Media College eNews

Five NewStart fellows named for new master's program

NewStart Newspapers on the Press

Five journalists from across the country were awarded NewStart fellowships to study Media Solutions and Innovation at the West Virginia University Reed College of Media. NewStart and the new one-year online master’s program were created in partnership with the West Virginia Press Association (WVPA) to train the next generation of community media owners and publishers.

Funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports the five fellowships, and although the fellowships are no longer available, applications for the master’s degree program are still being accepted.

“Current events and economic conditions have created an environment conducive for learning and growing as a media entrepreneur,” said Jim Iovino, NewStart director. “There is still a great need for credible local news outlets in this country, and the coming year will likely see a lot of innovation in the media industry. This new online master’s program examines new business models during this time of forced innovation, and the NewStart fellows are diverse in geography and professional experience, allowing for a rich educational atmosphere.”

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College of Media alumni communicate about mental health amid pandemic

graphic that says 1 in 5 Americans live with a mental health condition    

Stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures are in place all over the United States in an effort to protect the physical health of millions of Americans, but the COVID-19 pandemic is also taking its toll on mental health.   

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five Americans live with a mental health condition, and with the current global crisis, they face additional challenges, making communicating about mental health more important than ever.  

As the chief development officer, Chuck Harman (BSJ, 1981; MSJ, 1984) leads NAMI’s Strategic  Alliances & Development team , working to solidify partnerships with key stakeholders and celebrity ambassador groups to distribute key messages and resources to the people who need them most. NAMI is the largest grassroots mental health organization in the nation with more than 600 state organizations and affiliates across the nation, as well as relationships with 2 4 Fortune 100 companies.

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Student-run newspaper and radio station continue to provide content during COVID-19 pandemic

radio station mic
Shortly after spring break in March, students at West Virginia University were notified that they would not return to campus and would finish the semester online. Amid this chaos, The Daily Athenaeum and U92, WVU’s student-run newspaper and radio station, have continued to provide valuable content for their audiences.

While this might be surprising for some, journalists are considered essential employees because of their role in providing crucial information to the public, particularly during major world events like the current Coronavirus pandemic. While most of the student journalists have returned to their homes around the country, they’re still reporting on issues affecting WVU.

In order to continue providing content for their readers, the DA staff has switched to an entirely online publication. Meetings take place through use of programs such as Zoom, mirroring the methods used in the classroom over the last few weeks.

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IMC alumna finds passion in helping others through crises

Pamela Holstein-Wallace IMC grad
Life-altering events, including the current global pandemic, often give people new perspectives that change their relationships, careers and hobbies. For Pamela Holstein-Wallace (M.S. IMC, 2007), the 9/11 terrorist attack was that event.

Holstein-Wallace began her career as the community relations and development director at Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson, West Virginia, where she was working during 9/11. She acted as the official spokesperson for the hospital, communicating with local, state and national news organizations, in addition to managing the advertising and marketing efforts.

“After 9/11 my career goals completely changed. I realized I wanted to help my community plan and prepare for catastrophic events,” she said. “And now I’m in the thick of it again as we battle COVID-19.”  

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Faculty share expertise during COVID-19 with media and in classes

Eric Minor on WSAZ 

As the COVID-19 global pandemic settles into the United States, people are relying even more heavily on news and the media for information. Faculty in the WVU Reed College of Media are not only using this unprecedented circumstance to teach important lessons in the classroom, but they are also sharing their expertise with the public.

Dana Coester, an associate professor and the executive editor for the collaborative media outlet 100 Days in Appalachia, and Bob Britten, a teaching associate professor whose class partners with PolitiFact to fact-check the accuracy of claims by elected officials, have shared tips on how to differentiate fact from fiction online.

“We are already in a disrupted state for receiving credible information,” Coester said. “While social media can be an invaluable tool for informing and organizing community members - connecting us to resources and local efforts underway - it is also a source of mis and disinformation that can seed panic or chaos in a crisis. We urge community members to look to local news and other trusted sources for vetted information on the pandemic.”

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