Archive | Students

Sandlin wins ACP Pacemaker Award

Posted on 31 December 2019 by jmcjournal

Blake Sandlin, a journalism major and former editor-in-chief of The Murray State News, won a fifth-place Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Award for Sports Feature Story of the Year.

The award, which is often regarded as the “Pulitzer Prize” in collegiate journalism, was given out at the National College Media Convention Nov. 2 in Washington D.C.

Sandlin’s story “Making Morant: Ja Morant’s ascent from small town kid to big stage star,” can be read here. The story chronicles Morant’s small town life in Dalzell, South Carolina, the hours spent perfecting his game with his father, Tee, how he would perform Michael Jackson songs to entertain his family at a young age and the story behind how the former Racer was accidentally discovered by a Murray State assistant coach.

Sandlin interviewed several of Ja’s family members and former basketball coaches to be able to write about the personal side of the No. 2 overall NBA draft pick, a side many people don’t often see.

“Ja Morant is arguably one of the best basketball players to ever come out of Murray State, which brought national media attention to our small regional university here in western Kentucky,” Stephanie Anderson,The Murray State News adviser, said. “Blake did an outstanding job capturing the true story of Ja Morant, something many news organizations were unable to do. I am incredibly proud of him and believe he truly deserved to win this award.”

Sandlin is currently working full-time as a sports reporter at WPSD Local 6, the NBC affiliate in Paducah, Kentucky, as well as finishing his journalism degree at Murray State. He will graduate in May 2020.

“It was surreal to see how well my story performed at ACP this year,” Sandlin said. “Reading the other pieces from the nine other finalists, there were some really thorough and compelling feature stories from students at heralded journalism schools, so to be able to represent a smaller school in Murray State gave me a lot of pride.”

With Morant currently playing for the Memphis Grizzlies, just three hours down the road, Sandlin is still able to cover the small-town standout, but this time on the nation’s biggest stage.

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Outstanding graduates named

Posted on 31 December 2019 by jmcjournal

JMC faculty, staff and students gathered April 24 to recognize the accomplishments of the department’s students in the 2018-19 academic year.

The top senior in each major was recognized. Among those receiving recognition were Michelle Blanchett, Abigail Branham, Sydney Chambers, Lauren Edwards, Emily Hancock, Joel Polarek, and Tori Wood.

Blanchett shared the position of top senior in graphic communications media. She was a computer science minor from Murray. She did graphic design work for the men’s basketball program and chaired the department’s 2018 Gravure Day. She developed WordPress websites and served as a graphic designer at Matt Blanchette Productions.

Branham, a professional writing minor from Lexington, Ky., was named the outstanding senior in journalism. She worked in media production for Racer Athletics. Her off-campus work experience included Lexington Legends minor league baseball, WLEX 18 and Resolution Media. She was a cheerleader and a member of Alpha Delta Pi.

Chambers, a graduate assistant from Murray, was recognized as the top graduate student in mass communications. She received her bachelor of science degree from Murray State with a major in psychology and a minor in English. She was the social media manager for Chambers Roofing Company in Paducah; a social media intern at WPSD-TV in Paducah; and an intern in the Disney College Program.

She was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Lambda, and Alpha Sigma Alpha.

Edwards was named the Robert J Norsworthy outstanding senior in advertising. She was a business administration minor from Benton, Ky. She had an account management internship with Merkley and Partners. She was a member of Ads Club, Her Campus, National Society of Leadership and Success, Active Minds, Racer Band and Lee Clark College’s residential college council.

Her other awards included the National Engaged Leadership Award and the Lee Clark College outstanding service award.

Hancock, a journalism and agriculture communications minor from Bumpus Mills, Tenn., was the outstanding senior in television production. Her on-campus media experience included Racer Athletics, TV-11, the OVC Digital Network, ESPN+ and Racer Vision.

She was a freelance photographer/videographer. She was a JMC ambassador and participant in the Bumpus Mills church of Christ youth group.

Polarek, an advertising minor from Dover, Tenn., was the outstanding senior in public relations. He wrote for The Murray State News, Blue & Gold Magazine, and Murray State’s Branding, Marketing and Communications Office. He had an internship in the Fort Knox Public Affairs office where he wrote for futurearmyofficers.army.mil and was a videographer for the Army ROTC YouTube channel.

He was a member of PRSSA, Honors Student Council, HC Franklin Residential College Court, and Murray State Rowing Club. Polarek served on the Presidential Fellowship Scholarship Selection Committee.

Wood shared the position of top senior in graphic communications media. She had a second major in public relations and a minor in business administration. Wood is from Symsonia, Ky.

She worked in advertising for The Murray State News, the MSU social media team, Racer Relations and was an intern in the Office of Branding, Marketing and Communications. She had off-campus internships with VUE Magazine and Social Sharkz.

She was president of Student Government Association and the student regent. Wood was a member of Panhellenic Council, Alpha Sigma Alpha, Student Ambassadors. She was a Summer O counselor.

The department inducted seven graduating seniors into the Kappa Tau Alpha honor society. Inductees were Clare Froehlich, Colleen LaRochelle, Joel Polarek, Rose Rechtien, Jordyn Rowland, Ashley Traylor, and Patrick Wadlington.

The Kappa Tau Alpha top scholar was Joel Polarek.

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Eight selected for Who’s Who recognition

Posted on 31 December 2019 by jmcjournal

Eight of the 129 Murray State students selected for the 2019-20 Who’s Who Among Students at Murray State University have majors in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

The JMC recipients were Piper Cassetto, Madison Chapman, KirstyAnn Cole, Abrielle Fischer, Lexi Jones, Ashley McVicker, Carly Middleton, and Alexandria Morgan.

Cassetto, a television production major from Louisville, Ky., is on the athletics video crew for Digital Media Services. She did freelance production work for Louisville Bats Baseball through Sounder Audio and Piper Cassetto Media. She will graduate in May.

Chapman, a public relations major from Chaffee, Mo., served as social media manager for the Murray Calloway County Community Foundation. She interned at Walt Disney Company. She has worked as an office manager for Food Giant and as a customer service representative for the Chaffee Drive In. She plans to graduate in May.

Cole, a public relations major from O’Fallon, Mo., is a writer for the University’s alumni relations office. She had a social media internship for GSD&M, a public affairs internship with the U.S. Army Cadet Command and a summer internship with the University City Chamber of Commerce. Cole is a member of PRSSA and Murray Christian Fellowship. She will graduate in May.

Fisher, a public relations major from St. Louis, was a marketing and public relations intern with the Murray-Calloway County Chamber of Commerce, communications intern at Brodeur Partners, and a public relations intern for the United Way of Murray-Calloway County.

She is a member of PRSSA and the Kappa Delta sorority. She has worked as a program leader and gymnastics coach for Universal Athletics, a YMCA summer camp counselor, a lifeguard and assistant pool manager for Midwest Pool Management, and as a sales associate for Francesca’s Collections Boutique. Fisher will graduate in May.

Jones, an advertising major from Eldersburg, Md., is a member of Murray State’s women’s softball team. She has worked with the Special Olympics in Kentucky. She will graduate in May.

McVicker, a public relations major from Herrin, Ill., worked for the Murray Convention and Visitors Bureau. She was a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma and the Hardin Baptist college ministry. She graduated in December.

Middleton, a journalism and organizational communications double major from Williamstown, Ky., is a writer for the Branding, Marketing and Communications office. She is the director of communications and events at First Baptist Church in Murray. She is the president of the Baptist Campus Ministry. Middleton will graduate in May.

Morgan, a public relations major from Paducah, Ky., was an ad sales rep. for Gateway Magazine. She is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi’s standards committee and social chair, a Best Buddies peer mentor, and Student Government Association’s publication/public relations chair. She is a member of the Order of Omega and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She will graduate in May.

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Seniors meet the pros

Posted on 20 December 2018 by jmcjournal

JMC seniors had a chance to meet and learn from professionals in their field on Nov. 1. The department’s annual Meet the Pros events hosted professionals in advertising, graphic communications media, journalism, public relations and TV production.

Advertising students were able to listen to Jamie Futrell, general manager, Bristol Broadcasting, Paducah; Areia Hathcock, general manager, Metropolis Planet, Metropolis, Ill. and the Mayfield Messenger, Mayfield, Ky.; Joshua Miller, vice president of digital, 5by5 Agency, Nashville, Tenn.; Karie Thornton, digital sales director, Bristol Broadcasting, Paducah; and Robert Norsworthy, executive-in-residence, Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business, Murray State University.

Austin Gordon, media specialist, Hutson, Inc., Murray, shared his insights with graphic communications media majors.

Journalism seniors heard from Will Brantley, hunting editor, Field & Stream, Murray; Shelly Byrne, reporter, The Mayfield Messenger, Mayfield; and Roger Seay, news director, KFVS-TV 12, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Five visiting professionals shared their experiences with public relations majors. Those speakers were: Tori Daughrity, director of marketing and public relations, Henry County Medical Center, Paris, Tenn.; Dana Howard, marketing communications coordinator, CFSB, Benton; Richard Patterson, deputy public affairs officer, U.S. Army Cadet Command, Fort Knox; Heather Mix, account manager, Bayard Advertising, Nashville, Tenn.; Kallan Bubb, senior strategist, Canvas Worldwide, Los Angeles; and Kayla Speis, director of marketing and communications, Murray Convention & Visitors Bureau, Murray.

Television production majors listened to the insights of Jason Barnett, owner/creative director, Jason Barnett Graphics, Louisville; Kyle Hayden, local sales manager, WPSD-TV, Paducah; and Jeremy McKeel, director, Digital Media Services, Murray State University.

Following the one-hour roundtable sessions students participated in a speed interview session. Students spoke with a professional for a brief amount of time and moved to the next professional when time was called.

Gill Welsch, head of the advertising major, served as coordinator for this event.

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‘The News’ launches online newscast

Posted on 20 December 2018 by jmcjournal

Students in Dr. Stephanie Anderson’s JMC 398 Advanced Multimedia Reporting, launched an online newscast in the Fall 2018 semester called ‘”The College News.”

The name was the original name of The Murray State News.

As part of the class and the student media organization, student journalists are provided an experiential learning opportunity by creating an online newscast, which airs on Mondays each week during the semester. The students are responsible for all aspects of the show under Anderson’s guidance.

The course brought back the “Murray State Minute,” a one-minute news update that airs on Fridays. Both can be found at Facebook.com/themurraystatenews.

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Class gains real world sales experience

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal


Students in the fall semester JMC 426 class sold over $14,000 in advertising to support the 2018 edition of Gateway Magazine, a product of The Murray State News. From the left they are: Row 1 – Mary Katelyn Hayden and Mary Kathrine Curtis; Row 2 – Instructor Robert Valentine, Savanna Hatfield, Jessica Wellington, Katelyn Suitor; Row 3 – Morgan Rutledge, Laura Miller, Brittany McClain; Row 4 – Ali Alajmi, Austin Carner, Rachel Solomon; Row 5: Mohammed Alshatti, Chandler Cochran, Patrick Wadlinton, Aziz Liu, and John Bivins. (Not shown: Joe McMahon, Sydney Cline)

The spring semester class will sell ads to make possible the use of a smartphone app to provide directions, schedules and enrollment information for the 2018 Summer Orientation program. JMC 426 students regularly bring in more than $30,000 each year to support MSU print products used in enrollment and recruitment activities.


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Outstanding students recognized at annual honors banquet

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal


The top graduating seniors were recognized at the department’s annual honors banquet. From left: Kyara Roberson, advertising; Abby Siegel, public relations; Shelby Smithson, journalism; Dr. Debbie Owens, chair; Adam Loehr, TV production; Alissa Sommerfeldt, public relations; and Brandi Gooch, graphic communications media. Allie Douglass, outstanding graduate student, is not pictured.


Seven graduating students were recognized as the top students in their majors at the JMC department’s spring honors banquet April 26. Those receiving this recognition were Kyara Roberson, Shelby Smithson, Abby Siegel, Alissa Sommerfeldt, Adam Loehr, Brandi Gooch, and Allie Douglass.

Roberson was named the outstanding senior in advertising. She was a graphic communications technology minor. She had served as a social media intern for Bundles for Queens. Roberson was a member of Ads Club.

Smithson was the top student in journalism. She was a TV production major and journalism minor.

She had an internship with WPSD Local 6. On campus she worked as a reporter and co-host of “Roundabout U” and as a co-host and co-producer for “MSU 2Nite.”

She was a member of TV Club, Alpha Gamma Delta, Campus Activities Board and The Winner’s Circle.

Siegel was one of two outstanding seniors in public relations. She also majored in nonprofit leadership studies. She was an organizational communications minor.

She worked as news editor for The Murray State News and as a writer for Gateway Magazine. She was a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America, Honors Student Council, Baptist Campus Ministry, Racer Rowing, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, president of Wave with Living Waters for the World, and a Peace Corps ambassador.

Sommerfeldt was one of two outstanding seniors in public relations. She was an advertising minor. She had public relations internships with Murray State’s Alumni Association and the University’s Office of Development.

Her off-campus internships included Caterpillar Inc., VoiceBox Media and Owensboro’s RiverPark Center.

She was a residential advisor in Elizabeth Hall and a Summer O counselor. She served as president and vice president of the Public Relations Student Society of America, participated in the University’s Student Ambassador program, and was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society.

Loehr was the outstanding student in TV production. He was a theatre technical/design minor.

He was active in the TV Club.

Gooch was the outstanding student in graphic communications media. She was an art/graphic and web design minor.

She was a freelance graphic and web designer.

Douglass was named the outstanding mass communications graduate student. She had received her bachelor’s degree in graphic communications management/photography from Murray State in 2012.

She had worked as a photographer for the Paducah Sun, a public relations specialist for Murray State, and was the University’s visual communications coordinator.

She was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Leadership Women, MSU Residential College Task Force, and the Elizabeth College advisory council.

In addition to the top seniors, the departmental clubs and organizations recognized the achievements within their groups. Kappa Tau Alpha inductees were named during the banquet.

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Students win AP broadcasters college competition

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

A Murray State University student and an alumnus recently won awards from the Kentucky Associated Press Broadcasters college competition.

Piper Cassetto, a freshman television production major, won second place in the Best College Videographer category for her story “Clear the Track: the Legacy of Racer One.

Parker Franklin, a May 2016 graduate with a degree in journalism, won third place in Best News Story in the radio division for his story “How Universities Address Kentucky’s Doctor Shortage.” The piece aired on WKMS. Franklin is now a reporter with the Murray Ledger & Times.

The Kentucky Associated Press Broadcasters competition is designed to recognize outstanding performance in broadcast journalism among Associated Press members. The competition is open to AP members in Kentucky and outside Kentucky with designated market areas that extend into the state.

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Twelve JMC seniors selected for “Who’s Who”

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

Twelve of the 99 MSU seniors selected to the 2017-18 “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities” had majors in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

They were Mackenzie Chapman, Austin Gordon, Julie Graham, Ashley Horn, Connor Jaschen, Victoria (Tory) Lanaghan, Allison Laski, Abbey Malone, Nicole Schulenburg, Rachel Solomon, Kayla Speis, and Jaclyn Whoberry.

Chapman was a public relations major with a minor in advertising. She worked for The Murray State News and was the social media coordinator for Regents College. In summer 2017, she interned with TPN in New York City.

She graduated in December.

Gordon is a graphic communications media major and a marketing minor. He is the ad production manager and online editor for The Murray State News and Gateway Magazine.  He interned with Designory in Chicago in summer 2017.

He is a member of Ads Club, Public Relations Student Society of America, Gamma Epsilon Tao honor society. He is the director of multimedia for Student Government Association and vice president of volunteering for Omicron Delta Kappa. Gordon has won several awards from the Kentucky Press Association for his work with The News. He plans to graduate in May.

Graham is a public relations major and an organizational communication minor. She was an account service intern for Paradowski Creative in St. Louis.

She was a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America, Lambda Pi Eta, the vice president of public relations for Kappa Delta, and the vice president of finance for Panhellenic Council.

She was a consultant for the Racer Oral Communication Center. Graham plans to graduate in May.

Horn was a public relations major and an advertising minor. She worked for Murray State’s Office of Branding, Marketing and Communications and the University’s Education Abroad office.

She interned with TBWA/World Health in Chicago in summer 2017. She was part of the University’s dance company and a resident advisor. Horn graduated in December.

Jaschen is a public relations major and a political science minor. He is the editor in chief of The Murray State News. He had a public relations internship with Diversified Agency Services in New York in summer 2017.

He is a member of Ads Club, Student Government Association and the Sigma Pi fraternity.

He plans to graduate in May.

Lanaghan is a public relations major and a creative writing and Spanish minor. She worked with Racer Relations.

She was a marketing and social media management intern for the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias in Fairview Heights, Ill., social media content manager for the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand, Ind., and a development and social media management intern for Whole Kids Outreach in Ellington, Mo.

She was the vice president of the Public Relations Student Society of America, president of the Elizabeth College residential college council, and treasurer and leadership chair for Lambda Zeta Omicron. She is an adult leader for the St. James youth ministry.

Lanaghan plans to graduate in May.

Laski was a TV production major and an advertising minor. She was the chief videographer at The Murray State News.

She was a videographer at Bluegrass Downs’ horse track. She was a production assistant at 180 Degrees Productions LLC.

She was a member of TV Club. Laski graduated in December.

Malone is a public relations major and a legal studies minor. She worked for The Murray State News in advertising sales.

She was a regional account intern at BBDO Atlanta in summer 2017. She was a sales associate and handled social media for Ladybugs Boutiques.

She was a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America, Order of Omega, National Greek Honors Society, and Student Ambassadors. She was the philanthropic chair for Alpha Sigma Alpha and the membership chair for Campus Activities Board.

She also worked with Special Olympics, Girls on the Run, Toys for Tots, the S. June Smith Center, and Best Buddies. Malone plans to graduate in May.

Schulenburg was a public relations major and marketing minor. She worked for The Murray State News.

She was a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America, Kappa Tau Alpha national honor society, Kappa Delta, Order of Omega Greek honor society, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

She was a marketing intern for Make-A-Wish Missouri. Schulenburg graduated in December.

Solomon is a graphic communications media major and an advertising minor. She works in ad production at The Murray State News and Gateway magazine.

She is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi and Gamma Epsilon Tau.

She is a youth leader at New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. Solomon plans to graduate in May.

Speis is a public relations major and advertising minor. She is the publicity director for the Public Relations Student Society of America.

She is a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority and a coach for the Murray-Calloway County Soccer Association. Speis plans to graduate in May.

Whoberry is a public relations major and a marketing minor. In summer 2017, she was an intern for DDB New York.

She is a member of Kappa Delta, Student Government Association and Student Ambassadors.

She works for Racer Oral Communications. Whoberry plans to graduate in May.

Half of the Who’s Who nominees from the College of Business were JMC students.

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University grant provides professional-world exposure

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

Eleven Murray State University journalism and advertising students recently received training in digital media strategies thanks to an opportunity afforded by a QEP Bring Learning to Life grant.

Leigh Wright, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications, heard about the Lexington Herald-Leader’s successes with digital advertising campaigns during a retreat of the Kentucky Press Association board. She then formed a partnership with fellow board member Kim Woods, vice president of marketing and advertising for Herald Media.


Austin Gordon, right, looks over an assignment with fellow student Amanda Swift during a training session at the Lexington Herald-Leader offices.


Wright received a grant from the QEP Bring Learning to Life program. The grant allowed 11 students and three journalism professors to receive training in multimedia news coverage, digital advertising and marketing strategies and social media strategies for news and advertising from the Lexington Herald-Leader staff.

“Many news organizations are still struggling with making sense of the changing media landscape,” Wright said. “The Lexington paper has found success with digital advertising and multimedia news. Who better to train our students in cutting-edge techniques and give them an advantage when they go to internships and jobs.”

The training day consisted of two tracks: advertising and news. For the advertising track, students learned about digital products and how to manage a digital advertising campaign. For the news track, students learned photography and videography techniques for one session. Editor Peter Baniak and columnist Tom Eblen discussed the role of social media and the need for verification, and Baniak concluded the session with lessons on how his paper uses analytics to determine social media strategy.

Participating students were: Kailey Buchanan, junior advertising major; Mackenzie Chapman, junior advertising major; Bryan Edwards, senior journalism major; Austin Gordon, junior graphic communications major; Collin Morris, sophomore journalism major; Blake Sandlin, freshman journalism major; Amanda Swift, freshman marketing major; Paige Tobey, junior advertising major; Dylan Townsend, junior GCM major; Ashley Traylor, sophomore journalism major, and Emily Williams, senior journalism major
Wright, Gill Welsch, senior lecturer of advertising, and Bob Valentine, senior lecturer of advertising, accompanied the students.

Students who work at The Murray State News have already started to train the newspaper staff in some of the techniques they learned.

Heather McGinnis, senior director of digital and client success at Herald Media, said the staff enjoyed a chance to share their knowledge and inspire college students.

“We’re very proud of the things that we have changed and adapted to in this age,” McGinnis said. “It really made us think about it from a different point of view, from a college student’s point of view. For us it’s given us a lot of insight on the people we want to recruit and the talent that’s out there and how we can help students to hit the ground running when they graduate.”

The Bring Learning to Life grants strive to improve experiential learning outcomes through the implementation of learning experiences in which students apply the principles learned in the classroom to real-world settings.

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