Eau Claire Forensics team brings home hardware once again

By Trent Tetzlaff

As one of five graduating seniors on the UW-Eau Claire forensics team, Elijah Freeman will be missed.

Freeman helped lead his team to a 12th place finish at the National Forensics Association tournament, a 17th place finish at the American Forensics Association tournament and was selected to represent UW-Eau Claire and Wisconsin at the Interstate Oratory Contest last week. After four years on the team though,  Freeman’s participation as a competitor has come to an end.

The UW-Eau Claire Forensics team poses next to their trophy after the NFA tournament this season.
The UW-Eau Claire Forensics team poses next to their trophy after the NFA tournament this season.

More than anything that came with the competition, whether it was the trophies or the national recognition, Freeman said what he will miss the most is how tight-knit the team was.

“I will miss the camaraderie of the team and spending time with my teammates and my wonderful coaches Karen Morris and Kelly Jo Wright,” he said. “I think what I enjoyed the most was the people and all the memories and good times we shared.”

Freeman isn’t the only alumnus of the program that felt a close connection to the program after his time was over on the stage though.

Director of Forensics, Karen Morris said that a large number of alumni continue to support the program year after year because of what it did for them as people. She said these alumni travel with the team and even help students prepare for tournaments, working around their own busy schedules.

“We always have amazing alumni support and this year we took five of them with us to nationals,” she said. “They play a big part in helping build up the team and continue to work with the kids, every year it will be that way.”

This season, which was Morris’s 19th with the team saw a group that was extremely top-heavy with experience she said.

The team geared the season for the five seniors to be able to thrive, but realized by the end of year that they needed more than just those five to win state and do well at nationals.

“At state is when we had a big team meeting and that’s when I told them I needed three things from this team,” she said. “I needed three trophies, the championship trophy from state, I needed a trophy from AFA and I needed a trophy from NFA, and people stepped up and we brought back the trophies.”

Morris said she was satisfied with the team’s performance overall this season as they won their 32nd consecutive state championship and placed in the top 20 at both national tournaments.

The team will replace the five seniors with eight new freshmen, which Morris said is a really large incoming class for the program, meaning that next season will most likely be a rebuilding year.

In this year of rebuilding, Morris said the upperclassmen on the team will have to step up, including sophomore Sydney Tupy, to help guide the team to nationals once again, especially since Eau Claire will be the host of next year’s NFA tournament.

Freeman said he has no doubts that the winning legacy of Eau Claire forensics will continue far into the future because of the team’s deep history and strong coaching staff.

“I think the future of the team is bright because like I said, we have wonderful coaches who know their stuff,” he said. “They have been great at their jobs long before I came to Eau Claire and will continue that legacy long after I leave.”

Have any memories regarding the UW-Eau Claire forensics team? Feel free to drop a comment below.


Devroy Forum: Social media transforming journalism

By Trent Tetzlaff

Terence Samuel, Washington politics editor at the Washington Post spoke to a crowd in Schofield Auditorium Thursday night at the Ann Devroy Memorial Forum.
Terence Samuel, Washington politics editor at the Washington Post spoke to a crowd in Schofield Auditorium Thursday night at the Ann Devroy Memorial Forum.

Although Terence Samuel, the Washington politics editor at the Washington Post never had the opportunity to work with Ann Devroy, he said during his time with the Post he has learned more than enough about what kind of journalist she was.

A new generation of Washington Post editors and journalists may not have worked with University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire alum Ann Devroy, but they certainly feel her influence, the 2016 Devroy Forum speaker said.

“All these years later, to this day almost two decades after she’s left us she remains the standard that we try to live up too,” Washington Post Politics Editor Terence Samuel said.  “She is the example of how we are to conduct ourselves and how we honor the public trust that is serious journalism.”

Samuel spoke to a crowd full of community members, journalists, political scientists and students alike during the 19th annual Ann Devroy Memorial Forum in Schofield Auditorium Thursday night.

Samuel’s speech, titled “Responsible Reporting in a Social Media Age” covered everything from stories about Ann Devroy’s journalistic skills, to Twitter’s ties with political reporting and the importance of truth telling in journalism today.

One of the biggest changes in the world since Devroy’s time, Samuel said, is the internet. The internet, he said has completely revamped journalists lives and work. The Post staff no longer calls The Washington Post a newspaper, but a publication or media outlet, he said.

“I believe the internet is the future of journalism, and that future is now,” he said.

Samuel recalled being in the D.C. newsroom earlier this week celebrating a Pulitzer Prize in national reporting. That project consisted of a reported database containing information about every person killed in the US in 2015 by a law enforcement office.

Most of the leads for the cases came off of social media like Twitter, he said, and the reporting then followed.

“Social sharing was key to getting a lot of that reporting done,” he said. “Serious and social can exist, must exist and they do coexist.”

As the speech went on, Samuel began to explain how Devroy stressed the truth, or what he calls the core “journalistic mission.”

Whether the truth is delivered through traditional means, or through social media, Samuel said, it stands above all else.

Samuel said Devroy pushed as hard as she could to get to the truth and would accept nothing less. He said one of her former colleagues at the Post said she would push so hard for the truth while covering the White House because she knew she was only getting about 10 percent of what was actually going on within the confines.

“Of course if Ann was getting 10 percent, everyone else was getting closer to five because she was getting more than everybody else,” he said. “I also suspect that if she thought she was getting 10 it was probably closer to 15 or 20.”

Although Samuel’s speech and question and answer session took up a majority of the forum, sophomore journalism and geography major, Andee Erickson, also received recognition as she was announced as the 2016 Ann Devroy Fellow.

Erickson, who will complete an internship at the Post next winter break, said the experience with Samuel was one-of-a-kind and inspired her even more to keep working hard to improve her skills.

“It’s very motivating being in Ann Devroy’s shoes and other alumni shoes such as Courtney Kueppers,” she said. “I know I have things to work on such as information gathering which Ann Devroy was really good at, and it will be special to get to continue to work on that at the Post.”

Professor of Communication and Journalism Jan Larson said Erickson was someone that really stood out to the selection committee and has the skills to continue to get better as a journalist.

“Andee stood out as a Devroy applicant for her enthusiasm and committment to upholding the journalism standards Ann Devroy exemplified,” she said. “We look forward to seeing her grow as a journalist and to the contributions she’ll make with her involvement in student and local media.”

Larson said Erickson combining her knowledge of journalism and geography was something that the selection committee liked, especially if she is able to continue to tie the two together.

Have any questions or comments on this year’s forum? Feel free to leave a comment below.


Washington Post politics editor to speak at 2016 Devroy Forum

Photo By: Ralph Alswang Photographer 202-487-5025 PLEASE CREDIT PHOTO: Ralph Alswang
Photo By:
Ralph Alswang

By Trent Tetzlaff

Terence Samuel, The Washington Post’s Washington politics editor will visit the UW-Eau Claire campus on Thursday, April 21 to give a speech titled “Responsible Reporting in a Social Media Age” at the 19th annual Ann Devroy Forum.

The 7 p.m. forum in Schofield Auditorium is a free event and open to the public. Samuel will spend the day speaking to journalism classes and the media before the forum takes place.

The winner of the Ann Devroy Fellowship will also be announced during the forum. The winner receives a three-week fellowship at the Washington Post over winter break.

In Samuel’s position with the Washington Post, he makes the decisions on what should be covered concerning the White House, Congress and the 2016 elections. The timing of his speech is important because it is an election year, Professor of Communication and Journalism Jan Larson said.

“Given that it is an election year, and all of the crazy things that have been happening in the political process I think he is going to have a lot to say about the job of a journalist, covering politics and particularly he is going to focus on social media,” she said.

Along with his work for the Washington Post, Samuel also is the author of The Upper House: A Journey Behind the Closed Doors of the U.S. Senate, and was one of the writers included in Best American Political Writing 2009.

After graduating from the City College of New York, Samuel was the national correspondent with The Philadelphia Inquirer and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and chief congressional correspondent at U.S. News & World Report before moving to the Post.

Larson said Samuel truly is a journalist who has worked his way up with a number of news organizations through the ranks to his current position editing politics with the Post.

During this election season Larson said many candidates are tweeting and trading insults back and forth and seeing how that information is covered is something that has been interesting.

“It has been interesting just looking at the Washington Post how they have captured people’s tweets and sometimes they don’t even comment on them they just put them in the story,” she said. “So I think this continues to develop as a part of our reporting process, how we engage readers based on social media reporting.”

As a whole Larson said she thinks the Devroy Forum is a great learning experience for student journalists at UW-Eau Claire because it shows them what they can do with their degree from the program.

“I think the forum is an inspiration for young student journalists,” she said, because it reminds them that from this program we have sent out a number of hard working, committed journalists who have went on to cover a variety of important stories both in small towns, cities, states, and the national level.”

Ellis Williams, a senior journalism major said the Devroy Forum is simply a special night that lets journalism talents be shown.

“I’ve watched the Devroy Fellowship change lives and give some of my good friends a platform to show the world their talents they’ve honed at UW-Eau Claire,” he said. “It’s a special night for the CJ Department and an event I look forward to every year.”

Have any memories from past forums? Feel free to drop a comment below.


CJ students go the extra mile in Blugold Mile internships

By Trent Tetzlaff

The group of Blugold Mile interns meet weekly over the semester as they continue to prep for the event on May 1.
The group of Blugold Mile interns meet weekly over the semester as they continue to prep for the event on May 1.

In the spring of 2015 Eau Claire Marathon runners had the opportunity to be part of the inaugural Blugold Mile. A mile stretch through UW-Eau Claire’s lower campus filled with over 65 cheering student organizations, multiple water stations and a galore of fans.

The organizations involved set up shop within the campus mall and play music, spray water and cheer on runners through the mile stretch of campus.

Over 2,500 runners crossed through the mile as runners of the marathon or half marathon race in early May.

On May 1, 2016 the second annual Blugold Mile will come to life once again on the Eau Claire campus. One of this year’s Blugold Mile event planning interns Rachel Keenan said they expect over 3,000 runners and hope for more than 100 student organizations to be present.

Keenan, a senior organizational communication major is one of four Blugold Mile interns this spring. The internship positions include two event planning interns, a media relations intern and a social media intern.

In her position as an event planning intern, Keenan said she is in charge of putting together a lot of the event including booking many of the student organizations.

“Splitting the work between myself and the other event planning intern (Jillian Manion), we each take on about 90 student organizations and lead them through a process of meetings to obtain the goal of having their members participate in the Blugold Mile,” she said.

Along with this, Keenan said she is also responsible for promoting the university’s distance running class through digital media, and also continuously working to find ways to improve the rather new event.

Keenan said in her position she is able to put many skills she has learned in her organizational communication studies to good use.

“I use intentional strategic message design when I change every email to fit the organization I am contacting,” she said. “I also use small group communication skills during our team meetings when we need to brainstorm the next big idea and I use leadership training when offered a chance to head a new project or speak to the members of a student organization. The list goes on and on.”

Junior organizational communication student Meghan Hosely was able to put her not only her communication skills to good use when she became the Blugold Mile’s media relations intern this spring, but also her writing skills.

As the media relations intern, Hosely creates content and digital media through articles to capture an audience surrounding the Blugold Mile and the Eau Claire Marathon.

Hosely said she generates story ideas from two different places. One is by going to the distance running class and learning about different runners while the other is through student organizations.

For example, Hosely wrote a piece she wrote on a student in the distance running class who is using the class and marathon to train for soccer tournaments over the summer.

What drew Hosely into applying for the internship was the ability to create her own story ideas and to put her writing skills to use for an organization.

“I think being able to find stories on my own is a new challenge and I really like that,” she said. “I also have found a niche when it comes to writing for sports like cross country and track so I like that I am able to make running sound interesting for readers.”

Although Hosely has been able to put skills gained while working at the Spectator to good use while working for the Blugold Mile, she also has been able to use her organizational communications skills she said.

But more than anything, she said what she has learned can also help her in a future career after graduation next year.

“I get to advocate for the Blugold Mile and the Eau Claire Marathon and being active and running is something I am really passionate about,” she said. “That’s really what I want to do is get other people inspired and that’s what I am trying to do through my stories.”

Running the marathon? Have any questions regarding the Blugold Mile, or CJ internship opportunities? Drop a comment below if so!


CJ scholarships allow students to reach full potential during their time at UW-Eau Claire

By Trent Tetzlaff

Not many people can say they were able to spend nearly 50 years of their life working for one institution doing what they love everyday.

However, Dr. Sally Webb, professor emerita and former development officer at UW-Eau Claire was able to do just that.

Webb came to Eau Claire in 1965 to teach public speaking in what was then the speech department with just one year of teaching experience under her belt. Despite her youth, Webb learned on the fly and continued to teach public speaking until 1983 when she took time off to earn her doctoral degree at the University of Texas at Austin in Organizational Communication she said.

Webb taught Organizational Communication at the University once she returned from Texas, and also took a few years later in her career to teach in Harlaxton, England and Dalkeith, Scotland. Webb said she also played a role in recruiting students to study abroad trips like the Dalkeith trip and the South Africa study abroad trip.

During her time with the University, Webb founded multiple scholarships. Four in the CJ Department and one outside of the department beginning in 1992.

Dr. Sally Webb stands with the fall 2015 scholarship winners of her five different awards.
Dr. Sally Webb stands with the fall 2015 scholarship winners of her five different awards.

These departmental scholarships include, an international student tuition scholarship, an organizational communication tuition scholarship, a study abroad scholarship for organizational communication students and a diversity tuition scholarship.

Webb said what made her originally want to become a scholarship donor was her love for the University and more specifically the CJ Department as a whole.

“I would say most donors including myself give because they have good feelings about the university or institution they are giving too,” she said. “I had a very good experience teaching here and have become very fond of students and faculty here over the years, so I wanted to give back.”

Webb said one thing that stands out about the scholarship program with the CJ department over others at the university is the wide range of scholarships offered and that the department works to encourage all students to apply and push to get scholarship winners to interact with donors.

Along with this Webb said, CJ Academic Department Associate Judy Gatlin, has been a very important piece in making the CJ scholarship program run so smoothly over the years.

Most important to Webb though she said, are the thank you letters and emails that she receives from students in the department which only make donating much more rewarding to her.

“There is a great joy in hearing from alumni,” Webb said. “Every once and awhile I will get a note or an email saying “you probably don’t remember me” but then they go on to thank me for what a scholarship did for them, or even for just a memory from class.”

Since Webb’s multiple scholarships were created years ago, many students have received these awards to help pay tuition and fees whether it may be abroad or at the University.

Erin Brault, a junior double major in organizational communication and Spanish received the Sally A. Webb Study Abroad Tuition Scholarship for Organizational Communication this past fall and said she used the scholarship money to help her to travel abroad to Valladolid, Spain this spring.

Brault said the scholarship not only has allowed her to travel, but it also has helped her grow as a student.

“I’m very grateful for the scholarship, especially because studying abroad has already become a major highlight of my college career,” she said. “Furthermore, it’s impacted my ability to grow as both a student and individual.”

Brault also said the study abroad experience made possible by the scholarship has allowed her to fully combine and use both of her majors effectively.

“Everyday is a new experience, and it’s proved helpful in terms of learning how to communicate and interact effectively with a variety of people in a wide range of settings,” she said. “Something that goes hand-in-hand with both my Spanish and Organizational Communication majors.”

Although Webb isn’t lecturing within the confines of Hibbard Hall anymore or working with students one on one to improve their communication skills, she continues to be one of the biggest donors to the scholarship program in the CJ Department year after year.

And for students like Brault scholarships are among the most important things that a student can receive while in school.

“Scholarships are important because many college students see a dollar sign in front of everything, which is understandable with the increasing amount of debt we are incurring,” she said.  “However, experiences like these do not come around for the rest of your life.”

Do you have questions regarding scholarships? Did a CJ scholarship have a significant impact on your experience at UW-Eau Claire? Leave a comment below!

Eau Claire-Selma Exchange Alternative Spring Break Trip [AND] CJ/WMNS 111: Gender, Race, Class, & Communication

“My trip to Selma, Alabama was a wake-up call. Being born and raised in a small village of Northeastern Wisconsin, I never had a true idea of what racism really was. Selma opened my eyes to the cruelty that is still going on in a country that I believed had put it in its past. I was very wrong. After leaving Selma, I was more aware of the discrimination that was currently happening in Eau Claire.

Next week, faculty member Dr. Nicole Schultz and her CJ/WMNS 111 class will be traveling to Selma to learn about gender, race and class in a unique environment. Schultz wrote a blog post this week on the trip and prior experiences.

Students in Selma hold signs in part of their work to unite. Submitted.
Students in Selma hold signs in part of their work to unite. Submitted.

The overarching goal of the CJ/WMNS 111 course is to provide students with opportunities to investigate the ways in which perceptions of, and experiences with, gender, race, and class are communicatively constructed by engaging in the Liberal Education Goal of Integrative Learning. Integrative Learning consists of three primary Elements: (1) connecting academic knowledge to one’s own lived experience; (2) making connections across disciplines; and (3) applying skills, knowledge, or methodologies gained in one academic or experiential context to a different academic or experiential context. In the CJ/WMNS 111 course, curriculum and assignments are intended to promote and support the exploration of how gender, race, and class identities influence personal, group, public and organizational communication. Coursework culminates in reflection papers in-the-news discussions, and an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (EDI) Change Project. The EDI Change Project this Spring 2016 semester will incorporate experiences of students going on the Eau Claire-Selma Exchange Alternative Spring Break Trip (ASB0, the purpose of which is to support EDI initiatives on campus in the greater Eau Claire community.

This special offering of the course incorporating the Eau Claire-Selma Exchange ASB is being launched this spring, including 27 students in the course, approximately 1/4 of whom are registered for the to travel to Selma, Alabama with the UWEC Selma-Exchange Domestic Intercultural Immersion trip over spring break for the course project. Students going on the trip and those not going on the trip will work together on the EDI Change Project to incorporate lessons learned and insights garnered from those on the trip to take-on a local course project together for the class intended to intentionally influence the way people in the Chippewa Valley think or behave surrounding issues of race, class, and/or gender.

Here are a few things students have said about the CJ/WMNS 111: Gender, Race, Class & Communication course…

“This class talks a lot about things that one might not normally discuss but it raises important topics and we discuss every viewpoint even if we don’t agree with it.”

“Every day I walk out of that class with a new perspective on life…I’ve learned an immense amount about social issues and I feel like I have a firmer understanding of my own beliefs and ideals.”

Here are a few things students have said about the Selma-Eau Claire Exchange Alternative Spring Break Trip…

“My time in Selma was an unforgettable, life changing week. When I first signed up for the trip, little did I know how much I would learn in such a short period of time. I had no idea what we would be doing or seeing and I was most excited to be getting out of Wisconsin into warmer weather. Upon first entering the town of Selma, I could tell this would be much more than a spring break getaway. Segregation was apparent everywhere I looked and I was shocked by how stuck in the past everything was. I felt like I had been put in a time machine and traveled back 100 years. While the social situation in Selma is less than ideal, the RATCo kids, influential speakers, and the children I met while volunteering in the schools are truly living examples of what it means to persevere through seemingly hopeless times. I will never forget my week in Selma. All the wonderful people I met, the kids who will forever inspire me, and the stories of all those who were willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of justice.”

Guarantees of every experience:

  • Meet amazing people
  • Hear incredible life stories
  • Eat delicious home cooked meals
  • Become a part of a movement!”

“In order for someone to understand what Selma is, and what it means to people, they would have to go, and experience it themselves. It’s an experience of a life time, it’s an experience that dramatically, and permanently changes people. I learned love from Selma. The people there are so incredibly full of hope, and love, and happiness, and they never give up. They persevere through impossible things every day, they are a beacon of hope, and there isn’t one person at this university that can’t learn a lesson from them.”

What do you think about this opportunity for students in the CJ Department? Feel free to drop a comment below!


Signaling a new era for Blugold radio

Intermediate journalism students had the opportunity to cover a press conference this past week on the radio station gift from Mid-West Family Broadcasting to UW-Eau Claire. Student Michael Roemer wrote a piece for this week’s blog.

Blugold Radio has been a part of the UW-Eau Claire CJ Department for years with multiple different programs airing on FM 89.7. © 2016 Michael Roemer
Blugold Radio has been a part of the UW-Eau Claire CJ Department for years with multiple different programs airing on FM 89.7. © 2016 Michael Roemer

Mid-West Family Broadcasting gave the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation control of 99.9 WDRK-FM, a radio station out of Cornell.

The $1 million gift announced Tuesday, March 8 transfers ownership of the radio license, transmitter, tower and related equipment which CJ students will get to use first hand in classes and through student media outlets like Blugold Radio.

“We are excited to be a part of this because the radio capacity will enable the university as a whole,” UW-Eau Claire Foundation President Kimera Way said. “I’m pleased to be able to facilitate the addition of another resource for the university’s benefit.”

The station is expected to benefit not only students but also the Chippewa Valley community. Some of the things that will be made available to the public will be student music, sports and programming related to the university.

UW-Eau Claire Athletic Director Dan Schumacher said that having a radio station with this much reach puts UW-Eau Claire on the same playing field with Division I schools. (titles before a name are capitalized)

“The 99.9 WDRK-FM signal will give Blugold athletics a large radio reach in the Chippewa Valley and a great enhancement to the Blugold sports network of digital, web, radio and TV media platforms,” Schumacher said.

Athletes, however will not be the only students who will see a benefit from the new radio station. Students will be given opportunities to work for the station in a variety of capacities including reporting, advertising and promotion.

“We can integrate the radio station into course assignments and bring a new style of programming to the community, said Mary Hoffman, chair of the Communication and Journalism Department.

The timeline for getting Blugold Radio up and running is by the end of the school year. Hoffman added the radio station is expected to provide an opportunity for all students to get involved on campus and start building a media career.

How do you think this gift will impact the CJ department the most? Let us know in the comments below!

Two CJ graduates find careers within UW-Eau Claire’s Integrated Marketing and Communications

Ben Shinners and Casie Kampf, two recent graduates of the CJ department have found a home in the UW-Eau Claire Integrated Marketing and Communications department as full-time marketing specialists. Shinners graduated in December of 2014, while Kampf followed in December of 2015. Although the two took different routes to where they are today, they both credit the CJ Department and its efforts for getting them where they are today.

Casie Kampf

First of all, could you explain your job title and what exactly you do in your position?

Ben and I have the exact same job titles, Marketing Specialists. We are specifically on the website redesign project for the university, which means our main focus is writing new content for whatever department we are working on during a six week period. We come up with the clever one-liners, the cheesy introductions and most importantly, we write the content to help explain what a department does, what they offer and what a prospective student could get out of the program. Right now the website is full of jargon and information that’s unnecessary for the prospective student, our job is to take all of that out and make it new and fresh.

What do you like most about working in IMC and your individual positions? What do you like about being able to stay in Eau Claire?

I love UW-Eau Claire and the city of Eau Claire. I remember scrolling through HigherEdJobs.com and seeing UWEC had a job posting in a department I was incredibly interested in being a part of.

Casie Kampf and Ben Shinners pose for a photo inside of their offices located on the second floor of the Old Library.
Casie Kampf and Ben Shinners pose for a photo inside of their offices located on the second floor of the Old Library.

Now I’m here and I really love it. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing your work on display for hundreds of browsers to see. Eau Claire is my comfort zone, so staying here was definitely a plus. I love exploring the city as a young professional, instead of as a student.

What classes and professors in the CJ department would you say prepared you for your new positions the most?

Evan Perrault and Maureen Schriner, easily. These two have pushed me since the day I met them. Evan was my professor for CJ 373 – Public Relations Writing and CJ 374 – Campaign Planning, and I wish he taught more of the upper level classes so I could have continued to have him as my professor. He taught me the most valuable skills during my time in the CJ department and I owe him a lot of my success. Maureen was my adviser as well as my professor in CJ 260 – Intro to PR (which is now Intro to Integrated Strategic Communication) and CJ 491 – Special Topics, where I was introduced to the Integrated Marketing and Communications team. She has always been a reference for me, someone to chat through confusing moments and a constant supporter of any dream I wanted to chase. Without Dr. Perrault or Dr. Schriner, I would not be where I am today and I wouldn’t have the aspirations that I have now.

What was the transition like after graduating and going through the hiring process with IMC?

My transition was really weird. I interviewed for the position in IMC during my final semester and I began working (training) here on November 30th which was a little less than a month before my graduation. So needless to say, my last few weeks of classes were pretty stressful, but worth it in the end. Now that I’m fully graduated, the transition has gone well. It’s been pretty strange still being on campus while a good number of my friends are still in classes and participating in great organizations. However, this is a great stepping stone for me, so a few weird moments can’t bring me down.

What tips and tricks or words of advice do you have for current CJ students as they begin to search for jobs whether inside or outside of the university?

Don’t be afraid to apply for jobs you think you may not qualify for. No matter what, you’ll get great experience writing a cover letter, asking for references and editing your resume. Who knows, maybe you’ll get the interview and then the job. The CJ department is preparing you to be great if you let it. Lean on your professors and soak in everything they teach you. Find connections everywhere you go, too. I would not have this job if I didn’t have the connections I have around campus. Lastly, don’t get down if you don’t get the job you were really gunning for. There are loads of opportunities for you in this world. If you asked me in August if I thought I’d still be in the Midwest working, I would have laughed in your face. Yet, here I am in a job where I learn something new every day. You’ll be surprised what cards you’ll be dealt.

Ben Shinners

What do you like most about working in IMC and your individual position? What do you like about being able to stay in Eau Claire?

I have the freedom to write in a casual tone that makes writing composition a lot of fun. The work environment is fairly casual with everyone knowing when it is time to goof around and when to put it in hard work.

Eau Claire is a city on the rise with a lot of growth in culture, especially music. I also like to be active and Eau Claire has great bike paths and is incredibly close to nature.

What classes and professors in the CJ department would you say prepared you for your new positions the most?

Maureen Schriner and Terry Chmielewski prepared me quite a bit. Schriner really opened my eyes to what modern public relations and marketing techniques are and how/when use them.

Chmielewski gave me a solid foundation in public relations writing along with other skills public relations/marketing professionals use every day.

The class that left biggest impression on me was CJ 222 taught by Jan Larson. This course was incredibly difficult and time consuming. But I can safely say it vastly improved my writing and gave me the thick skin you need as a writer. If you can’t take criticism of your work you will never improve as a writer.

What was the transition like after graduating and going through the hiring process with IMC?

It was relatively stress free because I already had strong roots outside of the University. After graduation I transitioned to a part time marketing job at a local food cooperative. There I learned digital marketing techniques and most importantly I learned how to write attractive copy. You only have a few words to truly engage your audience so make them count!

The hiring process went well and I was fairly confident due to my previous work experience at the co-op and being an alum. Most importantly I researched the job position. Being able to use language and specific terms that the IMC used already gave me a leg up. When you apply for a job make sure you know everything about the company and the position front and back.

What tips and tricks or words of advice do you have for current CJ students as they begin to search for jobs whether inside or outside of the University?

Look for a position you can see yourself in. Don’t waste time applying to places that pay well but you will hate being.That could cause you to burn out and miss out on a potentially successful career.

-WRITE! And then write some more! Find your voice and once you do, be true to it.

-Develop a thick skin when it comes to having your work edited.

-Be passionate about what you do. You have a long, successful career ahead of you and fill it doing something you love.


These two students took what they learned from the CJ department and put it to great use in the real world. Feel free to share your post graduate opportunities with us in the comments below!

Students get professional practice with CJ491

CJ faculty member Maureen Schriner brings a guest blog post to you this week. Dr. Schriner teaches the CJ491 special topics course in the CJ department.

Students in any major in the Communication and Journalism Department can enroll in a course that gives them professional experience working with a client to produce and publish branded content. For the past three semesters, the course has been taught as a special topics CJ491 course. In Fall 2016, the course will be listed as CJ477 Professional Practicum.

CJ491 is a collaboration with the UW-Eau Claire Integrated Marketing and Communication staff, and is taught by Maureen Schriner, PhD, assistant professor in the Integrated Strategic Communication program in the CJ Department. Students learn about the Power of AND branding campaign, launched by the university in 2014, and produce stories for the university to publish on UWEC.edu or the university’s social media accounts, such as MyUWEC.tumblr.com.

Stories written in CJ491 often end up posted on the university website, like the one written above.
Stories written in CJ491 are often posted on the university website, like the one written above.

The Power of AND campaign tells the stories of transformational experiences students have pursuing multiple passions while attending UW-Eau Claire, and through those stories, persuades prospective students who are also seeking a Power of AND experience to choose to enroll here. In addition, the Power of AND brand involves sharing the everyday lives of students on campus, so prospective students can see themselves finding a place to fit in on campus.

With guidance from Dr. Schriner, students in CJ491 pitch story ideas to the university marketing staff and then produce the stories, focusing on prospective students as the targeted audience, and providing authentic student experiences that capture the Power of AND brand. The staff from Integrated Marketing and Communication have come to the class to talk about the university’s branding efforts, they review and refine story ideas, and edit student stories for publication. Every student who has taken the course to date has had the opportunity to be published, and some students have had multiple bylined articles published. A sampling of stories by CJ491 students published by the university:

Exploring hidden gems on campus
Graduate in four years? Plan ahead with MyPlanner
How will you pass on your family legacy? Hockey basics for new fans
A student reflects on UW-Eau Claire affordability

The professional practicum is a great example of the Power of AND, in giving students the experience of working with a real-world client, and leveraging the resources of students to expand the university’s outreach in communicating to prospective students.

If you have any questions on the course and what it offers, as always, feel free to comment below!

Three CJ students gain valuable work experience during winter internships

Over this past winter break, three UW-Eau Claire journalism students had the opportunity to hold three week internships with large news organizations. December graduate Courtney Kueppers traveled to Washington D.C. to work at the Washington Post as the Ann Devroy Fellow. Current student Lauren French was the inaugural Koepp Fellow, completing a three week internship at Time.com in New York City that alumnus Stephen Koepp created. Lastly, Kiri Salinas, another current student spent her winter break with the KTSP news station in Minnesota as a part of the Henry Lippold Fellowship. The three took the time to reflect briefly on their experiences for this blog.


Kueppers who was awarded the Ann Devroy Fellowship at the Devroy Forum last spring spent three weeks with the Washington Post over winter break.
Kueppers who was awarded the Ann Devroy Fellowship at the Devroy Forum last spring spent three weeks with the Washington Post over winter break.

Courtney Kueppers

From a Virginia courtroom to a historic blizzard, the three weeks I spent reporting for The Washington Post as the 18th Ann Devroy Fellow were nothing if not memorable, exhilarating and educational.

I spent my stint there working on The Post’s Metro desk, which covers far more than just what happens in and around the district. I got to tell the tale of a stranger who gave 55 percent of his liver to a total stranger, then fell in love with her and now they are engaged to be wed. I covered a three day trial in Prince William County , and I even found a chance to give Eau Claire a shout out in one of my many pieces about snow storm Jonas.

I feel forever indebted to the many people who made this life changing opportunity possible and to the editors and reporters at The Post who graciously accepted me as a member of their team.

When I chatted with Ann’s former co-workers in the newsroom, they almost always began by describing her as having “a big personality,” but that remark was 100 percent of the time followed up by words such as “talented,” “dogged” or “the best.” I am both humbled and honored to be affiliated with a distinction that bears her name.

Many, many thanks to Craig Gilbert and Carol Guensburg for opening their home to me, to the UW-Eau Claire Communication and Journalism Department, my professors and classmates, Mark Matthews and the university Foundation.


French was the first Koepp fellow from UWEC. The university hopes to keep the fellowship running in the near future.
French was the first Koepp fellow from UWEC. The university hopes to keep the fellowship running in the near future.

Lauren French

My experience as the inaugural Stephen J. Koepp Journalism Fellow at Time Inc. is incomparable to anything I’ve ever done before.

Between covering ticket sales in New York for a record-breaking Powerball jackpot, writing national breaking news and reporting for a column on the New Hampshire primary, I grew immensely as a journalist. Everything I picked up, while valuable to me personally, is equally valuable to UW-Eau Claire’s student newspaper, The Spectator.

The Koepp Fellowship couldn’t have been the success it was without the help of so many thoughtful and hardworking people. Boundless thanks to Steve Koepp, Lesley Alderman and their son, Charlie, who graciously opened their home to me and went above and beyond to welcome me to New York. Their kindness will not be forgotten.

I owe a huge thanks to those in the CJ department who worked to kick off the inaugural year of the fellowship. Without them, this experience would not have been possible. Finally, I must thank my peers at The Spectator. They sparked my love for journalism with their camaraderie, support and dedication, and for that, I cannot say thank you enough. I am grateful to have been able to take that spark and apply it to the first year of the Koepp Fellowship.




Salinas was able to do a variety of different things in her short stint with KTSP TV.
Salinas was able to do a variety of different things in her short stint with KTSP TV.

Kiri Salinas

Starting my KSTP internship was thrilling and also terrifying at the same time.

Immediately on the first day, I was welcomed with open arms. I got to attend the morning meeting and introduce myself to amazing and hardworking reporters, producers, anchors and more. I told them all my plans for after college and they started having me help produce the 4:30pm newscast. I was exhilarated about how I got to jump right in. The people on producer’s row took me in and had me rewriting AP stories. After I had finished, they would tweak it a little and next thing I know, I hear the 4:30 anchor reading what I wrote. It was such an amazing feeling of accomplishment. The rest of my first week was just like that.

When week two came around, I started back at square one. I got to follow reporters all throughout the week. Each day was amazing to see how different reporters handled different topics. I was helping out with stories that ranged from gender nonconforming kindergartners to finding ways to cure “physician burnout.” I got to dig into each reporter’s mind and learn about how they got to where they are and the passion for what they do was just so clear to see.

The last week had to be the best week in my eyes. Everyone in the newsroom decided I was ready to tackle on more responsibility and so I was a field producer for the week. I got to go and make calls, conduct interviews, write the script, and put it all together. With one of the stories, I even got to have my own byline on the KSTP website, which was the highlight of my time there.

Each day was amazing and truly inspiring. I cannot thank Dr. Henry Lippold and everyone at KSTP enough for the rewarding time I had.


Have any comments or questions about the internships? Feel free to drop a comment below!