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b2ap3_thumbnail_WUPRSSA.jpgWaynesburg University’s Public Relations Student Society of America (WUPRSSA) was recently awarded the Star Chapter Award for the fourth consecutive year. The award was presented at the PRSSA 2016 National Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Waynesburg’s chapter was one of 42 chapters granted star chapter status out of the more than 350 student chapters throughout the country. Chapters are selected based upon the completion of specific criteria, such as the completion of community service projects, high school outreach and association with regional and national Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) events, meetings and conferences.

“The recognition places us among the elite PRSSA chapters nationally,” said Richard Krause, assistant professor of communication and chair of the Communication Department. “It demonstrates how strong our academic program is here, and, as a result, it provides us with a great recruiting opportunity.”

Krause attended the conference with six chapter members:

  • Maura Fenske, junior public relations major from Wintersville, Ohio (Wood County Christian School)
  • Natalie Gloady, senior public relations major from Washington, Pennsylvania (Washington High School)
  • Cassidy Graham, senior public relations and digital design major from Washington, Pennsylvania (Trinity High School)
  • Zachary Sniadach, senior public relations major from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  (Brentwood High School)
  • Amanda Troncone, sophomore public relations major from Tioga, Pennsylvania (Williamson High School)
  • Taylor White, senior public relations major and journalism minor from Washington, Pennsylvania (Trinity High School)

According to Krause, students who attend the conference benefit from a variety of workshops and presentations. Students also have the opportunity to network with influential practitioners in the public relations field from across the country.

“The conference has also served to reinforce the work that we do here,” said Krause. “Students are discovering that we have something really special in place at Waynesburg University.”

In addition to the chapter award, 2016 Waynesburg public relations graduate, Jordan Mitrik, was presented with the PRSSA National Gold Key Award. The award, which is the highest individual honor bestowed upon PRSSA members, recognizes outstanding academic excellence in public relations and leadership in the PRSSA.

Mitrik submitted an application during his senior year at Waynesburg which highlighted his work and leadership positions with WUPRSSA, the student-run firm Red Brick Communications, and internships and other field-related experience.

“Winning this award is a reminder of the hard work and dedication I put in during the four years as a public relations student and member of WUPRSSA,” said Mitrik. “It truly is an honor that my efforts have been recognized, and it only pushes me to do bigger and better things in the industry now as a professional.”

Mitrik is currently employed at Brunner, a full-service marketing and advertising agency, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is also a member of the board and blog coordinator for PRSA Pittsburgh.

“Few people understand how difficult it is to receive the Gold Key, and we have had students receive it in consecutive years,” said Krause.

Founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Waynesburg University is located on a traditional campus in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, with three additional sites located in the Pittsburgh region. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and is one of only 21 Bonner Scholar schools in the country, offering local, regional and international opportunities to touch the lives of others through service.

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Ashley Wise, Associate Director of University Relations

724-852-7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

 

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Posted by on in Internships

This summer, Rob McKinney, junior sports broadcasting and sports information major, learned exactly what it meant to work in the news business.

The news industry has a history of early mornings that start well before 9 a.m. This is the time during which McKinney thrives in action. He began interning with WJPA Radio Station in Washington, Pennsylvania, in May 2016.

McKinney’s title as news reporter led him to covering a variety of events. He covered Washington County council meetings and different trials. He also worked Saturday morning news.

“I went into the station at 3:30 a.m. and read the day’s updated news every top of the hour,” said McKinney. “My favorite experience thus far was my first Saturday morning by myself.”

McKinney noted that he may have made his share of mistakes, but learned quickly what to and not to do in just eight short hours. He also had the opportunity to interview Governor Tom Wolf and State Representative Pam Snyder while working on different news stories. Through all of his early mornings, McKinney persisted because he said that he loves what he does and that it is worth it when you have a passion for the field of broadcast.

When he reflects on how his experience at Waynesburg helped him prepare for his summer internship, he noted that Lanny Frattare has helped him become the professional he is today.

“I applied to this internship because my advisor, Lanny Frattare, gave me the opportunity, and I knew it would give me tremendous professional experience,” said McKinney. “All of my radio and announcing classes with Lanny helped prepare my voice and my pacing to be an effective broadcaster.”

McKinney’s internship was not exactly what he had expected because he did not think he would be able to be as involved as he was. When thinking about his future endeavors, McKinney speaks highly of his internship with WJPA.

“My internship helped me by showing me how professional radio works,” said McKinney. “I hope to be on television one day reporting the news, and working with news currently can only help.”

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Posted by on in Alumni

b2ap3_thumbnail_JD-Lydic-2.JPGRecent sports broadcasting and sports information graduate, J.D. Lydic, has uprooted to Erie, Pennsylvania, to start his career in the news industry.

Lydic is currently a multimedia journalist for WICU and WSEE of Erie News Now, an NBC affiliated television station. He is responsible for coming in to work each day with multiple stories, and his news director chooses which stories are classified as newsworthy.

In a single day, Lydic goes out into the community to record video and conduct interviews. He then returns to the studio to edit his footage into a short news package that is accompanied by a script he prepares after the video editing is complete. Complete packages are then posted onto the station’s website with a written story.

When Lydic thinks back to his time at Waynesburg, he recounts how he was prepared for the workforce.

“Waynesburg allowed me to get on-air experience in television,” he said. “I was taught how to be part of the community and what makes a good news story.”

Lydic attributes professors Lanny Frattare, Melinda Roeder, Brandon Szuminsky and Bill Molzon for helping him become a great broadcaster with a wide skill set that made him more marketable when searching for his first job out of college.

Thus far, Lydic has learned that it is a busy world in news and the deadlines come quickly, as he is responsible for all aspects of creating a story.

“I have learned that it takes a lot of work and the starting things young reporters are asked to do can be many,” he said. “You must work through it all to become successful.”

Lydic also noted that Waynesburg’s mission taught him how to be a servant in the community by using his talents as a voice for the public.

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Posted by on in Internships

b2ap3_thumbnail_Drew-Brown.JPGJunior communications (sports broadcasting and sports information) major Drew Brown has always shown a strong interest in video editing and production work. This past spring, Brown began to put those skills to work at ROOT Sports in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, fulfilling a dream come true.

“Ranging back to when I was in ninth grade, I always told myself I was going to apply for an internship at ROOT Sports once I went to college, in hopes that I could further my career in the field of video production,” said Brown.

In March, Brown started a year-long role as an in-studio video production intern. He works alongside the ROOT Sports game day production staff, assisting with the creation of highlight packages that are used for Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Penguins pregame and postgame shows, as well as in-game highlights.

Other responsibilities have included the creation of video packages pertaining to storylines and talking points which are discussed on the pregame and postgame shows. Brown has also experienced writing “shot sheets” for the on-air talent personalities, such as Rob King, Stan Savran, Paul Alexander and Dan Potash.

All of his work so far has certainly exceeded Brown’s expectations, providing him with an experience that is grateful to have.

“I have enjoyed it more than any other job or internship I have worked before,” said Brown. “I spend my days at work doing something I have wanted to do since I was 14 years old.”

Even though he doesn’t always consider his work to be “work,” the internship has provided a few challenges, namely how quickly projects move.

“Working on the fly has been one of the more challenging aspects,” said Brown. “My “Around the League” videos, for example, where I am cutting together plays and highlights from other MLB or NHL games, need to be done at a quick, busy rate.”

Of course, the exciting aspects of his job have outweighed the challenges. Brown’s timing for experiencing the Stanley Cup playoffs could not have been more perfect. Because of ROOT Sports’ coverage of the Penguins, Brown was able to see the Stanley Cup in person and take pictures with it.

Another fun experience for Brown was being interviewed for a series of commercials that have been airing on the station.

“A quote of mine was used in an Andrew McCutchen commercial,” he said. “Seeing myself on TV along with receiving texts from friends and family saying they saw me has been a cool feeling.”

Brown realizes how fortunate he has been to study with professors such as Bill Molzon and Lanny Frattare at Waynesburg University. Their knowledge and expertise, combined with his ROOT Sports experiences, will be priceless in the future.

“This experience has given me the chance to see the daily operations of a major sports network, one like I hope to work for one day,” said Brown.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_simonton2.jpgFreshman Waynesburg University student Teghan Simonton placed second in this year’s Gertrude Gordon Memorial Fund Writing Contest. The contest, held March 18 at Point Park University and hosted by the Women’s Press Club of Pittsburgh, awards monetary prizes to the top three writers from the competition each year.

While Waynesburg journalism students have consistently placed in the annual contest, it is atypical for a freshman to compete and win. The contest is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors; Simonton was able to compete because she has earned enough credits to have sophomore status at the University.

“I am extremely grateful and surprised to be chosen as one of the winners,” said Simonton. “I entered as a way to gain more experience, but I tried my best to write a decent article. Finding out I won second place was very exciting and rewarding.”

Simonton, a dual major in communication (journalism) and public relations, traveled to the contest with five other Waynesburg University students and Brandon Szuminsky, instructor of communication at Waynesburg University. The students, in conjunction with students from other area colleges, conducted a one-hour group interview with Janera Solomon, executive director of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in Pittsburgh. They were then given two hours to write feature stories about Solomon which were judged by local journalists.

The first and third place winners of the contest are from Point Park University and Edinboro University, respectively. 

Simonton is heavily involved in activities in the Department of Communication at the University, and she said those experiences helped to prepare her for the contest.

“Professor Szuminsky is constantly making himself available to give me advice and answer questions about my writing,” said Simonton. “On top of that, being able to practice at a superb newspaper like The Yellow Jacket and finding mentors in older staff members has been infinitely valuable to me.”

In the future, Simonton feels the contest experience will benefit her by expanding her skills and knowledge of the field of journalism.

“This contest made me really excited about journalism,” she said. “I am so grateful I got to listen to Janera Solomon and write a noteworthy piece about her, because that is exactly what I love about this profession: writing about real people and their lives. I am excited to have more opportunities like this in the future.”

The Gertrude Gordon Memorial Fund Writing Contest has been held by the Women’s Press Club of Pittsburgh for 60 years. It is conducted in memory of Gertrude Gordon, a pioneer for female journalists in the Pittsburgh area. After her death, her family created the scholarship reserve which funds the contest prizes today.

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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