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K-State Today

September 7, 2011



On the beat: Harvey, Wirka enhancing TV and radio news production at A.Q. Miller School

By Communications and Marketing

Two new faculty members at the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications are giving a boost to television and radio news production at Kansas State University.

Emmy award-winning TV news photojournalist Steve Harvey and experienced college media director Vern Wirka are teaching classes and working with students at the new Media Convergence Center in Dole Hall and the student radio station, KSDB-FM, to cover and report stories about the Manhattan community.

"Both faculty members inspired students during their interviews on campus last spring and are enhancing the professionalism of our news coverage this fall, especially in the digital realm," said Angela Powers, director of the journalism school.

Harvey was a news photojournalist for WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio, for 30 years. He won Emmys from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 1987, 1991, 1996 and 2002, in addition to numerous nominations. He also won an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association.

Since 2006, Harvey has been an adjunct professor at Capital University, also in Columbus. In this position, he redesigned the broadcast curriculum, reformatted the news writing classes and upgraded the university's television studio.

Harvey earned a bachelor's degree in telecommunications from Kent State University and a master's degree in journalism from Ohio State University.

Wirka is faculty adviser to KSDB-FM and instructor of audio/video news class.

Wirka has more than 43 years of technical radio experience. From 1997 to 2010, he supervised programming and technical operations for Dana College's KDCV-FM and DVTV in Blair, Neb. In this position, he designed and built the college cable television station. He also taught courses in radio and television broadcasting technology and communication law, in addition to earning tenure. Prior to joining Dana College, he was chief engineer for KCRO-AM in Omaha, Neb., for six years; assistant chief engineer for KFAB-AM/KGOR-FM, also in Omaha, for 15 years; and studio technician for KRVN-AM/FM and KHUB-AM/FM in Fremont, Neb. for nine years.

Wirka was an Omaha-area court researcher for the Judge Mathis and Judge Pirro television shows from 2003 to 2010. He is also a professional ventriloquist.

Wirka earned a bachelor's degree in business administration of technical services from Bellevue University, a master's degree in communication from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a juris doctorate executive track from Taft Law School.

"All of us at KSDB are excited to have Vern join us at The Wildcat 91.9. His professional and academic experience add a whole new dimension to our program," said Mary Renee Shirk, KSDB station manager and a master's student in journalism and mass communications.

K-State's A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, established in 1910, has three sequences: journalism and digital media, advertising and public relations. The undergraduate program has approximately 260 pre-majors and 165 majors. The graduate program has about 25 students. The school is one of the 112 programs accredited by The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.