical (dis)ability, gender preference, culture, class and globalism. Ultimately, we want to establish a consistent approach to meeting, if not, surpassing this standard.

JMC students are making progress
Our students won awards and garnered recognition from organizations such as Kentucky Press Association, Kappa Tau Alpha JMC Honorary Society, and Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.

They presented research at venues such as MSU’s Scholar’s Week and AEJMC.

During 2017 Homecoming weekend, students and staff and alumni of The Murray State News celebrated its 90th year of excellence!

Our students remained engaged in communities both at home and abroad. They held internships at regional and national media outlets. They earned jobs in the industry or sought advanced degrees.

Just as many other institutions of higher education are regrouping in order to meet the challenges of budget cuts and declining student enrollment, we are exploring opportunities to generate revenue via grants, workshops and new program offerings.

Our enthusiastic JMC Ambassadors will hit the recruitment trail in 2018 with a student-produced brochure and video campaign.

So, with all that’s happened this year, thank you for supporting our program, the JMC Foundation, and for keeping the Racer tradition at the forefront of your thoughts.

You’re helping us keep pace with the technology-driven changes in classroom delivery and the industry-level training that our students need in order to succeed in their fields. This is where their media careers begin. And as an alum of JMC, your support helps us continue to grow future generations of media professionals. Now, that’s progress!

We look forward to hearing from you in 2018!

Debbie Owens
interim chair

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Norsworthy helps students find internships, jobs

Posted on 30 December 2016 by jmcjournal

Bob Norsworthy speaks with two graduating seniors at the 2015 Meet the Pros event. Norsworthy’s advertising industry insight helps students as they seek internships and jobs.

Several years ago in a movie called “Dave” actor Kevin Kline played a look alike, stand-in of the president of the United States who had suffered a stroke.

In the movie his real job was running a “temp” agency. He got people jobs.

Murray State University’s version of “Dave” in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications is Robert “Nors” Norsworthy. After 45 years in the advertising industry, he returned home five years ago to nearby Kirksey and the family farm.

He offered his help to the department chairman, Dr. Bob Lochte, who quickly said yes and made him executive-in-residence with an office on the first floor of Wilson Hall.

Norsworthy retired as the executive vice president of Diversified Agency Services, a division of the Omnicom Group. He also had 20 years at J. Walter Thompson and 10 years at Olgilvy and Mather.

He used his many contacts in the industry to set up internships and later jobs for advertising and public relations majors in the department. In his five years at Murray State he has help place 130 internships, 27 of which led to fulltime jobs.

In order to promote Murray State’s JMC program, which is nationally accredited by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, Norsworthy arranged for advertising instructors Bob Valentine and Gill Welsch to visit with executives in the Omnicom Group.

In December, 2012 the two instructors, along with senior public relations majors with advertising minors, Kirby Feldkamp and Abigail Goss, spoke to all of the human resource directors in the Omnicom Group at a conference in New York City.

In addition, several advertising executives have come to campus to speak to classes and make presentations open to the public. In 2014 the current executive vice president of the Omnicom Group, Janet Riccio, spoke.

Most recently, Amanda Courter, HR director for Fleishman Hilliard; Elizabeth Cornish, vice president of DAS; and Liz Dreyer, HR director of Ketchum Ads; made presentations at the PR 360 conference on campus in March.

Norsworthy and Welsch, head of the advertising major, set up the procedure for the students interested in the summer internships. First, the students send to Welch a current resume and a letter of application.

Welsch then schedules the students to be interviewed by current or retired (Dr. Ann Landini, Dr. Bob McGaughey, Dr. Celia Wall) JMC faculty to see if they are ready to be successful with the internship.

Next, Norsworthy interviews the ones recommended by the screening faculty and works to place them with one of the companies in the Omnicom Group. These are in such locations as New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Washington, D. C.

Norsworthy follows up to ensure the students have started the internships and to see if they are having any problems. Many of the students with successful internships get jobs with the companies after they graduate.

The students can also get three hours of credit if they take the fall Internship Class (JMC 596) where they do a case study on their internship and share reports with other interns.

As of this spring, Norsworthy says 130 students have been placed with another possible 30 students to be placed.

In recognition of his service to the department and its students, the department faculty named the Outstanding Senior in Advertising annual award for him. The winning student is recognized at the annual spring JMC Honors Banquet and at the Murray State Honors Day the day before the May graduation.

While “Dave” got people jobs, “Nors” gets students internships, which lead to jobs.

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