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School of Mass Communication

SMC Senior Wins National PR Awards

Gabby.jpgUALR Senior Gabriella Corriere, a strategic communication major with a minor in advertising, won the national Public Relations Society of America’s Silverman Award and the group’s Yoshimura Scholarship at the association’s annual conference in Orlando.

Corriere is only the second recipient of the award, named for former Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide Chair Marsha Silverman. Corriere is believed to be the first UALR student to win a national PRSA prize.

Announcement of the award came at the 2011 national PRSA student society convention held in Orlando with the national PRSA conference. Corriere was at the national convention to receive the Gary Yoshimura Scholarship when she was surprised by receiving the Silverman.

“I am still in shock,” said Corriere, who accepted the award from Mickey G. Hall, managing director of Ogilvy’s Atlanta division. “I am incredibly honored to have won such a prestigious award and am excited about the career opportunities it will offer me at the national level.” Full Story

Updated 3.20.2012

SMC Students Shine

School of Mass Communication students have had a banner year with accolades, internships and jobs.

Senior Jennifer Ellis, the Forum’s 2011-12 executive editor and president of the UALR chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, became the first UALR student ever to attend the Ted Scripps Leadership Institute.  The invitation-only program sponsored by the national Society of Professional Journalists, helps participants focus on interpersonal and organizational leadership skills, as well as sound chapter management practices. Only 50 participants from across the country were invited to attend the June program in Indianapolis.

A group shot from the SPJ Scripps Institute Class of 2011.

Senior Kenesha Shirlee, a broadcast journalism student, was this year’s UALR recipient of the prestigious Paul Eels scholarship, which honors the memory of the longtime KATV sportscaster and Voice of the Razorbacks. Shirlee is a Little Rock native who grew up in Europe and Japan in an Air Force family.  Along with a guest shot on 103.7 the Buzz and KATV, Shirlee was spotlighted at the 2011 Eels Memorial Golf tournament. “I know how successful Paul Eells was and loved by many so to be awarded something in his honor is amazing to me,” said Shirlee.  “I really appreciate the people that cared enough to make sure that his legacy still lives.” 

Rachel Hood, a May 2011 graduate and the 2010-11 Forum executive editor, has done so well as an online news intern at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the newspaper has hired her full time as an online news editor. Before leaving UALR, Hood won first place in feature writing at the April Arkansas College Media Association annual convention. Her winning feature was a profile of Hotdog Mike, a now well-known Central Arkansas hotdog vendor who proclaims to have the coolest – and possibly only – hot dog cart in town. (You can read Hood’s story at Mike’s blog).

Strategic Communication seniors Leslie Baker and Kasheena Green are putting their public relations skills to work as interns this semester.  Baker is pursuing her love for sports pr with UALR Trojan Media Relations Director Joe Angolia.  Green is working in the health care field as a pr intern for Susan Van Dusen, Communications Coordinator for the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at UAMS.

While you’re reading Arkansas newspapers and web sites, be sure to keep an eye out for these SMC names:  Matt Johnson, a senior and current sports editor of the Forum, is an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette stringer covering high school football. Several of Johnson’s photos have received prominent display in the Democrat-Gazette’s Saturday sports section. Johnson often shoots the same games covered by May graduate Jim Stallings, a member of the Democrat-Gazette’s sports department and Johnson’s predecessor as Forum sports editor.
Tony Lenahan, a December 2010 graduate and the 2010-11 Forum sports editor, has become assistant sports editor of the Saline Courier.

Kyle Troutman, a May 2011 graduate and the 2010-11 Forum news editor, has taken a position with the Searcy Daily Citizen, where his duties include writing news and sports, and working as a photographer and page designer.

Keep an ear as well as an eye out for senior Nathan Vandiver, who worked as summer intern at Arkansas Business and continues as a news reporter for public radio station KUAR.  Fellow senior Lisa Venis had a similar internship with Arkansas Business last spring.

Updated 10.21.2011

SMC Alumni Win Best Picture at Statewide Film Fest

The dynamic film duo “This is Dogtown” – otherwise known as SMC alums Will Tracy and Russ Galusha – took home the big prize at the 2011 Little Rock Film Festival’s 48 Hour Film Project awards ceremony. The duo’s winning short, Calimari Sunset Part IV, was one of a record number of entries in the Little Rock portion of a national competition.

To compete, filmmakers had to write, film, edit and score an original five minute film in only two days. “It is grueling, tiring and frustrating,” said Galusha, “but it’s also the most fun you will ever have while being awake for 48 hours.”

The Little Rock Central graduate has partnered with Tracy, a DeWitt High graduate, on other projects, including several while students at UALR. That history, he said, produced a great team experience and a prize-winning entry. “I worked with several of the members of our team on other projects, so we got along well,” Tracy explained. “Now, we’re excited to see how our film does on a national level.”

The finale festival to announce national and international winners, Filmapalooza, is set for March 2 – 5, 2012 near Taos, New Mexico.

Both Tracy and Galusha hope to work together again soon on another film project. In the meantime, Galusha is working with his editor-producer brother Les on a music video. He is also designing a couple of posters for short films. Tracy, meanwhile, is busy as a proud new father to baby girl Quinn.

Updated 10.19.2011

SMC Professor Finds Roots and the American Dream

When SMC journalism professor Jeanne Rollberg traveled to Graz, Austria on a UALR-sponsored faculty-exchange trip in May, she financed a personal side trip to Sweden and Denmark to follow up on family research undertaken through the wide availability of public documents on the World Wide Web.

Though “public documents” had always been of interest to her through the classes she taught, helping hundreds of aspiring journalists learn where and how to seek information, Rollberg said she had never considered the deeper cultural meaning of public documents until she began doing research on a virtually unknown Swedish branch of her family tree.

While in Ystad, in southern Sweden, a reporter wrote a feature on her quest for her roots, a search she found strikingly similar to her ancestors exploration for the new life they sought in America 150 years ago.

Through public documents and available historic information, Rollberg said her family came alive for her and other family members. She encourages anyone who has never looked at their family’s history from the viewpoint of the first immigrants to begin that search now.

Find the hidden stories that shaped the American Dream when 60 million people took an unprecedented leap of faith and came to America,” urged Rollberg. “Such a vicarious journey can also give a family enhanced understanding of today’s immigration issues because many of the controversies related to immigration today are the same ones chronicled in newspapers of a bygone era.”

While the Swedish newspaper found a story focusing on Rollberg’s visit and search, she has started contributing articles to “Sweden & America,” a joint quarterly publication of The Swedish American Center in Karlstad, Sweden, and the Swedish Council of America that is published in both Swedish and English (view the article Finding Roots - Making Friends“).

Updated 10.19.2011

SMC Alum Headed for Houston TV

Felicia RusselFelicia Russell, who earned her degree in May 2008, is moving from # 57 to the top ten – television market, that is.  Russell will take a job Oct. 12 with KTRK, Channel 13, an ABC-owned-and-operated station in Houston, one of the largest TV markets in the United States. She will produce the 9 to 10 a.m. weekend newscast.

She was executive editor of the Forum during the 2007-2008 school year. After graduating from UALR, she went to work as a news producer for KAIT in Jonesboro, then took a job as a producer at KATV in October 2009. She will leave KATV on Oct. 7.

Russell’s course plan is a testament to the value of the “converged” curriculum that the SMC provides – a curriculum that requires students to take courses from all of the school’s emphases.   Her emphasis was print, but she got a broad range of experience while working toward her degree, and now is succeeding in broadcast journalism.

Knowledge is the root that gets you started, but it’s experience, networking, and a will to succeed that can take you far,” Felicia said.

Updated 10.19.2011

David, Ashten, Kristen and Lauren presented at APW

Four UALR masters in journalism students presented their research June 4, 2011, at a
colloquium held as part of the Arkansas Press Women summer awards luncheon in Little Rock. APW sponsors the “Best Brains” mass media research colloquium in partnership with UALR’s School of Mass Communication. Faculty nominate outstanding student papers for the colloquium, which began in 2010.The statewide, annual event is open to all Arkansas graduate students who have done mass media research.
Visit the APW page

This year’s presenters from UALR (pictured, left to right) are:
David Keith: “Skill Set: A Measurement of Journalistic Skills, Accuracy and Objectivity in Television Journalists.” Keith is an instructor at the University of Central Arkansas. He earned his MA in December 2010. His paper is part of the capstone project for his degree. David will also present the paper at the annual convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication convention in St. Louis in August.

Ashten Adamson: “An Opportunity Arrives for Making History: The Arkansas Gazette Votes Republican in the 1966 Governor’s Race.” Adamson is from Stuttgart. Ashten wrote her paper as part of MCOM 7340, Seminar in Journalism History.

Kristin Hodges: “The Courtesy Nomination: The Arkansas Gazette’s Coverage of the Appointment and Election of Senator Hattie Caraway.” Hodges is from Ruston, La. Kristin wrote her paper as part of MCOM 7340, Seminar in Journalism History.

Lauren Farabough: “Social Media: A New News Medium.” Farabough is from Dumas. Lauren wrote her paper as part of MCOM 7380, Media Criticism.

Updated 7.8.2011


Jennifer Ellis, Society of Professional Journalists campus chapter president, has been selected to attend the 2011 Ted Scripps Leadership Institute, sponsored by the national Society of Professional Journalists, in June in Indianapolis. Jennifer is the first SMC student in nearly 11 years at UALR to be chosen to attend the institute.

Nathan Vandiver recently won first place in the radio features category at the Region 12 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence contest in March. Chris Holloway won second place for radio news broadcast in the same competition. These are particularly significant because Region 12 encompasses Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, including LSU, Ole Miss, the University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee, among others.

Miguel Lopez has begun an internship with Univision Arkansas, an affiliate of the Spanish-language television network Univision. Here’s a link to a video Miguel had a prominent hand in.

Updated 4.7.2011

Gabriella Corriere wins a PRISM award

Gabriella Corriere, a strategic communications major in the SMC, has become the first UALR student ever to win a PRISM award for excellence in communications planning from the gabriella_award1.pngArkansas Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Her campaign plan focused on promoting trolley rides in the Little Rock River Market to discourage drunk driving — a plan still being implemented today. Gabriella received the award in a ceremony at the Clinton Library last evening. The judges commented that they had seen few professional plans that were as comprehensive and creative as hers. Congratulating Gabriella.

Updated 4.8.2011

UALR 2010 High School Symposium

symp_2010.png10 a.m. OPENING SESSION– University Theater
Dr. Jamie Byrne, director, School of Mass Communication
Dr. Angela Brenton, dean, College of Professional Studies

Keynote address: “What Young Journalists Need to Know”
– Kelly MacNeil, president, Arkansas Society of Professional Journalists

Awards Ceremony: Sonny Rhodes, School of Mass Communication
Download Program

Updated 10.21.2011

Inaugural SMC Media Camp is on

camp_logo11.pngThe inaugural SMC Summer Media Camp is off and running! Our happy campers checked on July 18, 2010, and were treated to a grill-out at the residence hall commons. They’re already hard at with labs on our brand new Mac computers.
Dr. Mark Giese has been conscientious in making it all happen. The campers have got a full schedule this week - classes, tours of the Metroplex and Dempsey Film, making their own movie, and watching some too!

Mark has assembled a great staff for the program - Will Tracy (Will an SMC alum and his wife, both award-winning Resident Assistants during their time at UALR) and Jennika Smith (also an SMC alum) are staying with the students in the dorms.

Dr. Giese, Mr. Weekley and Mr. Fry are doing classes with the students.

The Arkansas Broadcasters Association, the Television Broadcasters of Arkansas, Mr. John Thompson, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) have provided the funding to make full scholarships to the program available for each camper. Sodexo, Subway, Apple Spice Junction, Little Ceasar’s Pizza, Church’s Chicken, Dr. Mark Giese and Dr. Jamie Byrne are providing evening meals for the group. Joni Lee and Pepsi provided drinks. Athletics, the Chancellor’s Office, the SMC and bookstore provided wonderful goodie bags and items for them.

It’s a real community effort! Friday night, July 23, 2010, will be the screening of the films made by the campers, and they’ll be checking out on Saturday morning, July 24, 2010.

Updated 7.27.2010
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