Category: CIS News

C&IS Honors Day

C&IS Honors Day

Honors Day is a time-honored tradition on The University of Alabama campus and within the College of Communication and Information Sciences. As the academic year comes to an end, we recognize the accomplishments of our most outstanding students and alumni. Selected both within their academic units and college wide, the individuals honored today have contributed excellence to the College and are distinctive representatives for our field.

 

Bert Bank Distinguished Service Award – Josiah “Jo” Robins Bonner, Jr.

A dedicated public servant who served in Alabama’s First District in the U.S. House of Representatives for 10 years, Josiah “Jo” Robins Bonner, Jr. has been an advocate for Alabama his entire life. He received his B.A. in journalism from The University of Alabama in 1982 and since then has served the state and country. Notable achievements include $5 billion in contracts for Alabama-based companies to work with the U.S. Navy to build new ships. Bonner’s influence and leadership have bolstered the state’s economy and have earned him numerous awards, including the Distinguished Public Service Award which is the highest honor the U.S. Navy bestows to a civilian. He and his family live in Mobile, AL. C&IS is proud to award Bonner the Bert Bank Distinguished Service Award and to host him on campus.

 

Betsy Plank Distinguished Achievement Award – Marie Robinson 

After serving in The University of Alabama’s Army ROTC program, Marie Robinson graduated with a degree in journalism. She joined Walmart and launched their first e-commerce distribution center while working as their first female vice president of logistics. Robinson now works as the senior vice president of corporate strategy and chief operations officer for Michael Kors. Her day-to-day tasks include overseeing the company’s global operations and creating strategies that will enhance the company. Robinson has held other positions with top brands throughout her career. A leader in strategy and operations management, Robinson is the ideal recipient of the Betsy Plank Distinguished Achievement Award.

 

Outstanding Alumnus, Advertising – Cameron T. Watson

Cameron T. Watson is the group creative director-North America for Red Fuse Communications. He oversees all shopper marketing and e-commerce. Watson’s career has spanned two decades in the creative industry where he has worked in advertising agencies, in-house creative studios, retail firms and more. He has done strategic work for international brands, including Coca-Cola, Royal Caribbean and more. He was active on campus as a Crimson Tide cheerleader and in his work for The Crimson White. Watson is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in the advertising field.

 

Outstanding Alumna, Communication Studies – Angela R. Gillespie

Angela Gillespie is the chief strategy officer of W20 Group, one of America’s most ambitious and innovative healthcare communication and marketing agencies. Her work breaks industry-wide standards for integrating communication into the healthcare industry. While a student at UA, Gillespie was on the Alabama Forensic Council and credits her experiences as a student with her current success. In addition to her professional career, Gillespie strongly values work-life balance and has pursued culinary pursuits and nonprofit work.

 

Outstanding Alumna, Library and Information Studies – Irene “Renee” Blalock

Irene “Renee” Blalock received her master’s in library service in 1981. She spent her professional career at the Birmingham Public Library, the largest public library in Alabama. Blalock served in the literature department and southern history department, as a branch head, collection department manager, regional coordinator, operational coordinator, associate director and finally director from 2009 to 2014. Blalock became a huge contributor to the volunteer community in Birmingham and was affiliated with many community initiatives. She has also served on committees of the American Library Association and on the board of the national Public Library Association.

 

Outstanding Alumnus, Library and Information Studies – Timothy Alan Lewis

Timothy Alan Lewis received his master’s in library service in 1982 and his law degree from The University of Alabama School of Law in 1984. Lewis has spent his professional career at the Library of the Supreme Court, where he has served as a readers services librarian, associate director and finally director. He has worked as the state law librarian since 1992. Lewis advises and assists county law librarians with legal information needs and provides leadership to the law library community in Alabama. He has given presentations and written numerous articles concerning legal information.

 

Outstanding Alumna, Public Relations – Breeanna Beckham Straessle 

Breeanna Beckham Straessle is a two-time graduate of The College of Communication and Information Sciences, earning her bachelor’s in public relations and her master’s in advertising and public relations. Straessle began her career in a boutique digital agency, heading their marketing division. Since then, she has served as the director of public relations for Vocus and director of corporate communications for Cision. Straessle now works as Cracker Barrel’s corporate communication manager and primary spokesperson.

 

Outstanding Alumnus, Journalism and Creative Media – Clayton Collins

Clayton Collins moved to New York City to produce MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” after graduating from UA. Since 2014, he has overseen and built creative productions for NBC Sports’ original programming and development group. Collins has produced and directed feature shows, digital vignettes and social activations on the NFL, NHL, NASCAR, Golf Channel and Premiership Rugby. He and his wife Danielle live in New England.

 

For more information on each recipient and to read their full bios, click here.

C&IS Wins 4 SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards

C&IS students were awarded four Mark of Excellence Awards by the Society of Professional Journalists, Region 3. The award placement qualifies each of the recipients for competition at the national level.

SPJ Region 3 includes universities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In all, University of Alabama students were finalists in 10 categories of the Region 3 awards. For the full list of finalists, click here.

C&IS’ Montanari Named PRWeek Student of the Year

From Left: Tish Carmona (2017 PRWeek Student of the Year), Maret Montanari, Dr. Joe Phelps and Jacquie McMahon

PRWeek has named C&IS Junior, Maret Montanari, its Public Relations Student of the Year. Montanari, of Beaumont, Texas is the University’s first PRWeek Student of the Year winner. Katie Gatti was runner-up in 2017.

“It still kind of feels like a dream,” said Montanari, “This is such a big honor, and it’s a testament to this College, its outstanding program and its professors who equip their students to excel beyond Tuscaloosa.”

This year’s campaign prompt challenged applicants to create a campaign, using digital channels to increase millennial visitors to the state of Delaware. Montanari’s campaign, “Delaware on Demand,” capitalized on creating a customizable travel experience for interested visitors.

A Journey For Truth

Discovering the People Behind “the Media”


For Meredith Cummings, the media is a collection of people­—male and female, rich and struggling, liberal and conservative, optimists and pessimists—working as copywriters, editors, producers, broadcasters and radio personalities. The 20-year news media instructor knows it is virtually impossible to put them all into a box, and she does not try. Instead, she ventured out on a road trip to discover the people behind the media who have, over time, become a faceless, nameless entity used to group together all journalists. Along her journey, she interviewed more than 100 people so she could bring their stories back to the classroom.

Spotlight on Women’s History Month: Honoring Autherine Lucy

The Autherine Lucy Clock Tower at Fosters Auditorium

Every Monday in February, as a way of honoring the legacy of Autherine Lucy and Black History Month, Dr. Meredith Bagley (Professor, communication studies) hosts tours of The University of Alabama’s campus, highlighting key places and moments in Lucy’s brief, first enrollment at UA.

On a flyer advertising the tours, Bagley summarizes Lucy’s experience at UA this way: “On February 3, 1956, Autherine Lucy became the first African American student to enroll at The University of Alabama. She and her support team showed tremendous courage and fortitude in the face of administrative resistance, ill-prepared law enforcement and, eventually, violent segregationist mobs. On Monday, February 6, 1956, the mob violence led UA Board of Trustees to suspend Lucy from campus ‘for her own safety.’ “

C&IS Hosts AEJMC Southeast Colloquium, Diversity Symposium

The College of Communication and Information Sciences welcomes to campus mass media and communication scholars from across the Southeast for two separate gatherings on research March 8-10.

Presenters from at least six Southern states will share more than 60 research papers and participate in four panel discussions March 9–10 at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Southeast Colloquium, the longest running regional gathering of its kind. It will be the fifth time in the 43-year history of the Colloquium that it will be hosted at The University of Alabama.

SLIS Breaks Record for Book Bonanza

During March 2018,  The University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) will award a record $25,752 in new, free books to elementary, middle, and high school libraries in Alabama via the SLIS Book Bonanza for the BlackBelt & Beyond Program.
 

School librarians in the Black Belt region were asked to apply for the book give-away program from January to mid-February. We received applications from 62 highly deserving schools. The committee chose 8 school libraries in the Black Belt Region of the state to receive on average $2300 each in brand new children’s and/or young adult books. The  judging of the applications was rigorous, as every school exemplified a significant need.

Research and Creative Activity: Dr. Eyun-Jung Ki

Professor of advertising and public relations, Dr. Eyun-Jung Ki, has secured two $15,000 grants from the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange (KOFICE). KOFICE works to increase mutual understanding and relations with nations around the world.

The first grant will allow Ki to pursue her research proposal on “The Impact of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics on Americans’ Intention to Consume Korean Cultural Contents.” The study will investigate the impact of the winter Olympics on Americans’ intentions to consume Korean cultural products including K pop music, products, or K drama after watching the Olympics.

“As the Olympics are a mega-event, there are many opportunities to learn from the mass media coverage and stories about Korean culture, as well as be able to see the impact that watching the Olympics may have on those who tuned in,” said Ki. “Will they want to consume more Korean culture? Will they want to visit the country because of this coverage? These are questions that I hope to answer.”

APR Department up for Top Honors at PRWeek Awards

The Department of Advertising and Public Relations has been nominated for two top honors at the 2018 PRWeek Awards. Maret Montanari was selected as a finalist for Public Relations Student of the Year and the department is among the finalists for Top PR Education Program.

Montanari, of Beaumont, Texas, is the second UA student to be a top-two finalist for this award. Montanari currently serves as the director for Capstone Agency, the College’s nationally affiliated, student-run, integrated communications firm.

Research and Creative Activity: Dr. Leah LeFebvre

The internet and the advent of the smartphone forever changed the way we explore new relationships, as well as how we end them. Dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble now boast millions of users who are active daily, swiping right (and left) on their next would-be matches.

C&IS’ Dr. Leah LeFebvre (communication studies) conducts research focusing on romantic relationships and emerging technologies, or the interplay of communication, interpersonal relationships and technology.

Recently, her research has focused on what has been coined, “ghosting,” or the sudden end of regular, personal communication between two people, without explanation.

“The first study I did was exploratory and qualitative, talking about what ghosting is and whether or not it’s an issue,” said LeFebvre. “The second study focused more on the non-initiator¹ and how they deal with the suffering, and what mode they find most suffering happening.”