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Breanna Cooper, a junior Journalism and Film Studies double major, has been named an Arts Journalism Fellowship recipient by the Arts Council of IndianapolisCooper will receive a $1,500 fellowship and has started work at NUVO, where she has reported on various mediums of art: visual, comedy, theater, film and music.

"I applied [for the fellowship] because I saw it as an opportunity to expand my knowledge of the Indianapolis arts scene beyond our great music, as well as a chance to work with a really great and experienced staff,” said Cooper. "I’ve covered the Indy music scene from the time that I joined The Campus Citizen [IUPUI's independent, student-run online news publication], and I love speaking with all the local artists, venue staff and festival organizers that share their talents and passions with our city." 

After applying, Cooper went through an interview process. "I was really nervous before and during the interview, and I felt both surprised and honored to be chosen to participate in the fellowship," she said. "I was really excited."

The fellowship began in August and will run through May 2018. According to the Arts Council of Indianapolis website, the Arts Journalism Fellowship Program is a partnership with the Arts Council of Indianapolis and media partners The Indianapolis Star (IndyStar) and NUVO to promote and increase arts coverage. The fellowship program seeks to introduce and provide students with connections, and to build relationships with professional journalists and artists in central Indiana, the site says.

The council also awarded a fellowship to Susie Schmank, who is working for IndyStar.

Cooper works at NUVO about 10 hours per week. "I work with the arts editor, Dan Grossman, very closely, and it is a balance of him assigning stories and pieces that I pitch," she said. "On Wednesdays, I am able to sit in on editors' meetings, which I enjoy very much, because it allows me to see how the staff works together to put out a weekly issue."

Cooper is also the editor of the Campus Citizen this year. "Classes, the fellowship and the Campus Citizen is definitely a difficult balancing act, at times," said Cooper. "I didn't plan it this way, but I don’t have classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, so I'm not rushing to get to class after I leave NUVO. In terms of The Citizen, every member of the editorial staff helps me greatly to keep everything straight. I'm very thankful to work with such a dedicated staff."

Are you interested in this fellowship? The 2018 fellowship term runs from August 2018 to May 2019. For more details, visit

Nine Department of Journalism and Public Relations students were recently named student ambassadors for the School of Liberal Arts. Ambassadors serve as hosts and assist at School events such as the Sabbatical Speaker Series, the Joseph Taylor Symposium and Commencement. Ambassadors also work to promote the School and help with student recruitment, and alumni and donor relations.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to talk to other IUPUI students and community members about a program I’m passionate about for the second straight year,” says senior journalism/English/Spanish major Sarah Bahr, a returning ambassador. “I’m most looking forward to representing the school at some intriguing upcoming Sabbatical Speaker Series events, such as English professor Terry Kirts’ food-fueled ‘Chowder Diaries’ talk. On the social media side of things, I’m excited to showcase a ‘Day in the Life of a Liberal Arts Student’ via a Twitter takeover I’m doing later this month.”

Here’s the full list of journalism/PR student ambassadors:

Sarah Bahr

Tashi Copeland

Andrew Heck

Alyssa Hutchinson

Jaycie Kemp

Marina Konow

Tarena Lofton

Maria Makeever

Molly Smith

“We are very proud of the work our students do in our classes,” says Jonas Bjork, chair of the Department of Journalism and Public Relations. “As student ambassadors, they will have the opportunity to showcase their knowledge and talent on an even wider scale.”

Candidates are nominated by a faculty member and go through an application, screening and interview process. Ambassadors serve for one year.

IUPUI journalism students paid close attention to March Madness this year, and not just to fill out their brackets.

Seven students at both the undergraduate and graduate level covered first and second round tournament games, the Women’s Final Four and the Men’s Final Four for the Sports Capital Journalism Program and, in addition to two students who covered the Big Ten Women’s Basketball tournament.

“Our neighbors at the NCAA have created remarkable opportunities that have challenged the reporting ability, creativity and stamina of our students,” program director Malcolm Moran said. “By the end of each experience, IUPUI students know they can compete with experienced professionals from across the country, because they just did. We are always grateful for this experience.”

Graduate student Jessica Hunt went to Dallas as part of the team covering the Women’s Final Four for Before leaving, she said she was excited for the entire experience, “from exploring a new city to producing work for a deadline-driven sporting event.”

“I am looking forward to learning how to piece together information gleaned from press conferences, breakout sessions, locker room access and the actual game into cohesive stories,” she said at the start of the event.

She quickly learned to work efficiently in order to finish a story. “Over the course of the four days, I was able to get the content I needed by prioritizing a schedule of who I needed to talk to, and at what time I would need to get to that individual,” Hunt said.

Just two states away, junior Tyler Fenwick was following the Final Four teams for the men’s tournament. During one press conference, Fenwick asked South Carolina head coach Frank Martin about a comment he had made in October about players’ developments. Instead of answering the question straightforward, Martin used the Socratic method.

“Frank Martin gave me the winning Powerball numbers. Really, he was making a point, “ Fenwick said. “He said, ‘Eight, 31, 52, 58, 64. You know what that is?’ I smiled and said no. He said, ‘It’s the PowerBall numbers.’ He was basically saying he can only make observations and doesn’t have the power to predict the future.”

It was a unique moment for his first experience covering the tournament. Fenwick took advantage of every minute in Phoenix, spending his off-time lingering in locker rooms during interviews, where he realized something new.

“I learned that the best journalists treat their subjects as people, not as jobs,” Fenwick said. “This seems very intuitive, but I don't think it had ever really occurred to me before this experience. The difference between those two kinds of journalistic approaches were very evident.”

At the start of the month, Indianapolis hosted several games in the first and second rounds. Senior Joe Spears and junior Michael Williams were there for some of the tournament’s most entertaining opening moments.

“Honestly, I lucked out. I got to cover some of the best games this tournament had,” said Williams. “Michigan vs. Oklahoma State, Wichita State vs. Dayton, and Michigan vs. Louisville...It's hard to pick one moment.”

Spears said it was a “surreal” weekend for him.

“We walked down to the court and stood at center court,” he said. “It just kind of hit me that I was covering the NCAA Tournament. [It was] a real life ‘Hoosiers’ moment for a sports journalist that grew up in a state where basketball is basically a religion.”

Aside from the thrill of being a part of the March Madness atmosphere, Williams and Spears said they learned new skills and worked through difficulties during the course of the weekend. Both had different takeaways and new outlooks from the experience.

Spears said he was used to covering local events, with only one or two other journalists around. At the tournament, he had to jostle with 20 to 25 reporters. He said it was intimidating to find unique story angles, but he got the hang of it through practice and advice from Moran.

For his part, Williams said March Madness for him meant being ready for anything.

“The narrative of your game story can change at any given moment,” he said. “Michigan, which normally gets by on the three-point shot, was forced to go into the paint. It worked, and Michigan came back and won. It changed my entire story.”

INDIANAPOLIS -- No athlete ever faced greater pressure and suffered more abuse than he did. Yet he didn't just endure; he thrived as he changed baseball and American society forever. How did Jackie Robinson do it?

A new book answers that question just in time for the 70th anniversary of Robinson's first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, a day Major League Baseball has set aside to honor Robinson's memory.

"Much has been written about Robinson. But little has been said about how his faith carried him through the torment and abuse he suffered," said Chris Lamb, co-author of "Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography; The Faith of a Boundary-Breaking Hero."

Robinson faced death threats daily, and no one -- not even his teammates --wanted to be around him. "He was surrounded by nothing but hate," Lamb said. "Pitchers threw at his head, and base runners tried to cleat him."

Understanding Robinson's faith is necessary to understand how he dealt with the brutal racism that came with breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier, and also with overcoming racism and poverty as a child, his court-martial in the U.S. Army, and his work as a civil rights activist after he retired from baseball, Lamb said.

Not many are aware of the role faith played in Robinson's life for a simple reason, Lamb said: "He didn't like to talk about it."

"Only when we see faith in every part of Robinson's life, from his birth to his death, will we understand that Robinson was a man for whom Christian faith acted as a source of inspiration and motivation, comfort and strength, wisdom and direction," Lamb said.

Lamb, a journalism professor in the School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, is the author and editor of several books, including "Blackout: The Untold Story of Jackie Robinson's First Spring Training." Michael Long, associate professor of peace and conflict studies and religious studies at Elizabethtown College, co-authored the book. Long is the author and editor of several books on civil rights, religion and politics, and peacemaking in midcentury America, including "First Class Citizenship: The Civil Rights Letters of Jackie Robinson."

The Department of Journalism and Public Relations recently awarded scholarships for the 2017-18 school year. The recipients include junior Sarah Bahr, graduate student Allyson Fischlin, freshman Keeley Miller and junior Leighann Strollo. In addition, senior Caroline Ralston Lamkin earned the department’s academic achievement award.

The five students will be honored at the School of Liberal Arts celebration of scholarship convocation on Saturday, April 29, 2017.

“When selecting our scholarship recipients, we look for a combination of academic achievement and student experiences in journalism and public relations,” said Jonas Bjork, department chair. “This year’s awardees are fantastic examples of that combination, and they showcase what journalism and PR education is all about.”

For the second year in a row, Bahr earned a departmental scholarship; this year, she won the M. William Lutholtz Memorial Scholarship. Bahr aspires to be an editor at a newspaper, magazine or publishing house, and has focused on building her résumé while at IUPUI. She writes for The Campus Citizen, IUPUI’s student-run online news publication; she is an editor for Genesis literary magazine; and is a social media manager for the University Writing Center. She is also a 4.0 student.

I’m incredibly grateful to receive this award from the Department of Journalism and Public Relations, as I know I’m only one of many hardworking students on the Campus Citizen staff and in journalism classes I’ve taken at IUPUI,” she said. “I’m hoping to complete an unpaid editorial internship at Indianapolis Monthly this summer, so this scholarship is truly a blessing.”

Miller, a freshman journalism major, combines her writing and photography skills to cover news for The Campus Citizen; for the TownePost Network; and for the Indianapolis Star. Miller was awarded the James W. Brown Scholarship, named for Brown, executive associate dean emeritus of the School of Journalism (now the Department of Journalism and Public Relations). The scholarship is given to a student who is actively involved in journalism on campus.  

It has been such an honor to receive this award, especially as a first-year student,” Miller said. “I am proud to call myself a Jaguar and a student of journalism at IUPUI, so being commended by such an outstanding department is something that I am very grateful for. I hope to continue to grow my skills and experience in the field of journalism, and the scholarship that I am receiving is an immeasurable help.”

Graduate student Fischlin was awarded the Society of Professional Journalists/Bettie Cadou Memorial Scholarship for her impressive professional background and strong grade point average.

“As a graduate student who works full time, it can be challenging to balance work, school, paying bills, and all the other challenges that come with being an adult,” said Fischlin. “Being chosen to receive this scholarship boosted my confidence and served as a reminder that I am on the right track toward success.”

Strollo earned the Patrick J. McKeand Scholarship for her leadership as editor-in-chief of the Citizen. Strollo oversees a staff of almost 30 students. She has worked to expand the Citizen’s readership and social media presence, and strengthened relationships with student government and local sports teams.

“Joining The Campus Citizen my freshman year, I never expected to be editor-in-chief or actually get an award for doing it,” said Strollo. “I feel honored and accomplished.”

The Campus Citizen staff is a really special group of people,” added Strollo. “We’re all friends and know how to have fun while getting our work done. Meetings are the highlight of my week because I’m surrounded by such amazing people who all share their interests and experiences. I have a lot of hope for the future based on what we’ve created here in the past two years.”

Last but not least, Ralston Lamkin received the department’s Academic Achievement Award. This award is given to a graduating senior who has demonstrated the following: excellence in the field; outstanding contributions to the department; and a superior grade point average.

“Caroline is a high-achieving honors student with an excellent GPA,” said Emily Turnier, director of outreach and career services for the department. “She is involved on campus and in the community, and has had several journalism internships, including an ongoing position at IU Communications. The department is proud to present this award to Caroline.”

Ralston Lamkin said she was honored to accept the award because she admires the department’s professors and administrators. “It is because of their experience in the field of journalism and passion in the classroom that I have grown into the student and future professional that I am now,” she said. “To be recognized among so many other hardworking and dedicated students is a remarkable honor.”

Learn more about the department’s scholarships here.

Journalism Professor Chris Lamb has released his ninth book, Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography; The Faith of a Boundary-Breaking Hero, co-authored by Michael G. Long and published by Westminster John Knox Press. The book explores the faith that carried Robinson through the torment and abuse he suffered when integrating the major leagues and inspired his involvement in the civil rights movement, according to a press release for the book.

“To ignore Robinson’s faith is to take away the very foundation on which he stood as he shattered the color barrier in baseball and became a leading figure in the civil rights movement after baseball,” the book explains.

Lamb became interested in writing the book after the Jackie Robinson movie 42 was released four years ago.

“[When the movie came out] I wrote a column for the Wall Street Journal about Robinson’s faith,” Lamb said. “Robinson’s faith was not mentioned in the movie. It is hardly mentioned in any of the books or articles written about him, or in the Ken Burns documentary about him. His faith is necessary in understanding how he dealt with the brutal racism that came with him breaking major league baseball’s color barrier, but also with overcoming racism and poverty as a child, his court-martial in the US Army, and his work as a civil rights activist after he retired from baseball.”

Writing Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography was Lamb’s first time collaborating with a co-author. Michael G. Long is also a Robinson scholar, and the collaboration worked well, Lamb said.

“You don’t want a co-author lagging behind,” he said. “This was never the case. We split up the book and each of us did our parts and then everything appeared to fall nicely together.”

Lamb’s last book was an anthology of essays titled From Jack Johnson to LeBron James: Sports, Media, and the Color Line released in January 2016. Lamb is a columnist for The Huffington Post and has written more than 200 articles and columns for such publications as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, Los Angeles Times,, and Christian Science Monitor.

Jonas Bjork, chair of the Department of Journalism and Public Relations, says the department is privileged to have Lamb on its faculty.

“Chris Lamb is a nationally recognized authority on the history of baseball, whose opinion and expertise easily cross the boundaries between academia and a broader audience,” said Bjork. “His new book about Jackie Robinson continues an already impressive record.”

Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography is available in paperback on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and in bookstores.

Department of Journalism and Public Relations chair Jonas Bjork will present a “Reading at the Table” about his “A History of the International Movement of Journalists: Professionalism Versus Politics” study from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, at the University Club at IUPUI (875 W. Michigan St., Room 200). The study, co-authored by K. Nordenstreng, F. Beyersdorf, S. Hoyer and E. Lauk, presents a general history of how journalism as an emerging profession became internationally organized over the past 120 years, seen mainly through the associations founded to promote the interests of journalists around the world.

Bjork has been a journalism professor at IUPUI since 1988, and the chair of the department since 2014.

According to the Office of Academic Affairs, faculty members participating in a Reading at the Table event will read from their work and open the floor to discussion. Registration is encouraged. Purchase of a buffet lunch for $13 is required. To RSVP, please visit


Three veteran IUPUI Department of Journalism and Public Relations students were front and center at an internship panel Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, sharing their internship journeys and experiences.

Seniors Keegan Rammel, Elizabeth Cotter and Diamond Nunnally discussed a wide variety of opportunities. Rammel has worked with and interned for the Campus Citizen, NUVO, and Indianapolis Monthly. Cotter is the sports editor of the Campus Citizen, participated in the IU Presidential Internship program, and was an intern for WANE-TV in Fort Wayne. Nunnally also works for the Campus Citizen and completed an internship at WISH-TV 8 this past fall.

The students advised attendees about the importance of making connections through internships. Adding professionals you work with to LinkedIn, making the most of downtime during the internship, and taking initiative were all mentioned.

“Working with the journalists themselves was invaluable because of all the tips they offered,” Rammel said. “Build yourself a massive web, like octopus arms.”

Cotter said she would talk with reporters on her way to covering events. “You’re sitting in the car going to a story; that’s a perfect opportunity to pick their brain,” she said. Cotter later added that she regretted not talking to more producers at the station. She said she had been too worried about bothering them.

Other key points were going above and beyond your basic duties at an internship and being eager to learn.

“If you’re not doing anything, find something to do,” Nunnally said. “I got to do the teleprompter one day, for example.” Nunnally said she also made sure to seek advice from reporters on clips she had put together during her internship.

Rammel and Cotter both mentioned that honesty is the best policy. If you are confused or need help at your internship, ask.

“Be honest with your editors and with yourself,” Rammel said.

As far as embracing the learning curve, “be realistic with how long things take,” said Cotter.

Finally, all three students stressed the importance of being diligent in the classroom and taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Rammel and Cotter both said students can make important connections by asking questions or introducing themselves when guest speakers give a lecture in a class.

Students in the Department of Journalism and Public Relations must complete a media internship as part of their degree requirements, said Emily Turnier, director of outreach and career services. Turnier is available to help students with résumés, cover letters and mock interviews. Department chair Jonas Bjork said that even though they might “sound like parents” at times, he and Turnier monitor internship possibilities to be sure students are enjoying beneficial experiences and are not being taken advantage of.

Missed the panel? Follow Cotter, Nunnally and Rammel on Twitter (@ekcotter18, @diamondsamone and @keeganrammel), and contact Emily Turnier at to make an appointment to start your own professional journey.

Four IUPUI Department of Journalism and Public Relations students and alumni won Better Newspaper Contest awards at the Hoosier State Press Association luncheon on Dec. 3, 2016. Sarah Bahr, Corey Elliot, Rob Hunt and Dylan Trimpe were all recognized for their work over the past year.

Bahr is a junior studying Journalism, English and Spanish, along with two minors. She placed second in the HSPA college division for feature writing for a story about David Gurecki, a swing dancer at IUPUI.

Bahr originally planned to write a fun story about Gurecki’s life as a student and a dancer as a final project for a reporting class. However, in her words, the “original draft imploded” partway through the interview. After Bahr asked Gurecki if he worked in high school, he launched into a tale about his mother’s cancer and later, death; his time spent in poverty (he lived without running water for nine months); and his battle with depression.

“At this point, I just threw my question list into the growing dumpster fire and improvised the rest of the interview,” Bahr wrote in a note to her professor.

Bahr’s dedication and patience to telling Gurecki’s full story paid off, as it was published in the Campus Citizen and is now an award-winner.

“It’s very cool to know that my work stacks up with that of some of the best journalists in the state,” she said.

Elliot is a 2015 graduate of the IUPUI journalism program. While in school, he concentrated on sports journalism. However, his career has already taken him into different realms of the journalism world. He and his managing editor, Annie Goeller, at the Daily Journal—based in Franklin, Ind.—placed first in the breaking news category for their coverage of several I-65 fatalities that occurred during 2015.

“It was tough starting out as a news reporter,” Elliot said. “And it was definitely a challenge to motivate myself to have as much enthusiasm for city government and breaking news as I did for box scores and sports columns.”

Elliot is in his third-year as a sports correspondent for the Associated Press, a position he’s held since his undergraduate days, and an account manager at Hirons, a public relations agency. While he no longer works at the Daily Journal, Elliot gives all the credit to Goeller and editor Michele Holtkamp for the win and for helping him develop as a reporter.

“Winning this first-place award was validation that I am not just a sports journalist, but in fact I am a well-rounded journalist, and this award is indicative of my growth and development,” he said. “If it weren't for [Goeller and Holtkamp] at the Daily Journal, I wouldn't be talking to you about a first-place award for best coverage in deadline news.”

Hunt and Trimpe both earned awards in sports categories in Division One, which recognizes non-dailies under 3,001 in circulation.

Hunt, a 2016 graduate, placed first for Best Sports Event Coverage for his story on Lapel High School’s 2A boys basketball state championship.

“It’s amazing and totally unexpected,” Hunt said of the award. “While the award is great, that’s not why I do this. But it’s nice to be recognized by my peers.”

Hunt covers local sports for the Pendleton Times-Post, mostly writing about Pendleton Heights High School and Lapel. He’s freelanced for the publication since the fall of 2014. Hunt said he learned a lot in his classes that he’s used in the professional world.

“I learned the importance of networking,” he said. “And that pursuing a story that interests me often requires stepping way out of my comfort zone. It's essential.”

Trimpe won first place in the Best Sports News or Feature coverage category for the Hendricks County Flyer. The winning piece was about the Brownsburg High School lacrosse team raising money for a local wheelchair lacrosse team. Trimpe also placed second in the Best Sports Event Coverage.

“It feels really good to be recognized for something I was able to throw together,” he said. “In an industry where everything is judged by clicks and views, it's cool to have someone say you did a good job for a change.”

Trimpe graduated in 2015 and is currently sports editor at the Flyer.

Bruce Hetrick, professor of practice in the IUPUI Department of Journalism and Public Relations, has 35 years of experience in the public relations field and has been teaching at IUPUI for nearly five years. This fall, he embarked on a new adventure: Contributing to a play to celebrate Indiana’s bicentennial.

The Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT) production, called “Finding Home: Indiana at 200,” is the product of 30 writers’ work, including Hetrick’s.

Hetrick has worked with the theater in the past, creating PR, marketing, and fundraising materials in addition to co-writing sketches for the IRT’s celebrity radio show fundraiser. While he has never written a professional theater piece for production before, he drew on experiences in other areas to guide him.

“Because I started my career as a speechwriter — writing words to be spoken and not just read — I’ve always taught the importance of writing for the ear and not just the page,” he said. “This experience will reinforce those lessons.”

He chose to focus his portion of the play on the Fall Creek Massacre, the killing of nine Native Americans by white settlers in 1824 in Madison County. The result is a monologue-musical hybrid about racial tension, and a way to showcase the good and the bad of Indiana’s past.

“I hope this production gives us an opportunity to find pride and understanding in where we’ve been so we might do a better job with our future,” Hetrick told Inside IUPUI.

Over the course of two years, Hetrick wrote and rewrote the monologue, collaborating with a musician as well as the Native American actress performing his piece to enhance the work in new ways.

“Theater is such a collaborative process and an art,” he said. “Like theater, PR and journalism are almost always team efforts.”

Hetrick’s students say that he brings invaluable experience to the classroom and inspires his young scholars.

Public relations senior Leslie Salazar took Hetrick’s PR Tactics and Techniques course and said he always encouraged his students to “paint a picture” when they wrote, from press releases to stories.

“I still have a notebook full of Bruce Hetrick quotes and lessons from the semester,“ said fellow senior Kasandra Zimmerman, who also took the tactics and techniques course. “I remember on the second day of class, (he) emphasized for nearly the entire class period that, ‘writing matters — words can change the world.’”

The play opened on Oct. 18 and runs until Nov. 20. Check here for ticket information.

Are you considering earning a Journalism or Public Relations degree or certificate? Join the Department of Journalism and Public Relations for a career panel from 10:30-11:45 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, in Campus Center Room 268, to learn how your studies can lead to an exciting, fulfilling career. (For example, did you know you can turn your love of social media into a career?) During the panel, a part of IUPUI’s Fall Career Week, three pros will share their knowledge and answer questions about how they landed their dream jobs and how you can get there too. The following alumni will join us for the panel:

Summer Daily, B.A. in Journalism ‘13
Summer’s first foray into the world of print occurred in 2013 when she worked as a design intern for Indianapolis Monthly. After graduating from IUPUI in 2013 with a degree in journalism, she had an existential crisis and worked for a metal manufacturer, marketing agency, art gallery, and film festival before finally settling down as a freelance writer. Eventually, she ended up back at Indianapolis Monthly where she now edits its special advertising sections and annual Home and Shops publications. She lives downtown and fills her spare time with reading, curating Spotify playlists, being outside, and trying to keep her succulents from dying. Follow her on Twitter @ItsSummerDaily, and email her at

Kristofer Karol, M.A. in Public Relations ‘11
Kristofer Karol is the director of social media strategy for Indiana University, overseeing “big picture” campaigns and direction for the Bloomington and IUPUI campuses, as well as providing guidance to the regional campuses. Previously, he worked in multiple positions at IUPUI, in media relations for Indiana University Health and as a reporter for a small daily newspaper in the Detroit area. He sits on the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Indiana Board of Directors and is also on the CASE District V Conference Planning Committee. He lives with his wife, dog, cat and three chickens in Indy’s Fountain Square neighborhood.

Emily Taylor, B.A. in Journalism ‘14
Emily Taylor is the arts editor at NUVO, where she covers everything from visual art to comedy. Before joining the ranks at NUVO, she worked for Indianapolis Monthly and Gannett. You can find her thoughts about Indy scattered throughout the NUVO arts and news sections.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Sports journalism students at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will have a rare opportunity to cover the world's biggest sporting spectacle, the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

Frank Gogola and Rebecca Harris, graduate students in the Sports Capital Journalism Program in the School of Liberal Arts' Department of Journalism and Public Relations, will write stories for USA Daily, a digital newsletter produced by the United States Olympic Committee during the Rio Games.

The students arrived today in Rio. Malcolm Moran, Sports Capital Journalism program director, accompanied the students and will oversee their work.

Unlike the majority of college students involved in Olympics-related journalism initiatives, Gogola and Harris will receive the same credentials as professional media covering the games.

"The biggest value of the opportunity is the fact that the students will be doing some of the same things that any professional journalist would do at the Olympics," Moran said. "They have the same credential to get into virtually any venue, and they will be covering events. They are not just writing stories about what it's like to be there while the Olympics are going on."

"It is a rare opportunity to get to do this at their age and stage of development," Moran said.

Gogola and Harris will receive their assignments from editors of the United States Olympic Committee website and USA Daily. The assignments will be determined by how the competition goes and where the stories are, Moran said.

Gogola and Harris will tweet their sports stories and blog posts using the Twitter feed @SportsCapJour.

"The Sports Capital Journalism program not only sends Gogola and Harris to Rio, but it sends students to cover top sporting events across the country," said Liberal Arts Major Gifts Officer Liz Goodfellow. "Gifts to the program can help launch students' careers into accessing high-level internships and positions. Individuals can help make that difference." 

Earlier this year, students from the program covered the College Football Playoff games and the men's and women's NCAA Final Four basketball tournaments.

To contribute to the Sports Capital Journalism program, contact Goodfellow via or 317-274-1496.

The Department of Journalism and Public Relations honored its graduates on Wednesday, May 4, 2016, with a celebration in the IUPUI Campus Center. December 2015 and May and August 2016 graduates spent the evening visiting with their peers, advisors and professors, snapping photos and dining on a buffet of hors d’oeuvres and desserts.

Attendees not only savored the food, such as BLT bites and mini meatballs, but also those last moments before graduation.

“[The party] was fun because people that I went to school with all four years showed up,” said Payton Bailey, a PR student who is moving to Illinois for a job after graduation. “And it was nice to see the teachers one last time before graduation.”

“I’m glad that [the department] was willing to do something for us,” added Claire Brumback, a journalism student who graduates in August.

Both full-time and adjunct faculty members chatted with students about their time at IUPUI, future plans, and the weekend’s upcoming Commencement. (Almost 100 journalism and public relations graduate and undergraduate students were set to walk across the stage on May 8.) One of those professors, department chair Dr. Jonas Bjork, imparted words of wisdom on the graduates.

“This is a major achievement,” he said. “I know in due time that reality will reassert itself and you will start looking for a job and loans will be due, but for now I think you should have glory in what you have accomplished.”

Bjork urged students to stay in touch with the department and with IUPUI, reminding them that their instructors and advisors genuinely care about what happens to them after graduation.

Emily Turnier, director of outreach and career services for the department, said that the faculty and staff felt it was important to commemorate students’ achievements.

“Our students are so talented and hard-working and we wanted to recognize that,” she said. “We wanted one last chance to make memories with them before they leave us.”

Students took time to snap selfies and group Polaroid pictures in a graduation-themed photo booth complete with props, such as paper graduation caps and signs that read “Now what?” and “Most likely to live at home.”

At the end of the event, students received a graduation gift—a picture frame emblazoned with the department’s logo—and were encouraged to write their favorite memory from their time as an IUPUI student on a frame that will hang in the journalism/PR office. Read on for a few of the inscriptions:

  • “All the opportunities, like covering the NCAA Women’s Final Four!” –Jenna Spencer
  • “Discovering my passion for PR! Thanks Julie [Vincent]!” –Victoria Lane
  • “Two things: 1) Realizing that I could use my passion for sports as a career. 2) Making so many lifelong friends. I truly love you all!” –Robert O. Hunt
  • “Constantly surprising myself with newfound capabilities.” –India Rias-Thompson

  • Missed the party? E-mail Emily Turnier at to arrange to pick up your graduation gift.
  • To view photographs from the 2016 IUPUI Commencement, visit

This Sunday, almost 100 undergraduate and graduate journalism and public relations students will celebrate with friends, family, classmates, professors and staff as one season of their lives end and another begins. IUPUI’s Commencement begins at 1 p.m. on May 8 at—for the first time ever—Lucas Oil Stadium. Graduates are encouraged to attend the School of Liberal Arts recognition ceremony in Hall H of the Indiana Convention Center one hour after the main ceremony ends.

Department chair Dr. Jonas Bjork said that while it is hard to say goodbye to students, the best part of graduation is pondering how students have changed and grown from the beginning to the end of their time at IUPUI.

“It’s a bit nostalgic,” he said. “At the same time, it’s great to see how students find their calling and passion for a particular field of journalism and mass communication while they are here.”

Bjork’s advice to graduates: Don’t shut any doors to opportunities.

“In our field, you have to be flexible and open to opportunities as they present themselves; you never know where your career will take you,” he said, mentioning that one student told him she would be willing to write about anything but sports. “A few months after graduation, she wrote to tell me that she had just landed a job—and it was covering sports for a newspaper. She turned out to be very good at that.”

Life after graduation
In anticipation of Sunday’s ceremonies, the Department of Journalism and Public Relations asked a few graduates to reflect on their time at IUPUI and look ahead to the future.

Senior Rob Hunt will receive his B.A. in Journalism after returning to school three years ago as a non-traditional student. Rob said the most surprising part of the last few years was making so many friends through his classes and other activities.

“I did not expect to be so well-received by my much younger peers,” he said. “I’ll cherish these people forever.”

Hunt was involved in the Campus Citizen, IUPUI’s independent student media outlet, during his time at IUPUI, and wrote for the Pendleton Times-Post, covering multiple high school sports events across several schools. At one point during his last semester, Hunt covered 11 games in a single weekend.

Hunt credits Professor Chris Lamb’s feature writing class as the most influential course he took during his time at IUPUI, and said he considers Lamb a mentor.

“I learned more about crafting my stories, making them more concise, and observing the subjects of my story,” he said. “Lamb helped me learn how to put my reader into the story more than any other class at IUPUI.”

After graduation, Hunt will continue to cover local high school sports as well as write for a Pittsburgh-based website about the Indianapolis Indians, the local affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. His dream job is to cover Major League Baseball.

“I can't imagine being able to top the chance to travel the country and spend all my time around the game that I love,” he said.

Another senior, Michael Guzman, already knows the pains and joys of the workforce, having accepted a job with the Birmingham Barons, the AA Chicago White Sox affiliate, as media relations manager. Guzman finished his degree remotely this semester in order to take advantage of the job offer. He acknowledged that the abrupt move from college to the professional world was difficult to navigate.

“The hardest part of the transition to full-time work for me without a doubt has been the suddenness of it all,” he said. “IUPUI gave me great experiences, introduced me to some of my best friends, and was a part of some incredible memories.”

One such memory involved a public relations class with Professor Bruce Hetrick. Each student was required to do a mock on-camera interview for his or her dream client. Guzman chose to be on the media relations team for the White Sox.

“A year later, I was doing an on-camera interview as media relations manager for the White Sox AA affiliate, coordinating requests between the media and the White Sox top prospects and sometimes acting as a team spokesman myself,” he said. “I fondly remembered that portion of the class the first time I stepped in front of the camera.”

Like Hunt and Guzman, public relations student Allison Gaffney gained valuable knowledge and experience through her classes. For example, in her Public Relations Research and Planning course with Lecturer Julie Vincent, she worked on a real-life PR campaign for the Indiana Department of Revenue.

“We met with our clients, came up with the entire campaign and then presented it in a board room,” she said. “It was stressful and a lot of hard work, but it gave me a taste of what working in PR is like. It also made me realize that this is definitely the right major for me.”

Her goal is to work for a nonprofit in Indianapolis as a PR coordinator.

Gaffney’s communication skills go beyond journalism and PR. Her sophomore year, she won IUPUI’s Speech Night, an event that allows students in the Fundamentals of Public Speaking class to compete in a three-round, student centered, public speaking competition. Only seven students make it to the final round at the Scottish Rite Cathedral downtown.

“While it was absolutely terrifying, it was such an amazing experience,” she said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to speak in front of such a large crowd, and at such a beautiful place like the Scottish Rite Cathedral. I definitely will never forget that night.”

Gaffney said she’s both excited and sad about graduation.

“I’ve had some wonderful opportunities that I do not think I would've had anywhere else,” she said.

Honing her skills outside of the classroom, Jenna Spencer paved her own way at IUPUI by using her journalism background to find internships that fit her ultimate goal of becoming a sideline sports reporter. Spencer has worked for, covering the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar, as well as completed an internship with WISH-TV. Most recently, she represented IUPUI’s Sports Capital Journalism Program by covering the 2016 NCAA Women’s Final Four for, writing, broadcasting and editing videos, which she says is her most memorable moment of the last four years.

“We had everything from a human-interest story on a huge UConn fan with Down Syndrome to man-on-the-street videos, finding out how many women’s basketball history questions the fans could answer,” she said.

Following graduation, Spencer will return to to cover the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. After that historic event, Spencer will look for full-time employment.

“I thought I would be relieved going into graduation, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders,” she said. “Although part of me is [relieved], part of me is sad it’s all over. With every ending is a brand new beginning and I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. So, with that said, ready or not world here I come, with an official piece of paper.”

Four liberal arts students were recognized not only among the Top 100 IUPUI students, but also among the top 20 overall and top 10 women. Awards were presented during the April 8 Top 100 Outstanding Students Recognition Dinner.

Elizabeth Alexander (senior, Spanish), Kelly Moors (junior, neuroscience/French) Jessica Sauer (junior, journalism) and Hadyatoullaye Sow (junior, international studies, medical humanities and health sciences/public health) were recognized for their academic achievements and named top 10 female students.

Faculty and staff nominated more than 2,000 students for this year’s Top 100 honors. Among the criteria: being a degree-seeking junior or senior at IUPUI, completing a minimum of 56 credit hours applicable to her/his degree program, and achieving a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. in addition to scholastic success, judges considered extracurricular activities on campus, and civic and community service.

From the top 100 female and male students, a panel of alumni, faculty and staff chose the top 10 female and male students. From this select group, the most outstanding female and male students were selected.

The IUPUI Alumni Council and the Student Organization for Alumni Relations sponsored the event.

A complete list of the top 20 students can be found here. A full list of the Liberal Arts students in the Top 100 is available here.

When Miata McMichel graduated with a journalism degree in August of 2015, she never guessed that just three months later she would be the co-host of a weekday morning radio show—the top slot in radio.

“I did not expect to have this big of a role so fast,” said McMichel, co-host of “JC In The Morning”  on 93.9 The Beat, an Indianapolis radio station that plays classic hip-hop. But she’s not complaining: She recently interviewed one of her favorite childhood hip-hop duos, Salt-N-Pepa. And a few months ago, singer/songwriter Ginuwine was on the show. The interviews are her favorite part of her job.

“It’s so exciting to have a conversation with people you admire,” said McMichel.

McMichel loves that her job allows her to “mix [her] passions of journalism and music together.” As a child, she always aspired to be a singer. “I’ve been singing since I was about 4 years old,” she said. “Music is my first love.”

The Indianapolis native got her start in radio her junior year at IUPUI when she landed an internship at Hot 96.3, a hip-hop and R&B station. She focused on learning the fundamentals of radio, but also took time to make valuable connections with employees at the station.  

That networking paid off: When one of McMichel’s contacts at 96.3 left the station to help start up 93.9 The Beat, the coworker remembered McMichel from the internship and recommended her for a job at the new station.

McMichel started out at 93.9 as a promotions assistant in the spring of 2015, balancing her new job with finishing up her senior year of college. “I was working and I was taking 18 credit hours,” said McMichel. “I had a really full schedule.”

She eventually landed her own weekend show, and impressed her superiors. By November 2015, she was given the opportunity to co-host “JC In The Morning.”

Internships are the key to a successful career path, said McMichel.

“The way you can get a good internship is by fostering relationships with the people around you,” she said. “[Building relationships with] your professors, your advisors, being in clubs… that’s the only way you are going to find your niche and find the perfect place for you. And IUPUI is a good place for that.”

McMichel’s alma mater is proud of her accomplishments, said Emily Turnier, director of outreach and career services at the Department of Journalism and Public Relations.

“I’m not surprised Miata has been so successful so soon out of college,” said Turnier, who was McMichel’s academic/career advisor at IUPUI. “She is witty, compassionate, whip-smart and a solid journalist. All of these qualities make her an excellent radio host.”

McMichel has big plans for her future: In addition to eventually becoming a mom and having a family, she hopes to start her own media empire. She wants to write books, launch her own magazine, and host her own talk show. She says she wants to be heard globally.

“I really want to be a force in the media, especially being a woman and a minority woman,” said McMichel. “That’s very few and far between.”

To learn more about McMichel and “JC In The Morning,” visit

Department of Journalism and Public Relations senior Victoria Lane has been named a 2016 recipient of the William M. Plater Civic Engagement Medallion. The award honors graduates who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to their community during their time as an IUPUI student.

This year, 51 Plater Medallion recipients will be honored at the IUPUI Robert G. Bringle Civic Engagement Showcase on April 12, 2016.

Lane has made volunteerism and community activism a top priority during her time at IUPUI. The founder of the Women’s Alliance of IUPUI, she has become a voice in the community for issues facing women and girls. In partnership with the Eskenazi Health Center of Hope, she has hosted two “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” events focused on ending domestic violence.

She has also given her time at a number of organizations including Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Gleaners Food Bank and Damar Services. Lane is active with the IUPUI chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), and serves as president of the group this year.

Through her professor and mentor Julie Vincent, APR, public relations lecturer and PRSSA advisor, Lane learned of an opportunity to work with organizers of the Indy Mega Adoption Event. The two-day event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds allows the public to meet dogs and cats available for
Lane has served as a cat caretaker, managed social media accounts for the event, manned the reception table and answered volunteer inquiries.

“Incorporating my passion for helping people and animals as well as being open to new ideas and experiences has not only helped me grow but also hopefully helped me make a positive impact on the community,” said Lane.

“I’m so pleased Victoria is receiving the Plater award,” said Vincent, who is also the internship coordinator for public relations students. “She has always shown consistent high-end coursework, has been extremely active in various ways on campus including as our chapter president of PRSSA, has continually been employed while going to school and has had several high-visibility internships somehow sprinkled throughout her years here. Frankly, I don’t know how she did it. But in addition to all of this, Victoria has always set aside considerable time for giving back and making a difference — from women’s issues to animal issues and more. She is someone I am certainly going to miss.”

To learn more about the Plater Medallion, visit:

INDIANAPOLIS -- Five students from the Sports Capital Journalism Program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis are covering the NCAA men's and women's Final Four basketball games in an unprecedented series of opportunities for sports journalism students.

This will be the sixth year that IUPUI students have covered the men's Final Four, the most of any sports journalism program. In the past two seasons, a total of 18 IUPUI students have covered postseason basketball, including the Big Ten men's and women's tournaments, early-round games in Louisville, and regional games in Cleveland and Chicago.

Jay Smith, a graduate student in the Department of Journalism and Public Relations, and Cameron Stewart, a senior, will cover the men's Final Four at NRG Stadium in Houston and events surrounding the games. The two will post their articles on the sports journalism program's website.

Rebecca Harris, a senior, and Frank Gogola, a student in the M.A. program, will cover the women's Final Four at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis for the website as well as post to the Sports Capital Journalism Program website. Jenna Spencer, a senior, will produce broadcast content for

From left: Sports journalism students Jack Carney and David Mackey covered the NCAA Midwest regional games in Chicago.From left: Sports journalism students Jack Carney and David Mackey covered the NCAA Midwest regional games in Chicago.

Malcolm Moran, director of the Sports Capital Journalism Program, and Pamela Laucella, the academic director of the program, are supervising the students. Moran is attending his 36th Final Four.

"Our neighbors at the NCAA have created remarkable opportunities that have challenged the reporting ability, creativity and stamina of our students," Moran said. "By the end of each experience, IUPUI students know they can compete with experienced professionals from across the country, because they just did. We are always grateful for that chance."

The Sports Capital Journalism Program, in association with the United States Basketball Writers Association, also organized "Full Court Press," a seminar and scholarship competition for college and high school students to take place on Friday at the men's Final Four.

The Sports Capital Journalism Program is part of the Department of Journalism and Public Relations in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. The department is the home to the nation's first graduate program in sports journalism.

At IUPUI, sports journalism students cover a wide variety of major sporting events, including the College Football Playoffs, the National Football League Scouting Combine and the Indianapolis 500. Through campus events, students also connect with leaders in sports journalism and professional and amateur sports industries.   

Three Department of Journalism and Public Relations students have been named IUPUI Top 100 Students for 2016. Junior Jessica Sauer and seniors Rebecca Harris and Victoria Lane have earned the prestigious award, which recognizes students with extensive experience in scholastic achievement, collegiate and co-curricular activities, and civic or community service.

“This is the first time in my many years at IUPUI that we have had three students in the Top 100,” said Jonas Bjork, department chair. “We’ve always known that we have great students, so it is gratifying to see the campus recognizing that, too.”

Harris, Lane and Sauer will be honored at the Top 100 Outstanding Students Recognition dinner hosted by the IUPUI Alumni Council and the Student Organization for Alumni Relations on Friday, April 8, at the Indianapolis Marriott.

All three students are involved in many activities both on and off campus, and have earned a number of accolades.

Harris, a Bepko Scholar, has been a mentor for the IUPUI Honors College Peer Mentoring Program for the past three years and a student leader for the past two. She is also actively involved with the Moving Company, a student-run modern dance company at IUPUI.

A double major in Spanish and Journalism, Harris spent seven months studying abroad in Spain in 2015. She also works as a lead campus ambassador giving tours to prospective students and other visitors to IUPUI.

Harris says she feels honored to receive the award. “If it takes a village to get a person through four years of college intact, it takes several villages to get someone through college with amazing, life-changing experiences,” she said. “I’m very grateful for my villages, including the Department of Journalism and Public Relations, the Honors College, my coworkers at the Office of Campus Visits, my dance company, and so many others.”

Lane is a second-time Top 100 winner. She is the founder of the Women’s Alliance of IUPUI, a group that aims to educate the community about issues women and girls face both in Indianapolis and throughout the world. She is currently the president of the Public Relations Student Society of America chapter at IUPUI, and holds an academic honors scholarship.

Lane was named one of IUPUI’s Outstanding Women Leaders in 2014 and has been a recipient of the James W. Brown Scholarship. She has also been on the Dean’s List every semester of her undergraduate career.

“This time around it is way more sentimental,” said Lane about winning for the second year in a row. “I am preparing to make so many big changes in my life as I look forward to graduating and moving to Washington State. Receiving this award is helping to put a cap on the last four years of my time at IUPUI and I am very, very grateful.”

Sauer, also a Bepko Scholar, has been heavily involved in the Honors College at IUPUI. She has served as a panelist for the Emerging Leaders Workshop for the past two years, and has held positions with the Honors Arts and Culture Society, as well as the Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Eta Sigma honor societies.

She has received two Alpha Lambda Delta recognitions during her time at IUPUI: the Stemler study abroad award and the Trow scholarship. Like Harris, she works as a campus ambassador for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, and is also nearing the end of a yearlong events internship with the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

Sauer is looking forward to the upcoming Top 100 recognition dinner. “As I scrolled through the list of deserving Top 100 recipients, I found that I knew quite a bit of them, and that several of my close friends were named Top 100 students as well,” she said. “I am eager to spend time with my good and well-deserving friends and meet other outstanding students who received the recognition.”

For more information on the Top 100 program, visit

The Department of Journalism and Public Relations recently awarded scholarships to four IUPUI students: juniors Jessica Goodman and Diamond Nunnally and seniors Sarah Bahr and David Schroeder. Each of the 2016 scholarship recipients demonstrated dedication to gaining experience in journalism in their applications.

“Several of our journalism and public relations students submitted outstanding applications and have accumulated a long list of scholastic and professional achievements, so this was a tough decision for the scholarship committee,” said Jonas Bjork, department chair. “These four recipients are very deserving of their honors and are fantastic ambassadors for our program.”

Bahr earned the Society of Professional Journalists/Bettie Cadou Memorial Scholarship. She carries a 4.0 grade point average while pursuing three majors and two minors, working as a consultant for the University Writing Center and writing for The Campus Citizen, IUPUI’s student-run publication.

“I am deeply grateful for both the Cadou family and the IUPUI Department of Journalism and Public Relations’s support,” she said. Bahr hopes to become an editor at a newspaper, magazine or publishing house after graduation.

Goodman was awarded the M. William Lutholtz Memorial Scholarship for her professional experiences and strong grade point average. She completed an internship with The Saturday Evening Post this past fall.

“I was the only intern for the magazine that semester, which was great because I walked away feeling like I saw all sides of the editorial process—social media, editing, processing submissions,” Goodman said of her experience. “Having the editors at The Post comb through my pieces was brutal but aided my writing.”

Goodman also has two international mission trips—to Brazil and India—under her belt.  

Nunnally received the James W. Brown Scholarship, which goes to a student who is actively involved in journalism on campus. The scholarship’s namesake, Jim Brown, was executive associate dean of the IU School of Journalism at IUPUI for 28 years. As a reporter and the entertainment editor for The Campus Citizen, Nunnally was an ideal fit for the award, said Emily Turnier, director of outreach and career services for the department. Nunnally created and hosts the “Let Them Speak” video series for the Citizen.

“I was really honored and happy I won the James W. Brown Scholarship,” she said. “I am most fulfilled when I am making videos and this money will help me finally purchase my own camera to produce better video content.”

Schroeder earned the Patrick J. McKeand “Keep Your Nose to the Grindstone” Scholarship for his efforts as editor-in-chief of the Citizen. Schroeder
demonstrated strong leadership skills and perseverance while the Citizen transitioned from a print to an online-only format, said Turnier.

“I’ve been very lucky to serve as the editor-in-chief this year,” said Schroeder. “We have an incredible staff of writers, editors and marketing personnel that have made me look good and made my job easy.”

Applications for the Department of Journalism and Public Relations scholarships for 2017-2018 will open in November 2016.

On Saturday, March 5, five IUPUI students attended Diversity Internship Boot Camp at Borshoff, a local PR and advertising agency. The free half-day workshop focused on variety of professional development topics, including why diversity matters, the importance of internships, networking and preparing for the job search.

The seminar also delved into the specifics of public relations, such as different types of jobs available in the communications industry and what it’s like to work at an agency.

Breakout sessions lead by Borshoff staff addressed resume do’s and don’ts, interviewing tips and personal branding.

“The amount of knowledge I obtained in that small amount of time is amazing,” said Sesen Beyen, a junior public relations student at IUPUI. “I have notes upon notes on topics such as capitalizing on media skills, perfecting my elevator speech, and I have even been working on creating a blog. What I have learned from the diversity internship boot camp will certainly help me with obtaining an internship for the summer.”

Organizers brought in a panel of communications professionals—Guy-Jo Gordon of Indy Eleven, Wil Marquez of Design Bank and Yolanda White of Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC—to offer up advice.

The panelists discussed their first jobs and stressed gaining experience through writing blogs, working on student publications or completing internships.

“You just need to write,” emphasized White.

“Write about a lot of things,” said Marquez.

After the panel, students had the opportunity to network with the panelists and their Borshoff hosts.

“This kind of networking opportunity doesn't come around often,” said Beyen. “I gave my number out, and gave my LinkedIN information out to many people, so I believe I made connections that will be beneficial now and in the future.”

Participants came away feeling thankful for the opportunity Borshoff had provided them. “It was uplifting to see experienced PR professionals are so eager to help their successors,” said junior Laura Hauersperger. “It was overall a very encouraging atmosphere and extremely helpful to PR/advertising students.”

Sophomore Brenda Shelton agreed. “I learned creative ways to make changes to my resume and how to stand out during an interview,” she said. “I learned the importance of having a good digital reputation. It was great to get an insight on what exactly [professonials] look for during the hiring process.” 

The IUPUI Alumni Council and the Student Organization for Alumni Relations will recognize the campus’s top 100 juniors and seniors during the 17th Annual IUPUI Top 100 Outstanding Students Recognition Dinner on Friday, April 8, 2016 at the Indianapolis Marriott. The event begins with a reception at 6:00 pm followed by the dinner and ceremony at 6:30.

Students will be recognized for scholastic achievement, extracurricular activities, and civic and community service. During the dinner, the most outstanding female student and the most outstanding male student will be announced, as well as the Top 10 female and Top 10 male students. A panel of alumni, faculty, and staff selected the top students based on nominations by faculty and staff.

Liberal Arts students in the Top 100 are:

  • Elizabeth Alexander, Senior, Spanish
  • Adam Bogs, Junior, Chemistry and Spanish
  • Allison Cassandra Cooper, Junior, History
  • Sarah Fraser, Junior, English
  • Hannah Gish, Junior, Communication Studies
  • Rebecca Harris, Senior, Journalism and Spanish
  • Victoria Lane, Senior, Journalism - Public Relations
  • Lyla Mahmoud, Junior, Political Science and Environmental Studies
  • Kelly Moors, Junior, Neuroscience and French
  • Jessica Sauer, Junior, Journalism
  • Hadyatoullaye Sow, Junior, Global and International Studies and Medical Humanities
  • Elizabeth Valencia-Gutierrez, Senior, Sociology (Medical)

To view the complete 2016 list of Top 100 students, click here.

To be named a top student, from which the most outstanding students are selected, a student had to meet several criteria, including being a degree-seeking junior or senior at IUPUI; completed a minimum of 56 credit hours applicable to her/his degree program; and achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.

Reservations for the dinner can be made here. Tickets are $40 each and RSVPs should be made by March 25, 2016.

Many writers dream of penning and publishing a novel by the end of their lifetime. But IUPUI junior Nathan Parker Brown, a public relations student, has already checked that goal off his bucket list. Green Ivy Publishing released Brown’s thriller, Burning Fields, in January. It’s available in bookstores, or online at or

“In class last month, I mentioned that reading mysteries can help journalism and PR students become better writers,” said professor of practice Bruce Hetrick, who teaches Brown in Public Relations Tactics and Techniques. "Imagine my surprise when Parker told me after class that he not only reads mysteries, but also has written one and gotten it published. It’s quite an accomplishment.” 

The public is invited to attend Brown's book signing from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Monday, March 7, at the IUPUI Barnes & Noble bookstore

“It was probably one of the most exciting moments of my life,” Brown told The Campus Citizen, an online, student-run publication at IUPUI, about being published. “I never in a million years thought I could get published, to be honest. It was exciting and thrilling. When you finish a book and get published, you feel really accomplished. It really raises you up.”

Check out The Campus Citizen’s profile on Brown here. 

On Thursday night, members of the IUPUI community had the opportunity to attend a free seminar featuring ESPN NFL Insiders Bill Polian and Mark Dominik. The IUPUI Sports Capital Journalism Program (SCJP) hosted the hour-long event at the JW Marriott hotel downtown.

The discussion focused on the growth of professional football and as an extension, the growth of media coverage of the sport. Polian, with more than 30 years experience in the NFL, and Dominik, a 19-season front office veteran of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also both touched on their roles in the world of sports management.

The night started off with an introduction by Department of Journalism and Public Relations professor and SCJP director Malcolm Moran. Polian set the tone by sharing a story about former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and his combine interview in 1998. Polian was met with laughs when he described how Manning took over the interview and ended up asking Polian questions instead of the other way around.

Dominik and Polian spoke extensively on the role that social media has played in growing media coverage of professional football and how that has also changed how teams manage their players. Dominik revealed that during his last few seasons with the Buccaneers, he would get a printout every morning consisting of every tweet every player had made the day before.

“Twitter became the bathroom wall,” Dominik said.

Polian agreed that social media was the catalyst to growing media coverage.

“Social media came along and exploded and all the rules changed,” he said.

Later in the evening when the discussion opened up to a Q&A, sports journalism student Shekinah Ragland, a junior, asked the two men for advice for journalism students.

“Go to work,” Polian said. “You won’t get paid but you’ll get experience and contacts that are invaluable.”

Dominik and Polian both stated multiple times that, “Someone is always watching.”

Both speakers offered advice to sports management professionals on how to interact with the media, providing valuable insight to journalism students in attendance on how media members are sometimes viewed in the sports world.

“Good reporters don’t have feelings,” Polian said.

He added that the top three competencies for dealing with the media were having a calm demeanor, being emotionally prepared for tough questions, and knowing how to present your point of view in a positive and non-confrontational way.

Moran said that the advice that Polian and Dominik dispensed was extremely valuable.

“Their careers have also included the evolution of media coverage from nine months of interest to the year-round, real-time digital demands we see today,” he said. “The insights included that despite all the changes, the coverage of pro football is still a business of building relationships through the credibility of one’s work.”

The 500 Festival Princess program recently announced that among the 33 women chosen to be ambassadors for 2016, seven were IUPUI students, including Kylee Stewart, a junior in the Department of Journalism and Public Relations.

Stewart will earn a $1,000 scholarship and the opportunity to participate in events throughout the next few months, culminating with the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.  

"To be a part of something so special and historic is so humbling to me,” she said. “This program and the Indy 500 are so much bigger than anything I could have ever dreamed of being a part of."

In order to be considered, Stewart completed an online application, submitted her resume, cover letter, and three references, and participated in two in-person interview sessions. It was an in-depth process, but Stewart knew what to expect. She had already been through it.

“I had applied last year and I didn't even make it to the second round of interviews,” she said. “However, I decided that wouldn't stop me from trying again.”

Stewart said it was a leap of faith to apply this year, but she knew it was a program that would combine her love of Indy with her love of community involvement.

“I really wanted start taking steps to be a leader in my community. I knew that it would be a life changing experience,” she said. “I am so excited to be able to make memories. Not only with the other princesses, but with my community.”

Stewart will have many opportunities for civic engagement. Princesses attend the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, the 500 Festival Parade and other Festival-related events, along with visits to community centers and hospitals.

Department of Journalism and Public Relations instructor Denise Herd, who taught Stewart in Introduction to Public Relations last semester, said that Stewart is the perfect candidate for the program.

“She is inquisitive, poised, and a risk-taker,” Herd said. “She will be a strong addition to the Princess court and an ambassador for the program.”

In addition to leadership opportunities, Stewart said she is looking forward to the professional development part of the program. Each participant is paired with a mentor who can offer advice and suggestions for their future career.

Stewart said it will be a professionally enriching experience.

“I feel that knowledge will stay with me for the rest of my life,” she said.

In addition, Herd believes that the program will offer Stewart the chance to expand her network and give her an outlet to grow personally as well.

“It will help her because Kylee has a voice that deserves to be heard,” Herd said.

For more information on the 500 Festival Princess program, visit

INDIANAPOLIS -- ESPN NFL Insiders Bill Polian and Mark Dominik will discuss the state of professional football and its ever-expanding media coverage at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, in Grand Ballroom 2 on Level 3 of the JW Marriott. The hourlong event, sponsored by the Sports Capital Journalism Program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, is free and open to members of the IUPUI campus community and attendees of the Sports Management Worldwide NFL Combine Career Conference.

IUPUI students, faculty and staff should plan to arrive at 6:30 p.m. and present a university identification card.

Polian, who joined ESPN in 2012, appears on multiple platforms including "NFL Insiders," "SportsCenter," "NFL Live" and ESPN Radio. He was enshrined as a Contributor in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015. As president and vice chairman of the Indianapolis Colts from 1997 through 2011, the franchise made 11 playoff appearances, won eight division championships, played in two American Football Conference championship games and won Super Bowl XLI. Polian was the first six-time winner of the National Football League Executive of the Year award from "The Sporting News," as voted by his peers. His tenure in Indianapolis was marked by the decision to select Peyton Manning with the first choice in the 1998 draft.

"If Peyton Manning was the director of the Colts' Super Bowl championship, Bill Polian was the producer," said Malcolm Moran of the Sports Capital Journalism Program. "Bill has seen the state of coverage evolve from a less-formal seasonal approach to a relentless 12-month search for information. His insight will be invaluable for journalism students and others in the IUPUI community who want to understand the industry."

Mark Dominik, photo by Rich Arden/ESPN ImagesMark Dominik, photo by Rich Arden/ESPN Images

As general manager of the expansion Carolina Panthers, Polian directed an organization that reached the National Football Conference championship game in its second season. In his seven seasons as general manager of the Buffalo Bills, the franchise made three Super Bowl appearances.

Dominik, a faculty member of Sports Management Worldwide, spent 19 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including five as general manager. The Buccaneers won a Super Bowl during the 2002 season when Dominik served as director of pro personnel. In 2014, he joined ESPN as an NFL Front Office Insider. He appears on "NFL Insiders," "NFL Live," "SportsCenter" and ESPN Radio.

The Sports Capital Journalism Program is part of IUPUI's Department of Journalism and Public Relations in the School of Liberal Arts, home to the nation's first graduate program in sports journalism. At IUPUI, sports journalism students cover a wide variety of major sporting events, including the College Football Playoff, NCAA men's and women's Final Four basketball tournaments, and the Indianapolis 500. Through campus events, students also connect with leaders in sports journalism and the sports industry.

Professor Chris Lamb has dedicated over 20 years of his professional life to the subject of race and how it intersects with the world of sports. With two books previously published, Lamb, a faculty member in the Department of Journalism and Public Relations, recently added a third in January 2016, editing an anthology of essays titled “From Jack Johnson to LeBron James: Sports, Media, and the Color Line.”

Lamb, who also wrote the book’s introduction, first collected essays on the topic with the idea of using them for his classes, but then he asked himself, “How much more work would it be to turn these into a book?”

“It turned out to be a lot,” he said. Lamb said it took about three years start to finish, from collecting essays, to submitting a book proposal, to final publication.

Essays in the anthology cover topics such as Michael Jordan, the role of race in professional boxing, and the media coverage of Hank Aaron. Each one highlights the role of the media in the worlds of race and sport, or the issue of race in sport itself.

“Racism is sort of our original sin in this country. And so that part fascinates me,” Lamb said. “What fascinates me more than that is the impact sports has had in this discussion.”

Lamb said that within the American education system and beyond, racism is rarely linked to sports, even though it should be. According to Lamb, sports jumpstarted the racial equality talks long before anyone else would openly address the issue.

“The discussions in sports were actually a decade or two ahead of the country,” he said. “Jackie Robinson was integrating baseball long before there was anything called a Civil Rights movement.”

Lamb says he started by collecting essays that he would like to include in a book. After that, it became a matter of who would grant permission to use the work. Lamb had to track down not just the author, but oftentimes the publisher. That was a “very frustrating” process, according to Lamb, who said that several publishers were reluctant to allow him use of the essay even if the author was willing. Then, the financial side of it became a roadblock.

“For instance, I was given $500 total to pay for permissions. The first person I talked to wanted to charge me $1,000 just for that particular essay,” he said.

Lamb ended up with 21 essays written by a myriad of history and journalism faculty members across the country.

An author of two of those essays, Pamela C. Laucella, is also a journalism professor at IUPUI. She wrote “Jesse Owens, A Black Pearl Amidst An Ocean of Fury: A Case Study of Press Coverage of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games” and “Arthur Ashe: An Analysis of Newspaper Journalists’ Coverage of USA Today’s Outing.”

Laucella said her interest in the intersection between race and sport began in graduate school. She agrees with Lamb in that the discussion of race cannot be separated from the sports realm.

“I think sport is a way to study race relations especially in the early 20th century with the Civil Rights movement and even today it’s still very relevant,” she said. “Chris’s book was a way to showcase people’s research on it and also the importance on studying race in sport historically and continuing with contemporary athletes.”

Robert Hunt, a senior journalism major, has taken three classes with Lamb and says his professor’s passion for the role that race plays in sports is evident.

“[It] has helped open my eyes to things that I probably wasn't paying as much attention to as I should have before,” Hunt said. “His knowledge and experience in the field, especially with regards to Jackie Robinson, often comes into play in class and he is an invaluable resource on this campus.”

Learn more about Lamb’s book on the University of Nebraska Press website.

IUPUI journalism professor Chris Lamb , Ph.D., has received a 2016 Media Orthopaedic Reporting Excellence (MORE) Award from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) for an Indianapolis Star column he wrote called “Epidemic of injuries hits young athletes”. Lamb wrote the article in conjunction with an on-campus roundtable discussion he organized in March 2015 about the increase in injuries among teenaged athletes.

INDIANAPOLIS -- A new study by the Sports Capital Journalism Programat Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will examine the role of diversity in hiring college head football coaches.

The Football Hiring Report Card will evaluate the hiring processes for job vacancies among all Division I NCAA institutions that are classified in the Football Bowl Subdivision or the Football Championship Subdivision. Institutions will receive grades ranging from A to F based on how they promote diversity, transparency and equal opportunity. The study will examine factors such as the percentage of search committee members who are people of color, the percentage of official interviews given to people of color, the time frame for the search-and-hiring process, and communication with diversity-focused recruitment sources.

The Football Hiring Report Card is scheduled for release in August.

The principal investigator and lead author of the study is Pamela Laucella, academic director of the Sports Capital Journalism Program and an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism and Public Relationsin the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

Malcolm MoranMalcolm Moran

Laucella has led multiple studies examining the hiring practices for men's basketball head coaches. This is the first time she is investigating the hiring of head football coaches.

"The inaugural football hiring report sets a comparative baseline to measure commitment and progress over time," Laucella said. "We hope this research will help universities in their hiring processes while calling attention to the need for diverse leadership in collegiate athletics."

The project manager is Floyd Keith, CEO of Planned Positive Attitude Professional Services and former executive director of the Black Coaches and Administrators (BCA) nonprofit organization. The research design is the result of collaborative work by the former BCA and Floyd Keith with Richard Lapchick, endowed chair and director of the DeVos Sports Business Management Program at the University of Central Florida College of Business Administration.

Graduate research assistants Frank Gogola and Zach Wagner will provide data analysis.

The goal of producing the report card is to provide colleges and universities with an objective and long-term way to measure the key factors that influence hiring. It is designed to promote equality, accountability and transparency.

Floyd KeithFloyd Keith

"As the process of hiring head football coaches has received greater scrutiny in the past 15 years, a more diverse pool of candidates has been able to earn opportunities to direct programs," said Malcolm Moran, director of the Sports Capital Journalism Program. "The Football Hiring Report Card will help university officials see how well they're doing when it comes to diversity not only in hiring, but also in such factors as the makeup of search committees and other aspects of the hiring process."

The Sports Capital Journalism Program is part of IUPUI's Department of Journalism and Public Relations, home to the nation's first graduate program in sports journalism. At IUPUI, sports journalism students get to cover a wide variety of major regional, national and international sporting events, including the NBA, NFL, collegiate championships, motorsports and more. Through campus events, they also connect with leaders in the sports industry as well as in sports journalism.

The future is bright for sports journalism at IUPUI
September 21, 2015

A message from Journalism and PR Department Chair Jonas Bjork

A message from Journalism and PR Department Chair Jonas Bjork   

Department chair Jonas BjorkJonas Bjork

Last week, Indiana University announced that it will move its National Sports Journalism Center website and related program from our Indianapolis campus to the Bloomington campus. That begs the question: What does this mean for sports journalism at IUPUI?

            The short answer: Minimal change and tremendous opportunity.

            The power of our program – and what’s drawn students to us from throughout the state, nation, and world – lies in our proximity to major sporting organizations and competitions and in our real-world sports journalism faculty whose national-level experience and connections bring enormous benefits to our students. None of that is changing.

            In fact, IUPUI’s leaders have given us the green light to collaborate in new ways with the many sports-related programs on the IUPUI campus.

            For now as before, sports journalism students who come to our campus in downtown Indianapolis, the “Amateur Sports Capital of the World,” will take classes and attend workshops within walking distance of NCAA headquarters, the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, many national sports governing bodies, and a host of national and international competitions. It’s a sports mecca dotted with real internship options. And it’s a sports journalism learning, coverage, and research opportunity unequaled anywhere.

            This year, students in the IUPUI sports journalism program have covered such events as the college football playoff semifinal and championship game; the National Football League scouting combine; the NCAA men’s basketball mock selection seminar; and three rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, including the Final Four. These occasions for student sports journalism at the highest levels of sport will continue to be offered at IUPUI.

            For sports journalism students wanting to study with top-tier veteran sports journalists bringing real-world experience to the classroom, and national and international sports connections to complement that experience, our Department of Journalism and Public Relations is one of the best.

            Our veteran sports journalism faculty members will continue to offer classes at IUPUI, and we will build on the courses we have been offering. Our faculty will continue to open doors to national and international sports organizations and provide invaluable teaching for award-winning and aspiring sports journalists.

            With the question of the center’s location behind us, we’re now turning our attention to enhancing our already-strong opportunities through new collaborations in our sports-savvy community, on our campus and in the sporting world at large.

            As Kathy Johnson, IUPUI’s interim executive vice chancellor told me this week, “I’m excited that we’ll be able to continue to honor – and grow – the outstanding opportunities your sports journalism faculty has created for our students. Indianapolis is the perfect city to house this work and the possibilities are endless.”

            And as our School of Liberal Arts Dean Tom Davis said, “We’re excited about moving forward with all the good things we do here with sports journalism.”

      Stay tuned. What’s already a powerful sports journalism program is about to offer even more opportunities to our students and our Indianapolis-based national and international sporting community.

Department to host Fall Career Week panel
September 17, 2015

Local journalists and public relations pros will dish out career advice to students and alumni from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23, in the IUPUI Campus Center, Room 309, as part of IUPUI’s Fall Career Week (Sept. 21-25, 2015).

Local journalists and public relations pros will dish out career advice to students and alumni from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23, in the IUPUI Campus Center, Room 309, as part of IUPUI’s Fall Career Week (Sept. 21-25, 2015).

Journalists Jennifer Burnham and Larra Overton and PR professional Jordan Overton will share their suggestions for finding internships and jobs in journalism or public relations in Indianapolis. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions, and are invited to bring their resumes and cover letters for a quick review by one of the panelists.

“As a recent IUPUI journalism graduate, I know how important it is to arm yourself with the tools and knowledge for a successful job search,” said Burnham, a ‘14 journalism graduate who is associate editor of U.S. Kids Magazines at the Saturday Evening Post Society. “The earlier you start, the better.”

Burnham interned at Indianapolis Monthly twice during her time at IUPUI, and has worked as digital coordinator at WFYI Public Media.

Jordan Overton is a senior account coordinator with Bohlsen Group. He trains nonprofits, independent authors and corporate clients on digital and social media best practices. Overton has conducted social media campaigns for more than 200 authors publishing through Author Solutions, a Penguin Random House company, and has secured coverage in ForbesInc.comAustralia Business Review, Examiner and In addition to his work with Author Solutions, Overton manages the online presence of various local, regional and national nonprofits and corporate clients as well as Bohlsen Group’s digital presence.

Larra Overton is an Indianapolis-based sports journalist who currently reports for the Indiana Pacers, Fox Sports and WXIN Fox59. She is the game emcee and host for the Pacers; the host of the weekly “Colts Up Close” alongside analyst Jim Sorgi; is a track and field analyst for Fox Sports; and reports sports, traffic and features on the morning show for Fox59.

Fall Career Week is held each year on the IUPUI campus and includes several informative sessions each day. Visit for a list of this year’s sessions.

IUPUI PR grad watched the world at United Nations Population Fund
July 29, 2015

Firefighters, police officers, nurses, astronauts: they’re the stereotypical childhood dream jobs. But for Tejaswini Vavilala, an IUPUI Department of Journalism and Public Relations master’s graduate, such aspirations never seemed to fit. Her goals were much more specific, yet equally impactful.

Firefighters, police officers, nurses, astronauts: they’re the stereotypical childhood dream jobs. But for Tejaswini Vavilala, an IUPUI Department of Journalism and Public Relations master’s graduate, such aspirations never seemed to fit. Her goals were much more specific, yet equally impactful.

“My dream has been to get into the UN, and I’ve always been interested in non-profit communications,” said Vavilala. “From childhood, the work of the UN was an inspiration to me.”

In May of this year, Vavilala fulfilled her lifelong dream by completing her internship with the media and communications branch of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in New York City. Describing her internship as a “holistic learning experience,” Vavilala explained how quickly she learned the widespread effect of the UN mission. 

Tejaswini Vavilala worked as an intern for the media and communications branch of the UNFPA in New York City.

“There is so much understanding and responsibility. Everything that you do is directly or indirectly impacting someone else somewhere around the world,” Vavilala said.

Vavilala said that her educational and professional background prepared her well. Before receiving her masters in public relations from IUPUI, she completed a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications and Journalism, Literature and Political Science from St. Francis College for Women in Hyderabad, India. Following her undergraduate studies, she worked in India for three years as a public relations officer at a sustainable housing firm and also completed an internship with Cummins Inc. in Columbus, Indiana, during her studies.

When Vavilala began searching for a university to pursue her postgraduate studies, IUPUI was at the top of her list.

"My idea was to get a better understanding of how non-profits work, so I was looking for a top university in the United States that ultimately understands community work,” Vavilala said. “IUPUI is known for its outstanding communications related curriculum and for its commitment to supporting various communities all over Indiana, so it was an easy choice.”

After graduating from the IUPUI Department of Journalism and Public Relations master’s program, Vavilala headed to New York City, looking for a career in nonprofit communications. Little did she know that her visit to a New York University job fair would lead her to the very organization that she had long dreamed of joining.
Vavilala was especiall impressed with the “unbelievable amount of diversity at the UN.” In the media and communications branch of the UNFPA alone there are more than 20 committed people representing at least 15 different countries.

Vavilala said that these diverse perspectives provide high levels of specialization. For example, during a time of crisis, a staff member in the Media and Communications Branch who is from the affected country takes the lead on crisis management protocol.

But not all tasks required such specialization. Vavilala described her daily tasks as quite broad, saying that her main duties were to “monitor events of concern to the UNFPA and report on what was happening in the rest of the world.”

Of course, she had some help from the rest of the staff. Watching the world, after all, can be quite a burden. But watching the world allows the UNFPA to address issues that others might not see.

During her internship, Vavilala helped redesign the website for impactful campaigns, such as the Campaign to End Fistula, a movement aimed at addressing a birth-related injury in women around the world. She also participated in media outreach activities during the launch of the State of World Population 2014 report and assisted the team during the 69th United Nations General Assembly. Later, Vavilala went on to work on the #ShowYourSelfie campaign, a global effort using selfies to alert world leaders to the needs of today’s youth.

Campaigns such as these inspire Vavilala to keep working towards her goals. And despite having to return to her native India because of an expiring visa, she returns with confidence knowing that this will not be the end of her non profit work.

“I’d love to come back to work with international development because that’s where I see my efforts continuing,” said Vavilala. “That’s my new passion."

Journalism major reaches thousands with social media for Regatta
June 10, 2015

Since its inception in 2009, the IUPUI Regatta has become an annual tradition each September for the IUPUI campus and the city of Indianapolis. The half-mile canoe race brings people of all ages and backgrounds to downtown’s Central Canal to cheer on their favorite team while enjoying food vendors and live entertainment throughout the afternoon. But none of that would be possible without the Regatta Steering Committee, a group of IUPUI student and alumni volunteers dedicated to promoting, organizing and running the annual event.

jessica-headshot-threeJessica Sauer uses social media to plan and promote the IUPUI Regatta, scheduled for Sept. 19, 2015.

Since its inception in 2009, the IUPUI Regatta has become an annual tradition each September for the IUPUI campus and the city of Indianapolis. The half-mile canoe race brings people of all ages and backgrounds to downtown’s Central Canal to cheer on their favorite team while enjoying food vendors and live entertainment throughout the afternoon. But none of that would be possible without the Regatta Steering Committee, a group of IUPUI student and alumni volunteers dedicated to promoting, organizing and running the annual event.

This year, Jessica Sauer, a journalism student at IUPUI, has been appointed coordinator of social media for the steering committee, a position dedicated to promoting and branding the 2015 regatta. Though the event doesn’t occur until Sept. 19, planning for marketing and social media outreach has been a steering committee priority since last October.

“It’s hard work, but the hard work pays off,” said Sauer, who will be a junior this fall.

Sauer’s first encounter with the regatta was three years ago as a spectator witnessing the planning efforts of her sister, Lynette Sauer, now a senior at IUPUI, and the other members of that year’s regatta steering committee. When Sauer entered IUPUI as a freshman, she decided to participate in the regatta as a volunteer. By the time she began her sophomore year in 2014, it was time to paddle. Following this past year’s regatta, Sauer jumped at the opportunity to follow in her sister’s footsteps and help plan and promote one of the biggest events of the year.

“I thought that being involved in the regatta would be a great way to make an impact,” said Sauer. “And social media definitely makes an impact.”

Sauer has learned this firsthand. In 2014, she headed social media for the Indianapolis Marathon. Through this experience, she witnessed the influence of social media by interacting with commenters, posting race updates and scouring the Internet for marathon news.

“I’ve learned that social media is a lot more time-consuming than I thought it would be,” Sauer said. “But it’s really rewarding being able to interact with people so immediately.”

Not many college sophomores get an opportunity to manage social accounts with thousands of followers. Jayme Little, advisor to the Student Organization for Alumni Relations and the IUPUI Regatta Steering Committee, said that Sauer has quickly become an integral part in the event planning process.

“Jessica serves a vital function on the 2015 IUPUI Regatta Steering Committee,” Little wrote in an email. “By working collaboratively with other students on the committee, and with the IU and IUPUI social media team, Jessica will help to tell the story about the IUPUI Regatta to both the campus and the community at large.”

Though the methods may vary, Sauer usually presents this narrative through a network of posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Ironically, Sauer admitted that her interest in social media marketing began only recently. Sauer paid little mind to her own social accounts throughout high school, even neglecting to start an Instagram account until her freshman year at IUPUI. But once she began taking classes in journalism, all of that changed.

“One the reasons I’m a journalism major is that I love the idea of communicating a thought from one person to the next. It doesn’t matter what form it’s in, but I think that social media is a great way of doing that,” Sauer said.

In preparation for the big event on Sept. 19, Sauer will continue her work with the steering committee by planning social media posts, responding to comments and promoting race attendance, despite being away from Indianapolis for the summer working at a summer camp for children and teenagers. In anticipation of her absence, Sauer scheduled many of the social media posts leading up to the regatta using online tools such as Hootsuite. And although the work is far from over, Sauer knows that she will look back on her experience with fondness and gratitude.

“It’s really cool to see how I’ve come full circle, being a spectator, a volunteer and now being on the committee,” said Sauer. “I feel really blessed to be a part of it. It’s so exciting to see the process of an event coming together.”

Interested in learning more about the 2015 IUPUI Regatta? Visit the event website for further information.

Senior PR student named 500 Festival princess
May 5, 2015

Casie Conley, a senior public relations student at IUPUI, has been selected as a 500 Festival princess, an honor given to young women who exhibit outstanding academic achievement, community service, professionalism and more. In the weeks and months leading up to the big race—The Indianapolis 500—on May 24, 2015, all 33 princesses act as ambassadors for festival events.

Casie Conley, a senior public relations student at IUPUI, has been selected as a 500 Festival princess, an honor given to young women who exhibit outstanding academic achievement, community service, professionalism and more. In the weeks and months leading up to the big race—The Indianapolis 500—on May 24, 2015, all 33 princesses act as ambassadors for festival events.

Senior Casie Conley will participate in 500 Festival events throughout the month of May. (Photo courtesy of 500 Festival)

“It is a great honor to be a 500 Festival princess, especially since over 200 women apply,” said Conley.

In addition to passing eligibility requirements, applicants go through two rounds of interviews to test their levels of patience, poise and energy. Despite the intimidating interviews, Conley has long dreamt of participating in the program and knew that with graduation swiftly approaching in December, this was her last chance.

“I’ve had many friends and acquaintances who have been 500 festival princesses,” said Conley. “It is something that I’ve always wanted to do.”

As a 500 Festival princess, Conley will serve as an ambassador and spokesperson at more than a dozen events during the month of May. Each princess is also expected to plan four separate outreach events on her own to promote the 500 Festival. This can range from speaking at schools, nursing homes, churches or any other place that might be interested in the festivities. Although this requires some extra legwork, Conley didn’t have much trouble landing her first speaking arrangement.

“My family and friends are so supportive of me in this program,” Conley said. “As soon as I got the position, my grandmother called and wanted me to come speak at her nursing home.”

As an upper-level student in the Department of Journalism and Public Relations, Conley has had the chance to hone her speaking skills with some of IUPUI’s top PR professionals. Bruce Hetrick, visiting professor of public relations, described Conley as “very articulate and well spoken.”

“She is a great representative of IUPUI and the PR program,” said Hetrick. “If they are looking for someone to represent the festival and city well, they can do no better than Casie.”

For Conley, May brings even more opportunities to practice her speaking skills. In return for their participation at events, the 500 Festival princesses also receive valuable networking opportunities and a $1,000 scholarship.

“It means a lot that the program can recognize the need for furthering our education,” said Conley. “It’s the icing on the cake.”

Looking ahead, Conley hopes to take away more than just a scholarship from the experience. With so many events planned, the opportunities provided to a 500 Festival princess can in some ways outweigh the material rewards.

“I expect to grow as a young woman leader and public speaker, as well as gain some friendships with the other 32 ladies,” Conley said.

For a list of the 500 Festival events, see this page.

IUPUI roundtable to address increase in youth sports injuries
February 18, 2015

The Department of Journalism and Public Relations and the National Sports Journalism Center are among the sponsors of an upcoming roundtable entitled “Epidemic at the Mound: The Stats and Facts of Youth Baseball Injuries.” Participants will discuss the increase in sports-related injuries among young athletes. The roundtable is scheduled for 6 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at Hine Hall Auditorium, 850 W. Michigan St., on the IUPUI campus.

The Department of Journalism and Public Relations and the National Sports Journalism Center are among the sponsors of an upcoming roundtable entitled “Epidemic at the Mound: The Stats and Facts of Youth Baseball Injuries.” Participants will discuss the increase in sports-related injuries among young athletes. The roundtable is scheduled for 6 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at Hine Hall Auditorium, 850 W. Michigan St., on the IUPUI campus.
Journalist and author Will Carroll will give opening remarks. Other participants include Dr. Robert Klitzman, an orthopedic surgeon with IU Health Physicians who specializes in the treatment of sports injuries; former Major League pitcher Bill Sampen, who owns Samp’s Hack Shack, a baseball and softball training facility in Brownsburg, Ind.; and Ralph Reiff, a longtime athletic trainer who is executive director of St. Vincent Sports Performance. Milt Thompson, an attorney with a long involvement with sports in Indianapolis, will moderate the discussion.
For more details, see the press release below.

IUPUI roundtable will focus on rise in youth sports injuries
INDIANAPOLIS — The number of children with chronic sports injuries has increased five- to seven-fold in the past ten years or so, according to Dr. James Andrews, an internationally recognized orthopedic surgeon who has extended the careers of dozens of high-profile professional athletes.
Andrews and other medical experts say they know why injuries are increasing and that most of them could have been avoided.
The increase in sports-related injuries among young athletes will be the topic of a roundtable discussion on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus. The roundtable, titled “Epidemic at the Mound: The Stats and Facts of Youth Baseball Injuries,” will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, at Hine Hall Auditorium, 850 W. Michigan St.
Roundtable participants will discuss the rise of arm injuries among youngpitchers and the related issue of young athletes specializing in one sport.
Young athletes — particularly pitchers — are having surgery in unpreceded numbers because they’re overusing certain muscles and not allowing them time to heal, according to Andrews and others. The number of injuries also is being exacerbated by the number of youths specializing in a single sport year-round, which also leads to increased injuries to overworked muscles.
Journalist and author Will Carroll, a sportswriter specializing in the coverage of medical issues, will make the opening remarks at the IUPUI roundtable. Carroll writes about sports injuries in a column for Bleacher Report. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has recognized him for his reporting.
The other roundtable participants include Dr. Robert Klitzman, an orthopedic surgeon with Indiana University Health Physicians who specializes in the treatment of sports injuries; former Major League pitcher Bill Sampen, who owns Samp’s Hack Shack, a baseball and softball training facility in Brownsburg, Ind.; and Ralph Reiff, a longtime athletic trainer who is executive director of St. Vincent Sports Performance.

Milt Thompson, an attorney with a long involvement with sports in Indianapolis, will moderate the discussion. The discussion will be followed by a Q-and-A session with the audience.

The event is sponsored by the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management, the School of Liberal Arts, the Department of Journalism and Public Relations and the National Sports Journalism Center.

For details, contact Chris Lamb, professor of journalism, at 317-274-4948 or

Students invited to Pacers Sports Media Night
February 17, 2015

Department of Journalism and Public Relations students are invited to join the Indiana Pacers for a Sports Media Night on Monday, March 23, 2015.

Department of Journalism and Public Relations students are invited to join the Indiana Pacers for a Sports Media Night on Monday, March 23, 2015. The $25-per-person package includes:

  • A pre-game sports media panel from 3:15 to 5 p.m. Learn from seasoned professionals about their careers and experiences covering sports in Indianapolis. Panelists include: Chris Denari, Pacers Television Play-By-Play Announcer, and Mark Boyle, Pacers Radio Play-By-Play Broadcaster. Meet and greet with panelists to follow.
  • 1 Balcony level ticket to the Pacers vs. Rockets game after the panel at 7 p.m.

The order deadline is Monday, Feb. 23, 2015. 

To attend this event, purchase tickets through

 using the password “panel.” For orders of 10 or more seats, contact Matt Schroll at 317-917-2834 or Event access will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. The offer is not valid at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse box office.

Sports journalism student named finalist for national award
January 28, 2015

IUPUI senior guard Khufu Najee has been named among 30 finalists for the 2014-15 Senior CLASS Award for excellence both on and off the basketball court. Najee is the lone men's player in The Summit League to be among this year's 30 finalists and the second in school history to be considered for the award from the men's basketball program, joining John Ashworth (2011).

Senior Khufu Najee is lone Summit League men's player among 30 national finalists. 

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – IUPUI senior guard Khufu Najee has been named among 30 finalists for the 2014-15 Senior CLASS Award for excellence both on and off the basketball court. Najee is the lone men's player in The Summit League to be among this year's 30 finalists and the second in school history to be considered for the award from the men's basketball program, joining John Ashworth (2011). 

"It is without a question my greatest accomplishment to date," Najee said. "I am beyond honored to represent my family, my university and myself to such a high standard. This acknowledgement is a result of the influence many people have had on my life. Even if I don't win the Senior CLASS Award, just being one of the 30 finalists is an accomplishment that my family and I will always be proud of."

Najee was a 2014 Summit League All-Newcomer Team selection as a junior after averaging 9.9 points per game for the Jaguars. The Berkeley, California native took a circuitous route through college basketball before ultimately finding a home in Indianapolis. He originally committed to play at San Jose State University but walked away from the game due to tough family circumstances. He later excelled in two different junior colleges before being recruited to IUPUI. 

Academically, he's maintained a 3.71 grade point average and completed his undergraduate work last summer. He's now pursuing his Master's degree in Sports Journalism. Last year, he was one of the few student-athletes selected to participate in the NCAA Mock Selection process, getting a behind-the-scenes look at the tournament selection process at the NCAA National Headquarters. 

Read more about Najee's candidacy by clicking here.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Of the 60 candidates (30 men and 30 women), 27 have grade point averages of 3.5 or higher. Three of this year's candidates were 2013-14 CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-Americans and four are returning All-Americans. More than 20 of the 32 Division I basketball-playing conferences are represented as well. 

The Senior CLASS Award winners will be announced during the 2015 NCAA Men's Final Four, which will be co-hosted by IUPUI at Lucas Oil Stadium. 

The 30 candidate class will be narrowed to 10 finalists later in the regular season and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one male and one female candidate who best exemplify excellence the four C's of community, classroom, character and competition. 

For more information on the candidates, visit

2014-15 Men's Basketball Candidates  
Alex Barlow, Butler Reece Chamberlain, Belmont
Michael Cobbins, Oklahoma State Pat Connaughton, Notre Dame
Justin Gant, Indiana State Seth Gearhart, Rice
Jordan Green, Texas A&M Ryann Green, Georgia State
D'Angelo Harrison, St. John's Tyler Haws, BYU
Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin Ashton Moore, The Citadel
Khufu Najee, IUPUI D.J. Newbill, Penn State
Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga Corey Petros, Oakland
Ishaq Pitt, Maryland-Eastern Shore Norman Powell, UCLA
Chasson Randle, Stanford Levi Randolph, Alabama
Josh Richardson, Tennessee Luke Roh, Colgate
Corey Schaefer, Lehigh John Schoof, American
Matt Stainbrook, Xavier Juwan Staten, West Virginia
Matt Townsend, Yale Cameron Wright, Pittsburgh
Max Yon, Air Force Thomas van der Mars, Portland

This press release—by Ed Holdaway, assistant director of the IUPUI Department of Athletics—was originally published January 23, 2015,



Student News Bureau to cover Big Ten football championship
November 30, 2012

The school’s National Sports Journalism Center in Indianapolis is partnering with the Big Ten Conference for the Student News Bureau to cover the game between the University of Nebraska and the University of Wisconsin at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. The students also will cover events surrounding the championship in downtown Indianapolis, such as press events and local festivities.

big ten logo

Six journalism graduate students will form a news bureau to provide coverage of 

Big Ten Football Championship

 game in Indianapolis Dec. 1.

The school’s National Sports Journalism Center in Indianapolis is partnering with the Big Ten Conference for the Student News Bureau to cover the game between the University of Nebraska and the University of Wisconsin at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. The students also will cover events surrounding the championship in downtown Indianapolis, such as press events and local festivities.

Lauren Ely, Erica Rath and Campbell Robbins will cover Friday’s pre-game press conferences with Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini and Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema. Andrew Crum, Wheat Hotchkiss and Manny Randhawa will be on assignment Saturday covering the game, which starts at 8:17 p.m. All stories will be available on the NSJC website and also distributed to the Hoosier State Press Association.

“Our news bureaus give students valuable opportunities to gain industry experience and exposure for their work,” said Pamela Laucella, assistant professor at the School of Journalism and academic director at the center. “The NSJC is committed to providing educational experiences that transcend the classroom, and our students will continue to cover more collegiate and professional sporting events locally and nationally.”

Last year, students covered the inaugural conference championship game, held at Lucas Oil Stadium. In the past year, NSJC students have covered Super Bowl XLVI, the Major League Baseball playoffs, NCAA Men’s Final Four, Big Ten men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, and the Indianapolis 500.


NSJC helps Black Coaches and Administrators group produce Hiring Report Card
November 15, 2012

While the numbers of black student athletes has risen in recent years, the hiring of black head coaches in the NCAA has declined, according to a new report from the Black Coaches and Administrators organization that was produced by the School of Journalism’s National Sports Journalism Center at Indianapolis.


While the numbers of black student athletes has risen in recent years, the hiring of black head coaches in the NCAA has declined, according to a new report from the Black Coaches and Administrators organization that was produced by the School of Journalism’s National Sports Journalism Center at Indianapolis.

The BCA released its 2012 Hiring Report Card for NCAA Division I Men’s College Basketball Head Coaching Positions Nov. 15. Pamela Laucella, academic director of the NSJC and an assistant professor at the IU School of Journalism, compiled the data for the BCA, assisted by a team of students.

The report shows that black student athletes’ participation was at 60.9 percent in 2011, up from 57 percent in 2001. Numbers of head black coaches for the same period slipped from 23 percent in 2001 to 22.6 percent at the end of the 2011 hiring phase.

BCA executive director Keith Floyd said in the foreword to the report that by using proportionality as a tool for measurement, the organization can contrast the level of student participation with the percentage of leadership. The report contrasts the level of student participation with the percentage of leadership of head coaches of color. For 2011, the participation of 60.9 percent and the 22.6 percent of black head coaches reflects a 37 percent ratio.

“While black coaches in Division I men’s basketball hold the highest ratio of minority head coaches in all of intercollegiate athletics, the current trend has been on a gradual decline since 2008,” he wrote. “The current 37 percent ratio has fallen 9 percent since 2005, despite a steady rise in participation to an all‐time high of 61 percent. The hiring process is at a stalemate, and BCA needs to determine the reasons why.”


“This inaugural study will contribute to projects which promote accountability and transparency, and reinforce the need for sound and equitable hiring processes at universities and institutions of higher learning," said Laucella. "The NSJC is committed to promoting and implementing diversity and inclusion in teaching, research and events. It trains students to critically analyze professional and ethical choices, and supports practical research that influences perception and policy within industry and society.”

Keith lauded the NSJC's support in the project.

"On behalf of the Black Coaches and Administrators, I wish to commend Dr. Pamela Laucella and her research team of Yasha Ghamarian, Eduardo Martinez and Brittany Williamson for their hard work and dedication to this effort," he wrote. "A very special thanks is also extended to the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center for its personnel assistance and support in making this report possible."