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Spring 2015


In this issue


The spring 2015 issue of the Department of Communication alumni newsletter looks at how the department is expanding events and programs to help students and alumni.


  • In its second year, the department’s Media Week added alumni- and diversity-related activities to its regular offerings of panels featuring professionals in advertising, public relations, journalism and production. Story here.
  • Communication students raised thousands of dollars to travel to Germany to cover the crowdfunding festival One Spark START: Berlin. The trip was a continuation of Dr. Paula Horvath’s #IgniteMedia news bureau, which previously covered Jacksonville’s One Spark event. Story here.
  • Ken Thomas, class of 1987, talks about his decades as a photojournalist covering everything from presidential campaigns to NASCAR races. Story here.
  • Madison Geery, class of 2014, gives her perspective on beginning her advertising career and how the department prepared her. Story here.
  • The Hope Fund, the department’s partnership with The Florida Times-Union and HandsOn Jacksonville to raise money for the needy, is now 20 years old. Story here.
  • The department partnered with the national nonprofit Investigative Reporters and Editors to provide Jacksonville-area journalists with training in social media and open records laws. Story here.
  • The “Tech Tips” column shares the top viral social media moments, as well as an app that helps you chat across media platforms. Story here.
  • Stay current with faculty members’ 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.
  • The final article pays tribute to professor David Goff, who recently passed away. Story here.

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




Media Week expands to include events focused on alumni, diversity


The Department of Communication’s Media Week 2014, which ran from Oct. 20 to Oct. 24, helped students get insights from professionals in advertising, public relations, journalism and production. Media professionals visited communication classes, engaged students in specialized Q-and-A sessions, provided resume tips, gave students one-on-one advice over lunch, spoke about global and domestic diversity issues and participated in a panel on the state of the media industry. In addition, there were events for departmental alumni to interact with students, faculty and one another.


In an effort to make Media Week even more helpful for students, the group lunch for media professionals and students was given a bigger venue: the Talon Room, which is used for University banquets.


 Rob Sweeting, anchor/reporter for WJXT-TV (center), and departmental alumni Francine Frazier, Web editor at WJXT (right), talk with student Marina Ubert, president of the Multimedia Journalism and Production Club.

Rob Sweeting, anchor/reporter for WJXT-TV (center), and departmental alumni Francine Frazier, Web editor at WJXT (right), talk with student Marina Ubert, president of the Multimedia Journalism and Production Club. 


Taking part in the lunch were about 30 professionals, including Donia Crime, Burdette Ketchum; Trish Kaputska, TLK Communications; Carole Banks, Marina Martin and Guy Barnhart, Shepherd Agency; Jack Potter, FOX 30; Stacey Haskell, LeAnn Hebert and Paul Witt, Mad Men Marketing; David Johnson, JAX Chamber; Chrissy Bersamin, Harrell & Harrell; Chris Parenteau, WJXT-TV; and Jason Ramsey, Focal Point.


Students and professionals enjoyed the group lunch and the networking opportunities.

Students and professionals enjoyed the group lunch and the networking opportunities.


New events for Media Week included a panel made up exclusively of alumni, who gave advice to students on how to make the most of their UNF experience. Panelists included Anneliese Delgado, a reporter for WOKV-FM; Christopher Fennell, a freelance graphic designer; Marcel Robinson, editor/producer at WCWJ-TV/CW17; Liz Anderson, PR manager at Firehouse Subs; Ken Thomas, video for First Coast News; Stephanie Rossettos, communications specialist at Watson Realty Corp.; Lauren Darm, leader of the department’s alumni association; and Cecily Sorenson, Firehouse Subs' vice president of corporate communications. Later in the evening, alumni gathered for a mixer in their honor. It was a social event at which alumni, students and faculty could interact.



Alumni and students line up before the start of the alumni mixer.

Alumni and students line up before the start of the alumni mixer.


Another new event was the Domestic and Global Diversity Panel. Participants included Lanette Hart, principal/owner of Hart & Associates; Kevin Punsky, public affairs manager at Mayo Clinic; and Cynthia Smith, president of PineRidge Film & Television. The participants discussed domestic and global diversity issues as they related to advertising, journalism, public relations and production, and the things students should know about diversity that may help them when they enter their respective industries. Hart, who earlier in her career was a vice president of global marketing for Bank of America, talked about the need to be aware of cultural differences. Punsky discussed his area of focus, which is media relations in Latin America. Smith talked about issues related to shooting travel shows internationally.


To view the Domestic and Global Diversity Panel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucJh72g59Zw 


Domestic and Global Diversity Panel speakers (left to right) Lanette Hart, Cynthia Smith and Kevin Punsky take questions from students.

Domestic and Global Diversity Panel speakers (left to right) Lanette Hart, Cynthia Smith and Kevin Punsky take questions from students.


One of the most important events continues to be the separate Q-and-A breakout panels for those whose concentrations are in advertising, public relations, and multimedia journalism and production. Students were able to hear brief presentations by professionals in their job field of interest and also ask questions about what it takes to get a job and advance in the media world. About 25 professionals took part, including Heather Smith, social media community manager for the Dalton Agency; Kristi Dosh, a sports business reporter; Matt Biegun, video communications for the Duval County Public Schools; Maria Coppola, Coppola PR; and David Clark, PR for the Children’s Home Society.


To view the Multimedia Journalism and Production Breakout: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBfRG09gdL4 


To view the Public Relations Breakout: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j50GKDzJcFA


Public relations professionals talk with students at the Public Relations Breakout panel.

Public relations professionals talk with students at the Public Relations Breakout panel.


Media Week’s keynote speaker, former Associated Press journalist and Hezbollah kidnap victim Terry Anderson, candidly shared his thoughts on the role of journalism and journalists today. He said journalists must remember that they’re practicing journalism to find and tell the truth as best they can. He emphasized the need to gather information from multiple sources with differing perspectives. Sources he turns to include The New York Times, Al-Jazeera, NPR, Propublica.org and The Economist. He ended by talking about objectivity and the need to recognize personal bias and employ objectivity as a process that guides the search for truth.


To view Anderson’s discussion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoqNvKjwPDw


The capstone event for Media Week was a panel on the state of the media, which was co-sponsored by The Florida Times-Union and hosted in its auditorium. Participants included Gerri Boyce, media coordinator for JEA; John Burr, editor of the Jacksonville Business Journal; Bob Ellis, vice president and general manager for WJXT; Karen Feagins, vice president of content and operations for WJCT; Jeff Kalish, vice president of media services for Shepherd Agency; Mike Miller, business development manager at the Jacksonville Transportation Authority; and Mary Kelli Palka, managing editor/news for The Florida Times-Union.



Department chair John Parmelee introduces the State of the Media panel (left to right): Mike Miller, Gerri Boyce, Mary Kelli Palka, Jeff Kalish, Bob Ellis and Karen Feagins.

Department chair John Parmelee introduces the State of the Media panel (left to right): Mike Miller, Gerri Boyce, Mary Kelli Palka, Jeff Kalish, Bob Ellis and Karen Feagins. 


Participants talked about a variety of new developments, including the recent move by CBS and HBO to offer subscription streaming services to view current and past shows on demand. This is the first year that the State of the Media panel was located off campus. The purpose was to better engage the Jacksonville community.


To view the State of the Media panel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWW_7zEa4iA



The State of the Media panel took many questions from the community about the changing media landscape.

The State of the Media panel took many questions from the community about the changing media landscape.



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Communication students travel to cover Europe's first crowdfunding festival  

By Sarah Williams



#ZundenMedia student reporter Jamie Mobley poses with one of the creators at One Spark START: Berlin.

#ZundenMedia student reporter Jamie Mobley poses with one of the creators at One Spark START: Berlin.


Five UNF Department of Communication students experienced the opportunity of a lifetime in fall 2014 after crowdfunding their way to Berlin.


The students raised $9,000 via RocketHub to pay for their airfare to cover One Spark START: Berlin. They were part of a larger class that covered the news of the One Spark festival in Jacksonville on social media. “When One Spark ended, everyone in the class was having so much fun they didn’t want it to end,” said Dr. Paula Horvath, the professor of the original class who also accompanied the five students overseas. “On a whim I said, because One Spark was a crowdfunding festival, 'Why don’t you crowdfund your way to Berlin?'”


The students began by branding their Berlin-bound news bureau #ZündenMedia. Their Jacksonville bureau had been called #IgniteMedia, and zünden is one of the German words for ignite. When the #ZündenMedia campaign launched on RocketHub, the students had to think of creative and unique ways to get people and businesses to contribute to the campaign.


“We worked very diligently over the summer for 60 days to crowdfund,” said electronic media production student Jamie Mobley, #ZündenMedia’s managing editor. And for the students, the crowdfunding and marketing of their idea added to their educational experience. Journalism major Lindsey Kilbride said, “I gained a lot of skills as far as thinking things through, being able to present a message clearly to people and make it interesting where people are going to listen.”


Part of the fundraising included local media celebrities performing dares for money in Hemming Plaza downtown. The students enlisted The Florida Times-Union’s Ron Littlepage, who shaved his beard; WJCT’s Melissa Ross, who sang a rap song; and Financial News & Daily Record editor Marilyn Young, who agreed to wear a dress for the first time since 1984.


Dr. Paula Horvath (left) celebrates after a fundraiser with her #ZündenMedia news bureau students

Dr. Paula Horvath (left) celebrates after a fundraiser with her #ZündenMedia news bureau students (left to right): Lindsey Kilbride, Jamie Mobley, Carter Roush, Jomaris Rodriguez and Sarah Williams.


The event generated much Jacksonville publicity and pushed the group’s crowdfunding effort over the top. “At first I joined this because I always wanted to travel and I love the power of telling stories, but I honestly didn’t think this would ever happen,” said journalism major Jomaris Rodriguez. “I don’t think anybody thought we’d make it. But we did with hard work.”


In addition to the $9,000 raised through their crowdfunding project, the University awarded the group $2,500 to help pay for the trip through its Transformational Learning Opportunities program.


With barely two weeks to go, the group booked airlines and accommodations. In the end, the students put their communication skills on the line, covering not only One Spark, but other things in Berlin as well. “I feel like a stranger in a strange land. It’s a different situation than I’m used to,” said journalism major Carter Roush. “But it’s been a really great experience — one that I’m going to remember for sure.”


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Broadcasting alumnus covers wide range of events

By Ken Thomas

Class of 1987


 Ken Thomas in August 2014 covering a mock environmental accident with the U.S. Coast Guard at NAS Jacksonville.

Ken Thomas in August 2014 covering a mock environmental accident with the U.S. Coast Guard at NAS Jacksonville.


I never left the city of Jacksonville to pursue my career because I didn’t have to. I was fortunate enough to turn two internships into a part-time job and then into a 27-year stint in local television. I have worked for all but one of the stations in Jacksonville throughout my tenure and am currently entering my 18th year at the NBC/ABC affiliate, First Coast News, as a photojournalist. I write this as a testament to the wonderful educational opportunity UNF provided me as a young journalist who knew he wanted to be in television since 10th grade.


As I sit here on Jacksonville’s Westside, covering a double homicide, there’s truly no way to describe how any educational institution can prepare future journalists for a career where weekly, sometimes daily, job duties include taking video and pictures of poor souls who met an unfortunate end to their lives. After 27 years, there have been hundreds of bodies, fires, shootings, stabbings and other tragic events we as journalists cover. However, with all the doom and gloom of these events, I am here to tell you that being a journalist isn’t always murders and mayhem. Sometimes we are rewarded with fun, exciting and positive stories within the communities we serve. 


Over the years, there have been many stories that reminded me of why I became a journalist. For me, it began as a sports producer right after college. I’m reminded that I’ve witnessed wonderful things as a journalist in Jacksonville. Among the career highlights are: being awarded the best live show by the Florida Sportscasters Association for the 1989 Gator Bowl matchup between Michigan State and Georgia. Coincidently, it was the last game legendary Bulldog coach Vince Dooley coached. Other highlights: Florida and Florida State national championships; Super Bowl XXXIX; Jacksonville Jaguars announcement and games; President Jimmy Carter building Habitat for Humanity housing; G-8 Summit in St. Simons Island, Ga.; numerous presidential campaigns; Daytona NASCAR races; Jacksonville Beach sunrises and hundreds of stories on resilient folks who had a story to share with the rest of the world.  


So, how did UNF’s communication department prepare me for a career where every day can lead you down different paths, literally within a moment’s notice? The short answer is this: While UNF could not prepare me for all the stressful and pressure-packed situations I’ve had in my career in television news, it did lay the foundation to enable me to handle each situation with a calm demeanor. The deadlines of a weekly assignment or a massive research paper provided the organizational skills necessary to succeed in the professional world. Without this skill, many journalists are overwhelmed with the pressures of hourly deadlines, making sense of a six-inch budget proposal and condensing into a one-minute story or simply staying calm in the state of perpetual chaos the news business remains in. 


Also, I have been involved with the University athletics department for more than 15 years, shooting and producing the all-sports banquet DVD. I also try to stay abreast of the campus happenings through the alumni magazine and e-mail blasts. I’ve seen the campus grow two-fold since my time there. In fact, where the new student union building sits is where I was sleeping in my car when the Space Shuttle Challenger blasted off into our memories forever as all members of the crew perished.


The bottom line here, for a kid who grew up in Michigan and only moved to Florida to finish school, I made the right choice by selecting UNF. The small, intimate class sizes appealed to me back in 1986 just as much as they continue to appeal to today’s students, and that’s what truly sets the Osprey experience apart from any other university. 



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Advertising alumna lands "dream job" in New York

By Madison Geery

Class of 2014


 Madison Geery takes a break from Shark Week to pose in the New York office of Discovery Communications.

Madison Geery takes a break from Shark Week to pose in the New York office of Discovery Communications.


When I first started UNF, I had no idea I would graduate with a full-time career in New York. I have a brand new appreciation for UNF after graduation. I am so thankful for all of the opportunities that were given to me through the Department of Communication. It was here that I learned the fundamentals, which allowed me to get my dream job.


When I began to apply for internships, I knew I wanted to work in advertising and I knew I wanted to work in television. I wrote down a list of all of my favorite television networks, went to their corporate websites and applied for about 100 internships.


Last summer, I was lucky enough to intern in advertising sales with Discovery Communications. Discovery is the world’s No. 1 nonfiction media company with one of the most well-respected ad sales departments. I made sure to be at every event I could and learn about all of the programs. I was working a little with each network. I had the most fun working on Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.


I’m currently working in ad sales for TLC and Discovery Fit and Health, soon to be Discovery Life Channel. I work with about 30 nationally known clients on a day-to-day basis. 


I am having the time of my life living in New York and I couldn’t have done it without the department. I started UNF very shy. SPC 2608-Fundamentals of Speech helped break down my awkward barrier and has allowed me to feel more comfortable in professional situations.


MMC 3105-Advanced Writing for the Media also helped tremendously. Your credibility immediately goes down if you send anything to clients with typos. 


The most influential class for me was ADV 3300-Media Planning. Even though I’m not on the agency side building physical plans, I understand the math behind them and have a serious career advantage. Scheduling commercials and handling CPMs and impressions is nothing now.



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Hope Fund celebrates 20 years of helping those with hardships in northeast Florida


 Dr. Paula Horvath, UNF President John Delaney and 2014 Hope Fund students posing for a photo.

Dr. Paula Horvath (right) and UNF President John Delaney (third from the right) joined the 2014 Hope Fund students at the anniversary event.


Journalism alumni likely need no explanation of the Hope Fund stories, which have run in The Florida-Times Union every fall since 1994. For those unfamiliar with the Department of Communication’s partnership with the Times-Union and HandsOn Jacksonville, the Hope Fund raises money for First Coast residents who are in financial need. Students in Dr. Paula Horvath’s JOU 3925-Applied Journalism class write stories about these individuals, and the Times-Union runs the stories between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Readers then donate to help those being profiled. The Hope Fund has raised $2.7 million to pay for food, housing and medical needs.


The Hope Fund kicked off its annual event at the Times-Union office. Presentations were made by UNF President John Delaney; Frank Denton, editor of the Times-Union; and Judy A.M. Smith, president and CEO of HandsOn Jacksonville. At the end of the ceremonies, Will Dickey, a Times-Union photographer, showed the audience a moving tribute to the joint venture: 20 years of pictures of journalism students and the northeast Florida residents they profiled.



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Department of Communication hosts Investigative Reporters and Editors journalism workshop


 Screenshot of UNF/IRE event

Journalists, faculty and students gathered for the IRE workshop in November.


Investigative Reporters and Editors, a nonprofit organization that has provided training and support to journalists for decades, partnered with the department to hold a “watchdog workshop” for Jacksonville-area journalists on Nov. 8-9. The department provided facilities and faculty to help with the event.


The workshop focused on teaching how to gather information and bulletproof stories through the use of social media and search engines. The event featured journalists such as Shawn McIntosh, deputy managing editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Mc Nelly Torres, investigative producer at WTVJ-NBC6 South Florida; and Topher Sanders, investigative reporter at The Florida Times-Union. Dr. Brian Thornton, who teaches mass communication law and ethics classes in the department, talked about open records laws.


 IRE training director Megan Luther lectures about search techniques.

IRE training director Megan Luther lectures about search techniques at the workshop.


The department opened its lecture hall and computer labs for the event. About 50 journalists from a variety of newspapers and TV stations in northeast Florida attended. Departmental faculty and students were also there to learn. IRE hosts similar workshops across the country. For information about future watchdog workshops: http://www.ire.org/events-and-training/watchdog-workshops/ 



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Tech tips

By Dr. Paula Horvath

Senior Instructor, Department of Communication


Top 10 viral moments

Having a positive item go “viral” on social media can be a dream for public relations and advertising professionals, who seek ways to ensure their information is seen by the largest audience possible. But if that “viral” bit is negative ... well, let’s just say that’s when crisis communication comes into play. For better or for worse, these are the top 10 stories that captured the attention of social media users last year:   



A site for in-depth journalism

Ever feel like the news you’re getting on television, blogs and elsewhere doesn’t give you enough in-depth information. If, indeed, you’re one of those voracious news folks who feel compelled to keep up with the world’s news, Longform might be the place for you. The website is run by the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh and compiles the best in narrative writing daily. It also includes outstanding podcasts from noted journalists. You can access the website online at www.longform.org or can download the app from your cellphone’s app store.


Chat seamlessly across platforms

We all love our media and most of us utilize a number of different platforms to contact and share things with friends: Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, SoundCloud, Yo. Now, a new app lets you cross platforms to chat with friends simply, seamlessly and easily. Created by the same people who came up with Skype, Wire is a messaging app that allows you to create group chats or voice calls between computers, phones, tablets and other devices. Wire is currently only available for iOS, Android and OS X, but its creators promise more updates are still coming. Check it out at: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wire&hl=en



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Faculty activity



Dr. Bob Bohle narrated a film, “The Injuries to Tim Dale,” that was selected for the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival. Now he is listed in the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) as an actor.


Joey Goodsell produced and directed corporate videos for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.


Dr. Christine Holland presented “Assessment: How we Know what our Students Know” to the Florida Communication Association, Orlando, Fla.


Dr. Junga Kim co-authored an article, titled “Does it Matter to Korean and White Americans Where Drug Ads are Placed?: Perceptions of the Information Utility of DTC Advertising Media,” in the Journal of Advertising Research.  


Diane Matuschka co-authored a paper, titled “The Impact of Juvenile-Targeted Television Programming on the Early Sexualization of Girls,” that won a best paper award at the International Organization of Social Science and Behavioral Research. 

Dr. Tulika Varma co-authored an article, “Sowing Wild Oats: Online Commercial Speech, Corporate Takeovers and a New Commercial Speech Doctrine,” in First Amendment Studies.    




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Get involved



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 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.
  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, commstu1@unf.edu, 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: http://www.unf.edu/coas/communication/faculty.aspx 
  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 rdoggett@unf.edu 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 jparmele@unf.edu 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 jparmele@unf.edu 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 



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In memoriam



Former department chair David Goff.


Former department chair David Goff died on Sept. 30, 2014. He was 66. Before serving for six years as chair at UNF, he ran the communication programs at the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of West Georgia. He co-authored several books in the field of communication and had served in a leadership capacity in many professional organizations. He received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.


At his service at the St. Johns Family Funeral Home, Goff’s wife and extended family heard faculty, friends and neighbors tell stories of Goff’s sense of humor, kindness and quiet leadership.



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