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
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
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
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.
The complete op-ed that ran in The State is at: http://www.sc.edu/cmcis/news/column/rhetoric.html
Alumna is one of the 2011 Faces of Y’ALL
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 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
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
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
Alumna Aida Rogers Wins Green Eyeshade Award
Aida 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
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
Rogers is the visitor and information
director for the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce.
J-school Alumnus Joins List of “100 Most Influential
Walter Sprouse, ’73 journalism major, was named to the
2011 list of Georgia Trend magazine’s “100 Most
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.
two terms on the USC Alumni Association’s Board of Governors
and currently serves on the USC Alumni Academy as an active
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
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 email@example.com
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 - firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.”
Dr. 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.”