Author: Cis Ga

C&IS Year in Review

The Best of 2018

What a year! We are honored to share with you the stories and standouts of our students, faculty, alumni and staff. Here is a roundup of just a few of our favorite features from 2018. 

SLIS Breaks Record for Book Bonanza: School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) awarded a record $25,752 in new, free books to elementary, middle, and high school libraries in Alabama via the SLIS Book Bonanza for the Black Belt & Beyond Program.

PRWeek Awards: C&IS Senior, Maret Montanari, was named PRWeek’s Public Relations Student of the Year and is the University’s first. The Department of Advertising and Public Relations was once again named a top-five finalist for Outstanding Education Program in the 2018 PRWeek Awards.

Alpine Living Wins National Mark of Excellence: C&IS student-produced magazine, Alpine Living, was awarded the national Mark of Excellence from the Society of Professional Journalists in the category of Best Affiliated Website. Alpine Living features content from the travels of 15 journalism and creative media students in New Zealand.

Public Opinion Lab Opens: Housed Reese Phifer Hall, the Public Opinion Lab is an innovative space for social analytics research. The Public Opinion Lab opened August of this year and is made possible through a partnership with Crimson Hexagon, an AI-powered data source of consumer insights.

Forensics National Champion: Jalen Drummond finished first nationally in Informative Speaking at the 41st American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) Championships. The Alabama Forensic Council traveled to the AFA-NIET with over 20 students competing.

Dr. Josh Pederson Receives NSF Grant: Three University of Alabama professors have been awarded a grant of more than $300,000  from the National Science Foundation to study the relationship between communication and physiological responses in intimate partnerships.

Biennial Hall of Fame Ceremony: This year’s College of Communication and Information Sciences Hall of Fame ceremony honored five inductees: Jennings F. Bryant Jr., Rece Davis, Fred D. Gray, and Houston and Voncile Pearce. View the photo album from this year’s ceremony here.

Best Student-Run Firm: C&IS’ Capstone Agency was awarded Best Campaign, Best Tactic and Best Student-Run Firm in the 2018 Public Relations Student Society of America Student-Run Firm Awards. These awards celebrate outstanding campaigns and tactics completed by PRSSA’s nationally affiliated, student-run firms across the country.

Oh Receives Don Bartholomew Award: Jeyoung Oh, a doctoral student and two-time graduate of C&IS, was named the recipient of the prestigious 2018 Don Bartholomew Award for Excellence in Public Relations Research. Oh received the award at the IPR Annual Distinguished Lecture and Awards Dinner on November 28 at the Roosevelt Hotel.

Reflections from C&IS Graduates

We are proud to have a College made up of so many risk-takers, researchers, creators, storytellers and artists. Around 200 C&IS students will graduate this December and start their careers across the country in fields such as strategic marketing, public relations, advertising, film and law school. Before they graduate, we wanted to hear some of the stories of our December graduates. Below are their insights, photos and reflections from their time at C&IS.

What is your favorite memory in C&IS?

“My favorite memory in C&IS was all the holiday festivities…from Easter egg hunts to drinking hot chocolate with professors. The C&IS SEC bowling trip was also so much fun and a great opportunity to meet people in the college.” – Samantha Stiles, Journalism & Creative Media

“Campaigns. It was so much fun working with my group, covering all fields of advertising and working together towards a common goal.” – Alex White, Advertising

What was your favorite class during your time in C&IS? Why?

“APR 433 was the best experience. I worked with a full team to build an entire campaign for the White Sox using our own ideas.” – Harley Sabbagh, Public Relations

“My favorite class in C&IS was Professor Cantrell’s JCM 354 – Into to Production Management. Although my major isn’t film related, I learned so much about how movies are made and what goes into the film making process. It is hard work making a film, but Professor Cantrell made the class fun and interesting. She always had a smile on her face.” – Samantha Stiles, Journalism & Creative Media

“APR 427. Mark Harris was the best professor I have ever had. I got to strengthen my writing and public speaking skills and learned things that I will use outside of the classroom.” – Elly McKinnon, Public Relations

What is the best advice you have for incoming C&IS freshmen?

Have fun in college and explore what this diverse campus has to offer. There is so much to do, and you’ll be delighted with all the activities and social events that go on at campus. Enjoy these years while they last because your college years will fly by!” – Ben Senicz, Communication Studies

“Go out to events and meet people. Some of your favorite memories will come from spending time with classmates that you wouldn’t have known otherwise. Also, the computer lab on the 3rd floor of Reese Phifer is a great place for some peace and quiet.” – Samantha Stiles, Journalism & Creative Media

“Seek outside help from professors anytime you need their guidance. Proper time management and a disciplined work ethic breed success.” – Alex White, Advertising

“Prepare for the unexpected, have great time management skills and intern!” – Harley Sabbagh, Public Relations

What tools or strategies helped you succeed during your time in college?

“I didn’t think of college classes as optional. It was mandatory in my head, so I knew I had to go to class every day and work as hard as I could to come out on top.” – Samantha Stiles, Journalism & Creative Media

“Plan out every class semester-by-semester for every year.” – Laney Howard, Public Relations

“Don’t be afraid to test the waters and take classes in different colleges. I found advertising as a result of exploring other colleges. I couldn’t be happier that I did!” – Alex White, Advertising


Thank you to our honors graduates of December 2018 and best of luck!

C&IS Senior Selected to Work the Pink Carpet at the VMAs

To view this full interview with Viacom and Doyle’s interviews with celebrities, click here.

As an intern for Paramount Network, Alana Doyle had to the opportunity to contribute to various television shows and partnerships within the Viacom network. She worked to create press kits, pitches and write stories about television shows. Her internship ended with the biggest stage of all: MTV’s VMAs. Doyle was selected out of the class of summer interns to work the pink carpet and interview celebrities as a ViaCommunity reporter, Viacom’s social responsibility initiative.

ViaCommunity and Viacom’s Campus to Career teams invited current summer interns to submit a video proving how they would thrive on the pink carpet as a Viacommunity reporter, injecting the company’s social conscience into one of its most-followed programs.

Doyle was a given a one-week notice to compile her submission which was a take on the typical talk show format which she titled, The Daily Dose.

“Comedy Central’s The Daily Show is one of Viacom’s partners so I decided to play both roles: the interviewer and the guest,” said Doyle. “What better way to show that I could interview someone than to just interview myself?”

Her video tackled important social and economic issues while still remaining true to Doyle’s personality and passion for entertainment. Three days after submitting her application video, Doyle received an email that she said “changed the rest of her life.” Despite having no prior experience in acting or television, Doyle was the only intern chosen to interview celebrities at the VMAs.

“In all honesty, I still am pinching myself to this day just thinking about it,” said Doyle. “There was no way that I, a 21-year girl from Arizona, was about to not only attend the VMAs, but also be able to speak with celebrities at the VMAs.”

Doyle was flown up to New York City the day before the VMAs and was immediately connected with Viacommunity representatives who helped her prepare for her role on the red carpet. Because of her passion for mentoring younger generations, Doyle prepared questions that asked celebrities about their role in social issues and about how they are giving back to their communities.

“Once I hit the pink carpet, wiping a smile off my face was impossible,” said Doyle, “I really put everything I had into this experience so that I could walk away knowing that I did the best I could.”

Since then, Doyle has returned to C&IS with a new vision for her career in public relations and is extremely grateful for the leaders she met during her internship and time with the VMAs. She plans to graduate as a public relations major in May 2019.

To view this full interview with Viacom and Doyle’s interviews with celebrities, click here.

Washington Post Reports on Current JCM Graduate Student’s Viral Cartoon

The content below is a reposting of The Washington Post story on Marshall Ramsey by Michael Cavna. You can view that story here. Marshall Ramsey is a current JCM graduate student through the Bama by Distance program.

Marshall Ramsey was awakened by his wife late Friday night with the news: President George H.W. Bush had just died. Right away, Ramsey thought back to his idea.

When former first lady Barbara Bush died in April, Ramsey — the editorial cartoonist for the Mississippi Clarion Ledger — created a memorial illustration that went viral. Days later, when her husband of 73 years became ill, Ramsey began thinking about a companion cartoon to salute the former president.

“But he’s tough as nails and bounced back,” Ramsey tells The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs, “so I just filed the idea away.”

Until Friday night, when Ramsey learned the 41st president had died at age 94, according to Bush spokesman Jim McGrath.

“I drew it as quickly as I could and then posted” it on social media, Ramsey says of the tribute. “It seems like I’ve [drawn] so many obituary cartoons this year — 2018 has been cruel. But since the last one was so well-received by the Bush family and by parents who had lost children, I wanted to make sure this one was right.”

This one was indeed right, based on swift public embrace of the work, which readers called “beautiful” and “touching.” The tribute cartoon in April pictured Barbara Bush in heaven, being reunited with her daughter Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush, who died of leukemia in 1953. The Bush parents had called Robin’s death, at age 3, their greatest sorrow.

In the new cartoon, George H.W. Bush, the former Navy pilot and World War II hero, has flown a TBM Avenger to the pearly gates to be reunited with wife and daughter.

“I consider this cartoon and the Barbara Bush cartoon to be bookends,” says Ramsey, who was humbled by the praise that the cartoon drew — especially that of Jenna Bush Hager, the Bushes’ granddaughter.

“This brought me such comfort this morning,” Hager wrote Saturday on Facebook, with a shared image of the cartoon. “I had the opportunity to talk with my grandpa about the afterlife.

“This is what he said: ​He answered without any hesitation. ‘Yes, I think about it. I used to be afraid. I used to be scared of dying. I used to worry about death. But now in some ways I look forward to it.’ And I started crying. I managed to choke out, ‘Well, why? What do you look forward to?’ And he said, ‘Well, when I die, I’m going to be reunited with these people that I’ve lost.’ ”

When Hager asked her grandfather whom he hoped to see when reunited, she wrote that he replied: “I hope I see Robin, and I hope I see Barbara.”

The former president added, she wrote, that he hoped that upon this reunion, Robin would still be age 3 — “the little girl he held tightly: who spoke the phrase I have heard Gampy repeat for my entire life, forever knitting Robin’s voice into the tightly woven fabric of our family. ‘I love you more than tongue can tell.’ ”

Hager’s Facebook update has been shared more than 40,000 times and has received more than 100,000 responses.

“To read what Jenna wrote — let’s just say I’m honored beyond words,” Ramsey told The Post. “Let’s put politics aside for a moment — the Bush family is remarkably kind and gracious.”

When Ramsey was creating the Barbara Bush cartoon in April, he recalls thinking: “Here’s a person who has had just about everything go right in her life: mother and wife of presidents, big successful family, a successful platform of her own. But I thought: You know, she lost a child. And I know from friends who have lost kids that it is about as painful as it gets.”

Ramsey said about his cartoon honoring George H.W. Bush: “I wanted to incorporate his service to our country because, love or hate him, he served our country in about every capacity.” Ramsey noted he had recently flown in an Avenger, so the experience informed the artwork.

Ramsey notes, too, that it has been exactly 30 years since he first saw George H.W. Bush in person — and drew a caricature of him. The cartoonist was a student at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1988 when then-Vice President Bush — while campaigning for the presidency — visited the campus. The cartoon Ramsey drew featured a lineup of presidential candidates angling for party nominations — including a Bush caricature that Ramsey, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, says “did get better over time.”

Three decades later, Ramsey appreciates the responses from such figures as Hager and McGrath.

“But I also just got an email from a mother who shared her conversation with her dying 5-year-old about them reuniting in heaven,” Ramsey says. “Honestly, that moved me to tears.”

APR’s Jeyoung Oh Receives 2018 Don Bartholomew Award

Jeyoung Oh (left) with Orin Puniello of Ketchum and Dr. Tina McCorkindale of The Institute of Public Relations.

Jeyoung Oh, a doctoral student and two-time graduate of C&IS, was named the recipient of the prestigious 2018 Don Bartholomew Award for Excellence in Public Relations Research. The award, sponsored by Ketchum Global Research & Analytics and the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), selects a top graduate student in public relations, communications or business to acquire practical experience in public relations research at Ketchum New York and learn what research that matters to the practice means. Oh received the award at the IPR Annual Distinguished Lecture and Awards Dinner on November 28, 2018 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.

“I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work at Ketchum this summer where I have gained a wealth of knowledge and research experience in practice,” said Oh.

Oh’s research uses sentiment analysis of news media and Twitter data for predicting stock price. She hopes that her work will help bridge public relations academia and public relations practice together. With this award, Oh can further her academic and professional goals and ultimately help companies like Ketchum navigate the digital space.

“I am motivated to better understand how public and influencer sentiment can affect businesses” says Oh. “I am excited to use this award to advance my research objectives even further.

As the winner of the Don Bartholomew Award, Oh received a $7,500 stipend and a public relations research internship at the Ketchum offices in New York during the summer of 2018. Oh is also working to complete a research paper intended for use by practitioners. After the research paper is accepted for publication by IPR, Oh will receive a $2,500 grant for the paper.

The award, which was renamed in memory of Ketchum communications luminary Don Bartholomew, recognizes Bartholomew’s leadership in the field of public relations and his passion for teaching the practice to others.

“I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to Ketchum for this great opportunity and lastly, I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Eyun-Jung Ki, for all her support.”

About Ketchum Global Research and Analytics
Ketchum Global Research and Analytics (KGRA) is an award-winning, global team and the largest research, planning and analytics group in the PR industry. KGRA is committed to using innovative quantitative and qualitative research, along with digital, social and predictive analytics, in all phases of brand marketing, corporate reputation and employee engagement.

About The Institute for Public Relations
The Institute for Public Relations is an independent, nonprofit research foundation dedicated to fostering greater use of research and research-based knowledge in corporate communication and the public relations practice. IPR is dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations™. IPR provides timely insights and applied intelligence that professionals can put to immediate use. All research, including a weekly research letter, is available for free at

The College of Communication and Information Sciences’ faculty and students at The University of Alabama conduct cutting-edge research that creates knowledge and provides solutions to global issues across the full communication and information spectrum. To learn more about the College’s research initiatives, visit

Life as a Freelance Film Professional in New York City

To Ted Snow, no work day looks the same. As a freelance director of photography in New York City, Snow has worked for Vogue, ESPN, Budweiser, the Oscars, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. He recently directed his first feature film, titled A Gift of Wings: The Pilots of Sebring, which profiles the human side of Aerobatic pilots. The film is now being shown in film festivals across the nation and was recently a semi-finalist in the Los Angeles CineFest and an official selection in the Metro Film & TV Awards. Snow loves the creativity and freedom that his work provides and says that when he is under pressure, he creates his best work.

“That’s what the freelance life is all about – nothing is ever guaranteed,” said Snow, “It is a constant grind. I love living in those moments of ‘what’s next?’.”

Snow is no stranger to the grind. As a telecommunications and film major in C&IS, Snow also worked as a student football equipment manager from 2008 to 2012. There, he worked from noon to 7 p.m. every day and met media outlets and camera crews who connected him to internships and a post graduate job. Ever since, Snow has taken to his grit and creativity to broadcast and film, working alongside some of the most influential brands.

“Never get complacent. Always stay hungry,” said Snow, “Nothing is ever guaranteed.”

To see more of Snow’s work, visit his Vimeo account or IMDb profile.

C&IS to Launch Living Learning Community for Incoming Freshmen

Starting in Fall 2019, first year students with a declared C&IS major can apply to join the Capstone Communication Living Learning Community (LLC). In this community, students will enjoy living, learning and studying alongside peers with shared interests, as well as benefit from social, academic and creative activities related to a wide variety of communication and media practices both on and off campus.

Capstone Communication LLC students will take two courses together in the fall semester (CIS 100 and MC 101) and one course together in the spring semester (COM 123). Additionally, students will have C&IS resident advisors and peer mentors to serve as guides throughout their first year. Programs such as a DMC tour or faculty lunches will be planned monthly for the LLC members.

Assistant Dean of Student Services and External Relations, Dr. Sara Hartley, and C&IS advisor, Alyssa Stephens, pioneered this program in partnership with UA Housing and Residential Communities as a way to connect and support students in the College, from day one.

“We want to keep that sense of community within the College and within our freshman class,” said Alyssa Stephens. “Students in this program will know, before they get to college, that they have professors, peer leaders and RAs invested in their success. There is an immediate sense of connection which is beneficial because coming to college can be a big transition.”

This program will be housed in the University’s Freshman Hall. A limited number of spaces are available and interested incoming students can apply here through a separate housing application. Students will be admitted on a rolling basis until spaces are filled. For more information, contact Alyssa Stephens at

C&IS Alumna Hosting on the Big Stage for the Atlanta Falcons

Emmy-winning sports journalist, Jordan Whitley, joins former NFL star running back Michael Turner and award-winning sports writer Matthew Tabeek as the in-game broadcast team for the Atlanta Falcons official pregame show at Mercedes Benz Stadium, a live show previewing the Falcons home game match-ups. Whitley also hosts the halftime report and postgame show at the stadium.

Prior to joining the Falcons, Whitley was the sports anchor for Fox 5 in San Diego. A graduate of C&IS, the journalist has reported for ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Northwest and Fox 5 San Diego covering the NFL, MLB and NCAA Football, as well as supercross racing and Formula Drift. She has served as a sideline reporter and producer for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, covered the Atlanta Braves on Fox Sports South and SEC athletics for CSN South, worked for Speed TV and joined the broadcast team for ESPN’s X Games in 2013.

An Alabama native, Whitley is a 2005 Telecommunication and Film graduate. If you are headed to see the Falcons this year, you just may see a friendly, C&IS face.

C&IS Senior Heads Up T-Shirt Startup

To communication studies student, Ian Stone, Head Coach Tees is more than a t-shirt. Driven by the motto of “bridging the gap between supporting your coach, on and off the field”, Head Coach Tees offers a unique opportunity for fans to represent their favorite teams in something other than a jersey. Ian Stone, a Birmingham native and UA senior, embarked on an entrepreneurial journey to combine his expertise in communication, his connections with graphic designers and his love for football in a meaningful and tangible way. Head Coach Tees offers quality t-shirts that depict the profiles of college football coaches. The shirts do not have any logos or brands on them therefore Head Coach Tees has a direct relationship and agreement with each coach. The best part? Head Coach Tees donates 10% of every sale to the coach’s foundation of choice.

“We love the idea of supporting coaches and supporting what they believe in,” said Stone, “A lot of people don’t see that side of coaches and Head Coach Tees allows the fan base to create that relationship with the coach.”

More recently, Head Coach Tees gained national recognition on Fox Sports. Matt Leinart, former football quarterback and current studio analyst, held up and displayed the Lane Kiffin shirt during the halftime report. He said, “You gotta get yourself one of these shirts!” Fox Sports even showed the shirts again during their post-game report. Head Coach Tees sold over 80 Lane Kiffin shirts at a local Boca Raton apparel shop within the first day. Stone attributed this media placement and success to a previous personal meeting he had with Lane Kiffin a few months before in Boca Raton, Florida.

“We took a picture of Lane Kiffin in our shirt at the meeting, and he invited us to the team’s scrimmage that next day,” said Stone, “Kiffin told us to mail our shirts to Matt Leinart that day.”

Head Coach Tees’s internal team consists of three students – Ian Stone, Matt Lewis and Drake Grisham – each with backgrounds in various fields: nuclear engineering, marketing and communications. Stone heads up all internal and external communication channels for Head Coach Tees and is grateful for the input from his professors and mentors within C&IS. When writing Head Coach Tees’s business pitch, Stone sought out the help from professor and assistant director of Public Speaking, Dr. Adam Brooks.

“Dr. Brooks has been a mentor since the beginning of it all,” said Stone, “I’ve never had a teacher believe in me like Dr. Brooks, and he saw something in this project and in me.”

For almost a year now, Head Coach Tees sells t-shirts to sports fans and plans on expanding their designs to the entire SEC and beyond. They currently are in the process of creating and brokering deals with SEC coaches and NFL players. Their ultimate goal? Getting Nick Saban on a shirt.

To learn more about Head Coach Tees or buy a shirt, visit their website. You can also help support this company by following Head Coach Tees on Instagram or Twitter.

Pitching On and Off the Field

Before working as the senior coordinator of social content and engagement for the Chicago White Sox, Jordan Doyle was a graduate student at C&IS. Doyle expressed that the graduate program at UA stood out to her because the program combined advertising and public relations courses together and allowed her to focus on her passion: sports.

One class in particular – the graduate campaigns class – helped Doyle bridge the gap between theory and practice. The campaigns course is designed to connect students with real-world clients and create a comprehensive and achievable advertising campaign with a team of four people. In Jordan’s case, her team worked on the NASCAR account, where she served as the account leader.

“The campaigns class experience really helped me when going into the sports industry,” said Doyle, “It was beneficial because you’re taking everything you learned and putting it to practice.”

The class is divided into teams and each team has four specializations: media, research, account manager and creative. Randall Huffaker, an instructor at UA, has taught the campaigns class – both on the graduate and undergraduate levels – for the past ten years. He stated that the purpose of this class is for advertising and public relations students to apply their skill sets in a demanding and realistic scenario. The combination of both public relations and advertising students working together creates sustainable, strategy-driven campaigns for clients across multiple fields. Past clients include the CMA Fest, Advocate Healthcare, Fox Sports and in Doyle’s experience: NASCAR.

As of March, Doyle is the managing editor of all White Sox social media platforms and assists their community relations efforts, ticket sales and influencer marketing via social media promotion. Doyle works across departments to promote the White Sox brand and states that she values new ideas from college students and young professionals for social media strategies.

“I am always excited to see what the college mindset is and how they view what is happening today in baseball,” said Doyle.

Thus, it came as a natural fit for the White Sox to become a client for Huffaker’s campaign class this year. Doyle believes that this partnership will help bring new ideas for fan engagement and social influence to the White Sox brand. Huffaker’s campaigns class is currently working directly with Doyle and her team to produce agency-level deliverables that are rooted in insights and social listening data. Doyle commented that she is already impressed with the students and that their questions in a recent video call “blew most of the previous agencies’ questions out of the water.”

We will check back in with this campaigns class in December to see what great work they produced!