SOJ Insider | J-week 2008 Students

Student planning, involvement highlight J-Week events

By Mark Palangio

For Journalism Week 2008, “New Media. New Democracy,” the School of Journalism reached out to SOJ students to get their input and involvement in planning the annual week, which recognizes new trends and celebrates best practices in journalism and mass communications.

The School’s student organizations participated in a variety of activities.

Logo Design

Under the direction of advertising instructor Cathy Mezera, Advertising Club members designed the red-white-and-blue logo for the annual event. The logo was used in all Journalism Week promotional materials. Advertising seniors Keri Sams, Coley Chacos and Bryce Post and junior Mallory Rhodes helped in the design process. Sams was responsible for creating the final design.

“The design needed to be versatile enough to be printed on posters, stickers, banners and other materials,” said Sams. “We got together and brainstormed. We worked very well together as a team. I’m very grateful for being recognized. It’s a great honor.”

Ad Design Competition

The Advertising Club also sponsored an ad design competition open to all students in the School of Journalism.

Students were asked to create a poster that would encourage young people to vote and to get involved in the political process. Students from all SOJ programs participated.

Entries were displayed in Martin Hall, and SOJ students were invited to vote – along with a panel of professional judges – on the best entry.

The “Choose a Party for Life” design by Mark Donohue, a sophomore pre-journalism major; Renee Motto, a sophomore pre-journalism major; and Jordan Parsons, a senior advertising major, was selected as the competition winner. The team received a prize of $250.

“We put a lot of work into the project and were so relieved when it was finally complete,” said Parsons. “We were so excited when we heard that we had won the competition.”

Essay Competition

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) student organization sponsored an essay competition, also open to all SOJ students.

Participants were asked to write a 500- to 700-word essay explaining how new media (blogs, social networking, user-generated websites, etc.) encourage young people to vote and what new media could do better.

“This is such a pivotal and exciting election,” said Kellen Henry, SPJ vice president and news-editorial senior. “I think this contest was a great way for students to explore how the candidates are using new methods of communication and how well these tools reach voters.”

Brittany Swisher, a broadcast news senior, won the competition and the $250 prize with her essay titled, “How YouTube and other New Media Impact Young Voters.”

Student Debate

Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) planned and hosted a student debate between WVU’s Young Democrats and College Republicans, who debated about such topics as the economy, the environment, the Iraq War and health care.

In advance of the debate, “Student Voices: A Campus Debate About the Candidates,” PRSSA members surveyed students across campus to compile a list of the issues that were most important to them.

The debate was moderated by SPJ members Erin Murray, a sophomore broadcast news major, and Colin Booth, a pre-journalism major. Murray was recently elected to serve as president of the organization next year.

More than 100 students turned out to watch the event in Brooks Hall.

“Many times in class we are told what to do or what should be done,”said Nicole Riggleman, a public relations major who helped plan the event. “With this project, I had to actually apply all of that knowledge to a community-wide event. I feel like I learned so much during every step of the process.”


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