EIU CMN/Broadcasting Students Win Awards!

October 19, 2016


(Pictured: Katlyn Quill and Jesse Guinn)

Two EIU Communication Studies students were recognized Friday in a statewide contest for student broadcasters.  The Illinois Broadcasters Association held the awards ceremony for its Student Silver Dome Awards.  EIU students recognized include:

  • Katlyn Quill (2016 graduate) – 2nd place for Best Radio Longform Programming for her news report on the Fund EIU Rally in February
  • Lacey Clifton – 2nd place for Best TV Weathercast
  • Jesse Guinn – 3rd place for Best TV Weathercast
  • WEIU News Watch – 3rd place for Best TV Newscast

The awards were presented at the annual IBA-U Student Broadcasting Conference at Illinois State University in Normal.  Nine students from Eastern attended the conference.

CMN Student Wins Regional Student Emmy Award

October 5, 2016


Jesse Guinn has been awarded a Regional Student Emmy Award for his work as an on-air talent in Weather Forecasting and News Anchoring at WEIU-TV.

Jesse received the award last Saturday at the Mid-America Emmy Awards in Branson, Missouri.

Jesse is a senior from New Castle, Indiana and is a double major in Communication Studies and Geography, with a minor in Broadcast Meteorology.

Also, the WEIU-TV student produced nightly newscast News Watch received an Honorable Mention for Best Student Newscast in the Mid-America Region.

CMN Faculty and Alumni Attend State Conference

October 4, 2016

On September 22, 23, and 24, EIU Faculty member Dr. Rich Jones, current MA candidate Jamie Alexander, and several EIU alumni (Clinton Brown, Emily Vajjala, and Alyssa Obradovich) presented at the Illinois Communication and Theatre Association’s annual convention in Lisle, IL.

Jones, Brown, and Obradovich also serve on the Board of Directors for ICTA. Dr. Jones is in his fourth year as the Higher Education Chair. Clinton Brown (BA 2013, MA 2015) is the Student Representative. Alyssa Obradovich (BA 2008, MA 2011) is the Higher Education PR/Membership Representative.


Emily Vajjala (BA 2010, MA 2014) received the L.E. Norton Outstanding Higher Education Speech Student Award. Her MA advisor, Rich Jones, nominated her for the award and presented it to her.



Jones, Clinton, Obradovich, and Vajjala presented on the panel titled: Mentor/Mentee Fresh! Establishing and Evolving Mentor Relationships in Higher Education.

Obradovich presented on a panel titled: The First Day of Class: Creating a Climate for Community Learning.

Jones presented on a panel titled: Teaching Critical Thinking Across the Discipline.


CMN Hosts Debate Watch 2016

September 26, 2016

debate-watch-2016-email-jpgCMN hosted a “Debate Watch” event for the first presidential debate.

Lumpkin Hall Auditorium was filled and overflow classrooms were used to accommodate extra students.



Dr. Marita Gronnvoll, Dr. Teresa Maria Linda Scholz, and Sara Gronstal (all CMN faculty) organized the event.

Student groups were also present to help register attendees to vote.


The Department of Communication Studies Launches New Public Relations Major

September 21, 2016


The Department of Communication Studies at Eastern Illinois University is launching a new Public Relations new major starting in the fall of 2016. Information about the new major can be found here: https://www.eiu.edu/commstudies/PublicRelations.php.

Conversations over the new major began in the spring of 2012 because of duplicate PR programs in both journalism and communication studies. The new PR major adopts a student-centered approach based on the national recommendations and considerations of the Commission on Public Relations Education, which includes members from professional organizations, public relations businesses, and leading public relations scholars. Once the proposal was agreed upon in principal by journalism and communication studies, the approval process moved quite swiftly through the university curriculum committees, the board of trustees, and ultimately the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

There will be high demand for the major in the coming years. Public relations is one of the fastest growing fields in the United States. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that job opportunities as Public Relations Specialists will grow by 12% between 2012-2022. In addition, the Department of Labor indicates there will be significant growth of Public Relations Managers (13%), Event Planners (33%), Promotions Managers (12%), and Market Research Analysts (32%) during the same time period. In 2015 U.S. News and World Report ranked Public Relations Specialist as 75th on its Best Jobs list, ranked it as the Best Creative Job, and boasted about its 0.2% unemployment rate[1].

The new major focuses on teaching students about important trends contemporary public relations. The curriculum is designed to provide a foundational experience in public relations through a balance of theory and practice. It provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in the profession and offers significant practical experiences that challenge and engage students in the practice of the profession. The course content focuses heavily on the strategic management of communication and building/maintaining mutually beneficial relationships between organizations/individuals and their stakeholders. For example, the new Public Relations Research, Evaluation, and Measurement course will help students understand the role of data in public relations today, how to collect it, and then what to do with it.

According to the PR faculty member Dr. Matt Gill, “Even though media has changed over the last twenty years, good writing is still at the heart of the public relations.” Instead of offering one writing class, the major offers a   new course titled Advanced Public Relations Writing. The new curriculum gives us the flexibility to teach advanced public relations writing techniques and provides space to focus more coursework on writing in specific contexts, such as social media or web content. Students also receive the added benefit of more time to improve and practice their writing.

Other exciting new courses include Public Relations Campaigns, which allows students to put together different aspects of public relations and experience what it is like to create and execute a coherent and cohesive campaign. The major also offers a capstone special topics course for students to explore topic areas and emerging issues in the field with considerably more depth than can be covered in other content courses.

In the fall the Communication Studies department will take control over The Agency, an on-campus, student run public relations firm that had been in the journalism department. Combined with EIU’s PRSSA chapter, The Agency will provide public relations majors another outlet for professional growth and practical experience.

[1] http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/public-relations-specialist

Submitted by Dr. Molly Niesen

Communication Studies goes to Ireland

September 7, 2016

irelandgroup2016The Department of Communication Studies at EIU hosted a study abroad trip to Ireland over the summer of 2016. AJ Walsh, faculty member in Communication Studies at EIU, included International Business Abroad with Jason Kight of the Lumpkin School of Business in her faculty-led Intercultural Communication Study Abroad program.

The group of 7 students and 2 faculty members spent 26 days in Ireland. The students visited Northern Ireland as well as the Republic of Ireland.  A major component of the trip was learning about how Irish history has shaped intercultural communication and communication practices in the region. For example, the students took a Bloody Sunday tour led by a former member of the IRA, who is now working to bring peace and reconciliation.  They also visited Corrymeela Reconciliation Center and learned about the negotiations between Northern Ireland and southern Ireland during “The Troubles” and the continuing efforts to improve communication between nations and cultures. A major component of the program involves having students interacting with the Irish and British peoples, exploring contemporary expressions of culture.

A.J. Walsh will lead another study abroad program this coming summer to the same locations.  According to Walsh, the experience of study abroad is indispensable for students because it is a “life-changing perspective-altering experience at a critical time in a college student’s life.”  Further, she notes that spending nearly a month living in another country isn’t something that students will likely be able to do after college.

Study Abroad trips like these offer students cultural awareness they can bring to their future beyond EIU. While the team of faculty members continues to try to make study abroad affordable, many students are only able to attend because of scholarships “Finding funding for students is always a challenge, and we help students turn over every rock” says Walsh.

Submitted by Dr. Molly Niesen

Annual Multimedia Contest Recognizes Excellence in Media Production

June 4, 2016

On May 2, the Department of Communication Studies awarded the winners of its annual multimedia contest.

The competition rewards excellence in the production of a variety of video productions (including documentary, news package, creative, and spot), audio production as well as web design.

Communication studies students submitted productions from coursework, membership in registered student organizations, internships (such as at EIU 360), and independent productions created especially for the event.

The competitive contest had 57 submissions this year and six full-time communication studies faculty judged the categories. The top three in each category were screened for the appreciative audience in the Coleman Auditorium.

The complete list of winners for each category with the top video for each embedded.

Video – Creative:
1. Dakota Pruemer: “James’ Dreams”

2. Dion McNeil – “Spaceship Elevator
3. Kyle Ruckert – “Gettysburg
4. Kris Wilcox – “Shooting on Set

Video – PSA / Commercial:
1. Matt Condon – “Free Education PSA”

2. Melissa Meiselman – “Healthy Lifestyles PSA
3. Blake Warman – “What Gets You Thinking

Tylen Elliot (www.tylenelliot.com)
2. Dion McNeil (www.damcneil.com)

TV News:
Lacey Clifton – “Firefighter Training”

2. Tori Stoll – “News Watch Promo
3. Jesse Guinn – “ISP Training

Video – Documentary:
Dakota Pruemer – “Grilled Cheese Please”

2. Tyler Yunk – “Cross Country Documentary
3. (tied) Greg Hayes – “A Conscious Art”  &  Kayla Myers – “Beyond the Blog

Radio – PSA / Commercial
Jesse Guinn – “Inyart Tire and Auto”

2. Justin Skare – “Z’s Music
3. James Bateman – “Hit-Mix Promo


Alt TV Screens Episode 8 to Capacity Crowd in Downtown Charleston

June 4, 2016

The Alternative Television and Film Club at EIU screened its eighth episode of original television in front of a capacity crowd at Top of the Roc in downtown Charleston on April 27.

While the upstairs portion of Roc’s Blackfront Restaurant has not been open to the public for the previous six months, they made an exception for Alt TV. The club has now aired all eight of their episodes there, and the crowd of EIU students, community members, and fans of the series has grown with each screening.


The cast and crew of Alt TV Episode 8 pose at Top of the Roc in downtown Charleston, Ill.

The video content of the club is truly independent and alternative as the members of the club create videos for the screening each semester outside of coursework and without external funding. The club works as a collective where members all contribute to the productions of each member.

The content of this screening was incredibly diverse. In addition to their trademark absurd comedy shorts, this episode included political drama, horror, and even an animated short.

In addition to the screening, the leadership of the club transitioned from Kris Wilcox to Ty Yunk, who

will join Dakota Pruemer as co-president of Alt TV. Wilcox, Alt TV’s only four year member, graduated the following week and accepted a position at WCIA in Champaign, IL.

Alt TV will return with Episode 9 during the last month of the Fall 2016 semester. For more information on the club go to https://www.facebook.com/ALTTV


Communication Studies Student Excellence Honored at Annual Ceremony

June 4, 2016

On April 10, the Department of Communication held its annual Scholarships and Awards ceremony honoring undergraduate and graduate student excellence.

While previous years have focused on the dozen annual awards presented by the Department of Communication Studies, the 2016 event moved to Lumpkin Auditorium and included recognizing Lambda Pi Eta, the EIU Speech Panthers and the Bock Research Competition winners.

The annual event began with Drs. Angie Jacobs and Rich Jones cording eight graduating members of the communication studies honor society, Lambda Pi Eta. Two current members of the organization then inducted seven new members into the society.

Lumpkin Hall

Next, Drs. Beth Gill and Rich Jones presented the annual scholarships and awards, many of which have been awarded for several decades and were established by former communication studies and speech communication faculty.

Dr. Jones, who was also a member on the Scholarship and Awards Committee, stated, “In April, the month of events and celebrations, this particular event allows us all to take a moment to recognize the accomplishments of our wonderful students.”

Dr. Angie Jacobs then presented awards to the top three papers in the Doug Bock Undergraduate Research Competition. Dr. Bock is a former professor in the department as well as a former chair. The papers are selected and submitted by faculty and then reviewed by members of Lambda Pi Eta.

To conclude the evening, EIU Speech Team coach Sara Gronstal honored the Speech Panther’ achievements for the year and then Marques Brown and Austin Mejdrich each performed an award-winning speech program.

A complete list of the 2015-2016 scholarship and award winners can be found below:

Department of Communication Studies Scholarships and Awards

  • Marques Brown (Outstanding Senior)
  • Natalie Standley (Outstanding Junior)
  • Kyle Ruckert (Outstanding Lab Assistant)
  • Krystal Moore (Inspired Achievement)
  • Clinton Brown (Outstanding Graduate Student)
  • Chloe Gottschalk (Kenneth E. Hadwiger PhD Undergraduate Scholarship)
  • Derek Wunder (Jack L. Payan Scholarship)
  • Mallory Winkeler (Betty Lou Balasi Scholarship)
  • Jessica Brown (J. Glenn Ross Scholarship)
  • Kallie Koester (Carol Manhart Scholarship & Illinois Broadcasters Association Scholarship)
  • Ryan Howard (Kenneth E. Hadwiger PhD Graduate Scholarship)
  • Kelli Halfman (John J. Hopkins Memorial Speech Education Scholarship)
  • Austin Mejdrich (Ralph Y. McGinnis Scholarship)

Doug Bock Undergraduate Research Competition

  • 1st – Anne Petit, “Writing Papers at a College Level: Communication Between Students and Professors”
  • 2nd – Tori Daniels, “Communication and Language Changes within the LGBTQIA+ Culture”
  • 3rd – Alex Seidler, “The Pressure Is On: A Study of Communication Between Tas and Stuents”

Lambda Pi Eta

  • Graduating Seniors: Jenny Awah-Manga, Mackenzie Buob, Angela Engebretson, Kristin Fox, Amy Gebka, Jordan Landeck, Emily Mitchell, Nicole Weatherford
  • New Members: Mackenzie Buob, Colleen Danaher, Rachelle, Krausen, Jordan Landeck, Amanda Lewis, Robyn McKeown, Derek Wunder


Students and Faculty “Comm Together” at Annual Comm Day

June 4, 2016

On April 6, communication studies students and faculty connected through communication at the annual Comm Day event in Coleman Hall.

The event featured 17 interactive panels throughout the day hosted by communication studies faculty as well as professionals in the field. The panels ranged in topic from assembling an effective demo reel to understanding how conspiracy theories are communicated to learning about programs available in the department.

The chair of the Department of Communication Studies Dr. Stephen King stated, “Communication Day showcases the wonderful breadth and diversity of the communication discipline. The theme of ‘Connecting and Communicating for a Better Tomorrow’ perfectly captures how our communication practices can be used to connect and identify with others as well as solve a variety of social, cultural and political problems.”


Comm Day began in the 1960s as a week filled with Rhetoric and Public Speaking activities. It was called “Speech Week,” as the department was then called Speech Communication and the events lasted for an entire week.

Over the previous 50 years, both faculty and students have shaped the direction of this event into having its current balance between each concentration as well as between research and the applied.

Each planner of Comm Day provides a different incarnation of the event. The 2016 planner, Associate Professor Dr. Angie Jacobs, promoted connection between all participants in every area of the event from the opening ceremonies that provided history on the event to a communal lunch with students and faculty to the inclusion of every area of the department into the event.

At the end of the event, Dr. Jacobs hosted the closing ceremonies with a final round of prizes that were donated by local business. The department then honored office administrator Kim Turner for her years of service to the department.

Comm Day is scheduled for April 2017 and more information can be found at https://www.eiu.edu/commstudies/commday.php