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Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies

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Professor edits book on writings of Helen Keller

Posted on August 23, 2015

Hellen Keller book by Dr. Beth HallerDr. Beth Haller, a professor of journalism and new media, is out with a new book on the writings of Helen Keller. "Byline of Hope: Collected Newspaper and Magazine Writing of Helen Keller (Avocado Press)," is edited by Haller, a media and disability scholar and author of the 2010 book "Representing Disability in an Ableist World: Essays on Mass Media."

Keller was an author, a socialist, the star of an early silent film, a vaudevillian, a suffragist, an international advocate and fundraiser for blind people, and even a co-founder of the ACLU. But no book has collected or examined her writings for newspapers and magazines until now.

"Byline of Hope" includes Keller's articles that appeared in news outlets such as Good Housekeeping, Ladies' Home Journal and The New York Times, as well a little-known monthly magazine column that carried her byline for five years in the early 1930s. In an interview, Keller biographer Dorothy Herrmann said of Keller's five-year stint as a magazine columnist: “This is probably Helen Keller who Helen Keller was. It was Helen Keller unadorned by helpers.”

The book organizes Keller's magazine and newspaper articles around themes, such as her sensory experiences, her socialism, and her advocacy of women’s issues and moral character. It gives voice to her ideas about how to make the world a better place and how to create a more equitable and peaceful America.

Haller says of Keller:

"Helen Keller writes eloquently about many progressive issue such as promoting peace, equal rights for women, protecting children, educating blind people, valuing nature, as well as how she interacted with the world and the value of touch and smell, which so many people ignore. After reading all these writings, I believe she was one of the great progressive writers of the mid-20th century. The way she wrote about topics touched on concepts we take for granted today, such as neurodiversity and acknowledging class privilege. It is my hope that readers of the book can get past her icon status and embrace her as a writer and thinker."

"Byline of Hope" is available for $19.95 (softcover book from or as an e-book for $9.95 from Amazon.

Top students honored at annual banquet

Posted on May 5, 2015

They are almost ready to graduate. But first, Towson's top MCCS students were honored by faculty and administrators at an annual end-of-year banquet. Students and their families filled a ballroom inside the West Village Commons for the April 30 event "Celebrating Excellence: Spotlight on MCCS Outstanding Seniors." To participate in the event, students had to be nominated by a faculty member and have a high GPA.

The outstanding seniors honored were: Alexis Adelsberger, Payam Agha-Ghassem, Alexia Borga, Hannah Braun, Kristen Coffey, Megan Cronhardt, Aiyana Dancy, Kathryn Day, Steven DeMinds, Cheyenne Dermody, Neshia Downs, Danielle Duffy, Danielle Feldman, Alexiana Gaither, Nicole Giannini, Benjamin Giuliana, Nina Glose, Daryl Hale, Shamal Halmat, Matthew Hamilton, Olivia Holland, Samuel Klecka, Jordan Klumpp, Natalie Kochesfahani, Sarah Landis, Erica Magnotto
Iczel Manzano-Castillo, Kira McCall, Joseph McIlvain, Kevin McNamara, Paige Medcalf, Danielle Moore, Jonathan Munshaw, Rebecca Nappi, Onyinyechuku Nwokorie, Benjamin Pearce, Tiana Pluck, David Pons, David Raymond, Andrea Rizkallah, Laney Rosdail, Elizabeth Royer, Liza Saffos, Ricardo Sanchez, Lucas Shipley, Natalie Sibiski, Kevin Stark, Paul Steinbacher, Griffin Taube, Colin Tobin, and Paige Whipple.

MCCS scholarwhip winners included: Alexis Adelsberger, Allison Bazzle, Amanda Cipriano, Kristen Coffey, Lee Conderacci, Emily Cunningham, Bridgette Flora, Sherline Hawkins, Erica Magnotto, Kristen Maloney, Meghan McClung, Jonathan Munshaw, Tiana Pluck, Alexia Simmons,  Lauren Stone, Morgan Stritzinger, Matthew Teitelbaum, and Rachel Ungvarsky.

Students get pointers on networking at annual TU conference

Posted on April 20, 2015

On April 17, 2015, the Conference and Meeting Management class (COMM 422) held its annual conference. This year's topic: information for MCCS students about getting involved on campus, networking successfully and better utilizing LinkedIn. Planning the conference is part of the COMM 422 curriculum, giving the students practical experience in event planning.

#TUJDAY15 shines spotlight on sports media, photography and TU alums

Posted on March 5, 2015 

Sports panel AmanteAn afternoon panel discussion on hot-button sports media issues and an evening event featuring a prominent photojournalist bookended Towson University's Journalism Day, known as #TUjday15.

An overflow crowd packed into Van Bokkelen Hall's largest room to listen to TU alums Greg Amante (a producer for ESPN's Outside the Lines) and Ryan Sharrow (managing editor of the Baltimore Business Journal), and TU assistant professor Tyler Sigmon engage in a wide-ranging conversation about sports media. Amante discussed his strategy for doing investigative journalism, ESPN's relationship with the sports leagues it both covers and does business with, and tips on how to enter the competitive sports journalism field. Sharrow spoke about his publication's relationship with local sports organizations, and also shared advice about cultivating sources and earning reader trust. Sigmon added perspective about how news consumers have the power to "vote with their feet" by turning on channels or clicking on sites that they support. Smith

In the evening, 2009 Towson graduate Patrick Smith told the story of how he went from Towerlight photo editor to award-winning Getty Images staff photographer. Smith shared his memories and imparted photography tips as a slideshow of his portfolio played in the background. He credited his time at the student newspaper and his journalism professors with sparking his career as a photographer.

Check out a full rundown of the conversation around #TUjday15 on Twitter, including several Storify summaries of the day's events.

#TUJDAY15 is March 4

Posted on Feb. 24, 2015

Towson University's Journalism Day, known as #TUjday15, takes place Wed., March 4 with two events that are free and open to the public. The day begins with the panel "Sports is Their Beat and Business: Ethics in the Modern Media Landscape" at 12:30 p.m. in Van Bokkelen Hall, Room 204. Panelists include:

  • Greg Amante, Producer, ESPN Outside the Lines
  • Jayne Miller, I-Team Lead Investigative Reporter, WBAL-TV
  • Ryan Sharrow, Managing Editor, Baltimore Business Journal
  • Tyler Sigmon, Clinical Assistant Professor, Towson University

The panel is being moderated by Megan Gilbert, a lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies.

#TUjday15 concludes with a keynote address from Patrick Smith, an award-winning photojournalist and alumnus (class of 2009) of Towson University. Smith has won Sports Photographer of the Year, among other accolades. His speech begins at 6:30 p.m. in West Village Commons, Ballroom 4.

New textbook takes on "Editing for the Digital Age"

Posted on Jan. 24, 2015

Lieb photoDr. Thom Lieb, a professor of journalism and new media, is out with his latest textbook. "Editing for the Digital Age" (CQ Press, $60) covers copy editing fundamentals; legal issues such as liability, copyright, and libel; editing ethics; writing headlines that will attract readers; creating multimedia packages; and using social media to curate content and connect with audiences.

The textbook strikes a balance between teaching students timeless copy editing skills such as grammar and usage, and exploring contemporary editing in the digital age through lessons on "Choosing Content that Clicks," "Tips for Online Headlines" and "Using Online Resources to Find and Verify Information." Case studies help writers and editors understand the editing challenges they may face in the newsroom.

Lieb is author of  "All the News: Writing and Reporting for Convergent Media," "Building Basic News Sites" and "Editing for Clear Communication." He teaches News Editing and Digital Publishing at Towson. Lieb is a former writer and editor for newspapers, magazines and online media, and a longtime member of the Online News Association.

Professor awarded Fulbright trip to Australia

Posted Jan. 17, 2015

Haller mugDr. Beth Haller, a professor of journalism and new media and graduate director of the Communication Management master’s program, will travel to Australia in February after being selected for the Fulbright Specialist Program. Haller’s project, “Disability, the Media, and Digital Technology: Issues, Challenges, and Future Research,” dovetails with her research on media portrayal of people with disabilities.

The Fulbright Specialist Program allows U.S. scholars to spend up to six weeks abroad working on their collaborative projects. Haller will be in residence at the University of Sydney for 10 days. She will collaborate with Gerard Goggin, a professor of media and communications who also studies disability portrayals in the media. At the University of Sydney, Haller will be featured and participate in:

  • a one-day symposium on media and rights sponsored by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • a one-day workshop on best practices in disability and media organized by an NGO
  • a one-day planning workshop with researchers from Universities of Sydney, Canberra, Wollongong, New South Wales, and Curtin to develop a landmark research project on disability in Australia and the United States

While in Sydney, Haller will also meet with key figures in disability policy and organizations, as well as media organizations — many of which are headquartered in Sydney.

During her 10-day residence at Curtin University, Haller will collaborate with disability studies researcher Katie Ellis, a senior research fellow in the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts. At Curtin University, Haller will be featured and participate in:

  • a one-day symposium on social media, sponsored by the Centre for Culture and Technology
  • a master class offering mentoring for media researchers and teachers, focusing on curriculum development
  • a workshop on best practice approaches and pedagogy for students with disabilities

Haller will also be a guest lecturer at the University of Wollongong. She will speak to journalism classes and attend an event featuring a documentary on a disability topic.

Silent auction raises money for Wainio Scholarship

Posted Nov. 25, 2014

Over 150 people attended a silent auction and reception to benefit for The Honor Elizabeth Wainio '95 Communications Memorial Scholarship. The Oct. 25 event was held at Federal Hill's Ropewalk Tavern and raised over $23,000. The Fall 2013 scholarship winners were Maxwell Cantlupe and Taylor Lutz. They were awarded $5,304.50 each.

Faculty papers published

Posted Nov. 25, 2014

Faculty members who published scholarship during the fall semester include:

Senior interns at USA Today College

Posted Aug. 6, 2014

Senior Jay Greene
MCCS senior Jay Greene

Senior Journalism & New Media student Jay Greene spent the summer interning with USA Today College's Collegiate Correspondence Program.

One of his stories, "The no-stress guide to picking your major," received over 600 online shares. Another story, "What should you be looking for in your dream job?" features students from the Baltimore area and expert advice from Stevenson University staff members.

Greene is a staff writer for The Towerlight, a reporter for WMJF and a contributing writer to the Thriving Tiger Blog. He credits his professors for much of his success.

"Without the strong support of my professors, who are more like friends in my senior year, I would not have made it here on my own," he said.

Greene plans to intern at WBAL-TV 11 in the fall.

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