Category: CIS News

Dr. Jamie Naidoo Elected ALSC President

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Jamie Campbell Naidoo, Ph.D., Foster-EBSCO Professor at The University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS), Tuscaloosa, has been elected vice president/president-elect of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

In accordance with the Leadership Transition Plan adopted by the ALSC Board of Directors in March, Naidoo assumes his duties as ALSC vice president immediately.

“I am deeply honored that ALSC membership has elected me to serve during this extremely critical time for libraries,” Naidoo said. “I eagerly anticipate listening to and working with ALSC members to help move our organization forward in the best ways possible to provide excellence in library services to all children from all cultural backgrounds.”

Naidoo has been an ALSC member for 14 years, and an ALA member for 19 years. He is also a member of the Young Adult Library Services Association; Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table; Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table; Social Responsibilities Round Table; and REFORMA, an ALA affiliate. Naidoo currently is the ALSC/ALA liaison for the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) Board of Directors. He is also chair of the 2017 Batchelder Award Committee and a member of the ALA Diversity Research Grants Advisory Committee. Naidoo served on the ALSC Board of Directors (2012-2015) and has worked on many ALA, ALSC, YALSA and REFORMA committees since 2006.

In addition to his work within ALA and REFORMA, Naidoo is director of the National Latino Children’s Literature Conference. A passionate advocate for diversity, he has published numerous articles, book chapters and books related to library services to culturally diverse children and their families. Most recently, he co-authored “Once Upon a Cuento: Bilingual Storytimes in English and Spanish” (ALA, 2016) with Katie Scherrer. He has received many awards and honors, including the 2016 ALA Achievement in Library Diversity Research Award and the 2015 Humanitarian Award from the Alabama Library Association.

Naidoo earned his MLIS in 2000 from the University of Alabama, where he went on to receive a doctorate in Communication & Information Studies in 2006. Before joining SLIS in 2008, Naidoo was assistant professor at the University of South Carolina, School of Library and Information Science (2006-2008). Prior to that, he served as an elementary school library media specialist (2000-2003) for Shelby County Schools in Alabama, and also held various positions in Alabama public libraries from 1998 to 2006 including head of youth (children’s and young adult) services.

ALSC, a division of ALA, is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit their website.

The School of Library and Information Studies is a part of the College of Communication and Information Sciences.

Catherine May Finalist for Student Employee of the Year

Senior C&IS student, Catherine May, was honored this week by being named a finalist for UA’s Student Employee of the Year Award. May is a journalism major who has worked as a student employee in the Center for Public Television and radio for three years.

The University of Alabama employs over 4,500 student employees across campus. May is one of four finalists named from among the 51 nominees campus wide. A lunch was held in the North Zone of Bryant-Denny Stadium on April 12 in celebration of the nominees.

In her past two years at the Digital Media Center, Catherine has served as a mentor for other student employees. Additionally, she has worked in collaboration on broadcast projects with both WVUA 23 and Alabama Public Radio, steadily becoming a sought-after creative collaborator within the DMC.

“I can’t say enough good things about how easy Catherine is to work with, how well she collaborates with the team and the subjects we are shooting, and how valuable I consider her conceptual and technical skills to the documentary and television productions she’s worked on,” said Rob Briscoe, Executive Producer, Center for Public Television and Radio. “She’s the type of individual that you wait anxiously to hear where she goes and what she becomes… I see Catherine as the example for what other students in the Digital Media Center should strive to be.”

May knows she wants to continue working as a visual storyteller in areas such as documentary, short narrative client work, television or photojournalism. Wherever the future takes her, the years spent mastering her craft in the Digital Media Center have equipped her to live her story with a great head start.

Dr. Timothy Levine Visits C&IS

Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication Studies at UAB, Dr. Timothy Levine visited Reese Phifer this week for a guest lecture and an open discussion on publishing with C&IS faculty.

Dr. Levine conducts research on and is an internationally recognized leader in deception and deception detection research. His research has been funded by United States Department of Defense and the FBI.

In sharing his research with students enrolled in Dr. Darrin Griffin’s Truth, Ethics and Deception class, he encouraged thinking of deception detection less in terms of nonverbal cues and more as it pertains to the content of messages. To increase the accuracy of deception detection, students need to ask better questions and consider motives. “Listen to what people say,” said Levine. “If it sounds too good to be true… fact check and go by what seems most plausible.”

Having published more than 125 refereed journal articles reporting his original research, Dr. Levine knows much about the process of publishing and the reality of rejection. In meeting with C&IS faculty, Dr. Levine shared his advice on publishing their research. According to Levine, rejection is probable—the average person has about a ninety-percent rejection rate in top-tier scholarly publications. “You can be doing perfectly good work and have a long string of rejections,” said Levine. “If you see somebody with 100 refereed journal articles, what do you know about them—they probably have over 500 rejection letters… try, try again.”

His visit to campus was both meaningful and informative for C&IS faculty and students. To learn more about Dr. Levine, visit his website here.

Eighth Annual Discerning Diverse Voices Symposium

Photo by: Dr. George Daniels via Twitter

The College of Communication and Information Sciences continued its legacy of celebrating diversity with the eighth annual Discerning Diverse Voices Symposium held at Gorgas Library on Monday, March 27.

The symposium, which has served as a launching pad for further exploration of ways to integrate diversity education and intercultural communication into the College’s curriculum, has drawn national attention to C&IS diversity initiatives. In 2015, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) recognized C&IS with its annual Equity and Diversity Award and cited the Discerning Diverse Voices Symposium as one of the College’s stand out features.

“The Diversity Symposium offers an opportunity for C&IS faculty and students to learn from each other and about diversity in its various iterations,” said Dr. Robin Boylorn, associate professor of communication studies and panel presenter for the event. “[It] gives us a chance to talk through and think through the dynamic ways we engage difference in our scholarship, and it challenges us to do more. It provides a space for dissemination, collaboration, networking, receiving feedback, and being challenged.”

Boylorn, whose recently released book, “The Crunk Feminist Collection,” has been warmly received by feminist scholars and literary critics alike, presented her work on the representation of black masculinity in hip hop films during the symposium’s “Diversity in Media” panel session. Fernando Morales, a UA graduate student in communication studies, and Dr. Sally Paulson, assistant professor in the Department of Language and Literature at Delta State University, also presented their work as part of the panel.

Morales, whose research focuses on the possibilities and tensions that surface when marginalized groups adapt, re-imagine, or enter stories marked as “classic” or “American,” discussed his autoethnographic piece on the struggles of Latino actors in an industry that often stereotypes People of Color in making casting decisions.

In addition to panel presentations on the role of diversity in the media, educational and organizational settings, students across the spectrum of C&IS departments and majors presented research during the morning’s poster session.

Caitlin Dyche, a graduate student in the Department of Journalism and Creative Media, presented her research on the incorporation of emoji into the modern vernacular and its influence on computer-mediated communication.

“While emoji have become universally available, this does not mean that their usage and connotative meanings are also universal,” Dyche wrote in the paper’s abstract. “In fact, the motivation for emoji use is still hotly debated.”

Beyond examining how and why emoji are being used in countries around the world, Dyche also discussed which emoji are being used most often in synchronous computer mediated communication and whether such usage patterns relate significantly to culture.

“It was really great to see some of the research that is being done on diversity both within and across cultures,” Dyche said. “The poster presentations themselves were diverse in their topics and the panel on diversity in film and media was pretty incredible as it looked at how different groups of people are being portrayed from both sides of the silver screen, as well as shows that portray the importance and power of inclusivity and diversity.”

The event culminated with a keynote address by Dr. Clara Chu, director of the Mortensen Center for International Library Programs at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Chu discussed paradigm shifts in research related to diversity.

Allie McKee Selected for Stickell Student Internship Program

C&IS student Alexandra McKee has been selected for the 2017 American Advertising Federation’s Vance and Betty Lee Stickell Student Internship Program.

The sophomore from Frisco, Texas has accepted an account management internship from Slingshot, a Dallas-based advertising agency founded in 1995.

“I have observed firsthand Allie’s dedication to growing as a young professional,” said Dr. Senyo Ofori-Parku, adviser of Capstone Advertising Federation. “She has proven to be a curious and engaging student, a top performer in my classes and as a member of Capstone Advertising Federation. I am confident she will be a great ambassador for the Stickell Program, the department of advertising and public relations and the College of Communication and Information Sciences.”

For the internship program, McKee is most excited about the experience she’ll gain, particularly in getting to know the business side of the industry better. She has yet to decide exactly which direction her career will take, but she knows she wants to live in Dallas and engage in work that follows her passions.

“Dr. Ofori-Parku has always had an interest in my future and my goals,” said McKee. “Having these support systems in place is so important; you need people to challenge you and encourage you to take certain paths.”

In the 2017 class, approximately 20 students were selected for internships at media organizations, advertising agencies, and client and supplier companies around the country. The interns will receive a stipend and either a scholarship or assistance with housing during their internship.

The Stickell Internship Program was established in 1989 by the Los Angeles Times’ Mirror Foundation and the American Advertising Federation in honor of Vance L. Stickell, former executive vice president of marketing for the Los Angeles Times. The program intends to raise awareness and understanding of the advertising process and business ethics among future advertising professionals by providing real-world, hands-on experience at top firms in the integrated marketing communication industry.

C&IS Students to Participate in Global News Relay

C&IS students from the department of journalism and creative media are teaming with 15 universities around the world for the fourth-annual Global News Relay.

Global News Relay is a collaboration of journalism students worldwide who produce news content for a 5-hour block under a set theme each year. This year’s theme is solutions journalism, which focuses on problem solving through reporting on the responses to social problems, rather than only reporting the problems.

Over a dozen UA students volunteered their time producing and recording their solutions journalism pieces. The UA portion of the broadcast will feature stories of West Alabama initiatives that are building homes, planting gardens, distributing food and providing therapy in a variety of contexts.

The stories were produced and directed entirely by UA students inside WVUA 23 studios in the Digitial Media Center.

“With a huge spotlight on journalists and how they cover news this past year, it is refreshing to see how professors and students around the globe are training the future generation of journalists to focus on their communities,” said Dr. Chandra Clark, who oversees the UA Global News Relay team. “Every day people are working to find solutions to everyday problems, and the Global News Relay works to report on those who are trying to make a difference.”

UA’s portion of the Global News Relay will broadcast via livestream from California State University in Fresno between 1 and 2 p.m. March 29. To learn more about the stories featured in this year’s broadcast, see the promo video here.

The Global News Relay was founded in 2014. UA first participated in the event in 2015 and has done so each following year.

Alabama Forensics Council Wins 21st National Championship

The Alabama Forensics Council has captured its 21st overall speech and debate national championship at the Novice National Championship Tournament earlier in March at the University of West Florida.

The Novice National Tournament is designed to give first-year collegiate speakers and debaters a chance at national recognition before the rest of the national forensics tournament season.

In addition to winning the overall speech and debate national championship, the Alabama Forensics Council won the Open Division Team Sweepstakes, the Division One Team Sweepstakes and the Quality Award

“The first-year forensics students are one of the most talented groups of any age in our activity nationwide,” said Bobby Imbody, director of forensics in The University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences. “This accomplishment is basically a coronation of this very talented and hard-working group, a reward for their hard work and dedication to our program.”

Ten first-year members of the Alabama Forensics Council competed in 33 events and advanced to the national elimination rounds in 23 of those events.

Full, individual results:

Parliamentary Debate National Finalists
Jordan Taylor, National Runner-up
Paul Bousquet, National Runner-up

Speaker Awards for Debate
Jordan Taylor, 4th place Speaker
Paul Bousquet, 3rd place speaker

After-dinner Speaking
Brittany Grady, 2nd place
Quinn Oberg, 3rd place

Dramatic Interpretation
Caitlin Leiva, 2nd place
Madison Hall, 5th place

Extemporaneous Speaking
Paul Bousquet, 2nd place

Paul Bousquet, 3rd place
Brittany Grady, Semi-finalist

Sydney Terry, National Champion
Alyssa Herrera, 2nd place
Crystal Stone, 3rd place
Quinn Oberg, 4th place

Crystal Stone, National Champion
Sydney Terry, 3rd place

Program Oral Interpretation
Michael Rankin, 2nd place
Madison Hall, 4th place

Alyssa Herrera, 3rd place
Madison Hall, Semi Finalist
Jordan Taylor, Semi Finalist
Michael Rankin, Semi Finalist

Rhetorical Analysis
Jordan Taylor, 2nd place

Slam Poetry
Caitlin Leiva, 3rd place
Michael Rankin, 4th place

Founded in 1946, the Alabama Forensics Council is the oldest co-curricular organization at The University of Alabama. The Alabama Forensics Council will compete next in the American Forensic Association’s National Individual Events Tournament at Bradley University, April 1-3. 24 students will represent the Council in 66 events at the nation’s most competitive speech competition.

C&IS Wins Big at the American Advertising Awards

C&IS celebrates multiple awards at the local American Advertising Awards, winning a total of 14 “ADDYs” at both the professional and student level. Every ADDY in the student division went to University of Alabama students.

Entrants included students from the department of advertising and public relations, led by Dr. Glenn Griffin. Students were also credited on work from The Center for Public Television and WVUA 23, led by Amy Martin and Rob Briscoe.

ADDYs are awarded to entrants in recognition of their creative excellence. A Gold ADDY is judged to be superior to all other entries in the category. A Silver ADDY is awarded to entries that are also considered outstanding and worthy of recognition. The number of awards given in each category is determined by the judges, based on the relative quality of work in that category. This year’s local awards were judged by a panel of advertising professionals from Nashville, Memphis and Chicago.

“I really like that the judges are from places outside of our immediate area,” said Amy Martin, executive producer of creative services at the Center for Public Television. “It means that they can look at your work impartially and say that it stands as an example of excellence to a variety of audiences.”

In addition to the ADDYs awarded to C&IS students and professionals, awards were given in recognition of excellence for Best in Broadcast at the professional level for the documentary trailer for The Bankheads, and at the student level for Best in Show and Judges’ Choice, both of which were in the category of print advertising.

“Best in Show is given in recognition to the best student work overall,” said Dr. Griffin, associate professor of advertising and public relations. “One of our students has brought home the Best in Show award in four of the last five years.”

For a complete list of winners and categories, click here.

The American Advertising Awards, formerly the ADDYs, is the advertising industry’s largest and most representative competition, attracting over 40,000 entries every year in local AAF Club (Ad Club) competitions. The mission of the American Advertising Awards competition is to recognize and reward the creative spirit of excellence in the art of advertising.


Capstone Agency Participates in CreateAThon

The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) selected Capstone Agency to participate in CreateAThon, a marketing marathon for local nonprofits, last weekend.

CreateAThon is a 24-hour pro bono marathon during which participants work through the night on campaigns that promote local nonprofit organizations, assisting their needs in communication solutions. Capstone Agency is one of two student-run agencies chosen to participate in PRSSA’s inaugural CreateAThon.

Because Capstone Agency is a self-funding organization, they primarily do work for paying clients. These clients help to fund the costs of the agency and provide student development opportunities that would otherwise be impossible.

“The chance to step back and do some meaningful work for so many clients at one time and produce deliverables in 24 hours is a good feeling and a service to these deserving nonprofits,” said Teri Henley, Capstone Agency Adviser. “It’s something I believe that we as communication professionals have a responsibility to do.”

During their CreateAThon, Capstone Agency completed work for seven local nonprofits, including: Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter, First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa, Alabama SPCAGood Samaritan Clinic, Arts ‘n Autism, Alabama Writer’s Conclave and Camp Fire Alabama. In all, students worked a collective 960 hours, an estimated $27,600 worth of client work.

“Our students are often running from the agency, to class, to work and managing their lives on their mobile devices,” said Henley. “For 24 hours the stepped away from all their obligations and truly focused face-to-face on the tasks at hand. I believe in that 24 hours they did some of the best work I have seen from our students.”

PRSSA’s CreateAThon started on Friday, March 3 and carried on until the following morning, when students presented their work. Website overhauls, communication toolkits, informational campaigns and an annual report were all constructed by students for clients in less than 24 hours.

“In every nonprofit presentation I saw, someone cried—in one case, it was me. The nonprofits were so thrilled and grateful for the help,” said Katie Gatti, firm director of Capstone Agency. “It was perhaps most exciting that each nonprofit partner felt we had accurately captured their vision and exceeded their expectations. That’s a big accomplishment for anyone, let alone a student group.”

To learn more about Capstone Agency, click here. To learn more about CreateAThon, click here.

A New Voice on UA History: Pluck and Grit Podcast

There are new voices on campus telling the age-old stories of The University of Alabama, its rich culture, and tumultuous history. C&IS graduate student Mary Lieb and her co-host, MBA candidate, Joey Weed are the creators of Pluck and Grit podcast, a project devoted to telling the stories of the people and places that have helped shape The University of Alabama.

The podcast series, which began recording interviews last fall, consists of three hour-long episodes with plans to record as many as ten episodes before the pair graduate in May.

The idea for Pluck and Grit was born after Weed spent the summer as an intern for National Public Radio (NPR) in Washington, D.C. While he said his internship focused more on audience research and analytics than communication and journalism, being in the environment inspired him to pursue his long-time interests in podcasting and storytelling.

“I thought, you know, we could really do something like this here and I knew Mary was the perfect person [to partner with],” Weed said.

After meeting for lunch in August, the two agreed that the podcast would focus on The University of Alabama community, local history and individuals’ unique experiences at the Capstone.

“We have this long laundry list of topics and people we can contact – previous administrators and alumni have been really supportive – almost everyone we’ve reached out to has been really eager to share their stories,” Lieb said. “Although we do share a common experience here, everyone has their own unique experience that made the Capstone, the Capstone for them. What we’ve learned is that, despite some of the thorns that the University has, and some of its back story and a lot of its problems, people have still been able to find a home and they’ve been able to find some really great redeeming qualities. That’s what we’re really interested in looking at.”

The podcasts, which can be found on iTunes, Sound Cloud, and the Pluck and Grit website, have explored topics related to the international students community, Big Al and successful entrepreneurship initiatives created by students at UA.

“Checking people’s memories has been really exciting,” Weed said. “For our first story, the Big Al story, we talked to four different people and they all had different views of the order of events, how things happened, things like that.”

The pair said they have spent several hours in the W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library sifting through historical documents like The Crimson White, UA’s student newspaper, and Corolla yearbooks.

“We’ve been going to the library to see what the newspaper was writing about and kind of confirm and get a broad sense of the picture of how these stories weave together,” Weed said.

Lieb and Weed, who have both been active in student organizations and the University of Alabama community since their freshman year in 2012, agreed this is one project they may be content to let fare for itself when they depart for Washington, D.C. in May.

“In most of our projects, we work to try to find some avenue of sustainability,” Lieb said. “We’ve thought about working with publications on campus or maybe passing it off, but for the time being this was just a very fun side project.”

Weed echoed the sentiment.

“I think we would be content if [the podcast] just became 8 or 10 episodes,” Weed said. “Maybe if they were within the libraries archives, or on our website, or iTunes so that if a student down the road is searching for interesting things about the University, they can stumble upon these and enjoy them almost like a film or TV show. We’re going to put it out there and then just give people the opportunity to learn a little bit more about the University.”