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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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High school student media visits campus

Posted on 20 December 2018 by jmcjournal

The Department of Journalism and Mass Communications welcomed more than 250 high school students and media advisers to campus on Sept. 28 for the annual High School Media Workshop.

This event provided learning opportunities for students working in a variety of high school media.

Sessions included: evaluating news, advertising sales, sports still photography, latest trends in memory books, InDesign basics, Facebook Live, careers in the media, social media, crafting an effective ad, looking good in print, asking better questions, and crafting a solid news story.

Two super sessions were offered. One featured Murray State television production students and faculty. The session looked at the winners of this year’s video category. Tips and in¬sights for strengthening news, sports and features were provided in the session.

Newspaper and multimedia students could participate in a super session in the newsroom of The Murray State News. Attendees learned about the sections of a college newspaper and how to use AP style. The students recorded a segment of the “Murray State Minute” webcast. The session was taught by the adviser and students of The Murray State News.

High school media advisers were able to participate in a curriculum swapshop, best practices, and group discussion sessions.

An AP style competition was offered as part of the Workshop.

JMC faculty/staff teaching sessions included: Robert Valentine, Wm. Gross Magee, Brent Norsworthy, Dr. Melony Shemberger, Chris Haynes, Dr. Kevin Qualls, Dr. Stephanie Anderson, Dr. Debbie Owens, Elizabeth Thomas, Gill Welsch, Dr. Tim Vance, Orville Herndon, Dr. Marcie Hinton, Leigh Wright.

Sessions led by professionals outside the JMC department included: Dana Statton, University Libraries; Jeremy McKeel, MSU Digital Media Services; Valerie Ezell and Amey Graybeal, Jostens; and Shelley Street Byrne, The Mayfield Messenger.

Leigh Wright served as the director of the High School Workshop. She was assisted by Marion Hale.

Winners of the High School Media Competition were announced prior to the beginning of the workshop. A complete list of winners can be found on

The 2019 High School Media Workshop is scheduled for Sept. 27.

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Owens researches diversity options

Posted on 20 December 2018 by jmcjournal

Dr. Mary M. Meares, left, and Dr. George Daniels, right, of the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa, discussed their school’s diversity initiatives with Dr. Debbie Owens. Over the summer Owens was selected to head up diversity and inclusion initiatives in Murray State’s Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business.

During fall break, Dr. Debbie Owens traveled to the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa where she met with representatives of the College of Communication and Information Sciences (CCIS) to discuss its diversity plan.

The meeting was hosted by members of the college’s Diversity Forum, Dr. George Daniels, assistant dean for administration, College of Communication and Information Sciences, and Dr. Mary M. Meares, associate professor, Department of Communication Studies and chair of the Human Resources Committee.

“I appreciate getting an opportunity to observe firsthand the initiatives that are in place at Alabama,” Owens said. “They’ve provided me with a broader perspective on ways to implement a sustainable diversity plan.”

The college’s diversity initiatives have been nationally recognized by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (AEJMC) and used as a model for the International Mass Communication Training and Research Center. CCIS initiatives include the use of multiple instructors to teach diversity-focused courses and diversity advocacy training for faculty and staff.

Owens said she intends to highlight aspects of UA’s model as examples of “best practices” for innovations in diversity and inclusiveness both within the JMC department and at the collegiate level.

In November, she represented the A. J. Bauernfeind College of Business at the 2018 Diversity and Inclusiveness Summit sponsored by Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in Phoenix.

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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

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JMC Journal online edition

Posted on 20 December 2018 by jmcjournal

The JMC Journal can be downloaded as a pdf document. Click the image to open the file.

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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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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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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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Morris interns at NAB convention

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

John Morris runs camera during the StudioXPerience internship at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas. Morris is a 2017 graduate of Murray State University.

When an injury sidelined John Morris from his dream of playing four years of college football, he decided to look at the positives.

Morris, of Nashville, Tenn., chose to use his year as a chance to earn experience in his fields of television production and journalism. With his athletic schedule for the past three years, he had not had opportunities beyond the classroom to gain experience he needed for his career.

That all changed with the opportunity afforded to him through the 2017 StudioXperience internship through at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in late April in Las Vegas. Morris was one of five students chosen to participate as production interns through a national application process. The application required Morris to write an essay that outlined why he wanted to intern as well as a recommendation letter from a professor.  

“It meant a lot, especially to be fortunate enough to represent Murray State,” Morris said. “I was one of five in the country selected for this, and it meant a lot to know what MSU has given me.”

During the weeklong trade show, Morris ran camera, edited video and audio and interviewed one of’s leaders.

“As far as the expectations of what they asked us to do, I felt very well prepared,” Morris said.

Morris graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree. His major was television production with a minor in journalism. Morris made business cards before his internship to brand himself as a multimedia journalist and hopes to land a job soon. He praised the Murray State television production and journalism sequences for preparing him with the current technology for video production and multiplatform journalism. As the internship neared the end, leaders asked him if he would mind helping on camera and allowed him to do interviews.
“You’ve got to be able to multi-task,” Morris said.

Besides the hands-on experience at the NAB show, Morris said the networking helped him make connections that he otherwise may not have made. Television industry leaders visited the booth at the show.

Leigh Wright, assistant professor of journalism, nominated Morris for the internship. She said she thought of him when she saw the call for the internship through the Broadcast Education Association and decided to nominate him.

“John has had an incredible work ethic in my classes,” she said. “I knew the project would be completed. And when the project became stressful near the deadline, John always reassured the class that everything would come together. He’s an excellent team player, and we have to have that in newsrooms.”

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Media pros share experience with seniors

Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

Media professionals visited campus to talk with seniors in the JMC department. Some of the participating professionals are, front row from left: Lauren Ruser, Kim Hamby, Meredith Krones, Bob Norsworthy, Tab Brockman, Miranda Ochsner, Matt Wilham, back row from left: Chris Lovorn, Beth Klasskin, Roger Seay, Denham Rogers, William Amos, Collin Buckingham, Spencer Nowell, Jeremy McKeel, Hawkins Teague, and Dr. Debbie Owens.

 Seniors had a chance to meet and talk with professionals in their respective majors Oct. 26. The annual event began with panel discussions for each of the department’s majors. After the panel discussions, students met with the professionals in a “speed interview” reception. 

Professionals participating in the advertising panel were Robert Norsworthy, executive in residence for Murray State’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications, Miranda Ochsner, media strategist for HLK in St. Louis, and Matthew Wilham, junior strategist at Bisig Impact Group in Louisville, Ky. Dr. Bob McGaughey, retired department chair, was the moderator for the advertising panel.

Denham Rogers, director of marketing for Hutson, Inc. in Murray, and Chris Lovorn, vice president of sales for Quad/Graphics, were the professionals who met with graphic communications media students.

Journalism students listened to the perspectives of Beth Klasskin, executive producer of Spectrum News in Louisville, Ky., Roger Seay, news director at KFVS-TV in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Hawkins Teague, managing editor at The Murray Ledger & Times. Leigh Wright was the moderator for the journalism panel.

Majors in public relations gained insight from William Amos, special events coordinator for the City of Mobile, Ala., Tab Brockman, superintendent of Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation in Hopkinsville, Ky., Kim Hamby, public relations director for the Mayfield, Ky., Independent School District, Meredith Krones, social media strategist for Humana in Louisville, Ky., and Lauren Ruser, digital media strategist for Second Street in St. Louis. Dr. Tim Vance was the moderator for the public relations panel discussion.

Television production majors heard from Collin Buckingham, a freelancer in the film industry from Glendale, Calif., Jeremy McKeel, director of Digital Media Services at Murray State University, and Spencer Nowell, producer for WPSD-TV in Paducah, Ky. Dr. Kevin Qualls was the moderator for the TV production panel.

Gill Welsch was the coordinator for Meet the Pros. The 2018 Meet the Pros program is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 1.

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