Grady alumni offer tips tor reporting on COVID-19 from home

Editor’s Note: this feature originally appeared on the Medicaljournalism.grady.uga.edu website.

Quarantine started early for Erica Hensley, an investigative reporter with Mississippi Today. In early March, she attended a conference focused on computer-assisted reporting in New Orleans, hosted by the Investigative Reporters and Editors. A few days later, IRE announced that a conference guest had tested positive for COVID-19, and all attendees were advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Erica Hensley working from home (photo provided)

“I started covering coronavirus as a potential patient from home,” Hensley said. “Which meant I was having to call into every press conference. I was having to do my best to research and fact-check from home. Because I literally couldn’t leave to go chase stuff down,” she said.

Journalism is a hands-on career. Reporters go into the field and make direct contact with sources to gather the facts and see things for themselves. However, on March 11 the World Health Organization officially deemed the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic, leading to more widespread social distancing measures. The dynamics of reporting was forced to change at a time when health reporting is all the more important. At the same time, access to key experts— such as emergency room doctors and epidemiologists— became more difficult as those essential workers managed the virus’ spread.

“You also feel bad calling them sometimes because you’re like, ‘I’m sorry. I know you’re super busy and you have really important healthcare things you need to do and not just talk to journalists,’” explained Victoria Knight, a reporter for Kaiser Health News.

But she and other Grady alumnae said that while coronavirus has disrupted their day-to-day routines, it hasn’t stopped them from getting important information out to the public.

“I think it’s important to not give up and just keep going,” Knight said.

It’s Never Too Late To Learn New Skills

In a series of short videos shared with current Grady students, alumnae of the health and medical journalism program who work in the fields of journalism and public affairs said they have found innovative ways to maneuver this new normal.

They offered suggestions for covering the most popular news story of our time, including tips for using video animations, for moving beyond the numbers to add context and for taking cues from what other news organizations are doing.

“It’s never too late to learn new skills,” said Hyacinth Empinado of STAT News. As a multimedia journalist, she creates animated explainers to help simplify complex ideas, like how COVID-19 compares to other causes of death.

She encouraged students to learn video animation technologies like After Effects and D3. The Adobe Creative Suite provides access to a form of reporting that doesn’t require going out into the field to collect footage, Empinado explained.

Hensley said she relies on her understanding of the social determinants of health to add context to her stories on COVID-19.  Each day she scrapes data from her health department’s website to get an update on the number of coronavirus cases in her state. But she tries to look beyond the numbers.

“What do these increases and tests mean? What are our per capita rates for our counties?” Hensley asks herself.

Lauren Baggett, director of communications for UGA’s College of Public Health and host of the show Health Desk on the WUGA, suggested looking at what other news outlets are covering, particularly those on the local level.

“Our local Athens papers are really doing a better job of communicating the resources that are available to individuals and families in our community,” she said.  Stories about how locals can support the service industry are top of mind for consumers of news, she said.

Alumnae advised current students to keep pressing on, despite the challenges, and to view the pandemic as an opportunity to innovate alternative approaches to reporting and storytelling.

You’re not alone, they told students.

“This is an unprecedented time. We are learning a lot, and we’re learning a lot on the go,” Baggett said.

2019 alumna creates scholarship for Grady Sports Media

Not long after the University of Georgia paused instruction to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Grady Sports Media undergraduate certificate program got an unexpected bit of good news.

Alumna Taylor Maggiore, who had just graduated in December, wanted to create a scholarship to further the advancement of women in the tumultuous professional world of sports media.

“The certificate gave me the tools and skills to land my dream job,” wrote Maggiore in an e-mail to Vicki Michaelis, director of the program. “I think the least I could do is help another woman in our field by easing some financial burdens that come with it.”

Maggiore started in January as a stage manager for ESPN in Bristol, Conn. Thanks to her generosity and an employee matching donation from ESPN, the first Taylor Maggiore Scholar will be announced in Fall 2020.

“Taylor’s passion and talent for sports broadcasting energized all of us while she was a Grady Sports student. I’m thrilled and so grateful she’s reaching back to give our current and future students a helping hand and infusion of that energy,” said Michaelis, the John Huland Carmical Professor of Sports Journalism and Society in the Grady College.

Maggiore (far left) worked with four other Grady alumnae last spring at ESPN. Others included Ann Drinkard (ABJ ’16), Caroline McLeod (AB ’19) and Sarah Buck (AB ’18).

Maggiore got involved with Grady Sports as a first-year student producing high school football games and worked a variety of events for Daktronics and the SEC Network during her time on campus. She mentored Cedar Shoals High School students through the UGA-Grady High School Sports Broadcast Program, an initiative aimed at supporting the recruitment of underrepresented, underserved and first-generation students to UGA. She also was a UGA orientation leader and was named a Cox Institute Levin Leader by the Department of Journalism. She was the student speaker for the undergraduate commencement ceremony in December 2019.

“We know that as Bulldogs, we will be productive and educated members of society,” Maggiore said in her speech in Stegeman Coliseum. “We will shatter glass ceilings and be kind to one another. We will give others opportunities because we’re all sitting here today because someone took a chance on us.”

Grady Sports Media will continue raising funds to sustain the scholarship and Maggiore’s legacy in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. If you are interested in contributing to the fund, please contact Welch Suggs, associate director of Grady Sports Media, at wsuggs@uga.edu or 706-363-0752.

Fellow Profile: Chris Clark

Anyone who has lived in middle Tennessee from the mid-1960s to 2007, probably knows the name and face of Chris Clark. Clark was the lead news anchor at WTVF in Nashville, a station he joined in 1966.  He retired in 2007 after 41 years, making him one of the longest-tenured anchors in American television history.

Today, Clark is an adjunct professor of broadcast journalism at Middle Tennessee State University.  In 2007, he was appointed to the Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies at the university, leading to his current position as adjunct professor.

Clark is one of six people who will be inducted into the 2020 class of Grady Fellows, a recognition honoring friends of the college whose accomplishments, friendship and service to the industries they serve have made a positive impact on the college and its students.

Clark began his broadcast career at UGA.

“I can only describe my experiences at the University of Georgia as transformative,” Clark said.

In addition to his journalism studies, he was on the debate society, Gridiron Secret Society and ATO fraternity. He also worked part-time at an Athens-area radio station.

“The owner of the station, H. Randolph Holder, became one of my mentors second only to my favorite professor, Worth McDougald,” Clark said. “Worth was such an influence on my professional development that when I started teaching at Middle Tennessee State University, I modeled my teaching style on his.  Without Worth’s influence and wise counsel, I doubt I would have been as successful as I have been. He had a way of inspiring students to be their best.”

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Clark worked in his hometown as a reporter and anchor following graduation and before transferring to WALB-TV in Albany, Georgia, to serve as news director and anchor.

In the earlier years of joining WTVF, Clark also served as the station’s news director, leading the station’s conversion from film to electronic news coverage, among the first to convert to what is now the broadcast standard throughout the world. It was also during this time that Clark hired a 19-year-old named Oprah Winfrey as Nashville’s first African-American female anchor.

Clark has been active with the Nashville Rotary for several years and has served on numerous boards and committees including the national board of the Associated Press Broadcasters Association and the national board of the Radio and Television News Directors Association. In 1993, Chris was awarded an Emmy from the Middle Tennessee chapter of National Association of Television Arts and Sciences for lifetime achievement in broadcast journalism.  The Associated Press also presented him with its “Broadcaster of the Year” award.  Chris has been awarded several other Emmys for his reporting.

In addition to Clark, other members of the 2020 Fellowship class include Allison Ausband (ABJ ’83), Eugenia Harvey (ABJ ’82), Carol Ramos-Helton (ABJ ’79) and Dick Helton, and Ken Woo (ABJ ’78).

 

The Fellowship induction, along with recognition of the 2020 Alumni Awards, is scheduled to take place on Thursday, Oct. 1 at Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership. For more details or to order tickets, visit the Grady Salutes webpage.

Alumni Awards profile: Lindsey Cook

Lindsey Cook (ABJ ’14) found her knack for journalism in is the details.

“My education and experience at Grady has been invaluable as I started and built my career in data journalism,” Cook said. “From Grady and my work at The Red & Black, I graduated with strong writing skills and an ability to write quickly, which benefited me greatly at the beginning of my career.”

Cook is the 2020 recipient of the John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award which recognizes a graduate of the last decade who has experienced a successful early career.

She joins Purvi Farahi (ABJ ’95) and Monica Pearson (MA ’14) as  2020 alumni award winners.

Cook and colleagues focus on data analysis.

Cook conceived, piloted, and now leads data trainings for reporters and editors, and assists journalists with compiling data for stories. She worked with reporters and editors covering the Trump administration on digital-first storytelling and digital strategy. 

Cook graduated from the Women’s Leadership Program at Yale’s School of Management in 2019, a program designed for women in management prepare for future leadership roles. She also taught data journalism at the graduate level for American University, as an adjunct professor, both in Fall 2015 and Spring 2017.

Previously, she worked at U.S. News & World Report as the data editor for news.

She frequently speaks to groups of students, both in high school and college, most recently at George Washington University, CUNY, two Girls Who Code Programs, NYT’s Summer Institute and UGA. She’s been a volunteer with Safehouse Outreach in Atlanta for many years and has participated in women’s drives, school drives and holiday gift drives through the Times.

She is also a novelist. Her first book, “How to Bury Your Brother,” comes out in May 2020.

 

The 2020 Alumni Awards presentation, along with the Fellows induction, will take place Thursday, Oct. 1 at Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership. For more details or to order tickets, visit the Grady Salutes webpage.

Fellow Profile: Allison Ausband

Allison Ausband continues to use skills she learned when she was a Grady College journalism student.

“I use my education and the skills that I learned at Grady on a daily basis in my 35 year career at Delta,” Ausband said. “From the writing skills, to presenting in front of large audiences, to communicating more effectively, there is no doubt in my mind that these skills have helped propel me into my current position.”

Ausband is one of six people who will be inducted into the 2020 class of Grady Fellows, a recognition honoring friends of the college whose accomplishments, friendship and service to the industries they serve have made a positive impact on the college and its students.

In Ausband’s current role as senior vice president – in-flight service for Delta Air Lines, she leads a team of more than 26,000 flight attendants, supervisory and support personnel around the globe, as well as Delta’s onboard global food and beverage operation and experience.

Her key responsibilities include leading her team to ensure 200 million Delta customers have an enjoyable flight experience while maintaining a focus on safety.

In March 2019, Ausband was a panelist at Grady’s program, “Making Today’s Workplaces More Inclusive for Women.” (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

Ausband started her career at Delta in 1985 as a flight attendant, and has assumed increasingly more responsibility over the years. She has been instrumental in Delta’s growth, directing projects like the launch of Delta’s social media customer service model as well as a home-based employment program that creates a new virtual workforce culture yielding more than $2 million in savings each year.

In 2019 and 2020, she was named one of Atlanta’s most powerful business leaders by Atlanta Magazine.

Currently, Ausband is Delta’s executive sponsor for human trafficking through her role on the Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion and Education (GRACE) Commission. Under her leadership Delta has won Humanitarian of the Year Award by United Nations and was awarded “Strongest Global Campaign Fighting Trafficking” by Reuters in 2020 Stop Slavery Awards. She also leads Delta’s annual Breast Cancer Research Foundation campaign, which raised over $2 million dollars in 2019. She is a University of Georgia Board of Trustee, serves on the Board of Directors for Delta Community Credit Union and is on the Board of Trustees for the William R. and Sara Babb Smith Foundation. She is also an active member of her local church serving on the personnel committee.

In addition to Ausband, other members of the 2020 Fellowship class include Chris Clark (ABJ ’61), Eugenia Harvey (ABJ ’82), Carol Ramos-Helton (ABJ ’79) and Dick Helton, and Ken Woo (ABJ ’78).

 

The Fellowship induction, along with recognition of the 2020 Alumni Awards, will take place Thursday, Oct. 1 at Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership. For more details or to order tickets, visit the Grady Salutes webpage.

Three Grady College alumnae to receive 2020 Alumni Awards

The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication will honor three outstanding alumnae with its 2020 awards.

Lindsey Cook (ABJ ’14), recipient of the John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award, is senior digital storytelling editor at the New York Times. She leads data trainings for reporters and editors and assists journalists with compiling data for stories.  She is also a novelist. Her first book, “How to Bury Your Brother”, comes out in May 2020.

The Drewry award recognizes a graduate of the last decade who has experienced a successful early career.

Purvi Farahi (ABJ ’95), honored with the Henry W. Grady Mid-Career Award, is senior director consumer health strategy for Johnson & Johnson, where she currently leads global strategy for the consumer sector. In addition to her Grady degree, she holds an MBA from the Terry College of Business.

The Henry W. Grady Award honors a mid-career graduate who has been influential in his or her field.

Monica Pearson (MA ’14), recipient of the John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award, is a renowned Atlanta television broadcast journalist. Named after the late John Holliman Jr. (ABJ ’70), a Grady alumnus and former CNN reporter. After 37 years as a news anchor with WSB-TV Atlanta, Pearson retired in 2012. She now hosts a weekly radio show on KISS 104.1 FM and continues her Closeups interviews on WSB’s website.

The John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award honors sustained contributions to the profession throughout a career.

The winners will receive their awards at Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership on Thursday, Oct. 1 at Athens Cotton Press. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities for Grady Salutes will be available at Grady.uga.edu/alumni/grady-salutes by February 17.

Learn more about Grady’s Alumni Awards including previous winners at: Grady.uga.edu/alumni/alumni-awards/

2020 Grady Fellowship Inductees

Grady College proudly announces the newest class of Grady Fellows, a recognition honoring friends of the college whose accomplishments, friendship and service to the industries they serve have made a positive impact on the college and its students.

“This year’s class of Grady Fellows represents the full breadth and depth of the college,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. “From senior leaders in business to broadcast icons and radio legends, it’s a true testament to the quality of the nominations for this, our highest recognition.”

The Fellowship induction, along with the recognition of the 2020 Alumni Awards, will take place Thursday, Oct. 1 at Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership.

The 2020 Fellowship class includes:

Allison Ausband (ABJ ’83)

Current job: Senior vice president – in-flight service, Delta Air Lines
Grady College major: Journalism

Allison Ausband has spent her professional career at Delta Air Lines, a company she joined in 1985 as a flight attendant. Working her way through positions of greater responsibility, Ausband currently leads a team of 24,000 flight attendants, supervisory and support personnel around the globe, as well as Delta’s onboard global food and beverage operation and experience. Her key responsibilities include leading her team to ensure 200 million Delta customers have an enjoyable flight experience while maintaining a focus on safety.

Chris Clark (ABJ ’61)

Current job: Adjunct professor of broadcast journalism, Middle Tennessee State University
Grady College major: Journalism

When Chris Clark retired as news anchor at WTVF in Nashville, a station he served for nearly 41 years, he was one of the longest-tenured anchors in American television history.  In the earlier years of his tenure, Clark also served as the station’s news director, leading the station’s conversion from film to electronic news coverage, among the first to convert to what is now the broadcast standard throughout the world. Following his retirement in 2007, he was appointed to the Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies at the university, leading to his current position as adjunct professor.

Clark serves on the Grady Board of Trust.

Carol Ramos-Helton (ABJ ’79) and Dick Helton

Current jobs: U.S. correspondent for radio New Zealand (Carol); host KNX morning show (Dick)
Grady College major: Journalism (Carol)

Carol and Dick Helton have each earned strong reputations in radio and television broadcasting that have resulted in several Emmy and Golden Mike nominations and awards.

Prior to working in international radio, Carol was the news director and morning drive news anchor and talk show host at KABC Talk Radio in Los Angeles. She moved to LA in the mid 90s to become morning drive anchor at All-News KFWB.

In addition to his host responsibilities at KNX, Dick also works as senior political correspondent for the station and has been at the heart of the station’s political coverage for the past twenty-two years.

Eugenia Harvey (ABJ ’82)

Current jobs: Executive producer and project director of the multi-platform initiatives at WNET, New York
Grady College major: Journalism

Eugenia Harvey has left an indelible mark on the world of news media as a veteran broadcast journalist on ABC News’ “PrimeTime Live” and “48 Hours” (CBS), as well as serving as an executive producer for “Third Rail with OZY,” and shows on CNN and BET.

Harvey has also served as a producer for “Race Matters: Solutions” on PBS NewsHour with Charlayne Hunter-Gault (ABJ ’63).

Ken Woo (ABJ ’78)

Current jobs: Freelance director of photography and cameraman work
Grady College major: Journalism

Ken Woo has an incredibly varied background in his nearly 40 years of serving as director of photography, cameraman and documentary producer.

Woo’s big break came at CBS where he worked numerous shows like the “Young & the Restless,” “Bold & the Beautiful,” “Price Is Right,” “Archie Bunker’s Place” and “Mama’s Family.”

In 1987, Woo turned to fulltime freelance work focusing on live sports, news magazines, documentaries and features. Woo became a director of photography in the early 1990s, working on everything from the Olympics, IronMan and Tour de France to several Super Bowls, Final Four Championships and several US Open tournaments for tennis and golf.

Eight Grady College alumni make Bulldog 100 list

Grady College is pleased to announce that eight alumni representing six businesses are represented in this year’s Bulldog 100. The Bulldog 100 is a list coordinated by the University of Georgia Alumni Association of fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni.

Congratulations to the following Grady alumni who will be recognized for their leadership, commitment to community and entrepreneurial spirit:

  • Glenn Carroll (ABJ ’76), Carroll Media Services
  • Marc Gorlin (ABJ ’95), Kabbage and Roadie
  • Katherine Mason (ABJ ’12) and Jennifer McKissick (ABJ ’12), SculptHouse
  • Brittany Thoms (ABJ ’04), See.Spark.Go
  • Kevin Planovsky (ABJ ’05), Matt Griffin (BBA ’05, MA ’12) and Michael Lentz (ABJ ’06), Vert.

More than 533 nominations were submitted for the 2020 list. A complete list of winners can be found on the UGA Alumni Association website.

The honorees will be recognized in a ceremony on Feb. 8, 2020, in Athens.

Grady alumni have made top spots twice in recent years. Vert Mobile was named the second fastest-growing business for the 2013 awards (announced in February 2014), and Kabbage, Inc., won the top stop for the 2014 awards (announced in February 2015).

Applicants were measured by their business’s compounded annual growth rate during a three-year period. The Atlanta office of Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors, a Bulldog 100 partner since the program began in 2009, verified the information submitted by each company.

#GradyHomeat50: Our building through the years

Grady College is celebrating 50 years in the Journalism building. To do so, we’re taking a look back at the building’s history and the many changes it has undergone since it was constructed.

Prior to Saturday, January 4, 1969, students of Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication took classes in the Commerce Journalism Building on North Campus. According to a January 23 edition of The Red & Black from the same year, “On this day, the long-awaited structure, would be opened for classes of the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism and would facilitate the rise of Georgia journalistic superiority in the United States.”

Over the following 50 years, the building, much like the profession of journalism, adapted with the times. It’s seen the installation of elevators, the renovation of labs and the coming and going of many generations of successful communications professionals.

Though the small changes have amounted to a big difference in the building over the years, none have been able to garner the excitement that the brand-new Journalism hub brought to students in 1969.

The construction didn’t just affect Grady students. The Journalism building was completed in conjunction with the Psychology building and the two Instructional Plaza auditoriums. Additionally, the top three floors of the Journalism building held general classrooms that would hold classes for degree programs from other University of Georgia colleges, as noted in the September 1969 edition of The G.S.P.A. Bulletin.

The year the building opened, some of its most notable features were the state-of-the-art television and radio studios, film processing labs and graphics equipment.

The Drewry Room (top) in the 1980s, and the Peyton Anderson Forum (bottom) in 2018.

In the late-1960s, brick buildings with very few windows were considered modern, according to the book “Centennial” by E. Culpepper Clark, dean emeritus of Grady College.

Charles Davis, Grady’s current dean, remembers the building in the few years after it was built, when he was around 6 years old and would visit with his friend, Kenneth Russell, the son of the Tom Russell, another dean emeritus of Grady College. His strongest memories are of the freshly waxed linoleum floors on which he and Kenneth would slide down for fun during the summer months.

By the early-1980s, the sparkle of new construction had dulled, and students began giving different parts of the building less-than-favorable nicknames. The Drewry Room, which was located in the current location of the Peyton Anderson Forum, was called the “Dreary Room” by some students.

During this same period, the elevators and staircases were added to the exterior of the building, making the upper floors accessible for disabled students. The indoor staircases are notorious in their own right, as they’ve confused many a new Grady student on the first day of classes.

The Journalism building was always located in a great area, as it overlooks Sanford Stadium. However, in 1983 the value of Grady’s on-campus real estate grew even more as the Tate Student Center was opened up just across Sanford Drive.

Twenty years later, in 2003, Grady’s home at the heart of campus was solidified as the Miller Learning Center was completed right next to the student center.

In 2010, the outdated brick lining the second floor of the building was replaced with floor to ceiling windows, modernizing the building and adding much-need natural light to student workspaces.

Five years later, in time for Grady’s Centennial celebration, the Drewry Room was replaced by the Peyton Anderson Forum, known as the PAF, and the PAF conference room, giving students an open space to work and serves as a great location for club meetings, Grady events and other special occasions.

As for the future of the building, Dean Davis has a big vision. His biggest desire is to make it mimic the environments students will be working in when they graduate, meaning state-of-the-art labs, studios and newsrooms.

  • Broadcast technology in the early 1980s.
“There are never-ending plans for the building in the coming years,” Davis said.

As for concrete plans, in May of 2020 the first floor will begin to undergo major changes to update studio space. Less visibly, the HVAC system is also getting updated, meaning the building will be more temperature controlled in the future.

Further down the road, Dean Davis hopes to expand into the fifth floor of the building and renovate it in the process.

Great changes have happened and will continue to happen all over the building, from the fourth floor to Studio 100 on the first. But one thing has never changed is the love students and faculty have for their on-campus home in the Journalism building.