Category: CIS News

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.

Mills and Carmack Speak on Bullying at Shriners Hospital

Associate Professors of communication studies, Drs. Carol Mills and Heather Carmack, presented on bullying in health care organizations to an audience of medical personnel on November 6 at Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Mills and Carmack’s presentations were part of the larger engagement and outreach efforts of the National Communication Association’s (NCA) Anti-Bullying Task Force. In a partnership with Shriners Hospitals for Children, the presentations will be screened at all of their 22 hospital locations.

Mills’ research specializes in what is referred to as, “the dark side of communication,” or the role of communication in behaviors that negatively impact our personal and professional relationships such as bullying and domestic violence. Carmack is one of only three people globally whose research focuses on communication about and surrounding medical errors and patient safety. The duo is currently developing a research grant that will study the relationship between medical errors and bullying.

“There is research which suggests that whenever nurses or providers are bullied, it has a negative impact on patient outcomes, including medical error and patient safety,” Carmack said. “There’s plenty of theoretical thought pieces that connect bullying and medical errors, but there’s no current study that connects them empirically.”

According to Carmack, the hospital is known for being an environment where bullying exists at an institution level. In fact, nurses have one of the highest bullying rates of any profession nationwide.

“In healthcare a lot of bullying that happens is with the intention to squash and silence,” Carmack said. “If you don’t feel comfortable reporting others, or voicing concerns without some kind of retribution, that’s how medical errors happen.”

Together, the team saw this as a great opportunity to apply their research in helping make a difference and initiate a change in culture.

“As researchers, we spend a lot of time publishing our results, but if our research doesn’t actually help the people we’re studying, I think we’ve missed the mark,” said Mills, co-chair of the Anti-Bullying Task Force. “We know enough about bullying that we can help people who are targets, and we can help leaders create environments where bullying never happens because of the open, positive channels of communication.”

The National Communication Association’s Anti-Bullying Project strives to foster collaborations between Communication scholars and other stakeholders in anti-social aggression efforts in order to contribute rich insights and resources to broader conversations on the complex and multi-faceted issue of bullying.

 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

C&IS’ Dr. Kenon Brown Speaks at Charley Steiner Symposium on Sports Communication

Associate Professor of advertising and public relations, Dr. Kenon Brown, was invited to speak at Bradley University’s Fourth Annual Charley Steiner Symposium on Sports Communication last week.

The annual symposium is the Charley Steiner School of Sports Communication’s pinnacle event, linking a small handful of professors with industry professionals, prominent athletes and other major players in the sports world.

Brown guest lectured for a class Wednesday afternoon and participated in a panel at the Symposium on Critical Issues in the Field of Sports Communication alongside Pro Football Hall of Fame President, David Baker and Eastern Michigan University’s Professor of Sport Management, Erica Zonder.

“To be invited to this symposium to speak on a panel and have my voice heard in this kind of critical sense is a tremendous honor,” said Brown. “It is honestly something I did not expect this early in my career, and it is definitely an accolade I will hang my hat on.”

Brown’s insight into the sports world is unique, as he is an authoritative voice from both an academic and industry perspective. His research interests include image and reputation management, particularly in sports, and minority recruitment in mass communication. Beyond his research, his work in the sport and entertainment industry includes partnerships with organizations such as the International Olympic Committee, FOX Sports, Twitch, NASCAR and the Country Music Association.

“The fact that Kenon Brown was invited to attend is just another of many examples that his work has reached the highest echelon of academic achievement in sports media scholarship,” said Dr. Andrew Billings. “It’s a very deserved honor and I’d expect many more like them in the coming years for Kenon. He’s a powerful, informed voice in the discipline.”

The Charley Steiner School of Sports Communication at Bradley University is the first named sports communication school in the nation. The school is named in honor of world-class broadcaster Charley Steiner, a four-time Emmy Award winner and National Radio Hall of Fame inductee in his 11th season as a play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Steiner spent 14 years anchoring SportsCenter at ESPN while broadcasting baseball, football and boxing. As the first named school of sports communication, it is uniquely positioned for national distinction as it continues to build upon the successes of Bradley University’s premier program.

Plank Center Celebrates Milestones in Mentoring at 9th Annual Gala

The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations celebrated its 9thAnnual “Milestones in Mentoring” Gala at the Union League Club of Chicago on Thursday, Oct. 25. More than 300 public relations professionals, educators and students were in attendance, including more than 20 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 the profession.

Honorees at this year’s mentorship gala included:

  • Legacy:Bob Feldman, partner and co-founder, PulsePoint Group
  • Agency: Dale Bornstein, CEO, M Booth
  • Emerging Leader: Eric Winkfield, public affairs manager, Pepco
  • Educator: Cathy Rogers, Shawn M. Donnelley Professor of Nonprofit Communications, Loyola University New Orleans School of Mass Communication
  • Corporate: Bob Jimenez, senior vice president, corporate affairs, Cox Enterprises
  • Executive: Gregg Sherrill, chairman of the board of directors, Tenneco
  • Mentorship: Tom Burrell, former founder and CEO, Burrell Communications

UA faculty, staff and students also had the opportunity to attend a mentorship panel at DePaul University prior to the gala as well as a diversity and inclusion summit Friday morning.

“The evening is not only an opportunity to honor the leading mentors in our field, but also to show off some of UA’s finest, especially our students,” said Dr. Karla Gower, director of The Plank Center and professor in UA’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations.

While some refer to it as “The Oscars of Public Relations,” others deem it “The Best Night in PR,” as the evening takes on an unmatched energy to inspire those in attendance to mentor the next generation of leaders.

More information on the Milestones in Mentoring Gala is available on The Plank Center’s website (

About the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations

In 2005, the University of Alabama Board of Trustees established The Plank Center. Named for public relations leader and UA alumna, the late Betsy Plank, the Center develops and recognizes outstanding diverse public relations leaders, role models and mentors to advance ethical public relations in an evolving, global society through a variety of initiatives.

In addition to national leaders in the practice and education, the Center’s Board includes an ex officio position for the president of the Public Relations Student Society of America that represents more than 10,000 members in 300-plus colleges and universities.

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 Students Behind ‘Fearful Girl’ Project

Emeline Earman (left) and MK Holladay pose with Fearful Girl in Manhattan, New York.

At only four feet, two inches tall, she weighs in at nearly 250 pounds of solid bronze. She stands daily in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York, staring down the Charging Bull of Wall Street. And for one hour on Friday, Nov. 2, the Fearless Girl did something even braver.

In a partnership between Change the Ref and Fight Gunfire with Fire, Manuel Oliver, the father of Parkland school shooting victim, Joaquin “Guac” Oliver, placed a bulletproof vest on Fearless Girl and dubbed her “Fearful Girl.” Change the Ref tweeted out, “She can’t be fearless if she’s afraid to go to school.”

You have probably seen her pictures by now, but what you may not have known is that behind Fearful Girl are two University of Alabama students, Emeline Earman and MK Holladay. Together with Mingyu Jo (ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena), the trio thought up the idea during their summer internship at MullenLowe Group.

“Like most ideas, this started out as something different. Initially the idea was to put a bulletproof vest on the Statue of Liberty,” said Earman. “Our executive creative director mentioned it to a creative director in the Boston office who had the idea to put it on Fearless Girl.”

Earman, Holladay and Jo knew the idea had potential, but were not certain it would go anywhere. The concept was tabled until about a month and a half ago, when they were called and invited to New York to see the project carried through.

“The concept works because it clearly communicates the intended message,” said Mark Barry, Director of Minerva, the creative advertising specialization at UA. “But more importantly, what makes it great is that it communicates that message in an unexpected way. It allows room for the audience to do a little work on their own to really ‘get it.’”

According to Barry, the creative advertising industry is constantly doing work on the cultural fringes of brand communications, using advertising as a powerful vehicle for cultural change. Within a few hours #FearfulGirl was trending on social media and the story was covered by media outlets such as ADWeek and affiliates of Fox News, CBS and NBC across the country.

Barry is proud of the student duo, whom he describes as “A well-rounded and dynamic creative team.” Their message rings loud and clear throughout the world.

“I think we all hope we can enact change, but at the end of the day, ideas like this are only cool if they do,” said Holladay. “Manuel’s shirt said, ‘Sorry for the inconvenience, we are trying to change the world.’ That’s certainly a sentiment we share.”

Change the Ref was formed to empower future leaders, using urban art and nonviolent creative confrontation to expose the disastrous effects of the mass shooting pandemic. Find out more at their website, here.

Fight Gunfire With Fire is a creative force stewarded by industry and thought leaders banding together. They take big, thought-provoking creative ideas and make them real to create a million of solutions that will end gun violence. Find out more at their website, here.

Minerva is the creative advertising specialization at The University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences. Find out more on their website, here.

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.

Quick Tips on Spring Registration

C&IS Director of Student Services and Registrar, Alyson Jarnagin, has helped students with their schedules, classes, transfers and registration for the past eleven years. As registration for Spring 2019 quickly approaches, Jarnagin offers advice for students within C&IS and encourages all students to first look at the C&IS website before calling or emailing individual registration questions.

“The biggest thing is that students need to register for their classes when their registration time opens. Typically, when a student does that, they have minimal problems getting into a class,” said Jarnagin, “I recommend students reaching out to their advisor well before their registration time opens.”

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about registration within C&IS. For a more complete list of frequently asked questions, visit C&IS’s Student Resources page.

Who is my academic advisor?

All undergraduate students are assigned a professional or faculty advisor. Students can find this person’s name in their DegreeWorks. Advisors are assigned during the first week of class each semester. Students with 0-60 earned hours are advised by the professional academic advisors in Tisch Student Services, located in Suite 190 Reese Phifer Hall. Students with 60+ hours are advised by a faculty member in their department.

How do I make an appointment to meet with my academic advisor?

Students assigned to advisors in Tisch Student Services (0-60 earned hours) should call Tisch Student Services at 205-348-8599 or email Students advised by a faculty advisor (61+ earned hours) should e-mail their advisor or stop by the departmental office to sign up for an advising time slot. Ideally, students will begin seeing advisors in September for Spring advising and in February for Summer/Fall advising. Students assigned to a faculty advisor in their major department will need to work with that advisor to determine their appointment schedule. The best way for students to do so is to either stop by office hours or send an e-mail to their faculty advisor requesting an appointment. We do not have priority advising.

Is advising required each semester?

No, advising is not required each semester unless the student is an athlete, have been placed on academic warning, or have been reinstated from suspension. However, students are strongly encouraged to seek advising each semester.

How do I use DegreeWorks?

Students may access DegreeWorks through the Student tab in MyBama or For more information on DegreeWorks, including FAQs, visit the Registrar’s site. Use the below links for helpful information and a tutorial on how to use DegreeWorks.

DegreeWorks Introduction Video

Using the What-If Feature

Using the DegreeWorks Planner

How do I determine my student classification?

Classifications are based solely on completed class hours. There are four classifications of undergraduate students:

Freshman – 0-30 hours
Sophomore – 31-60 hours
Junior – 61-90 hours
Senior – 91+ hours

When can I register for classes?

Registration dates fluctuate from semester to semester, so visit the academic calendar or check registration dates through the Student tab of MyBama. Click Student tab > Student Services folder > Registration folder > Registration Status.

How do I use Schedule Builder?

Schedule Builder can be found by going to the Student tab in MyBama. For assistance using Schedule Builder, please check out these two links:

How to Use Schedule Builder Reference Guide

Registering for Classes using MyBama Video

I’m getting close to graduation. How do I ensure that I have completed my requirements?

If there is no degree audit on a student’s DegreeWorks, that student should request a degree audit through the C&IS website under Current Students. This will ensure that they know exactly what they have remaining and can help them prepare for their advising appointment.

What are the steps to apply for graduation?

Students will begin receiving e-mails to their Crimson e-mail account from the Registrar’s Office in the semester they will complete degree requirements and graduate. Graduation applications are available through MyBama.

For a more complete list of frequently asked questions, visit C&IS’s Student Resources page.

APSC Hosts Dr. Charles Ross for Scholar Spotlight

On October 18, the Alabama Program in Sports Communication hosted a scholar spotlight, featuring the University of Mississippi’s Dr. Charles Ross and a presentation on his research titled, “Protests in Pro Football, the 1965 AFL Boycott & Colin Kaepernick.”

In his presentation, Ross discussed the history of race and NFL boycotts, including the 1965 AFL boycott when a group of African American players led by Cookie Gilchrist refused to play in the AFL All-Star Game. According to Ross, the boycott resulted in a desegregating of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Ross connected the 1965 protest to the 2016 protest of NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.

Ross signed copies of his book and answered questions from a full house of students in all C&IS majors. He encouraged them to use their platforms to make a difference in the world around them.

“Young people have the ability to change the world,” said Ross. “We still deal with racism, but the question is how do we navigate this? Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee. You may choose to do something different.”

Ross is the Director of African American Studies and an Associate Professor of History at the University of Misssissippi. His research centers on race, sports and equity. He has authored two books — Outside the Lines: African Americans and the Integration of the National Football League, andMavericks, Money and Men: The AFL, Black Players and the Evolution of Modern Football.

The Alabama Program in Sports Communication provides the opportunity to connect sports communication programs and emphases in the College of Communication and Information Sciences and in many other Colleges at the Capstone. The APSC offers public events, highlights research and creative projects, and facilitates advanced discussions of communication and sport issues throughout the community and throughout the nation. To learn more about the APSC, visit their website.

ICIR Scholar Spotlight: Dr. Karla Gower (APR)

What made you interested in research in your field?

I was an attorney in a previous life, so the legal research connects that life with my current life. I became interested in historical research during my master’s at Arizona State. While I took an undergraduate class in the history of mass communication from Dr. Dick Lentz, the last true history course I had taken was in high school. At the time it seemed like all history consisted of was wars and dates. However, Dr. Lentz taught the mass communication class from a social and cultural perspective. I immediately fell in love with the stories and the detective work it took to reveal those stories. Dr. Lentz became my mentor and encouraged me to do a Ph.D.

What are some of the steps of your research process?

Like all research, historical and legal research starts with a question you want to know the answer to and moves into a review of the existing literature to find the gaps and provide context for the study. With both historical and legal, the primary sources are documents. Court decisions are used in legal research along with others materials such as legal arguments and letters. However, historical sources consist of written materials such as letters, diaries, memoranda, newspaper and magazine articles, and government statistics. The sources, whether legal or historical, are then carefully reviewed, analyzed, and interpreted.

What do you need for your research?

Curiosity is needed for all research, including history and law. Research also requires tenacity to keep digging for sources and answers even when you think you’ve hit a roadblock. Access to legal cases, usually through databases, and archives are vital. Without access to the primary sources, one cannot conduct legal or historical research.

Do you involve others in your research process?

I have collaborated with other scholars and students on research, but I tend to work alone. I’m an introvert and actually get excited about spending hours in the bowels of a library or digging through databases. Do your findings alter preconceived notions that you’ve had on a subject? Absolutely! All the time. Although researchers often go into a topic with a preconceived notion of what they will find, they have to have the ability to let the evidence take them where it leads. I’ve stopped working on topics because I didn’t find what I thought I would. The evidence just wasn’t there. I had to accept that and let the idea go.

Why is research needed in your field?

It is just within the last decade that the history of public relations has become a primary area of focus for mass communication historians. We know much more about the profession’s development today than we
did before. For most of the 20th century, it was believed that the field developed in a linear fashion – from press agentry to public information or publicity, to two-way communication – becoming more ethical in the process. This linear evolutionary model had a profound impact on public relations and shaped its theoretical development. To many public relations scholars, that model was simply too neat and tidy and too self-serving for those who promulgated it. Recent scholarship has debunked the linear model while looking at
the factors that influenced the development of public relations and how the field has changed and grown over the years.

Is there a particular conference that you enjoy going to?

My favorite conference is the American Journalism Historians Association. (A shout out to President Dianne Bragg and Caryl Cooper). AJHA was my first conference. I attended as an MA student, and the research chair that year took me under his wing introducing me to people and making me feel comfortable. Everyone who attends AJHA has a similar story about the first people they met and how they were mentored by them. I didn’t miss a conference for the next 15 years, even when my duties as director of the Plank Society could have kept me from attending. I am still an AJHA member though.

More about Dr. Karla Gower: 

Dr. Gower is the Director of the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations. Her primary research interests include the history of public relations and legal issues impacting the profession, but she is also interested in public relations ethics, diversity and inclusion, and crisis communication. She has taught several courses for Public Relations, and she usually teaches APR Management for seniors.