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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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While at the Public Relations Student Society of America’s (PRSSA) 2016 National Assembly in Austin, Texas, Jordan Mitrik, senior public relations major and Chapter vice president of Waynesburg University PRSSA, participated in and was awarded first place at the “Day-of Competition.” 

“I was in complete shock that we won,” said Mitrik. “I was confident in our presentation and knew my team had some really innovative ideas, but I knew all the Day-of partici-pants were really strong and we had some pretty big competition. I was extremely excited and it was a great start to a fantastic National Assembly!”

The “Day-of Competition” is an annual contest that takes place at the PRSSA National Assembly. Those who register are placed in groups with students from other colleges and universities. Each group, based on the prompt given, must work together to develop a public relations campaign for the competition’s client. 

At the end of one hour, each team presents its campaign to a panel of judges, composed of current public relations professionals. After deliberation, a winning team is chosen to receive certificates, as well as a monetary prize. Winners are announced and presented their prizes at the National Assembly’s opening ceremony.

“Participating in the Day-of Competition exposes PRSSA members to a competitive en-vironment and allows them to work with fellow public relations practitioners with whom they are not familiar with,” said Mitrik, who is also firm director of Red Brick Communi-cations, the University’s Nationally Affiliated student-run public relations firm. “It really aids in strengthening your problem-solving skills and your ability to work with a team under pressure. As future professionals, these are all invaluable skills to possess.”

This year, participants were responsible for creating a year-long promotional plan for the United States Tennis Association that would advertise tennis as a sport for all ages. This promotional plan was to include all communication and advertising efforts, as well as demonstrate adherence to a $2,500 budget.

Fellow Waynesburg University PRSSA chapter members Megan Bayles and Maura Fenske also participated in the Day-of Competition. 

This year’s Day-of Competition winning team consisted of seven students: 

  • Brooke Tait, Brigham Young University 
  • Emily Cristales, California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • Krista Watson, Loyola University Chicago
  • Mariana Roldán Carlos, Universidad de Medellín
  • Erica Everett, University of South Florida
  • Elizabeth Frattarole, West Virginia University
  • Jordan Mitrik, Waynesburg University

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

Tagged in: communication news
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b2ap3_thumbnail_yellow_jacket_logo2.jpgWaynesburg University’s student-produced newspaper, The Yellow Jacket, recently earned nine awards from two prestigious journalism organizations, the highest number of awards the newspaper has accrued in a single year.

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), a national organization of journalists, named the Waynesburg newspaper as a finalist in four different categories for a total of five awards, and the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA) announced three first place awards and an honorable mention for the newspaper staff.

The SPJ Mark of Excellence competition divides entrants into small schools (1-9,999 students) and large schools (10,000+ students) for some categories. For the year 2015, members of the Yellow Jacket staff are finalists in the following categories: Jacob Meyer in Feature Writing (Small), Sports Writing (Small), and General News (Small); Tim Neral in Non-Fiction Magazine Writing; and Nika Anschuetz in General News (Small).

“Being named a finalist for the SPJ awards tells us that the students took no worse than what is essentially third place in our four-state region, which is a huge honor,” said Brandon Szuminsky, faculty adviser for The Yellow Jacket.

The finalists for these awards were selected from among entrants across SPJ Region 4, which includes Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania. A group of students will travel in April to the SPJ Region 4 and 5 Spring Conference in Cincinnati to learn how the newspaper placed. First-place winners in each category will move on to the national SPJ competition.

“We’ve never been selected for five Mark of Excellence awards before, and I’m honored to lead the staff that accomplished it,” said Kimmi Baston, executive editor of The Yellow Jacket. “The Mark of Excellence Awards are prestigious accolades, so I’m thrilled that Waynesburg is represented so heavily among the winners.”

SPJ presents the Mark of Excellence Awards annually, honoring the best in student journalism. The awards offer categories for print, radio, television and online collegiate journalism.

In addition to collecting five Mark of Excellence Awards, The Yellow Jacket received four Student Keystone Press awards from the PNA in Division II, which includes four-year colleges and universities with enrollment under 10,000.

In the Ongoing News Coverage category, The Yellow Jacket won first place for a series entitled “University bans off-campus living,” by Rebecca Burcham, Rob Longo and Jacob Meyer, and received an honorable mention for “Mather Mine: The forgotten tragedy,” by Chelsea Dicks. The series “University bans off-campus living” also won first place for Public Service/Enterprise Package. In the Sports Story category, Meyer won first place for his feature article “The hardest thing imaginable.”

“To bring in three first place awards after being compared to schools across the state is truly a testament to the incredible amount of work our writers put into each and every piece,” said Baston. “I was proud of each of these stories when we published them in 2015, and I’m incredibly proud and excited that the PNA recognized the exceptional work of the students who wrote them.”

The Student Keystone Press Awards contest recognizes high school and college journalism that provides relevance, integrity and initiative in serving readers.
“While The Yellow Jacket staff has a long list of awards, this is the most awards we’ve ever won in a single academic year. Last year we were pretty happy to win five awards between SPJ and PNA, so to win nine this year has us ecstatic,” said Szuminsky. “These awards are confirmation that students are doing great work and are getting a high-quality journalism education at Waynesburg that will prepare them for their future careers.”

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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