CCI Students Elected to Student Government

6 Apr

Undergraduate Student Government elected two students from the College of Communication and Information to serve on the 2015-2016 board. Keri Richmond and Reginald Jones will serve as a director and a senator for USG.

Richmond, a sophomore public relations major, was elected as Director of Student Advancement. Her goal is to create an alumni-student mentoring program. She hopes this program will make it possible for students to interact with professionals before entering the professional world.

Richmond said the most prominent issue facing students at Kent State is retention. She believes the answer to the problem is student involvement. She said part of her focus is helping freshmen find something they are passionate about, whether it’s an organization or a cause, to help find connections within the university community.

She told Kent Stater reporters that her definition of leadership is not about titles or power.

“It’s about people – not what you have to say,” Richmond said. “That’s my leadership style.

Reginald Jones, a junior communication studies major, is the newly appointed senator for CCI.

His goal is to increase awareness within each of the schools in CCI about the opportunities and experiences their fellow CCI schools offer. He also wants to raise awareness about the new student ambassador program inside CCI.

His previous leadership experience taught him that it is important to meet with regular students as well as student leaders to gain input before making big decisions.

Jones told the Kent Stater that he thinks the most prominent issue facing students is that they don’t feel like a part of Kent State. He thinks students need to be encouraged to become more involved.

“That’s why as a member of USG, I will push certain programs and organizations to encourage students to get more involved on campus,” Jones said.

Kent State to Host Award-Winning YouToo Social Media Conference for Area Professionals, Students

3 Apr

Communications professionals will discuss the role of social media in public relations and marketing at the eighth annual YouToo Social Media Conference Friday, April 10, at Kent State University’s Franklin Hall.

The conference will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a networking reception to follow at the Kent State Hotel and Conference Center. Professionals in public relations, communication and marketing, along with students studying these disciplines, are encouraged to register, but anyone can attend. Conference registration ends April 6 or sooner if seats are sold out. The event is a fundraiser for the YouToo Social Media Scholarship.

The opening speaker is Mark W. Smith, the editor for mobile web at the Washington Post. Smith is an expert in social and digital media in journalism. He worked at USA TODAY as the senior manager for social media marketing and at the Detroit Free Press as the assistant editor for digital media. While in Detroit, Smith built the newspaper’s social platforms and wrote technology columns that appeared in most U.S. newspapers.

Smith says that “by studying user behavior — and what motivates people to share, comment and like — we can learn how to craft a social message that is designed to be shared.” He will talk about what the rise in mobile web use means for those who create social experiences and how communicators can create a social experience that is built to be shared.

Gini Dietrich, the founder and CEO of integrated marketing communications firm Arment Dietrich, will be the keynote speaker at the conference. Dietrich is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, lead blogger at Spin Sucks and founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

She will address topics like how to communicate honestly, responsibly, openly and authentically with all client stakeholders; working with customers who control your brand; and understanding how the digital world affects public relations.

“We live in a world where content farms, Internet spiders and fake accounts have the potential to ruin one’s experience online,” Dietrich says. “But, just like the Justice League, we prefer to fight evil with good. And that’s exactly what my book, Spin Sucks, teaches you.”

Professional conference attendees will receive a complimentary copy of Dietrich’s book, Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age with paid admission. Dietrich will sign books immediately following her discussion.

Students will also have the opportunity to connect with public relations professionals during the student breakout sessions and at the post-conference happy hour event at the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center. Students need to register by Wednesday, April 1, and arrive before 8:30 a.m. on the day of the conference to connect with their mentor.

The conference is hosted by the Akron Area Chapter of Public Relations Society of America and the Kent State University Chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America.

Sponsors of the conference include Kent State University’s College of Communication and Information, Robert J. Events and Catering, Star Printing, Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, AKHIA, True Digital Communications, Evolve, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Triad/Next Level, FedEx Custom Critical, Regional Marketing Alliance, ADM Board, McKay Bricker Framing/Black Squirrel Gallery and Gifts, Akron Children’s Hospital, The Buzz Maker! LLC, InfoCision, Marcus Thomas LLC and Kent State University’s School of Communication Studies.

Conference proceeds support the YouToo Scholarship Fund, the Kent State University PRSSA Chapter and the Akron Area PRSA Chapter.

For more information about registration, conference pricing and updates, visit Find YouToo on Facebook,Twitter or via email at  

2015 McGruder Lecture and Awards Luncheon Takes Place April 1

16 Mar

Notable casting director tapped for Media Distinguished Leadership Award

Kate O'BrianKate O’Brian, president of Al Jazeera America, has been named the 2015 winner of the Robert G. McGruder Distinguished Guest Lecture and Award for Diversity by Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The award recognizes the accomplishments of media professionals who encourage diversity in the field of journalism.

Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication will honor O’Brian at an awards luncheon and lecture on Wednesday, April 1. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 2:15 p.m. at the Kent Student Center Kiva. O’Brian will be the keynote speaker at the lecture. Following her lecture, she will be presented with the Robert G. McGruder Award for Diversity

Lillian Pyles, one of the most familiar and respected names in the Cleveland casting industry with film credits such as Spider Man III, Antwone Fisher and The Soloist, will be recognized at the annual McGruder luncheon as the 2015 Diversity in Media Distinguished Leadership Award winner. The luncheon is by invitation only, and will include comments by Pyles. Special awards will be given to student media representatives who have reported on diversity issues in the past year.

The luncheon and lecture are co-sponsored by Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Todd Diacon, Ph.D., Kent State’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost; Alfreda

Lillian Pyles, a familiar and respected name in the Cleveland casting industry, will be recognized as the 2015 Diversity in Media Distinguished Leadership Award winner.

Lillian Pyles, a familiar and respected
name in the Cleveland casting industry,
will be recognized as the 2015 Diversity
in Media Distinguished Leadership Award

Brown, Ed.D., vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion; AnnMarie LeBlanc, interim dean of the College of Communication and Information; and Thor Wasbotten, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, will speak at the luncheon. Special guest Annette McGruder will be recognized for her continued support of diversity initiatives and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

About Robert McGruder

The late Robert G. McGruder was a 1963 graduate of Kent State and a foundational local figure for diversity in journalism.

He went on from Kent State to become the first black editor of the Daily Kent Stater and first black reporter at The Plain Dealer. McGruder marked several other firsts in his career, becoming the first black president of the Associated Press Managing Editors group and the first black editor of the Detroit Free Press, in 1995 and 1996.

McGruder was a strong proponent for diversity in and out of the newsroom: “Please know that I stand for diversity,” he said once. “I represent the African-Americans, Latinos, Arab-Americans, Asians, Native Americans, gays and lesbians, women and all others we must see represented in our business offices, newsrooms and newspapers.”

For more information about the Robert G. McGruder Award or event, contact Eugene Shelton, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, at

To RSVP for the luncheon by March 24 contact Darlene Contrucci at 330-672-2623.

For more information about Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, visit

Media at the Movies: “A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power and Jayson Blair at The New York Times”

10 Mar

Join Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication for a screening of the 2014 documentary “A Fragile Trust: Power, Plagiarism and Jayson Blair at The New York Times” on March 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the Franklin Hall First Energy Auditorium (Room 340).

“A Fragile Trust” tells the story of Jayson Blair, the serial plagiarist of our time, and how he unleashed the massive scandal that rocked The New York Times and the entire world of journalism. The story of “The Blair Affair” is both a compelling, character-driven narrative about an important chapter in the history of journalism, and a complex story about power, ethics, race and accountability in the media. Featuring exclusive interviews, including Blair himself, “A Fragile Trust” is the first film to tell the whole sordid story of the scandal while exploring these deeper themes.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion of ethics issues. Panelists include Jim Crutchfield, former publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal and current member of the board of the Knight Foundation; Brian Welsh, M.D., board-certified psychiatrist and chief medical officer at Coleman Professional Services; Deborah Barnhaum, Ph.D., chair of Kent State’s Department of Philosophy and ethics expert; and Thor Wasbotten, director of Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

  • Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.
  • Movie begins at 6:30 p.m.
  • Panel discussion and Q&A at 7:45 p.m.

The movie screening is sponsored by the Media Law Center for Ethics and Access (MLC) and funded by the Akron Community Foundation.

IdeaBase Students Earn Real-World Experience

9 Mar

IdeaBase Design ImageIn a new video, students and staff at IdeaBase speak about their experiences working on real-world client projects. Directed, edited and filmed exclusively by students at IdeaBase, the video shows how students from various backgrounds put into action what they’ve learned in their Kent State University classes. IdeaBase is a student-run advertising agency in downtown Kent and is a service of the College of Communication and Information.

View the video:

You can learn more about IdeaBase by visiting

Two Advertising Majors Participate in Virtual Internship Program

5 Mar

Danielle and EllieBy Taylor Nickel

Senior advertising majors Ellie Kohl and Danielle Wright are participating in the Advertising program’s Virtual Internship Program this semester with CBD Marketing, an integrated marketing firm headquartered in Chicago.

Kohl and Wright kicked off their internship at the start of the spring semester in January and worked on-site the week of February 17, where they met the CBD team, as well as participated in project-related and agency orientation activities.

Kohl said that she was impressed with the team working at CBD and looks forward to working with an agency in Chicago because she hopes to start her career there when she graduates in May.

“Everyone at the agency is so wonderful,” Kohl said. “Although we were only able to visit for a short week, everyone made sure we felt welcomed and part of the CBD family right away. CBD is a special place, and I am lucky to have been given this opportunity to work and learn from these talented people.”

The two students have the unique opportunity to work with the Chicago agency, while continuing to attend classes on Kent State’s campus. Kohl and Wright will connect to CBD via an online project management platform and will also have weekly status calls with their supervisors at the agency, which will allow them to report their progress and receive real-time feedback.

Wright said she is looking forward to the advantages of working with an agency in Chicago while completing coursework at JMC. [Does ‘JMC’ need definition for the readers?]

“The virtual aspect of this internship is great because you are able to complete tasks wherever you work best, and it’s very easy to work the hours into your schedule,” Wright said.

Wendy Wardell, lecturer in JMC’s Advertising sequence, shared the opportunity with the students. Wardell serves as a local resource for the students, collaborates with the CBD team on the overall project and student development strategy, and provides the students with direction, as needed.

The students will work closely with executives at the agency on various projects including research, developing an industry thought-leadership blog series, and completing account service and planning assignments.

Kohl said the virtual internship is a great opportunity for her because she was limited in her search of local advertising internships.

“Personally, I want to go into the account planning side of advertising; however, there are not a ton of planning internships around Kent,” she said. “The CBD planning internship has given me the opportunity to dive deeper into this side of the business and hopefully better prepare myself for after graduation.”

The assignment includes giving the interns the opportunity to conduct both primary and secondary research to inform thought-leadership via blogging; online surveys and interviews with industry leaders and executives will help them gain necessary skills to be competitive marketing planning contributors. Kohl and Wright will also be exposed to client service functions and new business development functions.

“We will be sorting through the data to write our blog posts,” Wright explained. “In addition to this project, CBD Teamwe will be working on small projects throughout areas of the agency including media, new business, and account services.

“I am extremely excited to finish a blog series that supports CBD’s commitment to presenting insights that can help B2B and B2C companies anticipate the future,” Kohl added. “Also, it will be a great addition to include in my portfolio.”

JMC’s partnership with CBD began last year when JMC graduates Danielle Kilgore, ‘14 and Rachel Miller,’14 were the first Kent State students to participate in School’s first ever virtual internship.

Kilgore contributed research to the white paper Business On-Demand, a comprehensive survey of technology innovations and their effects on the customer experience, as well as impacted industries. Miller worked on Today’s Values Revolution, a white paper that explores “the seismic shift in the American Dream, and its implications to marketers.”

About CBD Marketing: CBD Marketing is an award-winning, creative, integrated marketing agency in Chicago. The agency serves national and global clients in manufacturing, energy, food, building products, education, retail and other industries.

Photos by Sarah Flagg, account executive, PR & Social Media at CBD Marketing

Student Group To Address Diversity Issues In Journalism School Organizations

5 Feb

Real TalkThe Student Voice Team will work with student media and organizations in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) to identify and solve diversity issues in its “Real Talk: Uncut & Uncensored” event Monday, February 9, at 6:30 p.m. in room 340 Franklin Hall.

The Student Voice Team is a group of student champions for diversity commissioned by JMC in 2014 to identify areas for improvement in both academics and student life. After speaking with the leaders of student media and organizations in the School, the Student Voice Team discovered a growing need to increase diversity in extracurricular activities.

“We, including some professors in JMC, feel that we’ve been coddled here in terms of [diversity in] the media and the real world,” Julia Adkins, Student Voice Team co-chair, said. “We want everyone to be prepared when they leave Kent State to go out into the real world and succeed, but we can’t do that if we don’t have a firm grasp on reality outside of college.”

“Real Talk: Uncut & Uncensored” will be a student-only conversation about tough topics in diversity, including underrepresentation, cliques within media organizations and what diversity means in journalism and mass communication.

Both the Student Voice Team and student media and organization leaders will lead the discussion. Students can share their concerns with representatives from TV2, Black Squirrel Radio, The Kent Stater, Public Relations Student Society of America and more.

“It’s an important conversation that needs to happen; we need to talk about things that are happening without the fear of backlash from our peers and our professors,” Adkins said. “That’s also why it’s a student only event. We wanted to create a safe space for students to talk about the things that are most important to them in regards to the media within today’s society, a place where we can all speak freely with each other and not be afraid to voice our opinions.”


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