Department of Journalism College of Communication and Fine Arts
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News and Events
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Department of Journalism offers more summer courses

In conjunction with the university encouraging more summer classes, the journalism department is increasing undergraduate summer courses. Students may register for them as soon as possible. Here is a listing:

JOUR 1700: Survey of Mass Communication

JOUR 2121: Media Writing (online)

JOUR 3400: Intro Public Relations (online)

JOUR 3421: Public Relations Writing

JOUR 3900: Visual Media

JOUR 4700: Mass Communication Law

JOUR 4930: Media Internship



Journalism Awards Banquet

The annual Journalism Awards Banquet takes place this year on Thursday, April 23 from 6-8 p.m. Dozens of news, broadcast and public relations students will be presented with scholarships and awards. The event will be at the University Club, located on 1346 Central Avenue. Tickets are ten dollars and students may RSVP by April 20 in Meeman 300.

Awards Deadlines

Noon on April 3 - The Elinor Kelley Grusin Award for Writing and the Marc Perrusquia Award for Reporting. First place winners will receive a $100 gift. Submissions will need to be typed, double-spaced and written and submitted for grading or publication between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015. Stories may be published or unpublished. Students may place submissions in Tom Hrach's box in Meeman 300.

5 p.m. on April 6 - Lurene Kelley Video Story Award. The winner will receive a $100 gift. Stories may be from work that has or has not been broadcast, shared or publicized. Entries should be no longer than five minutes in length and may be emailed to Joe Hayden at with the subject line "Kelley Award" or burned to a DVD and dropped off in Meeman 300.

Winners for each award will be announced at the April 23 Journalism Banquet. 




"Branding Yourself"

Join Courtney Pinkston, project manager at cocoabeens communications, on April 1 for a conversation on branding yourself. The event will take place at 6 p.m. at the Crews Center for Entrepreneurship on 3618 Walker Avenue. Students from all majors are welcome.



How to: Resumes

Join us in Meeman 112 on Wednesday March 25 from 4 p.m. - 5 p.m. for resume editing and feedback. Journalism faculty and professionals will be available to help prepare you for job and internship applications. All concentrations are welcome. Come with resume in hand!


THSPA Awards 

Tennessee High School Press Association has recognized three Teen Appeal student journalists for work published in 2014.  

"It's a pleasure to see Teen Appeal students recognized at the state level for the fine work they produce,” said Elle Perry, Teen Appeal coordinator. 

Kira Tucker won first place for Best Feature on the local organization Storybooth, and Erin Aulfinger won first place for Best Sports story on rugby.  Both are students at Central High School. 

Sudeshna Barman won second place in Best Column for an article on school start times. Barman graduated from White Station High School in 2014 and now attends UC Berkeley. 

"Our students choose what they what topics they write about, so it's great to see a story go from idea to paper," said Perry.

The Teen Appeal, a high school newspaper produced by students of Shelby County Schools, is published by the University of Memphis Department of Journalism, funded by the Scripps Howard Foundation and printed and distributed by the Commercial Appeal.


Journalism Alumni Club seeks nominations for Outstanding Alumni Awards

Nominations will be accepted for the following categories: 1) Charles E. Thornton Award for Outstanding Alumni; 2) Herbert Lee Williams Award for former or current faculty members; and 3) Young Alumni Award for alumni under age 40.

The deadline for submission of nominations is June 15. Please contact alumni coordinator Shannon Miller at or 901-678-3043 to submit a nomination.


Aidan Porter first Tiger selected for Vance and Betty Lee Stickell Internship 

Advertising senior Aidan Porter was named one of the top 20 AAF students in the United States and was selected for a Vance and Betty Lee Stickell internship. He received the nomination from Dr. Utt, his advertising campaigns professor.

“Dr. Utt told me that no one from Memphis had ever been selected for the internship before, which was intimidating,” Porter said. “But it also made me want to be selected even more.”

Porter secured an internship with BBDO New York, where he hopes to gain hands-on experience and make professional connections. With only a handful of students selected, he is thrilled to be one of the few chosen.

“I cannot thank Dr. Utt and Dr. Haught enough for helping me with my applications and recommendations,” he added.

Porter is the president of University of Memphis chapter of the American Advertising Federation. After graduation, he hopes to work in account services at a major advertising agency.


Save the date for free screening of "The Girls in the Band" 

Celebrate Women's History Month with a free screening of the music documentary "The Girls in the Band." The film tells the untold stories of jazz and big band female musicians. The screening will take place Tuesday, March 24, 6 p.m. at the Arts and Communication Building, room 314. There will be a pre-screening reception at 5 p.m.   


 Graduate School Recruitment Fair

The Graduate School Recruitment Fair will take place Tuesday, March 17 from 1-6 p.m. in the Rose Theater lobby. There will be free test prep workshops at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Attendees will be able to apply to the graduate school and discuss financial aid, scholarships and fellowships. Parking is available in Zach Curlin garage.


Pulitzer Prize Winner Leonard Pitts To Address Right to Protest at Lecture March 6

Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. will address the citizens’ right to protest at the Fourth Annual Norm Brewer First Amendment Lecture at 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 3 in the University Center Theatre at the University of Memphis.

In particular, Pitts’ lecture, “Calling Me Out Of My Name – The First Amendment and the Right to Defend,” will examine recent protests in the wake of shootings of unarmed black men in Missouri and New York.

Pitts authors two columns a week for the Miami Herald, columns that appear in more than 200 newspapers, including The Commercial Appeal.

Working in journalism for more than 35 years, Pitts has authored four books, including his latest, Freeman (Agate Bolden, 2012). In addition to a Pulitzer Prize, his commentary has garnered awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and American Society of Newspaper editors.

Free and open to the public, Pitts' lecture is funded by the Hardin Chair of Excellence in Journalism and is sponsored by the Department of Journalism and the University of Memphis chapters of National Association of Black Journalists and Society of Professional Journalists.


 Rainer to present paper at AEJMC

Journalism master’s student Jessica Rainer will travel March 26-28 to Knoxville, Tenn., to present her paper,  “Media Liability: Violent Crimes Committed from Media Messages and the First Amendment,” at the AEJMC Southeast Colloquium. Her paper, written last fall in Dr. Matt Haught’s Law of Mass Communication class, was reviewed by three scholars in competition with other submissions by professors and students.

“I thought it was a dream, someone playing a trick on me,” explained Rainer. “I was jumping up and down, rolling on the floor thanking God for answering my prayers. It was a dream come true. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.”

 Rainer has always been intrigued by media influence and what inspires people to imitate crimes from television, movies or books. This is what inspired her to write on the topic.

 “In many cases, people blame the media for crimes. I wanted to see if the media actually could be legally responsible for these crimes,” said Rainer.

 Rainer received her undergraduate degree in mass communication from Middle Tennessee State University. Rainer, who is concentrating on public relations in her master’s studies, aspires to be an event planner or program developer for a non-profit.

 “I’m interning with ALSAC St. Jude, and I would really love to be an event representative for them,” Rainer said. “I interned with them two years ago and fell in love with the organization.”

 Planning to graduate in May, Rainer encourages everyone under the stress of graduate school to not give up.

 “It hasn’t been easy, but I’m almost at the finish line and I’m so grateful for the experience. I’m thankful for the professors and my awesome colleagues who have been by my side since I started this journey,” said Rainer.

Update for Meeman 901 Strategies and PRSSA portfolio party
The portfolio party set for Wednesday, February 18 has been moved to Wednesday, February 25 due to weather. The location and time will remain the same.

Meeman 901 Strategies and PRSSA to host portfolio party

Wednesday, February 18, Meeman 901 Strategies and PRSSA are hosting a portfolio party, which will include tips and tricks on creating a professional image. The event starts at 6:00 P.M. at the Crews Center for Entrepreneurship, located on 3618 Walker Avenue. Attire is business professional.

“We are excited about giving students the necessary tools to represent themselves,” explained Lauren Turner, director of Meeman 901 Strategies, the student public relations firm at the University of Memphis.

These tools will include resume critiquing by Baptist Memorial’s PR team, interviewing skills and wardrobe tips. Free professional headshots will also be offered. A station with lighting and backdrops will be set up, and the pictures will be emailed to students.

“This is our first event, but we want to offer these workshop-style seminars to the student body at least once a month. We are trying to bring in professionals, people who actually hire people, so it’s a great way to network and make contacts,” said Turner.

No registration is necessary and everyone is welcome.

#Go Get the News
The Department of Journalism has launched the #GoGetTheNews fundraising campaign! This campaign will fund professional development for students who are unable to afford such costs. Alumnus Steve Luttmann is matching all gifts to support the tradition of excellence in student reporting. See for more information.

Duin named Snedden Chair

Julia Duin, an award-winning journalist and an University of Memphis graduate student, has been named the Snedden Chair at the University of Alaska Fairbanks journalism department for the 2014-2015 academic year. She presented her capstone lecture: "From the Pope to Pentecostal Serpent Handlers: Bringing Meaning into Journalism," on Oct. 1 in the Murie Building auditorium on the Fairbanks campus.

She moved to Alaska in August after spending the 2013-2014 academic year as a full-time graduate student at the University of Memphis. She expects to graduate with an MA in journalism in December.

She competed against many journalists to be awarded this position, which was made possible by an endowment from the late Helen Snedden in honor of her late husband, former Fairbanks Daily News-Miner owner, publisher and journalist C.W. Snedden. Duin is the ninth journalist to occupy the Chair.

Duin's lecture chronicled her three decades as a religion reporter and editor for five newspapers. She teaches one course a semester at UAF while doing research and working on a book.

Duin began her journalism career covering police and municipalities for small newspapers in Oregon and South Florida. In 1986, she began working as the religion writer for the Houston Chronicle. She received a master's degree in religion at a seminary in western Pennsylvania in 1992 and then took a job as a city editor for the Daily Times in Farmington, New Mexico. In 1995, she moved to Washington, D.C. to be an assistant national editor with the Washington Times. Duin spent more than 14 years with the Times and published several books, including "Quitting Church: Why the Faithful are Fleeing and What to Do About It" and "Days of Fire and Glory: The Rise and Fall of a Charismatic Community."

In recent years, she has written extensively for the Washington Post Sunday magazine and Style section, as well as The Economist, and the Wall Street Journal. Her latest book project involves 20-something Pentecostal serpent handlers in Appalachia who use Facebook to spread their beliefs. Other notable assignments throughout her career include reporting on Kurds in northern Iraq and the 2005 election of Pope Benedict.

Professor Jin Yang on Research Leave in Spring Semester

Associate Professor Jin Yang will spend spring semester on professional development
leave analyzing media coverage of the dispute between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands.

jinyangThe Diaoyu Islands are a small cluster of uninhibited islands that lie to the northeast of Taiwan. The dispute over the islands has created tension between China and Japan and the United States.

Her goal is to study the media coverage of the dispute from a historical perspective. The research will include visiting the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. to view archived media coverage. She may also travel to Japan.

Yang received this leave through a Professional Development Assignment (PDA), the competitive university-wide program that allows faculty members to pursue professional growth.

Moira Logan, associate dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts, said,

“The CCFA awards committee was most impressed with Dr. Yang’s exceptional research record, the significance of her publications and the promise of her current research—media coverage of the disputed Diaoyu Islands between China and Japan.

“The opportunity to focus primarily on research and scholarship will strengthen her contribution to the research mission of the University and add to the national and international reputation of the Department of Journalism,” Logan added. “Dr. Yang is one of our most productive faculty members and this recognition is richly deserved.”

Yang says that studying the media of different nations helps students to “broaden their limited world view.” She will return to the University of Memphis in fall 2015.

Memphis Students Tweet Importance of Participation in PRSA

The University of Memphis Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter recently hosted its first Tweetfest. The virtual event used the social media platform Twitter to organize local UM students and public relations professionals. Topics included discussion of public relations fundamentals and successful public relations characteristics.

Darrin Devault, adviser for the student chapter, explained the importance of participating in the chapter—helping students build a portfolio, gain leadership skills, generate a sense of community and network with professionals.

The tweet conversation was moderated by Hannah Giles, 2013 chapter president, Jason Smith, 2014 chapter president and Devault. More than two dozen students and professionals participated in the three-hour event.  

Students interested in joining the local student chapter should email for more information or they should follow the chapter on Twitter at @MemphisPRSSA. 


Janoske Joins Department as Public Relations Professor

Melissa Janoske joined the Department of Journalism as an assistant professor in publicmelissa_janoske relations this fall. She takes the place of Professor Rick Fischer, who retired in May after 25 years at the University of Memphis.

Having completed her doctorate at the University of Maryland in May, Janoske moved in July to Memphis, where she has learned to “embrace the sweat” and that here “people are serious about their Elvis.”

Prior to her doctoral studies at Maryland, Janoske taught public relations at Lynchburg College in Virginia, where she helped her students start a Public Relations Student Society of America chapter.

The Dayton, Maryland, native loves traveling and has visited Austria and southeastern Asia. In early October she will be traveling to New York City to run a 5K in Central Park with friends. 

Spring 2014 News & Events

University of Memphis Advertising Student Honored in New York City
Morgan McDaniel
Feb. 17, 2014 – Morgan McDaniel, a journalism/advertising senior, was selected as a member of the 2014 American Advertising Federation's class of Most Promising Minority Students. She was honored at the Most Promising Program at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City Feb. 11-14, 2014. The event included the Building Bridges for Our Future Awards Luncheon and the Recruiters Expo which featured national advertising and marketing firms.

Learn more about Morgan here.

Geneva Overholser Speaking at 2014 Norm Brewer First Amendment Lecture Series
Norm Brewer First Amendment Lecture
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 @ 6 p.m.   
University Center Theater
Geneva Overholser is a senior fellow at the Center for Communication Leadership and Policy at the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. She is the retired director of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism, a former Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of The Des Moines Register, ombudsman of The Washington Post and editorial writer for The New York Times.

Important Spring 2014 Dates

Feb. 20-22, 2014 – Southeastern Journalism Awards (Lafayette, LA)
March 4, 2014 – Geneva Overholser Speaking at 2014 Norm Brewer First Amendment Lecture Series (6 p.m. in University Center Theater)
March 13-16, 2014 – PRSSA National Assembly (Charleston, SC)
April 3, 2014 – Hampton Sides speaking at Freedom of Information Congress (Time & Location TBA)
April 10-12, 2014 – 7th District National Student Advertising Competition presented by the American Advertising Federation in Birmingham, AL
April 14, 2014 – Teen Appeal Celebration (3-5 p.m.; location TBA)
April 25, 2014 – Department of Journalism Awards Banquet (6 p.m. at Jerry Lee Lewis' Cafe on Beale Street)
April 30, 2014 – Last Day of Class
May 1, 2014 – Study Day
May 2-8, 2014 – Final Exams

Fall 2013 News & Events

Two new Assistant Professors joined the Department of Journalism in August 2013: Matt Haught, who is getting his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina, and Ashley Furrow, who is getting her Ph.D. from Ohio University. Welcome!

Read Dr. Carrie Brown's article on diversity and entrepreneurial journalism here, published in PBS Mediashift on June 18, 2013.

Five faculty members (David Arant, Carrie Brown, Sandy Utt, Erin Willis and Jin Yang) and two graduate students (Brittany Block and Larry Anderson) attended the Annual Conference of Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC held) in Washington D.C. Aug. 8-11, 2013.

Erin Willis presented three coauthored papers: "Self-efficacy and interactivity: A content analysis of Weight Watchers' online discussion board," "Not on my watch: A textual analysis of local and national newspaper coverage of the Martin-Zimmerman case," and "Humanity as an end: Analyzing Trayvon Martin shooting coverage using Kant's second categorical imperative."

Carrie Brown attended three invited panels: "Teaching entrepreneurial journalism," "Presenting the best of the best student journalism entrepreneurs," and "Participatory journalism."

Jin Yang and David Arant presented a paper "Assessing the Impact of Chinese Journalism Education on Undergraduate Student Professionalization." Jin Yang served as the discussant for "Government & Media: International Communication, Regulation & Facilitation," and David Arant served as the discussant for "From Public Health to Reality TV: Examining Ethical Violations and Concerns in the Mass Media."

Sandy Utt served as the moderator for the teaching panel of "Teaching Marathon/The Ideal VisCom Curriculum," and as the discussant for "Wonder Women, Super Kids and High School Students."

Brittney Block presented a paper "Mobile Applications and Advertising: Scan vs Shazam."

Larry Anderson presented a paper "South Park and the Defense of the Status Quo."

Darrin M. Devault was the runner-up for the 2013 Dean's Faculty Advisor Award. He was recognized at the 2013 Fall Semester's CCFA faculty meeting. Devault serves as instructor and coordinator of the department's online program in public relations. He also serves as faculty adviser of the U of M chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).


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