Staying in touch with old friends and professors also is a way to stay in touch with The Media School. Check out these class notes from the 1980s.
Staying in touch with old friends and professors also is a way to stay in touch with The Media School. Check out these class notes from the 1980s.
Jonathan H. Amsbary, MA’80, PhD’86, is a professor of communication studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he also serves as graduate director of the master’s of arts program. Amsbary has published two books: "Interviewing: Situations and Contexts" and "Surviving Group Meetings: A Survival Tool for Working in Groups." (December 2015)
Joni M. (Esser) Fisher, BA’80, released the first book in her Compass Crimes Series, "South of Justice," May 15. Her second book, "North of the Killing Hand," will be released in October 2016. (August 2016)
Valerie Jones, BA’81, was honored with Emmy awards from the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the third consecutive year. The categories were best interview/discussion program and best political/government special: “Gerrymandering: Why We’re Mad at Washington.” She is senior producer of "The American Law Journal," airing on the Philadelphia CNN affiliate WFMZ-TV and online at lawjournaltv.com. (October 2017)
Becky (Snelling) Schroer, BA ’81, retired as scientific communications publications coordinator at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis. She now is pursuing her artistic passion through creating jewelry, available through her shop Key to Rebecca Designs on Etsy. (August 2016)
Michael Tackett, BA’81, is the Washington, D.C., deputy bureau chief for the Associated Press. He and his team cover the White House, Congress and other political scenes.
Tackett is also the author of nonfiction book “The Baseball Whisperer,” which tells the story of a collegiate baseball team in Iowa. (June 2019)
Craig Babbage, BAJ’82, moved from Georgetown, Kentucky, to Plano, Texas, where Toyota’s new headquarters are located. Babbage is a media analyst at Toyota, where has worked in various roles since 2000. (August 2017)
Christopher Breach, BA’82, journalism, was recently named associate editor at the Kankakee Daily Journal in Illinois. Breach, who also serves as the business editor, has worked for the Daily Journal for the past 14 years. He was previously sports editor of the Pharos-Tribune in Logansport, Ind., for five years and still does freelance sports writing in his spare time. (December 2019)
Ray Boomhower, BA’82, will have seventeenth book, “To Be Hoosiers: Historic Stories of Character & Fortitude,” published by the History Press in February 2020. The book includes pieces Boomhower has written over his past thirty-plus years working in Indiana history. He is currently working on a book about the wartime experiences of World War II correspondent Richard Tregaskis, author of the classic books “Guadalcancal Diary” and “Invasion Diary.” This will be his third book on World War II correspondents. Previously, he has published books on Ernie Pyle and Robert L. Sherrod. (January 2020)
Jay Grochowski, BA’82, is a sales specialist for HP. He spent two years after graduating as the sports information director and head baseball coach at George Williams College in Downers Grove, Illinois. GWC closed, and he spent 35 years in sales. In 1985, he married his wife Rhonda, and they raised two children. He became a grandfather for the first time in 2019. He wrote and published his first novel, "Kelli's Pine," in March 2020. (June 2020)
Deanne J. Hall, BA’82, has joined Wisconsin Watch at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, which was founded by her husband, Andy Hall, BA’82. The center is dedicated to increasing the quality of investigative journalism in order to foster informed citizens and strengthen democracy. (December 2015)
Kathleen Johnston, BA’82, is an investigative producer at CBS. Previously, she spent 10 years as a senior producer at CNN in Atlanta. (December 2015)
George Papajohn, BA’82, is an investigative editor at BuzzFeed News. Previously, he was investigations editor at the Chicago Tribune. (April 2020)
Frazier Smith, BA’82, is managing editor of breaking news at Cox Media Group Ohio. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Dayton and advisor for Flyer News, the independent student newspaper at the University of Dayton. In 2019, the publication was named "Best University Student Publication" in a nationwide contest.
Smith's research interests include multiculturalism and diversity in the news media, newswriting and storytelling. (July 2019)
Judith Hoover, PhD’83, is the author of "Beyond Monongah: An Appalachian Story." The book received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews and was named among their Best Books of 2016. (March 2017)
Gordon Jackson, PhD’83, is the author of satirical novel Never Say “Moist” at Wyndover College (Black Rose Writing). He published his first novel, "The Church That Used to Be St. Elmo’s," in June 2017. He has written a total of 15 books.
Jackson retired from teaching journalism at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, in 2015 after 32 years. (August 2019)
Liz (Thomason) Joss, BA’83, is director of strategy and content at Rare Bird Inc., an internet marketing and communications agency. She was previously assistant director of strategic communications at IUPUI. (October 2017)
Michael O’Connell, BA’83, published a new textbook, "Turn Up the Volume: A Down and Dirty Guide to Podcasting" in 2017 with Routledge. O’Connell is the senior digital editor at Federal News Radio in Washington, D.C. He is also a producer and the host of the podcast "It’s All Journalism." (December 2017)
Stuart Chen-Hayes, BA’84, MS’87, is a professor and program coordinator of Counselor Education/School Counseling at City University of New York, Lehman College. He is the author of “Double Dads One Teen: A Queer Family’s Trailblazing Life in the USA and Taiwan.” This book has become the subject of a new documentary, “Double Dads and One Queer Teen: My Rainbow Family,” directed by Larry Tung. (February 2020)
Karen Day, BAJ’84, wrote a novel, "I’ll Stay," partially set on the IU Bloomington campus. The novel follows two friends dealing with a traumatic spring break trip, testing their friendship. (February 2018)
Stuart Englert, BA’84, completed his novel trilogy. In January 2017 he released "Return to Paradox — The Circle of Life," the third book in his allegorical novel series. He published his first two books, "Paradox: Valley of the Sheeple" and "Beyond Paradox: The Great Awakening," in 2016. He also is author of "Sold Out: How an American Magazine Lost its Soul." (February 2018)
Paul Heaton, BA’84, is the senior director of member engagement at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). He previously served as the inaugural director of the CASE Center for Community College Advancement from 2011-16, and as director of the CASE Office of the President from 2016-18.
Heaton also is involved in the LGBT-based D.C. Strokes Rowing Club, participating in regatta races around the world. He serves as race director for the Stonewall Regatta, and volunteers as a coxswain for the club’s beginner classes.
Along with his team, Heaton won gold, silver and bronze at the 2014 Cleveland Gay Games. He will join his team at the 2018 Paris Gay Games. He has also competed with the Strokes throughout the Mid-Atlantic region in both sprint and head races. (April 2018)
Mark Kellam, BA’84, is city editor of the Glendale News-Press and Burbank Leader. He joined Times Community News, a group of five newspapers that covers several communities in Los Angeles and Orange counties, in July 2011 as the business-politics reporter and was promoted to city editor in January 2013. Previously, he was an editor at the Los Angeles Daily News and managing editor at Champion Newspapers in Chino, California, and prior to that, he was an editor at Amos Suburban Newspapers in Dayton, Ohio. (August 2019)
Gary Jusseaume, MAJ’85, is the head coach for cross country, and the middle and distance coach for track and field at Worcester State University in Worcester, Massachusetts. After retiring from investigative field producing for WBZ-TV Boston, Jusseaume was head coach of men’s and women’s cross country and track and field teams at Assumption College in Worcester. (January 2016)
Ralph Frasca, MA’86, was named chair of communication at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, New Jersey. Frasca previously served as director of Gannon (Pennsylvania) University’s School of Communication and the Arts. He has also worked as a professor at several institutions including Belmont Abbey (North Carolina) College, Marymount (Virginia) University, Hofstra (New York) University and the University of Northern Iowa. Frasca has written multiple books emphasizing the importance of mass media. (October 2017)
Rick Gieser, BA’86, is the publicist for Zanies Comedy Clubs in Chicago, Rosemont and St. Charles, Illionois. He also works as a producer for WGN radio in Chicago. (January 2017)
Jeff Lyons, BA'86, and his cat, Betty, were featured in a recent Washington Post article. Since the coronavirus pandemic has forced people of all professions to work from home, Lyons, chief meteorologist for Channel 14 News in Evansville, Indiana, has been forecasting the weather from his dining room. Betty wandered into the forecast one day, and she has since become his helper and even has her own lower third, “Betty the weather cat.” She has quickly become a fan favorite. (May 2020)
Steven Ralston, PhD’86, is provost and vice president of academic affairs at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. He was previously dean of the School of Communication Arts at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. (April 2017)
Kit (Lowry) Selzer, BA’86, is senior remodeling editor at Better Homes and Garden magazine. She recently celebrated her 30th anniversary with Meredith Corporation, where she had a summer internship in 1984 and 1985 before being hired full-time in 1986. (August 2016)
Brian Stack, BA’86, earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series for the 70th annual Emmy Awards, for his work on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert." He has worked for the show’s writing team since 2015, as well as providing voice work for Cartoon Donald Trump and the Ghost of Abraham Lincoln on the show.
Stack wrote for Conan O’Brien from 1997 to 2015 and played several characters in sketches on the show. He received an Emmy Award nomination in writing every year since 1998. In 2007, he won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program.
Stack worked at the Indiana Daily Student during his time at IU and earned a degree in telecommunications. He started his career with Chicago-based improv comedy group Second City before eventually joining the "Late Night with Conan O’Brien" writing team in 1997. (July 2018)
Daniel Brogan, BA’87, is the founder, president and editor-in-chief of 5280 Publishing Inc. Launched from his second bedroom in 1993, 5280 is now the largest local magazine in Colorado and has been a finalist for seven National Magazine Awards. The company also publishes 5280 Home, 5280 Traveler and 5280 Health magazines. In 2016, it acquired the Colorado Parent family of publications and events. (April 2017)
Donald Emmons, BA’87, is a project manager at media measurement company Prime Research, a division of Cision, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is the co-creator of quarterly sports publication Buck Hoops Magazine. His prior work includes working as a staff writer and reporter for the Toledo Blade, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Bakersfield Californian, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel and Gary Post-Tribune. (May 2020)
Maria Katrien Heslin, BA’87, MA’93, MA’99, has accepted a position with the Humane Society of the U.S. in Washington, D.C. She served as communications director for the city of Bloomington before becoming the city’s first female deputy mayor in 2008. She taught classes as an adjunct professor in The Media School and the Political and Civic Engagement certificate program at IU. She is the owner of Love Monday Coaching & Development, a career success system, and has served as a volunteer on Indiana’s State Council of The Humane Society of The United States since 2015. (January 2019)
Brad Johnson, BA’87, is the director of marketing and communications at Methodist University. He was previously director and assistant vice president of marketing at Asbury University in Kentucky. (July 2020)
Jim Joseph, MA’87, is manager of internal communications for Solenis LLC, a specialty chemical and water treatment provider. He manages the company intranet and other employee communications from a home office in the Columbus, Ohio, area. “I do not miss going to an office at all,” Joseph said. “The dog and cat are happy about it, and my wife is if I remember to start dinner.” Having begun his career working with glue pots and carbon paper at a newspaper, he says it’s remarkable now to work via Skype with someone in Shanghai. He also has worked recently for Ashland Inc. chemical company, producing a series of profiles of scientists for Ashland.com. (August 2016)
Debbie Landers, BA’87, was hired as senior vice president for the health care communications firm Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock in September. She previously was chief innovation officer at hospital operator Community Health Systems in Chicago. (December 2015)
Linda Carrick Thomas, MA’87, published her first book, "Polonium in the Playhouse," in May 2017. The book details Dayton, Ohio’s role in the Manhattan Project, which was directed by Thomas’ grandfather, industrial chemist Charles Allen Thomas. Linda Carrick Thomas grew up hearing many stories about her grandfather’s involvement in the project, and sought out facts to corroborate the family lore.
She stepped down from her work in higher education communications at Purdue in 2014 to focus on her book. Thomas was previously a freelance journalist and writer. (December 2017)
Thom Wilder, BA’87, published his third book, "One More Trip: Jon Wayne’s Journey from Addiction to Redemption" (2017 Dog Ear Publishing). The book, which tells the story of a budding musician in the throes of heroin addiction and sobriety, was released Oct. 1, 2017. Chicago-based Wilder previously published "The Road to Paradise" (2012) and "The Ghosts of Wheaton" (2015). Additional information on Wilder and his books is available at thomwilder.com. (October 2017)
Bill Bruns, BA’88, is deputy director of the Student Center at Southern Illinois University. He received SIU’s 2017 Lindell W. Sturgis Memorial Public Service Award, presented in June 2017. Bruns is a self-described “serial volunteer,” having made public service a top priority in his life for more than 25 years. (August 2017)
Kevin Corcoran, BA’88, MBA’07, is strategy director at the Lumina Foundation in Indianapolis. He leads the strategic communications team at the foundation, a national philanthropy focused on making education and training beyond high school available to all Americans. He joined the Lumina Foundation in 2007, leading higher education finance work and business models for eight years. He lives in Indianapolis with Trisha (Essig) Corcoran, BA’87, BS’95. (October 2017)
Jim Grim, MA’88, serves as director of university community school partnerships in the Office of Community Engagement at IUPUI. He helps Indianapolis school communities develop integrated parent and community engagement to promote a strategy called "Community Schools." (January 2019)
Linda Jackson, BA’ 88, is an evening anchor at Fort Wayne’s NBC News. She earned the Indiana Judges Association award for Excellence in Public Information and Education in 2018 for her broadcast story covering Indiana’s opioid epidemic, titled “Hooked: A Life Sentence”.
She marked 30 years of broadcast news in Fort Wayne on July 25, 2018. (September 2018)
Jackson has been selected to join the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Richard M. Fairbanks Hall of Fame, which recognizes people who have made significant contributions to the broadcast industry in Indiana. Jackson is the lead anchor at the NBC news channel in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has worked in broadcast news for more than 30 years. (May 2020)
Ryan Murphy, ’88, appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine in September 2019. The feature focuses on his latest work and deals, including a pact with Netflix valued at $300 million. He earned two nominations for the 71st annual Emmy Awards: Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series for FX’s “Pose: Identity, Family, Community (Inside Look)”; and Outstanding Drama Series for FX’s “Pose.” Murphy was the executive producer for both series.
Murphy won two awards at the 70th annual Emmy Awards: Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special; and Outstanding Limited Series, both for his work on FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.” He was also nominated for Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction Or Reality Series for the series. Murphy was the executive producer of the nine-episode series and director of the series premiere.
Murphy won a primetime Emmy for Outstanding Limited Series in 2016 for the crime series "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story", as well as another in 2014. He’s accumulated more than 25 Emmy nominations since 2004.
In addition to two seasons’ worth of work on "American Crime Story," Murphy is also the creator/producer of "Glee," "American Horror Story" and more. His career started in journalism at publications including the Miami Herald, the Los Angeles Times and Entertainment Weekly. (November 2019)
Scott Verschoor, BA’88, is managing director at KPMG, a network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services. He previously was regional vice president of professional services at Model N. (February 2017)
Mark Alesia, BA’89, directs communication and media relations for Indiana State. In 2018, he was named Indiana Journalist of the Year. (July 2019)
Kurt Ashburn, BA’89, is account director to the public affairs team at Hirons, an Indianapolis-based public relations and digital communications firm. He has 23 years of account services experience for brands including Ivy Tech, Maytag Commercial Laundry, Delta Faucet Company and Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana. (September 2019)
Mark Canada, BA’89, is the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and a professor of English at Indiana University Kokomo. Canada’s latest book, a college textbook called "Introduction to Information Literacy for Students," co-authored with Michael C. Alewine, was published in spring 2017 by Wiley. (April 2017)
Ruth Furman, BA’89, was awarded the Women of Distinction Award in the Arts, Entertainment and Media category by the Southern Nevada chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners in May 2019.
Furman currently serves as the principal of ImageWords Communications and has more than two decades of experience in public relations and journalism. (May 2019)
Nancy (Yoder) Giordano, BA’89, is a global account manager for Vodafone. She spent her career in the telecommunications field supporting the technical and business requirements of Fortune 500 clients. She says a career highlight was supporting the broadcast for nine Olympic events and a sports Emmy win for Outstanding Technical Team Studio for the 2012 Olympic games in London. (December 2016)
Paul Lester, PhD’89, is a clinical professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. Lester led the effort to place a plaque in Nipomo, California, to honor Dorthea Lange’s iconic Depression-era photograph, “Migrant Mother.” The plaque not only honored the photographer, but also was created in memory of the subject of the photo, Florence Owens Thompson. The dedication ceremony for the plaque was March 19, the anniversary of when the photograph was taken. (March 2016)
Tammy Letherer, BAJ’ 89, is a writing coach and author. She published her third book, "The Buddha at my Table: How I Found Peace in Betrayal and Divorce," in Oct. 2018. "The Buddha at My Table" was selected as Living Now’s “Books for Better Living” Gold Winner in the Relationships/Marriage category, as well as the Human Relations Indie Book Awards “Family Journey” Gold Winner. (September 2018)
Matthew Miles, BAJ’89, is director of communications at the American Motorcyclist Association. He previously worked for the American magazine publisher Bonnier Corporation in a variety of roles, including in-market director and digital publishing director. (May 2020)
Robert Nigro, BA’89, is a proposal and surveys manager for Blank Rome LLP, a national law firm headquartered in Philadelphia. He has worked in development and communications in legal marketing since 2005 and was previously a managing editor in legal corporate communications. His first career after graduating from IU with a degree in telecommunications was as a journalist. (December 2015)
Stephanie (Davis) Sibal, BA’89, joined Ave Maria Press, a Catholic book publisher in Notre Dame, Indiana, as a publicist in July 2014. She is responsible for media, marketing copy and back cover copy for books. (August 2016)
Nichelle Smith, BA’89, is the coordinating editor for USA TODAY’s Investigations team and leader of several award-winning race and diversity projects for Gannett and USA TODAY, including Civil Rights in America, Changing Face of America, the 1968 Project and most recently, 1619. She is also the editor of USA TODAY’s annual Black History Month special edition, which was nominated for a Salute to Excellence Award in 2017 from the National Association of Black Journalists and won awards for writers in 2018. (April 2020)
Sandra Svoboda, BA’89, is the "Great Lakes Now" program director at Detroit Public Television. Her past career includes work in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan. She was most recently employed at WDET-FM, Detroit Public Radio, where she covered Detroit’s bankruptcy. She’s taught journalism, communications and political science at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan-Dearborn. (October 2018)