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At IUP, Highly Skilled Journalism Students Become Visible Alumni

Journalism students led the university in its Strategic Visioning Project

IUP’s 1,838 journalism alumni are an eclectic bunch. Many are working journalists and public relations professionals—something you’d expect from those who pursued a degree from the Journalism Department. Others have gone on to work in a variety of related careers. What they all have in common is a strong ability to communicate well.

The list of department alumni who have received the Distinguished Alumni Award include a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and others members of the working press, several who work in the corporate and education sectors, and a dialect coach who assists actors in major films.

The Journalism Department soon will move to a new home in the new building being constructed for several departments of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Today’s journalism department continues to offer all the timeless instruction alumni remember—basic journalistic skills that remain applicable—but students are challenged to put those skills to use in cutting-edge media and real-world education settings. For example, the Journalism Department hosts an award-winning blog to which student contribute investigative stories. In the last year, at the invitation of university President Michael Driscoll, students studying public relations had the opportunity to participate in IUP’s Strategic Visioning Project, leading efforts to gather and analyze data as a first step to creating the university’s next strategic plan. Also in recent years, news reporting students have accompanied Army ROTC students on weekend maneuvers to simulate the experience of journalists embedded with deployed military troops.

In the photo: Journalism students at IUP get the basics in class and then apply them in real-world settings. For example, a group of students from Dr. Michele Papakie's Public Relations and Presentation Making class were commandeered to work with Papakie to interview hundreds of faculty, staff, students, and alumni to help formulate the university's Strategic Vision. In this photo, taken last spring, student Hannah McCracken led a focus group session that coincidentally included Professor Randy Jesick, on left.

Distinguished Alumni Award Winners

John Beale '79, senior communications lecturer, Penn State University (former chief photographer, Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
Francie Brown '82, dialect coach
John Esposito '78, president and CEO, Warner Music Nashville
David Gildea '78, assistant admissions director, Penn State
William Gonda '84, director of Marketing Communications, Penn State Behrend College
Almar Latour '94, editor-in-chief, Asia, Wall Street Journal
Monica Rizzo '87 senior writer, People Magazine
Jeffrey Salzman '76, cofounder, Career Track Seminars; founder, New View Publishing; author, Real World 101: What College Never Taught You About Success
Susan Snyder '85, education reporter, Pulitzer Prize winner, Philadelphia Inquirer

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