College of Media at Illinois

University of IllinoisCollege of Media
The Media I, a monthly electronic newsletter of the College of Communications.
June 2009
College of Media 2009 Convocation

The College of Media celebrated its graduates with a convocation ceremony and reception held May 17, 2009. With family and friends to encourage them, more than 400 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral students crossed the stage to get their diplomas in Foellinger Auditorium. Dean Ron Yates opened the ceremony by introducing the 2009 Student Speaker Jacalyn Ceglinksi, an advertising graduate. Convocation speaker, Elaine Quijano, a 1995 broadcast-journalism graduate and CNN correspondent, spoke of the challenges of the industry and congratulated the graduates for their accomplishments.


Thanks to UI-7, the College's Convocation ceremonies and the University's commencement ceremonies are available online:


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Honors and Awards

Journalism students honored in Hearst Journalism Awards Program, "The Pulitzers of College Journalism"
The Department of Journalism shared a writing medallion for eighth place in this year's Intercollegiate Writing, Photography and Broadcast News Competitions of the annual Hearst Journalism Awards Program. The 2008-2009 prizes of $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 are awarded to the top three colleges and universities in each division of the Intercollegiate Competitions, with the top ten of each category receiving Hearst medallions. Often called "The Pulitzers of College Journalism," the Hearst program holds year-long competitions in writing, photography, and broadcast news and multimedia for journalism students.

Journalism students finished with top honors from Society of Professional Journalists
U of I journalism students finished in the top three nationally in two categories of the Society of Professional Journalists "Mark of Excellence" Awards. Leslie Picker '10 JOURN/POL SCI is a national finalist in Radio News Reporting, with her piece, “Birth Centers.” The Daily Illini On-Air Staff are national finalists for Radio Newscast. Read the entire list of finalists.


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Around the College

Advertising and Journalism students continue study abroad trips in Rome and Romania...Follow them online
Students from Advertising and Journalism continue their study abroad trips in Romania and Rome. Students and faculty are posting their adventures and their projects online as part of the experience. Keep up with their progress as they soak up the culture:

  • Branding Italian Cuisine: Advertising students in Diana Mincyte's "Global Studies in Culture, Tourism, and Consumer Communication" course
  • Revealing Romania: Journalism students in Nancy Benson's "International Reporting" course

Black and Female: WILL radio series features lives of two Champaign-Urbana women

WILL radio series, I Remember, I Believe, features work by Keri Carpenter MS ADV candidate and C-U resident Erma Bridgewater
WILL radio series, "I Remember, I Believe," features work by Keri Carpenter MS candidate JOURN and C-U resident Erma Bridgewater.

Growing up in a segregated society, Erma Bridgewater of Champaign and Ruby Hunt of Urbana were turned away from stores, restaurants and schools. Their stories, told to students in the Youth Media Workshop, form the basis of a new radio series, I Remember, I Believe. Keri Carpenter MS candidate JOURN and WILL-AM’s Dave Dickey, produced the series looking at the experiences of African-American women. It airs on WILL-AM 580 at 4:45 pm and 6:45 pm Mondays and Tuesdays, June 8-30. Eight girls from Franklin Middle School participating in the Youth Media Workshop interviewed and made audio recordings of Bridgewater, 96, and Hunt, 72, several years ago as part of the Youth Media Workshop in which Professor of Journalism Leon Dash trained the students in “immersion journalism” interviewing techniques. The women talk about what it was like growing up in a segregated country, raising children in Champaign-Urbana, and watching desegregation take place. “Mrs. Bridgewater remembers everything,” Carpenter said. “She’s in her 90s, but she can talk about things that happened in her 20s like it was yesterday.” Her stories about Champaign County in the early and mid 1900s describe not only discrimination, but bathrooms, electrical power and other parts of her life.


UI-7 logoUI-7 joins the Twitter craze

Not one to fall behind on the latest technology, UI-7 has finally given in to the Twitter craze. Follow UI-7 to check out all the latest programming, find out what’s new in the College of Media, and submit ideas for what you’d like to see on the College's public access television station.


Faculty and Staff News

Clifford Christians, director of the Institute of Communications Research and professor of communications, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree (Litt.D. Litterarum Doctoris Honoris Causa) by Marquette University at its commencement ceremonies on May 17. The degree recognizes Christians' "important contributions to the philosophy of technology, media ethics and communication theory, and his commitment to values and ethics."

Kent Ono, professor of communications and Asian American studies, gave an invited talk on a plenary panel called "Making Memory: Japanese American Films about Incarceration" at the Campus-Wide Asian American Heritage Month at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in May.

Jay Rosenstein, associate professor of journalism, was a panelist at April's Broadcast Education Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas for a panel on Ethics In Documentary.

Jan Slater, professor and head of advertising, has been elected to the Accrediting Committee of Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. In August, Slater will also begin her term as president-elect of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications in August. Additionally, Slater has been elected Vice Chair of the 2009-2010 American Advertising Federation's Academic Committee.

Angharad Valdivia, professor of communications, media studies, Latina/o studies, and gender and women's studies, co-organized and presented at "Global Girl Studies: Media and Pedagogical Approaches," a conference sponsored in part by the Institute of Communications Research held May 26 on the Urbana campus. Valdivia co-organized the conference with Ruth Nicole Brown, assistant professor of educational policy studies and gender and women's studies.


Student News

Catherine Coleman PhD candidate COMM will join the faculty at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Tex., this fall.

Matt Crain PhD candidate COMM was accepted to participate in the Annenberg-Oxford Summer Institute on Global Media Policy at Oxford University.  The institute brings 25 graduate students from 15 countries around the world to Oxford for two weeks of study on the topic "Technology and New Themes in Media Regulation."

Lindsay Ignatowski MS candidate JOURN has created an online interactive site "Illinois Change Gauge," that gives users an idea of the changes that temperature increases could bring to Illinois in the future, based on the best scientific evidence currently available. Working with Associate Professor Eric Meyer, she uses Flash animation, XHTML/CSS, and classic science reporting to examine how different degrees of climate change would affect the state.

Andrew Ó Baoill PhD candidate COMM has been named Assistant Professor of Communications Studies at Cazenovia College in New York state. Ó Baoill, who will shortly complete his term as Station Manager of WRFU-FM in Urbana, will act as advisor to the campus station, WITC, in addition to his teaching duties. Ó Baoill will defend his doctoral dissertation, which focuses on the impact of the internet on community radio, later this summer.


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College of Media in the News (St. Petersburg, Fla., May 8) -- Associations of professional journalists are becoming more open to accepting members who’ve arrived in the profession by non-standard routes. Brant Houston, former head of Investigative Reporters and Editors and now the Knight Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the U. of I., says the associations have been motivated as much by necessity as open-mindedness, in the article "Journalism Associations Forced to Re-examine Role as Membership Declines."



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Upcoming Events

Summer Kickoff logoJune 12, 6-9 p.m.: Summer Alumni Kickoff Party, John Barleycorn, 658 W. Belden Ave., Chicago
Join the Alumni Board to kick off the summer and the year's alumni events with a happy hour for folks in and traveling through Chicago. Cost: $20 per person includes three hours of appetizers (with Italian beef and Italian sausage sandwiches, cheese ravioli, beef flautas, deli tray, chicken strips, caesar salad, vegetable tray, and quesadillas) and an open bar (beer, wine, well, and soft drinks). Parking is available at Children's Memorial Hospital's covered garage across the street. (Get $6 parking by having John Barleycorn validate your parking ticket.) RSVP by email to Mary Susan Britt by June 6 or call (217) 244-0552. RSVP in advance and be eligible for a drawing to win free admission. Brought to you by the UI College of Media Alumni Board.

September 25-26, all day: The Sandage Symposium of the Department of Advertising, iHotel, Champaign, Ill.
The Sandage Symposium is held in honor of Charles H. Sandage, the father of advertising education and the founder of the Department of Advertising at the University of Illinois. First held in 1972, the Symposium was set to honor Sandage’s retirement as professor and head of the department. This gathering brought the leaders of advertising thought from the profession and the academy together, formalizing his belief that advertising educators and advertising professionals needed more interaction. Since that time, the Symposium has reflected Sandage’s intentions of providing a forum for ongoing dialogue between professors and professionals regarding the current issues facing the advertising industry as well as advertising education. Established initially by a gift from the Sandage Charitable Trust, this conference-type event is sponsored by the Department of Advertising. Nationally recognized scholars, educators and professionals are drawn to the University of Illinois campus in celebration of Charles H. Sandage’s influence on the field and the study of advertising. For information, email Cinda Cornstubble in the Department of Advertising.

September 25, all day: Illinois State High School Press Association Fall Conference: “New Voices in the Media”
The world of media is in a constant state of change today. Journalists and would-be journalists are finding purpose and passion in new ways that reach beyond the legacy of a newspaper or television newsroom. While some media outlets are struggling to stay afloat, what’s rising from the ashes are new voices in the media and a wider platform for consumers of information. These new voices include bloggers, citizen journalists and innovative collaborations between the public and news entrepreneurs. The keynote panel for ISHSPA 2009 will consist of those who are at the forefront of these explorations into the new world of journalism. For information, email Lynn Holley, executive director, Illinois State High School Press Association, and academic programs coordinator.


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Alumni Notes
Gus Axelson '97 JOURN
Axelson's most recent New York Times assignment: story about trout fishing in Iowa's Driftless Area which will run later this summer.

Gustave Axelson '97 JOURN is entering his fifth year as managing editor of Minnesota Conservation magazine, the official publication of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Axelson won a gold award for Best Feature Story from the Minnesota Magazine Publisher's Association in 2008 for an essay on old-growth forests, as well as a silver award for Magazine Wildlife Feature from the Association for Conservation Information for a story on timberwolf research. As a freelancer, he penned a feature story for the January 2009 issue of Backpacker magazine about the woodland caribou herd that lives on Ontario's Slate Islands. (He also shot the video featured on the Web site.) He has had two stories published in the New York Times Escapes Travel section; one about winter cabin camping in Michigan's Porcupine Mountains State Park, and another on his return to the spot in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness where he was caught in a forest fire. When not writing, Axelson spends time camping and fishing with his wife Amy (a U of I School of Business alum) and two sons Anders (6) and Henrik (2).

Jillian Baez '09 PhD COMM will start post-doctoral study at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan's Communication Studies Department this summer. She will concentrate on revising her dissertation for a book manuscript.

Ruoyan Bai '07 PhD COMM joined the faculty last fall at the University of Toronto Scarborough as Assistant Professor and Program Director of Media Studies in the Department of Humanities.

Diem-my Bui '07 PhD COMM, visiting assistant professor of communications and Asian American studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, guest lectured for Professor of Communications and Asian American Studies Kent Ono's class in April.

Laura Frank '90 JOURN, investigative reporter for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver until it closed in February, has been selected as a 2009-2010 Ted Scripps Fellows in Environmental Journalism, hosted by the Center for Environmental Journalism at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Frank earned the fellowship for her work on Colorado's natural gas rush and the U.S. government's empty promise to provide medical aid to nuclear workers. Both projects earned top awards from the Colorado Associated Press Editors and Reporters.

Bill Geist '68 ADVBill Geist '68 ADV has been honored by the University of Illinois Alumni Association with a 2009 Alumni Achievement Award. The award is in recognition for his contributions to journalism and his humorous observations celebrating the individuality and humanity of American life. A correspondent for the television show "Sunday Morning" since 1987, the two-time Emmy Award winner has lent his unique brand of storytelling to many television shows, publications, and Web sites, including CBS News, "60 Minutes," Rolling Stone, Forbes, Esquire, The New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune. The best-selling author of seven books has said he is most proud of taking third place in the Illinois State Fair Bake-Off in 1979. Geist received an honorary degree from the University of Illinois in 2005. Additionally, Geist and his son, Willie, co-host MSNBC's popular "Morning Joe" and NBC News programs, will be guests at the annual Book & Author Luncheon on June 13 at the Shelter Island Public Library in Shelter Island, New York.

Joya Harris '86 MS ADV has been promoted to vice president and group account manager at Carlson Marketing in Detroit, Mich., where she has been growing business for 17 years. In her new role, Harris will be actively involved in new business development and continue to focus on her Ford client with a variety of marketing programs. In addition to her work with Carlson, Harris has held board positions in several non-profit organizations such as Alternatives for Girls, the Arthritis Foundation, Merrill Palmer Institute, the Junior League of Detroit, and The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Shoshana Magnet '08 PhD COMM spent this year doing post-doctoral study at McGill University in Montreal, and will join the faculty at the University of Ottawa as Assistant Professor of Women's Studies in the fall.

Jin-Kyung Park '09 PhD COMM spent the past year doing post-doctoral study at the Asian Studies Center at the University of Southern California, and will start as Assistant Professor of Women's Studies at the University of Toronto in the fall.

Victor Pickard '08 PhD COMM will start as Assistant Professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication in the Steinhardt School at New York University in the fall.

Michelle Pokorny '08 ADV, currently a graduate student at Miami Ad School in Florida, composed this spot for the YouTube Cannes Future Lion ad competition. Competitors were given only 48 hours to produce their spots, and competed for the chance to attend the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

Katherine Sredl '09 PhD COMM will begin as Assistant Professor of Marketing in the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame in the fall.

William Steiger '73 ADV was awarded a master of business administration degree from the University of Central Florida in Orlando on May 9th. He was also inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society in the College of Business. Mr. Steiger is currently serving as the Director of Marketing at the Orlando Lutheran Academy. He retired from Tribune Company in 2005 after serving as the Vice President of Advertising at the Orlando Sentinel since 1988. Mr. Steiger plans to teach at the University of Central Florida in the fall. He and his wife live in Orlando, Florida.

Sam Waltz ’71 JOURN/’73 MS JOURNSam Waltz ’71 JOURN/’73 MS JOURN, operates Sam Waltz & Associates LLC Business & Communications Counsel in Greenville, Wilmington, Dela., the home of Vice President Joe Biden who he has known and covered for more than 30 years. Formerly a reporter for The Courier in Urbana-Champaign and formerly the State Capitol Bureau Chief for the News Journal in Wilmington, Dela., Waltz spent 16 years in a senior executive role at the DuPont Company before founding his own consultancy in 1993. A former elected National CEO / President of the Public Relations Society of America in 1999, Waltz is a Vietnam veteran of the U.S. Army CounterIntelligence Corp, and he’s been an adjunct faculty since 1989 at the University of Delaware. He also taught journalism at the University of Illinois from 1972 to 1975. In the past five years, Waltz has added to his practice merger and acquisition services and investment banking, helping emerging technology companies and entrepreneurs attract capital.


Please send your Alumni Notes, along with your hometown, to:


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In Memory

Susan Eckert '66 ADV, of Sioux City, Iowa, passed away in November 2008.

George McFedries '39 JOURN, originally of Oak Park, Ill., passed away in April 2009. McFedries enjoyed a long career with Putnam Publishing Company, retiring to Rancho Bernardo, Calif., in 1983.

Anita Abrams Rappaport '44 JOURN, of Glenview, Ill., passed away in May 2009.

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Stay Connected

"I'm glad I've been able to stay well connected to the College through the Media I. It's fun to see ideas we talked about on the Student Advisory Council come to life!" --Meghan O'Kelly '08 JOURN

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Media I is published 10 months a year for the alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the College of Media at the University of Illinois.

Your comments, news items, and Alumni Notes are welcome.  Please email us at:

Publisher: Ron Yates, Dean of the College of Media
Editor: Sarah Dolinar, Associate Director for Communications