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MTSU renames mass comm college to reflect industry, societal changes

MTSU’s College of Mass Communications is updating its name to better reflect the 24-hour media cycle and the growing demand for content that informs, engages and entertains.

Effective with the new 2015-16 academic year, which kicks off Aug. 24 with the first day of fall classes, the college will become the MTSU College of Media and Entertainment.

MTSU students work on deadline inside the Center for Innovation in Media in this file photo from the university's College of Mass Communication, soon to be known as the College for Media and Entertainment. (MTSU file photo)

MTSU students work on deadline inside the Center for Innovation in Media in this file photo from the university’s College of Mass Communication, soon to be known as the College for Media and Entertainment. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

“It’s a clear and contemporary name that reflects the way media work today,” said Ken Paulson, dean of the college since July 2013. “The media world isn’t driven by mass communication anymore; it’s now all about targeted audiences, tailored content and strategic audience-building.

“Though traditional media have been buffeted by digital technology, there’s more media being consumed around the world today than at any other time in history. The four channels on a TV 50 years ago have been replaced by tens of thousands of content providers.”

Paulson said that the college, first established as a department in 1972, then elevated to school and finally college status by 1989, has always focused on preparing students to perform every facet of communicating news and information within their specialties: journalism, electronic media and the recording industry.

This name change, he said, reflects the college’s goal of giving students skills across multiple media to ready them for their futures as well as providing a solid, broad-based education.

Ken Paulson

Ken Paulson

“The rebooted College of Media and Entertainment will strive to give students the skills and insights they’ll need to engage, inform and entertain audiences on multiple platforms,” he said. “That means learning to communicate effectively through words, audio and video.

M and E logo for web“It also means coming to grips with change. The most important traits we can instill in our students are a receptivity to change and a comfort level with technology. Colleges need to be as contemporary as possible, incorporating the latest technology, encouraging innovation and fostering an entrepreneurial spirit.”

The fifth largest communication program in the nation, the MTSU College of Media and Entertainment offers degree concentrations in 14 major areas — ranging from the recording industry to journalism to filmmaking and animation— and is accredited by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

The college also is home to three unique and nationally recognized operations:

  • the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies, which supports a variety of activities related to free speech, free press rights and other topics of concern for contemporary journalism.
  • the Center for Popular Music, devoted to the study and scholarship of popular music in America and one of only 16 Centers of Excellence across the Tennessee Board of Regents system.
  • the Center for Innovation in Media, which unites student-run media and MTSU’s National Public Radio affiliate, WMOT 89.5 FM, in a single site to facilitate convergence.

For more information about MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment and its departments and majors, visit www.mtsu.edu/media.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Marc Parrish, standing at right, director of technical systems for MTSU's College of Mass Communication, leads a tour group of prospective students and their parents through the $1.8 million Mobile Production Lab during a 2015 True Blue Experience Day. The college is being renamed as the College of Media and Entertainment. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

Marc Parrish, standing at right, director of technical systems for MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, leads a tour group of prospective students and their parents through the $1.8 million Mobile Production Lab during a 2015 True Blue Experience Day. The college is being renamed as the College of Media and Entertainment. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

Journalism Hall of Fame honors legacies of 9 newest inductees

Former Murfreesboro Mayor Tommy Bragg was humbled and delighted to accept the awards for his late father and grandfather during the Class of 2015 induction ceremony for the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame.

The two generations of publishers — former state Rep. John Bragg and his father Minor Elam Bragg — were among nine posthumous inductees to be honored at this year’s ceremony, held Tuesday afternoon at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Former Murfreesboro Mayor Tommy Bragg, center, accepted Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame Class of 2015 induction awards on behalf of his late father, state Rep. John Bragg, and late grandfather, Minor E. Bragg. Pictured with Bragg is his son, John Bragg III, far left, and Larry Burriss, Hall of Fame president and journalism professor at Middle Tennessee State University. The induction ceremony was held Aug. 11, 2015, at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Former Murfreesboro Mayor Tommy Bragg, center, accepts Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame Class of 2015 induction awards on behalf of his late father, state Rep. John Bragg, and late grandfather, Minor E. Bragg. Pictured with Bragg is his son, John Bragg III, far left, and Dr. Larry Burriss, Hall of Fame president and journalism professor at Middle Tennessee State University. The induction ceremony was held Aug. 11 at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

So perhaps it was fitting that two more generations of Braggs — Tommy and his adult children, John III and Beth — attended the occasion to recognize their ancestors’ legacy.

Minor Bragg and John Bragg left their marks on journalism through the elder’s creation and stewardship of the Cannon Courier and Rutherford Courier and the younger’s work to develop the state’s open meetings laws as a state lawmaker.

“If my dad taught me about public service, my granddad and my grandma taught me about business, how to make living,” Tommy Bragg said in accepting his grandfather’s award.

“It’s a pleasure to accept this on behalf of ‘Paw Paw.’ I’m greatly honored, (and) I know my family is.”

Click image to go to the Hall of Fame website.

This was the third class of inductees and first in which all recipients were recognized posthumously. The ceremony came in conjunction with the 67th annual Tennessee Association of Broadcasters conference.

WSMV-TV longtime news anchor Demetria Kalodimos emceed the program, and family and friends of the honorees were on hand to accept the awards.

Another inductee with a strong local connection was iconic sports journalist Grantland Rice, who was born in Murfreesboro and worked at regional newspapers, including The Nashville Tennessean, before moving to New York to create a legendary career as a syndicated columnist.

Accepting the award on his behalf was longtime former Tennessean sports writer and columnist Joe Biddle, who noted that Rice was “ahead of his time” and whose first name dons the masthead of an ESPN-affiliated website today, a testament to his lasting influence.

Former longtime Tennessean sports writer and columnist Joe Biddle gives remarks while accepting the posthumous award for legendary sports columnist and Murfreesboro native Grantland Rice, who was inducted into the 2015 class of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony was held Aug. 11, 2015, at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. (MTSU photo)

Former longtime Tennessean sports writer and columnist Joe Biddle gives remarks while accepting the posthumous award for legendary sports columnist and Murfreesboro native Grantland Rice, who was inducted into the 2015 class of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony was held Aug. 11 at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. (MTSU photo)

“I’m honored to even be associated with Grantland Rice,” Biddle said. “He put sports writing on the map” during the first half of the 20th century and was often referred to as the “dean of sports writing in America.”

The Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame is an independent partner with MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, which houses the hall in its Center for Innovation in Media inside the Bragg Mass Communication Building on the MTSU campus. Journalism professor Dr. Larry Burriss is current president of the hall.

MTSU Wordmark MTSU Mass Communication Dean Ken Paulson told the crowd that his college is creating a multimedia display that will be located in the College of Mass Communication where visitors can find information about the hall’s inductees since its inception.

“It is so important that our students understand those who have gone before them, those who have made a difference,” Paulson said. “These are the heroes of Tennessee journalism, men and women who have made a real difference in their communities.”

Other members of the 2015 class included:

  • Kent Flanagan.
  • Jack Knox.
  • Roy McDonald.
  • Bob Parkins.
  • John N. Popham III.
  • Drue Smith.

Flanagan was a native Texan and veteran Associated Press executive who practiced journalism on various platforms. Accepting the award on his behalf was his widow, Janet Flanagan. Also attending the ceremony was current Tennessee AP bureau chief Adam Yeomans.

Kalodimos announced that a scholarship fund has been established through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee for the Kent Flanagan Memorial Scholarship. The fund has raised $2,800 thus far, and its goal is at least $10,000 to endow the scholarship for an annual award to a journalism student. Donations can be made online at www.cfmt.org.

In accepting the award, Janet Flanagan said her late husband had two goals in life: to be a good man and to be a good journalist.

“And he succeeded at both,” she said. “He loved journalism … He loved mentoring the people that he worked with. He loved teaching the students at MTSU.”

Flanagan served as journalist-in-residence at MTSU from 2005 to 2009.

From left, Michelle Williams, AP director of major accounts; Kent's brother, Gary Flanagan; Kent's wife, Janet Flanagan; Kent's cousin, Helen Murphy; Kent's sister, Kathy McCuistion; Adam Yeomans, AP South regional director. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Michelle Williams, left, AP director of major accounts; honoree Kent Flanagan’s brother, Gary Flanagan; Kent’s wife, Janet Flanagan; his cousin, Helen Murphy, and sister, Kathy McCuistion; and Adam Yeomans, AP South regional director, pose with a photo of Kent at the Aug. 11 Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame induction in Murfreesboro. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Knox, a nationally recognized editorial cartoonist who practiced his wit and biting commentary in three of the state’s four largest cities. Accepting the award on his behalf was one of his sons, Brit Knox.

Brit Knox said his mother, Edith, “jokingly” suggested that her then-21-year-old husband start drawing cartoons during the Great Depression when the family’s coffee business was struggling.

Knox’s wife had stumbled upon a correspondence course on cartooning that he had purchased while in junior high. The family estimates that Knox drew more than 12,000 cartoons during his four-plus decades plus of drawing editorial cartoons.

“He met, knew and corresponded with seven presidents,” Brit Knox told the crowd. “When he was just 23 years old, he and another cartoonist, Joe Parrish, met personally with FDR in the White House. Also, he had cartoons that hung in the White House during the Kennedy Administration.

“Thank you for honoring our father … for his contribution to Tennessee journalism.”

Brit Knox, son of the late editorial cartoonist John Knox, stands next to a photo of his father and the award honoring his father's induction into the 2015 Class of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame. Brit Knox accepted the posthumous award on his father's behalf during the induction ceremony held Aug. 11, 2015, at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Brit Knox, son of the late editorial cartoonist John Knox, stands next to a photo of his father and the award honoring his father’s induction into the 2015 Class of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame. Brit Knox accepted the award on his late father’s behalf during the induction ceremony held Aug. 11 at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

McDonald’s bigger-city publishing career traces back to an advertising sheet he started to promote his grocery business in Chattanooga. Accepting the award on his behalf was his grandson, Roy McDonald Exum.

Exum lauded his grandfather as “the most innovative guy I’ve ever been around” because of the diversity of interests in which he excelled. The younger man noted that McDonald was in numerous halls of fame, ranging from insurance to hospitals to cattle to journalism.

McDonald started a grocery chain flier that eventually evolved into the Chattanooga News-Free Press, a direct competitor to the more established Chattanooga Times, before the two papers merged decades later.

The News-Free Press was able to “beat” the Times, Exum recalled, by tapping into people’s thrill of seeing photos of themselves in print.

“We would take 1,500 pictures a week. We took a picture of anything that moved,” Exum said, drawing chuckles from the crowd. “He (McDonald) was a master innovator. He loved to compete. He loved to do it the right way. My grandfather would deeply, deeply love this.”

Roy McDonald Exum accepted the award on behalf of his late grandfather, Chattanooga publisher Roy McDonald, for his posthumous induction into the 2015 class of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony was held Aug. 11, 2015, at Embassy Suites in Murfreesbor, Tenn. (MTSU photo)

Roy McDonald Exum accepts the 2015 Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame award on behalf of his late grandfather, Chattanooga publisher Roy McDonald, at the induction ceremony held Aug. 11, at Embassy Suites in Murfreesbor, Tenn. (MTSU photo)

Parkins was a small-town dairyman who grew his rural West Tennessee newspaper from scratch through merger. Accepting the award on his behalf were his widow, Dorris Parkins, and one of his sons, Victor Parkins.

Bob Parkins served as owner, publisher and editor of the paper until his death in 2008. His wife now serves as publisher and his son Victor as the paper’s editor.

“He was a true newspaper man at heart,” said Victor Parkins, who fondly recalled how his parents juggled the responsibilities of running a weekly newspaper with the need to milk 300 dairy cows every day.

“He was a true journalist, and he loved to write,” added Dorris Parkins. “We had an old typewriter, and if he wasn’t in the barn, he was working on a story.”

The family of the late Bob Parkins, owner, publisher and editor of the Milan Mirror-Exchange until his death in 2008, attended the ceremony for Parkins' posthumous induction into the 2015 class of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame, held Aug. 11, 2015, at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

The family of the late Bob Parkins, owner, publisher and editor of the Milan Mirror-Exchange until his death in 2008, attends the ceremony for Parkins’ posthumous induction into the 2015 class of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame held Aug. 11 at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, Tenn. At center left is Parkins’ son Victor, now editor of the paper, and at center right in red is his widow, Dorris Parkins. With them are five of the Parkinses’ daughters and a grandchild; not pictured is son Denton and another daughter. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Popham was a native Virginian who landed in Tennessee to cover the South and civil rights for The New York Times and stayed. Accepting the award on his behalf was his son, John Popham IV.

John Popham IV pointed out an Associated Press photo on display alongside the podium showing his father during his service in World War II. John Popham III, a Marine captain and war correspondent, was kneeling in prayer at Catholic services held for native Chamorros at a Marine Civil Affairs Internment Camp on the Japanese island of Saipan.

The younger man said the photo reflected the three aspects of his father’s life, other than family, that were probably most important to him: faith, military service and journalism.

“My father would have been particularly thrilled, honored and humbled to receive this award because he loved journalism,” the younger Popham said. “He believed journalism was a profession, a public trust … and believed that newspapers had a mandatory role in educating the citizenry.”

John Popham IV accepted the award on behalf of his late father, journalist John Popham III, for his posthumous induction into the 2015 class of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony was held Aug. 11, 2015, at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (MTSU photo)

John Popham IV accepts the award on behalf of his late father, journalist John Popham III, for his posthumous induction into the 2015 class of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony was held Aug. 11, 2015, at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (MTSU photo)

Smith was a trailblazing woman who started in newspapers before switching to become a respected and colorful broadcast political reporter. Accepting the award on her behalf was her daughter, Drucilla Smith Fuller.

Dressed in hot pink in honor of her late mother’s colorful wardrobe, Fuller expressed thanks that Smith was being inducted into the hall in the same class as McDonald, who gave Smith her first job as a columnist in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“She was a trailblazer for women,” Fuller said, explaining how the respect Smith cultivated as a journalist allowed her to fight for and win access for women to previously male-only private clubs around Nashville. “She certainly had so many firsts.”

Fuller noted that Smith also had a close connection to another Class of 2015 inductee through her work as a radio correspondent at the State Capitol.

“A lot of what she did on Capitol Hill, her informant was often John Bragg, who was a wonderful friend of hers always,” Fuller said.

Drucilla Smith Fuller holds a photo of her late mother, trailblazing journalist Drue Smith, and the posthumous award Smith received for her induction into the 2015 class of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony was held Aug. 11, 2015, at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Drucilla Smith Fuller holds a photo of her late mother, trailblazing journalist Drue Smith, and the posthumous award Smith received for her induction into the 2015 class of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony was held Aug. 11 at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Hall of Fame inductees can include reporters, writers, editors, publishers, news directors and other managers, as well as those who have excelled in advertising or public relations and journalism, advertising and PR education.

The Hall of Fame’s bylaws note that its inductees represent “those who have made significant and substantial contributions to the journalism profession.” Honorees may be living or deceased, native Tennesseans who spent much of their career in state or out of state, or non-natives who spent a substantial part of their career in Tennessee.

For more information about the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame, visit its website at www.tnjournalismhof.org or contact Hooper Penuel, TJHOF secretary, at 615-347-1672.

Below are more detailed biographies of the 2015 honorees in alphabetical order.

John Thomas Bragg

John T. Bragg (1918-2004) came from a newspaper family that owned the Cannon Courier and later started the Rutherford Courier, but distinguished himself in another form of public service as a legislative reformer and expert in government finance during a 30-year career in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

Former state Rep. John Bragg

Former state Rep. John Bragg

Born in Woodbury in 1918, he graduated from what is now MTSU in 1940 with a degree in social studies. He was student body president and editor of the student newspaper, Sidelines. Bragg did graduate work in history at the University of Tennessee and worked briefly as executive director of the Tennessee Press Association in Knoxville. He served in the Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1946, returning to Murfreesboro to join his father on the Rutherford Courier and in Courier Printing. The Rutherford Courier was sold in 1958.

Bragg was later elected to the Tennessee House and served from 1964 until his retirement in 1996, with a break in 1969-70. In 1974 Bragg sponsored the Tennessee Open Meetings Act, which is known as the “Sunshine Law” and mandates most official meetings of governing bodies be open to the public. He sold his interest in the printing company in 1981 to his son, Tommy. From then on, Bragg’s professional life focused on state government, where he chaired the powerful Finance, Ways and Means Committee. He helped leverage state funding for the mass communications building at MTSU that bears his name.

Minor Elam Bragg

Minor E. Bragg (1894-1966) was born in Woodbury, Tennessee, to Thomas D. Bragg and Mary Elizabeth Keele. Married to the former Callie Luree Bragg, who was no relation, the couple had two children, including John, who followed him into the publishing business.

Minor Elam Bragg

Minor Elam Bragg

In the 1920s, Minor Bragg was the editor and publisher of the Cannon Courier, a publication he sold in 1933 after launching the Rutherford Courier in Murfreesboro and Smyrna two years before. Minor launched the new Courier and a printing company despite existing competition. His son John remembered him as an old-school journalist who thought it important for the public to have more than one source for news and discussion of public affairs.

Minor Bragg attended Middle Tennessee Normal School, which later became MTSU, taught briefly at Bradyville School in the 1920s, and had interests in a funeral home, a radio station and grocery store in Woodbury. The Rutherford Courier was sold in 1958, and its founder died in 1966. Tommy and brother David would resume publishing their grandfather’s first newspaper — the Cannon Courier — between 1980 and 1995, marking a third generation of Braggs in journalism.

Van Kent Flanagan

Kent Flanagan, former Associated Press bureau chief, deceased, TNJHOF

Kent Flanagan

Kent Flanagan (1945-2015) was a native Texan who spent more than 40 years in journalism, practicing on distinct platforms, including 21 years as the chief-of-bureau for the Associated Press in Tennessee. By his count, it was much “more than” four decades. He told an interviewer in 2012: “I’ve been a journalist since the age of 12. I got drafted in middle school to write sports for the student newspaper and kept going.”

The Ballinger, Texas, native graduated from Angelo State University in 1968 and served four years in the Army, including service in Vietnam. He later worked for the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel in Florida and the San Antonio Express-News before joining the AP as a newsman in Pennsylvania in 1979.

AP sent him to South Carolina and North Dakota before his Nashville posting in 1983. In 2000, he witnessed and covered Tennessee’s first execution in 40 years. He left the AP in 2004 and served four years as journalist-in-residence at Middle Tennessee State University and then more than two years as editor of the Shelbyville Times-Gazette. Flanagan was 2012-13 executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, a nonprofit alliance of media, citizen and professional groups he helped form in 2003. He died in February 2015 after a long illness.

Jack Knox

John “Jack” Gill Knox Jr. (1910-1985) was a Nashville-born artist and illustrator best known for the editorial cartoons drawn over more than 40 years for Tennessee newspapers. He was nationally recognized because his cartoons were often reprinted and sought by newsmakers, including presidents from the time of Dwight Eisenhower.

Jack Knox

Jack Knox

His wit and biting conservative commentary appeared for 26 years in the Nashville Banner. His work previously appeared in The Evening Tennessean in Nashville in 1933-34 and then for 11 years at the The Commercial Appeal in Memphis.

Fascinated by horses from growing up in Texas, he took a year off and worked on a ranch there before joining the Banner in 1946. He was a mainstay there until retiring in 1972, but continued drawing cartoons for the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1975. In between he authored and illustrated his second book: “America’s Tennessee Walking Horse,” published in Nashville by Hoss Country Publishers. A graduate of Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tennessee, he was mostly self-taught and received no formal art training beyond a correspondence course his wife recommended. The Jack Knox Political Cartoon Collection in the Nashville Main Public Library consists of 240 original editorial cartoon drawings featuring his conservative political satire and caricatures in addition to his original art and writings about Middle Tennessee rural life and life on the grand rivers.

Roy McDonald

Roy McDonald, Chattanooga Free Press founder, deceased, TNJHOF

Roy McDonald

Roy McDonald (1901-1990) started out as a grocer looking for what the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture described as “an inexpensive alternative to the dominant Chattanooga Times” to advertise his chain of Home Stores. That led him in 1933 to found the Free Press, first as a small flier, which proved a popular and growing enterprise in southeast Tennessee for decades to come. McDonald added news features and comics to the Sunday weekly three years later and eventually began charging 5 cents.

In August 1936, the Free Press began daily publication and was in direct competition with the morning Times and the afternoon Chattanooga News. McDonald purchased the News in 1939 and launched a new afternoon daily, the Chattanooga News-Free Press, targeting blue-collar workers whose shifts ended at 4 o’clock.

In what could be described as urban community journalism, McDonald filled his publication with folksy hometown news and upbeat business features, steadily building circulation against the better-known and respected Times. They entered a joint operating agreement — described as a “truce” — in 1942 wherein the two papers shared advertising, circulation and production departments, but maintained separate news and editorial staffs. The News-Free Press became increasingly conservative in its editorial policy. McDonald’s increasing use of photographs of events spurred readership. McDonald died in 1990, but his son, Frank McDonald, became chairman and president of the newspaper. In 1993 the newspaper became the Chattanooga Free Press again. In 1998, it was sold to an Arkansas publisher who later acquired the Chattanooga Times and merged the newspapers ultimately under the flag of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. It continued to publish separate editorial pages.

Bob Parkins

Bob Parkins, owner, Milan Mirror-Exchange, deceased

Bob Parkins

Bob Parkins (1929-2008) was a local dairyman when he and his wife, Dorris, founded the Milan Mirror in 1965, launching a career and family legacy of community journalism. Parkins purchased The Milan Exchange in 1977, naming the new enterprise The Milan Mirror-Exchange. The Exchange was 103 years older at the time.

Parkins distinguished his newspaper by winning countless Tennessee Press Association awards and himself through leadership in the industry he loved as president of the Tennessee Press Association. He published and edited the paper until his death in 2008.

For several years he served as a state correspondent for The Nashville Tennessean, filing community features and occasional hard news pieces at a time when city papers tried to cover more territory through the use of stringers. It helped keep Gibson County, in central West Tennessee, connected to the world.

John N. Popham III

Marine Capt. John N. Popham takes time out from the fierce Saipan fighting to kneel in prayer at Catholic services held for native Chamorros at a Marine Civil Affairs Internment Camp on July 22, 1944. (Photo courtesy of Associated Press/Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Marine Capt. John N. Popham

John N. Popham III (1910-1999) was dispatched by The New York Times in 1947 to cover the South, an area his editors described as “from the Potomac to central Texas.” It was an assignment in which he would distinguish himself with his coverage of the civil rights movement. The last 20 years of his 45-year career was spent at The Chattanooga Times, where he retired as managing editor in 1977.

A Fredericksburg, Virginia, native and Fordham University graduate, Popham joined the Times in the 1930s. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942, earning a Bronze Star for service in the Pacific during World War II. A year after his return to the Times, he landed the Southern correspondent assignment with two conditions of management: he had to drive, not fly, from place to place, and he had to keep an office at the sister Chattanooga Times.

He became known to friends as “Pops” or “Johnny” and to everyone else for his heavy Tidewater Virginia accent and the trademark hats, fitting the caricature at the time of a newspaperman. Post-retirement and at the age of 72, he earned a law degree from the John Marshall Law School after commuting hundreds of miles a week to Atlanta.

Henry Grantland Rice

Grantland Rice, legendary sports journalist from Murfreesboro, deceased, TNJHOF

Grantland Rice

Grantland Rice (1880-1954) was an icon among sports journalists but may be remembered as much for a poem as any of the estimated 22,000 columns he wrote. He was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in 1880 and educated at Vanderbilt University, where he played football and baseball. After graduation in 1901, he worked at the Nashville (Tennessee) Daily News, The Nashville Tennessean and the Atlanta Journal before joining the New York Evening Mail in 1911. In 1914 he became a sportswriter for the New York Tribune, later the Herald Tribune. He served in the Army in World War I.

By one authoritative estimate, Rice wrote more than 67 million words, produced popular short motion pictures of sporting events, and according to newworldencyclopedia.org, became the first play-by-play baseball announcer carried live on radio during the 1922 World Series. It was Rice who in 1924 named that year’s Notre Dame’s football backfield as the “Four Horsemen.” His column would eventually syndicate in more than 100 newspapers.

He published three books of poetry, and it was a poem that became his most quoted work: “For when the one Great Scorer comes to write against your name, He marks—not that you won or lost—but how you played the game.” His autobiography, “The Tumult and the Shouting,” appeared in 1954 — the year he died of a heart attack in his office. He had just completed a column about Willie Mayes and the 1954 All-Star game.

Drue Smith

Drue Smith, trailblazing print and radio journalist, deceased, TNJHOF

Drue Smith

Drue Smith (died in 2001) was a journalist of many firsts, which made her a pioneer among women in the profession. First a feature writer for the Chattanooga News-Free Press, she later switched to the job of “society editor” at the Chattanooga Times. She would live to see the two newspapers merge under the Chattanooga Times Free Press nameplate in 2001.

Smith switched to radio and hosted shows on WAPO, WDOD and later WDEF, where she was public affairs director. The day in 1954 that WDEF-TV signed on the air, so did she with “Drue’s Party Line.” She came to Nashville to work in communications for Gov. Frank Clement, leaving that job to cover political news for United Press International, WLAC Radio, the Tennessee Radio Network, WVOL Radio and multiple Nashville community newspapers.

The American Women in Radio and TV named her their Broadcaster of the Year at their convention in Las Vegas. The Tennessee House and Senate named her the 133rd — honorary — member of the General Assembly. The Tennessee Broadcasters’ Association made her a life member. She was the first woman to cover politics full time at the Capitol, was the first female chair of the Capitol Hill Press Corps, the first woman inducted into the local Society of Professional Journalists (Sigma Delta Chi) chapter, and became its first female president.

She raised thousands of dollars for college journalism scholarships through selling tickets to the Nashville Gridiron Show. The SPJ/Drue Smith scholarship is still awarded annually by the Community Foundation. Veteran Capitol Hill reporters remember Smith for her trademark, sound-bite-grabbing strategy at the end of all gubernatorial press conferences she covered: “Governor, what is the bottom line?”

MTSU Magazine features acclaimed concrete industry program

The summer 2015 edition of MTSU Magazine profiles MTSU’s Concrete Industry Management Department on the eve of its 20th anniversary. The program is broadly recognized as the first and finest of its kind in the United States.

From cutting-edge research to virtually guaranteed student success and job placement to the recent rollout of a new executive management training program attracting concrete professionals from around the world to study, the CIM program is one of the university’s biggest success stories.

Click the image for access to online versions of the stories as well as find links to electronic pdf copies of the print edition.

Click the image for access to online versions of the stories as well as find links to electronic pdf copies of the print edition.

Adding interest to the mix is that steering the department is a woman: Dr. Heather Brown, who has defied stereotypes and carved out a solid reputation in the national concrete industry.

Under her solid leadership and with the continued support of industry, which helped fashion the program at MTSU nearly two decades ago, the program has since been modeled by other universities — California State University–Chico, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Texas State University — to better serve industry needs beyond the Southeast.

Other articles in the new edition of the magazine include:

  • A presidential look at the new center for the study of Chinese music, the latest development in a partnership between MTSU and China’s Hangzhou Normal University.
  • A glimpse into how journalist-in-residence Whitney Matheson found herself at the forefront of new media.
  • The story of how one of MTSU’s newest professors is working to keep the memory of country music legend George Jones alive while simultaneously helping MTSU Recording Industry students build careers.
  • A study of tattoos, which have been around for tens of thousands of years but can still can be an obstacle to MTSU graduates entering the workforce
  • A list of 10 things you probably don’t know about one of MTSU’s best-known educators, Dean Terry Whiteside of the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences.

Readers may also download MTSU Magazine free for their iPads and Android devices. The MTSU Mag app, available in the iTunes store and now at Google Play, includes special multimedia content built into every issue that’s not available in the print editions.

Printed copies of MTSU Magazine are distributed twice annually to more than 105,000 alumni readers. The publication also is distributed to interested community members, including state lawmakers and members of the Tennessee Board of Regents.

MTSU Magazine also is available online at www.mtsumagazine.com.

— Drew Ruble (drew.ruble@mtsu.edu)

MTSU Innovation J-Camp inspires aspiring journalists [+VIDEOS]

Murfreesboro’s Haley Perkins called it “a real-life experience.”

Eric Goodwin enjoyed the “freedoms that encouraged creativity.”

Perkins, a rising Blackman High School sophomore, and Goodwin, a rising Central Magnet senior, were two of 21 students enrolled in the first MTSU Innovation J-Camp July 13-17 at the Center for Innovation in Media in the John Bragg Mass Communication Building.

In groups of three, Midstate high school students attending the MTSU Innovation J-Camp edit their video projects July 16 in the Center for Innovation in Media in the John Bragg Mass Communication Building. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

In groups of three, Midstate high school students attending the MTSU Innovation J-Camp edit their video projects July 16 in the Center for Innovation in Media in the John Bragg Mass Communication Building. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

Center Director Val Hoeppner, lead instructor for the camp, guided the aspiring journalists through numerous aspects of the profession that has gone high-tech and digital. She had plenty of assistance from Journalist in Residence Whitney Matheson, College of Mass Communication Dean Ken Paulson and student mentors.

“One of the best parts of the camp is that it lets kids experience things in multimedia that a lot of them do not experience elsewhere,” said Goodwin, 16, who will be graduating early and is considering attending MTSU after graduating from Central in 2016.

Hoeppner kept the students, primarily sophomores, hopping from topic to topic in teaching them how to tell stories for mobile, social, digital and video audiences.

They learned interview techniques and “what’s news” from Hoeppner and Matheson; free expression and First Amendment knowledge from Paulson, who also serves as president of the First Amendment Center; story structure and writing profiles. And that was just July 13, the first day of the camp, which is open to rising sophomores through seniors.

Later, they delved into music and the media with Greg Reish, director of the MTSU Center for Popular Music; photography and photo editing software; shooting and editing for a 60- to 90-second video — capping the week by building websites and sending their videos to YouTube.

“They will have a ready-made portfolio,” Hoeppner said. “They’ll have an online website with content on it they can manage.”

Sophia Chen, 15, a rising sophomore at Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School at Pearl High in Nashville, said she “learned a lot of new things, especially video editing.”

As MTSU junior mentor and Sidelines 2015-16 Editor in Chief Meagan White, right, observes, sophomore Sophia Chen of Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School at Pearl High in Nashville records “B-roll” for a video project at the Campus Recreation Center outdoor pool during the Innovation J-Camp July 16.

As MTSU junior mentor and Sidelines 2015-16 Editor-in-Chief Meagan White, right, observes, sophomore Sophia Chen of Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School at Pearl High in Nashville records “B-roll” for a video project at the Campus Recreation Center outdoor pool during the Innovation J-Camp July 16.

The students recorded interviews and shot “B-roll” video clips July 16 at a number of campus venues including a coding camp in Kirksey Old Main, Ben Speer’s Stamps-Baxter School of Music in the Wright Music Building and at the Campus Recreation Center.

“It has given me an opportunity to test the waters and see if this is something I might pursue later on, especially in interviewing because I never had the experience with that and this really exposes us to that,” said Goodwin, a track and field and cross-country runner for Central.

“I enjoyed the camp because there was a lot of hands-on activities,” he added. “It’s not just taking notes. … We were doing what professionals do. I joined the camp so I could turn photography, which I have been doing for a few years, into a more professional hobby.”

Perkins, 14, said the camp has given her “insight (into) what journalism is about.”

Sidney Starling, 15, a rising Central sophomore, always has been interested in filmmaking and photography.

“I really like the technology,” she said. “This has taught me much more than I could’ve ever taught myself.”

Hoeppner said she is considering making the second Innovation J-Camp in 2016 a two-week experience. The camp was a partnership between the Center for Innovation and Media and Mass Comm.

For more information, visit http://innovationjcamp.org/2015-innovation-j-camp/, call Hoeppner at 615-898-2337 or email Val.Hoeppner@mtsu.edu.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

Final videos for the 2015 Innovation J-Camp participants

1. Sports Camp I: It’s all about fun, numerous activities

2. Stamps-Baxter Music Camp: Group, individual attention emits beautiful sounds

3. Sports Camp II: Table tennis, soccer take center stage

4. Martin Fisher: Restoration, digitization and the ‘wet play’ of old-time music

5. MTSU STEM Coding Camp: Creating websites, games and more

6. Sports Camp III: Dodgeball, kickball help keep youngsters active

7. Sports Camp IV: It’s a way to make friends, have a good time

Bonnaroo partnership a pride point for MTSU’s media dean

MANCHESTER, Tenn. — Ken Paulson pushed his sunglasses against the bridge of his nose Friday afternoon, then started to climb the ladder leading to the roof of MTSU’s $1.4 million Mobile Production Lab.

From that perch, Paulson, dean of the College of Mass Communication, got a bird’s-eye view of the Who Stage at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, where his students would soon work an array of cameras at a concert.

Ken Paulson, dean of MTSU's College of Mass Communication, stands on top of the college's Mobile Production Lab backstage of the Who Stage at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival June 12. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

Ken Paulson, dean of MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, stands on top of the college’s Mobile Production Lab backstage of the Who Stage at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival June 12. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

“Bringing MTSU students to work at Bonnaroo reflects the full range of media and entertainment you’ll find in our college,” he said.

“They are getting their first taste of what’s it’s like to cover a world-class music festival.”

This is the second year of a partnership Paulson brokered between MTSU and the organizers of the annual festival. But 2015 is the Bonnaroo debut of “The Truck,” as the students call it, which brings some of the most modern video production and editing facilities in the industry to the festival site.

It’s a win-win relationship for the university and Bonnaroo as both partners gain experience and expertise and benefit from the energy of about 40 mass communication students who are producing multimedia content from the four-day event.

“Our friends at Bonnaroo visited us on campus last fall to tell us how this ‘instant city’ is built and operated,” Paulson said, “and now our students are seeing it all firsthand. They are here as emerging professionals.”

Paulson joined MTSU in July 2013, receiving what he said was a directive from President Sidney A. McPhee: Make the College of Mass Communication contemporary, innovative and prominent. The new dean boiled it down to this: Make the college famous.

“We’re embracing that challenge,” Paulson said.

Paulson, whose media career included a stint as editor-in-chief of USA Today, said he immediately saw “unprecedented potential” in the college.

“This is truly a college of media and entertainment, encompassing every form of content that informs, engages or entertains audiences,” he said. “I believe we can position ourselves as the most multifaceted and innovative program in the country, and for a variety of reasons.”

Those reasons include:Bonnaroo 2015 logo-web

Paulson said he is particularly proud of the Bonnaroo partnership that began last year. Bonnaroo founders Ashley Capps and Rick Farman visited the university in April 2014 and returned in October with fellow co-founder Jonathan Mayers and a contingent of Bonnaroo directors and organizers to talk about the mechanics of the event.

“It’s simply unprecedented for the management team of a world-class music festival to take a full day to engage and educate the next generation of music and media professionals,” Paulson said.

The MTSU College of Mass Communication's mobile production lab is ready for Bonnaroo. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

The MTSU College of Mass Communication’s mobile production lab is ready for Bonnaroo. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

Since 1989, the College of Mass Communication, the nation’s fifth largest, has been the only one offering fully functional journalism, electronic media and recording industry academic units. Now, “with the walls crumbling everywhere” in academia and in the industry, Paulson said that arrangement seems prescient.

“We are doing what a nationally prominent program would do, and that means going well beyond the borders of Murfreesboro or Tennessee,” he said.

But has he made the college famous? McPhee, whose words launched Paulson’s plan, said he thinks the dean has charted the right course.

“Dean Paulson’s energy, vision and influence in new and traditional media has certainly raised the profile of the college and the university,” McPhee said.

“When I see our students wearing their ‘True Blue’ shirts, working the cameras at one of the world’s biggest and best music festivals or interviewing rock stars before they go on stage, that’s pretty ‘famous’ in my book.”

You can read about the students’ first day working at Bonnaroo, plus watch a video of their experience, here.

— Andrew Oppmann and Allison Gorman (news@mtsu.edu)

MTSU students get ‘real-world training’ at Bonnaroo [+VIDEO]

MANCHESTER, Tenn. — Amanda Pierce is one of thousands of students taking a class this summer at Middle Tennessee State University.

But unlike most, her classroom is behind one of the stages at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, where she is serving as student production manager for the MTSU Mobile Production Lab.

Robert Gordon, an assistant professor of electronic media communication in MTSUÕs College of Mass Communication, briefs his student crew before beginning preparations for a shoot Thursday afternoon, June 11, at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts FestivalÕs Who Stage. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

Robert Gordon, an assistant professor of electronic media communication in MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, briefs his student crew before beginning preparations for a shoot June 11 at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival’s Who Stage. (MTSU photos by Andrew Oppmann)

“I think it will help me kick-start my career and my leadership abilities,” said Pierce, a senior from Murfreesboro majoring in electronic media communication in the College of Mass Communication.

“It’s totally awesome for a classroom.”

Pierce is among about 40 MTSU students, faculty and staff working at the four-day festival under the second year of a unique partnership between the university and festival organizers Superfly Presents and AC Entertainment.

Twenty-eight are working with cameras and control boards in MTSU’s mobile studio, capturing performances on the festival’s Who Stage. The rest are working as multimedia journalists, filing stories and videos for area news media outlets.

“Our friends at Bonnaroo have been extraordinarily generous and supportive, giving our students a singular educational opportunity and invaluable hands-on experience,” mass communication Dean Ken Paulson said.

“It’s important that we extend our teaching beyond the walls of our college to the places where contemporary media and entertainment are at their best.”

Pierce manages the student crew of camera operators, sound technicians, producers and technicians under the direction of assistant professor Robert Gordon, who has almost 40 years of experience in broadcast, cable and network programming.

Students and instructors from MTSUÕs College of Mass Communication mount a center-stage camera at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts FestivalÕs Who Stage on Thursday afternoon. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

Students and instructors from MTSU’s College of Mass Communication mount a center-stage camera at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival’s Who Stage June 11.

“MTSU at Bonnaroo is giving students realistic, real-world training, producing several video concert performances per day — live, no rehearsal, all in one take,” Gordon said.

“Our time at Bonnaroo is as hands-on and as realistic an experience as can be offered.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the 700-acre site, veteran journalists Pat Embry, director of MTSU’s John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence for First Amendment Studies, and journalism associate professor Leon Alligood are mentoring the student on-site content team.

The team’s work can be found on the website of MTSU’s student newspaper, Sidelines (www.mtsusidelines.com) and other area media outlets, including The Tennessean and the Murfreesboro Pulse.

Students set up and conducted their own advance phone interviews with Nashville-based rock bands playing at Bonnaroo, Embry said. They will work each day from midmorning until late at night, filing stories, taking photos and shooting video.

“From a student standpoint, the experience in building a portfolio is unparalleled,” he said. “Having so many editors and veteran writers and reporters on site to help the students with their work is invaluable.”

Gordon, over at the Who Stage, echoed that thought: “Students get jobs from experiences like these.”

— Andrew Oppmann (andrew.oppmann@mtsu.edu)

A group shot of students, faculty and staff from MTSU's College of Mass Communication, all of whom will be working at the Who Stage at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

This group of students, faculty and staff from MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, all will be working at the Who Stage at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn.

MTSUÕs Mobile Production Lab will serve as the video hub for the Who Stage at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

MTSU’s Mobile Production Lab will serve as the video hub for the Who Stage at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.

Pat Embry, left, director of MTSUÕs Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies, briefs a crew of student journalists preparing to cover ThursdayÕs opening day of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

Pat Embry, left, director of MTSU’s Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies, briefs a crew of student journalists preparing to cover the June 11 opening day of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn.

A group shot of students and faculty from MTSU's College of Mass Communication, all of whom will be filing content for area media from the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

Students and faculty from MTSU’s College of Mass Communication who’ll be filing content for area media from the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., pose for a group photo Aug. 11.

MTSU recognizes top mass comm alumni, students with honors

Top students past and present were the focus of MTSU’s College of Mass Communication April 24 awards ceremony as leaders added three prominent alumni to the college’s “Wall of Fame” and presented student scholarships and awards for this academic year.

Mass Comm logo croppedElectronic media communication alumnus Lewis Harkness, recording industry graduate Lacy Privette and journalism alumnus Jim Ridley joined 76 fellow mass communication leaders on the college’s Wall of Fame. Almost 100 current students also were recognized for their scholastic accomplishments.

The program for the celebration, which includes a complete list of all student honorees as well as full bios of the Wall of Fame inductees, is available here.

The Wall of Fame began in 2000 as a way to honor successful mass-communication graduates and inspire current students to continue working toward their goals. Each of the college’s three departments submits an honoree for consideration each year, and the Wall of Fame ceremony then becomes a part of the college’s annual awards day for students.

Lewis Harkness

Lewis Harkness

Harkness, currently a director for ESPN, began his broadcasting career during his senior year at MTSU, 1993, when he began working as an intern for WKRN-TV in Nashville. Since then, he’s won five Emmy Awards for his news, special events and technical direction.

The Harriman, Tennessee, native’s ESPN credits include “Sport Center,” “Mike and Mike,” “NBA Tonight,” “The Herd” and “SVP & Rusillo,” and in 2014 he directed the launch for ESPN’s new SEO Network in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he continues today.

Lacy Privette

Lacy Privette

Privette, a 1997 recording industry graduate, has spent most of his career with Yamaha Corp. of America, where he’s moved up the ranks from an award-winning district sales manager in the Pro Audio and Combo Division to serve as director of the company’s Steinberg North America department.

At Steinberg, Privette markets music production software, including Cubase 4, VST instruments, Nuendo and WaveLab, used in digital audio workstations and software synthesizers to clients in the United States and Canada from Yamaha’s Yorba Linda, California, offices.

JIm Ridley

Jim Ridley

Ridley, a Murfreesboro native who earned his MTSU journalism degree in 1989, was writing movie and book reviews for local newspapers even before he graduated high school. His talent led to a freelance film-reviewing job for the fledgling alternative weekly Nashville Scene and regular contributions to The Village Voice, L.A. Weekly, Variety and other publications.

The Scene soon brought Ridley on full time, where he rose to the positions of senior editor and managing editor before the publishers named him editor in 2009.

During the afternoon event inside MTSU’s James Union Building, MTSU’s School of Journalism also honored Sharon Fitzgerald with its top teaching award, the Ed Kimbrell Excellence in Teaching Award. Fitzgerald, a former reporter and public relations professional, has taught at MTSU since 1999.

One of the largest communication programs in the nation, the MTSU College of Mass Communication offers degree concentrations in 14 major areas — ranging from journalism to digital media and media management to recording industry management — and is accredited by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

For more information about MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, visit www.mtsu.edu/masscomm.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson plans April 7 MTSU discussion

Award-winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson will discuss governmental intimidation of journalists, network news’ increasing reliance on pop-culture “reporting” over investigative news and more when she visits MTSU Tuesday, April 7.

Sharyl Attkisson

Sharyl Attkisson

The former CBS News and CNN reporter will offer a free public address beginning at 6 p.m. April 7 in MTSU’s Tucker Theatre inside the Boutwell Dramatic Arts Auditorium. She also will talk with several journalism classes during her MTSU stop.

A searchable campus map with parking details is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

Attkisson has been nominated for and won multiple Emmy Awards for her investigative journalism, including wins for stories on the American Red Cross and the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

A former Capitol Hill correspondent and anchor for CBS News, Attkisson also has won the Radio Television Digital News Association’s Edward R. Murrow Award twice as part of a CBS News team and individually for her 2012 reporting on the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ “Fast and Furious” weapons controversy.

Attkisson Stonewalled cover webAttkisson left CBS in spring 2014 and later released her book, “Stonewalled: One Reporter’s Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation and Harassment in Obama’s Washington,” accusing the network of running advertorials and allowing biased coverage of the Obama administration.

Her MTSU talk will include discussions of governmental intimidation and pushback towards journalists, blurred lines between traditional news and pop-culture websites and lessening network news commitment to investigative hard news.

Longtime Nashville CBS affiliate anchor Chris Clark, who now teaches at MTSU, will moderate the event and will lead a question-and-answer session.

Attkisson’s visit is sponsored by the university’s Distinguished Lecture Committee, College of Mass Communication, School of Journalism, Department of Electronic Media, the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies, the American Democracy Project and the College of Behavioral Health and Sciences and College of Liberal Arts.

You can learn more about Attkisson at her website, http://sharylattkisson.com.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff plans free April 6 talk at MTSU

Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff will tackle the pervasiveness of social media in our culture — for good and bad — Monday, April 6, at a free public lecture at MTSU.

Douglas Rushkoff

Douglas Rushkoff

The 7 p.m. lecture, titled “Don’t Sell Your Friends: How Social Media Became Social Programming,” is planned for Room 221 of MTSU’s McWherter Learning Resources Center. A searchable campus map with parking details is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

Rushkoff book cover webRushkoff is the author of “Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now” as well as a dozen other bestselling books on media, technology and culture. He’s known for coining terms and concepts including “viral media,” “digital native” and “social currency” and is a professor of media theory and digital economics at City University of New York, Queens College.

In both his books and lectures, Rushkoff frequently explores the themes of how to make media interactive and how to help people — especially children— effectively analyze and question the media they consume.

Rushkoff earned his doctorate in new media and digital culture from Utrecht University with a dissertation on “Monopoly Moneys: The Media Environment of Corporatism and the Player’s Way Out.” He received his undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Princeton University and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in directing from California Institute of the Arts.

His credentials also include a postgraduate fellowship from The American Film Institute, a Fulbright award to lecture on narrative in New Zealand and a Director’s Grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Rushkoff’s visit is sponsored by the MTSU Distinguished Lecture Fund, the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies at MTSU, the Tom T. Hall Writers Series, MTSU’s College of Mass Communication and College of Liberal Arts, and the Department of Electronic Media Communication at MTSU.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

NY Times multimedia expert plans free March 23 lecture at MTSU

New York Times multimedia editor Josh Williams will visit with students in MTSU’s College of Mass Communication and present a free public lecture at the university Monday, March 23.

Josh Williams

Josh Williams

The public lecture, scheduled for Room 160 of the College of Education Building, will begin at 6 p.m. You can find a searchable campus map with parking details at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

Williams, who is based in San Francisco, works on a range of projects for Web development, design and storytelling for The New York Times.

His work was instrumental in the newspaper’s 2013 Pulitzer Prize win for “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek,” which told the story of 16 skiers and snowboarders caught in a February 2012 avalanche in Washington state’s Cascade Mountains near Stevens Pass. Three died and one was seriously injured.

His colleague John Branch won the Pulitzer for Feature Writing, and the judges noted that the story was “enhanced by its deft integration of multimedia elements.” Williams worked on the Times’ multimedia presentation of the story, which you can see here, and led development of the mobile coverage.

He’s received four Emmy nominations, and the Society of News Design, the Online News Association, Pictures of the Year International and the National Press Photographers Association, among others, have recognized his work.

The New York Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning 2012 package on a deadly Washington state avalanche includes multimedia work on its Web site by MTSU guest lecturer Josh Williams. You can see the story by clicking on this image.

The New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning 2012 package on a deadly Washington state avalanche includes multimedia work on its Web site by MTSU guest lecturer Josh Williams. You can see the story by clicking on this image.

“Josh Williams is a recognized multimedia authority, and his visit will give our students the opportunity to visualize their own careers in today and tomorrow’s digital-storytelling world,” said Dr. Dwight Brooks, director of the MTSU School of Journalism.

“He is already doing what we’re teaching our students to do, and he’s a master at it.”

Williams plans to visit journalism, visual communication and public relations classes before his evening lecture. He also will spend time with the staff of Sidelines, MTSU’s student newspaper.

Mass Comm logo croppedBefore he joined The New York Times, Williams was the new media projects editor at the Las Vegas Sun, a multimedia exhibit developer at the Smithsonian Institution and a Web developer at various Washington, D.C., nonprofits. He also serves as an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught at Columbia University.

Williams has a master’s degree in interactive journalism from American University and a bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Williams visit is sponsored by the MTSU Distinguished Lecture Committee, the College of Mass Communication, the School of Journalism, the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies, the Department of Electronic Media Communication and the Society of Professional Journalists, Middle Tennessee Professional Chapter.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

 

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