Category: CIS News

Four National Honors for Alpine Living

University of Alabama student-produced magazine, Alpine Living, has won two national honors from the Associated Collegiate Press Awards. Every year, the ACP presents individual awards, recognizing the best individual or group projects in collegiate journalism. The annual ACP awards are for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism and considered to be the pre-eminent award for professional organizations.

In March, 2017 fifteen students from the Department of Journalism and Creative Media traveled to New Zealand to create and product a 100+ page, full-gloss magazine promoting the art, history, culture, people, and traditions of New Zealand. This is the seventh edition of Alpine Living magazine, a biannual, semester-long production course.

APR Students Raise $135,000 to Feed Hungry Children

Over the past 13 semesters, advertising and public relations students have raised over $135,000 to feed Alabama K-12 students in a partnership with Secret Meals for Hungry Children.

Students enrolled in APR 419, Public Relations Concepting and Implementation, organize and promote a series of fundraisers, partnering with local restaurants and entertainment venues to provide money benefitting the organization. To date, these students have collected over 2,750 service learning hours.

2017 Speak Off Winners Announced

The 2017 Speak Off was held in Russell Hall Auditorium Nov. 7, where six finalists presented informative speeches originally prepared for their class, COM 123, Public Speaking.

Christian Holt took home first place and The Oscar Newton Award of $200 for his informative speech comparing and contrasting the benefits and experiences of a four-year institution and a community college.

Research and Creative Activity: Dr. Josh Pederson

Have you ever wondered about the toll your daily stress level could have on your health over a long period of time? What about whether or not your interpersonal relationships can add to that stress? C&IS professor, Dr. Josh Pederson is asking those same questions, and now he’s got the grant funding to find out.

Pederson is part of a research team that has been awarded a Level-2, collaborative project grant from the Research Grant Committee at The University of Alabama. Totaling over $26,000, this grant is the first of its kind for the College of Communication and Information Sciences.

Plank Center Holds Annual “Milestones in Mentoring” Gala

The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations celebrated its 8th Annual “Milestones in Mentoring” Gala at the Union League Club of Chicago on Thursday, Oct. 26. Close to 300 public relations professionals, educators and students were in attendance, including 24 faculty, staff, students and alumni from The University of Alabama.

Each year, the Center recognizes influential leaders whose commitment to mentoring generates a powerhouse of influence and accelerates success in our profession.

Capstone Agency Wins Best Campaign, Best Tactic at PRSSA National

Capstone Agency has been awarded Best Campaign and Best Tactic in the 2017 Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Student-Run Firm Awards.

Given annually at the PRSSA National Conference, these awards celebrate outstanding campaigns and tactics utilized by PRSSA’s nationally affiliated, student-run firms across the country in the previous year. Capstone Agency won Best Tactic in 2015 and was named Best Student-Run Firm in 2016.

“The community within Reese Phifer is a huge part of the continued success of our firm and our public relations students, as a whole,” said Megan Perkins, Firm Director, Capstone Agency. “You are surrounded by people who care and are involved, which makes you strive to improve, as well.”

Capstone Agency’s submission for Best Campaign was their work completed for The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, titled “Mentoring Matters.” The winning submission for Best Tactic came from the firm’s implementation flyers for their Less-Than-U-Think campaign, a campaign against binge drinking.

PRSSA has also named Capstone Agency as their Agency of Record. Under this arrangement, PRSSA becomes a client of Capstone Agency, who will conduct ongoing communication needs for the association for a two-year period.

Also recognized at the PRSSA National Conference, The University of Alabama’s PRSSA student chapter won a national award for university service for their work with the Campus Veterans Association and Beat Auburn Beat Hunger.

Capstone Agency is a nationally affiliated, student-run, integrated communications firm comprised of top communication students at The University of Alabama. They have been a student organization in the College of Communication and Information Sciences since 2010.

Fox Sports U Airs C&IS Student Campaign Nationally

Advertising and public relations students Katie Bell, Willow Ennen and Arianna Straggas had their advertising campaign selected to air nationally by Fox Sports U.

Bell, of Memphis, Ennen, of San Francisco, and Straggas, of Waltham, Massachusetts, worked to develop copy, graphics and creative ideas for their campaign.

Their group won and was asked to help produce the ad, which will air through January and the end of the NFL season on three Fox networks.

The campaign, titled, “Fox Sports Supports PCA,” is a commercial created in conjunction with Fox Sports’ and the Positive Coaching Alliance’s national campaign to promote positive coaching and a relaxed atmosphere for youth sports. To view the ad, click here.

“The class was a great challenge because it allowed us to combine all of our collective strengths for a well-rounded, finished project,” said Bell. “In addition to the challenge, we had the twist of working with a nonprofit which pushed us to be even more effective.”

“It was such an awesome opportunity to work with a client as big as Fox Sports U,” said Straggas. “It was a bigger scale and the nonprofit aspect, made it a ‘do good, feel good’ project.”

The campaign was produced for the students’ advertising campaigns class, APR 424. This experiential learning course provides an opportunity for student collaboration and thinking “outside the box,” through planning, completing and executing a complete advertising campaign.

Course instructors Dr. Kenon Brown and Randall Huffaker work to make the course realistic with clients like Fox Sports U.

“This commercial was truly a culmination of the hard work and dedication that these students brought to the table the entire semester for a major, national client,” said Brown. “It is so encouraging for them to see that the final result of their efforts actually matters because they can always go back to this and say, ‘You know what, I’m actually good at this job.’ That confidence will stick with them long-term.”

The Positive Coaching Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform the youth sports culture into a “Development Zone” where all youth and high school athletes have a positive, character-building experience that results in better athletes and better people. Fox Sports U is a program developed to enhance the academic experiences of collegiate students while reinforcing Fox Sports Commitment to communities across the nation.

Dr. Dianne Bragg Named AJHA President

The American Journalism Historians Association (AJHA) has named University of Alabama Assistant Professor of Journalism and Creative Media Dr. Dianne Bragg as its 2017-2018 president. Bragg began her one-year term at the AJHA national convention, October 14, which was held in Little Rock, AR.

Bragg served three years on the AJHA’s Board of Directors before being nominated as the organization’s second vice president in 2015. She is the second UA professor to serve as AHJA president. Dr. David Sloan, who helped to found AJHA, was the first. Additionally, CIS faculty members Dr. Caryl Cooper, Dr. Ann Bourne, Dr. Meg Lamme, Dr. Karla Gower and Dr. Suzanne Horsley are members of AJHA.

“One of our primary focuses is making sure that journalism and media history remain a staple within colleges and universities throughout the country,” said Bragg. “Recent events are reinforcing the importance of historical insight.”

As goals for her presidential term, Bragg plans on continuing the agenda of AJHA’s emphasis on the importance of history in students’ civic education. She will also increase the visibility of the organization’s annual Southeast Symposium, a conference designed to promote graduate and undergraduate student research while providing a forum for student presentations and discussions.

“There is a strong emphasis within the social sciences and communication research for quantitative methods,” said Bragg. “When you think about journalism, it’s storytelling. We often offer an outlet for students who are pursuing a graduate degree but may want to do that narrative, qualitative kind of work.”

As the organization’s leader, Bragg will preside over the Board of Directors meeting, gather comprehensive reports from the organization’s committees, oversee the affairs of the organization and serve as its spokesperson for scholarly and mainstream outlets.

Bragg is one of eight current faculty members in the C&IS to occupy a position of executive leadership in leading national and international communication organizations.


ASPA Hosts Annual Workshops, Celebrates 80 Years

Dr. Cory Armstrong, Chair, Journalism and Creative Media, kicks of the Tuscaloosa ASPA Workshop

The Alabama Scholastic Press Association hosted the Tuscaloosa Fall Regional Workshop program on September 27th. This workshop featured three sessions with topics covering broadcast, radio, photography, journalism and design for Alabama high school students.

The workshop prepared the student participants to think critically about the journalism industry. It gave them ways to improve their skills while teaching them about writing outside of the box, design, the “Rule of Eight” and other writing techniques

“ASPA is valuable to students because it gives them the training that they need to be successful, ethical journalists and communicators,” said Meredith Cummings, director of ASPA.

The Regional Workshop capped off the 80th year of ASPA’s pursuit of journalistic excellence and facilitation of students to reach further through mentorship, workshops and programs. Similar workshops were also held in Huntsville and Mobile.

ASPA honors journalism giants from across the state in order to highlight journalistic success to its students. ASPA tributes include Rick Bragg, Ed Mullins, Felicia Mason and more major players in the national journalism scene.  These tributes work with students and encourage them on their path toward their careers.

Cummings has a letter hanging in her office from 1942. It was written to Alabama principals to notify that ASPA would stop operation due to World War II, the only time ASPA has paused its work of empowering teachers and students across the state. The letter is a testament to the dedication of ASPA and the people who continue to carry its legacy.


Each year, ASPA hosts the Long Weekend, a summer journalism camp, and a State Convention each spring. ASPA also produces the Multicultural Journalism Program, which seeks to increase diversity in American newsrooms, through summer camps, workshops, and providing mentoring for its students. Additionally, ASPA sponsors student writing workshops, awards scholarships and honors student journalists each year.

ASPA’s mission is to stimulate and develop newspaper and journalistic talent among high school students. They develop and empower members to gain greater success year after year.

C&IS Leads the Way with 27 Diversity Advocates

This fall, C&IS certified 27 faculty and staff members as diversity advocates, through a diversity training program developed by Dr. George Daniels in consultation with C&IS administrators. This training equips them to serve on hiring committees to ensure that the committee is attentive to the College’s desire to attract an applicant pool consistent with its educational mission.

“This is a great first class of diversity advocates,” said Dr. George Daniels, Assistant Dean for Administration. “The idea is to get more and more faculty members exposed to thinking about diversity in intentional ways, as those who actually are advocating for diversity not just thinking about it as a check-box to meet a university requirement.”

C&IS approved its diversity plan in 2008, stating that it “Supports and embraces a student, staff, faculty and administrative community enriched by members of diverse genders, national origins, races, ethnicities, cultures, religions, socioeconomic conditions, geographic backgrounds, sexualities, ages, religious beliefs and spiritualties, abilities and political views.”