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Fall 2018


In this issue


The fall 2018 issue of the Department of Communication alumni newsletter highlights the many ways in which communication students and faculty interact with the community.


  • The Department of Communication has joined forces with The Florida Times-Union and other community partners to tell stories about the historical contributions of African-Americans to Jacksonville. Story here.  
  • Social Media Day Jacksonville, a digital marketing conference co-sponsored by the department and held on campus, included top industry thought leaders as speakers and drew hundreds of participants from the communication field. Story here.  
  • Dr. Paula Horvath traveled to Pakistan as part of a journalist exchange program. Story here.  
  • Journalism students interviewed former prisoners for an award-winning project. Story here.
  • The latest installment of alumni profiles includes Haleigh Dunning, a 2014 public relations graduate who works in digital advertising, and Zach Sweat, a magazine writer and journalism alum from the class of 2014. Story here.   
  • Oscar Patterson Scholarship winner Matthew Farina, a communication major and international business minor, talks about what he learned during his internship at WJCT. Story here.   
  • The Department honors the top 2017-18 communication graduates. Story here.  
  • The Department’s annual Internship + Job Fair continues to connect communication students with industry professionals. Story here.  
  • 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.  
  • The final article pays tribute to longtime adjunct Jane Clifford Mickler, who recently passed away. Story here.  



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




The Department of Communication uncovers vibrant black history through storytelling


 Uncovering JAX logo

The logo for the project was produced by students in Professor Dee Colvin’s Advertising and Public Relations Campaign classes.  


Black history in Jacksonville is bursting with stories of the arts, culture and music, as well as stories of personal triumph and tragedy. Yet few people know the history and stories. UNF’s Department of Communication in conjunction with The Florida Times-Union and the greater Jacksonville community are trying to shed light on the forgotten past. The project, known as Uncovering Jax, is designed to educate the community about its rich and diverse cultural history and inspire an environment of mutual respect and cooperation among all Jacksonville citizens regardless of culture.  


Several faculty members including Dr. Paula Horvath, Professor Dee Colvin, Professor Frank Goodin, and Dr. Nataliya Roman have been actively involved in this project and have designed their class assignments around it.


Colvin’s campaigns classes created a complete integrated marketing campaign, which can be implemented to promote the project around the city. In addition, Horvath’s applied journalism class researched, wrote and published stories of influential people and events that were a major part of the city’s black historical culture. 


Students interview Ennis Davis  

UNF communication students Kendall Russ (sitting), Chelsea Rafan and Aleksiya Philippov interview Jacksonville historian Ennis Davis for one of several short documentaries produced by the Department’s multimedia journalism and production concentration to promote the Uncovering Jax history project. 


Roman and Goodin, both faculty in the multimedia journalism and production track, will premier their students’ work during the department's annual Media Week event, Oct. 22-26. Roman’s students produced a number of short “readable videos” designed for social media use. “These videos touch on the various aspects of Jacksonville’s black history,” said Roman. “The stories focus on famous Jacksonville residents, landmarks and events.”  


Roman pointed out that many Jacksonville residents don’t know about the city’s rich black history. “The first blues song was performed in Jacksonville, and many famous blues and jazz musicians performed right in downtown,” Roman said. “Plus, before Hollywood, Jacksonville was "The World’s Winter Film Capital.” These are just some of the stories her students will share with the community in the fall. 


 Rita Regan at Norman Studios

Executive Director Rita F. Reagan of Norman Studios, which is a National Historic Landmark, was interviewed about the historic importance of the studio and its founder, Richard E. Norman, who produced silent films in the 1920s. His films were known for featuring blacks in non-stereotypical roles, which was rare during that era.  


The advanced production students in Goodin’s class worked on the creation of short documentaries to be premiered this fall during the Department’s annual Media Week and at other community venues. “My role for this project was to help select the stories and facilitate production of the documentaries,” Goodin said. “This project gives students an introduction to real-world production experience. It also educates the community about previously unknown historical figures and will contribute to a greater cultural awareness in our community.”


Goodin also mentioned that the Uncovering Jax project is meant to foster a strong and vibrant community in which all cultures are recognized, understood, respected and celebrated as valuable contributors to Jacksonville’s collective identity. “Our mission is to share with our community the stories of freedom and equality, injustice and struggle, loss and achievement, and courage and triumph of people who have been underrepresented in Jacksonville’s historical narrative,” Goodin said. 


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Social Media Day Jacksonville provides practical knowledge and real-world discussion 

By Stephynie Perkins 

Associate Professor, Department of Communication  


 Margaret Stewart at Social Media Day

 Dr. Margaret Stewart, assistant professor of communication studies, discusses social listening at Social Media Day Jacksonville.  


“What is the maximum number of friends you can have on Facebook?” a representative of Promo 180 asked at an early morning session of Social Media Day Jacksonville 2018.


“Five thousand,” Emma Broadhurst replied a split second later, like a star student in the front row of a classroom. But rather than receiving an A, the UNF communication alumna earned a $25 Amazon gift card from the speaker.


Some of the brightest social media and digital marketing experts from the First Coast and around the world came together on June 29-30 at the Adam W. Herbert University Center at UNF and led challenging discussions on the power of videos, blogging strategy, humanizing your brand using Messenger, and crisis communication in an environment aided and complicated by social media. The event was co-sponsored by the UNF Department of Communication and organizations such as Gil Media Co., Savvy Outsourcing and JAX Chamber.


“The only reason I knew the answer was because Dennis Yu said it in his presentation,” Broadhurst said in a self-deprecating fashion. Yu, the chief technology officer of BliztMetrics and an international expert on Facebook, was one of 20 specialists Broadhurst had come to see at the two-day event.


Broadhurst, who is the marketing manager and analyst for Trailer Bridge in Jacksonville, described the sessions as an opportunity to learn how to communicate on behalf of her employer without stifling her creativity. 


Dr. Margaret Stewart, UNF assistant professor in communication studies and one of the conference ambassadors, explained that the sold-out event of 450 people was intended to help professionals like Broadhurst learn about emerging trends and get hands-on training.


“Connecting with a conference like Social Media Day Jacksonville is so critical because it invites the opportunity for learning,” Steward said. “For the faculty members, it invites us to be networking with some wonderful, professional thought leaders who really have captured attention in the space and are pioneering movements in things like live video and storytelling online, and Facebook advertising.”


Stewart performed double-duty at the conference as a speaker presenting the topic “Social Listening for Strategic Success,” her area of expertise. “Social listening is one of the evolving strategies organizations are using to make sense of the social media cacophony,” she said.   


The first day of the conference featured intimate, four-hour workshops that helped participants explore content creation and blogging, live video creation, Facebook advertising and email marketing. Each session was limited to 50 people to encourage interactivity and practice. Saturday, which was officially recognized as Social Media Day in many cities, featured 30-minute presentations to explore thought-provoking ideas.   


The mix of practical opportunities and real-world discussions drew Ellie Hinck, an advertising graduate, back to campus. “There’s so much knowledge to be learned here. So by coming to the conference, it really allows you to expand upon your knowledge and to understand what the current trends are,” Hinck said.


The Social Media Day Jacksonville website has more information about the event.



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Communication faculty participates in journalist exchange to Pakistan 


Paula Horvath's Pakistan blog

 Dr. Paula Horvath regularly filed stories about her journey on her blog.


Pakistan is a little-understood country where democracy is struggling to succeed and the news media are trying to find their place as defenders of free speech.


The U.S. State Department is doing its part by underwriting journalist exchanges that allow Pakistani journalists to spend time within U.S. news organizations while American journalists are given the opportunity to visit the South Asian country and explore differences.


The most recent eight-journalist delegation to Pakistan included Dr. Paula Horvath, a long-time journalism professor at UNF and an editorial writer for The Florida Times-Union. She was chosen from other applicants to take part in a 10-day visit in March led by the International Center for Journalists.


Horvath and the other journalists visited with Washington-based diplomats and journalists who had reported from the region before traveling to Pakistan, where they spent time in both Islamabad and Karachi. While there, the group met with members of various non-governmental organizations and media representatives.


Pakistan Journalists Exchange members

 Dr. Paula Horvath (sixth from the left) was part of a group of journalists from the Center for International Journalists to travel to Pakistan. 


“It was an incredible experience that gave me insight into a remarkable country and its people,” she said. “There are so many good people in Pakistan who are working very hard to make democracy work. They are inspiring.”


While there, Horvath and her group members produced video and print stories to give people back home a glimpse of the country, the fifth most populous in the world. Her stories have also been placed on her blog.


To Horvath, the opportunity has reinforced the importance of journalism. “I am thankful that journalists across the world can give people a chance to experience cultures and events they might never encounter themselves,” Horvath said. “And, I’m very thankful to be part of a profession that can contribute to such global understanding.”



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Student coverage of prison reform wins SPJ prize


Prison reform website

The website for the project explores what can be done to fix Florida’s prisons. 


The Society of Professional Journalists recently awarded second place among student submissions in the state to a multimedia storytelling package created by UNF journalism students.


The stories, which examine Florida’s prison system, were the culmination of a semester’s worth of work by students within Dr. Paula Horvath’s JOU 3925-Applied Journalism course during spring 2017. The award-winning project, titled “In Their Eyes: Florida Prison Reform from Inmates’ Perspectives,” ran in The Florida Times-Union and can be viewed on a website that is produced by the students.   

They worked with Florida State University’s Project on Accountable Justice and numerous state and national experts to help gather information for the project. In addition to Horvath’s class, students in Dr. Nataliya Roman’s class created special online graphics for the project.


The students not only examined the prison system, looking at its history as well as its current practices, they also interviewed numerous former prisoners and compiled information about what reforms they would like to see.


“This was a tremendous amount of work by a dedicated group of students, many of whom had never even considered the plight of prisoners before,” Horvath said. “They became extremely knowledgeable and through this project learned good investigative journalism techniques.”


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Alumni profiles: Zach Sweat and Haleigh Dunning


 Zach Sweat and Haleigh Dunning  

 Zach Sweat and Haleigh Dunning are on their way to New York with dogs Otis and Kitsune. 

Zach Sweat and Haleigh Dunning graduated from UNF in 2014 after completing their degrees in communication. Sweat’s degree focus was multimedia journalism and Dunning’s was public relations. The duo got married this past February and relocated to New York City this spring.

Since graduating, Sweat moved up the editorial ladder and became editor-in-chief of the local Jacksonville culture and lifestyle publication Void Magazine. At Void, Sweat was responsible for managing a team of writers, assigning stories, creating content and magazine themes, as well as controlling the overall voice and online presence of the magazine.

Sweat continues to be a remote freelance editor and writer with companies such as Bold Brands and VOID. He’s enjoying himself in New York. “I like the freedom of remote work and look forward to finding other positions which interest me such as music, culture, gaming and technology,” Sweat said.

After graduating, Dunning took a job as an account manager at the Connect Agency in downtown Jacksonville where she learned the ins and outs of marketing for a small-to-medium-sized business. From there, she had the opportunity to be a part of launching a new marketing agency under the Void Media roof called Bold Brands.

As executive director of Bold Brands, Dunning managed a team of content creators and designers to produce digital and print marketing campaigns for brands like Hoptinger, Surfer the Bar, Ancient City Brewing, Void, Edible, Shim Sham Room, Dos Gatos and many more.

Dunning is now the manager of social media and digital advertising for Eataly USA in New York City, an international food and beverage company. “It's very fun and challenging!” said Dunning. “I'm applying and adapting everything I've learn from my education and early career in Jacksonville to this bigger market. It's extremely different in terms of understanding the audience and scale of the city.”

Dunning manages Eataly NYC Flatiron and Eataly NYC Downtown's social media platforms and also manages digital advertising (Facebook, Instagram) for all the United States stores (NYC locations, Eataly Boston, Eataly Chicago and Eataly LA). “I'm really enjoying dictating the strategy of the digital marketing for the brand,” Dunning continued. “They have so many great things going on and it's fun to share that with the world. It's talking about and sharing all things Italian pasta, pizza, wine, seafood, meat – I can't complain!”

Even though now in New York, both Dunning and Sweat remain supportive of the UNF communication department. While they were still here in Jacksonville, they attended and participated in events for UNF’s Media Week and served on the department’s advisory board. They believe in giving back to the school they love. “Getting married was nothing compared to moving and working in the city,” said Haleigh. “I wouldn't trade it for anything, but we definitely miss North Florida.”



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What winning the Patterson Scholarship means to me

By Matthew Farina 

Senior, Department of Communication 


 Farina covers basketball game

Working as a camera operator for the ESPN3 crew who broadcasts UNF athletic events, Matthew Farina gets inside the huddle with the UNF Women’s Basketball Team.  


It is with great joy and excitement that I express my gratitude for the 2018 Oscar Patterson Scholarship. Dr. Patterson’s gift not only reaffirms UNF’s commitment to my academic and professional development, but it allows me to pursue unique learning opportunities beyond the traditional classroom setting. Simply put, I would not be where I am today without his support.

As a communication and international business student, I have worked locally and internationally to produce relevant, engaging journalistic content. Although I am terribly ambitious and thrive when competition is the fiercest, I also understand the importance of relationship management and interpersonal communication. These skills were tested in the spring of 2017 when I moved to Dubai, UAE, and enrolled in the University of Dubai’s School of Business.

As a foreign-exchange student taking classes in international business law, marketing, entrepreneurship and organizational behavior, I learned cultural sensitivity is vital to success in the emerging global marketplace.

Upon my return from the UAE, I completed an eight-week summer internship with WJCT Public Broadcasting in Jacksonville, working as a news intern for the NPR member station. My time with WJCT reiterated my resourcefulness and dependability. When I was assigned a story, I acted swiftly, contacting sources and gathering pertinent information in a professional manner. I even coordinated with the Jacksonville Jaguars’ PR department to report a feature story on one of the team’s barbers, specifically his friendship with starting quarterback Blake Bortles.

The Oscar Patterson Scholarship has allowed me to further my photography, videography and podcasting skills. By investing in more advanced multimedia equipment with Dr. Patterson’s gift, I am now able to create professional-grade content to grow my personal brand on social media including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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Outstanding Student Award winners announced at graduation reception


Outstanding Students Award winners 

Dr. John Parmelee recognizes the outstanding communication students for 2017-18, (from left to right) Ronnesha Rodgers, Aleksiya Philippov, Cienna Richards and Katherine Connors. 

Four communication students, one from each discipline, were selected to receive the 2018 Outstanding Student Award at the departmental reception on April 27. “These students represent the best of our graduating class,” said Dr. John Parmelee, chair of the department.

Each student’s name will be placed on a plaque in the lobby of the Department of Communication. This year’s winners are Cienna Richards, Katie Conners, Ronnesha Rodgers and Aleksiya Philippov. When asked what they felt was their greatest achievement and what they’ll remember most about their time at UNF, each student said:

Cienna Richards, Outstanding Advertising Student: “The activity I am most proud of is completing my senior capstone class: Campaigns! This was the most challenging yet rewarding. I learned a lot about myself, I gained great friends, and put together a wonderful campaign. I would not exchange that for the world.”

Katie Connors, Outstanding Multimedia Journalism Student: “I am very thankful to have been a part of UNF's Department of Communication. The experience I received anchoring and reporting for Inside Jacksonville is something I will never forget. It helped confirm in my heart that I have chosen the right degree and path in life. I am also extremely grateful for all my professors especially Dr. Natalyia Roman, Ken Thomas and Dr. David Deeley. Their guidance helped me obtain an internship at News4Jax. Overall, UNF's Department of Communication will forever have a place in my heart.”

Ronnesha Rodgers, Outstanding Public Relations Student: “From serving as the creative services director at Spinnaker Media to having my press release selected to be in the alumni newsletter, many of my greatest accomplishments were made possible because of the UNF Department of Communication. I could list all of the opportunities and accomplishments that the Department helped me achieve but the list is too long. I am grateful for the faculty who provided me with a strong foundation and the necessary tools I needed to accomplish such great things."

Aleksiya Philippov, Outstanding Production Student and Highest GPA: “Being a student of the Department of Communication at UNF, I had a great opportunity to build a strong base of skills that will help me develop my desired career in the movie production industry. During my internship with Spinnaker Media, I was trusted to create the news show. I am proud of the result I achieved being a producer.” 



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Communication students connect at the department's Internship + Job Fair

By Morgan Stark

Senior, Department of Communication


Internship + Job Fair 2018

 Employers at the Internship + Job Fair included the Shepherd agency, Firehouse Subs and the Jacksonville Broadcasters Association 


Approximately 100 communication students attended the annual Internship + Job Fair event and interacted with more than 40 employers in the communication industry.


“Seventy percent of our interns come from UNF and over the years we have hired 85 interns into full-time positions,” said Mike White, CEO of Client Focused Media.


Bethany Pruitt, a spring 2018 graduate, is another intern-turned-employee. The internship fair helped connect potential interns like Pruitt to various employers like CFM. “The Internship and Job Fair allowed me to connect with Client Focused Media. I never thought my internship would turn into a job,” Pruitt said.


She began interning at CFM in fall 2017 and was then hired even though she didn’t graduate until the spring. Pruitt connected with CFM a year ago at the 2017 fair and attended this year’s event as a recruiter for interns for CFM.


Another alumna, Katie Boyles from Axia Public Relations, shares a similar story. As a UNF student, Boyles interned at Axia and was hired full-time and continues to work there today. “I originally interacted with Jason Mudd, CEO of Axia, through Twitter, Boyles said. “I found out he was coming to speak in my PR cases class and tweeted something like, ‘Excited to learn more PR strategies from you @JasonMudd.’” This simple tactic of reaching out through Twitter is what initially caught Mudd’s attention and then later led to an internship and position at Axia.


More information can be found on the Department’s internship website.



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Faculty activity


Dr. Christa Arnold received a top communication scholarship paper award for presenting “Listening Skills and the Medical Encounter: Perceptions from Practicing Physicians” to the Florida Communication Association conference.  


Dr. Berrin Beasley presented “Integrating the Roles of Gatekeeper, Reporter, and Copy Editor for the Social Media Environment” to the American Journalism Historians Association conference.  


Dr. David Deeley won Best of Competition for TV Sports Event Direction & Production at the Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts Competition for “UNF vs. Jacksonville Men’s Basketball ASUN Quarterfinal Game.”  


Dr. Christine Holland presented “Develop a Culture: Workshop for Intercultural Communication” to the Florida Communication Association. 


Dr. Chunsik Lee and Dr. Junga Kim published “Testing a Cultural Orientation Model of Electronic Word-of-Mouth Communication: A Comparative Study of U.S. and Korean Social Media Users,” in Asian Journal of Communication.    


Dr. Carolynn McMahan presented “Social Media Strategies: Analyzing Online Consumer Behavior and Core Consumer Predictors of Online Social Network Engagement and Usage” to the Academic OASIS-PARIS International Multidisciplinary Academic Conference.  


Dr. Siho Nam presented “Cognitive Capitalism, Free Labor, and Financial Communication: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Social Media IPO Registration Statements” to the International Association for Media and Communication Research conference. He also presented “JournalisTrash: The Intense Distrust of Journalists and the Dual Crisis of Journalism and Democracy in South Korea” to the Korean American Communication Association at the Association for the Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference. 


Dr. Jae Hee Park published “Cultural Differences in Online Community Motivations: Exploring Korean Automobile Online Brand Communities (KAOBCs) and American Automobile Online Brand Communities (AAOBCs),” in Journal of Promotion ManagementHe also presented “The Power of Negative Online Product Reviews: Application of the Third Person Effects in Online Product Reviews Among Smartphone Users” to the International Conference of Asian Marketing Associations. 


Dr. Nataliya Roman and Dr. Margaret Stewart presented “Tweeting about Terror: Using World Systems Theory to Compare International Newspaper Coverage Online” to the Association for the Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference. 


Dr. Margaret Stewart and Dr. Christa Arnold, published “Social Listening to Improve Customer Relationship Management:  A Case Study of an American Academic Library” in Diverse Methods in Customer Relationship Marketing and Management. She also published “Uncertainty Reduction and Technologically Mediated Communication: Implications to Marital Communication during Wartime Deployment” in Ohio Communication Journal. They also published “Defining Social Listening: Recognizing an Emerging Dimension of Listening” in the International Journal of Listening. They also presented “Social listening to improve customer relations:  A case study of an American academic library” to the Florida Communication Association. 


Dr. Margaret Stewart presented “Classroom Collaborations using Social Media:  Navigating Changes to Veteran education and emerging communication technologies” to the Council of College and Military Educators. She also presented “Reputational Threats Online: Social media as a simultaneous agent of crisis and tool for response and resolution in the case study of an American academic library” to the International Crisis & Risk Communication conference. She also presented “Implementing STREMII: A practical guide for crisis communication on social media during hurricanes and natural disasters” to the International Crisis & Risk Communication conference. 


Dr. Tulika Varma presented “Online Media Crisis Response Framework: Mapping Crisis Response Strategies to Curated Flow of Online Information” to the International Communication Association conference. She also presented “Examining the Role of Leadership on Reputation During a Crisis: The Case of United and Delta Airlines” to the International Public Relations Research conference. 



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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. Even if you don't want to be on the board, feel free to email 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, mention your interest in joining, and please include your name, contact information, year of graduation and track. Also, all communication alumni are invited to be a part of the conversation on Facebook. This is the “go to” spot for UNF communication alumni. The Facebook group includes information about alumni social events, recently posted communication jobs, tech tips, departmental news, and pictures/video from departmental events such as Media Week. In addition, communication faculty members have joined the group, so you can connect with your old professors. Here’s how to join the alumni Facebook group: Search for UNF communication alumni and ask to join.

3. Let faculty know how you're doing. Below is a link that lists faculty and their email addresses. Faculty love to hear what their former students are up to and are always happy to offer advice

4. Participate in the Internship + Job 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 Bobbi Doggett to participate.

5. Be a guest speaker or mentor to our students. Your expertise in advertising, public relations, journalism or production could be a real benefit to current students. We are always looking for guest speakers to come to communication classes. A good time to do this is 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 John Parmelee for more information. If you want to mentor our students, please fill out a profile on our mentoring website.

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 John Parmelee 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 our website.

8. Join us on Twitter and Facebook.  


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In memoriam


Jane Mickler


Jane Clifford Mickler, an adjunct instructor in the Department for many years, died in June. Hundreds of students took her MMC 1004-Media Literacy and MMC 3105-Advanced Writing for the Media classes. She worked for the San Diego Union-Tribune and WJXT TV-4 before going into teaching.  



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