Media College eNews

WVU Reed College of Media launches fellowship to support local news outlets with new investment from Knight Foundation

Newspaper stack at Beaver County Times

Aspiring journalists looking for a pathway to newspaper ownership will get a leg up at West Virginia University thanks to the nation’s only fellowship program designed to maintain and strengthen local news ownership.

“Many current owners are aging and ready to retire but have no succession plans and don’t want to sell their legacy operations to media chains,” said Jim Iovino, director of NewStart, a new entrepreneurial media ownership program at the West Virginia University Reed College of Media which today announced a $200,000 investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that will help students ensure communities stay informed and local democracy thrives.

“They’re looking for people to become part of the community and own and run the paper. And we want to make sure that paper is set up for the long term.”

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Students learn from investigative reporting pros

West Virginia University Reed College of Media students spent the fall semester taking a deep dive into West Virginia issues with the help of two investigative reporting pros, Derek Willis and Ken Ward.

Willis, a news application developer at ProPublica, and Ward (BSJ, 1990), an award-winning reporter at the Charleston Gazette-Mail, co-taught the upper level investigative reporting course, which introduced students to the techniques and tools of the trade.

“Everybody is an investigative reporter – or can be – or should be. It’s just reporting,” Willis said to the class of 11 students during the first meeting in August. “You have to be able to ask really good questions and figure out how to answer them.”

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100 Days in Appalachia awarded Report for America position

100 Days Graphic

100 Days in Appalachia, an independent, nonprofit news outlet and learning lab for students in the West Virginia University Reed College of Media, is among 164 organizations nationally to be named a 2020 Report for America (RFA) newsroom. RFA employs and embeds talented, emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues and communities.

100 Days was founded in 2016 and has garnered a national reputation as a go-to source for real stories coming out of Appalachia told by the journalists and community members living and working there. It is an ongoing, evolving project that aims to change the national perception of Appalachia, but it’s also an innovative platform that experiments with new digital storytelling and community engagement techniques.

“This is a great opportunity for 100 Days and an important investment in our region,” said Editor in Chief Dana Coester . “This will strengthen our investigative work in Appalachia and help us build new collaborations across the region with other RFA reporters.”

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WVU holds third annual Day of Giving

WVU Day of Giving graphic

We’d like to thank everyone who supported the WVU Reed College of Media during WVU’s third annual Day of Giving! 

Through the generosity of our alumni, faculty, staff and friends, the College of Media was able to raise more than $39,000 from 108 gifts during WVU's third annual Day of Giving, a 24-hour online fundraising event held November 13. These funds will support our ongoing efforts to innovate our curriculum, give students access to the most current media technology and applications, provide them with valuable hands-on learning opportunities and help them adapt and succeed in the dynamic media industry.

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College of Media student named Mr. Mountaineer

Patrick Orsagos Mr. Mountaineer 
(WVU Photo/Hunter Tankersley)   
Patrick Orsagos, a senior journalism student at the College of Media, has been named Mr. Mountaineer, a prestigious, Mountaineer Week award that recognizes exemplary academic achievement and extracurricular involvement. Orsagos won the title during halftime of the WVU-Texas Tech football game on Nov. 9 at Milan Puskar Stadium.

The tradition of Mr. and Ms. Mountaineer began in 1958 and includes a rigorous application process that is only open to seniors and graduate students. The application includes two essay questions that are reviewed by a panel of judges who select five male and five female finalists. A second panel interviews the finalists to choose a winner.

“Once I learned what the Mr. and Ms. Mountaineer award was, I knew I wanted to apply,” said Orsagos. “I've been fortunate enough to know finalists in 2017 and 2018 and they were all people I really admire. I hope to live my life like those people do, so when I was chosen as a finalist, it felt very surreal that I was now being honored the way they were. Winning is an even greater honor.”

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Kittles make largest single donation in College of Media history to support education and journalism in the state

Luanne and Bob Kittle

Students will be better equipped to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing media landscape thanks to a gift from an award winning journalist and West Virginia University alumnus.

Bob (BSJ, 1975) and Luanne Kittle have been generous contributors to the West Virginia University Reed College of Media for more than 30 years. But their most recent pledge, the largest single donation in College of Media history, will allow them to make an impact on education and journalism in the state earlier than they anticipated.

At age 70 ½, most people are required to withdraw a minimum amount from their retirement savings accounts on an annual basis, according to federal law. Through a multi-year qualified charitable distribution to the College of Media, the Kittles are able to donate up to $100,000 of that annual withdrawal without paying income taxes on the money.

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Four students awarded IMC/DMC scholarships

Four West Virginia University Reed College of Media online graduate students have been awarded scholarships from the College’s General IMC/DMC Scholarship Fund.

The competitive scholarship was established in 2017 by College of Media alumni and employees Catherine and Chad Mezera . It is awarded to students enrolled in the College’s Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) or Data Marketing Communications (DMC) graduate programs each fall and is the first and only scholarship dedicated to online graduate students in the College of Media.

Saresa Bass of Edmond, Oklahoma, Kaitlyn Lopez of Morgantown, West Virginia, and Jesse Yang of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, are the recipients of the IMC scholarship and Peyton Neely of Raleigh, North Carolina, received the DMC scholarship.

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Application opens for WVU College of Media’s NewStart Fellowship

NewStart, a local news ownership initiative that aims to recruit, train and support the next generation of community newspaper owners and publishers across the country, is accepting applications for the fellowship program. 

The year-long fellowship is for anyone with a bachelor’s degree who is interested in owning a local newspaper. Fellows will receive training in both journalism and business practices with an emphasis on digital transition and new funding models for media. They will also be placed in apprenticeships at West Virginia newspapers, where they will learn firsthand the day-to-day challenges of running a small-market newspaper in a local community.

More than 90 percent of newspapers in the U.S. are “small market,” with a circulation of 50,000 or less. These newspapers are often family-owned and remain trusted sources of news and information in the communities they serve. 

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College of Media alumnus and instructor wins national award

For the past 16 years, Nevin (M.S. IMC, 2006) has been “the voice of the Mountaineers” as the public address announcer for WVU football, men’s basketball, baseball, rifle and The Pride of West Virginia marching band. He is also the announcer for several WVU colleges’ commencement ceremonies.

This year, Nevin was named the College 2018-19 Bob Sheppard P.A. Announcer of the Year by the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers . The P.A. Announcer of the Year Award, which is named for Bob Sheppard, the stadium announcer for the New York Yankees from 1951-2007, recognizes professionalism and skill in announcing at each of the following levels: high school, junior college, NAIA, NCAA and non-school amateur.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized at the national level by my peers,” said Nevin. “This award is less about me and more about the amazing team of professionals I work with every game. They make my job easy. We take pride in making the game day experience at WVU a special one for our fans every time out. I couldn’t be more proud of this team and being a Mountaineer.”

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WVU faculty and students contribute to Washington Post article

A West Virginia University Reed College of Media faculty member and student journalist are co-authors on a Washington Post story that tracks the state’s nearly 20-year history of lawsuits against drug companies and exposes the opioid epidemic’s effect on children in West Virginia.

Emily Corio , teaching associate professor at the College of Media and a long-time journalist in West Virginia, spent months reporting on the story with Debbie Cenziper, a contributing reporter for the investigative team at The Post and former assistant professor of journalism at the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs. WVU journalism senior Douglas Soule and GW journalism senior Kelly Hooper are also co-authors on the story, which lists an additional six students and WVU faculty member Mary Kay McFarland as contributors.

“I came to West Virginia as a new, young journalist in 2001, just as the opioid epidemic was unfolding and reported on it then,” Corio said. “Last year, when we began brainstorming for this story, we realized it was an important issue that hadn’t been covered in depth at the national level, and we had this opportunity to report on it from West Virginia.”

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