Public relations student, Anna Claire Toxey, has received a grant from the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation to work with Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a nonprofit clean water advocacy organization. A senior at The University of Alabama, Toxey will work as a public relations intern throughout the group’s service area, the 17-county Black Warrior River watershed.
The Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation provides funds to programs that focus on the conservation of natural resources in North America and the Caribbean Basin, with an emphasis on North America. The foundation’s internship grant to the Department of Advertising and Public Relations is an on-going relationship which will yield $54,000 for APR students from 2017-2019.
“I am very grateful for this grant and for the opportunity to work with Black Warrior Riverkeeper this summer,” Toxey said. “Being a Tuscaloosa native makes it even more rewarding to partner with an organization whose primary focus is protecting the historic Black Warrior River. I am looking forward to using my public relations knowledge to help support the organization and its mission.”
As a member of Waterkeeper Alliance, Black Warrior Riverkeeper identifies pollution problems and works to fix them while increasing public awareness. The organization also engages partner groups and individuals in its efforts. Last year, 520 volunteers donated 6,983 hours of community service through Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s projects. The majority of those volunteers were students from The University of Alabama.
“Our great state leads the nation in freshwater biodiversity, but we are plagued by pollution and apathy,” said Charles Scribner, executive director of Black Warrior Riverkeeper. “I am so thankful for The University of Alabama’s nationally renowned PR program helping us spread awareness of these urgent facts.”
“By generously providing students with a grant for the internship, the Munson Foundation helps both the conservation organization as well as the student,” said Dr. Joseph Phelps, chair, Department of Advertising and Public Relations. “It is a wonderful opportunity for students to practice what they are learning in their classes while helping the nonprofit organization meet its objectives.”
C&IS student-produced magazine, Alpine Living, has been awarded a national Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists in the category of Best Affiliated Website.
This is the seventh national honor for the latest edition of Alpine Living featuring content from the travels of 15 UA students from the department of journalism and creative media to New Zealand in March 2017. The students produced a 100+ page, full-gloss magazine promoting the art, history, culture, people and traditions of New Zealand.
“I am incredibly proud of this team because they have demonstrated that when the bar is high and they strive for excellence, anything is possible,” said Dr. Kim Bissell. “Within three weeks of returning from halfway across the world, we had a print and online version of this magazine with content that was created and produced during our two weeks of travel. Alpine Living is unlike any other student-produced magazine in the country, and I am incredibly proud of this team’s efforts.”
The Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence Award recognizes the best in student journalism nationwide. Other national finalists include Harvard University and the University of Texas at Arlington.
Other national honors for the New Zealand issue of Alpine Living include:
Best affiliated website, Region 3 winner, SPJ Mark of Excellence, alpinelivingua.com
Honorable Mention, Feature Story of the Year, Associated Collegiate Press Award, “The Story of the Māori,” Elayne Smith and Madison Sullivan
Fourth Place, Multimedia Feature Story of the Year, Associated Collegiate Press Award, “Resilient,” Christopher Edmunds, Cara Walker, Taylor Armer and Thomas Joa.
Second place, Online Magazine, AEJMC Magazine Division, alpinelivingua.com
Second Place, Service and Information Feature Story, AEJMC Magazine Division, “Sea of Dreams,” Matthew Wilson.
Third Place, Single Issue of an Ongoing Magazine—Editorial, AEJMC Magazine Division, alpinelivingua.com
The Alpine Living staff includes UA students: Jonathan Norris, Mary Kathryn Carpenter, Taylor Armer, Hailey Grace Steele, Christopher Edmunds, Madison Sullivan, Kaylin Bowen, Lane Stafford, Elizabeth Elkin, Danielle Waddell, Thomas Joa, Cara Walker, Mary-Margaret Schmidt, Matthew Wilson and Elayne Smith. Students who are a part of the editorial team include graduate and undergraduate students in journalism and creative media and go through a competitive and selective process in order to participate.
Minerva finishes out the academic year strong with a total of 28 creative advertising awards won in regional, national and international competitions. June 8’s National American Advertising Awards brings C&IS students, Charlotte Frank and Elizabeth Swartz, to Chicago, capping the statement year for Minerva.
Minerva is the creative portfolio specialization in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations. The two-year program places selected students into a cohort through a rigorous application process and guides them through an intense process of creative discovery.
“It’s been a very successful year with Minerva students winning more local, regional, national and international awards for their creative advertising campaigns in 2018 than any other previous year by more than double,” said Mark Barry, Director, creative portfolio specialization. “We will be working hard to build upon this momentum moving forward.”
Two student teams brought home Awards of Merit from the Young Ones Student Awards put on by The One Club for Creativity in New York. The Young Ones competition is considered one of the premier competitions for creative students internationally. The student submissions responded to a creative brief charging the students to partner with FCB Health on an awareness campaign for the ongoing opioid epidemic.
Click on the following links to view the winning student campaigns:
10 Silver Winning Teams:
– Lauren Meadows, Sydney Pellegrini
– Charlotte Frank, Lauren Meadows
– Mary Buzbee, Julia Hall
– Caleb Ledbetter, Caleb Moon
– Emeline Earman, Sydney Pellegrini (2x)
– Julia Hall, Sydney Pellegrini
– Julia Hall, Caleb Ledbetter, Lauren Meadows
– Alexia Korte, Lexi Warren
– Charlotte Frank, Elizabeth Swartz
2 Judge’s Choice Winning Teams:
– Elizabeth Swartz
– Mary Buzbee, Elizabeth Swartz
1 Student Best of Show:
-Sydney Estill, Joanna Gaylard
Communication and Media Preview gives high school students an educational head start.
Luke Winstel and Cheney Harden came to Communication and Media Preview (CAMP) wanting to learn more about sports communication. Luke, a junior, works as a sports announcer, covering six different teams for St. Pius X Catholic High School’s webcast. Cheney is a senior cheerleader at Cherokee High School and has a passion for photography and digital editing. They both live in Georgia, they both love sports, and they are both asking big questions about their futures. In other words, they are exactly the kind of students who benefit from the College’s newest high school program.
“I wanted to come to C&IS CAMP because I wanted to learn more about the sports broadcasting field and what it would be like to work on a broadcast team in college,” said Luke.
“The more I looked into CAMP, I realized that it would provide me with tools to use in the industry I want to enter: sports communication,” Cheney said. “My ideal career path deals with athletic management with a focus on image repair.”
After an intense week of diving headfirst into sports communication, they traveled home a step ahead of their peers. Through hands-on learning and classroom discussions, 50 students like Luke and Cheney discovered a variety of career opportunities surrounding sports communication at the very first CAMP. They engaged in specialized skill seminars, interactive presentations from industry professionals and C&IS faculty, a team lip-sync battle, collaborative workshops and a final group campaign.
“Getting experience through the campaign helped me hone my skills and develop as a communicator,” said Luke. “We were able to participate in a press conference with the UA men’s tennis and women’s gymnastics teams, which gave me valuable experience I can use as an aspiring sportscaster.”
Before ever stepping foot on campus as a college freshman, CAMP participants experienced what it’s like to learn from some of the nation’s leading educators in areas such as advertising, public relations, video production, news media and public speaking. The participants were immersed in an atmosphere that offered a real glimpse into what college is like.
“It was very beneficial to work with professors from The University in a smaller, group setting when it came time to work on our skills,” said Cheney. “I was one of the people in my group not as accustomed to visual design, so having the professors there to help teach us the skills we needed was awesome!”
No matter the task at hand—a skill session with a C&IS faculty member or taking notes during the hype video presentation from Crimson Tide Productions—CAMP encouraged participants to grow in areas where they may have had little experience. Introducing high school students to highly technical camera and production equipment and industry-leading, video and photography editing software comes with a steep learning curve. The students rose to the challenge and produced campaigns worthy of the UA Athletics teams they represented.
“A part of CAMP that was difficult for me was video editing,” said Luke. “I had never attempted it before, and it was very tough to learn at first. The faculty and CAMP leaders were extremely helpful, and I improved in two or three days.”
Whether it is print journalism or a web-based video broadcast, finishing assignments under a deadline somewhat defines the communication industry. CAMP participants gained valuable experience completing their campaigns while working against the clock. The adversity of a hard deadline and the teamwork needed to complete a major project went hand in hand in forging relationships.
“This was by far one of the best experiences I have ever had, bonding with the people at CAMP,” said Cheney. “From my roommates to my team members and even to participants who were on other project teams, I formed amazing friendships which will last.”
“I got to meet a multitude of peers with similar interests and learn from them,” said Luke. “I still stay in contact with them, and made many new friends I would not have if I did not attend CAMP.”
C&IS CAMP brought together students from across the country to experience the
world of sports communication. Altogether, this new program required a year of preparation and collaboration from C&IS faculty and staff, partners in UA Athletics and a small army of student leaders. According to Luke, it was all worthwhile.
“This experience was one of the best I have ever had in my life. Before CAMP, I was not really considering The University of Alabama as an option for college, but after CAMP, it is number one on my list.”
Registration is now live for C&IS CAMP 2018! For frequently asked questions, registration information and pricing, visit our CAMP website here.
Over the last 15 semesters, more than 440 public relations students have fed over 1,200 children, raising a combined $149,791.18 to date.
Susan Daria’s APR 419, Concepting and Implementation, takes public relations students and gives them a semester-long project that benefits West Alabama’s needy children through Secret Meals for Hungry Children.
The class allows students to use skills they learn in their public relations courses to attract media attention, earn social media placements and radio spots. This semester, 37 students earned four WVUA feature stories, five articles, two iHeart Radio announcements, a spot on the Kip Tyner Show, a feature on the University’s website and various other social media placements. They raised over $11,890 which will feed more than 84 local children.
SMHC works with teachers and school counselors to place pre-made food packs into each needy child’s backpack while they are at recess on Fridays. Daria began partnering with Alabama Credit Union and her students in 2011 to support this organization.
“Just when I think they have tried it all, my students come up with even more unique ways to engage and educate the public about childhood hunger and simple ways to make a positive change, locally,” said Daria. “Their ideas have been everything from a fishing tournament to a spin-a-thon to a battle of the bands event! You name it. What inspires them, inspires me, and then we all work together to figure out how to make their ideas come to life! It is really gratifying.”
C&IS students are positively impacting the community where they live. For more information about SMHC, visit their website.
The group also has a YouTube channel, where you can check out many of the various project this class has produced to raise money to feed children in need.
Each year, the Washington D.C. based advocacy group, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, selects winners in 13 categories with only one radio news operation chosen. APR is the 2018 winner. Previous radio winners include National Public Radio and the Bob Edwards Show on SiriusXM.
“I am so proud of the APR news team and delighted that their work has been recognized by the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for radio,” says Elizabeth Brock, Director of the Center for Public Television and Radio. “Pat, Stan and Alex are dedicated to reporting stories of importance to Alabama’s diverse citizenry—and taking on the state of health care was an important and ambitious endeavor. The support of the University of Alabama and our colleagues at the College of Communication and Information Sciences and the generosity of our listeners and community leaders make it all possible.”
APR’s investigation of rural health care in Alabama takes on a variety of issues, including diabetes, pregnancy and childbirth. Studies often rank Alabama as having the highest infant mortality rate in the nation, and the greatest number of diabetics. Furthermore, seven rural Alabama counties do not have a hospital, and only sixteen counties have a hospital capable of delivering a baby.
“The deeper we dug into the rural health issue in Alabama, the worse it got,” says APR News Director Pat Duggins. “The news team and I can’t describe how flattered we are with this generous award. Hopefully, it will help shine an even brighter light on the challenges rural Alabamians face in obtaining the medical care they need.”
Founded by the reporters who covered Robert F. Kennedy’s historic 1968 presidential campaign, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards honor outstanding reporting on issues that reflect Robert Kennedy’s concerns, including human rights, social justice, and the power of individual action in the United States and around the world.
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights will present its national Journalism Award to the APR news team at a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. in May.
Alabama Public Radio is a network of public radio stations licensed by The University of Alabama and located in Bryant-Denny Stadium’s Digital Media Center. Its affiliation with the College of Communication and Information Sciences gives students opportunities for practical training in a variety of production activities.
The College of Communication and Information Sciences has announced the winners of the 2018 Holle Awards for Excellence and Creativity in Communication.
The awards are designed to celebrate and reward student achievement in the areas of book arts, filmmaking, media writing, public speaking and screenwriting.
The Holle Award for Excellence in Book Arts is awarded to 2017 University of Iowa MFA graduate, Lisa Miles, for her piece, “Codex Chup Cabal.” Judges prized the piece for its considerable display of historical and technical research that offered the reader a beautifully crafted book with universal meaning and impact.
The Holle Award for Excellence in Filmmaking is awarded to UCLA student, Kristopher D. Wilson, for “Mid-City Blue,” a film about a hopeful police academy graduate who experiences a routine traffic stop in civilian clothes, providing him with a newfound perspective on his career of choice.
The Holle Award for Excellence in Media Writing is awarded to UA’s Mary Clay Kline, of Cleveland, Mississippi. Her submission led one judge to remark, “[Her] work is a demonstration that better reporting leads to better stories.”
The Holle Award for Excellence in Public Speaking is awarded to UA’s Grace Meagher of Joliet, Illinois. Her speech cast a light on the gender gap in children’s literacy ability, that young boys read less than young girls. She directed the audience to curb this trend by encouraging the young boys in their lives to read more.
The Holle Award for Excellence in Screenwriting is awarded to UA’s Blake Hudson, of Clanton, Alabama, for his work, “The Last Resorts Club.” This script was praised by judges for its structure and its ability to lead the reader to great empathy for its characters.
“The 2018 Holle Award winners have proven to be a uniquely talented and inspirational group of students from across the country,” said Dr. Mark Nelson, dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences. “These students excel in communication and creativity, two things Brigadier General Everett Holle believed in and supported through his generosity in funding these awards. He will be missed but his legacy lives on in the Holle Awards.”
The Holle Awards are named for the 1950 graduate of The University of Alabama who served as an announcer, director, writer and producer during his 40-year career at NBC 13. Holle was a member of the College of Communication and Information Sciences’ board of visitors where he passionately invested in the success of University of Alabama students for years.
A small group of kindergartners huddles closely together on the carpet of their classroom, sitting criss-cross, applesauce. They inch forward all throughout the readings, jockeying for the best positions to see each book’s illustrations. Angela Billings’ oral interpretation students feed off of the children’s excitement. Each student’s reading grew in confidence and quality from “Once upon a time” to “Happily ever after.”
As a part of her course curriculum, Billings, communication studies, sends her students to the toughest group of critics around: kindergartners. Throughout the semester, her oral interpretation students read to classrooms full of elementary school students to develop their skillset in areas such as tone, resonance and eye contact.
This process is an integral part of how she teaches oral interpretation—a class she describes as pooling together several elements of a public speaking class, an acting class, a literature class and a voice and diction class. The activity presents a unique challenge to the students and reinforces their course material through experiential learning.
“One of the first assignments we do is children’s literature, because, for most of us, this was our first introduction to oral interpretation—our parents orally interpreted our books for us,” said Billings. “When my dad read Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs to me, he made the characters, the sound effects and the descriptions all come alive. [Our parents reading to us] is what creates our love of reading.”
Oral interpretation is more than just reading out loud or public speaking. The presenter at the front of the room has to stand the way a character would stand, imitate their voices, act out all their movements and mimic sounds to drive home the audience experience. For some students, this can be overwhelming.
“A lot of students come into this class with high levels of anxiety. The thought of getting up in front of a classroom is terrifying,” said Billings. “But you get them in front of a group of kindergartners and eventually, they don’t want to leave.”
Such was the case on Wednesday, April 25. Billings students read and voiced characters for books such as Where the Wild Things Are, Pete the Cat: Robo-Pete, and Dragons Love Tacos. By the mornings’ end, their excitement matched that of the kindergartners’ smile for smile.
C&IS students from the department of journalism and creative media are teaming with 17 universities around the world for the fifth-annual Global News Relay. Participating countries include Bulgaria, Egypt, India, the United Kingdom, China, Japan and the Netherlands, among others.
Global News Relay is a collaboration of journalism students worldwide who produce news content for a 6-hour block under a set theme each year. This year’s theme is Shelter, which focuses on stories about homelessness, immigration, the housing crisis, urban renewal, animal habitats and others.
“No matter what major you are pursuing, it’s a really amazing experience,” said Juliette Edwards, lead producer and anchor for the GNR team. “It’s very eye opening, because it’s so much work, but when we were done filming, it was really cool to see the finished project.”
Over a dozen UA students volunteered their time producing and recording their segments on shelter. The UA portion of the broadcast will feature stories covering topics such as Airbnb, a local animal shelter, UA’s new adapted athletics facility, Habitat for Humanity efforts in Tuscaloosa following the 2011 Tornado and more.
“Football is so big here, and people are always looking for places to stay,” said Leah Doolin. “So, I centered my story around Airbnb and how it is a good alternative to staying in a hotel.”
The stories were produced and directed entirely by UA students inside WVUA 23 studios in the Digitial Media Center. Alabama’s part in the GNR broadcast will take place at 12 p.m. on Monday, April 23. Preview all of the stories they will be reporting here, and check out the livestream here.
“I’ve always wanted to be on television, and I love hands-on activities,” said Devin Bowens. “This gave me insight and behind-the-scenes knowledge of what it takes to produce something on this scale, and it has been a great experience.”
The Global News Relay was founded in 2014. UA first participated in the event in 2015 and has done so each following year.
Jalen Drummond, a senior from Wedowee, Alabama, finished first nationally in Informative Speaking at the 41st American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) Championships in Colorado Springs, CO. The Alabama Forensic Council traveled to the AFA-NIET with over 20 students competing.
“Preparing to compete on the national stage is nothing short of intense,” said Drummond. “I spent hours perfecting my delivery, researching current events, and practicing with some of the most respected coaches in the nation. It is definitely grueling; however, the laborious preparation definitely pays off when you hear your name shouted as the national champion.”
Drummond’s topic focused on the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and an Obama Administration report that sheds light on details of that day. Drummond’s speech attempted to address and combat fake news and emphasizes the need for truth in reporting.
The AFC entered 24 students in 66 events and advanced nine students in 15 events to quarter-finals, five students in six events to semi-finals, and three students in four events to the final rounds of competition. AFC finished in fifth place out of 63 competing schools for the second year in a row.
“The fifth-place finish of the AFC at this year’s National Speech tournament is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the students and staff,” said Bobby Imbody, Director of Forensics. “All of the students did the hard work required to be great, and it shows. More importantly, our students tackled hard topics and spoke truth to any and all audiences in an effort to make their world a better place more than any year before.”
The AFA-NIET is the most competitive national forensics tournament in the nation with the most rigorous qualification process of any intercollegiate forensic tournament. For a full list of student winners, see below: