2021 in Review: Service & Partnerships

Editor’s Note: This is part of our  five-part series highlighting stories produced by Grady College in 2021. The features includes three stories in each of the following subjects:
  • Student Successes
  • Faculty Honors
  • College Headlines
  • Research & Grants
  • Service & Partnerships
This is not intended to be a comprehensive list, but instead highlight a sample of just a few of the more than 210 stories about accomplishments by our students, faculty/staff and alumni.
We invite you to visit our Grady College News page for a full list of features posted in 2021. 

Concluding our Year in Review is a look at the incredible community partners we have connected with this year. Community service and outreach is a pillar of our education and we are delighted to help so many in our community through news coverage of Northeast Georgia through Grady NewSource reporting, helping business message and market themselves through TalkingDog Agency and campaigns classes and providing our skills through these new partners:

Kaiser Health News Southern Bureau: The Health and Medical Journalism graduate program at Grady College joined forces with Kaiser Health News on a new initiative this fall to boost health care coverage in the south. Kaiser Health News received $2.3 million from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support the creation of a Southern Bureau, and our students will be provided experiential learning opportunities like assistantships and fellowships, real-time feedback on stories and assignments and the chance to publish in a national newsroom. The goal of the new bureau is to produce more journalism focusing on health, race, equity and poverty in the region.

Bitter Southerner: In August we announced that we were forming a partnership with the Bitter Southerner, one of the most well-respected narrative journalism platforms in the southeast. In this pairing to promote great storytelling, Bitter Southerner editorial staff will enroll in our low-residency MFA program in Narrative Nonfiction, while undergraduate students will team with Bitter Southerner staff on podcast productions and exclusive internships. Stories from MFA students will be shared in online and print editions of The Bitter Southerner. Valerie Boyd, the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence at Grady College, directs the MFA Narrative Nonfiction program and serves as a senior consulting editor at The Bitter Southerner.

The Oglethorpe Echo: When alumnus Dink NeSmith (ABJ ’70) heard the community newspaper was closing its doors, he jumped into action. His first call was to Dean Charles Davis to see if he could help. A few weeks later, a new non-profit organization, The Oglethorpe Echo Legacy Inc., was created and seven student journalists under the guidance of managing editor Andy Johnston, were covering the crime, sports, education and government beats. This new model of collaboration between community news organizations and journalism schools holds a lot of hope for preventing news desserts while providing valuable experience for students, according to write-ups about the program by media outlets like Poynter and Editor & Publisher.

Athena Studios donates space to Grady College, partners with Talking Dog

Athena Studios, a new $60 million sound stage development in Athens, Georgia, is set to have a huge impact not only on film production in Georgia but also on Grady College.

Specifically, the developer of Athena Studios, Reynolds Development, enlisted the help of Talking Dog Agency, a student-run advertising and public relations agency, to oversee its ground-breaking announcement and marketing efforts. A student-team handled all the announcement materials, media relations, graphics and photography when the studio broke ground on Nov. 16, 2021.

When the studio opens in 2022, it will also donate one of its studios for exclusive use to Grady students in the Department of Entertainment and Media Studies for five years. The studio space will be a custom-built, 14,600-square-foot sound stage for film and television production. Features include a 28-foot ceiling and double-truck doors allowing for a vehicle as large as a semi-truck to deliver sets and equipment to the studio.

“When you talk about experiential learning, rarely do you gain access to a site that replicates the working environment of film and television professionals,” said Charles Davis, dean of Grady College. “This opens enormous possibilities for the Entertainment & Media Studies department, and we are grateful for this special opportunity given to our students by Athena Studios.”

The Athena Studios space will be used by undergraduate students and will complement the recent renovation of studio space on the first floor of Grady College designed for graduate students in the MFA in Film, Television and Digital Media program. The MFA students move their studies to Fayetteville, Georgia, and to Trilith and Georgia Film Academy studios during their second year of studies.

Having the accessibility from campus to a studio of this size will be a huge benefit to undergraduate students, as well as Georgia Film Academy, which is expected to use the space in partnership with Grady College.

Athena Studios is a partnership between Athens-based commercial real estate development and brokerage firm Reynolds Capital and local developer Tim Burgess.

Athens Studios Groundbreaking
Those breaking ground on the new Athena Studios project included (from left): Charles Davis, dean of Grady College; Lee Thomas (ABJ ’87), deputy commissioner of the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office, a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development; John Raulet, vice president of Raulet Property Partners; Joel Harber, president of Reynolds Capital and CEO of Athena Studios; and Jeff Stepakoff, executive director of the Georgia Film Academy.

Once completed, the 45-acre campus located in Clarke County will feature more than 350,000 square feet of purpose-built space for film and television production providing multiple sound stages, support buildings, production offices and a state-of-the-art educational facility.

“Making sure we plan and deliver a best-in-class project has been a priority from the very beginning, and we are excited to be able to offer one of the best purpose-built soundstage campuses in Georgia utilizing the latest construction methods and technology,” said Joel Harber, president of Reynolds Capital and CEO of Athena Studios.

As a native Athenian and UGA alumnus with a successful track record in commercial real estate development, Harber wanted to help bring this industry to Athens, not just for one feature film but indefinitely.

“Watching such tremendous growth in the film industry in Georgia over the last eight years has been great, but we haven’t really seen productions filming in Athens. Not having a proper sound stage space has really kept our area from realizing its full potential,” Harber said. “By developing a first-class soundstage campus and providing educational space for the University of Georgia and the Georgia Film Academy, Athena Studios will not only help put Athens on the map for film and television production, but also help grow the talent ecosystem in Georgia in a great city near its flagship university.”

Often content is developed in Hollywood, filmed in Georgia, then shipped back to California for post-production work. Having both creators and the labor force required to produce content are key pieces of the puzzle.

“Athena Studios will not only provide a purpose-built film campus for productions to bring exciting new content to life, but it will also provide space to help educate and train the next generation of film professionals. Hopefully over time more components of the industry like development and post-production will grow in Georgia and Athens specifically making it more than just a great location to film,” Harber said.

Construction on the project started earlier this month and the first phase is scheduled for completion in November 2022.

Cox Institute launches 2nd year of Digital Natives Program

Digital Natives, part of the Cox Institute of Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership’s Journalism Innovation Lab, is launching its second year of bringing UGA journalism students with digital news expertise into Georgia newsrooms for one week to help local journalists accomplish specific digital goals.

For this 2022 cohort, the Georgia Press Education Foundation has joined forces with the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, thanks to a generous gift from Richard T. and Deborah H. Griffiths, to expand the impact to 15 media organization/student pairs.

The following is a list of students and newsrooms in the state of Georgia who will be served by this program this year:

  • Alex Anteau — The Oglethorpe Echo, Oglethorpe County
  • Lily Baldwin — The Hartwell Sun, Hartwell
  • Michael Banks — The Newnan Times-Herald, Newnan
  • Hunter Beasley — Rome Radio Partners, LLC, Rome
  • Haley Chambers — The Oconee Enterprise, Oconee County
  • Mikaela Cohen — The Northeast Georgian, Cornelia
  • Liset Cruz — WTOC, Savannah
  • Sarah Donehoo — The McDuffie Progress, Thomson
  • Carlie Gambino — No Walls TV, Tucker
  • Olivia Gauthier — WTOC, Savannah
  • Troyce Grant — The Post Searchligh, Bainbridge
  • Allyn Haynes — Cordele Newsmedia, LLC, Cordele
  • Laura Lenz — Jacobs Media Group (WDUN/WGGA/AccessWDUN.com), Gainesville
  • Erin Kenney — The Dallas New Era, Dallas
  • Breianna Smith — WRBL News 3, Columbus

The digital transition continues to be challenging for community journalism for reasons ranging from funding to time to expertise. Digital Natives will help bridge this gap by allowing digitally savvy journalism majors to research and prepare training for newsroom staffs regarding a variety of digital tasks like optimizing social media, creating digital content on various platforms, and experimenting with new technologies, as well as audience engagement, help with disinformation, and Trusting News concepts. Students will also benefit from learning from these organizations by spending a week in a working newsroom environment.

The program for 2021-2022 will run on site from Jan. 3-7, 2022, during the last week of UGA’s winter break. Georgia news organizations were chosen through an application process, and two organizations are returning from the 2021 program, which is one of the goals of this endeavor to build long-term and mutually beneficial relationships with Georgia news organizations. The students will receive $1,000 stipend for their preparation and weeklong training; food, travel and lodging will also be covered.

The director of Digital Natives, Dr. Amanda Bright, is also a faculty member at the College of Journalism and Mass Communication at UGA and will train the students before they start their week in the Georgia newsrooms.

“We were thrilled that we can be physically on site in the newsrooms for this second year of Digital Natives,” Bright said. “And, thanks to the generous support of Richard T. and Deborah H. Griffiths, we are nearly doubling the impact of the students’ digital knowledge for newspapers, radio stations and TV stations across the state of Georgia.”

For more information, contact: Dr. Amanda Bright, amanda.bright@uga.edu.

Clarke County students visit UGA, explore Grady College

Rick Dunn excitedly turns to a group of nearly 15 Athens-Clarke County students at the conclusion of a short introductory film about Grady College narrated by college Dean Charles Davis.

“Dean Davis is a Clarke Central grad,” Dunn says with pride in his voice.

The message delivered by Dunn and emphasized throughout the students’ visit to the University of Georgia campus on Oct. 6 was clear: Education that begins at Clarke County schools can flourish into more possibilities and opportunities at the University of Georgia.

Rick Dunn (ABJ ’93, left), CEO and executive producer of MEU Radio Athens, talks with two of his students, Kaden Monterio (center) and Freddrell Green, during their tour of Grady College.

Dunn, who earned a journalism degree from UGA in 1993, is CEO and executive producer of MEU Radio Athens, a program he created in 2017. The program introduces radio and broadcasting skills to fifth- to 12th-grade students and encourages them to graduate from high school.

“I would like to help them navigate through hard times into a life that is much more productive,” Dunn said.

Dunn’s students produce programming for an internet radio station including podcasts and sports broadcasts, as well as projects like school announcements. Dunn estimates about 70% of the alumni from his program graduate from college with a degree in mass communications.

Students experience UGA

After meeting with Alison McCullick, director of community relations at the university, Dunn and McCullick got an idea. The pair connected with Stephanie Moreno, the scholastic outreach coordinator at Grady College, and Josh Podvin, assistant director for community partnerships with UGA Public Service and Outreach, to plan a tour for CCSD students. The students’ visit to UGA would include talks from current students, alumni and professionals in the journalism and broadcasting fields and explore the importance of higher education and career possibilities.

Alexia Ridley, an anchor for WUGA radio, spoke to the students during the campus experience. She began her talk by saying she was familiar with the students’ work with MEU Radio, and they were already ahead of where she was when she attended college.

“I can’t believe that you guys do what you do … it’s really good,” said Ridley. “College will enhance what you already have.”

Students from WUOG radio and freelance podcasters Dayne Young and Kim Landrum also spoke about broadcasting, while Helen Mahaney provided an overview of the college.

DonA Traylor-Askew, a journalism and sports media certificate student, and Carlo Finlay, assistant director of the Carmical Sports Media Institute, talk with the CCSD students about careers in sports media.

Cemya Stone, a freshman at Clarke Central and audio engineer for MEU, was inspired after hearing from UGA students like DonA Traylor-Askew, a fourth-year journalism major. Traylor-Askew, who is also earning a certificate from the Carmical Sports Media Institute, talked about her experience managing social media accounts for some of Clarke Central’s sports teams last fall. She also shared about her involvement in producing “The First Five,” a documentary about the first Black UGA football players, three of whom are Clarke Central alumni.

“It was really fulfilling to hear from students giving us their perspective,” Stone said. “They aren’t too much older than we are, and we are going to be there in a few years. If they can do it, we can do it, too. We just need a little bit of insight.”

Makenna Mincey, a junior from Clarke Central who is considering a career in communications, said she had never been to Grady College.

Cemya Stone (left) and Makenna Mincey, two Clarke Central High School students, share a laugh between sessions at the Grady College.

“I think the biggest lesson I learned is to appreciate the opportunity that I have been given,” Mincey said. “It also taught me that if I want to go to the next level, I need to continue to build and grow.”

A collaborative effort

The University of Georgia participates in more than 50 partnerships with Clarke County schools, and Dunn wants to expand those opportunities. Over the past few months, he has worked with David Hazinski, a Grady College professor emeritus, to design a small television studio where his students can broadcast news shows. Dunn left the visit with several new ideas and a faculty introduction to Carlo Finlay, who he connected with about potential partnerships between Grady College students and CCSD students.

Tours like this one give students perspective and teach them to focus, according to Tymisha Creightney, a sixth-grade teacher at Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School who also serves on the MEU board.

Creightney said the tour was beneficial to many of Dunn’s students who have not seen the university from an academic perspective.

“The thing I appreciated the most about today is that it showed our kids that people who look like them are in this capacity and what they are doing is working,” Creightney said. “Our students who are interested in journalism saw that they could get there.”

The tour concluded with lunch at Bolton Dining Commons, providing the students a chance to mingle with college students.

“I like that UGA is [in] the heart of Athens and that they have partnered with us,” Creightney concluded. “Even if the students don’t attend UGA, they get a taste of what college is like beyond just football. I want to thank the University of Georgia for looking out for our kids and being leaders in the community.”

Kayla Walker, a student at Burney Harris Lyons Middle School, enjoys lunch at Bolton Dining Commons after the presentations.

Photojournalism students capture meaning of Georgia National Fair

Thirteen photojournalism students recently sprawled across the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agriculture Center. They, under the guidance of senior lecturer Mark Johnson, were tasked with the same purpose as the six previous years of student visits to the Georgia National Fair: Don’t show what the fair looks like, show what it means.

The annual visit to capture the meaning of the Fair festivities began in 2014.

“The goal of the workshop is to give the students an immersive experience in visual storytelling and allow them to hear different voices on how to accomplish that,” Johnson said.

Fellow journalism faculty members Dodie Cantrell and Kyser Lough joined in on the 2021 workshop. Alumni Allison Carter (ABJ ’09) and Andrea Briscoe (ABJ ’12) also went to serve as coaches. Visiting professionals from around the region also accompany the students and faculty. Mike Haskey from the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer and Billy Weeks, an independent photojournalist and professor at University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, attended and are regular visiting professionals every year.

Here is a sample of photos taken on Saturday, October 9, 2021.

  • Photo: Abigail Vanderpoel

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution highlighted the students’ work from the 2021 workshop.

The Bitter Southerner recently published an online gallery from the first six events. You can view it here.


New agency manager benefits Talking Dog

There is a new top dog at Talking Dog.

Mary Ellen Barto joined the staff at Grady College as the inaugural agency manager for Talking Dog, the student-led advertising and public relations agency.

Barto, a 30-year veteran of agency and corporate marketing, will provide professional guidance for the students, network with current and future clients and help provide operational  consistency.

Talking Dog agency provides students experiential learning opportunities in a full range of advertising and public relations disciplines including market research, strategy, copy writing, website design, messaging and creative to for-profit and not-for-profit clients.

“We created Talking Dog as an integrated ad and PR agency in 2017 with the dream of eventually having a full-time professional manager,” said Bryan Reber, the C. Richard Yarbrough Professor of Crisis Communication Leadership and head of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations.  “We feel so fortunate to have found someone like Mary Ellen.  She has agency and brand experience, so can mentor students whatever their career goals may be.”

Prior to this role, Barto worked for Luckie & Co, establishing a Media Center of Excellence within the agency.  She also spent 13 years as Vice President of Brand Media and Field Marketing at Arby’s Restaurant Group, where she oversaw strategic media planning and field marketing for the company, managed multiple agency relationships, and was part of the marketing leadership team responsible for the brand’s revitalization. Mary Ellen has also held senior positions in some of the most respected advertising agencies, including Ogilvy & Mather/Mindshare (New York and Atlanta) and BBDO/OMD (Atlanta).

Barto has worked with Talking Dog students over the past few years through her role at Luckie & Co. and she was intrigued about the opportunity to assume this new role where she could mentor students and help them launch their careers.

“I am thrilled to be here and excited about the opportunities within Talking Dog,” Barto said. “I love that UGA has an experiential learning program and I look forward to contributing. I have enjoyed my past work and helping to guide and inspire the students. There are so many opportunities to water the next generation.”

Barto emphasized that even with her new role, Talking Dog will continue to be student-led.

“I see my role as connecting to what’s happening in classrooms to the work in the agency,” Barto continued. “These students are so bright and capable and Talking Dog is absolutely ripe for more opportunities.”

Talking Dog currently serves a variety of local and national clients, and looks to expand its client base in the future. They have worked with clients as diverse as local restaurants and non-profits to Coca-Cola and Porsche.

Carolyn Caudell Tieger (ABJ ’69) worked alongside Reber to bring the new agency manager position to reality.

“The role that Mary Ellen will play is crucial in taking Talking Dog to the next level,” said Tieger, who is instrumental in the Public Affairs Communications certificate program, as well. “It’s all about taking Talking Dog to new heights in terms of quality client service and reputation.”

In addition to Tieger, Brad MacAfee, founder and CEO of Mission + Cause, and John Gardner, president of Luckie & Co., were key in providing encouragement and support.

“At Luckie one of our most valued relationships is with the University of Georgia Grady College and its amazing Talking Dog student agency,” Gardner said. “As one of the initial external supporters of this group we have seen firsthand their talent at UGA, in our business and for our clients.  This relationship will be taken to the next level with Mary Ellen’s addition as she brings unmatched industry experience with a passion for teaching and mentoring our next generation of impact players.”

Nearly 80 students are currently involved with Talking Dog in a variety of roles including account executives, art directors, new business development, communications and PR specialists, copywriters, media specialists, member relations and recruitment.

See the Talking Dog website for more details.


Journalism students to play integral role in saving community newspaper

Grady College journalists are teaming with one of their alums to rescue a 148-year-old weekly newspaper in nearby Oglethorpe County with the help of an innovative experiential learning project.

Within hours of hearing that the county newspaper, the Oglethorpe Echo, was announcing its final publication, Dink NeSmith (ABJ ’70) created a plan to save the newspaper. The centerpiece of the plan includes senior journalism students at Grady College, who will learn in a working community newsroom.

“We’re honored and excited to work with a great team to save the Oglethorpe Echo,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. “This is an incredible hands-on learning opportunity for our students, and it means a great deal to us to keep a 148-year tradition moving forward.”

The plan was created when Echo publisher Ralph Maxwell announced that he was ceasing publication due to health issues. NeSmith quickly put a plan in place to save the paper and transition The Echo into a non-profit organization, The Oglethorpe Echo Legacy Inc. The Maxwell family is donating the paper to the non-profit. Integral to that plan is the opportunity for Grady College journalism students to design, report, write and take photographs for the newspaper.

“The Oglethorpe Echo has been the conscience and soul of the county for 148 years and we cannot let that legacy go away,” said NeSmith, an Oglethorpe County resident and co-owner of Community Newspapers, Inc. which publishes 25 community newspapers in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. “I threw my heart in and my wallet followed.”

NeSmith emphasized that this is a personal project and not a CNI project. NeSmith will serve as the initial chairman of the organization and members of the Oglethorpe community and others will serve on the board. A youth board of directors will also be established.

The Oglethorpe Echo has been in the Maxwell family since 1956 when Ralph’s father bought the paper after retiring from the Navy. Maxwell grew up hand-setting type and writing stories. He is grateful the newspaper will continue and thinks this plan is the best outcome.

“I am very pleased that Dink and the journalism school and Dr. Davis are trying to pull this together,” Maxwell said. “They have the knowledge and experience and connections to get it done. I think Oglethorpe County needs a good newspaper. Every  community needs a good newspaper and this is in the best interest of everyone involved.”

Working with the students at Grady College was a natural choice, NeSmith said.

“When you look for writing talent, you just look fifteen miles up the road to Grady College,” NeSmith, a 1970 graduate of the UGA journalism program, said. “Students will get real-life experience and a chance to hone wordsmithing skills to better prepare them for wherever they land after graduation.”

Davis agrees: “It’s been about a month since Dink first mentioned this to me, and from the first call, we were enthusiastic about the possibilities of having our students doing community journalism. Lexington is close enough that they can get out in the community and get their hands dirty–it’s so important that they learn journalism by doing journalism.”

Beginning this month, Andy Johnston (ABJ ’88, MA ’21) will assume the role of managing editor, mentoring the students in planning, writing and editing.  Johnston served more than 30 years as a writer and editor of local newspapers, including the Athens Banner-Herald where he was sports editor from 2003 to 2007. He also served as editorial adviser for The Red & Black in 2018 and as a sports adviser from 2019 to 2020. He is currently a part-time journalism instructor at Grady College.

For the first few months, a team of seven paid student interns will work with Johnston and NeSmith to fulfill a number of roles from city and county government reporters to sportswriters, copy editors and photojournalists.

Starting next semester, the paper will be staffed by up to 20 senior journalism students taking a capstone journalism class, similar to Grady Newsource for broadcast journalism.

Janice Hume, the Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for Excellence in Journalism and head of the Department of Journalism, appreciates the unique collaboration this plan offers.

“We are so excited to get going on this project,” Hume said. “I want to thank in advance the folks in Oglethorpe County who will help our journalism students learn. When you agree to an interview, or provide information to a student reporter, you become an educator as well as a source. When you offer feedback, you push these UGA journalists to get better and better.”

Johnston continues explaining this win-win scenario for students and the community.

“This is a great opportunity for the students where they will get practical, hands-on experience, but it is also helps the community,” Johnston said. “We don’t want this paper to die and become a news desert where people don’t have a way to know what’s going on in their own  community.”

Johnston looks forward to helping students build on their journalism skills while also continuing to build on the tradition of community journalism in Oglethorpe County.

“We aren’t here to do a makeover of the paper,” Johnston said. “We are here to provide journalism to this county in the same way that the paper has provided for generations and that readers are used to seeing about people and events in their community.”

NeSmith agrees.

“This is more about community spirit and we will be 100% local to residents of Oglethorpe County,” NeSmith continued.

Support from the community in terms of subscriptions and advertising will be important to its success. The paper will continue relying on written and photo submissions from local residents as well. NeSmith envisions expanding services in the future like e-editions of the paper and video.

“We will leapfrog as we can to provide needs and services that today’s readers expect,” NeSmith said.

NeSmith admits the process will probably “scrape our knees” as the new model gets up to speed, but he is energized about the possibilities and hopes this will serve as a model for other community papers.

Despite the unchartered territory, NeSmith makes this one promise: “We are all going to learn something.”

More details about this innovative plan:

Ahn leads VR project with grant from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association

Sun Joo “Grace” Ahn and a team of researchers are recipients of a nearly $500,000 grant funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

The grant will fund a project called “Salient, Interactive, Relevant, Confidence, and Action (SIRCA): Using Virtual Reality Storm Surge Simulations to Increase Risk Perception and Prevention Behaviors.”

The project uses VR to better communicate and educate the risks of storm surge and climate change among coastal residents of Georgia and South Carolina.

“The problem of climate change and sea level rise is complex,” said Ahn, director of the Games and Virtual Environments Lab (GAVEL) at Grady College. “We need to be cognizant of the fact we are trying to solve a complicated issue and help communicate these safe practices with different resources and needs.”

The new grant proposal focuses on two areas: 1. the experience of storm surge and mitigation behaviors and 2. creating a cross-platform experience that can be used with both headsets as well as a two-dimensional experience, like a kiosk at a museum, to reach the largest number of people.

Viewers, for example, may go through a simulation where they see their home flooded and experience personal risk through a storm surge. Different solutions users could have taken to mitigate the damage ahead of time are presented, like buying flood insurance, elevating their house and evacuating. The exercise is then repeated to show the effect of the viewer’s decision.

This new project is an extension of a prototype developed a few years ago that used VR to demonstrate the extent of damage to a home hit by a hurricane. The prototype was funded through a 2017 UGA Presidential Interdisciplinary Seed Grant.

A variety of platforms will be developed for this storm surge program to enable different audiences to learn in a variety of settings.

Ahn explains that organizations like NOAA are looking for the most effective ways to communicate the dangers of severe weather, and VR has been successful in converting messages to action. This is one of the first research grants like this from the NOAA Weather Program Office.

Studies show that messages delivered through a VR immersive experience have a longer lasting impact versus messages delivered by video or written communication.

The UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant is a partner in this research along with Clemson University and the National Weather Service South Carolina office.

Jill Gambill, a coastal resilience specialist with the UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, explained this will be an important step in communicating story surge risks brought on by hurricanes and this information is expected to be used by the Weather Service, Department of Natural Resources and emergency managers, among others.

“It can be difficult to estimate the risks and this can be helpful in understanding the impact and lesson the threat to their homes and to their families,” Gambill said. “It’s exciting to be working with this really cool product that will help people be safer.”

Another important part of this project is offering options that are available to diverse circumstances.

“We know options like elevating a house aren’t available to everyone and we want to make sure we are cognizant of presenting a range of recommendations to mitigate risk,” Gambill said.

The team will be working with organizations like the National Estaurine Research Reserve and Harambee House, an environmental justice group in Savannah, to ensure that the solutions meet the needs of communities.

The simulations will be paired with training modules through workshops and outreach, as well as follow-up surveys over time to determine if any actions were taken by those who experienced the VR education.

One of the most important benefits of VR is its impact in translational science, or taking scientific findings and communicating them to audiences so they can make informed decisions.

“Projects like this provide a huge opportunity for communication scholars to address critical social issues like climate change and directly impact the communities around us through communication science,” Ahn said.

The research is expected take place over two years.

Register now for Speakers Bureau

Visit the Speakers Bureau registration form to tell us about your interests.

Reassurance, encouragement, advice and support are what our students are most in need of right now and one way alumni and friends can help is by getting involved through our Speakers Bureau.

Grady College has created a Speakers Bureau and is asking alumni and friends to register to be matched to talk with groups of students virtually. Opportunities exist to address industry-specific clubs, classes and small groups.

“Our students really benefit from hearing from professionals who have paved the way before them and this is a great way for our alumni to give back,” said Diane Murray, director of alumni and outreach. “In addition to alumni, we have a lot of friends and parents of students who are in the industries we serve. We hope anyone who can provide experiential insight or advice will be willing to help.”

The registration form is brief and will provide a snap-shot of the applicant’s background so the college can best match skill sets with the needs of student groups.

Murray expects most of these conversations with students to take place via Zoom calls this academic year, and that local professionals could talk with students in person in 2021.

Questions? Email Diane Murray at murrayd@uga.edu.

Grady College to host 22nd annual Management Seminar for College News Editors

More than 50 college journalists from across the U.S. will learn leadership, management and content development skills at Grady College July 23-28, 2017, during the 22nd annual Management Seminar for College News Editors (MSCNE).

Sponsored by the Cox Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership and directed by Nsenga Burton, the seminar will be led by nearly 20 educators and industry professionals. The late Conrad Fink started the program in 1996 to better prepare campus news editors for top management positions at their news organizations.

Featured presenters this year include: Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center; Butch Ward, senior faculty at The Poynter Institute; Akili Ramsess, executive director of the National Press Photographers Association; Selwyn Crawford (ABJ ’81), team leader/special writer for The Dallas Morning News; Mark Fomil, mobile content specialist at The Weather Channel; Kim Wilson, founder & CEO of Social News Desk; and photojournalist Billy Weeks, among others.

On Wednesday, the group will travel to Atlanta and meet with reporters, editors and producers at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in the morning and at CNN in the afternoon.  Rodney Thrash, AJC’s Atlanta Now coach, and Paul Crum, CNN’s vice president of U.S. news operations, will host and help lead these sessions.

On Thursday afternoon, student editors will gain hands-on multimedia experience and participate in a simulated news event that involves UGA public safety and communications officials.

Pictures will be added throughout the week to UGA Grady’s Flickr account. Follow along on social media with #MSCNE17.