Stewart recognized for distinguished service

Mizell Stewart III shared the following piece of personal news. Congratulations!

“The Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication took a moment this week [Aug. 9] to recognize yours truly for distinguished service to journalism education. I’m stunned, amazed and humbled by this recognition. I dedicate this award to three mentors and friends from Bowling Green State University: Ray Laakaniemi, Emil Dansker and Robert Bortel. It was also my honor to meet the award’s namesake, Gerald Sass, who first established the role I now occupy at Gannett during his distinguished career. Thanks also to Jerry Ceppos, Lucy Dalglish, Catherine Cassara and Peter Bhatia, who came out in support yesterday. Jerry is a past winner of the award, as well as friends Keith Woods and Judy Clabes. The best is yet to come!”

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Richard “Dick” Hendrickson

SPJ_LA Mourns the Passing of Richard “Dick” Hendrickson, 77

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PR student wins 2018 Ad Club Scholarship

Audra DeLaney

The Board of Trustees of Toledo Community Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce three recipients of the Advertising Club of Toledo / AAF Toledo Scholarship: Courteney Buchanan, Audra DeLaney and Ray Silvestri.

Buchanan is a 2016 graduate of Woodmore High School in Elmore, Ohio, and will be a junior at the University of Toledo in the fall, where she is majoring in marketing.

DeLaney, a resident of Bellville, Ohio, will be a senior at Bowling Green State University in the fall.  She is majoring in public relations.

Silvestri is a 2016 graduate of Evergreen High School. He will be a junior at The Ohio State University in the fall, and is majoring in marketing.

This scholarship was established by the Advertising Club of Toledo in 2001. Scholarship applicants are required to have a 3.0 cumulative GPA and the intent to pursue a degree in communications, marketing, public relations or related field.  A renewable scholarship, it is available for full-time undergraduate or graduate students who are attending a university or college in Ohio or Michigan.

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Shively named a Top 10 Outstanding Senior

Holly Shively

Senior Holly Shively tries out the director chair she received during the Beyond BG event that recognized 10 outstanding seniors.

The 2017-18 Top 10 Outstanding Seniors included Holly Shively, student manager of Falcon Media. The top 10 seniors embody the university motto: Belong. Stand Out. Go Far.

Starting as a BG News reporter, Shively moved through the ranks working as social media editor, city editor, then editor-in-chief. She also worked one semester as editor of Key magazine. This year she managed all of Falcon Media while also hosting a weekly news radio show and organizing content production for the weekly submission to the The Blade’s NewsSlide app.

Shively, who maintained a 4.0 grade point average, completed internships at the Columbus Dispatch and The Findlay Courier, held officer positions in SPJ and won  Touchstone awards from the Toledo Press Club. During the journalism and public relations spring awards she was inducted into the Kappa Tau Alpha journalism honor society and won the Waugh Award, which is the most prestigious award given by the department.

This year marked the 29th awarding of the university’s Top 10 Outstanding Senior Award.  The award was created by Bill Ficken ’63, who spoke at the awards reception and with his wife has been part of the committee that interviews the top 10 awardees.

The student-administered award begins with a campus-wide call for nominations from faculty and administrators. This year yielded 110 nominations.

Nominees are then asked to apply for the award. From there, the committee combs through the applications narrowing the list to the top 10, who then go through an interview.

During the interview, all candidates are asked the same set of questions in the same order.  Following the interviews, the committee selects the No. 1 Outstanding Senior.

The top 10 awardees are invited to a small reception at the Mileti Alumni Center where they speak briefly about their time at BGSU. Following the reception, the group moves to Olscamp Hall for Beyond BG, an event open to all graduating seniors. At the event, the No. 1 Outstanding Senior is announced and all awardees receive a director’s chair commemorating their achievement.

Michael Caniglia, a political science major with an economics minor, was selected No. 1.

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Kuhlin Center plays host to NFL Broadcast Boot Camp

by Bob Cunningham
BGSU Marketing and Communication

Bowling Green State University played host to the NFL’s 12th annual Broadcast Boot Camp from April 9-11. There were 35 participants from the NFL, including 14 current players, who took part in a program that focused on show preparation, radio production and field reporting.

Until this year, the broadcast boot camp had been held at NFL Films in New Jersey. BGSU, which had hosted the Sports Media NFL Boot Camp for the past five years, was well suited to step in and host… continue reading

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Alumni share in 2018 Pulitzer for local reporting

Several journalism alumni contributed to The Cincinnati Enquirer project that recently won the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting.

Alumni Sherry Coolidge, Carrie Blackmore-Smith and Hannah Sparling were part of the reporting team at the Enquirer, which won for the project “Seven Days of Heroin.” The coverage documented a normal week in the life of heroin users.

To read more about the alumni’s participation check out the story in Falcon Media.

To read the actual stories, check out the winning entry on the Pulitzer Prize website.

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Alumna puts reporting skills to work at non-profit organization

Kara Lopp, Jason Lopp, Dog Bella

2005 graduate Kara Lopp with her husband, Jason, and their rescue dog, Bella

by Caitlin Vartorella
Reporting Student

Kara Lopp, class of 2005, has come a long way since her days as a Falcon. From changing careers and moving states, a lot has gone on in the last 13 years. Lopp now spends her days working for a non-profit outside Charlotte, North Carolina, and loves every second of it.

Lopp started working at JAJ Nonprofit Resource, LLC, four years ago as the vice president of community relations. JAJ Nonprofit Resource is a nonprofit consultant agency that helps nonprofit organizations achieve their missions through serving, educating, and consulting.

Although she loved reporting, Lopp said the switch to a nonprofit organization was a no-brainer for her. “I’ve always loved nonprofits and doing volunteer work,” she said. “I wanted to be able to use my skills to benefit a cause.”

Lopp started writing press releases, running social media accounts, and fundraising for different events around the community. She also works part time for Common Heart, a grassroots movement that began in 2006. Kara focuses mostly on Common Heart’s work with local food pantries, as they operate six in the Matthews, North Carolina, area.

Lopp’s switch to communications came as a surprise to some of those who knew her during her time at BGSU. Kelly Taylor, journalism professor and one of Lopp’s mentors, was taken back when she found out Lopp left the news world. “I was a little surprised that she switched from journalism to communications because she was such a good reporter and always worked in the newspaper business,” Taylor said. “I am not surprised she is doing nonprofit work, though. She is a very generous and caring person. She is easy to talk to, a trait which also made her a good reporter.”

Lopp started out her freshman year at the university by joining the BG News staff as a reporter and stayed with the program until she graduated. By her sophomore year Lopp was the editor of the community section and by junior year editor in chief.

During her senior year, Lopp created something that is still a staple in the newsroom today: the mentorship program. She started the mentorship program as a way for upperclass students to welcome first year students into the BG News and help them get adjusted in a way that would be the least intimidating.

Before her senior year, Lopp acquired an internship with Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

After she graduated she worked at the Journal Gazette for about a year and a half as a general assignment reporter and then from there did some reporting for the Auburn bureau office. It was right around this time that Lopp got married and her husband got a new job, relocating them to North Carolina.

In 2007 Lopp got a job at the Charlotte Observer bureau office and reported there for a year before becoming a freelance reporter and then editor of the local newspaper called Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly. She stayed there for about five years before changing her career from journalism to communications.

Even though Lopp is enjoying her nonprofit work, she says she will always miss working in news. “Nothing beats the comradery of a news room,” Lopp said. “As a reporter and an editor it was amazing to go out and interact with and meet new people. There’s just a special kind of energy that comes with the job and the people.”

Looking back on her time at BGSU, Lopp said she loved her experiences and feels that her professors helped prepare her for the real world. “I made life-long friends in college, including some of my professors,” Lopp said. “Bob Bortel and Kelly Taylor were such good mentors to me every step of the way.”

Bortel and Taylor, who are both still at BGSU, have stayed in-touch with Lopp over the years. “Kara was one of those rare students that combined good journalistic skills with the personality to also be a good editor,” Bortel said. “She had great skills, but also great humility about herself, meaning she was very coachable to becoming a better writer and listened to advice. She never took it personally.”

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Pro basketball, textbooks and summer camp part of PR alumna’s varied career path

Jennifer Libertowski ‘99

by Kari Toncre
Reporting Student

Alumna Jennifer Libertowski began her career after her four and a half years on campus working with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Quicken Loans Arena Public Relations.

At the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena, Libertowski worked with the arena public relations, which dealt with touring shows that would perform in the arena.

Libertowski said that she was just denied from another job due to her lack of experience. Her next interview was the one with the Cavaliers.

They asked her if she knew anything about basketball and she was honest and told them no. She was worried that she lost her chance of the job by being honest.

“The worst thing you can ever do is sell yourself out on a skill you don’t have,” Libertowski said. “When I got hired, I found out from my boss that they didn’t want someone whose ultimate love was basketball. My job was to focus on the show, not the team. It worked out amazing.”

After working with the PR team at Quicken Loans Arena, Libertowski went on to work at the National Association of College Stores in Oberlin, Ohio, where she was a public relations specialist for 15 years.

While Libertowski was working at the National Association of College Stores, the students in professor Terry Rentner’s PR campaign class, a class Libertowski took while she was a student at BGSU, partnered with Libertowski and her boss. They became the class’s client.

“We focused on textbook prices with the BGSU bookstore and NACS,” Renter said. “It was fun for her to go from student and then as a professional working with me in a different capacity.”

Libertowski graduated from BGSU in the August of 1999 with a major in public relations and a minor in marketing.

“I originally wanted to be a reporter. I didn’t even know that a career in public relations existed,” Libertowski said.  “I also did some shadowing in a newsroom and realized being a reporter just wasn’t for me, so I chose to pursue the public relations path.”

Libertowski said she chose marketing as her minor because “it goes hand in hand with public relations.” She said that having a good understanding of marketing is helpful because the field of public relations has changed so drastically that the lines between public relations and marketing are blurred.

“Jennifer had very good writing skills,” Rentner said. “She was very career orientated. She was a person ready to tackle the public relations world. And she did.”

Libertowski was involved with Sigma Kappa sorority and Public Relations Student Society of America during her time on campus.

In addition, she worked three unpaid internships during her college career. One was with the Toledo Storm, the former East Coast Hockey League team in Toledo, as a  marketing and communications intern.

“That’s what sets you apart from your competition,” Libertowski said. “The bigger your portfolio of real work, the more competitive you’re going to be when trying to get that first job.”

Today, she works part time at a non-profit called Common Ground at the Cindy Nord Center for Renewal as a marketing and development manager. The retreat, renewal facility located in Oberlin, Ohio, hosts summer camps for kids and corporate leadership and a zip line canopy tour.

“I decided to switch to this part-time job because full time was beginning to become too much. Although, I wanted to stay in the marketing, public relations field to keep my skill set active,” Libertowski said. “This way I can be home more with my two young daughters.”

Libertowski is also accredited in public relations (APR) through the Public Relations Society of America.

Libertowski recommends keeping up with the trends happening in the field of public relations.

“Diversify yourself,” she said. “The traditional public relations job was focused on public relations and media relations, but I feel like it doesn’t exist anymore. Those traditional PR jobs are crossed over more. You see marketing communications and content marketing. The more diversified you can make yourself the better off you’ll be.”

She added: “Get those internships. Don’t be afraid to take unpaid ones. Anything you can do to make yourself stand out from the rest.”

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Broadcast graduate travels road from sports television to communication specialist

Sarah Sanchez

Sarah Sanchez ’15

by Autumn Stevens
Reporting Student

Nearly 1,575 miles separate Bowling Green State University and Weslaco, Texas, the hometown of 2015 graduate Sarah Sanchez. Sanchez said she took a chance on the university not letting the distance deter her, and once campus, she made the most of her chances that came her way. Now, those chances are playing out in ways she hadn’t imagined.

As an undergraduate, Sanchez helped with BGonTV, a student organization that creates content that is broadcast on WBGU-TV, the campus PBS affiliate-station. This allowed for her to host her own show that taught her shooting and editing during her freshman year. By her senior year she became vice president of the organization and took a part-time job at WBGU.

“I knew journalism is the way I wanted to go,” Sanchez said. “It is fun to meet people, hear their story, see their passion and to tell that story.”

Sanchez said a professor that really pushed her to work toward her goals was Kelly Taylor. Taylor invited Sanchez to join a seven-member team of BGSU students covering the Ohio Newspaper Association annual convention in 2015.

Taylor said Sanchez was the consummate professional during the weeklong project.

“Being a student journalist covering a professional journalism event is tougher than covering something for class or student media,” Taylor said.  “The professionals attending the event care about journalism being done right so the stakes are higher.  Sarah represented BGSU very well.”

Taylor further described Sanchez as a confident and personable young woman. “She was always upbeat and approachable, important traits for a then budding journalist. These are also the same qualities that no doubt serve her well in her current job.

Post-graduation, Sanchez found herself in a front desk secretary position with Buckeye Cable Sports Network, as a way to break into the television industry.

After several months in that position, upper level management decided to put her in front of the camera. Her first spot was a live shot, covering a playoff round game for the Toledo Walleye.

Following the success of her first on-camera spot, Jeff Young, the live events manager, decided to keep her in front of the camera, but for the company’s arts network, BCAN.

Young included Sanchez on a trip to Washington, D.C., to work on a story at the Veteran’s Memorial. “While she was there we could see how far she had come from that first live shot,” Young said.  “Sarah has a passion for storytelling and you can see her passion for feel good stories.”

Sanchez also holds the in-game hosting position for the Toledo Walleye and MudHens.

While Sanchez liked her work for the Buckeye Sports Network she felt there was another position out there somewhere that would allow her to help out more in the community.

That position presented itself and in January Sanchez took a job as a communication specialist  at the Ohio Council of Community Schools. Sanchez role is to set up partnerships with organizations to help provide in their charter schools with unique opportunities.

One of the programs is a hockey-themed reading curriculum that partners with the Toledo Walleye, connecting her two worlds. Children get to meet the players and learn how to play hockey.

“BGSU prepared me how to interact with every contact I made. It gave me the confidence to ask for an interview. You do not get what you do not ask for,” Sanchez said. “My job now is building relationships and building those communication skills. I learned things that I never thought I would have to use. I was in TV, but now I am writing press releases.”

While Sanchez did not know what to expect when making the journey from Weslaco, Texas, she has learned it was worth the distance.

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Bortel named to BGSU Journalism Hall of Fame

Jared Wadley and Bob Bortel.

Jared Wadley and Bob Bortel. Wadley, a member of the BG News Alumni Society board, introduced Bortel at the awards ceremony.

Bob Bortel, the longtime editorial adviser and business manager of Bowling Green State University’s campus newspaper, was inducted into the Kappa Tau Alpha Journalism Hall of Fame at during the annual spring awards ceremony.

Bortel, a 1977 BGSU journalism graduate who began working for The BG News as a student reporter, summer editor and production manager, has overseen the campus newspaper operation full time since 1982.

Since 2015, he has supervised operations of BG Falcon Media, the unified student media organization that, besides The BG News, includes WBGU-FM; BG 24 TV News; Bowling Green Radio Sports; Key Magazine; and The Obsidian, the multicultural newspaper.

Under Bortel’s leadership, The BG News was named the nation’s best college paper by the Society of Professional Journalists in 1988-89 and is a seven-time winner of the best paper award in SPJ’s Region IV. In 2000-01, The BG News was one of only seven newspapers nationally and 15 internationally to receive the Society of News Design’s Gold Ribbon Award for best redesigned paper.

The newspaper’s website,, received recognition in 2012 and 2013 as one of the top collegiate websites in the nation by the Associated Collegiate Press. “The foundation for my career as a newsroom leader was built at The BG News, and the person who set the example, then and now, is Bob Bortel,” said fellow Journalism Hall of Famer Mizell Stewart III, senior news executive at the USA Today Network. “He is a committed journalist, a creative and transformational business executive and a supportive, inspiring leader.”

Bortel, who also earned an MBA from BGSU in 1983, was the 2010 winner of the Golden Touchstone Award from the Press Club of Toledo for significant career contributions to Northwest Ohio journalism. He is a member of the Press Club of Toledo and the College Media Advisers.

Bortel is a 1973 graduate of Liberty Center (Ohio) High School and a former resident of Napoleon, Ohio. He currently lives in the rural Liberty Center area. BGSU’s Journalism Hall of Fame award began in 1979.

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Goodman journalism scholarship awarded

Goodman Scholarship Cassandra Goodman and Abigail Shifley

Cassandra Goodman awards Abigail Shifley the memorial scholarship award in honor of her father, Terry Goodman, ’78.

A current Bowling Green State University student and an incoming BGSU freshman have been named winners of the Terry Goodman Memorial Journalism Scholarship at the university.

The awards are intended for students who work at the campus newspaper, The BG News, and are sponsored by the BG News Alumni Society and presented by the Department of Journalism and Public Relations on April 13. This is the second year the awards have been given.

Winner of a $500 scholarship is Abigail Shifley, a rising sophomore multiplatform journalism major from Ashland, Ohio, but who grew up in New Delhi, India. Her family, always native Ohioans, moved permanently from India to Ashland while Shifley was in junior high. She is a 2017 Ashland High School graduate. Shifley currently is a reporter at The BG News and is expected to assume an editor’s position next academic year. She plans on attending graduate school and devoting her career in journalism to giving a voice to the less fortunate.

Winner of a $250 scholarship is Alicia Kobasic, a senior from Brunswick, Ohio, a Cleveland- area suburb. Kobasic will enroll  fall semester and plans to work at The BG News and develop her writing while pushing herself to work outside her comfort zone. She currently is a senior Brunswick High School and is editor of the high school newspaper, The Devilier. She oversees all writers, edits stories and supervises the design of the paper. She was a staff writer her junior year.

Goodman was a 1978 BGSU journalism graduate who was sports editor of The BG News. He went on to win 39 state and national journalism awards during a reporting and editing career with the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune, The Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria, the Sandusky Register and The Morning Journal in Lorain. At The Morning Journal, he was sports editor and then associate managing editor in charge of daily layout and design from 1980 until the time of his death from cancer in 1996.

The BG News Alumni Society was established in 2002 to provide alumni support for current BG News staff and raise funds in support of student scholarships.

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PR alumna plans events for historic national site

Megan Justice

Megan Justice ’09

by Grace Gebo
Reporting Student

Everyday alumna Megan Justice walks into the house of the third President of the United States to start her job.

In 2016, Justice became the Director of Events at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, a position Justice considers her dream job.

Terry Renter, a journalism and public relations professor, said the job fits Justice. “That fits her personality and her talents,” she said.

Justice and her team plan different events like weddings, socials and corporate retreats. They also plan all internal foundation events.

Justice’s favorite event is the Independence Day Naturalization Ceremony held on July Fourth.

“It’s very fulfilling to see the logistics my team has coordinated come together,” Justice said. “There are a lot of moving parts, including holding actual court on the lawn. Most importantly, we naturalize around 75 new citizens each year during the ceremony.”

Before Justice got her dream job at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation she worked as an intern in Washington D.C.

“When I graduated college in 2009, the economy was terrible and there weren’t a lot of jobs in journalism or public relations,” Justice said. “I heard about an unpaid event planning internship at Capitol Services in Washington, D.C., and figured, why not?”

After the unpaid internship, Justice moved into a sales position at Gaylord National Resort, a convention center located in National Harbor, Maryland.  Justice said she never thought that she would get a job in sales, but it ended up helping with the hospitality component of event planning.

“It certainly wasn’t what I thought I’d do after college as it wasn’t directly related to my degree, but that internship and job really drove home my love for the hospitality industry and event planning,” she said.

When Justice started school at BGSU she didn’t know she wanted to focus in Public Relations until she had a class taught by Rentner.

“Dr. Rentner was one of my absolute favorite professors,” Justice said. “After taking one of her classes, I realized my passion was actually in Public Relations not in print journalism and I changed the focus of my major.”

Renter described Justice as “high energy.”  Rentner has visited Justice recently. “I went to Washington, D.C., and visited her and she is very talented and engaged in her career,” Renter said.

Justice said it’s important for students to get involved with student media and take advantage of experiences college provides students.

“Not only did BGSU prepare me with a college degree, they also provided me with the professional skills needed to succeed,” she said. “One of the main reasons I was able to get an internship was the real-life experience I gained in the classroom.”

As for what is coming up in Justice’s dream job. She is currently planning on an event where the foundation is planning on opening Sally Heming’s Room and the rest of the South Wing at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s House.

“[The event] signals the end of the restoration that’s been happening for the last few years. This will happen over a celebratory three days and include a large public event on the West Lawn,” Justice said.

Justice is excited to invite people to the West Lawn at house of the third president of the United States. 

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New Toledo WTOL news anchor is not new to Toledo television

Kristi Leigh

Kristi Leigh

By Marianna Bohannon
Reporting Student

Award-winning journalist and  WTOL news anchor Kristi Leigh solidifies her position as the face of broadcast in Toledo.

Leigh is one of the few people to work at all four local news stations in the Toledo area. She got her start in broadcast with internships at Toledo CW, and WLIO, a station in Lima, Ohio.

Leigh was doing her last internship at WLIO when she got the opportunity to produce news content for the first time. Leigh said the news director didn’t let interns contribute to the content but she secretly produced news packages anyway.

“I had to be very ambitious,” Leigh said. “It was the third weekend I was down there that I just told the producer, I’m going to do a package for you today. She was like ‘okay’, and I just kind of did it under his nose.”

Following graduation, Leigh landed her first job in the Toledo market as a reporter for Fox 36. Leigh said she was motivated to get a job because she was married and got pregnant with her first child during her senior year of college.

“I just thought that if I didn’t get started that it was going to be that pipe dream that happens for most people,” Leigh said.

Leigh said working for so many stations in the Toledo area was something that happened “not by design.”

When Leigh was reporting for Fox 36, the station was bought out by WTOL Channel 11 which resulted in a large cut of employees. Leigh was cut because she was working part time.

In search of another reporting job, Leigh sought out more news stations in the area.

“I reached out personally to Channel 24 and Channel 13 at the time,” she said. “Channel 24 didn’t even respond at that time and Channel 13 was like ‘sure, come in for an interview,’ so I started working part time for Channel 13.”

When Leigh was ready to return to full-time work, Channel 13 wasn’t hiring but Channel 24 was looking to expand.

Channel 24 offered Leigh a full-time position as a news anchor and a reporter that she just couldn’t turn down.

After almost a year and a half in, Leigh was laid off. She received interest and interviews from larger cities in a bigger market, which drew the attention of Channel 11 producers.

“Ultimately, it was where God wanted me to be,” Leigh said. “It was very clear: like, how did this top job open up just as I had lost my job? So, I felt like I couldn’t ignore that.”

Leigh said from the time she was a child she knew she had a knack for journalism.

“It started as something where my parents would call me a little reporter because I would ask so many questions,” she said.

At BGSU, Leigh dedicated her time first to the BG News then BG 24 as a reporter, producer, and anchor.

“I started with The BG News and my best experience is when I did an opinion column,” she said. “I was pretty bold in my opinions so that was fun getting to share my opinions and really spark conversation.”

Initially, Leigh started out as a print major but soon moved to broadcast.

“It was actually a bit of a struggle,” Leigh said. “I don’t know that I would recommend someone starting in print and moving to broadcasting. It seems like it would be a good idea, but in the end, you have to break yourself from all the habits of writing for print.”

As a senior, Leigh won the Outstanding Broadcast Student Award given by the department.

Professor Jim Foust described Leigh as very determined and driven. “She sort of always had her eye on the prize,” he said. “She always had a star quality to her.”

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PR alumna traded work life for family life

Stacy Murphy, ’99

Stacy Murphy, ’99

By Anika Cunningham
Reporting Student

Public Relations alumna Stacy Fowler Murphy traded in her long hours and phone calls to CEO’s for a life as a planner of play dates and full-time mom for her two daughters, ages 12 and 9.

“I am very fortunate that I can stay and care for my children,” the 1999 graduate said. “It is a blessing.”

Murphy, a native of Huron, Ohio, began her journey at BGSU as an education major, but quickly realized that was not for her.

“I decided to major in PR because I always wanted to do something creative,” Murphy said. “I always wanted to worked with different types of businesses whether it was a nonprofit or a for profit business.”

Switching to journalism, Murphy became heavily involved in student publications, writing for the BG News and reporting for the radio station. She also joined the Public Relations Student Society of America.

“Stacy was always very hard working and dedicated to a career in PR,” said Terry Rentner, head of the PR sequence. “Over the years Stacy has always stood out as an excellent go- getter. I always knew that Stacy could make it in the PR world.”

Murphy’s first job after graduation was at Lourdes College as Director of Alumni Affairs and Public Relations.

Two years later, she took a job at the Toledo Botanical Garden as Director of Public Relations and Events. “I was an event planner and I worked very long hours,” Murphy said.

Wanting a typical 8-5 job and looking for better opportunities, Murphy retuned to BGSU in 2003 to work on a master’s degree in communication studies.

A year later and master’s degree in hand, Murphy took a position as an Alumni Program Officer at Cleveland State University.

“I do not regret getting my master’s degree because I loved working at Cleveland State University,” Murphy said. “The only regret that I do have is not expanding my education and getting my doctorate degree. My mentor Terry Rentner always encouraged me to go back and get my doctorates degree but I never thought it was important.”

While working at Cleveland State University, Murphy gave birth to her first daughter and decided to stop working and take care of her family.

“My job did not offer day care services so becoming a full-time mom was the only option that I had,” she said. “I knew that my husband and I would be fine financially since he was in law school.”

Murphy still uses her degree but in a much different way. Both of Murphy’s daughters are on a local soccer team so Murphy is a photographer for the team and handles the teams’ social media account.

Recently Murphy said she and her husband had a conversation about her going back to work since their daughters are getting old enough to care for themselves.

“I would love to go back to work,” she said. “If I do go back to work, I want to work part time so I can always be available for my girls.”

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Broadcast graduate finding success in her home state of Illinois

Hannah Hilyard

Hannah Hilyard, ‘14

by Danielle Kane
Reporting Stuent

Involvement in extra-curricular activities is the best way to learn, said 2014 graduate Hannah Hilyard, a general assignment reporter in Des Moines, Iowa.

Hilyard said she learned so much being in the field at BGSU.

“I invested many hours a week into BG24 and don’t regret it for a second,” Hilyard said. “As nerve wracking as it may be, just getting out there and doing it is the only way you’re going to learn.”

Kathy Bradshaw, an associate professor who taught Hilyard in the upper level broadcast classes, said, “She was kind and engaged with other people in terms of working with BG24. She would be helpful with other people and I think that’s a sign of success.”

Hilard is a second generation journalist. Her father was in the newspaper business working for the Peoria Journal Star.

“He is definitely the reason I got into journalism in the first place, “ Hilyard said.  He didn’t push it on me, though. In fact, it was the opposite. He didn’t want me to go into news because of the state of newspaper nationwide right now. But I took that as he didn’t want me to go into print, which is why I went into broadcast journalism instead.”

Hilyard’s first job after she graduation took her to her hometown of Peoria, Illinois. She was a general assignment reporter at WMBD.

Last year, she accepted the same job title but in Des Moines.

Hilyard said the challenge she faces day to day in her job are deadlines. “You are assigned a story at 10 in the morning, and you have to have a package ready by 5 or 6 o’clock at night — along with other versions of your story, as well,” she said. “And of course, you are at the mercy of other people’s schedules, so that’s always tough.”

Bradshaw said Hilyard always knew how to get a story done. “I will always remember Hannah for her creativity, generosity, her kindness, and the skill at which she did things,” she said.

Hilyard said: “I’m doing exactly what I studied at BGSU to do. Not everyone can say that.”

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Alumnus’ Tweet becomes USA Today Editorial

Tyler Buchanan, 2013, is in the news rather than editing the news this time.

Buchanan, the 26-year-old editor of the Athens Messenger, responded to a New York Times profile about Erik Hagerman, who now lives just outside of Athens and has been purposefully avoiding the news since President Trump’s election. Buchanan tweeted about the self-imposed news blackout, then USA Today asked him to turn it into an editorial.

Read Andrea Simakis Plain Dealer story, “An Ohio ‘millennial newspaper editor’ takes on news hermits and New York Times,” about how it all unfolded here.

Read the USA Today editorial, “It’s tempting to ignore the news to avoid Trump. Here’s why I hope you won’t,” here.

Also of note, Buchanan was just appointed a board member of the BGNews Alumni Society.

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BG News Alumni Society Adds Two New Board Members

The BG News Alumni Society voted to add  Tyler Buchanan and Alissa Widman Neese to the 12-member board at its March 17 meeting in the Falcon Media convergence lab in the Kuhlin Center.

Tyler Buchanan, 2013, was named editor of Athens (Ohio) Messenger in July 2017. He has also served as editor of its sister newspaper, The Vinton County Courier, since 2015. Buchanan joined The Messenger and The Courier in June 2013 shortly after graduating from BGSU. From 2014 to 2016, Buchanan broadcast high school football games as a radio commentator for WSEO out of Nelsonville. He continues to call basketball and football games as a play-by-play and color commentator for The Messenger’s digital broadcasting service. He began writing for The BG News as a columnist his freshman year and later served for several years as a reporter and In Focus Editor.

Alissa Widman Neese, 2012, is a reporter at the Columbus Dispatch. Neese joined the Dispatch in April 2016 as a suburban government reporter after spending three years covering education at the Sandusky Register. She has since taken on additional assignments in Columbus covering the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and issues related to aging. Neese worked in several capacities at The BG News throughout her college career, including reporting, copy editing, column-writing and serving as managing editor her senior year.

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Broadcast alumna lives her NASCAR dream in a way she had not anticipated

Katie Wernke

Katie Wernke
2015 Alumna

by Meredith Troxel
Reporting Student

As college students, we all want to someday reach our dream job. Whether it takes a year or 10, and no matter big or small, we can see our dream in sight. 2015 broadcast journalism alumna Katie Wernke is the poster-child for reaching even your wildest of dreams.

Wernke dreamed of one day working for NASCAR. And at 24, she is living her dream, though it turns out to be in public relations and not television.

In January of 2016, she started as a digital marketing manager for ARCA Racing Series, her first post-graduation job, which she said came after a tough six-month search.

“I think once I started working for ARCA and doing a lot of behind-the-scenes type of work I really ended up enjoying that,” Wernke said. “I started doing more with Photoshop and working with the different drivers throughout the series and I sort of fell into that role really well and realized that TV wasn’t what I really wanted to do.”

Staying in the public relations field, Wernke became PR director at Cunningham Motorsports in 2017 then moved to Kaulig Racing in November that same year.

At  Kaulig Racing, one of the teams in the NASCAR Xfinity Series,  Wernke is the communications and digital content specialist.

“I handle all of our driver’s day-to-day and at-track scheduling and appearances as well as team videos, graphics and social media,” she said. “It’s really a great job and a great fit for me because  I’ve been able to unleash a design potential I never even knew I had until working in racing.”

Although Wernke was able to reach her dream career so quickly, she did face a few challenges along the way.

“Like every job, you have to climb your way up the ladder and starting off in an entirely different racing series was a challenge in itself,” Wernke said.

Wernke’s time at BGSU help set her up for success.

A transfer student from the University of Cincinnati, Wernke participated in BG News and Kappa Delta Sorority at BGSU.

She was the sports director for BG24, the student run television station, her senior year. During that time, she oversaw the sports department, which included planning weekly content and reviewing final stories before air time.

Ken Garland, faculty adviser for BG24, remembers Wernke as someone who moved the sports coverage forward.

“Katie had a great work ethic,” Garland said.  “She went above just game footage and went the extra mile.”

Wernke said being independent in the classroom and going out to find stories were a big plus for her work.

“With my job, teamwork is vital, but there is also a sense of independence,” Wernke said. A lot of graphics and video ideas I need to come up with and execute on my own.”

Coming out of high school, Wernke said working in sports was always her dream, even though she thought it was far-off. She credits Garland for showing  her the potential she had in journalism.

“Ken helped me see that if I wanted it, there was without a doubt I could make it,” Wernke said. “I think my experience at BG wouldn’t have been anywhere close to what it was without Ken.”

As sports broadcast becomes a more competitive field, Garland said students who want to go into sports broadcast should be determined to succeed.

“College is great for finding what you want to do,” Garland said.  “It is important to try to get a position early because it may not be what you think.”

Wernke recommends that students takes risks and jump right into the action, even if that means accepting some losses.

“At some point you’re going to come to a fork in the road and you can either take a chance or stay safe,” Wernke said. “As terrifying as it may be, if you really want to be happy and achieve your dreams, you have to take that chance.”

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PR student’s ‘study away’ semester takes her out to sea

Read about PR student Audra Delaney’s first weeks in Mystic, Connecticut, where she is taking a semester away from BG to broaden her skills. Click here to read the full story.Postcard-from-Abroad-Audra-DeLaney

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Broadcast instructor promoted to lecturer

by Erica Hanko
Reporting Student

Ken Garland

Ken Garland

Thousands of Americans tune into their local news stations every day to listen to clean cut, well-dressed men and women talk about the world’s happenings. Journalism instructor Ken Garland was part of that industry.

Garland has had a broadcast career spanning over 18 years in five different markets.

From being a news anchor for WVTV-TV in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to doing play-by-play sport broadcasts for the Anchorage Bucs, an Alaskan baseball team, Garland brings those qualities to the classroom where he helps young students learn the skills to become successful in the broadcast industry.

For his dedication, Garland is being promoted to lecturer.

“He has done a really great job with everything we’ve thrown at him,” Jim Foust, chair of the Department of Journalism and Public Relations, said.

Foust said Garland is a really hard worker who always wants to work with students. “I am always seeing him out and around campus carrying cameras and getting ready for live shoots with the BG24 News,” Foust said.

Foust said the department recommended Garland for promotion based on his involvement with student media, positive teaching evaluations, and good service to the department.

Garland began his career with Bowling Green State University six years ago this May.

His position was originally created in 2011 by Terry Rentner, then director of the School of Media and Communications.

Garland said, “The job description was Instructor, News Broadcaster Operations. I thought, ‘Oh yeah! I can see that on a business card.’”

The position was to teach two courses and advise the campus student media news organization BG24 News.

Rentner wanted to have an instructor in the position who could divide their time between teaching and overseeing BG24 News. Garland was the man for the job.

Bob Bortel, director of student media, said Garland has been very much a team player. “He is a great listener and has a good background to draw from professionally,” Bortel said.

Garland said he loves the moments when students get what he is teaching, when he can spark students’ excitement.

“Some students have come back and said they are doing something now because of

something I’ve said, something I did, or something we worked together on because I got them excited and that to me is the big deal,” Garland said. “That is the most rewarding part.”

A story Garland likes to share with his Visual Editing classes illustrates the rewards of teaching. Garland tells about a student who said he was ruined because of taking the editing class with Garland. The student said he couldn’t watch movies without looking at the editing.

“The guy noticed it so he obviously learned something and on top of that he got excited about it,” Garland said.



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