Media College eNews

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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WVU to offer new online M.S. in Digital Marketing Communications

M.S. Digital Marketing Communications

A new accelerated online master’s degree program at the West Virginia University Reed College of Media will give students the strategy and skills to manage marketing communications across digital, social and other emerging media.

The Master of Science in Digital Marketing Communications degree is a one-year, fully online program that addresses a growing talent gap in the industry.

“This program was designed in response to research that shows that the in-demand skill sets of the 21st century are constantly evolving and an in-depth understanding of digital marketing techniques is essential to success,” said Chad Mezera, assistant dean of online programs at the College of Media. “WVU is a leader in online education because we develop and offer programs in direct response to the demands of students and the market alike.”

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Student-run Martin Hall Agency wins advertising awards

Martin Hall Agency awards

The Martin Hall Agency (MHA), a student-run advertising and public relations agency within the Reed College of Media, has been awarded four American Advertising Awards (ADDYs) in the West Virginia chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF)’s 2019 student competition. The ADDY Awards recognize professionals and college students who have created outstanding work in creative advertising.

MHA’s fall 2019 staff produced exceptional work with the “Don’t Box Me In” First Amendment Day campaign. MHA was awarded a Gold ADDY award for a series of posters designed to promote the First Amendment Day events. One Silver ADDY was awarded for the “Don’t Box Me In” cross-platform campaign, which included an animated promotional gif, posters, banner, social media hashtag campaign (#1ADay), media release, PSA/radio ad, t-shirt design and a promotional video. The second Silver ADDY was for the “Don’t Box Me In” t- shirt design, and the third Silver ADDY was awarded for MHA’s new logo, watermark, insignia and brand guideline book.

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Student-produced work earns top honors in national competition

Bodice Project

Students from the West Virginia University Reed College of Media were recognized nationally for their work in broadcast journalism and interactive media this month by the Broadcast Education Association (BEA).

“WVU News”  was named the number one college newscast in the country with a first-place finish in the Television Newscast (airing three days per week or less) category in the 2020 BEA Festival of Media Arts competition.

The winning entry, “ WVU News Special Edition: A Mental Health Crisis in America,” focuses specifically on resources in West Virginia for those struggling with mental illness. Students involved in the project include Executive Producer Jensen Mills, Director Alex Balog and Anchors Victoria Donatelli and Gillian Brooks.

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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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