University grant provides professional-world exposure

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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Posted on 05 January 2018 by jmcjournal

Categorized | Students