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PIPELINE Kennesaw State University School of Communication & Media

Issue No. 5

Spring 2017

Di git a l Med ia gets Facel i ft KSU upgrades to state-of-the-art media labs

Globa l Com mu n ication

Professor dedicates career to promoting free-speech journalism around the world

Undefeated KSU Journalism student’s journey with HIV and overcoming stigma

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Undefeated: A KSU Journalism Student’s Story of Overcoming Sickness and Stigma Experience the story of a journalism major’s journey with HIV and how he used communication to overcome his obstacles.

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Introducing the New SOCM Faculty Familiarize yourself with the new SOCM faculty faces and learn about their experience and expertise.

Two Hearts, One Major Twin sisters joined at the hip share their experiences working, learning and living together.

How One Professor’s Life is Helping Students Understand Their Differences

Professor of Communication Dr. Deanna Womack writes a book chapter about using her life story to break down barriers.

Honoring a Communication Tradition PRSSA at KSU: Beginning a Career in PR Transitioning from Student to Professional

KSU’s Society of Professional Journalists provides students much more than just a reference on the resume. Learn why SPJ has a lot to offer.

Showcasing Student Speakers Passionate student speakers deliver speeches on important issues in front of a panel of judges and SOCM audience members.

War of the Words Student writers compete in an intense journalistic writing competition under a deadline to show off their writing skills.

An Immersion in Everything Public Relations Fifteen students + five top PR firms. Discover what these students learned from this unique experience.

A Fresh Take on Journalism Students engage in an extraordinary opportunity to gain valuable insight from professional journalists.

2016 Colloquium Learn about the 2016 Colloquium and the words of wisdom that were given by a professional at The Coca-Cola Company.

All Star Panel Shares Secrets of Success An illustrious group of communication alumni give their tips and tricks for navigating the post-graduation world.


Professor’s Career of Inspiring Students Abroad Dr. Duffy, assistant professor of journalism, has made a career of promoting free-speech journalism, at home and the Middle East. Read how he does this here in the U.S. and overseas.

SOCM Hosts International Delegation Meeting Dr. Carlson, associate professor of journalism, invites KSU experts to discuss government transparency with a group of international academics.

Mary York: A Game Changer in Financial PR Read about a SOCM alumna’s journey to represent the leading agency in financial PR.

Marketing in a New Age More students are earning a degree in communication and employers need them now more than ever; find out why.

An Elite Group of Graduates If you have ever considered a communication graduate program but don’t know where to begin, KSU may be able to assist you in your search.

Cracking Open the Open Records Act Journalists and ordinary citizens alike have the same right to access public information, and Professor Carolyn Carlson explains how it works.

KSU President Offers Tips on Open Records When it comes to Georgia’s Open Records Act, KSU’s own president Sam Olens is a resident expert on the topic.

Faculty’s Paparazzi Research Highlighted in Journal Dr. Josh Azriel, professor of journalism, explains why paparazzi activity is actually protected by the First Amendment.

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Student Media Gives COM a Head Start

Discover the benefits of being on the student-led team that creates the newspaper, magazine and radio broadcasts at KSU.


features KSU goes to Japan

Learn about the new updated Digital Media labs and what they mean for the future of Digital Media at KSU.





Digital Media Gets a Facelift

KSU was selected as one of 20 outstanding universities in the United States to get a travel grant from the Japanese government and take five students along with faculty to Japan. Uncover what it’s like to study abroad.

Creative Director: Hannah Anthony, FOB & BOB Manager: Macall Weisbrodt, Art Manager: Christen Fountain, Content Manager: Katherine Sottile, Copy Editors: Sierra Hubbard and Olivea McCollins Designers: Treasure Bishop, Sarah Busby and Mohammed Mohsin, Writers: John Benedict, Andrew Connard, 3 Madeline McGee and Lexie Williams, Professors: Thomas Gray and Sarah Johnson

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Welcome to

Pipeline Magazine

One of the most popular sessions of our annual Communication Colloquium is the All-Star Alumni panel. Students, with an eye toward what follows graduation, come to gather insights into the best ways to prepare for life in the professional world. The most recent panel was held March 2. Speakers included Ellen Eldridge, reporter with the AJC Breaking News Team; Mary York, account director with the William Mills Agency; Evan Manor, social media director for Coy Bowles; Simone Griffin, integrated communication strategist with Porter Novelli; and Yvelise Hodo-Lopez, financial analyst/lead administrative assistant at Willis Towers Watson. For those who were not able to attend, I want to review the highlights. These panelists had key practical recommendations to help you make the most of your time here at KSU. Networking: We all recognize the importance of connecting with influential professionals. Many of you take advantage of opportunities to introduce yourself to individuals in hiring positions or those who can recommend you to others. You attend Career Fairs and attend special events, like the Communication Colloquium, where you can meet successful practitioners. However, our alums also talked about a different kind of networking. This networking takes place in your classes, where you get to know professors (who still have professional connections and can provide “Capitalize on your references) and peers who will be joining you in the professional world. time here by getting These classmates can sometimes help you with connections and open the most out of doors, but only if you get to know them and their strengths. How often do you consider your classes as important networking opportunities? your courses... Student organizations: Many of our panelists talked about engaging with others through registered student organizations. Our School currently offers three student organizations: Lambda Pi Eta honor society, Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), and Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). These organizations can provide networking opportunities and insights into the many career choices available to SOCM graduates.

Your entrance into the professional world is right around the corner!”

Internships: All SOCM majors can benefit from internships. The school and university offer paid and unpaid internships with corporations, media organizations, public relations agencies, and non-profit organizations. Get a taste for work life in the area or areas of interest to you.

Capitalize on your time here by getting the most out of your courses, developing meaningful relationships with your peers and your professors, and taking advantage of opportunities such as internships, student organizations and special events. Your entrance into the professional world is right around the corner!

Dr. Barbara S. Gainey Director and Professor, School of Communication & Media


Pursuing your own contacts: Finally, alums talked about the value of making your own contacts and pursuing your own niche in the marketplace. It’s not too early to identify your strengths and interests; use this time to see how you can parlay these into a career just for you.






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The GroupMe app is a free tool for group messaging and works on all devices, which is useful for communicating during group projects outside of class. GroupMe makes it easy to stay in touch with not only your peers, but also family and co-workers.

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Here are six popular communication apps that can help students connect more efficiently with classmates, organize assignments and stay safe while walking across campus. Download them free from the App. Store today!


Faculty Matt Duffy Assistant Professor of Communication

Matt Duffy teaches Multimedia Journalism and Media Law. He believes that journalism is a noble profession and a powerful force for good when used properly. Duffy’s research focuses on the use of anonymous sources in journalism and the search for “best practices” in international media regulation. He serves on the board of directors for the Arab-U.S. Association for Communication Educators, an organization dedicated to improving journalism in the Middle East. He is the adviser of the SPJ chapter at KSU.

Debbie Wetherhead Lecturer of Communication Debbie Wetherhead teaches courses in public relations. She also leads Wetherhead Communications, a PR agency that is known for its ability to generate strategic publicity, finesse business-to-business communications and provide nationally acclaimed media training. Wetherhead has managed programs for globally recognized names such as The Coca-Cola Company, Beazer Homes and NASA; leaders in healthcare, employee benefits, higher education, real estate and financial services. She received her master’s degree from KSU in integrated global communication and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in journalism.

lecturer of Communication Sarah Johnson teaches courses in the public relations major including Digital Publication Design, Magazine Media and PR Writing. Prior to transitioning her career toward teaching in 2011, she worked in nonprofit PR, developing comprehensive public relations campaigns and graphic design pieces. Johnson has a bachelor’s degree in communication (public relations) and a minor in marketing from Kennesaw State University. In May 2009, she graduated with a master’s degree in professional writing. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society.

Peter Latino Lecturer of Communication

Peter Latino is a public relations and government affairs professional with over 16 years of experience in leadership roles for national, state and government agencies. His past experience includes serving as vice president of Advocacy for the American Heart Association Southeast Affiliate and Director of Communications for BlazeSports America. He holds a master’s degree in mass communication from the University of Southern Mississippi and a bachelor’s in advertising from Louisiana State University.

Meredith Ginn

Lecturer of Communication Meredith Ginn joined the faculty at KSU in January of 2017 after teaching at Georgia Highlands College from 2005-2015, where she earned tenure and the rank of associate professor. She also taught briefly in an adjunct role at Georgia Perimeter and Reinhardt colleges. Ginn graduated summa cum laude from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a master’s degree in communication. While in graduate school at Auburn, she was recognized by the International Communication Association with the “Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award” and served as marshal for the entire graduate school during the commencement ceremony.



Sarah Johnson


Two Hearts, By: Madeline McGee


or most college students, finding the right friends to share memories with, study with and turn to for support can be a daunting task. For Hayley and Heather Larrimore, however, that friend came built in at birth. The identical twins, both of whom are seniors majoring in organizational communication, are similar in ways that span more than just appearance. They live together, commute together, work at the same company and rushed the same sorority. In fact, the two have taken every single class together since their freshman year, except for one—and that was an accident. “It was the same class at the same time, but there were two different teachers and their rooms were right next to each other,” Hayley Larrimore remembered with a smile. “So we might as well have been in the same class.”

“She kind of lets things Although the two do share a close bond, they roll off of her say the similarities in their chosen paths are more the result of coincidence rather than deliberate shoulder, and I planning. “We do have the same interests, and like to have plans going into college we didn’t really know what we wanted to do,” Hayley said. “We were talking to our and stick to them.” mom because she’s in HR, and she said, ‘I think you both would be really good at this.’” -Heather


The versatility of the organizational communication degree, coupled with a human resources internship they were both offered at the medical transcription company Enthrive, solidified the twins’ respective assurance in their chosen major. Choosing the same class schedule arose more from logistical practicality than anything else.


Heather &

One Major “We shared a car until this summer, and we were commuters our first year, so it made sense for us to sign up for all the same classes,” Heather said. “That way, we didn’t have to be waiting on campus or find rides. We ended up liking it because you can study together and you have someone holding you accountable.” “That’s why we like taking classes together,” Heather laughed. “Not because we’re just obsessed with each other.” The similarity in their schedules also works well when they have mandatory events for Delta Phi Epsilon, the sorority where they both serve as the coordinators for the T-shirt committee. Even though the two say they often get treated as a single entity—most notably in the workplace, where the nameplate on the cubicle they share reads “Heather and Hayley Larrimore”—they do have distinct differences.

“I’m more calm and laid “I’m more calm and laid back, and I’m more of an introvert back, and I’m than her,” said Hayley. Heather agreed. “She kind of lets things just roll off her shoulder,” she said. “I like to have more of an plans and stick to them.” introvert than her.” They say these differences become more pronounced -Hayley during long days of working together. Fortunately, the twins share their apartment with two roommates, which they say prevents them from becoming sick of one another. At the end of the day, though, the uniqueness of their relationship and the intimacy of having a sibling joined at the hip surpasses the small annoyances of sisterhood.

& Hayley


“I’ve never known anything else,” said Hayley. “I like it.” j



A closer look

e at u r e s

It is a new era for the School of Communication & Media. With more than 1,600 students in the program, it is not only growing in size, but also in the number of extraordinary educational and professional opportunities that are available to students. Beginning in the classroom, renowned professors mold students into world-class professionals in courses like Digital Publication Design and Fundamentals of Media and Entertainment Studies. With new additions to the list of majors offered, cutting-edge media services and relationships with international companies, SOCM prepares students for a bright future. Because of its global connections and academic training in the school, students thrive in numerous internships at prestigious firms and companies and gain real-world experience. According to an Atlanta Journal- Constitution article, this year’s college graduates are entering the best job market since 2002. By graduation, SOCM students are fully prepared to start their future in their respective industries. Each page highlights the exceptional achievements made by current students and SOCM alumni. The SOCM is embarking on a new journey and we invite you to come along for the ride.

Going Abroad: Journalism professor’s lifelong career of inspiring students in the U.S. & abroad Olivea McCollins


ear. Injustice. Secrecy. Most journalists in the U. S. may never feel these emotions as there is freedom of speech and press for all citizens. Across the ocean in the Middle East, however, freedom of speech is nonexistent and has never been acknowledged or considered due to cultural and religious ideologies. Eager journalism students may never have the chance to enter the field because of the heavy consequences. According to the Global Investigative Journalism Network, journalists risk their careers and, most importantly, their lives, in an effort to provide reputable news to readers. Seeking change in the Middle East, one of the School of Communication & Media’s professors, Dr. Matt Duffy, has committed his career to influencing young journalists in the Middle East and igniting their fire for outstanding reporting. In May 2016, Duffy spent 25 days in Pakistan, speaking to students and presenting at numerous colleges and universities about just how important their role will be in society and how they will be trailblazers for journalism in their home communities. He noted that the Pakistani students were amazed at the idea of American journalists having unlimited freedoms that they have always dreamed of. As a part of the Fulbright Scholar Program from the U.S. State Department, Duffy’s trip revolved around two main ideas—that journalism is for the greater good of the country and that it is imperative for laws to be in place to protect the rights of journalists. Even though this was a successful trip for Duffy, he observed that his hope for free press in Pakistan was slowly dimming. “I don’t have a lot of optimism about journalism in the Middle East,” Duffy said. “Things are not only bad, but appear to be getting worse.” Duffy realized from an early point in his career that there was much work to be done to create free practice of journalism in the Middle East. In past years, he has traveled to several countries, including Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Israel, Bangladesh and United Arab Emirates. Duffy’s passion for influencing change in the Middle East is shown further by his presence as a board member of the Arab-United States Association for Communication Educators since 2012. Duffy’s most impactful and proudest experience was helping launch a Society of Professional Journalists chapter at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi in 2011. He oversaw the planning and execution of the annual “World Press Freedom Day,” set for May 3. C ontinu ed ...

For more information on Dr. Duffy’s experiences as an educator and news journalist, visit

D Duffy was an integral part of this successful venture, and many SPJ chapters around the world commemorate this day of celebration. “After the event, the organizers left and went on to become journalists!” Duffy said. Since pursuing his doctorate in public communication from Georgia State University, Duffy has been heavily involved in the work in the Middle East. He has written more than 15 academic articles and released the second edition of “Media Laws in the United Arab Emirates” in 2016. In addition to his international experience, Duffy refined his journalism skills in positions early in his career at the Boston Herald and the Marietta Daily Journal. Currently, he enjoys being an assistant professor of Communication, teaching courses in Multimedia Journalism and Media Law. Duffy is also the advisor for KSU’s SPJ chapter. Despite the challenges that face journalists and the general population in the Middle East, Duffy continuously finds opportunities to change the face of journalism and make a difference in students’ lives both in the U.S. and the Middle East one word at a time.


Majority, Minority, Mixed:

How one professor’s life is helping students understand their differences

Madeline McGee

Dr. Deanna Womack has had the unique experience of living as both a member of a racial majority group and a racial minority group. From attending high school during the era of desegregation in the 1960s, to being thrust into the minority when she lived in Taiwan, developing an intercultural identity as the parent of two adopted daughters born in China, Womack has had a slew of intercultural experiences that she says have helped shape who she is today.


She details her experiences in the book “Communicating Prejudice: An Appreciative Inquiry Approach,” to which she contributed a chapter entitled “From Majority to Minority: A Personal Narrative.”


Womack uses the chapter to reflect on her experiences with privilege and prejudice. She describes how, as a white teenager, she lived through the racial struggles of the desegregationera Alabama, but as a white woman living in Taiwan, she was sometimes cheated and treated as a representative of her race and culture. She says these experiences have allowed her to empathize with the struggles of minority groups, an empathy she uses to encourage students going through the same struggles. Now, she hopes to foster student understanding of others’ difficulties.

Duffy teaching his students at Zayed University.

“By publicly telling my own story, by supporting students brave enough to tell theirs, and by choosing educational materials with which minority and majority students can identify, I believe I have been successful in helping some of my students become more sensitive to prejudice, even their own,” Womack said.

Those in attendance from left to right were: Walaa Gadelkarim Mahmoud Osman; Barbara Gainey, director of the School of Communication & Media; Carolyn Carlson, associate professor of Journalism; Robin Dorff, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Ahmed Khorsheed Tawfeeq; Sam Olens, president of KSU; Fares Besrour; Nadia Gouta Ep Hamdi; and Bassem Karray.

SOCM Hosts International Delegation Meeting John Benedict

President Sam Olens, along with several faculty members, welcomed a group of officials and academics from North Africa and the Middle East this past February. They came together to discuss government transparency issues during a tour sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

Four men and one woman representing Tunisia, Egypt and Iraq visited the United States for several weeks to hear different perspectives on issues related to transparency in all levels of government. They asked to meet Dr. Carolyn Carlson, a KSU professor and a founding director and treasurer of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation. She brought a few KSU colleagues, who have expertise in the field, to meet and speak with the group. In an article posted on the KSU School of Communication & Media website, Carlson discussed who she decided to bring with her. “When I saw what the objectives were for their visit, I knew I needed to bring in President Olens, who is an expert on Georgia’s Open Records and Open Meetings acts,” Carlson said, “We also had Kerwin Swint, chair of the Department of Political Science and International Affairs, talk to the group about his work as a board member of Common Cause, which works to promote honest, open, accountable federal and state

government. Political Science Professor Ken White also spoke briefly about his experience with transparency issues in California, compared to those in Georgia.” The KSU SOCM website listed the State Department’s specific objectives for the group to review. The program’s goals were to: • • • •

examine the decentralized and self-regulating nature of U.S. federalism and how it promotes transparency in government; explore the role of citizens, traditional and new media, academia, and civil society in fostering transparency and accountability in government; highlight the mechanisms that enable citizens to foster good governance, ethical standards, and accountability at the local, state, and federal levels; and analyze grassroots actions that have resulted in honest, transparent, and fair practices in government.

“We had a robust discussion about our American democracy and how access to government records and activities was the key to our stability as a democracy that has survived for 250 years,” Carlson said.



Kennesaw State University




A Game-Changer in Financial PR Powerful. Trailblazer. Public Relations connoisseur. These adjectives describe Kennesaw State University alumna Mary York. She is the Group Director at William Mills Agency, the premier agency that specializes in the financial and technology industries. She has spent 11 years leading a team of WMA associates, creating PR campaigns that fulfill the needs of the agency’s clients. York discovered her talent in public relations while attending KSU after realizing that this field was the perfect combination of what she loved: writing and business.

“The internship at William Mills Agency met my personal interests,” York said. “Both of my parents were bankers and I love real estate. I thought, ‘you know, this might be a good fit for me.’ York’s passion for the industry is evident as she has moved up the corporate ladder and she is now one of the top executives at the agency, recently being promoted to group director. One of the reasons York is interested in the financial industry is the integration of creative writing and the aspect of hard news journalism, which is the best of both worlds. One of York’s hallmark moments at WMA was when she traveled to a Kansas-based client with media coaching in preparation for an interview with The New York Times. Making this a memorable experience was exploring the state of Kansas and connecting with another reporter on behalf of the client. Because of York’s involvement, the results were fantastic. “The story ended up on the front page and it was a phenomenal placement for them [client],” York said. “We [WMA] were really happy about it. This was unique because it was a full day of sitting in a car with a reporter, running around. It was interesting to spend time with a reporter and build rapport with someone from The New York Times and open the door for us [WMA] with other businesses.” Receiving notoriety and accolades as a thriving 40-year-old public relations agency sets WMA apart from its competitors. Internally, the agency’s consistent focus on personally connecting with employees is one of the many reasons why York has made the agency her home for more than a decade. Being family-owned, providing economic stability and adhering to worklife balance principles made this an ideal choice. “You get burned out really fast, and work is where you spend majority of your time and it needs to be a place that’s enjoyable,” York said. “This place certainly is. How we know that is that a lot of the staff has been here for a long time. I have been here for 11 years—I don’t intend on leaving. I love it here,” York said.

As WMA provides services to startups, this is not York’s first encounter to the startup industry. She has a history of developing change and making a lasting impact for startups in Silicon Valley such as PushPoint. Even though working with startups can be exhilarating work, York admits that this industry can be highly stressful. “Startups are very unique in that they are very fast-paced,” York said. “But, it’s definitely a challenging environment too because you’re trying to get visibility for a company that is brand new.” York is not only committed to working on her professional career but also invested in her personal growth and her community. She currently serves as the vice chairwoman of the National Center for the Prevention of Home Improvement Fraud, which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization created in 2009 that counsels homeowners on how to make the right judgement regarding hiring legitimate contractors. Counseling the organization on public relations and marketing practices for more than a year, she has witnessed the effects the organization has had on individuals’ lives. “I wholeheartedly support what they [NCPHIF] are doing,” York said. “I’ve seen it. It’s something that I feel goes underreported at times. So, I like being part of that and helping. It’s kind of like a feelgood. It’s one of those things that you’re like, I don’t have to do this; but, I am and it’s my way of giving back, I guess, to my community.” Using her public relations skills in all facets in various industries, York has noticed how rapidly the PR industry is changing. What seems like decades, current technology of smartphones and popular social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter were nonexistent and not on the radar of York and her colleagues at the time. Over the course of a few years, companies have now started to use a wide variety of social media tools to their advantage, creating a user-friendly environment where consumers can interact with content through visuals and images, not just text. This is where the latest trend of content marketing is heavily influential. Even with all of the accolades and experience, York goes back to where her love for PR started: KSU. She remembers that her most influential professors were Professor Thomas Gray and Dr. Charles Mayo because of their remarkable insights in the industry with expansive careers. These professors, along her overall college experience, molded the Mary York that is taking the PR industry by storm. “Professor Gray was my favorite,” York

said. “He came from The Home Depot and The Coca-Cola Co. and he also had a news reporting background. I found things he would tell us very valuable and I still remember a lot of that. Dr. Mayo was my favorite, too. I respected his insight on PR in general.” “Black and Gold” school pride still encircles around York as several interns and employees at William Mills Agency are KSU graduates. Those KSU graduates include Michael Touchton, class of 2011 and a senior account agent; Mallory Griffin, class of 2015 and an account associate; and Kathryn-Amelia Simms, class of 2015 and a content marketing coordinator. Always wanting to encourage the next generation of PR professionals, York extends a few words of advice for students to be successful. As there is a high level of competition in the public relations industry, new graduates should be persistent in searching for a job. Once a student has earned a job in a company’s public relations team or a public relations agency, it is best to find a mentor that is an example of who you want to become later in your career. Additionally, it is important to “always prepare for the unknown.” In the PR world, things do not always go as planned. Therefore, it is imperative to be up to date on the latest facts to be as effective as possible for the client. These are all important qualities to have. But, there is one quality that York feels is often forgotten with PR professionals, and that is advocating for yourself, or what she calls “PRyourself.” Companies brag about their credentials and successes, so that gives credence that is essential for professionals to do as well. “You are an expert in the public relations field, but make sure you’re an expert at PR-ing yourself as well and branding yourself,” York said.


Olivea McCollins


Originally a student in the English major, York recognized that this major would not give her opportunities for career growth in her interests. Because of her love for hard news journalism, she began to write for The Sentinel, KSU’s studentrun newspaper. Being active in the KSU chapter of PRSSA and the Kennesaw Communication Association helped prepare York for an internship at Williams Mills Agency during her last semester.


Moving Forward by Looking to the Future of Media By Andrew Connard


The KSU School of Communication & Media is partnering with Adobe Systems as a part of the Future of Media project to provide students with access to the most up-to-date and competitive software on the market. SOCM professor Dr. Amber Hutchins has been working on the partnership with Adobe Systems and is excited to see the school move forward into a new era of digital innovation as to better equip students with skills that will keep them competitive in the marketplace. “We want this project to be student driven and directly serve their needs now to be competitive in the professional world,” said Hutchins. “We are looking to incorporate these innovations into all of our classes because most of our students can use them in their majors.” SOCM will also be renovating its media labs on the second and fifth floors of the Social Sciences Building (see photo of architectural rendering below) to accommodate better technology with updated systems that will enable students to think more creatively and utilize their own innovation. “Yes, technology is expensive,” said Hutchins. “But, technology also becomes obsolete quickly. Creative and innovative thinking does not.” SOCM has already initiated conversation with Adobe Systems. There are also new partnerships developing with more companies in the future, both local and national as part of the school’s Future of Media and Communication project. “We think you’ll see some pretty big changes starting in the fall,” said Hutchins. “We are moving forward in an exciting way by looking to the future of media. Innovation is an often overused word, but that is exactly what we are doing here.”




Digital Media Gets a



he School of Communication & Media welcomed a renovated digital media and computer lab along with plans for an audio production space as part of a project that was started a few years ago due to the rapid expansion in the School’s digital media footprint.

The renovated media lab, located on the second floor of the Social Sciences building, features everything digital media students need to write, film and edit entire works from start to finish including lighting equipment, a green screen, computers with Adobe editing software and an audio recording booth. The lab and its connecting computer room function as a classroom for students taking upper-level digital media production classes, and the equipment will be accessible to students enrolled in the production classes. The project was overseen by SOCM Senior Lecturer Dr. Jake McNeill, who saw a need for expansion in the Digital Media realm. “A couple of years ago, we needed to identify additional space for production,” said McNeil “Initially, we were looking at moving to a different building and having a long ongoing construction process. Instead, it was decided that we would have a space on our main campus to expand our production footprint.” McNeill explained how these new spaces will be enforcing software literacy while enhancing students’ hands-on production skills.

Google To o l s T ra i n i n g Alexis Williams The February SPJ sponsored event titled “Google Tools Training” taught future journalists how to use Google to collect relevant data in the hopes of inspiring a story. The event included three sessions led by Dan Petty (pictured below), senior editor for the Now team at The Denver Post. Petty covered techniques like how to add images to plotted points, data cleaning and how to turn tables into maps. Petty is part of a professional group of Google trainers who travel the country.

“It will make sure everyone stays cutting-edge with software and technology instruction,” said McNeil. “But, it’ll also be great because they will have more of an opportunity to engage in a hands-on hardware of media production.” The audio production space, located in Pilcher, is still under development. When completed, this space will potentially serve as a SOCM specific radio station as well as a SOCM specific space for audio production needs and will feature recording and editing software, sound equipment and a recording booth.


Andrew Connard



Marketing in a

John Benedict

New Age


any industries and organizations in today’s marketplace are placing a greater importance on communication as a tool to promote growth.


According to a Graduate Management Admission Test survey conducted in 2014, 600 employers indicated that they were more likely to hire candidates who had excellent writing and public speaking skills, the ability to listen to others, strategic idea pitching and professionalism.


Storytelling is an effective way to connect with people and build relationships. Those connections often lead to loyal customers who tell others about the companies and brands they like. Companies and consumers are now able to hold conversations. According to the University of California San Diego website, new marketing is all about engagement. In the past, you received fliers and saw an ad somewhere, now you are easily able to converse with these companies about a product, service and any information you need from them. This new dynamic has changed the way people buy things. People are now very comfortable shopping online.

It would seem likely that possessing those qualities would make Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and an ideal employee for most companies. Communication majors are in LinkedIn have grown exponentially since their creation. A 2015 Pew a great position to possess those skills from their course work and training. A University of California-Annenberg blogpost in 2015 stated Research report found that nearly two-thirds of American adults (65 percent) use social networking sites compared to 7 percent, when in past years communication experts were they began tracking, in 2005. The report needed in journalism, public relations and % of all American internet-using adults also found that 76 percent of internet users performing arts. Today communication professionals are assets to almost every who use at least one social networking site have at least one social media account. Large and successful companies have industry. already taken advantage of this effective Communication experts help companies new medium. Coca-Cola has received over in several ways. They help companies 102 million likes on its Facebook account reach their customers more effectively by and CNN has received over 26 million using techniques like brand storytelling on its account. Both companies have a and are used to assist executives in significant presence on Twitter with Cocapromoting the company’s mission, Cola having over three million followers purpose and goals to their employees. and CNN having over 31 million. They both They are also used to improve internal have an active presence posting content communication between staff, vendors regularly. and associates. Coca-Cola incorporates trending social Organizations have been utilizing media apps, such as GIFs, on their technology to communicate with their twitter account. They recently tweeted customers for decades. The 2014 Chief a GIF celebrating Chinese New Year and Marketing Officer Council reports stated spreading kindness, by sharing a Coke that companies cited email as the most of course. Coca-Cola and other large effective marketing tool. In this digital profitable brands are great at connecting age, that should come as no surprise. As with their audience at the right time and Data courtesy of the Pew Research Center (2015). email still plays a vital role in customer when it is relevant. outreach, social media has grown as an With a communication degree one is not limited to positions in effective marketing and networking tool. It is crucial for companies to public relations or journalism. There are more options now and utilize these new online mediums so they can build connections with one could work with many different companies to improve internal their consumers and grow their brand visibility. communication. Experts in this field are used to developing programs Marketing is the ability of an organization to anticipate the wants and methods that improve employee engagement and interaction. and needs of customers, and to do it better than its competitors. They could also work in the expansive social media realm and help Social media has become a game-changer in modern marketing. create new ideas for brand promotion and storytelling. Communication students learn how to become great storytellers from their training and education. They have experience writing in different Communication students have more options than ever. Newly created positions and a high demand for excellent communicators make the styles from informative hard news stories to narrative-style features. job outlook promising for students eager to break into the industry.




Five Integrated Global Communication graduate students travelled with Kennesaw State University professor Dr. Heeman Kim to Japan March 4 to March 12, thanks to the Consulate General of Japan.

“My hope for the future of this abroad trip, is to extend the opportunity to all students instead of only graduate students,” Kim said. All five graduate students are interested in Asian Studies programs but do not plan to intern or work abroad. This opportunity allowed for students to ask questions and even exchange gifts. Kim was pleased with the trip and very proud of the students involved. The M.A. in Integrated Global Communication program offers multiple internship opportunities outside of the United States. For more information on studying abroad in graduate school, visit the School of Communication & Media website at resources/global-learning/.

Lexie Williams



Kennesaw State University Communication students seeking a graduate degree have two programs to choose from: a Master of Arts in Integrated Global Communication or a graduate certificate in Digital and Social Media. The Integrated Global Communication M.A. is the only global communication master’s program in the Southeast that features a learning module that requires students to go abroad. Headed by Interim Associate Director, Graduate Studies and Professor of Journalism Dr. Joshua Azriel, this four semester master’s degree is for a student who is interested in learning more about global communication from multiple perspectives. One of the required components of this program is to go outside of the country to complete a research project, directed study or internship with various partners of the program. These company partners are widely known in the communication world. One of its partners, Golin, is responsible for public relations for McDonald’s. Another internship offered through the program is with the news giant BBC. “A lot of our students enroll in the course work full time. Again, they’re seeking to get a leg up in their career and a lot of them join the program because they’ve never gone over seas before,” Azriel said. The certificate program offers four courses, two in the fall and two in the spring with every course assigning projects that are based on real world scenarios. The certificate is offered online. There are no pre requisites to this program and it does not require a Graduate Record Examination test score. “What they both have in common is it’s really geared toward students who are looking to advance not just their education but their careers,” Azriel said. Students who complete internships abroad do not typically start their careers in that country, but impress employers with well-rounded resumes. Students who are working toward the certificate can use two of their courses and apply them to the master’s degree. Azriel hopes this encourages students to pursue their master’s degree. The program is now more convenient, allowing students to go full time or part time. Azriel teaches two classes, one in each program. One of the classes he teaches is the digital media law class for the certificate. “We learn about the intersection of the first amendment—freedom of speech, freedom of press—with social media,” Azriel said. He also teaches Survey of Global Communication during the first semester of the master’s program, which is more of an introduction to global communication. While scholarships are not offered, three Graduate Research Assistantships are awarded to students annually. GRAs not only aid in tuition costs, but also give monthly stipends and allow students to work closely with a professor to do research. More information regarding specific course credits and applications can be found on the School of Communication & Media’s website.


Pictured at top: Communication graduate program students. Photos courtesy of admin. specialist Jeannine Jones.


KSU was selected as one of 20 outstanding universities in the United States to get a travel grant from the Japanese government. The five graduate students from KSU were Brianna Gainey, Chauntrell Brewer, Marlaina Williams, Jared Winston and Meghan De St. Aubin. They do not speak Japanese and were fully immersed in the culture, traditions and people of Japan. These five were also accompanied by students of different universities while visiting Tokyo, Ishigawa, Kanazawa and Kaga in Japan.


accessed. Someone could see if a dog in the neighborhood has been reported for excessive barking. If there is a sign indicating an upcoming zoning hearing, someone could request the zoning application and learn more about what will be constructed. “If the next-door neighbor is building something and the runoff is going to come down in your yard, then you need to know that,” Carlson said.

Cracking Open Georgia’s Open Records Act

Sierra Hubbard

Public relations managers, communication teams, journalists and reporters all need sufficient access to public information. It is a critical part of the communication field, and it is why anyone entering this field should have a good grasp of open records laws. “Georgia’s Open Records Act is actually one of the pretty good ones,” said Dr. Carolyn Carlson, an associate professor of communication at KSU. “It’s not perfect, it’s not the best, but it used to be a lot worse.” Carlson has spent years examining open records laws and states’ accessibility to public documents. Before beginning her career as a professor in 2007, she was a reporter for publications in Georgia and Florida as well as the Associated Press. During that time, she was the national president of the Society of Professional Journalists and, in 1998, she received the SPJ First Amendment Award. Carlson is currently a board member for the Georgia First Amendment Foundation and is the director of the journalism program at KSU. While the Open Records Act is very useful to journalists and communication teams, it is also a tool that can be used by any citizen looking for information. Carlson pointed out that many public records are now stored online and can be easily accessed without making any requests through an office. There are many cases in which this information would be valuable to a citizen.

“Say you want to buy a house,” Carlson said. She pointed out that one can find tax bills for the house, crime statistics for a neighborhood, sex offender in the area, school district lines and information about the area’s representatives. Most of this can be found with a quick online search. “Every day, they’re putting more and more of these public records online,” Carlson said. “So it’s becoming easier to just look up records without having to actually go down to the office and ask for it.” There are other documents that are a little harder to find but can still be useful to a curious citizen. “Anytime you fill out an application for anything with the government, that application is public record,” Carlson said. This means there is plenty of information available for one to find, but she cautions that it also means one’s own information is public. Referring to house-hunting example, Carlson identified some of the many ways the Open Records Act can be utilized. “If you think your neighbor has a gun, you can ask to see if they have a permit for it and look at their application,” she said. Plenty of other information might be helpful to individuals and can be easily

For those interested in seeing crime statistics for an area, Carlson explained that police departments are required to keep a daily log of crimes, but it is not detailed and only contains basic information. Using the case number or the incident number listed in the log, however, one could request to see the incident report associated with that crime. “The incident report is three [to] four pages long,” she said. “It’s got a lot more information that, depending on the crime, may be very useful to you.” Some incident reports may have redactions to prevent sensitive or personal information from reaching the public. This is determined on a case-by-case basis and may include social security numbers, the names of minors or identifying information about sexual assault victims. The only incident reports that cannot be requested are those for cases that are labeled as “under investigation” by the police department.

“Every day, they’re putting more and more of these public records online,” Carlson said.

“You don’t have access to it until the investigation is over, and that could be years, if ever,” Carlson said. Essentially, the Open Records Act allows citizens to dig under the surface and learn more about their communities, public officials and neighbors—from the primary a person voted in to their status as a registered gun owner.


Dr. Carlson explains how the Georgia Open Records Act

actually works

The act specifies the timeframe agencies are given to comply with an open records request: three business days, though this does not apply to athletics departments of public universities. Carlson points out a few of the law’s nuances, however, mainly that the phrasing “three business days” does not include weekends. The timing is also most often left to the discretion of the records custodian. “The three days begin when they receive your request, not when you send it,” Carlson said. If a clerk is on vacation or out of the office for a few days, the timer does not begin until they return and first see your email or application. Another factor, she explains, is whether or not the correct person received the request. “If you send it to the wrong person, they don’t start the clock until the right person ends up with the request,” Carlson said. “They can’t do their job until it gets to the right person.” A common misconception is that the record will be received within three business days, but Carlson explains that the clock runs out when the record is made available to the person who requested it. “It’s when they send it to you, when they put it in the mail,” she said, “or when they simply notify you by phone or by email that the record is available for you to pick up.” For paperwork being sent through the mail, that means the three-day timeframe could actually last more than a week. If for some reason an agency believes it will take longer to retrieve and send the records, the clerk or custodian should notify the person making the request and offer a reason why. Carlson warns students not to expect a record earlier than the deadline the agencies are given. “Many of them will take the entire three days to do that,” she said. “Don’t be surprised if that happens.”

Sierra Hubbard www.sierrahubbard.

Other parts of the law specify how much an agency can charge a person for requesting a record. There are two factors that play into the cost: the method of delivery and the amount of time it takes to find the record. Documents are often printed, and the price, according to the law, may not exceed 10 cents per page. Some agencies will transfer the information onto a CD or a flash drive if asked to do so; in that case, the person requesting the records may either provide the technology or pay the price of the CD or flash drive. Records that are more difficult to find or have been archived because they are older may incur another cost. Agencies can charge a person what’s called a “search and retrieval” fee, which is equal to the hourly wage of the lowest-paid employee who is qualified to find the records. “Why it was worded that way is they can’t have the department’s lawyer do it at $400 an hour if the clerk can do it,” Carlson said. While the first 15 minutes are free, she points out that the charges can add up if it’s an old record that isn’t easily located. For instance, a collection of records from 15 or 20 years ago may be stored in an offsite warehouse almost an hour away from the agency’s office. Including drive time, it may take the clerk a total of three or four hours to find the paperwork, and that clerk may be paid $14.50 per hour. For a 50-page document, the person making the request would owe the agency $63, and that may be out of the price range for a student who is working on a small project. Most agencies will inform the person making the request of the estimated cost up front. They cannot hold that information from someone and then bill them after the records are found or delivered. Typically, the clerk of a government office or the records custodian is willing to help a citizen figure out what information they are looking for and point them in the right direction.




Georgia’s Open Records Act is a 23-page document with plenty of legal jargon, but there are a few highlights to keep in mind when looking for information.


President Olens’ Take on Open Records Act By: Sierra Hubbard


President Sam Olens was Georgia’s attorney general before accepting the position as President of Kennesaw State University. In his six years as the state’s lawyer, he spearheaded many efforts to revise the Open Records Act. In 2012, the legislature passed a bill that drastically changed access to public records, such as increasing the penalties for violating the act and reducing the cost of documents from 25 cents per page to 10 cents.

Olens visited Dr. Carolyn Carlson’s Media Law class in November 2016 to discuss the ins and outs of the Open Records Act with students. “One of the things I think students don’t recognize is that is an expertise that their president has,” Carlson said. She explained that he talked to the class about the changes to the law over the years. “He also was very active in enforcing these laws as attorney general and he talked about that,” Carlson said. In an interview, the university president explained how hard it was start to the process of changing the law. The biggest problem, he said, was that journalists were afraid that lawmakers would use it as an opportunity to reduce access to public records. “It took me almost a year to simply get the press on board because of their nervousness,” Olens said. In his efforts to change the law, Olens reached out to publications like The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and several broadcast news stations. His office also fielded questions from groups in the health care and education industries who were concerned about the changes. “You had to bring everyone to the table,” Olens said.

“Be specific,” Olens said. “Broad-brush requests aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.”

During the revision process, one important focus was the outdated language of the law. “We had to take into account a lot of technological changes,” Olens said. “The law didn’t even reference fax, let alone email.”

He explained that narrow request can typically yield better results. Like Carlson, he also stressed the importance of making sure the request is sent to the correct person.

Now, agencies can email records if that is available, which saves the requestor money on printed pages and results in a faster delivery. While he concedes that the Open Records Act is very important to journalists, Olens added that the press tends to forget about another important part of the law: the Open Meetings Act. “Often the meetings are far more important to the public, visa vie their government, than documents,” he said. Olens encouraged students to brush up on both acts and learn more about what government meetings are open to the public and how to access important information. As far as tips on how to do this effectively, he echoed many of Carlson’s sentiments.

“Find out who the records custodian is and be as specific as possible,” Olens said. “You can’t complain that it wasn’t done in three days if you didn’t send it to the right person.” Lastly, he urged those who are seeking public information to be confident when they do so, whether they are a journalist working on a story or just a citizen with questions.

No one making a records request should feel “guilty about making the request,” Olens said. “It’s their right. ” j

Lambda Pi Eta members pose for a photo during their signature event: touring the 11 Alive news station in Atlanta with meteorologist, Samantha Mohr (2017).

Lambda Pi Eta:

Honoring a Communication Tradition Lexie Williams

The society participates in fundraisers, social gatherings, guest lectures and field trips to local broadcast companies. Aside from an impressive addition to resumes, honor society members can expect a certificate after graduation along with a pin and honor cords. “Lambda Pi Eta is really good for Communication majors looking for leadership,” Kim said. The society elects officers for various positions to allow opportunity and responsibility to all members.

Taylor Snow, a senior at Kennesaw State, has been president of the honor society since fall 2016. Her duties as president span from assigning tasks to various officers to organizing the society’s events each semester. “The best part about being in Lambda Pi Eta is the many opportunities that it provides,” Snow said. “Not only do I get to build on my leadership skills, I also get to help organize academic and social events, work with a great group of students, and make networking connections that I may not have been able to make outside of the organization.” Requirements to join the communication honor society include a 3.25 communication GPA, 3.0 general GPA and 60 or more credit hours. Applications to become a new member can be found on the SOCM website.


The Public Relations Student Society of America is a professional organization that helps students gain education, network with peers and begin their career in public relations. The PRSSA chapter began at KSU in 2012 and now has more than 25 members. There are no requirements to join, but the group prefers students interested in pursuing a future in public relations.

Beginning a Career in PR

“We provide students with workshops that supplement the courses they have taken, host guest speakers who provide great insights into the field of public relations, and meet [and] network with those perusing jobs in communication,” said PRSSA president Michael Baker.

Baker has been president since fall 2016. His main focus is gaining new members and informing them about possible internship opportunities to students. “I think the hardest part about being president is juggling work, class and the PRSSA chapter,” Baker said “I have a great executive board that helps keep my head on straight,” Baker said. Applications are available to become a member in the School of Communication & Media office. The society is active on Facebook and Twitter.



Juniors and seniors pursuing a SOCM degree can join Lambda Pi Eta, the honor society for Communication majors at KSU. Lambda Pi Eta currently boasts 99 members and inducts at least 30 new members each year. The faculty advisor, Dr. Heeman Kim, has overseen the student members of Lambda Pi Eta for four years.



Student Media Gives Communication Majors a

Head Start

Sierra Hubbard www.sierrahubbard.

“I can honestly say that, after working with students involved in Student Media for over 25 years, that they are the most hard-working, dedicated [and] ethical young people I’ve had the joy of knowing.” Ed Bonza

Advisor and Director of Student Activities

When completing an application for an entry-level job or an internship in communication or journalism, many students may notice that companies ask a variation of this question: “Did you work with your university newspaper or magazine”. The prevalence of this question proves the importance of being involved with student media. It offers practice working with a publication or station and allows a student to gather a portfolio of work to show future employers. Kennesaw State University Student Media has opportunities for students who want to gain this real-world experience. KSUSM is broken down into three branches: The Sentinel, The Peak and Owl Radio.


he Sentinel is the university’s weekly newspaper, that features university news, sports and fun things to do in the area. The Peak is a lifestyle magazine that publishes every two months, but the group also produces videos and podcasts on its website. Owl Radio is a station that plays a variety of music while allowing students to host their own radio shows and DJ at events on campus. Although KSUSM has a faculty adviser, each group is completely student-run. The leader of each organization is a student, and no faculty member or professor has any influence on the content that is produced.

Ed Bonza, the director of Student Activities, has served as KSUSM’s adviser for 25 years. “Student Media offers an almost true-to-life experience in journalism and broadcasting,” Bonza said. While the magazine and the newspaper focus heavily on writing, Bonza insists that the publications are not seeking only the best writers or the best radio hosts. He says it’s more about the attitude of the students who apply. “You have to be willing to take criticism, listen, learn and do over,” he said. Looking past graduation, Bonza believes that involvement in student media is an important factor to landing a job in writing, journalism or any other relevant field.


Raychle Wilkinson, the arts and living editor, works on writing a headline for one of her stories in The Sentinel.


PJ Andrew, a page designer for The Sentinel, works on the layout of the newspaper in Adobe InDesign.

Those who do take that opportunity often feel the same way. Alex Patton is a senior at KSU majoring in journalism, and he is the managing editor of The Sentinel. He agrees that participating in student media is critical if someone wants to pursue this field. “I think this will help me get a job. This is more important than anything else I’m doing in school,” Patton said. “I feel like employers care more about involvement than about grades.” In his role as managing editor, Patton copyedits all articles that are published in The Sentinel. This gives him an opportunity to brush up on his AP style each week and learn how to spot errors in a story.

“I feel like it’s made me more confident in my work,” Patton said. “It’s allowed me to apply the skills I’ve learned in my classes to a real-world situation.” He is also charged with managing the staff of editors, which he says reinforces his own skills and abilities through teaching others. “I don’t think I’d have an opportunity to step into a leadership role without student media,” Patton said. “In the classes I’ve taken, they don’t really teach decisionmaking. You get to learn that here before you get a professional job after graduation.” Another editor, Raychle Wilkinson, offers a different viewpoint. She is the editor of The Sentinel’s Arts & Living section, and she is a sophomore majoring in English, not journalism. “I feel like the fact that I come from a different perspective in the same field of writing has added some variety to the

overall voice of The Sentinel,” Wilkinson said. She says there are plenty of opportunities for students who are pursuing degrees in other fields at The Sentinel as well as the rest of Student Media. “It would be really great experience for any students who might want to get into any kind of professional writing,” Wilkinson said. “It looks great on a resume. It’s an easy way to get real-life experience with writing for a publication.” Her role as editor has given Wilkinson her first leadership role, and she says it has come with several benefits. “It’s been very helpful in showing me how to organize and motivate a group of people, especially since they are volunteers,” Wilkinson said.


“I’m biased, but I wouldn’t hire someone who hadn’t [been involved],” Bonza said. “I would be very leery of someone who had such an opportunity but didn’t take it. If you want to work in this business, here’s a chance to prove it.”

Continued on page 26


professionals prep journalism students

CONTINUED from pg. 25 Writing is not the only activity offered by Student Media, however. Owl Radio lets students host their own shows, DJ events on campus, work in promotions and try some work with the station’s up-andcoming TV opportunities.

“We give students the experience needed for a real life radio station.”

“You could be on any team you desire based on what interests you,” said Kayla Hodge, a senior at KSU and the general manager of Owl Radio.

Overall, Student Media offers opportunities to students in all communication fields, from journalism to feature writing, from radio personalities to social media gurus. Bonza, the adviser for KSUSM, says he has seen countless changes to the university’s media outlets over the years, but he insists there is always one constant.

She explained that there is plenty of room for growth within the organization. Students can work their way up the ranks from a DJ to a management position. “I do think it is a positive impact because it teaches the students how to manage and have patience with all different types of people,” Hodge said.

Hodge said she has seen students graduate from Owl Radio and land jobs at major radio stations and companies like CNN.

“I can honestly say that, after working with students involved in Student Media for over 25 years, that they are the most hard-working, dedicated [and] ethical young people I’ve had the joy of knowing,” Bonza said.

Nikki Smith, features editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, tells students about her journey in becoming a leader of a team, even though she’s the youngest editor at the AJC. By: Sierra Hubbard


n the group’s largest event in recent years, Kennesaw State’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists hosted a workshop and networking event in March 2017.

Dubbed the “Young Writer Workshop,” the event was free to attend and offered students a chance to learn from industry professionals from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Marietta Daily Journal. SPJ President Lauren Leathers is a senior majoring in journalism & emerging media. “This event was a breakthrough for SPJ,” Leathers said. “We have never held an event this large and it was an absolute success.” Five guests from the two publications spoke to students at the event, as well as one KSU professor. The event was structured into breakout sessions that focused on different topics in journalism, ranging from the basics of AP style to being a successful section editor.

Pictured Above: Program Manager Josh Leslie entertains listeners at the mic on Owl Radio.


“ 26


“I realized that becoming an editor is more than just being the best writer. It’s about leading and inspiring a team,” Leathers said after attending the session with AJC editor Nikki Smith. “That session really stuck with me.” More than 50 students attended the event and networked with the guest speakers. Leathers said many students asked about joining SPJ and made good connections with the journalists that attended. “I enjoyed seeing professionals interact with students on their level, discussing internship possibilities and advice on how to get their careers up and going,” Leathers said. “They did an outstanding job.” Anyone interested in joining SPJ can visit the organization’s page on OwlLife or go to the national website at

Dr. Dr. Josh Josh Azriel Azriel

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT By: Sierra Hubbard & Madeline McGee

Dr. Chuck Aust


r. Joshua Azriel, professor of Journalism and interim associate director of Graduate Studies for the School of Communication & Media, recently published an article in the California Journal of Politics and Policy, a publication of the University of California at Berkeley. The article, “Reining in the California Paparazzi: An Analysis of the California Legislature’s Attempts to Safeguard Celebrity Privacy,” looks at the paparazzi’s activities as they relate to the First Amendment. Azriel argues that media operations, including those that are celebrity-focused, have a right to pursue and distribute their stories. Although he said he doesn’t personally believe that the daily lives of celebrities are newsworthy, he stands by the freedom of the press. “I’m not going to use my own personal judgment to reflect what is fundamentally a Constitutional right,” he said. The article is one of many Azriel has published regarding the First Amendment. Previously, he focused on hate speech and social media, but many of his more recent works analyze the legal implications of paparazzi activity and possible solutions to the contention. “I’ve always been fascinated by Hollywood culture. It’s just so different from anything I know,” Azriel said. “A whole hoard of photographers following and chasing somebody? I can’t imagine that.” The foreignness of Hollywood culture is part of the reason Azriel said he plans to expand on his current research next year by actually embedding himself with the California paparazzi and writing a book about the experience. “I want to be with them at a restaurant or at the airport and ask them questions about their job,” he said. “I want to ask them questions about whether they think their job is protected by the First Amendment or if they believe they are legitimate journalists.”Azriel said plans to spend the next two or three years working on his book.


r. Charles Aust has been with the School of Communication & Media for 21 years. In 2016, he presented research papers at several conferences and received accolades for his work. The KSU Alumni Association granted Aust the Betty L. Siegel Award, which is bestowed upon an outstanding faculty member each year. The award is named in honor of Dr. Betty L. Siegel, past president of KSU, and recognizes someone who embodies the qualities of leadership, scholarship and service to the university. In March, Aust presented “The Role of Spirituality in the Al-Anon 12-Step Recovery Process,” a paper that examined the importance of religion for recovering alcoholics. “Religious experience is a deeply personal, complex and vital tool for many,” Aust said. “This paper explores how this international recovery organization rhetorically frames and promotes this experience.” At a conference in Pennsylvania and again at a KSU event, Aust presented “Therapeutic methods of communication with students,” which looked at how instructors can help students grow academically by fostering an open dialogue and recognizing the student’s personal struggles. “The instructor can facilitate growth and development of the student as a whole person in the process of teaching the course,” Aust said. “We must strive to help our students accomplish learning objectives. But our students have feelings and aspirations as they work through the days, weeks and semesters of their lives.”


Dr. Kristen Heflin and Dr. Justin Pettigrew, two KSU public relations professors, collaborated on a research project that will be published in the Journal of Public Relations Education this spring. Their paper is “Teaching Media Relationships: What’s in the Textbooks?” and examines popular editions of textbooks that focus on media relations. The research consisted of a content analysis of six principles texts and six PR writing texts. The study found that few textbooks go beyond the basic tactical information to address deeper relational issues, contrary to the professors’ original hypothesis. Heflin also completed a second paper called “From Divide and Conquer to Dynamic Teamwork: A New Approach to Teaching Public Relations Campaigns,” which will be published in the same journal. The authors found that the majority of public relations programs require students to take a PR campaigns course. This class is often structured like a professional agency, and students work autonomously to complete the work. While this method is popular and students learn to work on a team, students tend to divide up parts of the campaign and work on sections alone. This means few students actually understand the entire planning process as a whole. This paper provides a step-by-step guide to teaching PR campaigns, a method that solves the problems associated with the traditional and more popular approach. Heflin’s professional career in public relations spans across industries like entertainment, nonprofit, government and health care. Before beginning her career at KSU, she was most recently the head of public relations for the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Heflin teaches 27 courses in the PR major and the Master of Arts in Integrated Global Communication program.

Showcasing Student

Speakers Andrew Connard

The finalists from the 2016 Public Speaking Showcase along with Dr. Barbara Gainey, director of the School of Communication & Media, and Professor Emily Holler, senior lecturer and event coordinator.


The 2016 Public Speaking Showcase was organized by SOCM Professor Emily Holler and was sponsored by The Home Depot, which provided finalists with monetary prizes. Bedford/St. Martin’s publishing company provided dinner for the judges and Hayden-McNeil/Macmillan Learning provided three beautiful glass trophies for the top three finalists.


“The Public Speaking Showcase is a wonderful opportunity to feature our outstanding KSU students and show them off to the corporate event sponsors and the community. Even more importantly, however, it offers a formal setting for additional practice and perfection of this ultra-important aspect of communication,” Holler said. “The students who take part in the showcase and really excel at public speaking position themselves quite well for leadership positions in their communities and in their professional lives.”

Kennesaw State University’s School of Communication & Media hosted its annual Public Speaking Showcase in February 2016. Students gave a persuasive speech around 8-10 minutes in length on a topic of their choice and were judged in the following categories: organization, language, material, delivery and analysis. The judges at the Public Speaking Showcase consisted of professors from Kennesaw State University, professors from other universities, professionals in the communication field and university administrators. Twenty-two of the students that competed made it to the showcase’s semifinals and each student had a unique message and presentation style. Making it into the final round were Madison Higbee, Chris Brock, Madison Dawkins, Kelsie Anderson and Brittany Russell. Dawkins came in first place with a speech titled “Become an Organ Donor”, emphasizing the importance of organ donation. “You are six times more likely to need an organ than be a donor,” Dawkins said in her speech, leaving the audience with powerful words.


World rd W III “



The School of Communication & Media hosted its third annual War of the Words competition on Nov. 11, 2016. This journalistic writing competition consisted of student participants listening to a 60-minute presentation that was introduced by Keith Perissi, the Kennesaw State University Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program director and conducted by Paul Jenkins, screenwriting and directing instructor. Participants were tasked to write a oneand-a-half to two-page feature or news story about the presentation under a deadline of 90 minutes. Faculty judges Dr. Carolyn Carlson and Tim Gillman reviewed the submissions and judged them based on content, writing quality, language, grammar and style consistency. Junior Media Studies major Madeline McGee placed first and received $500, senior Journalism major Kaitlyn Lewis placed second and received $300 and sophomore PR interest Holly Summers placed third and received $100. All three students received a certificate for competing in the event.

The prize money for the third annual War of the Words was donated by Hayden-McNeill publishers and School of Communication & Media faculty.

are r e f th o t e on tha s e i nit u t o or opp ve t a h nts e d nst stu i a g ed a g d ” be ju ers. e p ir the

“This event is one of the rare opportunities that students have to be judged against their peers,” said Event Coordinator and Senior Lecturer of Communication Tricia Grindel. “Students are usually graded by their professors, but not against their peers. The winning article is posted on KSU NewsNow and this is something that students can add to their resume and portfolio.”

Professor Grindel got the idea for the event from a similar event that she had competed in and won in her undergraduate studies. Grindel also said that she would like to see the event grow in the future. “There are over 1500 students in the School of Communication & Media, yet only around 20 compete,” Grindel said.


2016 was the first year where the event was held in the afternoon, and event organizers are considering keeping it that way to be more convenient for students in the future.


Pictured above: 2017 War of the Words contest winner Madeline McGee holds her certificate with Senior Lecturer and Event Coordinator Tricia Grindel


Andrew Connard

nt eve


By: Andrew Connard


What I have discovered as a Communication student at Kennesaw State University is that words and letters are funny things. Depending on the order in which you present them, you can change their entire meanings and inflict fear and terror where there was once blissful disinterest. The three letters “H”, “I” and “V” are harmless on their own, yet together in that order they tend to evoke an emotion of discomfort and fear.


Whenever I write or speak about HIV I always add the disclaimer that I do not outline anything nor do I rehearse anything. I always speak and write directly from within as to show my audience the most important part of HIV, which is the raw and unpolished, perfectly imperfect “H”. I am talking about the human. When I first moved away to college, I was under the illusion that to be accepted I needed to live a party lifestyle. I knew I was being someone I was not, but the thirst for acceptance and affection is what motivated me to continue deeper into a lifestyle of hedonism. This came at a cost, however, and before long I had begun to be very, very sick.

I never, ever could have imagined that I would be the one sitting in a doctor’s office having a licensed professional tell me that I had those three letters in that specific order, “H”, “I” and “V”. Immediately I was afraid and ashamed. I had become the “other”, a person I had always heard of but never really saw as someone I could become. From that moment on, I would be seen as diseased and sick to a lot of people, including friends and even myself. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines communication as “the imparting or exchanging of information or news,” and I can say with confidence that the way we communicate about HIV today has much to be desired. I’m going to be brutally honest, I never thought it could possibly happen to me. From what little I knew on HIV, I thought that only “bad” people had sexually transmitted infections. I saw them as different, as the “other”, and then all of a sudden I was one of them. Undetectable is a term in the world of HIV that means someone who is adhering to their medication regimen and has been able to control the infection through a healthy lifestyle and medication. The levels of HIV virus in the blood drop so much that modern-day detection devices cannot detect the virus itself. Undetectable is a good thing, however, undetectable also would be an accurate way to describe how I felt. I felt invisible and small, and would constantly look at other students around me and think to myself, “I am different from them. Their blood is clean and mine is dirty.” There is nothing more humbling than looking into the mirror and seeing someone who is slowly, silently and shamefully dying rather than yourself.

I lost friends after becoming open about my status, but gained so many more in the process. I have found that people will have respect for someone who owns up to their mistakes and makes the best with what they’ve got. I would rather be honest and have nothing to hide and be ashamed about and have fewer friends than have a lot of people pretending to be my friend while I hide something from them and essentially censor a part of myself. The School of Communication & Media has provided me with so many resources to aid me on this new path my life has taken. I started out with a Health Communication class taught by SOCM Professor Emily Holler, and discovered a passion for communicating about health, which led to an internship at the Kennesaw State University Center for Health Promotion and Wellness as a Health Communications intern and Peer Health Educator. Through networking and speaking passionately about celebrating life after HIV, I have managed to build a name for myself in the Atlanta area. I gave a speech on a whim for the office I intern at on living with HIV, and Julie Rhoad, CEO of the NAMES Project (the company that owns and operates the AIDS memorial quilt) just happened to be there. I gave the same disclaimer that I gave at the beginning of this story, and after I spoke, Julie personally invited me to replace one of the company’s former speakers who had passed away from HIV treatment-related complications the year prior. As of Feb. 27, 2017, I am the youngest openly HIVpositive person to speak on behalf of the AIDS Quilt and the countless victims it represents and will also be founding my own non-profit company shortly after graduation.

“Regardless of whether a test result is positive or negative, a person’s status can remain undefeated until they let it be otherwise.”

I returned to school in the fall semester of 2015 after taking a few weeks off to get my thoughts back together and it was upon my return that I made one of the most stupid and pivotal decisions in my life: I decided to get on Yik Yak and make an anonymous post saying, “Is there anyone here at KSU that has HIV and wants to talk?” I felt I could not possibly be the only one. If it could happen to me then surely its happened to at least one other person here. I felt that Yik Yak would be the perfect place to do this as it acts as an anonymous version of Twitter. My logic was that I could make the post and no one would be able to trace it back to me, and my classmates and friends wouldn’t stigmatize me and see me differently.

The post was a very popular one, and I remember being unable to check my phone because I made that post right before entering a class that did not allow cellphones to be used. After what felt like an eternity, the class ended and I frantically checked my phone, hoping to find at least one other person who could possibly understand what I was going through. There were a lot of comments, but nothing like what I had hoped for. The most notable comments that I can still remember were, “Stay away from me.” “lol kill yourself.” And “you’re just a diseased whore. Stay away from us.” At that point, I didn’t realize that I was crying in the middle of the hallway of the 3rd floor of the Social Science Building, desperately looking for at least one person who would defend me. There was no one there. I realized right at that moment that I needed to be the one to stand up for myself. But why stop there? I decided in that moment that I was going to stand up for people living with HIV, and then my life quickly began to change.

I no longer see myself as sickly and diseased, but rather as fit and strong and it is very important to me that people realize that people can live long and healthy lives even though they have HIV. I have recently begun modeling around Atlanta as well as to show people that I am not sick, but rather healthy and confident. I have discovered that the skills I have learned as a Journalism student here at KSU are valuable, and have aided me in becoming the passionate and optimistic communicator I am today. For my closing words, I would just like to offer a “thank you” to all of the professors who have helped me on my journey at SOCM and also would like to mention that regardless of whether a test result is positive or negative, a person’s status can remain undefeated until they let it be otherwise. As for myself, I will continue to adhere to my medication and train my body to become even stronger. I hope that my words will inspire others to realize that they were already born perfect in who they are and that they do not need to change for anyone. We make mistakes as people and I honestly feel that we are supposed to; it is from our mistakes that we grow and realize what we are capable of.



People tend to focus on the “I” and the “V” when it comes to HIV, leaving the human aspect of it out, forgetting that there are actual people behind the statistics. I honestly felt that no one was going to love me and want to be with me and started to believe that that was exactly what I deserved.

I was motivated to take care of myself and honor myself for the first time in my life. It is extremely difficult to pick yourself back up after your entire world has been shattered, but it is possible and you grow stronger with each hurdle life throws at you. I knew that to help anyone, I would first need to help myself. I started taking care of myself through exercising and eating foods that would better serve my body and give it what it needs to stay healthy. I very quickly reached an undetectable viral load within a few months, and stopped associating my spirit with the reflection of someone who was shamefully and slowly dying. Rather, I started viewing myself as a fighter that has been knocked down, but not defeated.


Are You Ready? Porter Novelli

Jackson I Spalding

Golin AR PR

Olivea McCollins

PR Students Reaching Higher Heights in the PR Industry professionals, such as Twitter, blog websites, etc. As a social media guru herself, Hutchins seeks to instill that passion to connect with others through these tools. “A lot of times, a student’s community is just the campus,” Hutchins said. “Social media helps students make connections with the professional world while on campus. It creates opportunities for students, especially in the student’s senior year.”

In May 2016, 15 zealous public relations students embarked on a two-week submersion of everything PR. In a course titled “Public Relations Study Tour,” these high-achieving students visited prestigious PR agencies in Atlanta to gain invaluable insight from professionals about current trends and tips on how to succeed in this field. For students like Sarrah Houghton, a senior Communication major with a concentration in PR, this was an experience like no other. “I learned about the industry as a whole, and the difficulties that come with it,” Houghton said. “I met people and made connections I wouldn’t have been able to without this course.”


In 2016, the students toured Edelman, Porter Novelli, AR | PR, Golin and Jackson | Spalding. Since 2008, Dr. Amber Hutchins, an assistant professor of Communication, has planned agency tours both here in Atlanta and across the country. On her very first tour nine years ago, Hutchins took her students on a trip of a lifetime to New York, visiting renowned agencies like Hunter PR, MSL Group, and Edelman-New York.


“Seeing [agencies] makes it real for students,” Hutchins said. “It is a crash course to see if they want to work in PR.” As the PR industry is ever-changing, it is important for students to stay current with trends in social media and other areas. Consequently, Hutchins incorporated popular communication and social media tools that could be useful to connect with PR

The skills learned in this course are invaluable. Many of her former students have found spectacular internship and full-time opportunities through these social media tools and stellar resumes. Hutchins ensures that her students are exposed to as many resources as possible to further their professional goals. “You meet successful people and have the opportunity to pick their brains about how they got to where they are now,” Houghton said. “You can learn a lot about yourself, the industry and your future career. Take this course. You’ll regret it if you don’t.”


Students meet with PR professionals at Porter Novelli


Lights, Camera, Action Olivea McCollins

Take on Journalism

Technology and journalism have become the best of friends in this growing digital age. Because of the 24/7 news cycle and stories being reduced to 140 characters, journalists have had to be creative in how they tell stories to inform the public. In May 2016, 12 students experienced the fast-paced world of journalism as they participated in the “Journalism Study Tour” maymester course, visiting esteemed news organizations in Atlanta for two weeks and preparing to be active members in the journalism profession. The students and Professor Thomas Gray, manager of Internships and Engagement and senior lecturer of Communication, toured the following organizations: The Atlanta JournalConstitution, CNN, FOX News Network Southeast Bureau, Atlanta Magazine, Georgia Public Broadcasting, The Marietta Daily Journal, WSB-TV and the Center for Sustainable Journalism. The goals for students in this course are to visit with seasoned professionals and learn about new developments in the industry. This was Gray’s fourth year teaching this course and given his extensive background in journalism and public relations, he has realized that technology will have more impact on the field of journalism in regards to the dissemination of news in the future.

Students meet and interview journalists at WSB-TV

“What will be the growing impact of social media on the way news

is presented?” Gray said. “Will broadcast news continue to grow utilizing digital formats as well? There is no doubt savvy media people will keep up with the social media trends and changes that are taking place. The real key is what new technology will come into play in five or ten years.” Thomas Hartwell even noticed the incredible influence technology has on journalistic practices, as he was a participant in the 2015 Journalism Study Tour. Hartwell is a senior journalism and emerging media major who desires to write and produce analysis audio and print copy for National Public Radio or BBC News. Reflecting on the study tour, he reminisced about his experiences and how each news organization he visited adapted to the social media and transformed their news distribution methods, especially with videography. “Videography has changed quite a bit, and it continues to grow as an active journalism tool—Facebook Live,” Hartwell said. “There are possibilities with virtual reality—think about being able to put your virtual reality goggles that go with your phone over your eyes and immediately be in Iraq or in the midst of protests in Washington D.C., wherever the reporter is. I think there is an incredible opportunity to capitalize on [virtual reality], and the technology is only going to improve over the next 10 years.”





EM POW ER Andrew Connard

The School of Communication & Media presented its fall colloquium on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016 with the theme “Empowering World-Ready Communicators”. Scott Williamson, vice president of Public Affairs and Communication for The Coca-Cola Co., was the featured guest speaker and gave a presentation titled “Six Lessons Learned.” Williamson organized the presentation with six of the most important lessons he has learned over his 24-year career as a professional communicator at The Coca-Cola Co. These six lessons were: •



Ignore the data: Experience, wisdom and courage are more important than statistics Be simple, clear and awesome: The first two are often the most difficult for new communicators to practice, while all three require tremendous effort to execute at the same time

Iron your own shirt, polish your own shoes: Be independent in every way possible and take pride in your work

Belief matters: Having passion is great inspiration for writers

Question the impossible: Don’t let conventions and status-quo confine plans and ideas

Wait for both marshmallows: Be patient and rewards can be great

FALL Colloquium

ATTENDEES ALSO HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN ABOUT DIFFERENT SOCM ORGANIZATIONS... “This was a great message in a terrific presentation,” said School of Communication & Media Associate Director of undergraduate studies and Professor of Communication Buddy Mayo. “We are grateful to Scott and to Mart Martin, one of our business partners, for making this happen.” The colloquium offers Communication students a chance to network with industry leaders. The 2016 Colloquium is the fourth year that the SOCM has presented these events. Attendees also had an opportunity to learn about different SOCM organizations such as the Public Relations Student Society of America, the Society of Professional Journalists and Lambda Pi Eta. Representatives were present to discuss different SOCM programs as well, such as the internship program, advising resources, the Master of Arts in Integrated Global Communication program and the Digital and Social Media graduate certificate program. The event was free for all attendees.



SPRING Colloquium

I always keep in mind that

All-Star Alums Share Secrets of Success

Madeline McGee

For college students, successful alumni serve as more than just living proof that there is hope after graduation; they’re also invaluable sources of knowledge. This year’s spring colloquium featured an all-star panel of Communication graduates from all four programs within the School of Communication & Media, each of whom their secrets of success. The panelists included: • • • • •

Ellen Eldridge, breaking news reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Mary York, group director for William Mills Agency Evan Manor, social media director for Coy Bowles of the Zac Brown Band Simone Griffin, integrated communication strategist for Porter Novelli Yvelise Hodo-Lopez, financial analyst and lead admin. assistant for Willis Towers Watson

Among the five speakers, there was a host of impressive accomplishments and bucket-list experiences. Manor toured with rock bands and helped market a children’s book, Eldridge reported on a plane crash and York wrote a statement that saved a client from losing a lawsuit. The graduates shared their experiences in their respective career fields, as well as their advice on finding a job after graduation, marketing oneself to employers and making the most of time spent at Kennesaw State University. They emphasized the importance of internships, freelance projects, networking and mentorships. “I would say being a yes-man or woman is really important,” Manor said. “People will remember that, and that sets you apart from others.” Griffin noted the importance of being proactive when starting a career, sharing that, before she was hired in her current position, she made a habit of setting up informational interviews with representatives from public relations agencies she was interested in. More than anything, though, the panelists stressed resilience. All said they experienced obstacles and setbacks throughout their academic and professional careers. Eldridge was pregnant with her son when she began school, while Griffin and Hodo-Lopez were both returning students who could not always afford to be involved on campus. “I always keep in mind that opportunities come to those who create them,” Griffin said.



come to those who create them

Simone Griffin


Colloquium attendees ask questions to the guest panelists



Madeline McGee

“You get attached to them. You start looking at them as your own kids. Some of them just need a little encouragement. I also remind them this is no longer a little community college. It’s now the third largest university in Georgia.” Photo courtesy of Ricky Stilley with The Times-Georgian


h roughout the course of a lifetime, a person will meet precious few souls that give life to everyone they meet. For many in the Kennesaw State community, that soul was Warren “Rhubarb” Jones. The School of Communication & Media remembers Jones, who died of a heart attack on April 2 at the age of 65, as a friend, a mentor, a radio legend and kind-hearted soul. Over the course of a rich, 23-year radio career, Jones served as a morning host at Wisconsinbased country radio station Y106.5, then at 106.7 “The Eagle” in Atlanta. He held the title of longest-running morning personality in the Atlanta market, and in 2007, he was inducted into the inaugural class of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. Those he worked with admired him for the warm, down-to-earth personality he exuded both on and off the air. “I was fortunate to work with Rhubarb for over a decade,” wrote Scott Taylor, a former coworker, in a comment to the Atlanta JournalConstitution. “He was a kind, caring person.

To him, everyone mattered. Whether you were a co-worker, a listener, or a country music superstar, he treated you the same.” After leaving The Eagle, Jones began teaching Media Management and Intro to Mass Communication at Kennesaw State, a position that Dr. Barbara Gainey, director of the School of Communication & Media, said he used to encourage aspiring broadcasters. “My fondest memories of Rhubarb Jones are ones of him interacting with students,” Gainey said. “His larger-than-life personality and exuberance for KSU, for his profession and for life itself always came through and made such an impression on students. It was always a delight to watch students respond to his enthusiasm and his support for their accomplishments.” To his students, he was more than just a professor; he was also a mentor. “He taught students that showing up was more than half the battle and that those who simply show up early and work hard will be successful,” wrote Ellen Eldridge, a reporter for the AJC Breaking News Team and a former student of Jones’, in an homage to him. “That was how he earned his reputation.”

“Rhubarb always had a smile on his face, a generous spirit & was dedicated to helping others.”

- KSU President Sam Olens

Up until his passing, Jones taught communication courses and served KSU as a director of special events and senior development officer. Those were the many ways he gave to his community, along with his annual celebrity golf tournament benefitting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


Rhubarb Jones with Blake Shelton.

Rhubarb Jones posing with Dick Clark.

Rhubarb Jones hanging out with Kenny Chesney. Rhubarb Jones enjoying the company of Jimmy Dickens and Del Reeves.

Rhubarb Jones showing his Owl pride.

Photos courtesy of family friend Ann “Taz” Borowski.


l a u s i v e d ma Journalist. Designer. Filmmaker. Communicator. No matter which path you’re on, digital tools can empower your journey. Coming fall 2017, the Communication Colloquium will focus on new tools and strategies to promote digital literacy and prepare you to become a digital innovator and problem solver. Communication Colloquium September 14, 2017 from 5-9 p.m. Social Sciences Building at KSU

School of Communication & Media Kennesaw State University 402 Bartow Avenue NW, #5104 Kennesaw, GA 30144 - 5591

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KSU Pipeline Magazine - Spring 2017  
KSU Pipeline Magazine - Spring 2017  

Pipeline is an electronic magazine designed and written by Kennesaw State University School of Communication & Media students. The purpose o...