Category Archives: SOC News

Top French Journalist to Visit ECU, Discuss International Journalism and Press Freedom

A top journalist for Agence France-Presse, the international French news agency, will visit ECU next week to discuss differences between French and American journalism and French and American news audiences.

Léon Bruneau, AFP’s deputy chief editor for North America, is being brought to ECU as a visiting professional by the School of Communication. On Thursday, Oct. 29, Bruneau will address an International News Communication class in the morning, followed by a public session at 4:30 p.m. where he will discuss the January 2015 attacks on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. Bruneau will discuss implications of the attack for freedom of the press in France, and describe how it compares to U.S. press freedom. That session is in the Bate Building, Room 1022.

On Jan. 7, two al-Qaida gunmen broke into the Paris offices of the satirical magazine, killing 11 and wounding 11 more with assault rifles and other weapons. The attack was followed by several related attacks in France over the next two days. On Jan. 11, two million people, including more than 40 world leaders, showed support for free speech and French unity at a rally in Paris, many chanting, Je suis, Charlie (We are Charlie) in honor of the slain journalists.

Bruneau has been a journalist for AFP for 20 years. Prior to his current position, he was a U.S. politics correspondent in Washington, covered NATO and the European Union in Brussels, and was senior editor on the International Desk in Paris. He is a graduate of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Lyon, France, and holds a master’s degree in political science from the Université Paris 1 (Sorbonne).

Agence France-Presse is the world’s third largest news agency, with 200 bureaus covering 150 countries, and nearly 1,600 journalists relaying news around the clock.

Contact: Cindy Elmore, Associate Professor, School of Communication,, 252-328-5306

Outstanding Alumni Award Recipient Michael Aho ’02 Visits School of Communication

School of Communication alum, Michael Aho ’02, will be presented with an East Carolina Alumni Association Outstanding Alumni Award Friday, October 16, 2015.

In recognition of this award, the School of Communication is hosting an open house in his honor, Friday, October 16 from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. in the Joyner East Conference Room 101.

Throughout the years, Aho has been a great supporter of ECU and the School of Communication. Aho helped create the School of Communication alumni group, CommCrew, and currently serves on the school’s advisory board. Aho received the inaugural School of Communication Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2010. Additionally, Aho has funded a scholarship opportunity for the School of Communication with the Michael Aho Annual Scholarship for Communication that awards an undergraduate or graduate student in communication majors $1000.

Currently, Aho is a political officer at the U.S. Department of State. Throughout his career, Aho has been involved in international relations having served at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York. Now in Washington, D.C., he works on European security issues. He has received numerous awards for his service in his career, to his Alma Maters, and within his community.

About receiving this distinguished award, Aho stated it “is unexpected at this point in my life and incredibly humbling. “ He went on to say that the recognition is “really less about me and more about what ECU is choosing to recognize—that younger alumni are movers and shakers in their line of work. The recognition means a lot because I hope it shows anyone that anything is possible.”

For more information, visit East Carolina Alumni Association




SOC Co-Sponsors Ethnic Film Series Fall 2015

The School of Communication is co-sponsoring a film series this fall that explores issues related to immigration.
The Ethnic Studies Film Series, co-sponsored by the Ethnic studies program and the Harriott College of Arts and Sciences, will present three films this fall whose immigration themes tie in with the book, “Enrique’s Journey,” ECU’s 2015 Pirate Read book for incoming freshmen.
The first film, “120 Days,” will be shown at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 22, in Joyner East 201. Director Ted Roach will introduce the film and participation in a discussion afterward. The film’s title refers to the period a Raleigh-area husband and father has to prepare for deportation to Mexico after living and working in the U.S. for 12 years.
Post-screening discussions are planned for the other two films, also. “Seeking Asian Female,” directed by Debbie Lum, will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 10 in Science and Technology Building 207. It tells the story of a young Asian woman and an older American man in an Internet-brokered marriage. Dr. Jing Yang, visiting scholar at ECU and associate professor in the department of English Language and Culture, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China, will be the guest speaker.
“Welcome,” directed by Philippe Loiret, will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1 in Science and Technology Building 207. The film centers on the adventures of a Kurdish teenager making his way across Europe. Dr. Susan Pearce, associate professor of sociology at ECU, will be the guest speaker.

School of Communication Welcomes Alumni Sam Matheny as Spring 2015 Commencement Speaker by Emily Gerringer

Recipient of CommCrew’s outstanding alum award for 2015, Sam Matheny, our spring commencement speaker, illustrates success in the communication field to all communication graduates.


Matheny holds a B.S. in Communications from East Carolina University, and a M.S. in Technology Management from North Carolina State University. He currently serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at the National Association of Broadcasters.


With over 20 years of experience in the broadcast and data networking industries, including earning a patent for inventing mobile and interactive DTV technologies, Matheny leads NAB’s technology team in its efforts to promote innovation and propel broadcast technology into the future. He also aids in leadership for NAB Labs activities, including the TV, Radio, and Digital Technology Committees.


Before joining NAB, Sam held the position of Vice President of Policy and Innovation for Capitol Broadcasting Company, where he focused on strategic media applications, mobile wireless content delivery, smart TV, and helped secure multiple patents for broadcast Internet distribution. He has also taken on management positions with mobile development, satellite, digital television, web development, and interactive video companies.


Matheny is active within his field serving as a member of multiple organizations. He is a member of the board of directors for the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), where he previously served as Chairman of the specialist group on the next generation of digital television. He is also a member of the FCC Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC), a member of the Academy of Digital Television Pioneers, and he serves on the advisory board of StepLeader Corporation, a mobile applications and advertising company that he co-founded in 2005. In 2007, he was named an American Marshall Memorial Fellow.


Away from work, Matheny serves as an advisory board member to NCSU’s Poole College of Management, past chairman of the Triangle Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.


Matheny and his wife and two sons family live in Arlington, Virginia.


Join speaker Sam Matheny, and the faculty and staff of the East Carolina University School of Communication on Friday May 8th, 2015 at 5PM in Wright Auditorium. Please call the School of Communication office at 252-328-4227 for information on registering for the ceremony. Tickets for family members and friends are required for this ceremony.


Steps Toward a Better Tomorrow

By Nicole LaDuca

Tomorrow starts here. It is the phrase students, faculty and Greenville locals see signifying the countless number of opportunities East Carolina University offers.

To follow one of the missions of the university, the School of Communication’s journalism faculty have developed a new plan. Dr. Mary Tucker-McLaughlin and Dr. Glenn Hubbard created a rent-to-buy equipment program for journalism students to be implemented in the fall of 2015.
It all started in McLaughlin’s Multiplatform Journalism class after a student asked why journalism students did not have their own equipment if they did not spend money on textbooks for the classes. McLaughlin said a light bulb went off and she started thinking about different ways students could better succeed in the classroom.
Hubbard said once McLaughlin brought a camera rental and buying program to him, he was 100 percent on board and ready to take the necessary steps to make the idea a reality.
McLaughlin said the “rent-to-buy” equipment program will be mandatory for journalism students. They will be required to start the program prior to their sophomore year in order to have the necessary camera equipment on the first day of their first broadcasting class — Video News Production. The equipment includes a camera, microphone, tripod, memory card and a warranty for all of the equipment.
“The great thing about this program is that there are no strings attached,” said McLaughlin. “You can drop out, return the equipment and not pay a fee. If you are in the program for the entire time, at the end of your journalism classes, you will own the equipment.”

The packages range from $40 a month to $90 a month depending on the type of camera the student chooses. Hubbard says he recommends the camera that only costs $40 a month.
“The cheapest package is the best deal,” said Hubbard. “The camera gets you really good image quality, and it is cross compatible. It shoots great still images and great video, so students could use it for more than just broadcasting classes.”

The quality of the cameras is something McLaughlin believes is another advantage. She says being able to shoot still images would be perfect for students who need a camera for other communications classes, such as Copy Editing and Design.
Hubbard and McLaughlin, the two communications professors who focus on broadcast journalism, agree that the positives of the new program far outweigh the negatives that might come with the change.
The School of Communication will be saving between $6,000 to $10,000 every year on cameras and equipment they will no longer have to purchase.
“Right now, there isn’t a camera kit for everyone,” said McLaughlin. “If a student has an interview set up and they go to check out equipment and all of the cameras are gone, they cannot complete their assignment.”

Because professors can only do so much, the biggest gain of all lies within the students’ interest. Hubbard says he is always willing to help motivated students with out-of-class tips or advanced classes to further their career goals.
“I’ve been known to create special classes with independent studies for interested students,” says Hubbard.
McLaughlin also believes the opportunities are endless with this new program. She says the first thing on her to-do list is to inform all of the local news stations about the program, which would give students the opportunity to freelance and be stringers for the different news outlets.
“Local stations will hire students to shoot footage for them, but the catch is that you have to have your own equipment,” said McLaughlin. “With this new program, that wouldn’t be a problem.”


With a small investment from ECU’s future journalism students comes a major improvement to the program that is currently in place. And, with this new plan, tomorrow’s achievements can start today.


SOC Welcomed Alumna Kristen Hunter as Fall 2014 Commencement Speaker

From television news to police work, this past fall’s commencement speaker’s career illustrates the wide variety of positions available to communication graduates.

An East Carolina University alum, Kristen Hunter has lived and worked in Greenville for approximately eight years. She graduated with honors from the School of Communication in 2010 and has worked in the communications field ever since. Currently, Hunter serves as the Public Information Officer for the Greenville, NC Police Department – a position she has held since December of 2013.<spanmargin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal”=””><spanmargin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal”=””><span; “=””> She received the opportunity to move in front of the camera in 2011, when she was hired to work as a reporter and anchor for WNCT-TV in Greenville, NC.  During her time at WNCT, Hunter covered a wide variety of issues ranging from an active shooter situation to ongoing cancer drug shortages within local hospitals. Some of her most memorable experiences include reporting from the frontlines of several major hurricanes along the eastern North Carolina coast. Hunter’s work has earned her four Associated Press awards.

Whether she’s on camera or coordinating coverage for the Greenville Police Department, Hunter will always have a place in her heart for ECU. “Many people refer to East Carolina University as ‘Pirate Nation’.” That title couldn’t be more appropriate. Long after exams are over and the scoreboard at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium fades, the pride you have in your university will remain,” Hunter said.

According to Hunter, the communication field is fast paced and cut-throat at times, but she points out, there are always opportunities for those who have a true passion for their work and a will to succeed. While Hunter has often been on camera both as a television news anchor and in her current position, she has found that her interaction with people in the community is the most rewarding. “The smallest things are often the most rewarding — sharing a hug with the mother of a murder victim after you announce detectives have solved the case or a note from an 8-year-old describing the tour you gave them as the ‘greatest day of their life’. Knowing you have impacted one person’s life for the better, no matter how small, makes everything worth it,” Hunter emphasized.

SOC Director Chosen for “Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award”

The National Communication Association (NCA) Health Communication Division’s Awards Committees has chosen ECU School of Communication Director Linda Kean as the recipient of the 2014 “NCA Health Communication Division’s Outstanding Scholar Award.”  This award is one of the highest academic honors among the distinguished members of this organization.

Dr. Kean’s research focuses on health communication with an emphasis on the mass media. One facet of her research is designing and evaluating mass media campaigns that promote the adoption of positive health behaviors. Dr. Kean is also interested in how advertising and entertainment media messages influence individuals’ perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors regarding health topics. Her work has been published in a variety of academic journals including, Communication Research, Health Communication, Media Psychology, Journal of Health Communication and Women & Language.

The National Communication Association is an internationally recognized communication scholarship organization with thousands of members across every state. This year, the NCA will celebrate its founding in 1914 with a Centennial celebration. Dr. Kean will accept the award in Chicago in late November at the NCA’s annual meeting.

Alumnus who travels the globe for reality TV returns to School of Communication to address spring graduates at recognition ceremony

By Kent Pittman

Growing up, Jordan J. Mallari was the kid behind the camera. Now he’s the man calling the shots in the world of television as the vice president of development at Stage 3 Productions in Philadelphia.

Mallari has produced more than 17 shows including “The Apprentice,” “BBQ Pittmasters” and “Duel Survivor.” Such productions take him to some interesting places.

“One amazing thing is, I get to step into worlds I would never be a part of,” he said.

One world Mallari hasn’t been a part of since his graduation in 2000 is ECU. But he returned this past Spring to address School of Communication graduates 2014 Spring Graduate Recognition Ceremony.

Growing up, Mallari’s father owned one of the first home video cameras and young Jordan showed an interest in video early on. Fast-forward to present day and Mallari’s interest hasn’t waned. Now he’s behind the scenes bringing inside stories to millions.

CommCrew Spring Celebration Week culminates with annual reception

CommCrew annual reception

Following a week of activities and events organized to support the School of Communication and connect alumni and friends with current students and faculty, CommCrew held its eighth annual spring reception Saturday night, April 5, at the Greenville Museum of Art.

At the event, Jamie Lynn Sigler ’01 (far left in photo) was presented with the School’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award. (See related story below.) With Sigler are: Bill Johnson ’91, executive vice president, Sports Trust Advisors, and the keynote speaker for the evening; Linda Kean, director, School of Communication; and, C.J. Wilson, a former Pirate and client of Johnson, currently with the Oakland Raiders.

One of the highlights of the week was a “speed networking” event where communication students had the opportunity to go four 15-minute rounds in small groups with a panel of distinguished alumni. Panelists were: John Cooper ’89, NBC Universal, NBC News Channel producer, Charlotte; Jamie Lynn Sigler ’01 founding partner, J Public Relations, San Diego; Michael Aho ’02, political officer, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C./New York City; and, Olivia Collier ’02 ’04, ARC program manager at N.C. Department of Commerce.

Student’s goals and determination net internship with Charlotte Bobcats

Madison Briner with Michael Jordan

By Amber Brandau

Sports fanatic and School of Communication student, Madison Briner, initially had a stressful and frustrating experience getting an internship for Fall 2013 until she came across an open position with the Charlotte Bobcats.

“I remember last summer I spent hours and hours applying to internships across the country,” Briner said. “I went on multiple interviews, but no offers. It was incredibly frustrating.”

Briner’s perseverance and self-awareness eventually paid off when she became the Event Presentation intern for the Charlotte Bobcats. She applied for the internship after reasoning that the position fit her active and social personality.

“Each day there was something new and exciting to experience,” Briner said. “You can market and plan all you want, but what happens in the game is uncontrollable and unplanned, which I think is exciting.”

Not only did Briner leave her internship with invaluable hands-on experience, but she also left with advice from the senior vice president. Briner said she was blown away by his knowledge and willingness to help the interns.

“It was a lot of work, I met a lot of people, and I enjoyed every second of it,” she said. “I worked hard to get the internship, and I worked hard while I was there. It is important to dream big, but you have to do the little things to get there.”

(See a full Q&A profile of Madison Briner’s internship experience, written by School of Communication intern Amber Brandau.)

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