Archive | Faculty/Staff

New chair makes department history

Posted on 30 December 2016 by jmcjournal

Dr. Debbie Owens, interim chair, Department of Journalism and Mass Communications, greets students attending the department’s annual High School Student Media Workshop Sept. 23. Owens began her duties as chair in July.

by Mikayla Marshall
The Murray State News

Associate Professor Debbie Owens is the second woman and first African-American to serve as chairwoman for the department of journalism and mass communication.

“The JMC department has wonderful faculty,” said Gerry Muuka, assistant dean of the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business. “Faculty that do their work, who look out for each other, and so when the occasion arose for me to make a decision, it wasn’t easy.”

He said ultimately it came down to Owens because of her time here at Murray State and her experience with the campus and the students.

Owens joined the faculty at Murray State in Fall 2002. She has held several positions, including intern coordinator and mass communications graduate program coordinator.

“I appreciate receiving a strong vote of confidence and getting support from my colleagues at Murray State,” Owens said.

She said this appointment to the position represents an extension of her duties and service to Murray State. She is the first African-American woman to take this position but said this fact has not hit her yet.

“Yeah, I am the first; I haven’t really thought about that,” Owens said.

She said that going from teaching at a historically-black college to a predominately-white college is always eye-opening. In her years at Murray State, she could list the non-white professors in the JMC department on one hand. She said diversity is something she is always working toward and she anticipates that in the coming years more non-white individuals will have more of a presence.

Owens started her teaching career at Redirection High School in Brooklyn, New York. She has served as a lecturer and professor at universities across the country for many years. She has received several awards, including the Cambridge Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals in 2006-07 and the Distinguished Service Award at Murray in 2007. The Roundabout Murray Newsletter honored her in the Provost Faculty Spotlight in 2014.

For improving the department further, Owens said that recruitment and retention of students have always been areas of concern for anyone working in higher education. She said she wants to maintain high standards and attract talented individuals who are eager to learn and prepare for exciting careers in our ever-changing industry.

Bob Lochte, Owens’ predecessor, said he hopes for the same goals as the department moves forward.

“An area I expect to address is the growth of internship opportunities for JMC students,” Owens said. “I look forward to working with capable graduates, on-campus agencies and their respective associates as they continue to support our efforts.”

Muuka said Lochte was an amazing chairman and has done much for the department. He said he hopes to see the JMC department continue to have quality programs and faculty even in this time of budgetary crisis.

Lochte retired at the end of the Spring 2016 term, 28 years after joining Murray State’s faculty in 1988. He said he’s excited to see where the department goes.

Comments Off on New chair makes department history

Dept. chair bids farewell

Posted on 30 December 2016 by jmcjournal

Dr. Tim Todd, dean, Arthur J Bauernfeind College of Business, shares his memories with the crowd in attendance at Dr. Bob Lochte’s retirement reception on May 4. Lochte finished his 28 year career with Murray State in June.

Dr. Bob Lochte, Journalism and Mass Communications Department Chair at Murray State University, will retire following the conclusion of the Spring 2016 semester.

Lochte graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine with a degree in English literature and a minor in Latin and Greek classics. While in high school, he worked at a radio station in Nashville, Tennessee where he was in charge of the remote transmitter that helped to broadcast church services on Sunday mornings, “[It was] probably one of the worst jobs at one of the coolest radio stations in town,” said Lochte.  He then spent the next 22 years working between both commercial and non-commercial radio and television before coming to Murray State. During this time he held program director and general manager positions.

At Murray State, Lochte has held a number of titles over his 28 years as a faculty member from assistant professor to graduate coordinator before stepping into his final position as department chair.

In a world that is constantly and quickly changing with regards to how we interact with each other, Lochte sees many challenges as well as a great deal of potential for the art of communication.

“You have to constantly revise what’s in these classes to try and be as contemporary as possible, so that’s more work to accommodate. But what’s interesting to me is not so much the technology as the things that don’t change. You’re delivering television shows, but if the content isn’t a hit, it doesn’t matter how good the technology is,” said Lochte.

“We’re in a chaotic and disruptive business environment driven by the audience and our goal has always been to give the audience what it wants. Professionals today have to figure out who this audience is, what they want, and how we deliver that. I think that’s probably the biggest challenge and will continue to be for several years to come.”

At a University where the faculty are famously student-driven, Lochte is no exception. His time as a student advisor has been appreciated by past as well as present students on campus.

“I felt so fortunate to have Dr. Lochte as an advisor. He really cares about his advisees and it was evident by his prompt communication and good advice. I always felt like if I had any questions about scheduling or needed guidance on a particular issue, I could count on him,” said Alissa Sommerfeldt, a junior public relations major.

“Students are the reason we’re all here. It’s a constant challenge to create a valuable learning experience for the students and I think that’s what I really like about the job,” said Lochte. “I think that our department has always been focused on the performance-based learning that higher education is now leaning toward across the country. We’ve always been very conscious that when our students graduate, they need to know how to do something, and if they don’t know how to do it, they need to know how to figure it out.”

Lochte doesn’t like the term “retirement,” but is very ready for the “next stage” in his life. He believes that it will be a time for self-discovery, and intends to enjoy the hobbies he’s developed over past years as well as continue his weekly radio show the Eisenhower Hour® on WKMS-FM. The program can also be streamed worldwide at

Comments Off on Dept. chair bids farewell

Adviser, EIC gain hands-on training

Posted on 30 December 2016 by jmcjournal

New faculty student media adviser, Stephanie Elder Anderson, and newly-elected editor-in-chief of The Murray State News, Connor Jaschen, attended the College Media Association (CMA) and the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) summer workshop in July in Minneapolis.

The workshop provided hands-on training, critiques, an idea forum and resource room giving attendees the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with the workshop’s speakers and instructors to examine coverage issues, learn digital processes, develop newsroom policies, critique portfolios and resumés, discuss newsroom management as well as the direction the student publications would like to explore in the future.

Jaschen and Elder Anderson spent four days learning their new roles and interacting with advisers and EICs from around the country. The training allowed the two to bring new ideas back to Murray State.

“The CMA/ACP conference really helped me learn how to lead the newsroom,” Jaschen said. “I got the chance to connect and figure out ways to help our organization across the board.”

The leadership track for editors focused on audience analysis, content, management, leadership, engagement and media law.

“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I would recommend for any student in journalism,” Jaschen said.

The adviser’s training focused on how to manage, recruit, train and motivate millennials and what advisers need to know about technology, media law, ethics, campus relationship and the business side of the business.

Elder Anderson also earned the College Media Association’s adviser certification.

Comments Off on Adviser, EIC gain hands-on training

County bookmobile history noted

Posted on 30 December 2016 by jmcjournal

Dr. Melony Shemberger, assistant professor, has presented and published in 2016 about the history of bookmobiles.

In March, Shemberger presented her work, titled “Early Calloway County Connections Between WPA Road Projects and the Bookmobile,” at the WPA Symposium held March 11 on campus.

In summer 2016, her article by the same title was published in the Journal of the Jackson Purchase Historical Society.

Shemberger adapted the article for a campus presentation at the History Research Forum on Oct. 27. The title was “Driving Literacy: The Bookmobile as an American Cultural Icon.”

Here is an abstract of her work: In the late 1930s, the Works Progress Administration opened an office in Murray to concentrate on the construction of county roads and city streets, along with other regional projects.

In east Kentucky, the WPA helped to fund the Pack Horse Library Project, which employed women to deliver books and other reading material to remote mountain schools and residences. This effort launched a greater interest in the concept of bookmobiles.

The bookmobile was one of the social changes that brought benefits of townspeople to rural folks, although rural school and church libraries were evident before Calloway County’s bookmobile started in 1948. Still, this brought more opportunities to young county residents and expanded adult education.

Her paper discussed the development of the Calloway County bookmobile, exploring how the new roads funded under the WPA aided in the early popularity of the bookmobile in the county.

Comments Off on County bookmobile history noted

Wright studies social media postings

Posted on 30 December 2016 by jmcjournal

Leigh Wright, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications, published an article “Perceptions About Posting: A Survey of Community Journalists about Social Media Postings” in Community Journalism.

Community Journalism is a journal of the Community Journalism Interest Group of AEJMC.

Her article appears in Volume 5:1 and is available at

The article examined how journalists at newspapers of 30,000 circulation or less viewed their role as a gatekeeper in the social media age and how they used news values when determining their postings to social media.

The research found that journalists viewed helpfulness as the most important news value for Facebook and timeliness for Twitter.

Comments Off on Wright studies social media postings

Valentine recognized as outstanding teacher

Posted on 30 December 2016 by jmcjournal

Bob Valentine, senior lecturer in Journalism and Mass Communications, was named the Max Carman Outstanding Teacher for 2016 at Murray State University’s Senior Breakfast May 5.

The award recognizes those professors who excel in the classroom and exhibit overall teaching excellence. Professors are nominated by the student body and selected by a student committee chaired by the vice president of the student government association.

Valentine was recognized for his outstanding work in the classroom when he was selected as the Regents Teaching Award for the Bauernfeind College of Business in 2009. He has been selected as Murray State’s “Best Faculty Member” in the Best of Murray student poll conducted by The Murray State News for the past four years.

A member of the MSU faculty since 1974, Valentine teaches in advertising and the beginning course for all majors in the department.

He has taught in theatre and served as guest director for both the MSU Theatre and Murray’s Community Theatre (Playhouse in the Park).

He began his teaching career at the University of Kentucky, where he earned his undergraduate degree in history and his master’s degree in communications. He then served as lecturer in communications before coming to Murray State to teach speech courses and serve as the director of forensics.

His debate team won the national title in 1982 and captured many event trophies during his years as the debate coach.

He left teaching for several years to start several companies, including Theatre Arts Enterprises, Medical Claims Services and Prologue, LLC (the book publishing division).

Valentine returned to full-time teaching in 1999 with a split load between JMC and Theatre. In 2001 he became co-head of Elizabeth Residential College with Bob McGaughey and served as the head from 2003-07.

As college head, he set up and taught many sessions in the residence hall and he and McGaughey taught the first for-credit course in the residential college.

He has taught for many years in the annual JMC High School Journalism and Broadcasting Workshop. He and McGaughey have done workshops in advertising, public relations and communications since 1978.

The two have also entertained thousands in the mid-South with their two-man stand-up comedy act, “Dr. Trey and Dr. Vee.”

He was recognized for his contributions to the arts when he won the Betty Lowry Award for leadership in the support of the arts in 1992 by the Murray-Calloway Chamber of Commerce.

The editor/publisher of Murray Life Magazine, he is the author of two books, The Medical Money Mess and Seasons (2009).

He is known for his portrayal of Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Nathan B. Stubblefield and Rainey T. Wells.

He also performs at Scottish games throughout the U. S. and has a CD of Scottish stories, “I’ll Take the Low Road.”

Valentine says his motivation for teaching is seeing his students succeed both in the classroom and later in life and knowing he may have influenced their accomplishments.

Comments (0)

Wright focuses on classroom technology

Posted on 30 December 2016 by jmcjournal

Leigh Wright, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications, presented at two national conferences in 2016.

Wright was among seven educators selected to present at the Teach-A-Thon session of Journalism/Interactive at the University of Florida in February. She discussed how she uses the open-source software Timeline JS, a KnightLab product, in her advanced newswriting class to encourage discussion and research about current events.

Wright also joined with Sandy Henry of Drake University and Cliff Brockman of Wartburg College to present a poster “The Lessons of Immersive Multidisciplinary Journalism Capstone Experiences” during the J/I poster session.

In April, Wright presented “There’s an App for That” at the Broadcast Education Association national conference in Las Vegas. Wright’s segment of the presentation focused on her usage of iMovie on iPads to teach mobile production and writing skills in her advanced newswriting class.

Comments Off on Wright focuses on classroom technology

Professor discusses content curation

Posted on 30 December 2016 by jmcjournal

Dr. Melony Shemberger, assistant professor of journalism and mass communication, presented a session at the 2016 CASE III (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, Region 3) Conference held Feb. 14-17 in Nashville, Tenn.

Her presentation, titled “Propel Your Stories and More to the Next Level With Content Curation,” was among more than 200 proposals submitted for 125 spots for track sessions.

Her talk focused on content curation in the field of public relations and marketing, designed to encourage education communicators at schools, colleges and universities to share information in a modern way. Content curation brings together different online assets—tweets, posts, videos, Web links and more—to tell a story.

Shemberger’s session discussed different digital curation platforms, offered top tips and showed actual examples that could help educational organizations leverage exposure, recognition and identification for their institution.

Comments Off on Professor discusses content curation

Thomas chronicles Star Trek lessons

Posted on 30 December 2016 by jmcjournal

Elizabeth Thomas presented at the spring 2016 National Popular Culture/American Culture Association Conference in Seattle, Wash. Her presentation titled, “50 Years of Trek and the Fascinating Lessons We’ve Learned” chronicles the morals and life lessons taught through 50 years of incarnations of the Star Trek series and films. 

Comments Off on Thomas chronicles Star Trek lessons

KPA selects assistant professor

Posted on 30 December 2016 by jmcjournal

Leigh Wright, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications, was named as a journalism education representative to the Kentucky Press Association Board of Directors in January 2016.

Wright will serve a three-year term. The other education representative is Al Cross of the University of Kentucky.

Comments Off on KPA selects assistant professor