Media College eNews

Spring 2020 ‘WVU News’ anchors announced

WVU News anchors

Left to right: Michael Rinker, Sydney Hartman, Tori Gennuso, Natalie Comer, Hayden Keener and Megan Scarano.

The spring 2020 anchors for the award-winning “WVU News” television newscast have been chosen. The main anchors are Sydney Hartman of Lareda Ranch, California, Michael Rinker of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and Megan Scarano of Martinsburg, West Virginia.

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100 Days in Appalachia to host Mellon Workshop Series

Ashton Marra Teaches

A new workshop series encourages participants from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds to come together and learn innovative techniques for creating robust stories about the Appalachian region.

100 Days in Appalachia, a nonprofit, national news outlet incubated at the West Virginia University  Reed College of Media, recently received an Andrew W. Mellon grant that will support the workshop series and a new full-time practitioner-in-residence who will help increase 100 Days’ presence on campus and integration into curriculum at WVU.  

100 Days launched in January 2017 to combat stereotypes in the first few months of the Trump administration and has since earned a reputation as a go-to source for real stories by the journalists and community members living in Appalachia. In addition to becoming a national news outlet that is changing the way our country perceives Appalachia, 100 Days is a teaching platform that experiments with new community engagement and storytelling techniques.

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'Stories of the Ohio' panel shares insights from collaborative reporting project

Good River Panel

With 25 million people living within the Ohio River watershed and at least 5 million depending on it for drinking water, seven newsrooms in the region joined together to create Good River: Stories of the Ohio, an initiative covering what is often referred to as one of America’s most polluted waterways despite years of clean-up.

The project’s first phase began last May and ended this month with contributing journalists, nonprofit leads and community members coming together at West Virginia University’s Media Innovation Center to celebrate their work so far, which includes more than 20 multimedia pieces that cover the Ohio River’s environment, economy and culture.

The panel shared their own experiences working and living along the Ohio – the progress they’ve seen in healthy water levels and wildlife growth, how to handle new threats like the impacts of climate change, and redirecting the narrative from warning against the river’s dangers to reinvigorating the region’s tourism.

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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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