Guest Speakers Enhance Department’s Curriculum
Journalism | October 20, 2010
Media technology is quickly changing. As a result, students and faculty are hungry for the latest information about professional trends and careers. That hunger is being satisfied this fall with guest speakers on a scale perhaps never experienced before. More than 40 professionals visited campus in the first eight weeks of the semester, with more scheduled in the weeks to come. Many came for the CSU Media Festival and most are alumni of the Department. Others visited campus with funding from the Geoff Holmes Technology fund, or as part of the new Beverly Kees Memorial Professionals-in-Residence Program. The the rest have visited individual classes at the request of faculty who want specialists to share experiences with students.
Gary McCormick, ’77, speaks to a public relations class during a September visit to campus.
The level of participation by alumni and professionals indicates a high level of investment in helping the department to stay ahead of trends in careers. Alumni have traveled to campus from London, New York City, Seattle, Greater Los Angeles, Memphis, Greater San Francisco, Phoenix, and across Colorado.
The Department is grateful for this tremendous level of support, especially at a time when faculty are adjusting the curriculum to meet challenges posed by what many are calling a renaissance in communication practices.
The list below includes speakers who visited campus in August, September and October.
Izzy Abbass, ’90, has 18-plus years of experience in wireless, internet and television communication. As a partner at Enki Strategic Advisors, he served as interim COO of Get Lisa and developed wireless strategies for brands including Playboy Entertainment. He also was North American president for U- Turn Media Group.
Dave Althouse, ’04, is a former student manager of Campus Television. He began his career as a television photojournalist at WPEC-TV, in Palm Beach, Fla., where he was named employee of the year while chasing hurricanes. Dave returned to KDVR-TV in Denver.
Randy Bangert is the long-time editor of the Greeley Tribune, and is and an active member of the Colorado Press Association’s university visit program.
Kristen Browning-Blas, ‘85, was entertainment editor at the Rocky Mountain Collegian and president of the student chapter of SPJ. She worked for The New York Times, Denver Magazine, the Kane County Chronicle and Business News Americas. She was Denver Post food editor for seven years, and is now a staff writer and editor of the Post’s fitness section.
Jim Benemann, ’78, is one of CSU’s most famous alumni, and a fierce supporter of the Green and Gold – earning virtually every award available for dedication to his alma mater. Jim’s career has taken him to Iowa, Washington, DC, and Portland. He anchored at KUSA-TV before moving to KCNC-TV, where he currently serves as primary anchor.
Samantha (Anderson) Briggs, ’05, began her television reporting and anchoring career at KREX-TV in Grand Junction, then moved up to KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs.
John Calderazzo teaches nonfiction writing at CSU. His most recent book is Rising Fire: Volcanoes and Our Inner Lives. Winner of a Best CSU Teacher award, he and his English Department colleague, Sue Ellen Campbell, direct Changing Climates @ CSU, an innovative multi-disciplinary outreach and education climate change program.
Sue Ellen Campbell teaches nonfiction and environmental literature and writing at CSU. Her next book, The Face of the Earth: Natural Landscapes, Science, and Culture, will be published next summer by the University of California Press.
Larry Chapman is owner of Fort Collins Video Productions, a local company specializing in client-based video production.
Michele Crockett, ’09, is editorial strategy director for Penton Media’s IT and developer markets. She over- sees content for print magazines, Web sites, email newsletters, and custom media projects. She’s working to grow the company’s monthly Web users – already at 2.7 million.
Charles D’Agata, ’90, is a CBS News Correspondent based in London. D’Agata is well known for his coverage of the war in Iraq.
Gabriel Dance, ’04, is a former Rocky Mountain Collegian writer and now is senior multimedia producer for the New York Times.
Jenna Friederich, ’06, landed her first job at High Noon Entertainment, based in Centennial. In the four years she has been at High Noon, she has worked on a total of nine program series. She currently is associate producer for Home and Garden TV’s “Bang For Your Buck.”
Carmen Ruyle Hardy, ’99, and a fellow magazine-fanatic friend created the magazine Journey in 2006 to provide Fort Collins with a first-class publication celebrating the stories of everyday, local women. Journey was bi-monthly, 24-48 pages and full-color with a distribution of 7,500-10,000. Carmen is a freelance graphic designer living in Fort Collins.
Carmen Ruyle Hardy, ’99, left, and Andrea Sowell, ’98, discussing publication careers at the CSU Media Festival.
Aimee Heckel, ’01, is a reporter for the Boulder Daily Camera. Heckel has worked almost every news beat in Boulder. She also was the editor of Women’s Magazine, and now is dabbling as an author and ghostwriter on several book projects.
Dianna Hemphill, ’04, began her career as a broadcast journalist. After a couple of years as a reporter in local television, she joined the ranks at Peter Webb Public Relations in Denver, where she honed her PR skills before moving to her current position as Communications Manager for the Mountain Region of the American Cancer Society.
Steve Jackson, ‘79, started in journalism at CSU and went on to write for newspapers and the wire service with Gannett for nearly 20 years, and with Westword in Denver. Since 2001, he has been a full time author of non-fiction and fiction books with 16 published titles, including several that have landed on the New York Times best-seller list.
Samantha Johnston, ’98, is the new executive director of the Colorado Press Association. She joined the CPA after working in advertising for the Craig Daily Press and the Steamboat Pilot and Today. She most recently worked as chief of organizational excellence for Memorial Hospital in Craig.
Brian Jones teaches undergraduate classes and supervises the teaching laboratories in the Physics Department. He also is the Director of the Little Shop of Physics, a hands-on science outreach program. Brian’s creative work centers on techniques to make science education at all levels more effective and more engaging.
Clay Lambert, ’86, is editorial director of Wick Communications, a chain of 35 newspapers from Alaska to North Carolina. He also serves as managing editor of the Half Moon Bay Review, an award winning weekly. Lambert is a former Editor-in-Chief of the Rocky Mountain Collegian and continues his education with courses at UC Berkeley.
Dan Lehan, ’07, left CSU for a job at High Noon Entertainment in Centennial. He started as a production assistant for Home and Garden TV’s “My First Place.” After a year he became a post-production coordinator, and now serves as line producer for “My First Sale.”
Gary McCormick, 77, is the current CEO of the Public Relations Society of America. He also is director of partnership development for Scripps Networks’ Home and Garden Television Network.
Grant Meech, ’08, known to his friends simply as “Meech,” began his career as a one-man band sports reporter in Salina, Kan., but quickly moved up to KWCH-TV in Wichita, where he reports and anchors sports. While in Salina he had only one red gel in his light kit, and used it every chance he could get.
Joe Miller, ’78, is a former editor of the Rocky Mountain Collegian with a newspaper career featuring stops in Denver, Dallas and North Carolina. Miller now writes a sponsored blog featuring outdoor activities in North Carolina. He also is the author of two books.
Joe Miller, ’78, discusses his North Carolina-based fitness blog with students in a capstone course.
Tom Milligan is Vice President of External Relations for Colorado State University. He is a former newspaper reporter who transitioned into media relations work at CSU in 1992. Since his first stint on campus, Tom has directed communications efforts for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Milligan returned to CSU in the summer of 2010.
Bob Moore is editor of the Fort Collins Coloradoan and an active member of the Colorado Press Association’s university visit program.
Steve Nowland, ’00, developed an early passion for photography, and loves the power of a still image. He got his first taste of that passion while on staff at the Rocky Mountain Collegian, and has never looked back. Nowland’s other passion is travel, and photography has been a catalyst to help him explore the world.
Gary Ozzello, ’78, was an intern for the sports information office at CSU while a journalism student, and then refused to leave when he finished school. Gary is the long time sports information director and current senior associate athletics director.
Tyffani Peters, ’90, specializes in public relations for the food, wine and lifestyle industries. She is based in northern California and owns Media Monger Communications. She also works as a media relations contact for The Culinary Institute of America. Peters began her career as a television news reporter, anchor, and producer at network affiliates in three states.
David Persons is the owner and editor of the Windsor Beacon and a member of the Colorado Press Association’s university visit team.
Jessica (Clark) Roe, ’96, spent her last two years at CSU working full time at KMGH-TV, later doing time in TV News in Albuquerque, San Francisco and at KUSA-TV in Denver. After winning four Emmys, Roe shifted priorities in 2007 to spend more time with her two kids. She now works in PR, marketing, and corporate communications.
Stephanie Ross, ’05, graduated with majors in Journalism and Speech Communication. She worked for four years as a general assignment television reporter before moving to High Noon Entertainment in Centennial last September. She is a story manager on Home and Garden Television’s “My First Sale.”
Matt Ruggles, ‘95, began his career in television news and earned Colorado and Utah Broadcasters Association awards for his work as a television photojournalist and assignment editor. He now is video production manager for Adams 12 Five Star Schools, and has earned awards from the Colorado and National School Public Relations Association – including a Golden Achievement Award from NSPRA.
Reed Saunders, ’03, is the voice of Coors Field. He started as an announcer for softball and volleyball events while at CSU. In 2007, the Colorado Rockies entertained 250 candidates for their open position. Saunders survived an online contest with thousands of fan voters, and then earned the job in head-to- head competition with several other finalists. He also has announced for the Colorado Eagles.
Susie Scott is co-owner and “producer, writer, juggler and firefighter” at i25productions, based in Castle Rock. She just completed several new series of spots for Perkins and Red Robin restaurants. She also is producing a retrospective of country artist Jimmy Wayne’s 1,700-mile walk from Nashville to Phoenix.
Sara Shepard, ’02, is an editor of reality television programs. She started her career with the original Extreme Makeover program, and has help to producer more than a dozen reality television series since then.
Todd Shimoda, B.A., ’77, M.S., 91, left a CSU professorship for the romantic life of a novelist. He has completed three books: Oh! A Mystery of ‘Mono no Aware’; The Fourth Treasure; and 365 Views of Mt. Fuji - which have been translated into six languages. His next novel, Why Ghosts Appear, a post- modern hard-boiled detective novel set in Japan, will be published late 2011. He likes to say he is an accomplished stand up paddle surfer
Fred Shook is a retired Colorado State journalism professor who is known as a “television doctor”. His experience encompasses television reporting, writing, production, television news photography, video editing and production. He has worked internationally as a television writer, producer and news consultant. He has finished four television writing and field production textbooks, as well as three children’s books.
Lindsay (Traylor) Simpson, ’10, earned degrees in Journalism and Wildlife Biology. She currently works as a video producer for the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission. While a student, Simpson traveled the country producing educational videos about geography, went to Kenya twice to produce documentaries and was a primary contributor to production of Brian Jones’ Little Shop of Physics program.
Andrea Sowell, ’98, worked in film and television after graduation, then in 2003 she started a Denver- based photography and social group called The Photo Martini Club. The club has hundreds of members, all of who can be published in Sowell’s ultra-hip Shot! Magazine.
Jeff Stahla, ’92, is city editor of the Loveland Reporter-Herald and a member of the Colorado Press Association’s university visit team.
Jonathan Jerry Stone, ’02, is a former Campus Television student manager who started his career in Wichita, Kansas, producing news for KAKE-TV. After 2 1⁄2 years in Kansas, Jon became the 9 p.m. producer at KDVR FOX 31 in Denver. He was promoted to executive producer of the evening newscasts in 2007.
Jennifer Strachan, ‘93, is the Assistant General Manager/Director of Public Media for KPLU Public Radio in Seattle, Washington. Before making the leap to radio and new media management in 2008, Strachan spent 17 years in television where she was an Emmy Award winning Executive Producer.
Pauletta Tonilas, ‘85, is the Denver Regional Transportation District’s Public Information Manager for the FasTracks transit expansion program. Pauletta oversees communications, public outreach and media relations for FasTracks. She also has been Public Information Officer for the City of Englewood, and before that worked nine years as a television news anchor and reporter.
Cory Jo Vasquez, ’02, is Senior Public Relations Manager for RE/MAX, LLC, in Denver. She manages public relations and social media strategies for the international franchise company while traveling to train and give presentations. She also appears on an agent-centric video program and is active with RE/ MAX charities.
Mike Watson, ’00, is a seven-time Emmy award winning photojournalist and producer. He has worked at numerous television stations and also currently works independently for clients including Macy’s, Disney, the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.
David Westin is a freelance photojournalist and video producer based in Denver. Westin has worked for all of the major broadcast networks, many cable networks and numerous corporate clients.