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From the Dean

The Media and the Madness

It’s already several weeks since shots rang out in Tucson. Notice how easily that cliché rolls off our fingertips and tongues. In a world of lingering wars, IEDs and combat by drones, we risk becoming inured to the human toll. Then it strikes closer to home. Outside a Tucson market, at Fort Hood in Texas, on the campus of Virginia Tech, in an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania. We’re post-postal.

We know the perpetrators must be angry, deranged, suicidal or have some combination of maladies that make them social misfits and worse. But most of us are still relieved that these anguishing acts do not involve us. Or do they?

The Tucson tragedy made us think about the connections between the media and the madness. The quality of rhetoric, the incivility of politics and punditry, the vitriol of the airwaves all came into question. Wrestling with this cause-and-effect proposition, I wrote an op-ed for The State newspaper here in Columbia.

Let's not hang this anguishing attack in Tucson on Palin or any politician or, for that matter, any nattering media person. None placed the gun in Loughner's hand. And none can judge how the thought came to his head, certainly not through his rambling about government "mind control...by controlling grammar."

Language matters in democratic society. Totalitarians can get away with outrageous doublespeak. In the media, we often describe campaigns as battles, candidates as combatants, speeches as salvoes, at least when we're not using sporting analogies which are equally combative. Politicians do much the same. Political free speech is given extraordinary deference by the courts.

That constitutional strength bears the weight of great individual and collective responsibility for tolerance and respect. That is a public responsibility. But the Fourth Estate, as the eyes, ears and, sometimes, mouth of the public has a disproportionate share to heft.

For a moment, a day, a blink in time, the chatterati were subdued. They focused on the innocence of a 9-year-old victim, the courage of a congressional aide, the tenacity of a wounded congresswoman.

In the hectic pace of moment-to-moment journalism and its talk-talk sidekick, we recognized, I trust, how challenging it is to distinguish among truth, facts, innuendo and accusation. It’s a useful lesson in and out of the classroom.

Bierbauer signature

The complete op-ed that ran in The State is at: http://www.sc.edu/cmcis/news/column/rhetoric.html



Alumni News

Alumna is one of the 2011 Faces of Y’ALL

Hilary Dyer

J-school alumna Hilary Dyer, ’08, visual communications major, is one of the new Faces of Y’ALL. Dyer was selected by alumni from across the nation and will represent all of USC’s 38,000 graduates of the last decade at Carolina events, by participating in the Young Alumni Advancement Council, appearing in publications, and serving as the official spokesperson for the University's largest demographic. Dyer is the coordinator for High-Ability Admissions at USC. She travels the nation explaining the many educational opportunities for students considering a Carolina education. Students she visits are Honors College-bound and widely dispersed, requiring regular travel to greet them.
Read more: http://www.sc.edu/news/newsarticle.php?nid=1500

J-school Alumnus Featured in USA Today

Brad Popiolek. ‘07 public relations major, is a web coordinator and academic advisor at the University of Texas and has conversations daily with students about the same kinds of challenges he faced as a college student. Popiolek helps students with many of these challenges such as choosing a major, finding an enjoyable career and learning how to succeed as a student. His article, “Millennial Advisor—Thoughts on choosing a Major,” recently appeared in the USA Today College edition.
Read more: http://www.usatodayeducate.com/staging/index.php/blog/millennial-advisor-thoughts-on-choosing-a-major

SLIS Alumnus Participated in LISSA Colloquium

Todd StephensTodd Stephens, ’00, shared his plans for keeping the Spartanburg Public Library as a central focus for funding at the LISSA colloquium last week.

As the director of the Spartanburg Public Library System, Stephens has been collecting the cultural history of the community, systematically and in every format, in an effort to demonstrate the library’s role in the community.

Dr. Hastings said his talk was, “very inspiring and great evidence that libraries are vital parts of our lives.”

Entertainment Weekly Names J-school Alumnus Publisher

Jason WagenheimJason Wagenheim, ’95 advertising and public relations major, is the new publisher of Entertainment Weekly.

Most recently, Wagenheim served as associate publisher of Vanity Fair, where he and his sales and marketing team developed integrated special event, web and mobile programs for a variety of advertisers. Before joining Vanity Fair, he served as executive director of the Conde Nast Media Group. He has also been associate publisher of both Conde Nast Traveler and Blender Magazine.

Wagenheim has hosted students during the school’s Maymester New York class.

Alumna Aida Rogers Wins Green Eyeshade Award  

Aida RogersAida Rogers, ’83, broadcast journalism major, was recently awarded second place for feature writing in the print non-daily category. Her article, “The Tie That Binds,” appeared in the winter 2009-10 issue of Sandlapper, The Magazine of South Carolina.

Given by the Society of Professional Journalists, this award honors the best in professional journalism in print, photography, television, radio and online categories in 11 southeastern states.

Rogers is the visitor and information director for the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce.

J-school Alumnus Joins List of “100 Most Influential Georgians”

Walter Sprouse, ’73 journalism major, was named to the 2011 list of Georgia Trend magazine’s “100 Most Influential Georgians.”

Sprouse has been executive director of the Augusta Economic Development Authority in Augusta, Ga. since 2003. During that time, the Augusta Economic Development Authority has recruited more than $800 million in new investment for Augusta, along with more than 14,000 new jobs.

He served two terms on the USC Alumni Association’s Board of Governors and currently serves on the USC Alumni Academy as an active member.  

College News

Super Ad Poll Needs Your Vote Feb. 6

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications invites you to participate in our 8th annual Super Ad Poll on Sunday, February 6. Immediately following the game, please take a few minutes to click on the following link to vote for the best Super Bowl commercial. The ad team that creates the winning commercial will be invited to the USC campus to receive the coveted Cocky Award. Be sure to spread the word to your family and friends!
Vote at - http://www.jour.sc.edu/superadpoll/index.html

SLIS Students Presented Posters at ALISE

Five SLIS doctoral students presented posters for the Works-in-Progress session at the Association of Library and Information Science Education conference in San Diego on
January 4-7. The students are Christine Angel, Chris Cunningham, Robin Kurz, Barbara Montgomery and Patrick Roughen. Clayton Copeland also presented a paper.

Mayor Benjamin Selects Two CMCIS Students

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin chose 10 area college students for his spring 2011 Mayor’s Fellowship internship program. Jonathan Battaglia of Chantilly, Va. is a third-year print journalism student and Joshlyn Thomas of Columbia is a first-year public relations student. The students will assist the City of Columbia, the mayor and his staff in formulating policy, conducting research and finding best practices. The Fellows will also have a monthly lunch with the mayor and other notable state and local public figures. Mayor Benjamin started the Mayor’s Fellows program in 2010 to engage university students in the political process by assisting with day-to-day business at City Hall.
Read more: http://www.midlandsbiz.com/articles/7089

Dancing with Dean Bierbauer

The latest season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" has nothing on USC’s Dancing with the Deans. Dean Bierbauer and Susan Kuo, School of Law associate professor, danced the fox trot in the university’s Family Fund celebration in December. The event is sponsored by the Family Fund, USC’s annual faculty/staff giving campaign. Nine talented deans and their dance partners took the floor of the Russell House ballroom dance floor performing routines ranging from the cha cha to salsa to disco.

Participating couples were coached by dance department faculty and instructors from Vista Ballroom. Watch a video, courtesy of SJMC student Laura Kuhen and Carolina News: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPzlr0EDc4g

Volunteers Wanted: Cocky’s Reading Express

Cocky’s Reading Express, our statewide literacy initiative, is rollin’ down the roads of South Carolina, reading to the children and working to eliminate illiteracy. If you want to volunteer, please contact Ellen Hinrichs at ellenh@sc.edu  

Upcoming Events

Mentor Match Night
February 10, 6 – 8 p.m.
Russell House Ballroom

Our College’s Alumni Society invites you to join its Mentor Program. If you are interested in mentoring a student, plan to attend our mentor match night. The event format will model speed dating where alumni and students will rotate every few minutes until everyone has had a chance to meet and talk. It’s a fun way to network and meet all of the participants. At the end of the event, participants will rate their top choices. Then, we’ll pair all students and mentors.  
Don’t worry if you cannot attend; you can still participate in the program.  
To sign up, RSVP to Chrysti Shain - chrysti.shain@gmail.com.


Bread and Roses: Service in hightop sneakers

By Ashley E. Hotham, SJMC graduate student

Dr. Patricia Feehan, an associate professor in the School of Library and Information Science, says she tells people her middle initial, E, stands for “enthusiasm.” She not only serves the university but also has contributed thousands of hours toward elevating the perception of library science. “You think you’re going to be depleted, but you never are,” Dr. Feehan says. “You’re going be tired, but it’ll be a good kind of tired, the kind that’ll make you want to come back the next day.”

Pat FeehanDr. Feehan says public libraries are among the most important community agencies in terms of both “bread and roses.” The bread is the information you need to live a good life and the roses, she explains, are the music, art, culture and literature – “all the things that feed your soul.” Dr. Feehan’s mission is to elevate the importance of service. She said she would like people to “stop and take a minute to celebrate the good service that we’ve done.”

She emphasizes the importance of service within her profession, which she teaches to all her students. She has helped initiate and support literacy programs such as Turning Pages, Cocky’s Reading Express and Rolling Readers of the Midlands.

Entering Dr. Feehan’s office is like walking into a children’s library. Visitors are welcomed by an array of colorful books, toys and dolls — and numerous pairs of red high-top Converse shoes — perched across bookshelves. Dr. Feehan explains the shoes serve as an icon in her Young Adult Literature class. And over the years, the number of shoes keeps growing as students continue to give them to her.

“Working with Pat is such a rewarding experience because her creativity and talent always bring a sweetness and light to any project, any problem,” Dr. Sam Hastings, SLIS director, says. “She loves our school, gives heart and soul to the university and we love her back!”

Dr. Feehan joined the SLIS faculty in 1991. She earned both her bachelor’s degree in English and Master of Library and Information Science from Western Michigan University. For the next 17 years, she worked primarily in public libraries until she earned her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina.

As Dr. Feehan reflects on her work, she smiles and says, “It’s been a good run. I have all these red shoes to prove it.”


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Give to USC


Alumni Awards Dinner

Annual Scholarship Luncheon

Dancing with the Deans

Gamecocks on the Green

Humpy Wheeler Book Signing



Spring SJMC Career Fair
March 18, 2011

Carolina Day at the Statehouse
March 30, 2011

SLIS Deans’ and Directors’ Lecture
April 7, 7 p.m.
Ernest Hollings Library Program Room
Dr. Michael Buckland, Professor Emeritus at Berkeley University
Open to the public.


A Time Capsule. Last seen in the Carolina Coliseum a few decades ago. If you have any information leading to the recovery of our time capsule, please contact Elaine Taylor (taylorem@mailbox.sc.edu)

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