Category: CIS News



  • CAMP Participants gain hands-on experience, working with some of the most cutting-edge equipment available in the communication industry.

The University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences will hold its inaugural Communication and Media Preview, or CAMP, from July 12-15.

C&IS CAMP is a four-day, three-night immersive media experience at The University of Alabama. CAMP participants will work with cutting-edge technology alongside the nation’s leading experts in areas such as advertising, communication studies, creative media, news media and public relations.

The CAMP experience is for rising high school sophomores through incoming freshmen nationwide who have an interest in communication and media industries.

Before enrolling in college courses, CAMP participants will be exposed to various career options and cultivate their interests in all five of the C&IS undergraduate majors while engaging in a hands-on, team-centered learning environment.

CAMP participants will get to work with the most cutting-edge technological equipment to plan, shoot and produce their final project. Additionally, guest celebrity speakers will speak to students, giving real-world advice and tips on how to make it in the sports communication industry.

This year, CAMP is partnering with the communication and media professionals in the Alabama Program in Sports Communication to make its emphasis on sports communication the most outstanding experience possible for its participants. Information about the APSC can be found here.

“Not only will CAMP introduce future college students to our campus, majors and faculty, but it will also give them an early start in building a strong sense of how to utilize their interests and talents in thinking about a future career as they develop friendships with peers from across the country,” said Dr. Sara Hartley, assistant dean for undergraduate studies and external relations in C&IS. “They will do all of this while working with one of the strongest athletic programs in the country to tell their story.”

Participants will attend large group sessions aimed at connecting strategies used by industry-leading professionals with their own work. Small group breakout meetings will provide participants with the opportunity to work together in completing a final project to present on the last day of CAMP. Participants will stay on-campus in suite-style residence halls and attend sessions in both Reese Phifer Hall and Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Registration for CAMP is now open. The cost of CAMP is $500 per participant, with scholarships available based on expressed financial need, on a first-call, first-serve basis. Register today to be a part of the first-ever C&IS CAMP.

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2017 Holle Award Winners

The College of Communication and Information Sciences has announced the winners of the 2017 Holle Awards for Excellence and Creativity in Communication.

The awards are designed to celebrate and reward student achievement in the areas of creative transformation, filmmaking, media writing, public speaking and screenwriting.

  • The Holle Award for Excellence in Creative Transformation is awarded to Columbia College Chicago MFA student, Woody Leslie, for his piece, “Parsely.” His work is distinguished by his playful exploration of the framework and the structure of language through diagramming, dissecting and inventing.
  • The Holle Award for Excellence in Filmmaking is awarded to Columbia University student, Connor Simpson, for “Léa,” a film about a delusional actress with an affinity for burning bridges, struggling to connect with the role that could save her career.
  • The Holle Award for Excellence in Media Writing is awarded to UA’s Rebecca Rakowitz, of Stamford, Connecticut. Rakowitz is set apart from the other finalists through her strong narrative composition, technical mastery, and direct and clear headlines.
  • The Holle Award for Excellence in Public Speaking is awarded to UA’s Will Sansoucie, of Festus, Missouri, whose persuasive speech on the importance of preparing for retirement displayed excellent talent in speech writing and delivery.
  • The Holle Award for Excellence in Screenwriting is awarded to UA’s Osagie Jesuorobo, of Stockbridge, Georgia, for his work, “Through the Brain.” This script was praised by judges for its engaging, believable characters, quick pace and strong, snappy dialogue.

“The 2017 Holle Award winners displayed a true commitment to crafting stories and creative work to represent the unique student talent within the College and across the country,” said Dr. Mark Nelson, dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences. “These students excel in their chosen areas of study and have very bright futures ahead. We are so thankful to Brigadier General Everett Holle for his generosity in funding these 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 is a member of the College of Communication and Information Sciences’ board of visitors where he continues to invest in the success of University of Alabama students.

Bateman Team a Finalist Again

For the second year in a row, C&IS’ Bateman Team has been named a finalist in the Public Relations Student Society Association’s Bateman Case Study Competition.

The competition is PRSSA’s premier national case study competition for public relations students, providing them an opportunity to apply their classroom education and internship experiences to create and implement a full public relations campaign.

This year, UA’s Bateman Team partnered with the Campaign to Change Direction, an organization founded in 2013 whose mission is to change the culture of mental health through promoting mental health as equally valuable to physical health, raising awareness of the signs of emotional suffering and encouraging the care of personal mental well-being and the mental well-being of others.

“Working with the Campaign to Change Direction was a great opportunity to get out on campus and face an issue that so many people face, but few deal with,” said Danielle Cassidy, director of insights, strategy and finance for the Bateman Team. “We’re just five people, and we did something. We can all do something.”

PRSSA Headquarters received 67 entries for this year’s Bateman Case Study Competition.  Fifteen submissions received honorable mention, and three were named finalists. The finalists will present their campaigns to a panel of judges May 10 in Chicago.

The finalists for the 2017 Bateman Case Study Competition are as follows:

  • The University of Alabama
  • The University of Nebraska – Lincoln
  • The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

UA’s Bateman Team placed first overall in last year’s Bateman Case Study Competition. Of this year’s finalists, The University of Alabama is the only returning finalist, but the Bateman Team isn’t feeling the pressure.

“There’s a pressure internally because we’re all driven people—we want to win,” said Lauren Williams, account executive for the Bateman Team. “But we know the University, the College and our adviser will be proud of us regardless.”

The five members of UA’s Bateman Team are Danielle Cassady (Athens), Colton Cumbie (Monroeville), Nicole Morgan (St. Petersburg, Florida), Laura Ritchie (Mobile) and Lauren Williams (Cedar Rapids, Iowa).

PR Campaigns Partners with TPD

Students in Dr. Eyun-Jung Ki’s public relations campaigns course took on a new client this year – the Tuscaloosa Police Department (TPD).

Developed to allow students the opportunity to plan, execute and present a complete public relations campaign, the course typically chooses a new client each semester. This semester, however, the client chose them.

“All of the media spotlight on police violence did affect the Tuscaloosa Police Department,” Dr. Ki said. “So they came to us to improve their relationship with the community, and to improve the tarnished image [of police officers] in general.”

Students in the course were divided into four teams and each team was responsible for creating a campaign aimed at a different target audience. While all of the groups worked with student populations in some way, the students ranged in age from elementary school to college freshman.

The four groups – Crimson Communications, Druid City Firm, Mill Creek Media Management and E&E Public Relations – conducted research on their target audience, created print and digital promotions for the TPD and hosted a community event, all aimed at improving the relationship between police officers and their constituents.

The events included a basketball tournament, where members of the TPD teamed up with high school students at UA’s Rec Center; a cookie social for high school students and police officers at American Christian Academy; a junior police academy for elementary students at Oak Hill School; and a game night at the Tuscaloosa Public Library.

The course culminated on Tuesday, April 25, when each groups presented its completed campaign to Tuscaloosa police chief Steve Anderson, lieutenant police chief Teena Richardson and Dr. Ki.

Students were not only competing for an “A” in the class, but also for almost $3,000 in prize money. Money left over from each group’s allotted budget, as well as a portion of the money paid by the Tuscaloosa Police Department, was awarded to the team who best executed its campaign strategy.

After complimenting each of the teams on a job well done, Chief Anderson presented Crimson Communications with the award. He cited the team’s adaptability, social media campaigns and event execution as the reason for the decision, before commenting on the work of the students as a whole.

Druid City firm received honorable mention and a smaller cash prize.

“The creativity that you all displayed was phenomenal – it exceeded my expectations,” Anderson said of the students. “Although we only had a first runner-up and a winner, everybody’s presentation was great, everybody’s dedication to what we were wanting was great, and you have all created sustainable campaigns that we can put into place and try to keep going at the Tuscaloosa Police Department.”

Alpine Living launches seventh issue

Fifteen students from the College of Communication and Information Sciences Department of Journalism and Creative Media celebrated the launch of the seventh issue of Alpine Living magazine on Thursday. The semester-long, international magazine production experience takes place biannually and has been recognized nationally for excellence among peer publications.

Last fall, an editorial staff of distinguished journalism and creative media students was selected to produce the 100+ page, full-gloss magazine, which promotes a different country each issue. This years’ magazine provides prospective travelers and curious readers with an authentic look at the history, culture and lifestyle of the New Zealand people.

In March, the group of graduate and undergraduate journalism students traveled to New Zealand where they spent more than two weeks exploring three of the countries largest cities: Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown. Students also visited Sydney, Australia, as well as several smaller towns and suburbs outside of the cities where they stayed.

“This issue covers parts of the North and South Island,” said Jonathan Norris, editor-in-chief of Alpine Living issue seven. “While united by nationality, the North Island – which is more developed – has a city feel, while the South Island offers a more laid-back, island-time vibe.”

Stories from the New Zealand issue range from topics of food and wine to indigenous tattoo artists and native-species conservation efforts. The magazine, which is available in both print and digital format, is also intended to highlight aspects of the evolving journalism market and allow students the opportunity to learn new and innovative ways to practice the craft.

Taylor Armer, a journalism graduate student and managing editor for the magazine, said her experience with Alpine Living was one she would not soon forget.

“I’ve never traveled abroad so I was anxious and thrilled at the same time,” Armer said. “This trip, with this group, has been a humbling, life-affirming experience. I learned so much about my cohort and myself. It was truly a life-changing experience.”

Norris echoed the sentiment.

“This magazine represents a culmination of what we have been taught here at the Capstone,” Norris said. “As I prepare to leave the University, I am proud and humbled to have worked with this incredible team.”

For more information about Alpine Living Magazine, or to read their digital format, visit their website here.

Alpine Living issue seven participants included: Taylor Armer, managing editor; Kaylin Bowen, writer; Mary Kathryn Carpenter, photography editor; Christopher Edmunds, art director; Elizabeth Elkin, writer; Thomas Joa, writer; Jonathan Norris, editor-in-chief; Mary-Margaret Schmidt, photographer; Elayne Smith, writer; Lane Stafford, photographer; Hailey Grace Steele, digital editor; Madison Sullivan, chief copy editor; Danielle Waddell, writer; and Cara Walker, writer.

Dr. Kim Bissell, professor and associate dean of research for the College of Communication and Information Sciences, serves as the founding publisher and faculty advisor for Alpine Living magazine.

C&IS Students Awarded at URCA Conference

Undergraduate students in the College of Communication and Information Sciences were recognized for their research at the 2017 Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (URCA) Conference in March. The conference, a premier annual event at The University of Alabama, provides undergraduates an opportunity to share their research and creative activity in a supportive environment.

Dr. Kim Bissell, director of URCA, professor and associate dean for research in the College of Communication and Information Sciences, said she believes it is important for undergraduate students to participate in research.

“We are surrounded by research in almost every aspect of life but especially in a mediated context,” Bissell said. “I think that, at a minimum, involvement in undergraduate research elevates students’ ability to think critically and to have a broader understanding of the information we are presented with every day.”

Caroline Prichard, a student in the Department of Communication Studies, was awarded first place in the category of Oral Presentation for her research on the impact of cultural values on U.S./Serbian communication.

“It’s great to get a foundation in research so that if you continue to grad school or other paths where research is important, you have some experience,” Prichard said. “Even if your research is still in progress, it’s a great opportunity to get presentation experience.”

Prichard is the associate director of the Serbia Fellowship Experience at the University of Alabama. Her research centered on a two-week fellowship experience in Serbia in May 2016. Using ethnographic and autoethnographic inquiry, including participant observation and interviews with locals, Prichard was able to identify the cultural values and expectations in comparison to those prevalent in U.S. culture.

In addition to providing a greater understanding of Serbian cultural identity, Prichard’s findings also demonstrated areas where there could be communication breakdowns between Serbian and U.S. discourse.

Additional C&IS oral presentation winners included: Amanda Flamerich (second place); Amy Lekai, Dalton Kerby, Madeline Abrams and Hudson Nuckolls (third place)

Poster presentation winners included: Elizabeth Payne (first place), Bryant Bowlin (tie for second place), Xuan Wang (tie for second place) and Sam Sheriff (third place)


Dr. Michael Bruce to be Named President of BEA

Dr. Michael Bruce, associate professor of journalism and creative media at The University of Alabama, has been elected president for the Broadcast Education Association.

Bruce begins his one-year term at the conclusion of the BEA’s annual conference in Las Vegas, April 25.

Bruce is the third BEA president from UA, joining Dr. Ray Carroll, who served as president from 1991-92, and Dr. Glenda Cantrell, who served from 2009-10. No other institution has had more than one BEA president among its faculty.

“I am thrilled that Dr. Bruce is taking on such an important leadership position in BEA,” said Dr. Cory Armstrong, UA department chair of journalism and creative media. “This position is a natural fit for him. He is a proven leader in the classroom and industry, and I look forward to the new ideas he will bring to BEA.”

During his term, Bruce will work to increase membership to the BEA, raise the visibility of academic research presentation opportunities and develop partnerships raising funds for creative scholarship within the association.

Additionally, the BEA will become a leader in developing standards for comparing research to creative activity for faculty seeking tenure promotion through creative ventures.

“My service to the organization stems from my appreciation for the numerous friendships and professional development opportunities I’ve been blessed with over my 24-year association with BEA,” said Bruce.

Bruce serves the BEA as vice president for academic relations and formerly served as its secretary treasurer. He was also the first division chair of the sports division of the BEA at its inception in 2008.

The Broadcast Education Association is an academic media organization made up of professors and students who serve to promote excellence in media education. The association provides platforms for scholarly presentation and production competition through its publications, annual convention, web-based programs and regional district activities. For more information about the BEA, visit its website.

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.