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Fall 2014

In this issue

The fall 2014 issue of the Department of Communication alumni newsletter includes stories about students and alumni who are winning awards and using what they’ve learned as they venture outside the classroom. 


  • Students in JOU 4930-Social Media for Journalism created their own news bureau, called #IgniteMedia, and with partnerships with local media covered the crowdfunding festival One Spark. Story here.
  • Cassidy Alexander, who hopes to be part of the class of 2017, talks about the value of receiving the department’s Steve J. Boroweic Memorial Scholarship. Story here.
  • The department awarded outstanding graduates in Advertising, Multimedia Journalism and Production and Public Relations. Story here.
  • Katie Evans, class of 2010, talks about how seeking out diverse perspectives, which she learned to do at UNF, has helped her career in the mobile advertising division at Twitter. Story here.
  • Josh Salman, class of 2009, writes about what it took to win several awards from the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Story here.
  • The department is pleased to introduce two new faculty members: Dr. Junga Kim and Dr. Tulika Varma. Story here.
  • Dr. Paula Horvath continues her regular column, “Tech Tips,” which aims to help alumni stay current with the latest media-based gadgets, software and apps. Story here.
  • The department engaged the community by putting on a documentary film festival in downtown Jacksonville. Story here.
  • You can also stay current with faculty members’ most recent research and awards. Story here.
  • 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.


John H. Parmelee, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair





Students create online news bureau to cover One Spark event 


Start-up journalists met entrepreneurial start-ups when a UNF professor’s reporting course set up a classroom in downtown Jacksonville this spring to cover the world’s largest crowdfunding festival.


Dr. Paula Horvath’s JOU 4930-Social Media for Journalism course had students applying their multimedia storytelling skills while covering the entrepreneurs entered in One Spark, held April 9 through April 13 in downtown Jacksonville.  


“The students were real journalists, they had real press passes, they covered all the events, and their content was picked up by publications across town,” Horvath said. “In fact, even though the class has ended, we still have people contacting us to see if they can get stories covered.”



Jasmine Marshall

#IgniteMedia reporter Jasmine Marshall (right) talks with a One Spark participant. 


The goal of One Spark was to connect entrepreneurs and innovators with investors who could provide funding to get the entrepreneurial start-ups going. The event, in its second year of operation, attracted more than 250,000 people and resulted in more than $300,000 of crowdfunded money being given to some of the 610 ideas that were voted on by participants, according to event organizers. Individual investors, who were prowling the festival grounds during the event, gave another $3.2 million to projects in which they were interested.


And it was the goal of the 19 students in the UNF course to provide content about the festival and its entrepreneurs to the local news media.


 Brittany Edwards

Brittany Edwards (right), assistant managing editor, goes over stories with student reporter Heather Rubino in the #IgniteMedia newsroom.



To do that, Horvath and the students set up a news bureau, called #IgniteMedia, and worked out of a temporary downtown newsroom within Jacksonville’s main library that was provided by The Florida Times-Union. The students posted stories on their #IgniteMedia website and covered the event using a variety of social media, such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Many #IgniteMedia stories were picked up by the Times-Union, Folio Weekly, and other news outlets.


In August, a smaller group of the students involved in #IgniteMedia used crowdfunding to raise more than $9,000 to pay for a trip to cover Berlin’s One Spark festival for the city’s English-language media. Part of the fund-raising included local media celebrities performing dares for money in Hemming Plaza downtown. Times-Union columnist Ron Littlepage shaved his beard, which he has had for decades. Marilyn Young, editor of the Daily Record, wore a dress for the first time in 30 years. Perhaps the most unusual dare was WJCT’s Melissa Ross rapping Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” to a cheering crowd. Video and photos of the event can be found here.


In Germany, the student journalists will be called #ZundenMedia.


The #IgniteMedia news bureau produced 64 stories about One Spark, many of which were run in The Florida Times-Union and other local media.



Watch a five-minute video about #IgniteMedia


The #IgniteMedia news bureau website


WJXT News 4 story about #IgniteMedia



Department awards first Steve J. Boroweic Memorial Scholarship 

By John Parmelee

Professor and Chair, Department of Communication


Thanks to a generous donation that honors the legacy of a former director of UNF’s Division of Continuing Education, we are able to award the Boroweic Scholarship annually to an undergraduate in the Department of Communication who demonstrates academic excellence. This year’s award, which will provide $1,300 during the 2014-2015 term, goes to Cassidy Alexander. She combines the highest level of academic achievement with quiet confidence and a passion for news. Her story is below. Donations like this can make a real impact in the lives of our students and help us as we recruit the next class of communication majors. To donate specifically to the department, please click here, or I can be reached at jparmele@unf.edu


What winning the Boroweic Scholarship means to me 

By Cassidy Alexander

Junior, Department of Communication


 Cassidy Alexander

Cassidy Alexander wrote stories, laid out pages and gained valuable experience while an intern at her hometown newspaper, the West Volusia Beacon.


In the MMC 3105-Advanced Writing for the Media classroom on the first day of summer session, seated behind a not-so-protective wall of Macs, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My professor – only my second communication professor – paced around the classroom, occasionally pausing for effect and staring into my soul.


I didn’t know that after the summer and only one year at UNF, I’d have found a mentor, an internship, a scholarship and a renewed eagerness to get involved in the field of journalism. 


My name is Cassidy Alexander. I’m a 19-year-old journalism major also hoping to double-major in graphic design, with a minor in creative writing if I can swing it.


In addition to taking classes, I write for The Spinnaker, and this summer I was fortunate enough to get an internship with my hometown newspaper, the West Volusia Beacon. In just one year, I’ve learned more about journalism than I would have expected after only taking a few pre-requisite classes. That’s what I love about UNF: If you have the initiative and the skills, they don’t make you wait. You can jump right in as a freshman and start learning on your feet. What you get in the classroom is not the only way to learn.


Aside from continuing to write for The Spinnaker, this year I am going to be a learning community assistant for the Honors freshman dorm, helping them build their community. And this semester, I apply to UNF’s limited access graphic design program.


I try to engage in activities that will better my communication skills outside of my degree. I’m studying graphic design to enhance my visual communication skills and working for UNF Housing to better my professional and personal skills.


Winning the Steve J. Boroweic Memorial Scholarship will help me to continue to better myself. The scholarship is peace of mind for me, as it allows me to concentrate on my studies and get a jump start on my future. I can continue to further my education, and by extent myself, because of this scholarship.


I know I’m young, but one of the biggest things I’ve learned from UNF is that my age doesn’t matter. I’m given every opportunity to succeed in any number of ways. Winning the scholarship is just another example of that.


Back to top



2014 Outstanding Student Award winners announced 

 Outstanding Student Awardees

Madison Gerry (left), Grady Trimble and Erin Banister pose with their awards on graduation day.


The newest recipients of the department’s Outstanding Student Award, which go to a graduating senior from each concentration in the B.S. in communication degree, were honored at a ceremony during the spring. Below are their comments about what they value the most about their time in the department.


Madison Geery, Outstanding Advertising Student: “I am most proud of being the campaign director for my campaigns class. I was able to acquire skills throughout this class, as well as UNF’s entire communication program, which have allowed me to achieve my dream career with the Discovery Channel in New York.”


Grady Trimble, Outstanding Multimedia Journalism and Production Student: “As a student in the Department of Communication, I was thrilled to gain internship experiences as part of my studies. It had been my goal to intern at Viacom since high school, so working at VH1 was my biggest achievement.”


Erin Banister, Outstanding Public Relations Student: “One of my proudest achievements within the Department of Communication is being able to present my final public relations presentation to University President John Delaney. Having the opportunity to present all my hard work to UNF’s highest administrator was truly an honor and a moment I won’t forget.”


Advertising alum joins Twitter 

By Katie Evans

Class of 2010



Katie Evans takes a break during her busy day working in the Twitterverse.


“Seek diverse perspectives” is one of Twitter’s 10 core company values that are instituted globally. Core values are used as a reference point for employees as culture, brand and business strategies develop. Since joining Twitter two years ago, I have come to realize I have always been drawn to this core value. Reflecting on my days at UNF, I realize how consistently intrigued I was by my roommates, my professors, my peers, my colleagues, and the ever-changing ecosystem that surrounded me. Although settling in within current social circles seemed comforting, I started to realize the key, novel bits of information (job leads, for example) started to come from acquaintances. I saw that concept unfold firsthand after spending time with professor Dee Colvin during her office hours when she encouraged me to go to the Department of Communication’s career fair. With my resume and an open mind, I went to the job fair and found myself interviewing at Cox Radio the next day. I worked at Cox Radio for two years and was then offered a role at a start-up in New York City, which launched my career in ad-tech. 


I am currently working at Twitter out of our headquarters in San Francisco within our mobile advertising division. Working on a team that is in hyper-growth phase forces everyone to take ownership of their unique skillsets and, as a result, a strong collaboration and sense of pride starts to unfold. From working with teams all across the organization from engineering, to sales, to product marketing, I am constantly challenging the workflows others have created while closely analyzing the outcomes. If it was successful, how can we standardize this process in the future so it’s easily mimicked? On a typical day at the office, you might find me asking my team for feedback on a project, brainstorming with my peers on an optimization strategy I’m recommending to a client, or having coffee with someone on our engineering team just to hear their perspective on the future of advertising.


Seek diverse perspectives and you might find yourself at a company that instills it as a core value.



Journalism alum wins national awards 

By Josh Salman

Class of 2009


 Josh Salman

Josh Salman’s reporting was honored by the National Association of Real Estate Editors.


Sitting through my first mass media lecture at UNF, I never would have imagined those same lessons would carry me to a stage where I would pick up national journalism awards – certainly not so soon.


I now work as a business writer for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, where I focus on real estate stories and investigations. I bring a strong record of enterprise storytelling, versatility and digital reporting to my newsroom.


And I owe it all directly to UNF.


I grew up in Sarasota, a coastal Florida city known for its beaches and vibrant art community. After graduating from high school in 2003, I moved to the Florida Panhandle to attend Tallahassee Community College.


After earning my associate’s degree, I moved to Jacksonville to attend UNF. I immediately joined The Spinnaker as a contributing writer and eventually became managing editor of the award-winning student newspaper. The University honored me as “Outstanding Graduating Journalism Student” during the spring of 2009.


While in Jacksonville, I spent two years as an intern for The Florida Times-Union, covering everything from community sports to complex trend stories. I returned to Southwest Florida in 2009 to work as a government reporter for the Charlotte Sun, a smaller daily newspaper in Port Charlotte. I also spent about a year at the Bradenton Herald as a business writer before joining the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in November 2012.


But the pinnacle of my career came in June when I was honored by the National Association of Real Estate Editors with four awards, including the Platinum Award for Best Individual Entry, Gold Award Co-Winner of the Ruth Ryon Award for Best Young Journalist, and the Silver Award for Best Investigate Series or Report.


I was overwhelmed to beat out veteran reporters at news organizations like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg News and the Seattle Times. A panel of judges from the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University selected the winners.


My reporting has triggered federal investigations, uncovered illegal activity by convicted felons, exposed loopholes costing tax payers millions of dollars, prompted city ordinances changes and helped struggling families save their dream homes.


It was my time at UNF that molded me the most – through my classes, work at The Spinnaker and internships. I guess my professors were right; the hard work really can pay off – and quickly.



The Department of Communication welcomes two new faculty members  


Dr. Junga Kim and Dr. Tulika Varma are the newest members of the UNF family. Both assistant professors come to the department with a good mix of research, teaching and professional media experience.


Kim   Varma

 Dr. Junga Kim (left) and Dr. Tulika Varma will provide new perspectives to teaching advertising and public relations. 


Kim, who joins the Advertising track, has a Ph.D. from the University of Florida. Her research examines social media, advertising and health communication. She has published her research in publications such as the Journal of Advertising Research and the Journal of Health Communication. She has also presented her research to national and international conferences and won several competitive grants. In addition, she has more than 10 years of professional experience related to advertising. Kim is married to Dr. Chunsik Lee, who has been an assistant professor in the department since 2011.


Varma comes to the Public Relations track after teaching at East Carolina University for two years. Her Ph.D. is from Louisiana State University, and her research focus is on crisis communication. She has published in Public Relations Review and has won awards for papers she has presented at academic conferences. Crisis communication is also her main teaching area. Her professional experience was gained in the United States and India.



Tech Tips

By Dr. Paula Horvath

Senior Instructor, Department of Communication


A radio network for journalism

Radiotopia, a podcast network for story-driven journalism, was launched during the summer by PRX, backed in part by a Knight Foundation grant. PRX, the same company that built an app for NPR’s This American Life podcasts, is hoping Radiotopia will be a home for high-quality audio stories inspired by public radio but designed for digital. Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX, explained that “there’s a spot between making sure that we’re doing informative, mission-drive journalism but still aiming for a broad audience with something that’s extremely engaging and high quality and entertaining and well produced.” Check out Radiotopia.


Translate languages instantly

Word Lens, is an app created by Quest Visual for iOS and Android that translates printed text between two languages using your smartphone’s camera. Download the app and select the languages you want, point your cell camera at the text and – like magic – a translation appears. Use it with any text. Currently, it can translate text in English, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, French and Portuguese. Never again will you order a menu item in a foreign country and be surprised by what’s delivered. Just use Word Lens to find out what’s really in that dish.

Shhhhh: Maintain your confidentiality by using Confide

Ever wondered if online hackers could discover those texts you’ve been sending? Now there’s Confide, where everything is – in journalistic terms – “off the record.”  Using this app, texts are encrypted and can’t be forwarded to or read by anyone other than the intended receiver. Even more exciting, they’re screenshot proof, as words are only revealed a couple at a time giving the receiver a chance to read them only a small part of the message before they disappear from the screen. And, even if someone tries to screenshot one of your incomplete messages, Confide notifies you immediately. Once the message is read, it disappears forever. 


Get the best still images from video – instantly

You’re at the beach and you’ve just shot a video of your best friend surfing the biggest wave of her life. She sees it and immediately wants a framed picture of her within the curl. If you’ve been using Vhoto, you’re in luck. This new iPhone app allows you to record video then capture still shots from the video. The app will analyze the video for clear images then extract a selection of clear shots for your use. Check it out.



Documentary presentations educate community 


The department held a documentary film festival that was co-sponsored by and shown at Sun-Ray Cinemas in the Five Points area of Jacksonville. Professors provided commentary to viewers and took questions after the documentaries were shown.



Posters for the event drew audiences from around Jacksonville


The first presentation took place Feb. 25 with Dr. Peter Casella, who teaches multimedia journalism, providing commentary to the documentary “Terms and Conditions May Apply,” which is a scathing look at the lack of online privacy.


Adjunct professor Nick Tatro presented the next documentary on March 25. Titled “The Square,” the film takes viewers on a personal trip directly into the ongoing Egyptian revolution by following the lives of some of the people involved. It was nominated for a 2014 Academy Award. Tatro then discussed the antecedents of the protests and the current state of the Middle East. Tatro was a journalist stationed in the Middle East for two decades and served as Cairo bureau chief for the Associated Press. 


The final presentation included three short documentaries that were Academy Award nominees in 2013: “Inocente,” “Buzkashi Boys” and “Kings Point.” The three films made it to the big screen because of the power of crowdfunding, which was the topic that was discussed by Dr. Paula Horvath at the April 22 event.



Faculty Activity 


Dr. Christa Arnold published three articles in the journal Medical Encounter: “Are Physicians and Patients Really Trained Listeners? Demonstrating and Discussing Listening Skills Training for Medical Encounters,” “Examining Patient Communication Behaviors in the Medical Interview: Towards Creating Enhanced Medical Communication Skills Training,” and “Revisiting Patient Communication Training: Introducing the AGENDA Model and Curriculum.” She was also awarded $1,500 and a fall 2014 semester reduced course load for the Dean’s Leadership Faculty Fellowship Grant.


Dr. Berrin Beasley published “Origins of Mass Communication” in W. D. Sloan (Ed.), The Media in America: A History. 9th ed. Vision Press.


Dr. Peter Casella published “Rethinking Failure: A New Perspective of The Ten O’Clock News Reported by Carol Marin” in the Florida Communication Journal. He also won a Best Paper award for “The ‘Noble Experiment’: The Ten O’Clock News Reported by Carol Marin” at the Broadcast Education Association conference, in Las Vegas, in April.


Dr. Chunsik Lee published “The Antecedents of Attitude Toward IPTV Advertising: The Role of Interactivity and Advertising Value” in the Journal of Advertising and Promotion Research, and “A Consumer Dilemma: Privacy Concerns and Use of Personalized Advertising among U.S. College Students” in the Korean Journal of Advertising. He also presented “Cultural Orientations and Electronic Word of Mouth (eWOM) Behavior on Social Networking Sites (SNSs) in the U.S.” at the American Academy of Advertising conference, in Atlanta, in March. He also received a 2014 Summer Scholarship Grant to do research on the topic “Does a Brand Endorse a Celebrity?”


Dr. Carolynn McMahan and Dr. Jae Park published “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Online Marketing Communications: Cross Cultural Analysis of U.S. and Chinese Websites” in the Proceedings of the International Academy of Business Disciplines.


Dr. Siho Nam published “Technological Relativism” in The Encyclopedia of Social Media and Politics. He also presented “The Divide Between 1 and 50: The Growth of the Internet and the Retreat of Democracy in South Korea During the Two Conservative Administrations, 2008-2014” at the International Communication Association preconference on Communication and the Good Life around the World after Two Decades of the Digital Divide, in Seattle, Wash., in May.


Dr. Jae Park published “Exploring the Impact of Acculturation and Ethnic Identity on the Korean U.S. Residents’ Consumption Behaviors of Utilitarian Versus Hedonic Products” in the Journal of International Consumer Marketing. He also published “The Power of Political Boycott in Online Communities and Blogs: Exploring Online Political Debaters on the Korean Government’s Beef Trade Polices with the U.S.” in the Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies.


Dr. John Parmelee published “The Agenda-Building Function of Political Tweets” in New Media & Society.


Dr. Brian Thornton published “The ‘Dangerous’ Chicago Defender: A Study of the Newspaper’s Editorials and Letters to the Editor, 1968” in Journalism History.



Get involved 


There are eight great ways to stay connected with the Department of Communication:


  • 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 jparmele@unf.edu. 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.
  • 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, commstu1@unf.edu, and include your name, contact information, year of graduation and track.


  • Let faculty know how you're doing. Click here for a list of faculty and their e-mail addresses. Faculty love to hear what their former students are up to and are always happy to offer advice.  
  • 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 rdoggett@unf.edu to participate.
  • 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 jparmele@unf.edu for more information.


  • 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 jparmele@unf.edu to submit.


  • 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 click here.
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