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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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The News nominated for Pacemaker

Posted on 30 December 2016 by jmcjournal

The Murray State News was recognized at the ACP conference as a nominee for the Pacemaker Award. Representing The News at the conference was Stephanie Elder, adviser; Ashley Traylor, staff writer; Gisselle Hernandez, features editor; and Connor Jaschen, editor in chief.

The Murray State News was recognized in October as one of the top collegiate newspapers in the country.

The News was named one of 30 finalists for the coveted Pacemaker award from the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP). ACP gives the award out to four categories of publications: online, newspaper, yearbook and magazine. Teams of professionals judge the entries based on coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership, design, photography and graphics, according to the ACP website.

This is not the first time the student publication has been recognized for this top honor. The Murray State News won the Pacemaker award in 2004 and was last nominated in 2006.

The work of the 2015-16 staff of The Murray State News puts the newspaper in the top 1 percent in the United States, according to the Associated Collegiate Press.

Connor Jaschen, editor-in-chief, Gisselle Hernandez, features editor, Ashley Traylor, staff writer, and Stephanie Elder Anderson, faculty adviser, represented Murray State at the ACP national conference in Washington in October to accept the finalist award.

The News representatives attended dozens of sessions at the conference as well as toured the White House and the Newseum.

They also had the opportunity to hear speakers such as Donna Brazile, Democratic National Committee interim chairwoman, Bob Woodward, one of the two journalists responsible for breaking the Watergate scandal, and Edward Snowden, the former intelligence officer who revealed in 2013 that the NSA was seizing private records of billions of U.S. citizens.

Stephanie Elder Anderson met Bob Woodward at the ACP national conference.

Jaschen, Traylor and Hernandez toured the White House as part of the conference events

After listening to Washington Post journalist, Bob Woodward speak, Elder Anderson was honored to meet the award-winning author and have him sign her copy of All the President’s Men, a book she uses to teach investigative journalism in her courses.

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Department welcomes high school students to campus

Posted on 30 December 2016 by jmcjournal

Area high school students interested in mass communications came to campus on Sept. 23 for a morning of training in the department’s annual High School Student Media Workshop. A variety of learning sessions was provided for students interested in journalism, yearbooks, advertising or videography. One session focused on collect video footage on campus and using it for a mock TV show.

The department’s annual High School Student Media Workshop attracted more than 340 students from 12 area high schools.

Schools attending this year’s workshop were: Ballard County, Caldwell County, Calloway County, Crittenden County, Fort Campbell, Graves County, Mayfield, McCracken County, Murray, Paducah Tilghman, St. Mary, and Trigg County.

The Sept. 23 workshop began with greetings from Dr. Tim Todd, dean, Arthur J Bauernfeind College of Business, and Dr. Debbie Owens, interim chair, Dept. of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Workshop director Leigh Wright announced the winners in the student media contest. Click here to watch the contest winner announcement which was played as part of the Workshop’s opening assembly.

The workshop was divided into three sessions with a variety of options for each session. Students and teachers were able to attend classes on advertising design and writing, feature writing and interviewing, writing effective headlines, sports still photography, latest trends in memory books, getting started with writing, InDesign basics, video field production, lighting, sports media production, on-camera interviewing and presentation, TV studio production, advertising sales, careers in the media, sports writing and reporting, social media, getting started with WordPress, finding story ideas, evaluating news sources for stories, looking good in print, writing on a deadline, broadcast announcing, writing effective news leads for print, broadcast & online, and a session for advisers.

JMC faculty and staff teaching in the workshop included: Gill Welsch, Dr. Robert H. McGaughey III, Dr. Melony Shemberger, Gross Magee, Brent Norsworthy, Dr. Kevin Qualls, Stephanie Elder Anderson, Chris Haynes, Dr. Debbie Owens, Elizabeth Thomas, and Orville Herndon.

Andrew Buehler and the Jostens staff presented three classes on yearbook trends. Jeremy McKeel and the Digital Media Services team presented several TV classes. Several JMC students hosted classes related to writing.

The 2017 workshop is scheduled for Sept. 22.

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McGaughey named Volunteer of the Year

Posted on 30 December 2016 by jmcjournal

Dr. Bob McGaughey, retired professor and chairman of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications, was named one of 20 Volunteers of the Year (2015-16) at the national Pi Kappa Alpha convention Aug. 6 in New Orleans. Seated is Dr. Bob McGaughey, Pike and Murray State alumni from left, Bobby Workman, Bobby Martin, Buford Anderson, George Oakley, Dan Miller, Jerry Penner and John Weatherly.

Dr. Bob McGaughey, retired chairman and professor of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications, was named one of 20 Volunteers of the Year (2015-16) at the national Pi Kappa Alpha convention Aug. 6 in New Orleans.

Nominated by the MSU Pike chapter adviser and the Murray-Calloway County Hospital CEO, Jerry Penner, McGaughey was the only fraternity alumnus from Kentucky named to the list.

The fraternity headquarters noted that this was the first year for the award. It recognizes “those alumni volunteers who serve in advisory board roles mentoring chapter leadership and members in ethical decision making, chapter operations, risk management, and strategic planning.”

McGaughey, a member of the “Fabulous Forty” pledge class of spring of 1962, has served on the alumni advisory board, on the house corporation and on the committee to raise funds and build the house on 16th street. The new house, built after the Pike Lodge north of campus burned in 2004, is named for the late Dr. Hal Houston.

In addition, McGaughey has helped sponsor Rush activities and been a major donor for building the current Pike house. He also has spoken to the Epsilon Lambda chapter on its history, communications, public relations and the roles of officers.

In 1977 he was named as second person to be the Pi Kappa Alpha Distinguished Alumnus. The first one was Dr. Houston.

McGaughey joined the MSU faculty in 1969 as the adviser to The Murray State News and journalism instructor. He became department chairman in 1974.

He retired in 1997 after 27 years and 23 as chairman. He then taught part time and worked with the BIS program in MSU’s Continuing Education unit until December 2010.

McGaughey has received several awards/honors for his work at Murray State. He won the Max Carman Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 1984 and was named the Distinguished Professor by the Alumni Association in 1990. In 2015 he received the Golden Horseshoe Award for continued outstanding service and support of the university.

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

His other honors include being named to “Personalities of the South,” “International Men of the Year,” “Who’s Who in America,” “Who’s Who in the South and Southwest,” “Who’s Who Among American Teachers,” “Who’s Who in the Media and Communications,” “Who’s Who Registry of Business Leaders” and “Men of Achievement.” In 2012 he was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.

McGaughey may be best known for his presentations with his close friend, Bob Valentine. The two have done communications workshops/speeches and their comedy act of Dr. Trey and Dr. Vee since 1978.

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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.

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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

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