In this issue
This inaugural issue of the Department of Communication alumni newsletter features the activities of communication professors and students who are extending the college experience well beyond the classroom.
- Henna Bakshi, a senior in the multimedia journalism and production track, talks about making films that have been screened in Hollywood and at the Cannes International Film Festival. Story here.
- Dr. Peter Casella reviews what guest speakers from CNN, NBC Radio and ProPublica told students about the changing media landscape in his "Critical Issues in 21st Century Journalism" course. Story here.
- Dr. Paula Horvath provides photos of her students meeting ABC anchor Diane Sawyer and CNN analyst David Gergen while covering the 2012 Republican National Convention as special correspondents for The Washington Post and The Florida Times-Union. Story here.
- Visiting professor Stephanie McLain-Araujo recaps the annual departmental internship fair, which connects communication students with internship opportunities at companies such as Folio Weekly and the Mayo Clinic. Story here.
- Lauren Darm, an alum of the communication program and Jacksonville Business Journal writer, tells what she learned when she came back to the department to teach a writing course she once took. Story here.
- In addition, this issue of the newsletter updates you on the many curriculum changes that the department recently made to ensure that communication majors have the up-to-date skills they need to get media jobs. Story here.
- I hope you like what you see. If you want to get more involved with the department, there are eight great ways to stay connected with the Department of Communication. Story here.
- There is also a section where faculty list their most recent research and awards. Story here.
- The final article celebrates the life of former communication professor Bill Roach, who recently passed away. Story here.
John H. Parmelee, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Don't let anyone get in your way
By Henna Bakshi
Senior, Department of Communication
"Henna, don't let anyone, and I mean anyone, stand in the way of your success."
These are the words of my professor, mentor and friend, Dr. Peter Casella. These words have gotten me through some of the toughest challenges as a communication student.
I am Henna Bakshi, a journalist by work and foodie by passion. I am also a multimedia journalism and production major at UNF. Originally from India, I am one of thousands of students finding happiness in the pursuit of my goals. The communication department has housed my dreams, and here's why I call it my second home.
I wrote and directed a short film called "Strings" for Campus Movie Festival at UNF. The festival requires college students to create a five-minute film in one week. The challenge is difficult and not for the faint hearted. It means juggling classes, work schedules and kissing sleep goodbye for the time period. This was my second year competing after making "Buzzkill," which screened in Hollywood.
"You'll do great!" Professor David Deeley is never out of enthusiasm or time to talk. Also starring in "Strings," he never doubted that my team would complete the task. His office door is always open for a quick pep talk to boost the morale.
Dr. David Deeley and Henna Bakshi take a break during the production of “Strings.”
With a talented crew at hand, including Andy Leverett and Aakash Bakshi, we were able to win Best Picture, Best Story, Best Actor and Audience Choice among 128 teams at UNF. Moreover, "Strings" screened at the Cannes International Film Festival this May (when I turned 21 — talk about the best birthday present). It also recently screened in Hollywood at the Universal backlot theater with top universities from around the nation.
“Strings” won top honors at Campus Movie Festival.
Bakshi and Andy Leverett pose on the red carpet.
In L.A. my team got to attend workshops with industry professionals, operate RED cameras and receive VIP tours of the Universal backlot studios. The International Center and Student Government sponsored our travels for representing UNF at the top film venues in the world.
Deeley was right after all. We did great.
During my beginning terms at UNF, I produced and starred in UNF's first HD cooking show, called "The Skillet." Communication student and my best friend Andy Leverett operated the cameras and edited the show. "The Skillet" continues to air on the Spinnaker TV network, with each episode 24 minutes in length.
I was also the food columnist and a news reporter for The Spinnaker, and I got a chance to cover the last NASA shuttle launch in Cape Canaveral.
After "The Skillet," instructor Diane Matuschka encouraged me to take part in the annual UNF Speech Competition where I won first place. Matuschka recognized my passion for public speaking and didn't skip a beat in helping me polish it. She also helped me join classes with Casella for the department's news magazine show, "Inside Jacksonville."
"You can do better. Give this your best. And there's a deadline!" Casella geared me to report, anchor and assignment edit for the show for a year. I like to compare him to Chef Gordon Ramsay. Casella is not exactly sugar-coated. He's the Italian man who will tell you what you did wrong and how to fix it without an ounce of fake flattery. He teaches his students fair judgment when it comes to news, pushes for heights the students don't even know they can reach. That's exactly what he did with me. His persistence made me confident. I now want to pursue careers in national news because of him.
Dr. Peter Casella helps Bakshi and the rest of the crew of “Inside Jacksonville.”
"There's no harm in asking. Never be afraid! Now go and get me an interview from a Florida representative," said Dr. Paula Horvath during our coverage of the Republican National Convention in Tampa. We reported for a week in correspondence with The Washington Post and The Florida Times-Union.
Horvath is a friendly pillar of support, gusto and confidence. It's hard not to let that rub off on you. During my reporting in Tampa, I was the sole video journalist. I practiced all the lessons Deeley and Casella taught me about cameras and journalism alongside a fearless professor like Horvath. This was communication department gold. Also on this trip, Horvath took us for trainings at the Poynter Institute and a trip to the Dali Museum where I got inspired to write the story for "Strings."
Bakshi reported from the RNC Convention in Tampa in summer 2012
See? It all kind of ties together.
I am currently working on a documentary about the making of "Strings" and where the film has taken us as student filmmakers. I am also the newest writing tutor at ACE (UNF's Academic Center for Excellence), and the university's poster child.
The impact these professors have made in my life is hard to put into words. They don't even realize what their trust, motivation and support can do for a girl like me. I hope to intern with CNN before I graduate at the end of Spring 2014.
I am thankful to everyone at the communication department, including and not limited to Nancy Lee, Donna Oxford, and professors Marcia Ladendorff, Nick Tatro, David Goff and John Parmelee. I hope to make you all very proud one day.
SOME IMPORTANT LINKS:
My resume website: http://www.hennabakshi.blogspot.com
Stand-up from the RNC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEoTenbYg1c
My Osprey Profile on the UNF site: http://www.unf.edu/publicrelations/ospreyprofiles/Bakshi,_Henna.aspx
Back to top
Guest speakers discuss journalism's new rules
By Peter Casella
Assistant Professor, Department of Communication
Trying to practice journalism by the rules in this digital era is similar to the classic knife fight scene in the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in which the bad guy said, "Rules? In a knife fight? No rules!"
Media outlets and those who use media are marching non-stop to the wild, wild web, making it hard for journalists, students and everyone else to know what the new rules are.
The special topics course "Critical Issues in 21st Century Journalism" was my answer to bring some front-row clarity to students who will soon carve out careers in this digital-media universe. During each weekly seminar, students enjoyed free-wheeling discussions with industry leaders from around the country.
I used my journalism background and industry contacts to recruit guests who helped students unravel issues such as the effects of social media on journalism, political communication, segmented media audiences and — for a peek into the next decade — possible future delivery systems for information.
Most of the guests joined the class through video conference. Former CNN anchor Aaron Brown reminded students that, no matter what the media platform, solid storytelling will always be the backbone for responsible journalism. Veteran Washington reporter Bob Costantini of NBC Radio News discussed the influences that have caused the worst political polarization in D.C. since the Civil War. ProPublica vice president Mike Webb described how privately-funded non-profit organizations are reviving the dying practice of investigative reporting.
Public relations consultant John Daigle detailed how he goes under the radar to influence public opinion through online message boards. Todd O'Boyle, Common Cause's program director for media and democracy, discussed strategies for countering corporate influence on the media's agenda. Hearst vice president Hank Price detailed how local television stations have had to incorporate web and mobile strategies to successfully meet their responsibilities as the first source of news for most Americans. Educator, author and media theorist John McManus was the first guest and set the tone for the semester. His book Detecting Bull was the course textbook. Detecting Bull is the blueprint he created for identifying bias in the media. McManus discussed with students the hidden bias of media institutions, how photographs can manipulate our opinions, and even how to discover our own hidden biases. I anticipate offering the course again next spring.
Back to top
Communications students cover national political convention
UNF communication students got a chance for hands-on political action last fall when they attended the Republican National Convention, covering the event via social media for The Washington Post, The Florida Times-Union and other media outlets. The students, led by communication professor Dr. Paula Horvath, received convention press passes and stayed in Tampa for the duration of the convention thanks to a grant from the University. While there, they also had a chance to meet and speak with media luminaries such as ABC anchor Diane Sawyer and CNN analyst David Gergen and were also filmed for a special political documentary produced by the Republic of Georgia.
|Diane Sawyer (center) met student Dargan Thompson (left) and Dr. Paula Horvath (right) at RNC convention.
||David Gergen (center) met with UNF communication students and Horvath (left) at RNC convention.
Back to top
Internship fair links students with media professionals
By Stephanie McLain-Araujo
Visiting Professor, Department of Communication
|More than 80 students took part in the fair.
||Folio Weekly was one of the many vendors.
Holly Bishop, a UNF senior, expected to find an internship when she visited the 2013 UNF Department of Communication Internship Fair in March, but she was stunned when she walked away with four offers.
"I was offered an internship at Beson4 Media, DiscoverTec, Children's Home Society and the Jacksonville Business Journal," Bishop said. "I chose Beson for summer because it was more of an editorial internship that would help me in developing my writing skills."
Bishop said she was extremely pleased with the fair because it's easy for employers to overlook one resume in a stack of resumes. Meeting them in person gave her a chance to make a good first impression. She decided to accept two offers, one for the summer and one for fall.
Bishop's long-term goal is to become a marketing director for a hospital on the First Coast. Her internship at Beson4 has given her the opportunity to write for medical publications like Healthsource Magazine and Florida Doctor.
"I am writing blogs, conducting interviews with top famous doctors in Jacksonville and getting into a lot of great events and media socials for free," Bishop said. "This internship has given me the connections and base-level foundation of experience to jump into PR on the First Coast head first."
In the fall, Bishop will intern with the Jacksonville Business Journal where she hopes to gain more writing experience and help manage special events.
More than 80 juniors and seniors like Bishop visited the 2013 Internship Fair, which took place in the ballroom at the Student Union March 26. Thirty-six vendors attended the event, including advertising and marketing agencies, media, nonprofits and corporations. Notable participants included The Florida Times-Union, Folio Weekly, Mayo Clinic, several local TV stations and even the UNF Athletics Communications office.
DiscoverTec, a company that provides Web development, marketing and hosting services was also one of the participating vendors. Tommy Hobin, a UNF alum, now senior digital marketing director for DiscoverTec, represented his company at the fair. He received 20 resumes and hired four interns.
"We teach our interns what they need to know about SEO link building," Hobin said. "Then 40 percent of their work is for the clients."
One of Hobin's interns, Ally Driscoll, appreciates the instruction and the opportunity to work with clients.
"Since it's a smaller company I'm not just shoved off into a corner," Driscoll said. "There is always someone to ask for help. They are helping me learn skills that I can take out into the workplace."
The advantages are not just for the interns. According to Bishop's supervisor at Beson4 Media, Vanessa Wells, seven of their 17 employees are UNF graduates.
"UNF is a huge asset. They give us great talent so we want to kind of pay it back," Wells said. "We've had a very positive experience with our UNF interns, so we take the time to do mock interviews, review resumes and advise them on their portfolios.
"Holly is organized, presentable and professional," Wells said. "And we threw a lot at her. She took the lead and ran with it. It's nice to see that ownership, pride and eagerness."
Both DiscoverTec and Beson4 Media plan to be back for next year's fair. Both Hobin and Wells agree they can't do their work without quality interns from UNF.
"Many of our interns are on their second and third internship," Hobin said. "Millennials understand the value of being well-rounded in today's economy."
Wells agrees and adds, "Technology has turned communication on its ear, but in this economy, we have to do more with less. Our relationship with UNF and our communication interns is critical."
Back to top
The student becomes the teacher
By Lauren Darm
Class of 2009
Lauren Darm takes a break in Central Park while pursuing her master's degree in New York.
When I sat in MMC 3105-Advanced Writing for the Media seven years ago, the first class of my communications career, my thoughts mainly centered on hopes this field would be the perfect profession for me as I planned and, of course, hoped the class would not be as difficult as previous students said.
But I never thought I would one day be in a UNF classroom teaching the exact same course. Looking back, however, especially now that I have stood on the other side of the lectern, it is not all that surprising.
The UNF communication department faculty always encouraged me and my fellow classmates to reach our fullest potential both with our writing and our future career paths — so much so that even as a student they already felt like colleagues.
Dr. Paula Horvath connected me to my first paid internship with the Jacksonville Business Journal for whom I still work today. And when she came to me with the idea of teaching a writing lab for Advanced Writing for the Media, little did I know it would inspire me to follow the career path of a professor as well.
I loved teaching so much I decided to pursue my master's in journalism at Columbia University in New York and soon my Ph.D. in communications at the University of Florida, all in hopes I can continue teaching communications at the college level.
The UNF communications faculty gave me the skills and foundation I needed to start my career, and now as an adjunct teaching a solo section of MMC 3105, the department is still helping me grow by giving me the experience I need to pursue a doctorate.
It is because of these faculty members I made it to where I am today. I owe them for teaching me how to be a strong writer, journalist and now professor. I was lucky to sit in their classrooms, and now I'm lucky to call those same people my colleagues.
My biggest hope now — as I look into the faces of students who sat where I once did — is that I can teach and encourage them as the UNF communication faculty and department did for me.
Back to top
To keep current with the changing media environment, the department recently made sweeping revisions to the courses taken by students in journalism, advertising and public relations.
The changes are most easy to spot in the concentrations formally known as Journalism and Electronic Media. Those concentrations were combined into a single concentration now called Multimedia Journalism and Production (with two tracks: Multimedia Journalism and Multimedia Production). The Multimedia Journalism track teaches students how to tell news stories on multiple media platforms, such as print, broadcast and Internet. Their stories are published and broadcast to audiences on the UNF campus, around Jacksonville and beyond. Multimedia Production's focus is not on journalism but rather on teaching the many production techniques needed to create other types of media content.
The Advertising and Public Relations concentrations also made changes, albeit less pronounced. For example, advertising students now have additional economics and marketing courses to take. These new required courses help students as they take upper-level advertising courses by showing the market forces involved in advertising and other business ventures. Also, public relations students now receive more instruction in media graphics.
In addition, the number of credits required for the major was expanded from 36 to 40, and MMC 3942, a one-credit pre-internship course, was added to better prepare students for their senior internship (MMC 4975). Also, MMC 1004-Media Literacy was established as a required course and a gateway for freshmen to enter the program.
To make sure the curriculum changes would help students be better prepared to get media jobs, the department's faculty consulted with members of the department's Professional Advisory Board. The new curriculum went into effect with the 2012-2013 academic year. The faculty will continue to monitor the effects of the curriculum changes, as well as the media landscape, and propose additional revisions as needed.
For a more detailed view of all the curriculum changes, go to the department's site for the programs of study: http://www.unf.edu/coas/communication/Programs_of_Study.aspx
Back to top
There are eight great ways to stay connected with the Department of Communication:
1. Join the department's Professional Advisory Board. The board helps us make sure we are getting students prepared for the current media environment. If you have risen to a position of leadership at a news organization, PR firm, advertising agency or other media outlet, please contact the department chair, John Parmelee, at email@example.com. Even if you don't want to be on the board, feel free to e-mail the chair with any advice on making the curriculum better.
2. Join the department's alumni association. This is a great chance to interact with fellow Communication alumni and current students. To join, please contact the department's alumni association chair, Lauren Darm, firstname.lastname@example.org, and include your name, contact information, year of graduation and track.
3. Let faculty know how you're doing. Below is a link that lists faculty and their e-mail addresses. Faculty love to hear what their former students are up to and are always happy to offer advice:
4. Participate in the Internship Fair. Every spring, representatives from companies such as WJXT, The Florida Times-Union, United Way and Mayo Clinic meet with communication students to discuss upcoming internships and jobs. If you are a leader at a company that is looking for interns to do advertising, public relations, journalism or production please contact professor Bobbie Doggett email@example.com to participate.
5. Be a guest speaker. Your expertise in advertising, public relations, journalism or production could be a real benefit to current students. We are always looking for such guest speakers to come to communication classes. A good time to do this comes during the fall semester when the department hosts Media Week, an opportunity for media professionals to speak with students and faculty about the media landscape. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
6. Contribute to Alumni Notes. This is your chance to let faculty and fellow alumni know of any big career or personal changes in your life. Also, consider contributing a 300- to 500-word piece on which professors made the biggest impact on your career. Submissions will be published in the alumni newsletter. Contact email@example.com to submit.
7. Donate to the department. Even a small gift can help us enhance our facilities, academics and recruiting of top-quality students and faculty. To contribute, please go to http://www.alumni.unf.edu/NetCommunity/SSLPage.aspx?pid=461.
8. Join us on Twitter and Facebook. The official social media pages for the department are: https://twitter.com/unfcomm and https://www.facebook.com/unfcomm
Back to top
Dr. Christa Arnold published "Are Physicians and Patients in Agreement? Exploring Dyadic Concordance" with J.J. Coran and T. Koropeckjy-Cox in January 2013 in the Journal of Health Education and Behavior.
Dr. Berrin Beasley published "Navigating the Web of Morality: Social Media and the Value of Truth" in A. Albaran (Ed.), The Social Media Industries (pp. 117-131). New York: Taylor & Francis.
Dr. Robert Bohle published "Opportunity Knocks" and "In Pursuit of Excellence" in the May-June 2013 issues of The National Culinary Review.
Dr. Peter Casella published "Breaking News or Broken News?: Reporters and News Directors Clash on 'Black Hole' Live Shots" in the June 2013 issue of Journalism Practice.
Dr. David Goff published "A History of the Social Media Industries" in A. Albaran (Ed.), The Social Media Industries (pp. 16-45). New York: Taylor & Francis.
Dr. Carolynn McMahan presented "Social Media and Healthcare: Analyzing Online Marketing Strategies in the Healthcare Industry" at the International Academy of Business Disciplines annual convention in Atlanta.
Dr. Siho Nam published "The Cultural Political Economy of Korean Wave in East Asia: Implications for Cultural Globalization" in the April 2013 issue of Asian Perspective and "Mainstream Media Interventions into Global Natural (or Not-So-Natural) Disasters" in K. Howley (Ed.), Media Interventions (pp. 159-174). New York: Peter Lang.
Dr. John Parmelee presented "Political Journalists and Twitter: Influences on Norms and Practices" and "The Agenda-Building Function of Political Tweets" at the International Communication Association annual convention in London in June.
Dr. Brian Thornton presented "The 'Radical' Chicago Defender" at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication annual convention in Washington, D.C., in August.
Back to top
Bill Roach, who was instrumental in founding the communication program at UNF, died in May. After arriving in 1973, he helped create the student newspaper and the professional internship program. He also helped communication students win a Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America.
When he started the student newspaper, he served as editor and general manager. He told The Florida Times-Union at the time that the paper would be "a laboratory publication" in that professors and students would work closely to put out the paper. That laboratory publication, once called the Halyard, is today The Spinnaker.
His accomplishments also extend to public relations. In 1983, students in one of his advanced public relations courses beat out some of the nation's largest PR firms to win a Silver Anvil for their work on the City of Jacksonville's "Keep Jacksonville Beautiful" campaign. This was the first time an educational group won PRSA's highest award.
Roach held a bachelor's degree from Brown University and a master's degree from the University of Georgia. Before entering academia, he served in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War, eventually rising to the rank of commander. He spent 17 years at UNF and retired as the university's first professor emeritus.
Back to top