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Faculty and Staff Feats

Our faculty are experts in emerging media technologies, mis- and disinformation, community news, public interest communications, community branding, interactive design, broadcast news, media ethics, crisis communication and so much more. Their work is frequently published in top journals and they are invited to speak at international conferences. Here are some of their feats.

June 2022

  • Journalism Professor Dana Coester spoke as part of the panel, "Stopping Hate," at the Aspen Festival of Ideas on June 28, 2022.

May 2022

  • Emily Corio, teaching associate professor and journalism program chair, won a 2022 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards (RTDNA) in the Large Market Radio: Feature Reporting category for "Finding Affordable Child Care in W.Va. Leaves Some Working Parents Short on Options," which was featured in a WV Public Broadcasting episode of Inside Appalachia.
  • Jesse Wright, a practitioner in residence, and Chris Jones won a 2022 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards (RTDNA) in the Large Market Radio: Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion category for their collaboration with WV Public Broadcasting’s podcast Us & Them with host Trey Kay for the episode titled, “Kingwood March Gives A Unique Look At Racism In America.”
  • Visiting Assistant Professor Joseph Jones's dissertation titled, “If It Feeds, It Leads: Eating, Media, Identity, and Ecofeminist Food Journalism.” earned the Penn State Davis Ethics Award, which annually recognizes the best ethics-related dissertation successfully defended each year in the fields of communication and media.

April 2022

  • Journalism professors Joel Beeson and Dana Coester were co-recipients of WVU's 2021-2022 Benedum Distinguished Scholar Award in the Humanities and the Arts .

  • Professor Joel Beeson received WVU's 2022 Award for Distinction in Mentoring Undergraduates in Research in the category of Arts & Humanities.
  • Teaching Assistant Professor David Smith was named to WVU's sixth cohort of Honors College Faculty Fellows for the 2022-23 academic year, during which he will teach an innovative course in "Extending Reality."

March 2022

  • Fessmann, J. & Fessmann, A. (Accepted). The sleeping cultural value -- Turning foreignness from a liability to an exotic asset. Paper to be presented at the International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference 2022, Orlando, FL
  • Fessmann, A. & Fessmann, J. (Accepted). Worth the risk? An examination of the relationship of risk/benefit and a CEO's risk-taking propensity to CEO advocacy. Paper to be presented at the International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference 2022, Orlando, FL
  • Fraustino, J. D., Totzkay, D., Costello, L. M., Kennedy, A. K. (2022, March). Give care a shot: Case study of COVID-19 vaccine communication in rural Appalachia. Research accepted for presentation at the annual gathering of the International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference. Orlando, FL. (peer-reviewed)
  • Pressgrove, G.N., Barra, C. & Kim, C. (2021) Identifying a credible spokesperson for corporate social responsibility initiatives: Findings from a cross-national study. Public Relations Review
    This project was supported by a Page Legacy Scholar Grant from The Arthur W. Page Center at The Pennsylvania State University’s College of Communications.
  • Associate Professor Steve Urbanski and Ani Hovhannisyan, an investigative reporter from Armenia and MSJ graduate, co-wrote the paper "International Ingenuity: Using Practice-Based Methods for Teaching Investigative Journalism" that was accepted for the 2022 BEA conference in Las Vegas and won the International Media Research award.
  • MSJ student Ershad Komal Khan presented presented the paper “How Increased media commercialization amid the COVID pandemic challenges the ethics of working journalists” (with second author Visiting Assistant Professor Joseph Jones) at the AEJMC Midwinter Conference 2022, held from March 4 to March 5 at the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Oklahoma.

January 2022

  • Julia Daisy Fraustino is Co-Investigator on a $2,154,420 research grant funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The project is “Identifying COVID-19 vaccine deserts using Machine Learning and Geospatial Analyses to target community-engaged testing for vulnerable rural populations to prevent localized outbreaks.” Other investigators include PI Brian Hendricks (School of Public Health), Brad Price (College of Business and Economics), Linda Alexander (School of Public Health), Sally Hodder (Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine), and Gordon Smith (School of Public Health).
  • Julia Daisy Fraustino is Principal Investigator on a $6,000 grant funded by the national American Academy of Pediatrics, administered through the WV Center for Rural Health Development to conduct formative and process evaluation and strategic communication recommendations for an ongoing statewide campaign building education and uptake of HPV vaccination among adolescents in the Mountain State. Co-Investigator: Daniel Totzkay.
  • Julia Daisy Fraustino received a $1,200 student support grant to fund PIC Lab research assistant Jenna Stewart to assist the West Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WV AAP) on a national AAP grant to use social media engagement to enhance COVID-19 vaccination knowledge and uptake among WV parents/guardians, caregivers, and eligible children and adolescents.

December 2021

  • Joel Beeson and Dana Coester provided testimony to the U.S. Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation at the behest of Senator Richard Blumenthal's office. The committee held a series of hearings investigating Facebook and Instagram; Beeson and Coester provided testimony based on their research about risks to youth on Instagram and other platforms. The testimony was formally entered into the congressional record on December 22, 2021.
  • Julia Daisy Fraustino was quoted in Vaccine Voices, a news project of the AAMC and CDC. The story was picked up by others such as Rural Health Quarterly.

October 2021

  • Julia Fraustino was awarded the U.S. Army's Civilian Service Commendation Medal for “outstanding support during the COVID-19 pandemic response” and a “commitment to excellence and service [that] was instrumental for mission readiness and accomplishment.”

September 2021

August 2021

  • 100 Days in Appalachia, the independent, nonprofit news outlet incubated in the Media Innovation Center, won the prestigious national Edward R. Murrow Award in the hard news category for a series by Chris Jones, a Report for America fellow, on “Framing Domestic Extremism in Appalachia and Beyond.”

July 2021

  • As part of Jim Iovino's capstone course, journalism student Holden Strausser's project "Poverty in the Pandemic" was published in Postindustrial Magazine online and in print. The story was also shared through the media organization's newsletter.

June 2021

May 2021

  • Women Beyond Bars placed seventh in the Hearst Team Multimedia Digital News/Enterprise Story Competition. Students included Patrick Orsagos, Jeffrey McCullough, Hunter Bennett, Molly DeCarli, Camrynn Tanner, Rylee McNemar, Penny De La Cruz with faculty advisor Mary Kay McFarland.
  • The WVU News / Morgantown Today team won first place in the 2021 Broadcast Education Association Disrupt the News Challenge for their special edition show, “Far Apart Together.” Producers were Elisa Schwartzmiller and Jensen Mills with faculty advisor Gina Dahlia.
  • The WVU EcoCAR team won first place for Communications Overall and Best Communications Presentation in the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge Year 3 Awards. The communications team leader is Ryan Alexander, a 2020 strategic communications graduate and current student in the Data Marketing Communications master’s degree program, and the faculty advisor is Cathy Mezera.
  • Martin Hall Agency, under the direction of Chuck Borghese and Geah Pressgrove, was awarded a WVU Provost’s Office Transform This! Challenge Grant for the “Simulation for Understanding Health Discrepancies” project. The simulation will be a pilot project exercise among students from the School of Pharmacy, School of Public Health and the Reed College of Media, with the goal to scale-up to all Health Sciences students as an IPE experience in the following year.

April 2021

  • Colistra, R. (2021). Connecting amidst the chaos: Shifting community engagement & tourism brand implementation to a virtual environment. Broadcast Education Association Conference [Virtual].
  • Rita Colistra, along with Governor Jim Justice and WV State Tourism Director Chelsea Ruby, was interviewed for a story from Adapt magazine, “A West Virginia State of Mind: Can a State Rebrand?”
  • Dana Coester and Ashton Marra presented on a panel for the International Press Institute's (IPI) launch of their new report, which includes a case study on 100 Days in Appalachia as an innovative local newsroom: https://ipi.media/ipi-report-launch-around-the-corner-around-the-world/
  • Dana Coester presented on the American media landscape and 100 Days in Appalachia as part of an invited speaker series for the American Center at the US Embassy and Consulates in Moscow, Russia.
  • Julia Fraustino was named one of the WV Immunization Network’s 2021 West Virginia Women Making History.
  • The Public Interest Communications Research Lab received funding approval from WV DHHR on a $200k contract addendum to expand existing work with the state, via the Center for Rural Health Development, on COVID-19 vaccine messaging and analyses. Researchers include Julia Fraustino, Dan Totzkay from WVU Communication Studies and Lisa Costello from WVU Medicine.
  • Academic Advisor Kayla Poling was selected to serve as a co-chair for the Executive Committee of the WVU Academic Advising Council.
  • Pressgrove, G.N., McKeever, R., & Collins E. (forthcoming) Effectiveness of persuasive frames in advocacy videos. Public Relations Review.
  • Janoske, M., Madden, S. & Pressgrove, G. N. (2021). Complexity Theory as a New Lens for Digital Social Advocacy. Public Relations Review
  • Associate Professor Geah Pressgrove received the WVU Reed College of Media outstanding research faculty award and Teaching Assistant Professor David Smith received the outstanding teaching faculty award.
  • Rita Colistra, Jasper Fessmann, Julia Fraustino and Sammy Lee presented “Social Science for the Social Good” as part of WVU Research Week. The panel was organized and moderated by Geah Pressgrove.
  • Undergraduate Advising Coordinator Emily Roush received the 2021 Nicholas Evans Professional Staff Advising Excellence Award.

March 2021

  • Colistra, R. & Stocksdale, S. (2021). Engaging Beyond the Project: Using Authentic Touchpoints to Enhance Relationship and Build Community. Appalachian Studies Association, 2021 Conference. (Sam Stocksdale earned her BSJ in 2019 and M.S. in Data Marketing Communications in 2020)
  • Fessmann, J. (2021, April). A Brief History of Public Interest Communications. Paper presented at the Southern States Communication Association Convention 2021 “Harboring Hope” [Virtual], Norfolk, VA.
  • Harker, J. L. & Mirer, M. L. (2021). The Future of Sports Media in the Digital Age. Journal of Sports Media, 15(2). Nebraska Press. https://doi.org/10.1353/jsm.2020.0007
  • Harker, J. L. & Mirer, M. L. (2021). Grasping at straws or hitting a homerun: Can sports-only become legacy media’s “Golden Ticket” to digital subscribers. Journal of Sports Media 15(2), 1-30. https://doi.org/10.1353/jsm.2020.0008
  • Dana Coester and Kristen Uppercue, grad student and 100 Days assistant editor, completed certification in IWMF Virtual HEFAT for Investigative Journalists, an intense 8-week training with women reporters from around the world in digital and physical safety for reporting in conflict zones and traumatic situations.
  • Two NewStart fellows in the Media Solutions and Innovation master’s degree program have taken on leadership roles in their media organizations. Maggie McGuire bought the newspaper she has worked for since 2019, the Moab Sun News and Victor Hernandez was named the chief content officer for WBUR in Boston. Jim Iovino, Ogden Newspapers Visiting Assistant Professor of Media Innovation, is the director of NewStart which aims to train the next generation of media owners.

February 2021

  • Teaching Associate Professor Emily Corio won Best of Competition in the faculty short-form audio production category of the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Festival of Media Arts for a story she reported and produced for NPR that aired on All Things Considered, entitled "Pandemic presents new challenges for West Virginia’s already burdened foster care system."
  • Students in Corio's Spring 2020 podcast class won an Award of Excellence in the the BEA audio podcast category for "Coronavirus closes campus but the podcast continues." Students included Maxwell Shavers, Kayla Starcher, Gillian Wanosky and Duncan Slade.
  • Kayla Starcher won an Award of Excellence in the BEA audio educational program category for "To Reach Worshipers During the Coronavirus Pandemic WV Churches get Creative," which aired on West Virginia Public Broadcasting and was produced as part of Corio's Spring 2020 podcast class. Starcher also tied for #20 in the Hearst Audio Competition for this podcast episode.
  • Shott Teaching Assistant Professor Chuck Scatterday was invited by the national Student Television Network to present "Producing 101 - You Make the Call" to high school students from across the country.
  • A.T. Rai, G. Deib, D. Smith and S. Boo (2021). Teleproctoring for Neurovascular Procedures: Demonstration of Concept Using Optical See-Through Head-Mounted Display, Interactive Mixed Reality, and Virtual Space Sharing—A Critical Need Highlighted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. American Journal of Neuroradiology. https://doi.org/10.3174/ajnr.A7066
  • Mirer, M. L. & Harker, J. L. (2021). Will the crowd go wild: Reimagining the newspaper sports section for digital subscribers. Journalism Practice, 15(1), 63-79. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2019.1697955.
  • Saffer, A. J., Dwyer, D. L., Harker, J. L., Etheridge, C., Turner, M., & Riffe, D. (2021). Interlocking among American newspaper organizations revisited: “Pressure from the top” and its influence on newsroom and content. Mass Communication & Society.
  • Harker, J. L. (2021). A Comparison of Fan Behavior Exchanges in Response to Sports Game Outcomes and Sport Crises. International Association for Communication and Sport [IACS], 2021 Summit
  • Harker, J. L., Pegoraro, A., Pratt, A., & Smith, L. (2021). #GenderGap - Voices of Women Faculty in Sport Communication. International Association for Communication and Sport [IACS], 2021 Summit

January 2021

  • Geah Pressgrove is moderating “COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Efforts in the Mountain State” for the WVU Women’s Leadership Initiative, on which Julia Fraustino is serving as a panelist, to discuss our ongoing efforts to inform clear, consistent, and scientifically sound messaging about the COVID-19 vaccines to ensure that every West Virginian has the knowledge and confidence they need to make a decision about getting vaccinated (2021, March).
  • Julia Fraustino will moderate "PR for positive social change: Public interest communication (PIC) research, teaching, and practice" with Jasper Fessmann as a panelist for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Public Relations Division Virtual Conference (2021, March).
  • Fraustino, J. D. (2021, August). Why Should Public Relations Care About Ethics of Care? (Panelist for accepted peer-reviewed research panel). Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Public Relations Division and Media Ethics Division.
  • The Public Interest Communications Research Lab received a grant to conduct research to inform campaign messaging and strategy to increase HPV vaccination uptake among rural West Virginians. The grant is funded by the American Academy of Pediatrics (WV Chapter) and administered through the West Virginia Center for Rural Health Development, the lead agency of the WV Immunization Network. Julia Fraustino is the principle investigator on this grant, and Geah Pressgrove and Daniel Totzkay (Comm Studies) are Co-Investigators.
  • Totzkay, D., Fraustino, J. D., & Pressgrove, G. (2021, April). Formative research to inform statewide COVID-19 vaccine messaging in West Virginia. Research accepted for presentation at the annual conference of the DC Health Communication Conference. Washington, D.C. [conference offered virtually due to COVID-19]
  • Fraustino, J. D., Totzkay, D., & Pressgrove, G. (2021, March). COVID-19 pandemic response in Appalachia: Insights from data-driven communication in West Virginia. Research accepted for presentation at the annual conference of the International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference. Orlando, FL. [conference offered virtually due to COVID-19]