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by Sarah Sypert Photo courtesy of Curtis Callaway For much of American history, African-Americans had very few means of telling their stories through mass media. They couldn’t write for a newspaper, talk on the radio, or appear on television. But they could sing. History tells us of the spiritual songs slaves used prior to the Civil War to secretly communicate with each other. Recently, associate professor Robert Darden discovered a continuation of that legacy on the b-side of gospel music records. Darden began the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project after he learned much of the music African-Americans produced during the civil rights movement was being lost. “This is the foundation of all American popular music,” Darden said. “I felt like if we didn’t take care of this music now, future generations were going to judge us very harshly.” As the child of an Air Force colonel, Darden spent part of his childhood stationed with his family in Alabama during the rise of the civil rights movement. “That was terrible,” Darden said. Unlike other branches of the military at the time, the Air Force had always been integrated. As a child, Darden spent a great deal of time in the homes of his black friends and neighbors where he heard gospel music played more than any other genre. “All of their moms that I remember were big singers and always made sure I had way too much to eat,” Darden said. “The kitchens always smelled wonderful, the music was wonderful so we were in their houses a lot.” Darden never lost his preference for black gospel music and the stories it told. In 2005, Darden wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times expressing his indignation that this piece of history would be lost for lack of conservation. He never dreamed it would spark a project that one day would appear in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Darden’s letter appealed to Charles M. Royce, an investment banker who quietly gives to worthy causes. Although Royce himself is not a gospel music aficionado, he contacted Darden and asked what he could do. “He would just read about something and say, like he did to me, what would it take to make this right?” Darden said. “He said, once you decide send me a plan with a figure attached.” With Royce’s gift, Darden partnered with Baylor libraries to establish the project in 2008 to collect and digitize thousands upon thousands of songs, with more records coming in every day. “It’s like Easter or Christmas,” Darden said, “I never know what I’m going to see.” The project will likely not be completed in Darden’s lifetime. Black gospel music is not well catalogued and even an expert like Darden does not know how much of it there really is. “I’m not foolish enough to think we’ll even make a dent in this in my lifetime,” Darden said. “We don’t know now, with all the thousands we’ve recorded and digitized, if we have one percent, if we have 10 percent. Nobody knows.” With no definitive database, the stories these musical artists told were going unheard. As a writer and storyteller himself, Darden believes making this music more widely accessible is the only way to do justice to these artists. A journalism professor might not be the first person chosen for a project to preserve a disappearing genre of music. But journalism is, after all, the story of history. “What we do is chronicle the American experience as it happens,” Darden said. “This encompasses a whole swath of the American experience.”

Darden’s next project is a two volume work on gospel music’s contributions to the civil rights movement. “I want to tell one of the stories of the AfricanAmerican freedom experience in this country,” Darden said. “One of the ways to tell that story is through music.”

by Bresha Pierce Photo courtesy of Kat Davis Griffin Kott arrived at Baylor with a passion for music and writing. Kott, a Hill Country native from Fredericksburg, Texas, was introduced to music when he was a baby. “My dad was always playing the guitar, and I would always go up to him and mess with his guitar strings,” Kott said. “Music was always in my family life growing up.” As a gift for his first birthday, his father gave him a guitar. Growing up, Kott always watched his father playing the guitar. Then when Kott learned to play, music for him became even more prominent than what it already was.

It was during his sophomore year in high school when he realized his music abilities were something special. “I knew I had a talent later in life when I was driving home from school one day, listening to the radio and realized I could pick up the guitar and match the notes of a George Strait song perfectly without having to read the music,” Kott said. Despite this talent, Kott never did anything with music while in high school. Instead, he focused on being an athlete. “I was an athlete playing baseball, but music was always there. I just never took it seriously,” Kott said.

After graduating high school, Kott attended the University of Oklahoma. With this move, Kott’s love for music began to fade into the backgroud. “[Music] wasn’t a huge part of me like it was when I was younger, I was still trying to figure out the college scene,” Kott said. Tragically, during his freshman year at Oklahoma, Kott’s family suffered a tremendous loss with the unexpected passing of his 13-year-old brother. “In that time of something so sad, I was depressed and music was the only thing I had to lean on, especially country music,” Kott said. “I could get my feelings out just playing and I think that’s how I built my talent.” After finishing his freshman year at Oklahoma, Kott decided to transfer to Baylor. “It was closer to home, where I needed to be,” Kott said. “It was a hard time for me.” At first, Kott arrived at Baylor majoring in finance but shortly switched over to journalism. “I love writing, I love making music, and I think that’s why I chose to major in journalism,” Kott said. “I’m good at it so why not do something I’m good at and enjoy at the same time?” After a couple of years at Baylor, Kott received a call from Jeff Gerik, a senior from Woodway, Texas. Gerik happened to be a bass player, and wanted Kott to play in his band. “My initial response was no, but he kept bribing me so I decided to go,” Kott said. “It was such a God thing. I’ve never meshed so well with a group of guys, and from that point forward I knew we were going to make something of ourselves.” And so, the Griffin Kott Band was born. Kat Davis, who helped the band find a manager and took their photos, said the band has developed a strong friendship and collaborates well.

“Griffin and his band mates are some of the sweetest men I’ve had the pleasure to work with,” Davis said. “They brought their instruments and played music in the background while I photographed. People kept dropping in to see what the party was all about.” “I’ve had to really come out of my shell,” Kott said. “I would’ve never thought that one day I would be making music and singing for a crowd of people.” After college, Kott plans on doing one of two things: pursue a music career in Nashville, Tenn., or use his degree and go into commercial real estate. In the end, Kott knows that he can’t rely on music forever. “If [music] gets me far, then great, but I need to have other options,” Kott said. “Everything that has happened for the Griffin Kott Band has just happened. I would’ve never guessed we would be where we are today.”


REPORTING & by Bresha Pierce Photos courtesy of Hayley Herring Walking into the Baylor Lariat newsroom, one would see students, editors and photographers hard at work putting together the four-section newspaper for Baylor University. At Baylor, all journalism majors with a focus in news-editorial must take one semester of advanced reporting and writing, JOU 3375. This course allows students to sharpen their news reporting and writing skills as reporters for the Baylor Lariat. Typically, the staff for the newspaper also consists of upperclassmen that are selected each semester through an application and interview process. Over the years, the Baylor Lariat has gained recognition and awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the Associated Collegiate Press and the Society of Professional Journalists, not to mention, the Baylor Lariat was named Best Student Newspaper in Texas by the Houston Press Club.

WRITING The course, taught by Dr. Brad Owens, helps students gain knowledge on how to prepare for interviews, meet deadlines, and write publishable stories. “This class is the best hands-on learning experience for students looking to do something with journalism in the future,” Tori Jackson, sports reporter for the Baylor Lariat, said. “It’s all about the final product, and this class gives you, in detail, every step to be successful. We schedule interviews, write stories, and are up all night trying to get the latest news from events happening that day. We are going nonstop.” In addition to being published in an awardwinning newspaper, students have the ability of networking within the Baylor community.

“This class was extremely helpful for my portfolio,” Jamie Lim, a student who wrote for the Arts and Entertainment section, said. “I have so many published articles that I use when applying for internships and job opportunities” With technology constantly evolving print media, the Baylor Lariat has made some adjustments. Not only is the newspaper available in print, but online as well. “Being available online has helped with our publicity even more,” Jackson said.

NEW MED by Bresha Pierce In 2012, Baylor journalism added a new sequence to the department, new media. This also prompted the change for the department’s name –Baylor Journalism, Public Relations and New Media. This new track gives students the opportunity to specialize in the new media of journalism. The new media degree audit consists of classes in photography and videography. It also includes courses in journalism and advertising. Not only do students learn different aspects on how to edit videos and pictures, but they also get a hands-on experience with forming broadcasts. Furthermore, students learn how to handle different types of programming software, like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, iMovie and Premiere.

New media also gives students an opportunity to take classes more geared in their major.


• JOU 2303 Reporting and Writing for Media • JOU 3325 Editing • JOU 3369 Media Design • JOU 3374 Public Relations Writing, or JOU 3375 Advanced Reporting and Writing, • or 3389 Magazine and Feature Writing • JOU 4380 Law and Ethics of Journalism


G r ou p 1 ( A d v e rt isin g) • JOU • JOU • JOU • JOU

3320 Advertising Procedures 3321 Advertising Copywriting 3322 Strategic Communication Research 4320 Advertising Management

Group 2 (Photography/Videography) • JOU • JOU • JOU • JOU

3355 Media Photography I: Introduction 3356 Media Photography II: Photojournalism 3357 Advanced Photography 3358 Videojournalism

Complete six additional semester hours of any level JOU electives, not to include JOU 3372

I liked how Baylor was academically focused

because track doesn’t last forever. Tiffani McReynolds

by Hayley Herring Photos courtesy of Curtis Callaway (previous spread) and Baylor Photography (left) “Hurdles, those are my baby,” Tiffani McReynolds said. McReynolds remembers running competitively all the way back to when she was eight years old. A few years later she followed in her mom’s footsteps and took up hurdles, which soon became her number one focus. In 2010, McReynolds, a Kansas native, came to Baylor on a track and field scholarship. “I liked how Baylor was academically focused, because track doesn’t last forever,” McReynolds said. She was drawn to public relations because of the event planning aspect, but soon learned there were other aspects in this field she enjoyed. She appreciates the freedom of PR, as well as being able to tie in writing with social media and photography. “It’s something unique that other majors don’t have,” McReynolds said. While staying on top of her schoolwork, McReynolds also endures 10-15 hours of intense training and practicing weekly. Juggling these two things is her toughest challenge, but she manages to balance them out. “My favorite thing about being on a Baylor team is the family we have,” McReynolds said. “I love that track and field is a male and female sport because it’s like you have a bunch of brothers and sisters, and we are able to balance each other out.” So far, McReynolds’ fondest memory was her freshman year when she was able to beat an All-American in the 60-meter hurdles. “I was at a point where I was able to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish,” McReynolds said. McReynolds has been an All-American every year since she was a freshman, and has competed at nationals every year while on the team. McReynolds hopes to run track and field professionally, but eventually wants to start up a PR agency representing professional athletes. “I like the tie of sports promotion and the marketing aspects of it,” McReynolds said.

It’s crazy to look back on the year

It gives

we just had.

me the chil s just to think about it. Levi Norwood

PUNT RETURNS & PUBLIC RELATIONS by Bresha Pierce Photos courtesy of Baylor Photography (previous spread and left) The Baylor Bears football team’s starting wide receiver and punt returner, Levi Norwood, juggles his busy football schedule with the schoolwork of a journalism major. After graduating from Midway High School, Norwood decided to continue his football career at the same college where his father coaches. His father, associate head coach Brian Norwood, has been coaching at Baylor for six seasons.

Last season, Norwood led Baylor on the football field with 47 receptions for 733 yards and eight touchdowns. Norwood also excelled off the field and in the classroom. Originally, Norwood majored in graphic design but shortly switched to journalism with a focus in public relations.

“I found I was really bad at drawing,” Norwood said. “I wanted to do something I enjoyed, and I really liked the journalism [and] public relations classes I was taking at the time.” It was during his freshman year when Norwood found the balance between academics and athletics. “I see it firsthand how he manages his time so perfectly through making a schedule each week,” Bears linebacker Eddie Lackey said. “In between catching touchdown passes and getting A’s on his tests, he even finds a way to sleep and utilize his fancy camera for his photography hobby.” During his redshirt freshman season as a Baylor athlete, Norwood played in all 13 games. With this, he became the primary punt returner and inside receiver. He also earned the 2011 Phil Steele Midseason All-Big 12 First Team honors. “People always say it must be hard juggling school with athletics, but I don’t think it’s that [hard],” Norwood said. “With public relations, there’s not a ridiculous work-load.” This football season, as a fourth-year junior, Norwood was named All-Big 12 Candidate punt returner.

“It’s crazy to look back on the year we just had, it was record breaking,” Norwood said. “It gives me the chills to just think about it.” Even though Norwood will graduate in May, he is still eligible to play another season on the football field. “I’m really excited for next year,” Norwood said. “We have a lot of young talent coming in, and I think it gets everyone pumped for a good season.”


FLORENCE by Hayley Herring

Photos courtesy of Mollie Kirk One of the unique aspects of the Journalism, Public Relations and New Media department at Baylor University is the Baylor in Florence study abroad program. This summer trip allows students to experience the beautiful culture of Florence, Italy, and learn more about the world of journalism based on their surroundings. The Baylor in Florence program began four years ago when Director Maxey Parrish saw the need to create a program primarily for students in the Journalism, Public Relations and New Media department. “Florence is a name that sells,” Parrish said, when looking for a location to launch the program. The program offers courses in photography and writing, and students build their portfolio while immersing themselves in Italian culture to fuel their work. In addition to experiencing Florence simultaneously with their schoolwork, students are given the opportunity to travel Europe on weekends. “My favorite part was easily the traveling,” said senior Melissa Kasper, who went on the Florence trip last summer. “It was while I was traveling when I learned the most culturally and was put outside my comfort zone, but it was those moments that I cherish the most when I think back about the trip,” she said. This upcoming summer, Dr. Clark Baker and Professor Maxey Parrish will take 21 students, the program’s largest group yet, to Florence. Over the last four years, the trip has gained extreme popularity among students. “I took away so much from this trip and I want the same for my peers. I learned so much inside the classroom and beyond. This trip helped me become a better photographer, writer and gave me a better sense of life on my own even in a foreign country,” said senior Mollie Kirk, who traveled to Florence in the summer of 2013. “It’s indicative that the program is established now, and students recruit each other,” said Parrish.

Spots for the trip filled up almost immediately, and a waiting list forms soon after the application was available. Junior Arden Howell is one of the fortunate students accepted into the program. “I’m really looking forward to getting out of the Baylor bubble and experiencing a very different, very beautiful culture,” Howell said. The cost of the trip for summer 2014 is approximately $12,000, which includes tuition, flights and a program fee, covering housing, transportation and meals. Courses to be offered include: • JOU 3355 Media Photography I • JOU 3356 Media Photography II • JOU 3389 Magazine and Feature Writing • JOU 3397 Advanced Magazine Editing • JOU 4V95 Special Studies in Journalism Scholarships are also available for the trip. Students interested in the program can email Maxey_Parrish@ for more information, or apply at




A Different Kin by Sarah Sypert Photo courtesy of Yalin Cao Language barriers and culture aren’t the only challenges facing international student Yalin Cao. As a public relations major from south-central China, Cao practices a different writing style in her classes than she would at home. Cao, known as Vicky to her American friends, was not surprised by the culture she entered when she decided to attend college in the United States. Having spoken English since the age of 5, Cao was already familiar with Western culture. “I’ve had foreign teachers from the U.S. since my first year in high school,” Cao said. “They talked a lot about the U.S. One of my teachers was from Texas.” Starting in third grade, Cao was required to study both Chinese and English. As a student at Baylor, those studies continued as she was immersed in an Englishspeaking culture and took Chinese to fulfill her foreign language requirement. Cao reflected on each nation’s educational system, noting the different challenges each one presented. While college classes are more difficult in the U.S., she believes high school was much more difficult in China. “It’s more focused on writing skills and testing skills,” Cao said. “It’s really difficult, especially if you want to go to a good school. You have to study very hard.” Indeed, according to a recent article by “The Gaurdian,” Chinese students wishing to attend college must take a nine-hour entrance exam, known as the “gaokao.” Many Chinese parents believe the exam determines their children’s future careers and opportunities. Some hurdles Cao faces as an international student are to be expected. Fasttalking professors are difficult for her to understand, as is American humor. But Cao’s greatest challenge is the difference between the American style of writing she is learning, and the Chinese style she will use when she returns home to begin her career. After graduation, Cao plans to pursue her master’s degree in business at a university in Hong Kong. She hopes to work as a public relations practitioner for a large bank in China. “They really focus on communication with customers there,” Cao said.

nd of Journalism

International Student Spotlight China does not have the kind of free press system American journalists enjoy, but Cao stated that the process of writing is very similar. There is simply much more emphasis placed on editing. “I think it’s the same process as the U.S.,” Cao said. “If there are some words they don’t want to use, maybe they will scrap it or delete those words.” Similarities do exist between the two media cultures, according to Cao. In both nations, the way the media portrays other cultures influences the way people think about them. One cannot really understand a culture without experiencing it. “They don’t know what’s real about the U.S. and the U.S. people don’t know what’s real about China,” Cao said. “They get what they know from the media, but the media is always a little bit different.”


FUTURE LEADERMIA MOODY-RAMIREZ TO ATTEND ACADEMY ON LEADERSHIP IN EDUCATION by Lauren Kelley Photo courtesy of Curtis Callaway Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez, associate professor and graduate program director for the journalism, public relations and new media department, has the opportunity to participate in the 2014 Scripps Howard Academic Leadership Academy. The event will be held June 1-5 at Louisiana State University. When Moody-Ramirez heard of this leadership academy from fellow Baylor professor Dr. Sara Stone, she knew she had to apply. Upon receiving the position, she became eager to learn how to lead and teach management and leadership positions in the classroom. In this five-day event, 12 to 15 professors and administrators will learn about the challenges and rewards of leading an academic program. The selection process for a high-end leadership training position is intense and highly selective. Moody-Ramirez will receive training from some of the most successful academic leaders from around the world. This event is designed for future department chairs, deans and directors, but also accepts faculty and professionals who are eager to learn the ins and outs of leadership in education. “The Academy will provide an invaluable opportunity for me because it gives participants the chance to meet with veteran administrators to discuss trends in media education,” Moody-Ramirez said. “It also offers management training for persons interested in academic leadership positions.” Stone, department chair of Baylor Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media, nominated Moody-Ramirez for this year’s Academy. “[Moody-Ramirez] has the best organizational skills of anyone I’ve ever met, and when I learned of the academic leadership workshop, I immediately thought of her,” Stone said. “She is a prolific researcher, an excellent teacher, an unbelievably efficient person and a super-nice person to boot. She gets more work done in 24 hours than any person I know. She is also a terrific mom and an acknowledged community leader on top of her academic skills. I am so happy for her.” Moody-Ramirez is excited to be able to bring back what she will learn at the event and integrate those things in her classroom, work and research.


WHAT ARE THEY by Hayley Herring

Caitlin Fairly Class of 2012 – Concentration in Public Relations After graduation, Fairly moved to Denver and pursued freelance photography. She is currently a self-employed photographer. With photography, she does every duty of a small business. By being in the Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media, she was supplied with the necessary skills to make it as an entrepreneur. Her time at Baylor was where Fairly found her passion for photography. “I feel very privileged to have been given professors that are driven by helping students find their gifts and talents, and hone in on those in order to thrive and be successful,” Fairly said. Her advice to students aspiring to be photographers is to develop a personal style. “Search for those that inspire you - be willing to critique your own work,” Fairly said. “Keep in mind that pursuing your dreams is a privilege, we aren’t entitled to it, and we should cherish and give thanks for opportunities by making the most of them.”

DOING NOW? Claire Margheim (Moncla) Class of 2011 Concentration in Public Relations After graduation, Margheim worked for the Waco Foundation and the Greater Waco Community Education Alliance. There, she was the joint marketing and communications coordinator. Currently, Margheim is the creative manager at the Head and the Hand Press, a startup publishing company in Philadelphia. Her job is to handle the marketing and publicity for all books and authors. In addition, Margheim is also responsible for planning and managing events, coordinating social and online media, and creating designs and layouts for books. Her time at Baylor was extremely instrumental in her professional life. “I learned how to work within a team to solve real-life problems for clients as a member of the first Baylor student PR Agency class, and I gained responsibility and leadership experience under Dr. Coretta Pittman as editor of the Phoenix literary magazine,” Margheim said. Her advice to students is to look at assignments as work-life problems. She believes that what students learn now will be applicable to their future jobs. “Do as many internships as possible, and look for ways to take on responsibility,” Margheim said. “Do more than is asked; go above and beyond; be creative and problem solve. This is what is too rare, this is what makes you stand out, and this is what will get you a job.”


MASTERS IN INTERNATIONAL JOURNALISM by Hayley Herring Photo courtesy of Kyle Beam From East Texas to Kentucky to Waco to Barcelona, Savannah Landerholm has been all over the map. Landerholm is currently studying for her masters in international journalism at Baylor. She will finish out the semester doing an international internship in Barcelona, Spain, and will graduate in July. She is one of three students currently enrolled in the M.I.J. program at Baylor. Landerholm received her undergraduate degree in journalism and international communications from Asbury College in Kentucky and came to Baylor for the Masters in International Journalism program in the fall of 2012. Baylor’s program is one of few that combine journalism and international communication, and that unique combination caught Landerholm’s eye while searching for graduate schools. “I think the fun thing about journalism is that it’s specific but really broad as it mostly prepares you with writing skills but incorporates photography and design too,” Landerholm said. Baylor’s Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media offers both a Master of Arts and a Master of International Journalism. Both degrees combine relevant, stimulating courses with practical training to further prepare students for work in news-editorial, PR, photojournalism, new media, foreign correspondence, research and/or teaching. “It’s a lot about what you bring to a graduate program, what ideas you have or what research focus you are interested in,” Landerholm said. Getting to pick and choose courses from different departments is one of the many things she enjoys about the program. In April, Landerholm will travel to Barcelona, Spain to work with the International Chamber of Commerce and will intern with the director. This internship will complete Landerholm’s master’s degree, allowing her to graduate in August. Research is a central part of the M.I.J. program at Baylor and one that Landerholm has enjoyed becoming more familiar with. “[The program] really opened my eyes to the research world in a new way,” Landerholm said. She wrote and presented a research study paper about Apple TV that she was able to present at a conference in Oklahoma last spring. “One of the biggest benefits to studying journalism is that it prepares you with basic skills to go into a lot of different fields,” Landerholm said. She hopes to move on to get her PhD in Higher Education and Leadership after she finishes her Masters in International Journalism.

CREDITS The Journalism Department Team Sarah Sypert, Graphic Designer Bresha Pierce, Account Executive Hayley Herring, Group Manager

Spring 2014 Public Relations Agency

Briana Rojas, Krisha Johanson, Katy Cranfill, David Prindle, Lauren Kelley, Bresha Pierce, Lauren Roller, Sarah Sypert, Jamie Lim, Mollie Kirk, Hayley Herring, Paige Willis, Nikki Vinyard, Tiffani McReynolds Our fearless leader: Professor Carol Perry Photos courtesy of Curtis Callaway

Journalism Magazine Final Spring 2014  

Baylor's journalism department's Spring 2014 magazine.

Journalism Magazine Final Spring 2014  

Baylor's journalism department's Spring 2014 magazine.