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August 2009 Alumni Newslitter

JOURNALISM BEGINS 30TH YEAR AS INDEPENDENT DEPARTMENT

Journalism FacultyIn just a few days, actually Monday, Aug. 31, the IUP journalism department will launch its 30th year as a separate academic department after winning our “independence”  from the English (department) in 1980.  We head into the 2009-2010 academic year with close to 200 majors and, as always, six faculty.  And as one of 12 departments in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Besides yours truly, the senior member of our faculty with teaching experience since 1979, our staff consists of Pat Heilman, who joined the department in 1983; Stanford Mukasa (1992); David Loomis (2003); Michele Dougherty Papakie, a 1993 IUP journalism alumna who “came home” to teach starting in 2007; and Patrick Farabaugh, a 1993 IUP communications media grad who’s completing his doctorate in communications at Penn State.  Patrick will be teaching with us for the third year.  Making certain that the department runs smoothly is journalism’s administrative assistant, Lee Vest.

All of us have continually emphasized to our students how competitive the communications job market has been and continues to be; how important it is to take seriously the courses we offer; how vital an internship or two can be; how diligent and dedicated and persistent and patient a grad has to be in the job search, regardless of the odds.  Well, here’s one of your fellow alumni who recently beat the greatest odds I’ve been aware of.

Anna Goth graduated in December 2008 and returned to Washington, where, the previous summer, she worked at one of her three internships.  She landed a position as communications assistant with the American Legacy Foundation, a national tobacco-control organization that concentrates on youth prevention and adult cessation (of the use of tobacco products).  Anna says that her co-workers let her in on a little secret:  There were approximately 2,000 applicants for the job that went to her!  I know we’re taught not to use an exclamation mark, but, in this case, perhaps it’s merited.  That’s really beating the odds.

BACK IN THE ‘70S

More than a generation before Anna Goth’s freshman year at IUP, there was the genesis of journalism instruction at IUP, thanks to Craig Swauger and David Truby, members of the English department who collaborated on the birth of IUP journalism.  One of their earliest protégés was Paula Lazor Cruickshank (1976).   Today, she’s the bureau chief and senior White House correspondent for the CCH Washington News Bureau.  Paula has returned to campus in recent years to talk to our newspaper students.

I recently heard from one of Paula’s classmates, Karen Ferrick-Roman (1977), who interned for me in the IUP Public Information Office.  Karen has served at Duquesne University for more than three years as assistant director of media relations after working for 25 years at the Beaver County Times.  She reported on a gathering of IUP journalism types, in late winter, at the funeral-home viewing of a longtime Times editor.  Included in the group were Mike Bires (1976), Tom Bickert (1978) and Barb Vancheri (1977), friends and classmates who used to accompany her to the Red Onion in Indiana.

 “I haven’t been there since it was a dive and don’t even know if it has survived.”

She said the time at the funeral home “was a mini meeting of IUP people and really gave me pause on how far back the ties go with some of these people in the business, a business that today seems to be going from layoffs to closings to sales.”

But Karen also nostalgically recalled her first job after graduation – at the Kittanning Leader-Times.

“We were typing out stories on leftover newsprint cut into 8 ½ x 10 sheets on manual typewriters (my favorite was a brown Royal with green keys.)  Then, we got Selectrics and thought they were top-of-the-line.”

Another alum from the Leader-Times and also a 1970s graduate recently shared his career story.  Doug List (1978), after 18 years at The Los Angeles Times, mostly as a “new/design” editor, was laid off about a year ago.

“I wasn’t surprised,” Doug said.  “TheTimes has had four layoffs in the last two years and reduced the editorial staff by nearly 300 in that time.  No one wants to get laid off, but I was glad to get out of there.  The work had stopped being fun, and the atmosphere had become oppressive.  All anyone ever talked about was when the next layoffs were coming and retirement issues.

“So after 30 years of working in newspapers – starting with Kittanning – I’ve decided to move on, perhaps going back to school for my teaching credentials.  I’m excited about trying something new, even at age 52.”

Doug is attending Cal State-Los Angeles with the goal of obtaining his credential in secondary education.


MOVING FORWARD TO THE ‘80S

Ten years after Doug List graduated, Andy Hawk (1988) left IUP with his undergraduate degree and worked for a while at The Indiana Gazette as a sports writer.  Today, he teaches high-school journalism in Northern Virginia.  But he also is a singer/songwriter and the leader of a band called The Train Wreck Endings.  He has performed several times in Indiana at the Commonplace Coffeehouse on Grant Street, according to a Gazette story by Bill Zimmerman (2003).

One of Bill’s Gazette colleagues, sports editor Tony Coccagna (1984), won last year’s George Heaslip Media Award, presented by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference to a media professional for service in covering the conference.  Tony, who started at the Gazette in 1984, follows his older brother, Tom, now retired but formerly the sports editor at the Public Opinion, the daily newspaper in Chambersburg, as a Heaslip awardee.

Another 1984 graduate, Judy Gonsowski Radlinsky, marked 25 years in the PR biz in June.  She’s serves as a vice president for The Hoffman Agency in the Silicon Valley area of California after stints with IBM in New York state and Hewlett-Packard in California. 

Kathy Master Yandura (1984) left Alcoa last year, after 19 years, and took a position as PR director at accessAbilities, a non-profit organization that provides in-home services to children and adults with physical and/or cognitive disabilities in Armstrong, Indiana and Westmoreland counties in Pennsylvania.

Two journalism majors from the 1980 class, Kathy Crahen Farrel and Cheryl Stewart-Miller, furnished updates to the department.  Kathy was a communications manager for Intel Corp. and had worked with that company for 14 years before planning to relocate to the North Bay area of San Francisco from Albuquerque, N.M.  Cheryl worked in corporate communications at Heinz for 11 years  to return to college for a teaching certificate in communications because she “wanted to teach writing, public speaking, newspaper reporting…in a high school setting.”  As part of her assignments as a freelance writer and editor, she has edited two books:  “Brother Iron, Sister Steel” and “Your Body Revival.”

One of Cheryl’s colleagues at Heinz for several years was Pam Ellis Wigley (1983).  She’s the director of PR at La Roche College in Pittsburgh, where she worked this summer with IUP journalism intern Samantha Bond (2009), who, thanks in large part to her mentoring from Pam, very recently moved smoothly and quickly into her first job:  PR director for the Allegheny Health and Rehabilitation Center in Gibsonia.   Pam’s pursuit of a master’s degree in human-resources management is benefiting from her years of experience as a reporter and PR professional in health-care, corporate and higher-education organizations.

Randy Brant, another ‘80s grad (1981), works in the nation’s capital as the vice president of sales and marketing for The Washington Times. 

The Washington area is also the location for Felicity Feather Clancy (1987).  She’s the vice president of communications for the American Physical Therapy Association in Alexandria, Va., following 17 years working in communications for the American Chiropractic Association and, before that, serving as managing editor of The Express in Gaithersburg, Md.  In her new position, Felicity is responsible for PR, marketing, publications, the web site and art/graphic design.

Well, ladies and gentleman, I could go on and on, and I will, again, sometime soon.  Please keep sending your cards and letters and e-mails, too, letting me know the latest with you:  where you are and what you’re doing.

Plus, remember that you all have a standing invitation to come back to campus for Homecoming every year and to the fourth floor of Davis Hall for our totally informal welcome-back social.  This fall:  10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10.   Free food and drink.

All we ask is that you contact Lee Vest --  at 724-357-4411 -- by about a week in advance with how many will be in your party so that we don’t run short of refreshments.  We never have yet.

Sincerely,


Randy

  • Journalism Department
  • Davis Hall, Room 434
    570 South Eleventh Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-4411
  • Fax: 724-357-7845
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.