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Journalism News & Notes

The Daily Helmsman received the 2012 College Press Freedom Award given by the Student Press Law Center this past November. The award is given to a publication that promotes free-press rights for college journalists.

Former faculty member and distinguished author John Lee passed away this past July. John was a best-selling author and taught at the University of Memphis (then Memphis State University) for 13 years.

New Staff

Teri Hayslett joined the Journalism Department as administrative assistant. Teri graduated from Fisk University in 1993 with a BA in English. Prior to joining the University of Memphis, Teri worked at The Commercial Appeal for 16 years as a Library Assistant, an assistant editor for the My Life and Community pages, a copy editor, and the “Faith in Memphis” website producer.

New Faculty

Erin Willis was hired this fall as an assistant professor. Erin received her doctoral degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism last year. She is working to finish her MPH here at the University of Memphis School of Public Health. Erin will have an article published in Health Communication. Erin co-authored an article entitled “What are Americans seeing? Examining the message frames of local television health news stories.”


Professor Carrie Brown was a featured speaker at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi this past October. Her lecture was entitled, “#SocialJ: Journalists and Twitter.”

Otis Sanford, Hardin Chair of Excellence in Journalism professor and columnist for The Commercial Appeal, has been elected assistant treasurer of the Memphis Rotary Club. A member since June 2007, Otis was elected to the position in spring of 2012.


Courtney Liebenrood Ellett (BA ’97) recently opened a new branch of her company, Obsidian Public Relations, in Dallas. Courtney is the founder and owner of Obsidian Public Relations, which she opened in Memphis six years ago.

Amanda Mauck (BA ’04) recently became the president-elect to the Memphis Public Relations Society of America. While at the University of Memphis, Amanda served as president of the University of Memphis Public Relations Student Society of America, making her the first person to hold both offices.

Marcus Matthews (BA ’03) was selected to join New America Media’s Washington DC Seminar, “Engage Parents and Ethnic Communities in Education Reform!” New America Media is the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations.

Wendy Ray (BA ’00) was recognized by the Memphis Business Journal as a Superwoman in Business. The program honors women in different industries who have achieved success through leadership in business and community contribution. Wendy is director of Internal Communications in Finance at Pfizer, Inc.

Former Teen Appeal staffer Alondra Hunt was selected from a nationwide search to host “106 & Park” on Black Entertainment Television in September. “106 & Park” is a hip hop music video show that BET has made popular with teens and young adult audiences.

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Last Updated: 8/26/13