Chair reflects on 2018

December is a time for reflection on the past and anticipation of the future, and so it is for the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at Murray State University. As always seems to be the case in any university setting, the JMC department has experienced the paradox of stability in a context of change. Murray State has a new interim president and a recently-hired provost while the department has a new interim chair. Despite the changes, the JMC students, staff, and faculty carry on their tradition of excellence like a metronome. Following are a few examples:

Murray State selected 131 students for Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. Twenty of them (or 15 percent) were from JMC. JMC students represent three percent of the overall student body at Murray State. If you’re into index numbers, all of this means JMC students this past year were approximately 375 percent more likely than average to be named to Who’s Who.

With the invaluable aid of Robert Norsworthy, our executive-in-residence, the JMC advertising/public relations internship program continues to grow. Since its inception in 2011, 126 students have participated in 158 internships at major agencies in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, South Korea, and China. With 23 applicants again this fall, we’re on track for placing an additional 20-plus interns in 2019.

Averaging more than one per issue, The Murray State News won 33 awards at the annual Kentucky Press Association Convention last January in Lexington. The paper’s awards for editorial content include first place for Best General News Story, Best Column, Best Ongoing Coverage, Best Use of Social Media, Best Sports Picture Essay and Best Lifestyle Page. In advertising and promotions The News took first place for Best Clothing Store Advertisement, Best Holiday Greeting Ads and General/Miscellaneous, Best Creative Use of the Newspaper/Newspaper Promotion and Best Online/Digital Ad.

Debbie Owens, our former chair, has accepted a position in the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business at Murray State to head up its initiatives in diversity and inclusion. She continues to teach with a half-time appointment in JMC. Dr. Owens was selected to attend the 2018 Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) Leadership Institute this past summer.

Going forward, the department has approved a new minor in TV Production which will begin with the fall 2019 semester, and we are launching our new online graduate program this coming spring.

Our administrative assistant Marion Hale has been elected president of Murray State’s Staff Congress. Her current term runs through June 2019. She also is serving on the University’s search committee for its next president.

Finally and most importantly, we are grateful for your continued support. As Dr. Owens pointed out in last fall’s JMC Journal, without your help we couldn’t keep abreast of the fast-paced technological changes in both classroom delivery and industry-level training that our students require to succeed. Our alumni are our greatest asset, and we appreciate you a great deal.

We look forward to hearing from you in 2019.

H. Allen White
interim chair