Banner Text

Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies

News & Events 2012-2013

MCCS hosts national debate camp

Posted July 10, 2013

MCCS, along with the national award winning TU Forensics Team, will welcome more than 50 high school debate students and nationally recognized college debate faculty to campus Saturday, July 13 through Saturday, July 27. The Xylum Debate Institute (XDI) is the only debate camp in the country that focuses on critical debate and offers a one-of-a-kind learning environment for students. XDI features some of the best debate minds in the country, from University of Oklahoma, Georgia State University, University of Pittsburgh, Johns Hopkins University, University of Iowa, Idaho State University, and our very own Towson University.

Forensics celebrates 50 years

Posted May 30, 2013

Forensics is 50

Towson University and the state of Maryland recognized the 50th anniversary of the TU Forensics program on Saturday, where Governor Martin O’Malley proclaimed May 4, 2013 as “Towson University Forensics Day.”

The Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies welcomed Forensics alumni, former coaches, friends and family to celebrate with a reunion at the University Union and raised funds to benefit the Challenge for Debate initiative to support the program. The contributions help pay for students and coaches to travel and compete in national tournaments.

The celebration, which has been in the works for several years, was chaired by Steve Mister ’85, with support from Cynthia Cooper, chair of the department, and Jennifer Potter, the director of the Forensics program. Mike Rowe ’85, forensics alumni and the host and voice of numerous programs on the Discovery Channel including Dirty Jobs, recorded a video message that was shown to the audience. Read more.

MCCS graduates make their mark on and off campus

Posted May 30, 2013

Gabby Gaudet '13 is Pimlico’s newest handicapper. The 22-year-old earned the position after interning with renowned horse-racing newspaper The Saratoga Special. She will be responsible for researching the races, handling the media, and sharing news and stories on TV, online and in social media.Gaudet was profiled by The Baltimore Sun.

Brian Stelter '07 has written a New York Times Bestseller. His book, "Top of the Morning," is an inside look at morning television. "Signing on to write the book was like someone signing up for a marathon before they were ready," Stelter told Towson University. It gave me motivation. I had to prove to myself that I could write a book, that I could run a marathon."

Stephen Middleton '13 recorded a video, "TU Anthem," that quickly went viral. Before graduating, the EMF and MCCS double major produced the video to tell others why they should consider attending Towson University. The video has garnered over 11,000 views in the two weeks since it was posted on YouTube. “I wanted to be a trailblazer and leave my mark on this institution, the university that has given so much to me and provided me with so much knowledge and so much experience, and give back to it,” he said in a profile published to the University website.

Devin Hamberger '13 was honored at the ninth annual Foundation Scholars Luncheon, an event celebrating philanthropy and the accomplishments of student scholarship recipients.  Attended by more than 260 donors, students, and university leaders, the event offered the opportunity for donors to meet the recipients of their gifts and to share how their experiences led them to support Towson. Hamberger received the Chrystal marie Clifford Memorial Scholarship and the Eddie Ballard Award for Journalism. Photos of the event are available online.

Frank Fusco '11 was mentioned in AdWeek for a project he worked on with the agency Goodby, Silverstein and Partners in San Francisco, Calif. The video is a mini-documentary spoof celebrating the agency's 150-year annisversary.

Professor successfully defends dissertation


Dr. Christopher J. Claus
Dr. Christopher J. Claus


Posted May 7, 2013

Christopher J. Claus successfully defended his dissertation and will graduate with his Ph.D. from West Virginia University May 19. His dissertation is titled, "The Effects of Student Behavior Alteration Techniques on Student Motives to Communicate, Student Talk, and Student Learning." Dr. Claus specializes in instructor/student communication, aggressive communication, instructor/student resistance, student compliance-gaining, computer-mediated communication (with a particular focus on propinquity and channel effects) and organizational communication.

Journalism alumni, students win SPJ awards

Posted April 25, 2013

Patrick Smith '09 has been named the Sports Photojournalist of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association. Smith is a Baltimore-based freelancer shooting freelance for Getty Images. Earlier this year he was named Photographer of the Year by the White House News Photographers Association.

The Society of Professional Journalists has recognized four journalism students and alumni with regional Mark of Excellence Awards. Lauren Slavin '12, editor-in-chief for the 2011-2012 academic year, earned first place in the feature writing category for her story on the contemporary “American Dream.” Slavin was also awarded thrid place in the breaking news category for a series about the deaths of two Towson students. Three current MCCS students were awarded third place for in-depth reporting for their coverage of the White Student Union: Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, News Editor Jonathan Munshaw and Associate News Editor Brandi Bottalico. Altogether The Towerlight received six awards.

Forensics Team names Ruffin "Debater of the Year"

Posted April 24, 2013


Ruffin named Debater of the Year
From left: Professor Richard Vatz, Debater of the Year Ameena Ruffin and Forensics Director Jennifer Potter.


Sophmore Ameena Ruffin was awarded the inaugural Dr. Richard E. Vatz Debater of the Year Award at the annual Forensics Banquet April 22. Ruffin accumulated the most speaker points during the 2012-2013 debating season, which included finishing in the top 16 teams at the National Debate Tournament and earning the first top-speaker award at the University of Texas-Austin tournament, 4th speaker at the U.S. Military Academy tournment, 6th speaker at the U.S. Naval Academy tournament and 16th speaker at the University of North Texas. The award, endowed by Professor Richard Vatz, is accompanied by a $2,000 prize.

Other awards included the Most Valuable Player Award, given to senior Sofi Martinez. Martinez, along with seniors Joy Kanyana, Channon Young and Jasmine Owens, also received Forensics honor cords to be worn at graduation.

Guests honored for their support of the team included COFAC Dean Susan Picinich, Associate Dean Greg Faller, MCCS Chair Cynthia Cooper, Dr. Richard Vatz, Dr. Blake Abbott, Dr. Stacy Spaulding, Director of Major Gifts Crickett Kasper and Administrative Assistant Mary Hickey.

Journalism & New Media hosts second Celebration of Journalism

Posted April 17, 2013


NPR News Senior Editor Robert Little
NPR News Senior Editor Robert Little gave the keynote address at the second annual Celebration of Journalism.


NPR News Senior Editor Robert Little gave the keynote address at the second annual Celebration of Journalism, hosted April 11, 2013, by MCCS and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Eight TU alumni also participated in a panel discussion and spoke to student attendees afterwards. They included: WBAL Associate Producer Olivia Obineme '12, Gazette crime reporter Daniel J. Gross '11, Patch Community Editor Tyler Waldman '10, International Republican Institute Communications Coordinator Jeff Koslofsky '09, Smithsonian Magazine producer, blogger and writer Ryan Reed '08, Politics of Pretty blogger Kara Manos '10, Patch Editor Nick DiMarco '09, and blogger Lauren Veneziani '09.

Pictures of the event can be viewed here.

TU PR group holds networking fair

Posted April 11, 2013


Networking Fair speaker Ron Owens
From left: Networking panelists Kris Jones and Scott Muscarella with TU Public Relations Group President Kait Holden and Vice President of Programs Katie Bush.


The Towson University Public Relations Group hosted the annual Networking Fair April 11, 2013.

Students met potential employers and attended a panel presentation featuring Stephanie Brandshaw, a blogger, designer and event planner; Jennifer Dodson, creative director and owner of Adashmore Creative; Kris Jones, a sports journalist for the Under Armour Performance Center; and Scott Muscarella, president and founder of Agency 51.

Top recruiters included Himmelrich PR, IMRE, Clapp Communications and Media Works, all of which were recruiting for internship positions.

Professors Kim, Lee and Spaulding promoted

Posted April 11, 2013

Three MCCS professors were promoted during the 2012-2013 school year. Associate Professors Kwangmi Ko Kim and Jung-Sook Lee were promoted to full professor. Dr. Kim specializes in advertising and society, international advertising, advertising campaigns, political economy of mass communication. Dr. Lee specializes in advertising and teaches Media Planning, Advertising Campaigns and Principles of Advertising. Assistant Professor Stacy Spaulding was tenured and promoted to associate professor. Dr. Spaulding teaches Journalism & New Media I, Writing for New Media, Literary Journalism, Digital Publishing and Social Media & Strategic Communication.

Department awards over $22,000 in scholarships

Posted April 11, 2013

The MCCS department has awarded more than $22,000 in scholarship money to 14 MCCS students to help pay for their fall 2013 semesters.

This spring the department offered 12 scholarships to majors. The winners were chosen out of a pool of more than 100 applications and will receive awards ranging from $250 to $4,794.00. The MCCS scholarship committee consists of co-chairs Dr. Cynthia Cooper and Prof. Jenny Atwater and member Dr. Sandy Nichols.

Scholarship winners included:

  • Jason Layer, The Brian Billick Sports Communication Scholarship
  • Devin Hamberger, The Eddie Ballard Award for Journalism
  • Alexa Lazerow, The Elizabeth Wainio Memorial Communication Scholarship and The George F. Rogers Scholarship Endowment Fund
  • Justin Manry, The Jamie Parker Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • Diana DeBoy, The George F. Rogers, Jr. Scholarship
  • Danielle Moore, The J. Reg Murphy Scholarship Endowment
  • Erica Magnotto, The Jamie Parker Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • Austin Pence, The Kathryn Dudek Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • Arpine Baghdasarian, The Patrick J. O’Connell Memorial Fund
  • Jesse Jones, The Sam Lacy Sports Communication Scholarship
  • Deandre Dickerson, The Chrystal Marie Clifford Memorial Scholarship Endowment
  • Mark Burchick, The Steven and Laura Murfin Mass Communication Studies Scholarship

Professors to present research at Mega Motherhood Conference

Posted April 10, 2013

Professors Jennifer Potter and Stephen Davis will present two research paper papers at the Mega Motherhood Conference in Toronto June 24-26. The papers, co-authored by Potter and Davis, are titled: "Feuling Fueling the mommy wars: A content analysis of popular films featuring motherhood," and "Needy mothers, coddled children: A content analysis of extended breastfeeding in the United States." Potter is the director of TU Forensics. Davis is the head debate coach.

NPR radio show features MCCS professor

Posted April 10, 2013

Professor Beth Haller appeared as a guest on WNPR in Connecticut. The show, hosted by John Dankosky, discussed the the history of the disability rights movement, changing perceptions, and how media and news coverage affect the public's view of disabilities. The show can be accessed here.

Debate teams finish 2012-13 season in top 16

Posted April 3, 2013

In two separate tournaments, sophomore Kevin Whitley and freshman Lenny Herrera finished in the top 8 teams and Ameena Ruffin and freshman Korey Johnson finished in the top 16 teams--big wins over some of the best teams in the country.

At the Cross-Examination Debate Association National Tournament at Idaho State University, Whitley and Lenny Herrera ended the preliminary rounds with six wins and two losses. They won their double octafinal round (the top 32 teams) and their octafinal round (the top 16 teams) before losing to University of Oklahoma in the quarterfinal round of 8 teams. Herrera earned 19th speaker and Whitley earned 10th speaker.

One day later, the team traveled to Ogden, Utah, for the National Debate Tournament, which hosted the 78 best debate teams in the country. After winning five debates, sophomore Ruffin and Johnson qualified for elimination rounds, where they beat Liberty University in the double octafinal round (the top 32 teams). In the octafinal round of the top 16 teams, Ruffin and Johnson lost to the University of Oklahoma. Ruffin also earned 19th speaker at the most competitive and elite tournament of the year.

Stoop Storytelling founder speaks to MCCS students


Stoop Storytelling founder Laura Wexler
Laura Wexler speaks to COMM 470 and MCOM 409 students.


Posted March 13, 2013

One of the founders of Baltimore's Stoop Storytelling series spoke to two MCCS classes March 12. Laura Wexler spoke to performance and writing students about the value of personal narrative. "True personal storytelling has power," Wexler told students. Wexler spoke to COMM 470 Performance Studies taught by Professor Julie Hester and MCOM 409 Literary Journalism taught by Dr. Stacy Spaulding. Laura Wexler is the author of Fire in a Canebrake: The Last Mass Lynching in America and a senior editor at Style Magazine. She teaches in the graduate creative writing programs at Johns Hopkins University and Goucher College and is a member of the Baltimore Improv Group.

Student will present research at 2013 CAA conference


MCCS students Mia Griffin
MCCS Senior Mia Griffin


Posted March 11, 2013

MCCS senior Mia Griffin has been selected as one of 10 students to represent Towson at the 2013 Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Conference. Griffin will present a research project she completed under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer Potter titled "Code-Switching and Code-mixing in Intercultural Relationships." The conference will take place April 12-14 at the University of Delaware.

Professor wins research award


Dr. Stacy Spaulding
Dr. Stacy Spaulding


Posted March 11, 2013

Dr. Stacy Spaulding will be awarded the 2013 Susan L. Greenberg Research Prize for Literary Journalism Studies for a paper she co-wrote with Baltimore journalist and author Antero Pietila. The paper, titled "The Afro-American's World War II Correspondents: Feuilletonism as Social Action" will be presented at the 2013 meeting of the International Association for Literary Journalism Studies in Tampere, Finland, in May. It has also been accepted for publication in the fall issue of the journal Literary Journalism Studies. Antero Pietila worked for The Baltimore Sun from 1969-2006 and served as the paper’s bureau chief in South Africa and Moscow. In 2010 he authored the book Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City. This is the second time Dr. Spaulding has won the Greenberg prize. In 2012 she won it for a paper titled "Reality Boundaries: A Narrative Analysis of Author Interviews in The Paris Review."

Two teams qualify for the National Debate Tournament

Posted March 5, 2013

Towson University Forensics sent two teams to the District VII Qualifying Tournament at the University of Mary Washington, hoping to secure qualifications to the National Debate Tournament at the end of March. Sophomore Ameena Ruffin and Freshman Korey Johnson finished the eight-round tournament with a record of 6-2 and sophomore Kevin Whitley and Freshman Lenny Herrera finished the tournament with a 5-3 record. Out of District VII, six teams qualified for the National Debate Tournament, and both Towson teams were in the top six teams. This is the first time in Towson University Forensics’ 50-year history that two teams have qualified to the National Debate Tournament from the district, making it an historic event with two very young teams. Towson was the only school in the district to qualify two teams; other qualifiers included Georgetown, University of Mary Washington, Liberty University, and George Mason University. The National Debate Tournament is the most prestigious tournament of the year. The tournament is at Webster State University in Ogden, Utah, March 28-April 1.

Russian PR students visit MCCS classes


LETI students visit Towson
Public relations majors from St. Petersburg, Russia, visited MCCS classes in March.


Posted March 5, 2013

Nine public relations majors from St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University in Russia are participating in public relations and mass media classes this week at Towson University. Students are discussing public relations, social media and mass media with our students over the course of their stay from March 1 to March 13. They are also presenting an analysis of a public relations case study about John Deere forestry and construction products in Russia created by IMRE in Sparks, Md., a public relations agency. The campaign analysis, presented at the agency, is the culmination of a semester-long effort carried out by the students as part of their final year of studies. Dr. Tatiana Sheremetieva, professor of public relations at St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University, is accompanying the students.


Alumni receives Photographer of the Year award


MCCS alumni Patrick Smith '09
MCCS alumni Patrick Smith '09 was named Photographer of the Year by the White House News Photographers Association.


Posted Feb. 12, 2013

Patrick Smith '09 has been named Photographer of the Year by the White House News Photographers Association. Smith, who was also a two-time Utah Photographer of the Year, is a freelance photojournalist in the Baltimore-Washington area. “I am happy, humbled, and proud, to say the very least,” Smith was quoted as saying in a WHNPA press release. “I am fortunate to work alongside and also compete with the very best photojournalists and editors who continually inspire me to document stories locally and nationally. I feel like Getty Images deserves the credit on this one - their trust, support and guidance has been unparalleled.” A few of Smith's winning entries can be viewed here.

Other Towson photographers have also received recent recognition for their work. Josh Flynn '10 was featured on FOX45 for his Instagram photos. Flynn won a Mobbie from the Baltimore Sun for Best Instagram last fall. Senior Kaitlin Newman's blog 120 Pearls, which also won a Mobbie from The Baltimore Sun, was recently featured in a full-page Q&A appearing in the Sunday Sun. Newman started her blog as a project for MCOM 341.

Department co-sponsors disability related film screening and festival

Posted Jan. 30, 2013

MCCS will co-sponsor a screening and a festival of films featuring a range of subjects including autism, transgenderism, deafness and developmental disabilities. "Austin Unbound," a documentary about the experience of a transgender straight deaf man, will be screened Thursday, Feb. 14, in the West Village Commons Ballrooms at 7 p.m. The film will be followed by a panel discussion. Also, Sprout Film Festival, will feature films featuring people with autism and developmental disabilities will take place at 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, March 3, also in the West Village Commons Ballrooms.

Over $28,000 in department scholarships available

Posted Jan. 9, 2013

MCCS will award more than $28,000 in scholarship money this spring for the Fall 2013 semester. Qualified undergraduate students may apply for  the following 10 scholarships.

  • The Brian Billick Sports Communication Scholarship, $1,000.00
  • The Elizabeth Wainio Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund, two awards of $4,797.00 each
  • The Jamie Parker Memorial Scholarship Fund, two awards of $1,869.50 each
  • The George F. Rogers, Jr. Scholarship Endowment Fund, $2,000.00
  • The Steven and Laura Murfin MCCS Scholarship Fund, $240.00
  • The Patrick John O’Connell Fund, $885.00
  • The Chrystal Marie Clifford Memorial Scholarship, $852.00
  • The Sam Lacy Sports Communication Scholarship, $437.00
  • The Kathryn Dudek Memorial Scholarship, $687.00

Graduate Students have the opportunity to apply for the E. Macgruder and Helen M. Passano, Jr. Graduate Fellowship Endowment in Mass Communication. Two qualified graduate students will receive $1,894.00 each. Application instructions are available here. The application deadline is March 1 at noon.

Faculty prepare for upcoming speeches, conference presentations, workshops

Posted Jan. 30, 2013

Four faculty members will be participating in national and international conferences and workshops this spring:

  • Dr. Richard E. Vatz will give the keynote speech at the 83rd annual meeting of the Southern States Communication Association, April 10-14 in Louisville, Ky. Vatz spoke at the Maryland Economic Development Association Jan. 10 in Annapolis. His speech, titled "Who will be our next profiles in courage?" was reprinted in The Baltimore Sun Jan. 15.
  • Dr. Stacy Spaulding will present a paper at the annual meeting of the International Association of Literary Journalism Studies May 16-18 in Tampere, Finland. Her research is titled, "The Afro-American’s World War II Correspondents: Feuilletonism as Social Action." It is co-authored with Antero Pietila, a former Baltimore Sun reporter and editor, and author of Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City.
  • Dr. Amy Becker will present a paper at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association June 17-21 in London. Her research is titled, "Are the kids all right? Family status, challenges, public opinion, and gay civil rights.
  • Dr. Blake Abbott will participate in a workshop at the Rhetoric Society of America's 2013 Summer Institute June 7-9 at the University of Kansas.

Students study corporate communication in London during minimester

MCCS study abroad students
MCCS students and faculty during the Corporate Communication in the UK study abroad course.


Posted Jan. 30, 2012

Eleven students traveled to London, England, as part of the Corporate Communication in the UK study abroad course Jan. 6-21. This study abroad course provided an analysis of corporate communication strategies in the UK used in developing internal and external communication plans. Guest lectures were presented by experts in public relations, marketing, advertising, media and politics. Excursions to related enterprises and facilities were a major focus of this course, including visits to The Guardian, Bloomberg Television and a tour of the BBC Studios. The trip was led by professors Maggie Lears and Lisa Turowski.

Forensics students spend winter break debating

Posted Jan. 30, 2013

Forensics students debated at three tournaments, winning a number of victories during winter break. Two debate teams traveled to Texas for 12 days of competition at two universities. The first tournament took place at the University of Texas-Dallas, where sophomore Ameena Ruffin and freshman Korey Johnson ended preliminary rounds with a record of 6-1 and were the 2nd seed in the tournament. They beat the University of Oklahoma in the double octafinal elimination round (top 32 teams) before losing to the University of Texas-Austin in the octafinal elimination round (top 16 teams). In the tournament, Korey Johnson earned the 6th speaker award and Ameena Ruffin earned the 1st "top speaker" award.

After a one-day break, the teams then traveled to the University of North Texas, where Ameena Ruffin and Korey Johnson again ended preliminary rounds with a 6-1 record. Sophomore Kevin Whitley and freshman Lenny Herrera ended preliminary rounds with a 5-2 record and both teams moved on to elimination rounds. Kevin and Lenny lost in the double octafinal elimination round (top 32 teams) to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ameena and Korey won their double octafinal and octafinal elimination rounds and then lost in quarterfinals (top 8 teams) to Trinity University. Ameena Ruffin also earned 16th speaker at the tournament.

The two teams also traveled to Annapolis for the U.S. Naval Academy debate tournament, where Kevin Whitley and Lenny Herrera finished preliminary rounds with a 6-2 record and Ameena Ruffin and Korey Johnson finished preliminary rounds with a 5-3 record. Kevin and Lenny won their octafinal round against the University of Pittsburg before losing their quarterfinal (top 8 teams) debate to George Mason University. Ameena and Korey won their octafinal round against Cornell University and their quarterfinal round against Liberty University before losing in semifinals (top 4 teams) to James Madison University. Additionally, Ameena Ruffin earned 6th speaker, Lenny Herrera earned 2nd speaker, and Kevin Whitley earned 1st speaker.

Both teams will travel to the district tournament in February to compete for a spot at the National Debate Tournament in Ogden, Utah, this April.



MCCS students use new COFAC studio
Journalism track students Ian Zelaya and Alexa Lazerow sign off from their TV newscast in the new COFAC HD TV Studio.


Broadcast students use new studio

Posted Dec. 6, 2012

Broadcast journalism students produced newscasts in the new COFAC HD TV Studio this semester. The studio, located in the Media Center, allows students to produce HD-quality video. "The students really enjoy the chance to get in there," said Professor Jenny Atwater. "It's real world. We do it like live television." Students i n Professor Jenny Atwater's Broadcast Journalism I classes complete both radio and TV newscasts during the semester. The studio was upgraded by the Electronic Media & Film Department and will be shared with all the departments within the College of Fine Arts and Communication.

Professor speaks on political comedy and campaigns

Posted Dec. 4, 2012

Dr. Amy Becker was an invited panelist at P6: Professors and Practitioners Pontificate on Political Parody and Persuasion, a conference held Nov. 28 and 29 at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Becker's recent political comedy research includes an article in the current issue of Mass Communication & Society entitled, "Comedy types and political campaigns: The differential influence of other-directed hostile humor and self-ridicule on candidate evaluations."

Students organize public speaking contest

Posted Nov. 27, 2012

The COMM 131 Public Speaking Competition was held Tuesday, Nov. 14. The student winners were Taylor Staton in first place, Jordan Klumpp in second place and Carly Ludwig in third place. The competition was organized by Professor Carol Norton's COMM 422 Conference and Meeting Management. Other students who were nominated to particpate included Christine Evans, Matt Lundon, jenna Conny, Adora Smith, Alex Church, Megan Cronhardt, Amy Barksdale and Danielle Borgia.




MCCS Master's student Amanda P. Klein
MCCS Master's student Amanda P. Klein

Graduate student presents paper at NCA

Posted Nov. 19, 2012

MCCS graduate student Amanda P. Klein presented her reearch at the 98th annual National Communication Association conference held in Orlando, Fla. Her paper was titled, "Text Messaging: Effects on Romantic Relationships and Social Behavior." Klein found that while texting enables romantic partners to develop and maintain their relationship, it also creates potential strains and cannot be relied upon as the primary mode of communication. Klein is a master's student studying Communication Management. Other professors participating in the conference include Christopher J. Claus, who presented a paper titled, "The Effects of Computer-Mediated Communication on Student Selection of Behavior Alteration Techniques." Professor Beth Haller presented a paper titled, "Authenticity and Communication: Deaf Culture goes Mainstream in ABC Family’s 'Switched at Birth.' " Professor Richard Vatz was honored for his teaching in a panel titled, "NCA's Teachers on Teaching II: Building COMMunity Through Exemplary Teaching." Vatz also gave a major seminar on his book, The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion. The seminar was titled, "Liberal 'Occupy Baltimore' Protests against Liberal Government: Rhetorical and Political Incongruity."



Journalism student wins a Mobbie for class project


Professor Shannon Maki discusses the research of Alex Cardenas and Marili Mejias
Senior journalism student Kaitlin Newman, left, and Dr. Stacy Spaulding


Posted Nov. 15, 2012

Senior journalism student Kaitlin Newman won a Mobbie award for her blog 120 Pearls, which focuses on film photography and antique cameras. Newman won the award for Best New Blog just three months after she created it for her class project in MCOM 341 Digital Publishing taught by Dr. Stacy Spaulding. The fourth annual Mobbie contest, sponsored by The Baltimore Sun, recognizes reader's favorite local blogs and social media accounts. Kaitlin said she'll keep the blog going after class is over, but that she plans to head in new directions. "Don’t worry, I want to keep posting about film cameras, especially super old ones and how to use them but I also want to speak more about my photojournalism journeys," she wrote on her blog . "Photojournalism is something I can speak about for days on end and it’s something that has really helped me see the world in so many different ways. I’d like to share it with all of you instead of letting what doesn’t get published sit and rot on my hard drive. No bueno."

Student-organized conference ends with professional panel

Posted Nov. 29, 2012

Four communication professionals spoke to students on the last day of the student-organized conference Connecting with COMMunity Nov. 16. Panelists included Brian Vetter '08, founder of Tessemae's All Natural; Cindy Plackmeyer, director of marketing for Steuart-Kret Homes; Joe Richardson '98, who works in business development at McCormick's; and Kate Kasabula, a corporate sales account executive with the Baltimore Ravens. The panel was moderated by Professor Shannon Maki. The event was organized by students of Professor Carol Norton’s COMM 422/522 Conference and Meeting Management class.

Student-organized conference showcases undergraduate research, debate


Professor Shannon Maki discusses the research of Alex Cardenas and Marili Mejias
Professor Shannon Maki discusses research performed by students Marili Mejias and Alex Cardenas. Their project was titled "A Study of the Relationship Between Shyness and Communicative Competence."


Posted Nov. 14, 2012

Thirty students presented research posters on day three of the student-organized "Connecting with COMMunity" conference. Students presented research projects completed in COMM 480 Communication Research taught by professors Shannon Maki and Christopher J. Claus. Also featured was a public debate on the question of whether social media helps or hurts interpersonal communication. The debate was moderated by Dr. Jennifer Potter and featured forensics team members Ameena Ruffin, Kevin Whitley, Janie Williams and Onyinye Nwokorie. The week-long conference was planned and managed entirely by students in COMM 422/522 Conference and Meeting Management, taught by Professor Carol Norton. The conference began Monday with honor society inductions. Tuesday's conference agenda featured 10 speeches given by students of COMM 131 Fundamentals of Speech Communication. The keynote speech was given by Dr. Richard Vatz, whose talk was titled: "What is a Great American Speech and How to Give One.".

Students inducted into MCCS honor societies


Lambda Pi Eta presidents Hannah Kaufman and Danielle Milano
Lambda Pi Eta presidents Hannah Kaufman and Danielle Milano at the 2012 induction ceremony.


Posted Nov. 12, 2012

Over 34 students were inducted into Lambda Pi Eta and Pi Kappa Delta at a ceremony Nov. 12, 2012. Lambda Pi Eta is the official communication studies honor society of the National Communication Association. The faculty advisers of the Towson chapter are Carol Norton and Christopher J. Claus. Pi Kappa Delta, is the nation's oldest speech and debate honor society. The TU chapter, advised by Dr. Jennifer Potter, is the society's first Maryland chapter. The induction kicked off the week-long "Connecting with the COMMunity" conference, which includes public speaking, debate, research and professional networking events. The conference is planned and managed entirely by students in COMM 422/522 Conference and Meeting Management, taught by Professor Carol Norton.



President Maravene Loeschke and the family of Honor Elizabeth Wainio '95
President Maravene Loeschke (center) and the family of Honor Elizabeth Wainio '95. From left: Esther Heymann, Sarah Wainio, and Ben Wainio.


Silent auction raises over $17,000 for Wainio Scholarship

Posted Nov. 12, 2012

Over 200 people attended a silent auction and reception to benefit for The Honor Elizabeth Wainio '95 Communications Memorial Scholarship. The Oct. 27 event, held at Federal Hill's Ropewalk tavern, raised over $17,000 for the scholarship. This year's scholarship winners were Meagan Hendrickson, a journalism major, and Justin Manry, a PR and Advertising major. They were each awarded $4,218.50.




MCCS students receive advertising scholarships

Posted Nov. 8, 2012

Two MCCS students have been awarded $2,000 each by the professional association Advertising Women of New York. The scholarships were given to Stephanie Uva and Oksana Zolotar, both members of Towson's chapter of the American Advertising Federation. Both students were invited to the organization's 55th Annual Advertising Career Conference, to be held Nov. 16 and 17 at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

SPJ sponsors panel on third party politics and the press

Posted Oct. 26, 2012

The Towson University chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists sponsored a panel discussion of third party politics and the press Oct. 25. The discussion featured Charles Mahtesian, Politico's national politics editor; Alexis Simendinger, the White House correspondent for RealClearPolitics; Kevin Zeese, an attorney, social justice activist and a Green-Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2006; Joe Seehusen, the 2008 deputy campaign manager for Ron Paul; and Dr. John McTague, an assistant professor in Towson's department of political science. The faculty advisers of Towson's SPJ chapter are JoAnne Broadwater and Dr. John Kirch. The panel can be viewed online here.


MCCS professor gives "TU in 2" lecture


Dr. Amy Becker gives a
Dr. Amy Becker gave a "TU in 2" lecture. View the video. View the video.


Posted Oct. 25, 2012

Assistant Professor Amy Bree Becker has been featured in a "Tu in 2" lecture. "TU in 2" is a series of two-minute lectures given by Towson University faculty. Dr. Becker addressed the question: should politicians make fun of themselves? Becker reviewed her own research regarding viewer's perceptions of political comedy. "Bottom line," Becker said, "viewers like it when politicans can both take and make a joke." View the video.


Forensics teams bring home the West Point sword



TU forensics students
Forensics students display the West Point sword, a traveling trophy that has been in existence since 1967.

Posted Oct. 25, 2012

Two forensics policy debate teams traveled to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point Oct. 20-12 and came home having won the entire tournament. Sophomore Ameena Ruffin and freshman Korey Johnson comprised one team, sophomore Kevin Whitley and freshman Lenny Herrera the other. Both teams won four debates and lost two debates, allowing them to advance to the octafinal round of the tournament as the 6th and 7th seed respectively. Each team won their octafinal round and then their quarterfinal round, setting them up to debate one another in the semifinal round. As is standard procedure, rather than debating, the team as a whole decided who would advance to the final round, and Kevin Whitley and Lenny Herrera, the 7th seed, were chosen to compete in the tournament finals.

In an historic round, Kevin and Lenny, both students of color, debated two students from Rutgers University, who were also both students of color. This created a final round comprised of four debaters of color who were all debating in a “non-traditional” and performance-focused style, which has been partially pioneered by Towson University coaches and debaters throughout the last decade. Lenny and Kevin won the final round on a 4-1 decision, and returned home with the coveted West Point Sabre, a traveling trophy that Towson University last won in 1998. The West Point tournament is special not only for the traveling sword trophy, in existence since 1967, but also because the final round is judged not by debate professionals but by West Point Officers and professors who are experts in the debate topic.

For Kevin and Lenny’s final round, the panel was composed of five energy policy experts, chosen because of the debate topic: RESOLVED: The United States Federal Government should substantially reduce restrictions on and/or substantiallyincrease financial incentives for energy production in the United States of one or more of the following: coal, crude oil, natural gas, nuclear power, solar power, wind power.

In addition to winning the final round, the team also won several speaker awards. Korey Johnson earned 10th speaker, KevinWhitley earned 5th speaker, and Ameena Ruffin earned 4th speaker at the tournament.


Dr. Amy Becker featured on WBAL

Posted Oct. 18, 2012


Dr. Amy Becker discusses social media.
Dr. Amy Becker was featured on WBAL. View the video.


Assistant Professor Amy Bree Becker spoke on WBAL-TV regarding the social media fallout after Mitt Romney's "binders of women" comment during the second presidential debate that aired Oct. 16. The response on Tumblr to the comment has been remarkable, Becker told WBAL reporters. "It seems like social media keeps some of these stories kind of going, and it is a really democratic way for people to participate in the discussion," she said. "Anyone can post a photo on Tumblr or post a Tweet that then gets retweeted and shared." Dr. Becker specializes in political communication, public opinion and media effects research. She is currently teaching a Towson Seminar titled "Popular Culture and Politics: Comedy, Entertainment, Celebrity and Democracy."


Debate students compete in public speaking contest, hold exhibition debate


TU forensics students selected to compete
Four TU forensics students were selected to compete in a statewide public speaking contest. From left: Shaba Alam, Saidat Adeleke, Nathan Shinholt, and Janie Williams. Adeleke was awarded first place and Alam was awarded second place.


Posted Oct. 16, 2012

Four students from Towson University were selected to compete in the first annual Maryland Communication Association’s public speaking contest. The Association selected 10 students from across the state to compete. Towson student Shaba Alam was awarded second place in the competition, earning a $75 award, and Saidat Adeleke was awarded first place, earning a $100 award. Shaba spoke about the importance of redefining Muslim feminism as it relates to women who choose to wear a veil and Saidat persuaded the audience to pressure the United Statesgovernment to help Syrians in their quest for freedom from the Syrian regime. Also competing where Janie Williams and Nathan Shinholt. Towson's debate program also hosted its first exhibition public debate in late September that focused on the creation of a White Student Union on campus. The second exhibition debate is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. in West Village Ballroom B. The debate will focus on Question 7 on the Maryland ballot which would allow a sixth casino to be built and permit table games throughout the state.


Debate teams travel to tournaments in Georgia, Kentucky



TU forensics students
Forensics students depart for a national debate tournament at Georgia State University.

Posted Oct. 16, 2012

Three debate teams traveled to the Georgia State University national tournament in late September, where Freshman Korey Johnson and Sophomore Onynine Nworki won five debates before losing in the semi-final round of the junior varsity debate division, ranking them as one of the top four teams at the tournament. Two teams--Sophomore Ameena Ruffin and Senior Matheno Frazier Bey, and Sophomore Kevin Whitely and Freshman Lenny Herrera--finished the tournament with an even record, winning four debates and losing four debates. Two weeks later, those same varsity teams headed to the University of Kentucky, where Kevin Whitley and Lenny Herrera won five debates and lost three debates, narrowly missing qualifying for elimination rounds. Students have two more tournaments this month, including the West Point Naval Academy tournament and the toughest tournament at the semester--at Harvard University.




Kevin "KAL" Kallaugher
Political cartoonist Kevin "KAL" Kallaugher.

MCCS co-sponsors talk by political cartoonist KAL

Posted Oct. 16, 2012

Kevin “KAL” Kallaugher spoke about how he creates his political cartoons. Kallaugher is a cartoonist for The Baltimore Sun and The Economist. His work for The Economist includes over 120 illustrated covers. KAL's talk was followed by a Q&A, book signings and an opportunity to meet KAL. The event was sponsored by Albert S. Cook Library, the Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies, and the Department of Political Science.


MCCS student participates in university inauguration


MCCS student and SGA President Brandy Hall
SGA President and MCCS student Brandy Hall emceed the inauguration of Towson University President Maravene Loeschke.


Posted Sept. 19, 2012

Mass Communication student Brandy Hall served as a student emcee for the inauguration of President Maravene Loeschke Sept. 14. "She had the honor in her capacity as SGA President and did a great job keeping the event moving and tackled some pretty difficult name introductions with poise," MCCS chair Cynthia Cooper said. As SGA President, Hall is also the student representative to the Towson University Board of Visitors.



MCCS hosts visiting scholar from South Korea

Posted Sept. 11, 2012

Visiting scholar Kyung-Hee Song has joined the MCCS faculty for the 2012-2013 academic year. Kyung-Hee is currently a radio program director at Seoul Broadcasting System, one of the three nationwide broadcasting systems in South Korea. For over 15 years, Kyung-Hee has directed late-night live music programs which have been highly popular among Korean teens and young adults. Her current program features Korean-style popular music known as K-pop. In 2003, she pioneered a “visual radio” format in Korea, which combined live audio broadcasting with simultaneous audio-visual streaming over the Internet. Kyung-Hee’s year-long stay at TU is sponsored by the SBS Foundation. She plans to conduct research on using social network sites to increase audience engagement with live, interactive radio programs.


Becker's Towson Seminar featured in The Towerlight

Posted Aug. 30, 2012

Professor Amy Becker has combined politics and humor into a Towson Seminar course for incoming freshman. The course, spotlighted in The Towerlight, is titled "Popular Culture and Politics: Comedy, Entertainment, Celebrity and Democracy." The course will focus on the November elections, Becker told The Towerlight.




Dr. Beth Haller
Dr. Beth Haller

Professor quoted in UK's The Guardian

Posted Aug. 29, 2012

Professor Beth Haller was quoted in The Guardian on U.S. ignorance of the Paralympics, taking place Aug. 29 through Sept. 9 in London. Haller said that U.S. apathy can be attributed to the lack of media coverage of paralympics competitions. "Much of it boils down to the economic structure of our media. It concentrates on what will make money, and it thinks the Paralympics won't do that," Haller told The Guardian. Dr. Haller was also a guest on the BBC Radio 5 live program Up All Night. Haller is the author of Representing Disability in an Ableist World: Essays on Mass Media, which covers her 20 years of research into disability and mass media.


Fall 2012 majors top 1,200

Posted Aug. 29, 2012

The Department of Mass Communication & Communication Studies enrolled 1,218 undergraduate majors for the fall 2012 semester. This number includes 115 freshmen, 120 transfer students and 103 accepted applications to the Mass Communication major. During the fall, spring and summer semesters of the 2011-2012 school year, the department graduated 405 students.


MCCS seeks applicants for three academic positions

Posted Aug. 29, 2012

The Department of Mass Communication & Communication Studies is seeking applications for three academic positions: Assistant Professor of Public Relations, Assistant Professor of Advertising and Communication Studies Lecturer.




Dr. Blake Abbott
Dr. Blake Abbott

Professor authors book chapter on Occupy Wall Street

Posted July 9, 2012

Dr. Blake Abbott has authored a chapter in an upcoming edited book that is scheduled to come out at the end of 2012. The book is titled, "Venomous Speech and Other Problems in American Political Discourse." Abbott's chapter is titled, "Occupy Citizenship: Economic Crisis and the Emergence of a 21st Century Social Movement." The chapter examines the economic crisis of 2008 and the Occupy Wall Street movement as effects of a significant problem in American discourse. Abbott relates both events to the question of citizenship, arguing that Occupy Wall Street, with its combination of physical presence and online protest, became a way to counter corporate citizenship with a traditional, civic-minded approach to citizenship.


More news


Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies
Media Center, Room 114 (map)
Mailing address: 8000 York Rd., Towson, MD 21252
Phone: 410-704-3431
Fax: 410-704-3656

Advising and Program Information:

faculty on twitter

Jenny Atwater
Beth Haller
Thom Lieb
Lester R. Potter
Stacy Spaulding

faculty bloggers

Jenny Atwater
Beth Haller
John F. Kirch
Lester R. Potter

faculty bloggers

Segue, the MCCS alumni newsletter



University Police

Closings & News
410-704-NEWS (6397)

Text Alerts
Sign up now