Alumni Newsletter, February 2017

Feature Story  ♦  Faculty Profile  ♦  Student Profile

The Department of Communication Launches the Multimedia News Concentration

By Dr. Ginny Whitehouse

Breanna Johnson and Chris Calhoun videotapingThe Department of Communication is launching the Multimedia News Concentration as part of the Broadcast and Electronic Media degree program and anticipates growth in its majors.

This concentration will offer students the opportunity to develop skills needed to succeed in media careers across information platforms: from television to Internet programming, from radio and podcasts to print magazines, from journalism in legacy media to new forms not yet conceived in the rapidly changing media marketplace.

"We could not be more excited about this new concentration, because we will have the only fully converged broadcast news program in Kentucky," said Dr. Pam Parry, department chair. "Just the lead up to rolling out the program has energized the department -- faculty are excited and we are gaining majors."

The concentration will help our graduates be well-versed in newsgathering and reporting technology while gaining crucial knowledge and critical thinking roots needed to be legally astute and ethically sound multimedia journalists.

"The Multimedia News Concentration merges the Journalism major with the BEM Broadcast News Concentration to create a dynamic program empowering graduates to tell the stories of their communities," said Ginny Whitehouse, Journalism area coordinator.

In addition to existing classes in video production and other Communication classes, the Multimedia News Concentration will include new courses:

Information Gathering: Students will learn how to access government records, conduct interviews, and analyze web-based sources to research vital issues.

Introduction to Media Writing: Students will build writing skills for all types of media, including television, radio, podcasts, Internet news sites, newspapers, magazines, and social media.

Multimedia Newswriting: Students will produce converged news stories combining online text, audio, and video. They will learn advanced interview and newswriting strategies.

Storytelling & Feature Writing: Students will create stories for multimedia platforms that blend journalism and art. They will explore the dual nature of interactive features, including written forms and podcasting, based on facts but with the voice of a novel.

Digital Publishing Design: Students will gain skills in digital image toning and compositing, masking, digital layout, color theory, and preproduction.

Multimedia Field Production: Students will apply their cumulative skills to design and produce semester-long, individual or team multimedia projects that will engage news consumers in carefully assembled amalgamation of text, audio, video, photos, interactive graphics.

Web Design & Development: An introduction to website design using standards-based HTML and CSS. Students will learn organizing web content, web hosting, the languages of HTML and CSS, digital image preparation and deployment, browser development tools, Javascript libraries (JQuery), and best practices for coding and deploying multimedia online.

Faculty Profile: Dr. Richard Crosby, School of Music

Dr. Richard CrosbyDr. Richard Crosby joined the EKU Department of Music (now School of Music) faculty in 1986.  In his thirty years of teaching at EKU, Dr. Crosby has taught private piano, music history, group piano classes, and has, in recent years, directed much of his creative efforts toward composing music.  He remains extremely active in the Phi Mu Alpha music fraternity, and is a former national president of this service organization.  He received EKU’s prestigious Foundation Professor award in 2014.

His most cherished activities related to teaching are seeing his students perform well on concerts and, upon graduating, going on to successful careers, graduate studies, and lives.  Current students and alumni have enjoyed Dr. Crosby’s individual concern, good humor, and career guidance: that he remains one of the School of Music’s most beloved faculty members is a testament to his devotion to the students.  Sometimes, his devotion can be directed through “tough love” when needed.  He recalls an extremely talented student who was obviously not giving serious attention to his studies.   As Richard lessened his attention to the student, it seemed to upset the young man.  He burst into his office one day, asking why Dr. Crosby was focusing less on him.  He replied: “You want to be a teacher, correct?”  The student replied that he did.  “Is this the kind of work you would expect from your students?”  The student pondered a moment and replied that he supposed he wouldn’t.  Dr. Crosby then proceeded to remind him how talented he was and that he needed to change some things if he was to be successful, and if it took Dr. Crosby being the one to kick his backside to get him to focus on excellence then he would gladly do it.  The student did turn things around and is now a successful band teacher in the state.  Every time he sees Dr. Crosby, he envelops him an enormous bear hug. 

            In a recent creative highlight, Richard was asked to compose the entire musical score for The Essential Eastern, a new documentary focusing on the history of EKU and each university president since the school’s founding.  This project provided a pleasant challenge, as Dr. Crosby’s love and affinity for EKU comes not only from his 30 years here, but also the family-like atmosphere that exists in the School of Music and the University’s emphasis on teaching.  As he contemplated writing music for a film spanning well over 130 years, he developed a more acute interest in the entire history of Eastern.  He sought to write music that captured the spirit of the past, but would also pass on his love for EKU to future generations that might view the documentary.  In the biggest creative project of his career, Richard wrote music capturing the various moods and historical styles for full symphony, solo piano, guitar, cello, flute, and other ensembles, drawing from the performing talents of EKU School of Music faculty and students.  (Link to film:

In spite of the challenges EKU has faced and continues to face, Richard Crosby maintains his passion for Eastern and optimism for its future.  He has given much of his life and energy to educating the many hundred of students that enrolled in his courses over the years.  If you are an EKU music alumnus, you most likely have a favorite “Crosby memory.” 

PUB Student Ms. Knoebel Goes To Washington

By Jim Gleason

Rachel KnoebelAs the saying goes, “timing is everything.”

By any standard, an internship in the nation’s capital would be an eye-opening experience for a typical college student. But this semester, the timing is especially right, according to Rachel Knoebel.

Knoebel, a junior Public Relations major at EKU, is spending the Spring 2017 semester in Washington, D.C., as a student intern in the office of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. It’s an especially exciting time, she says, because of her up-close chance to observe the transition between two presidential administrations and the shift in party leadership in Congress.

“I never imagined having the opportunity to be in the heart of our country while so much history was being made,” Knoebel says. As it turns out, she didn’t have much time to get acclimated. During her very first week, she sat in on the confirmation hearing of Rex Tillerson as the Secretary of State nominee was questioned by Senator Paul. In addition, she received tickets to watch the Presidential Inauguration, helped volunteer at the Kentucky Bluegrass Ball (where she “was in the same room with some of the most influential Kentuckians”), and was present when Senator Paul was interviewed by CNN. Heady stuff, indeed.

As internships go, Kneobel has found this one takes some stamina. “Each day I help manage the front office area where I cater to Kentuckians' needs and inquiries,” she explains. These activities can cover a wide range, including phone calls, letters, visits and capitol tours.

“The pace is pretty fast, and the work plays an important role in the Senator’s office operations,” she continues. “Each morning I help the press team condense and coordinate daily media of Senator Paul. I have also prepared notes for Legislative Assistants from various hearings and committee meetings.”

According to her faculty adviser, Dr. Jim Gleason, Knoebel is well-suited for these sorts of tasks and projects. “Rachel is very focused and detail-oriented, so this internship is a good match,” he says. “In addition, she has a real interest in the political process, so this puts her right in the middle of the action.” It’s worth noting that she was also accepted this semester for an internship position in Senator Mitch McConnell’s Washington office. “That recognition certainly speaks to Rachel’s qualifications for this kind of high-level internship,” Dr. Gleason adds. “It’s quite an honor, and well deserved.”Rachel Knoebel stands outside the gates of the White House

Knoebel isn’t the first student from the department to earn an internship on Capitol Hill. PUB graduate, Sarah Rowlette, interned for Senator Mitch McConnell in the summer before her graduation in December 2013, according to Dr. Kathy Previs, associate professor of public relations. Indeed, the Department of Communication has been fortunate in the past few years to place several students in these sorts of high-level internships, according to department chair Dr. Pam Parry. “In fact, one of our recent graduates, Kiersten Richardson, also earned a similar internship in Senator Paul’s office in 2015,” she says. “She was very helpful to Rachel in the application process, and provided a great example of the importance of networking within our profession.”

There’s been plenty to see so far, and the semester-long internship isn’t even half completed. “Every day there is something different happening on the Hill, and it is all so eye-opening,” Knoebel says. “In just the short time I’ve been in Washington, I have learned so much and have seen some incredible things.”

She adds, “Each day is a new learning experience, and I am incredibly blessed for this opportunity.”