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K-State Today

September 22, 2011

A.Q. Miller School faculty present at journalism education conference

By Communications and Marketing

Six faculty members from the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference in August.

William Adams, professor, presented his research design for a series of Adobe Photoshop tutorials. “I designed 11 tutorials for Adobe Photoshop to teach people who know nothing about Photoshop enough to run it,” Adams said. "It was developed at Kansas State University, tested in an intro-level photography class and analyzed using focus groups."

Joye Gordon, associate professor, and Rustam Haydarov, a May 2010 master's graduate, presented research about designing the most effective messages to promote vaccine adoption. The idea of framing, or using different interpretations to promote certain aspects of an event, was pivotal in the research. “You can say there is a 10 percent chance that you will have side effects from the vaccines, or you could say there is a 90 percent chance that you will not have side effects from this vaccine,” Gordon said. "In the end, however, choosing to accept vaccinations is a complex health behavior that can only minimally be affected by message design.”

Nancy Muturi, associate professor; Samuel Mwangi, assistant professor; and Soontae An, associate professor, presented research on service learning and students within the public relations sequence.

“We found that students are very motivated to work with agencies outside campus for personal and professional development, and it is a chance to apply their communication skills in the real world,” Muturi said. “The only problem is that mass communications students lack the opportunity to do so until their upper-level courses.”

They recommended an introduction of service learning approach in more courses within the discipline.

Mwangi also presented an award-winning paper examining how media companies are surviving the shift from traditional journalism to a more technological model. The paper won the top faculty research paper award in the association's Communications Technology Division. He also presented a project illustrating how media companies could use new media technologies to their advantage. “The project was done by students who designed a digital tool to help a local community become engaged in local issues through the local news site,” he said. “The success of that project indicates that embracing such a culture of innovation can help media reconnect with their communities, stay relevant and possibly remain profitable.”

Linda Puntney, professor emeritus, was the Honors Lecturer for the association's Secondary School Division. She also received a plaque and an honorarium.

Angela Powers, director of the Miller School, served on the Strategic Plan Implementation Committee for the association. “The committee serves a critical role for moving the organization along a path that will better prepare faculty to meet the challenges facing our universities, our industries and our communities,” Powers said. “This year one of our key initiatives was to create a program to help fund research conducted by senior scholars.”

Powers also served as a mentor in the association's Magnanimous Mentor program. Mentors are matched with workshop participants and must schedule a meeting with them at the conference. Mentoring takes place periodically throughout the rest of the year.

Other A.Q. Miller School of Journalism faculty present were Steven Smethers, director of the graduate program; Kim Baltrip, assistant professor; and Ginger Loggins, assistant professor.