Grady College students ‘dug deep’ to tell inspiring stories from 2016 Paralympics

To overcome physical challenges and rise to compete at the highest level of parathletics—the Paralympic Games—takes an awe-inspiring amount of training and dedication.  To report respectfully and responsibly on the amazing feats of those athletes takes a special kind of journalist.  That was the task for nine Grady College students who covered the 2016 Games in Rio in September.

Through a partnership with the Associated Press, David Barnes, Jenn Finch, Josh Jones and Casey Sykes (from visual journalism) and Jamie Han, Emily Giambalvo, Emily Greenwood, Kendra Hansey and Kennington Smith (from Grady’s Sports Media Certificate program) worked in teams to produce multimedia content from the first half of the Games that was distributed globally.

“They just completely knocked it out of the park,” said Mark Johnson, head of the college’s visual journalism program.  Johnson and Vicki Michaelis, director of Grady Sports, supervised and edited the students’ work in Rio. “I know we brag about our kids a lot because we have spectacular students,” he continued, “but the way those nine worked the situation, the way they dug deep to find great stories, poured their hearts and souls into it for all the time they were on the ground in Rio, was just unbelievable.”

In advance of the trip, the students researched the athletes and events, and talked through possible story ideas to pursue.

“When you go to a Paralympics, everyone has an amazing and dramatic story,” Michaelis said. “So you have to apply a whole new standard to ‘what stories are we going to tell.’

“I always ask my students, ‘why now and why should I care?’’” she explained. “The ‘why now’ is really obvious—they’re competing at the Paralympics.  But the ‘why should I care’ became the question that needed to be answered before we’d continue with the story.”

Unlike at the Olympics—where it can be hard to get a unique story because there are hundreds of other reporters going after that same story—journalists at the Paralympics were granted more access to athletes and coaches, according to Michaelis, a veteran Olympics reporter and the John Huland Carmical Chair in Sports Journalism & Society.

“Our students could really operate as full working journalists,” she said. “They didn’t have to rely on hanging on the fringes of press conferences and group interviews to get what they needed. They were able to interact one-on-one with the athletes and coaches and set up meetings outside of the venues.”

“It forced me to ask some of the hardest questions I’ve ever asked as a reporter, all while being in the new environment of an international sporting event.”

  — Emily Giambalvo

One example was Kendra Hansey’s preview story about U.S. Army veteran Melissa Stockwell, a paratriathlete from Team USA who was competing on Sept. 11.

“Stockwell served in Iraq, she lost her leg to a roadside bomb,” said Michaelis.  “When Kendra sat down with her, Stockwell talked about what an honor it was to be able to go out and represent her country on 9/11.”

Stockwell won a bronze medal that day.  But the silver and gold medals also went to Americans, an incredible moment covered in an article by Emily Greenwood and captured in photos by photojournalism student Jenn Finch.

“Those pictures of the three women on the podium are pretty powerful to see,” said Johnson, “particularly being on the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.”

Another story shared by publications around the country was Emily Giambalvo’s piece about a table tennis player who was homeless as a teen.

“It quickly turned into a larger story than I expected when [the athlete] opened up about struggles during his childhood,” Giambalvo reflected. “It forced me to ask some of the hardest questions I’ve ever asked as a reporter, all while being in the new environment of an international sporting event.”

Added Michaelis: “That’s the kind of story that rises above…table tennis being this person’s refuge and guiding light through his early life.”

While in Rio, the students relied on skills they learned in Grady College courses, as well as on-the-spot advice from Michaelis and Johnson.

“The Paralympics is complex in terms of classifications of competition, because the athletes’ impairments are so varied,” said Greenwood. “It was a challenge to understand, and accurately report on, the different classifications in each event. Professor Michaelis has always stressed the importance of accuracy and doing your research, though, so I relied on checking and double-checking my work before submission to make sure I was accurate. Having Professor Michaelis as an editor is tremendously helpful, as well.”

Kennington Smith, who wrote about how sighted guides coordinate with athletes, among other stories, also leaned on Michaelis’ guidance.

“Professor Michaelis helped me so much throughout the process. There was one time in particular where I had about four or five story ideas that I had worked on that all fell through within an hour,” Smith recalled. “I was very frustrated but she worked with me and I ended up with a great story to tell at the end of that day. Overall, she taught me that in journalism, I must be patient and the right story will always come.”’

“The Visual Journalism program has instilled a sense of responsibility when covering any event or undertaking any job,” said David Barnes. “As journalists, it’s our duty to be objective reporters and, of course, that applies to the Paralympics. When we went to cover assigned events, I often reflected on class lessons to help deal with all the noise and focus on what was in front of me so I wouldn’t be overwhelmed.”

Jonnie Peacock of Great Britain, upper right, runs in the men’s 100M T44 preliminaries at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. Running a time of 10.81 seconds, Peacock set a new Paralympic record. (David A. Barnes/University of Georgia via AP)

According to Johnson, the students handled themselves like true professionals.

“I think it’s critically important that (the Paralympics) get covered in a professional manner, in a respectful manner,” Johnson said. “These are athletes who spend their entire lives striving to get to this place in the same way that Olympic or professional athletes do.  That was the big message that we tried to get to the students.  They looked at (them) not as disabled athletes, but as professional athletes.  That, to me, says a lot about our kids.”

As a public relations major, Greenwood produced branded content for sponsor Coca-Cola, in addition to writing for the AP. (Coca-Cola funded a portion of the students’ travel expenses, and ThinkTank Photo donated and Canon USA loaned equipment for the visual journalism students.)  Regardless of the career path she chooses, Greenwood, who plans to apply for law school, believes the experience will help her stand out.

“Few people can claim to have stories in the Washington Post and New York Times at 21 years old, but Grady Sports has given me that opportunity,” she said.

“The fact that UGA and Grady were willing to go the extra mile for us to have this experience further solidifies my love for this school,” added Smith. “This opportunity was everything I could ask for, plus more.”

Photojournalism student Josh Jones also gained a lot from the experience. “This trip helped to advance my career goals by showing me that I can perform at a high level and on extremely tight deadlines in an international setting,” Jones said. “I’m so thrilled with this amazing opportunity Grady provided for me and the once-in-a-lifetime experience I had in Rio.”

As remarkable as the experience was for the students, it was equally, if not more, special for Michaelis.

“It very well may have been the most validating experience of my life…how often does a teacher get to see her students apply what they learned in a real-world setting and have it be that high quality?” she asked. “I feel very fortunate that I was able to have that.”

Related stories:

#GradyinRio: Students cover Paralympics, Olympics (on Storify)

UGA students to cover 2016 Paralympic Games for The Associated Press

Students say Grady Sports Media program prepared them for demands of Olympics’ coverage

Grady College photojournalism and sports media students cover Paralympic Team Trials

Students apply graphic communications lessons to Special Collections Libraries research

The graphics projects that many students design in the typical Graphics Communications class may be viewed by a handful of students and by the professor. However, the projects in Kristen Smith’s introductory graphics class this semester have the opportunity for not only a much broader audience, but also a richer research process, as well.

Smith, a senior lecturer in public relations in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, is leading her students in a special session of the graphics class that is working with the University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries. Students were asked to design posters that will be displayed during the annual Spotlight on the Arts festival in November.

Designed by Chelsea Jenkins

The exhibit, “Designing History: Posters Exploring Twentieth Century Design Styles & the UGA Special Collections Libraries Archives,” will feature 24”x36” mounted posters designed by each student based on research they conducted in the library’s permanent collection.

The inspiration for the poster project came after Smith served as an inaugural Special Collections Libraries Faculty Fellow last year. The fellowship program was created by the libraries and the Center for Teaching and Learning to educate university professors about how they could incorporate the collections into their classroom lessons. The fellowship funds classroom projects created using the collections and resources at the library.

“The goal of the poster project was to provide a deep understanding of a local or national treasure, and depending on their project, where that person or thing fits into not only history, but design history,” Smith said.

The assignment features visuals and text about topics in special collections including, but not limited to, Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress; Erté, notably known as the “Father of Art Deco;” Jackson EMC, which led the way in making electricity available in rural areas of north Georgia; and Fred Birchmore, an Athens, Georgia, native who rode his bike around the world.

Designed by Maddie Shae

Chelsea Jenkins, a public relations major from Covington, Georgia, chose to profile Birchmore for her project. Jenkins’s poster features a picture of Birchmore with his bicycle, which he called Bucephalus. She also included a couple of paragraphs that depict his life and some sites he encountered throughout his trek.

“The biggest challenge I faced was trying to incorporate how far Birchmore traveled into the poster,” Jenkins said. “My original idea was to have a map of some of the places he explored as the background of the poster. While that idea didn’t really work out, I feel as though we get a snippet of what he did and where he went in the paragraphs I’ve included.”

Typically, the AdPR 3520 Graphics Communications class spends the entire semester learning about basic principles of design, typography and graphics software. This special class has the same goals, but also applies a focus on learning 20th century design styles, and broadens their resources through using the Special Collections Libraries to understand design styles.

“I have really enjoyed the hands-on experience of working in the Special Collections library,” said student Jamie Yale, a junior public relations major, who chose to profile Spanish artist José de Zamora. “We were given a lot of freedom when creating this poster, from selection of the artist to use of design principles, and I think this really helped me independently create one of my first graphic design posters.”

Designed by Kaitlyn Yarborough

Perhaps the biggest advantage of the special focus graphics class was the knowledge that the Special Collections Libraries is there and has an array of resources.

Kaitlyn Yarborough, a senior journalism student from Albany, Georgia, profiled naturalist and artist John Abbot based on a large book he illustrated that she saw at the library.

“I had never entered the Special Collections Library until this project,” Yarborough said, “and, I discovered that it houses some really interesting collections on the history of Georgia, from Native American artifacts to vintage cheerleading uniforms from the university. It has a huge array of cool things that I would never have known about otherwise.”

The student posters will be on display on the third floor of Grady College during Spotlight on the Arts Nov. 2 – 18. This is the first year that Grady College is participating in Spotlight on the Arts.

Election Day coverage from Grady College

Reporting on elections is a cornerstone in journalism education, and the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has several special projects scheduled to cover the local and presidential elections Nov. 8, 2016.

A preview of the expected print and video coverage is below:


Electionland is a nationwide effort to identify voting problems such as long lines at the polls, voting machine problems and voter fraud. Professor Barry Hollander’s special topics class “Public Opinion and the 2016 Election,” is one of 13 journalism schools across the county that was selected and trained to identify and verify these issues using a variety of social media search engines and to report them for the entire state of Georgia. Once reported, the issues will be filtered to local journalists for follow-up. This program is sponsored by ProPublica and the Coalition of News Organizations. Visit the Electionland website for more details.

Athens-Clarke County and Oconee County TV coverage

Grady Newsource, the only television broadcast provider in the Athens-Clarke and County County area, will provide extended political coverage to its viewers on-air and online with “You Decide Northeast Georgia,” an election special on November 8 from 8 to 10 p.m. After the regular 5 to 6 p.m. Newsource broadcast that day, the students will provide three cut-ins at 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. leading up to the special. If local races are not called by 10 p.m., Newsource will program additional cut-ins after the special. The digital team will update the website throughout the day, so that coverage is continuous even when the show is not on air.

“You Decide Northeast Georgia” will broadcast from multiple locations. Students will provide coverage featuring interviews with political experts, as well as updates from the digital team. There will be a team of reporters at each county elections office in the coverage area. Clarke County and Oconee County reporters will be live during the show. Newsource will air live shots from the University Union Watch Party, as well.

In addition to live coverage, reporters are already working on content that digs deeper into the local races and provides context for the vote. The show will feature profiles of candidates, analysis of voting trends and interviews with some of Georgia’s leading political experts.

Similar election coverage was done by Grady Newsource in Fall 2015.

Graduate Newsroom team

Grady’s Graduate Newsroom team includes 11 graduate students who will provide written and video coverage of the local Athens-Clarke County elections under the direction of Professor Pat Thomas. Students will provide coverage of democracy in action from local precincts before, during and after Election Day. A panel discussion has already taken place featuring State Rep. Regina Quick, Athens Banner-Herald Editor Ed Morales, Professor Charles Bullock (UGA SPIA) and Ms. Cora Wright, supervisor of for elections in ACC. Writing from the vantage point of Athens, they will report about candidates, campaign volunteers and events, donors and finance issues, voter engagement, referendum issues, poll workers and voters.

Students will report on one print and one video story in the run-up to the election. On Election Day, each student reporter will stake out his/her polling place and conduct interviews with people involved with the voting process. They will also report on a feature after the election, looking back at candidates and issues.

The professional partner of the Graduate Newsroom team is the Athens Banner-Herald/OnlineAthens.

ADPR Connection 2016: 2020 Vision

Students will focus on their futures at the sixth annual ADPR Connection, a student-run networking event on Tuesday, Nov. 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Held in the the University of Georgia’s Tate Grand Hall, this year’s event will include a range of exciting networking and learning opportunities for students and recent graduates.

In the past, ADPR Connection has hosted more than 100 professionals from over 50 companies to interact with more than 600 students.

This year’s theme, 2020 Vision, celebrates UGA’s freshman class of 2020 and highlights the opportunities that lie ahead for all students. It will feature a coffee hour, six enlightening workshops on a variety of topics, a senior luncheon and a career fair, all to be followed by a mixer downtown.

Sponsored by UGA PRSSA and Adclub, ADPR Connection 2016 is co-directed by Ananda Costa and Maya Daniels and is put together by four student-led committees.

The event is free to students thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, which this year include Nebo, Coca-Cola, The Creative Circus, Dodge Communications, Moxie, Porter Novelli, VML Atlanta, Jackson Electric Membership Corporation, MSLGROUP, BBDO, William Mills Agency, UPS, Publicis Health Communications and Jackson Spalding.

To find out more about this event and to register, please visit Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and use the hashtags #2020andBeyond and #ADPRConnection2016 to join the conversation.

Panel commemorates 50th anniversary of Foxfire

In honor of its 50th anniversary, a panel will discuss “Foxfire at Fifty: Stories of Culture” on Oct. 26, at 11:15 a.m. at the University of Georgia’s Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

The panel is sponsored by the Office of Outreach, Engagement, and Service in the College of Education; Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication; and the Special Collections Libraries.

“The Foxfire Magazine” is a bi-annual publication written by students at Rabun Gap High School in Tiger, Georgia, about the community, culture and citizens in southern Appalachia. The magazine was created 50 years ago to engage English students in writing about subjects of interest to them. Over the years, Foxfire has expanded to include a book collection of anthologies and a museum, as well.

“At the Grady College, we talk a lot about the power of story and about the importance of community,” said Janice Hume, the Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for Excellence in Journalism and the moderator of the Foxfire panel. “Foxfire is a perfect example of both, and also shows how oral history can preserve our cultural history.”

Panelists will discuss the importance of the program and its innovative techniques grounded in learning from community resources and its impact on audiences that extends outside the Rabun County region. They will also cover how Foxfire has evolved and grown in the past decades.

Panelists include:

Carl Glickman is professor emeritus of education at UGA. He is the founder the Georgia League of Professional Schools, a nationally validated network of kindergarten to 12th-grade schools devoted to democratic learning of all students. Glickman serves on the Foxfire Board and co-chairs the Education Committee. He has authored thirteen books and more than one hundred articles, including the recent essay in “Phi Delta Kappan,” entitled “Whatever happened to Foxfire?”

Christian Lopez is the lead Oral History and Media Archivist at the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at the Special Collections Libraries. Lopez is an active member of the Oral History Association and also serves on the editorial board of Oral History in the Digital Age, a clearinghouse of practice, theory, and evolving methodologies contributed to by practitioners across the country.

Katie Lunsford is a senior at UGA majoring in athletic training. A Rabun County native, Katie wrote for the “Foxfire” magazine throughout her high school career and continues to work with “Foxfire,” contributing to the 45th Anniversary Book and writing for the 50th Anniversary Book. Katie plans to further her education in the medical field to become a physician and return to Rabun County to serve her home community.

“We are delighted to help celebrate the anniversary of this unique and influential program,” said Hume.

Parking for off campus visitors will be available in the Hull Street Deck across from the Special Collections Library. For more information on the panel, contact Janice Hume at or 706-542-5980.

The Walter J. Brown Media Archive & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia Libraries is also home of the Foxfire collection of videotapes. There are about 1,100 tapes in this collection, which includes interviews and photographs. The Special Collections Libraries are also hosting “Foxfire: 50 years of Cultural Journalism Documenting folk Life in the North Georgia Mountains,” through December 16, 2016. This exhibit uses photos and artifacts, including textiles, homemade toys and tools and a moonshine still, to illustrate how Foxfire has documented folk life and customs.

Visit to learn more about Foxfire.

UGA Amazing Student: journalism senior Jaylon Thompson

Jaylon Thompson, a senior majoring in digital and broadcast journalism, is living out his dream of earning his degree and sports media certificate from Grady College along with a minor in sociology. His hard work paid off with the opportunity to cover the Olympics in Rio. His goal is to inspire others to follow their dreams.

“I have two favorite professors in Vicki Michaelis and Welch Suggs,” Thompson wrote in his profile. “Both have helped me tremendously to get better as a journalist and I wouldn’t know where I would be without them. I truly grew under their guidance and they are the one of the many reasons I am standing here today. I am eternally grateful and I have so much love for them!”

Thompson has completed sports internships at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Houston Chronicle, the latter of which stemmed from his selection to the Sports Journalism Institute Class of 2015.   He is co-editor of UGA Elite, a platform for all writers on campus to grow and receive feedback. He also has worked for the Red & Black and participated in Grady Newsource.

Following graduation, Thompson hopes to work as a beat reporter for a professional sports team at a newspaper, eventually aspiring to become a sports analyst for ESPN.

“As I wind down my college career, each award from being a 2016 McGill Fellow to becoming an Olympic journalist has taught me that I can make my dreams come true,” he wrote. “It also helped me realize that my life is truly meant to inspire and I hope to continue that in the future.”

Read more about Thompson here.

Grady alumnae win Blue Key Service Awards

Two Grady College alumnae were among six honorees who were recognized at UGA’s 2016 Tucker Dorsey Blue Key Alumni Awards Banquet on Oct. 14.

Georgia state Rep. Jan Jones (ABJ ’80) and public relations professional Swann Seiler (ABJ ’78) received Blue Key Service Awards, presented by the Blue Key Honor Society, a national organization whose members are committed to leadership in student life, high scholastic achievement, service to others and citizenship.

Jones represents District 47 in the state House of Representatives, which includes Milton, Mountain Park and portions of Roswell and Alpharetta in northwest Fulton County. She was first elected to office in 2003. In 2015, she was elected speaker pro tempore, the second highest position in the Georgia House of Representatives, by her colleagues. In addition to her bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jones holds an MBA from Georgia State University. A former marketing executive for Home Box Office, Jones also owned and operated a small business.

The manager of corporate communications for Georgia Power’s coastal region in Savannah, Seiler has worked in public relations throughout her career. She is a member of the board of trustees for the Telfair Museum of Arts and a member of the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools Education for A.L.L. Foundation. Seiler also served on the Georgia Women of Achievement Board and the Georgia Humanities Council. She was named a Grady Fellow in 2008. Seiler currently serves on the Grady Board of Trust, the UGA Libraries Board of Visitors and is an emeritus member of the UGA Athletic Association and the UGA Foundation. She was the first female president of the UGA Alumni Association.

Grady Intern Diaries: Waynie Lee

This is part of a series where we asked Grady College students to describe their internship experiences during the summer. To see pictures of our Grady students interning, please see our #GradyInternDiaries social media collection.

Other Grady Intern Diary interviews can be viewed here: Allie Bailey, Nylah Oliver, Molly Simon, Aubry Snow, Leigh Beeson

Name: Waynie Lee

Major: Advertising and Business Management with International Business

Title of Internship: Brand Marketing Intern at Buson-Marsteller

Location: Shanghai, China

Responsibilities: The majority of my time was spent researching for potential new client pitches, doing translation and editing work and making credentials for new client pitches. I also got to write press releases, attend brainstorming sessions, design reports for clients and provide onsite support for events.

Grady College: What was the best part about your summer internship?

Waynie Lee: Other than work, the best part about my internship was getting to experience life in Shanghai on my own. This was the first time that I had truly been on my own and I was terrified at first, but looking back at it I don’t know why I ever was. The people I met were amazing. The city, and everything it held, was beyond anything I ever could’ve imagined.

G.C.: What was the biggest surprise in your internship?

W.L.: I went into the internship with certain expectations like a very cutthroat work environment or having to learn very complicated things. It was much simpler to pick up than I thought it would be, and I realized that this industry entails a lot of on-the-job learning.

G.C.: What is the most valuable lesson or skill you learned during your internship?

W.L.: The most valuable lesson I learned was that no matter the situation you are in, it is up to you to make the most of it. Whether you are working or traveling, don’t ever be afraid to just go for it and take risks. Being on your own may seem scary at first, but trust me, solo is the way to go.

G.C.: What advice would you give to a student looking for an internship?

W.L.: Talk to everyone, and I mean everyone. Even if it may not be a direct connection to an internship, you never know where that person may lead you. Jump at every opportunity because you only get lucky if you do the prep work before.

G.C.: What is the most memorable experience you had during your internship?

W.L.: I got first floor tickets to the Manchester United vs. Borussia Dortmund soccer match because we were handling PR for the International Champions Cup, the tournament in which they were playing. My supervisor couldn’t go because he had to attend the managers meeting for the Adidas event the next day so he just gave the tickets to a fellow coworker and myself. It was very cool to get a glimpse of the more glamorous side of what I was doing.

On Waynie’s internship, Pat Ford, Burson-Marsteller worldwide vice chairman and chief client officer said: “Waynie did a great job while seeking the internship of showing strong capabilities and extraordinary enthusiasm for studying abroad. We at Burson have long admired the vision and commitment by Grady College to enhancing students’ knowledge and understanding of China’s culture and its business environment.  Any student who can spend time studying abroad should do so, and the value of getting first-hand experience in a country as important to the global economy as China cannot be overstated.  We salute Dr. Meng and Grady College for their amazing leadership in making this happen for their students.”

Grady College hosts sixth annual Media and the Public Sphere International Conference

Updated Nov. 22, 2016

The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication hosted the Thomas C. Dowden International Conference Media and the Public Sphere: Empowered Audiences in the Digital Age Oct. 20-22, 2016.

“We were thrilled to welcome to Grady some of the nation’s leading experts on media analytics,” said Ann Hollifield, Thomas C. Dowden Professor in Media Research at Grady College. “Our panelists discussed the challenges of understanding audiences and advertisers in this digital age and how that impacts media content decisions, audiences and the media’s role in the public sphere.”

Panelists included Eric Bruce, research director, WSB-TV, Atlanta; Billy McDowell, vice president of research, Raycom Media Inc.; Howard Shimmel, chief research officer, Turner Broadcasting; Steve Walsh, executive vice president, Local Television, comScore Inc.; and Reid Williams, senior director for analytics, Gannett.

Tom and Wendy Dowden

More than 50 scholars from UGA, the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration in Romania, the University of Florida, University of Tennessee and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, among others, presented papers and discussed their research. “The focus of the discussions was the media’s changing role in society in an era when technologies enable audiences to choose, produce or avoid media as they wish,” Hollifield said.

In addition to the researchers and industry experts who came to UGA to present papers, several dozen graduate and undergraduate students in the Grady College sat in on the conference’s plenary panel discussions of media analytics as well as on some of the research paper presentations.

The James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research—an outreach unit of the Grady College—partnered with the Institute of Communication at University Lyon 2, France, and the Center for Communication Research at the National University for Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania, in organizing the conference. It was the sixth annual conference on the topic of Media and the Public Sphere.

This year’s conference honored Thomas C. Dowden, a Grady College and UGA alumnus (ABJ ‘62; MA ‘64 in political science) and a pioneer in the cable industry.   Dowden has been a generous supporter of the college, and has been committed to the development of the graduate Media Industry Research program, with its focus on audience research and media innovation.

“Our conference theme this year—Empowered Audiences in the Digital Age— both honors and reflects the contributions Tom Dowden has made throughout his career in expanding the opportunities for public dialog by expanding the number and range of the channels of communication through which that dialog takes place,” Hollifield said in her opening remarks for the conference.

Grady College hosted Media and the Public Sphere: Examining the Challenges in the New Communication Landscape in 2013.