Category Archives: School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Why D.C.?


Why D.C.?

My first piece of advice for anyone going to college is to not be afraid to make it your own experience. Everyone goes through college a little bit differently, some graduate early, some decide to study abroad and others do a four-year track and then there are some that do a track that isn’t written in any brochure.

When I came to Kent State, I immediately knew I was interested in doing the Washington Program in National Issues (WPNI) offered by the College of Arts and Sciences. It was the perfect way for me to complete my Political Science minor while gaining some invaluable experience.

When interning in Washington, I caught a bug, I knew DC was where I wanted to be and where I could make an impact on the world. I was going to do whatever I could to get back. I then made a plan to sort out my class schedule so I could take my last semester of classes online and do one more internship in Washington, D.C.  This did cause a few stressful semesters of loading up on my major classes (which isn’t recommended, but it can be done).


If you’re interested in non-profits or government, this is the center of the action. Most companies have some kind of office in the area because of government work.  I love DC because while it is a city, it still has its very residential parts and almost every place is historic for some reason.

The advice I was given was that if you wanted to live and work in DC, to just move out here with a good savings and be prepared to just apply for job after job and meet as many people as you can. Kent State has a great alumni group here that is willing to help you in anyway they can. So that is what I am doing while I intern here, I am trying to meet every person I can and learn about their career as well as exploring all the opportunities around me.

By Gabrielle Woodard, ’17

14 Things You’d See in Franklin Hall, But Nowhere Else

By Sarah Matthews

1. Signs in every restroom stall telling you not to flush hopes and dreams down the toilet. #motivations


2. A classroom that resembles a giant fish bowl (you all know the one).

3. A full-functioning, converged media newsroom filled with students frantically finishing their stories before deadline.

4. College students actually reading physical copies of newspapers.


5. A statue with the first amendment detailed on it (okay, technically it’s outside the building, but hey close enough).

6. Students inside DJ booths for Black Squirrel Radio most hours of the day.

7. The cold metal benches of death on the first floor.

8. Students who are actually so excited to learn about ethics they attend an annual conference about it every year.


9. A room solely dedicated to focus groups, which most JMC students have been on both sides of (aka focus group karma).

10. Tons of cords and camera equipment everywhere.

11. An over abundance of Starbucks cups in every trash can.


12. Instead of students holding textbooks, students holding AP Stylebooks.

13. Random pairs of high heels and men’s suit jackets on hand for TV2 broadcasts.

14. Professors who care about making a difference in student’s lives, both academically and personally.


Gifs courtesy of


10 Signs You’re a Kent State Journalism and Mass Communication Major

by Elline Concepcion and Meghan Caprez

1. Poor grammar makes you cringe.
Friends Grammar

It’s YOU’RE not YOUR, you ignorant swine.

2. Almost every single class is demanding, and every professor thinks his or hers is the priority.
Harry Potter Priorities

I also have four other classes, a part-time job and two projects due for student media. Nice try.

3. You don’t get people who aren’t involved in student media or student organizations.
New Girl Judging You

Like, what do you do with your life?

4. It took you at least two years to figure out Franklin Hall has a fourth floor.
Wait What Gif

And some of you are still probably saying, “Wait, there’s a fourth floor?”

5. Internship envy is a real thing.
Internship Envy Gif

Admit it, you wanted that internship in New York, too.

6. You know exactly how long it will take you to get Starbucks between classes.
Kardashian Starbucks Gif

And you could probably walk there with your eyes closed, if we’re being honest.

7. Consuming media will never be the same.

There’s an AP style error! The audio in this shot was terrible! THAT’S the ad you chose to run during the Super Bowl?

8. You get really annoyed when people ask you if there are jobs available for people in your major.
Dobby Head Bang

Trust me, I have enough anxiety about it as it is.

9. While most KSU students think U of A is our biggest rival, JMC students know better.
Anything You Can Do Gif

*cough* Scripps *cough*

10. When you finally land the job of your dreams, you realize everything you’ve been through in JMC prepared you for it.
Miley Cyrus Thankful

Thank you, Franklin Hall!

Gifs courtesy of and

School of Journalism and Mass Communication Offers Violence Prevention Training

All Students Taking a College of Communication and Information Course Can Attend

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) will offer a Green Dot overview training session for 40-plus students from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16 in Rms. 312-314, Franklin Hall. Students must register by Sept. 11.

Sign-up sheets are available in Rm. 201, Franklin Hall and in JMC Associate Professor Jan Leach’s office, Rm. 305C, Franklin Hall.

Green Dot is a national movement seeking to create new norms to replace the norm of sexual violence. The session will help students understand what behaviors lead to personal violence, including sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, and related issues, and how they, as individuals and as bystanders, can prevent or reduce the risk of harm to themselves and their peers.

JMC is offering Green Dot training the day before the 11th annual Poynter Kent State Media Ethics Workshop, which focuses this year on the ethics of covering trauma. Among the topics for discussion during the Workshop are campus sexual violence and trauma and social media.

Suzy D’Enbeau, an assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies, and Jennie O’Connell, director of the Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services (SRVSS), are certified Green Dot educators and will lead the session.

D’Enbeau said that Green Dot training is designed to help students not only identify potential harm, but also to help them understand their own barriers and how they choose to respond to situations.

“Some people are going to feel more comfortable directly intervening, and some people will prefer other interventions.” D’Enbeau said. “The goal is to help students to develop a toolkit to decide how they want to intervene.”

Alicia Robinson, program coordinator of Kent State University’s Women’s and Gender Center and a certified Green Dot Educator said the Green Dot Bystander Movement was brought to Kent State to help make the university a safer campus for everyone.

During the overview session at JMC, students will learn about Green Dot’s mission and will engage in small group activities designed to help them take proactive and reactive measures against violence, according to Robinson.

About Poynter Kent State Media Ethics Workshop

The Poynter KSU Media Ethics Workshop is a one-day training program for professionals, educators and students that examines critical issues and perspectives in media ethics. Moderated by distinguished ethics faculty from The Poynter Institute, the Media Ethics Workshop provides a unique forum for professionals and students alike to confront and discuss significant issues crucial to understanding media ethics and its effect on our world. Previous Workshops have addressed online ethics, sports media ethics, political media ethics, entertainment media ethics and the ethics of data mining. Established in 2004, the Poynter KSU Media Ethics Workshop continues its mission to strengthen media credibility and bolster citizens’ faith in media integrity. For more information or to register for the Workshop, visit


The Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services (SRVSS), which provides education and awareness to students around sexual violence and support services for those who are impacted, launched the Green Dot Bystander Movement in 2014. For more information about Green Dot at Kent State visit the website:

About Green Dot

Green Dot etc. is a national non-profit organization dedicated to violence prevention education. Green Dot is built on the premise that the community can measurably and systematically reduce violence by the actions of individuals. For more information, visit

Contact Jennifer Kramer, Ph.D., in the Dean’s Office of the College of Communication and Information with questions, 330-672-1960 or

Freshman PR Major Elected President of College Democrats

Hana Barkowitz

by Meghan Caprez

School of Journalism and Mass Communication freshman Hana Barkowitz worked on her first political campaign when she was 16 years old. As a high school student in Pittsburgh, she decided she wanted to help President Obama get reelected in 2012.

Barkowitz was the second-youngest member of the Obama For America team in Pennsylvania, and she served as an organizing fellow. She went through special training and organized phone banks, canvassing events and voter registrations.

“I loved the lifestyle, I loved the people and working for a good cause,” Barkowitz said. “I was 16; I couldn’t vote. This was the only thing I could do to get this guy elected.”

Then, the summer before her senior year of high school, Barkowitz moved to Brooklyn to work on Bill de Blasio’s New York City mayoral campaign. Barkowitz said she’d like to move to New York one day, and as a “true progressive reformer,” de Blasio was supporting many causes she felt passionate about.

Barkowitz enjoyed campaigning directly with de Blasio throughout her time in New York while doing the same kind of phone bank and canvass work she did during the Obama campaign.

“I was all ready very interested in politics, and that experience just verified that’s what I wanted to do. It’s hard, it’s long days. It’s a young person’s game, that’s what they call it.”

Because of this experience, she was able to meet Bill Clinton and Cynthia Nixon, among other “VIPs.”

“Bill’s just as charismatic as you’d expect him to be,” Barkowitz said. “I was just so star struck. He remembered my name from the first time I saw him to the last time I saw him. He remembered I was from Pittsburgh, too, so it was pretty cool.”

Now, three years later as a freshman public relations major, Barkowitz has been elected the 2015-2016 president of the Kent State College Democrats after only being involved in the organization for one semester.

Barkowitz was on the radar of the College Dems before she stepped foot on campus as a student. Previous president Schad Dalton reached out to Barkowitz on Facebook to encourage her to get involved, even in an executive board position, right away.

It was the State of the Union address meeting in January that really drew her into the organization, though.

“It was incredible watching this guy I worked to get elected go on TV and see him talk,” Barkowitz said. “Being around people who supported him too was a really cool feeling. I was like, ‘Wow, this is awesome.’”

Within one month of getting involved in College Dems, Barkowitz was promoted to a membership director position, and later on in the semester, she was promoted again to acting president.

“It’s kind of surreal right now,” Barkowitz said. “It’s crazy, and after everything that’s happened this year, I feel ready to meet next year head-on. Being a PR major has definitely helped me through this.”

Barkowitz said her training in public relations classes, as well as the support of JMC faculty members like former CIA Senior Intelligence Service Executive and current PR Assistant Professor Stephanie Smith, has prepared her to take College Democrats to the next level at Kent State next year, especially going into a campaign year.

“Good PR is really going to help us let people know about our image and know who we are,” Barkowitz said. “I think everyone should be interested in politics at our age. It’s so important, and people don’t realize that. This is our future just as much as anyone else’s, so it shouldn’t just be the older generations caring about politics.”

2015 McGruder Lecture and Awards Luncheon Takes Place April 1

Notable casting director tapped for Media Distinguished Leadership Award

Kate O'Brianby the College of Communication and Information

Kate 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”

by the College of Communication and Information

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.