jump to navigation

Alumna Pens Prayers for Parents December 14, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment


By Sharon Gripp

When Kimberly Willingham Hubbard found herself in the role of a parent a few years ago she remembered how her parents had prayed scriptural promises over her and her sister when they were children. “Knowing God’s promises has given me an unwavering security and confidence in what He says –when navigating life’s obstacles,” Hubbard said.

“Hearing the word of God spoken over me as a child has made a huge impact on my life,” Hubbard said. So much so, that the 2008 JRPNM graduate decided to write a prayer resource book for parents.

“Crowned in Promise 100 Prayers for Your Children” was released on April 21, 2020, with a themed prayer and applicable Scripture verses on each page interwoven into each unique supplication.

The book was written first and foremost for my children, she said. “However, after penning these prayers, I realized that if I desired to have these promises in writing with scripture verses interwoven into the text – how many more parents might long for the same?” she asked herself.

Hubbard’s book was just listed by Bookauthority as one of the “31 Best New Parenting Books to Read in 2021.”

To learn more, visit her website.

Baylor Journalism, Public Relations & New Media Scholarships December 14, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment

The Baylor Journalism, Public Relations & New Media department offers more than $200,000 in annual scholarship funds to students. An additional $40,000 is set aside for incoming freshman and transferring journalism majors. The amount offered in scholarships is more than any other department in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Current journalism majors must submit applications with all required material by March 6, 2020. Incoming freshman and transfer students have until March 6, 2020. All applications are available in December.

Other scholarship deadlines are in the spring, but students should apply as soon as possible. To apply, a 2.5 GPA is required. Recipients are announced at the annual spring banquet in April.

For more information, students should contact Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez, chair of the JPRNM scholarship committee.

Scholarship Application for High School Students

Scholarship Application for Current Students

Available Scholarships include: (Note: you do not have to apply for a specific scholarship).
Al Quinn Scholarship
Baylor Journalism Department Scholarship
Balfour Publishing Yearbook Editor Scholarship
Frank Burkhalter Scholarship
Carmage Walls Scholarship
C.D. Johnson Scholarship
David Cheavens Scholarship
E.S. James Baptist/Standard Scholarship
Fentress Scholarship
Elizabeth and Russell Hallberg Scholarship
Headliners Club Scholarship
J.R. Kilgore Scholarship
David McHam Scholarship
Hope Ridings Miller Scholarship
Harry and Frances Provence Scholarship
Tommy West Journalism Scholarship
Sam Wood Scholarship
Taylor Publishing Scholarship
Wilson Fielder Jr. Scholarship
Willie Foster Scholarship
Adrian Vaughn Scholarship

This website offers information on each scholarship.

Please note the scholarship committee will select an appropriate scholarship for each student.

Scholarships will be announced at the Journalism Awards Banquet in April.

Professor (All Ranks), Clinical, Fred Hartman Visiting Professor December 14, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment

The Baylor University Journalism, Public Relations and New Media department seeks a dynamic individual to fill this position beginning Fall 2021.

The full-time faculty member would be asked to teach undergraduate courses in the areas of reporting, editing and writing for magazines, web and other media platforms.

Other expectations include:

Helping the department develop events and workshops.
Organizing and promoting department-sponsored events
Fundraising for the department
Elevating the profile of the department
Fostering alumni engagement

This visiting clinical professor, open rank, position will begin in August 2021 and requires a strong background in reporting, writing, photography, advertising, public relation, or a relevant field and a minimum of three to five years of relevant professional media experience — possibly, a well-known reporter, public relations practitioner or photographer.

Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. To ensure full consideration, completed applications must be submitted by 12/20/2020.

Link: https://apply.interfolio.com/81128

Alumna Discusses Second Book December 12, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment

“If you’re feeling lonely, doubtful and hurt—you aren’t alone. But what if you realized you can experience true trust?”

Many women joke about having trust issues—laughing at their struggle because it feels common but secretly feeling there is no hope. Grace Valentine was one of them. In her 20s she realized her trust issues were not humorous because in reality hers were trust issues with Jesus, her community, her family, and herself. And they were destroying her faith. Valentine creatively told herself she was simply being realistic, but the truth was, she was entangled with doubt and lies.

In her second book, Is It Just Me?, she focuses on trust. It’s about learning to trust God in doubts and fears….

“We put walls up, struggle …. We need to hear, ‘Yes, I understand.’ We don’t need to fake it til we make it. We need to trust God and not pretend. There’s always so much uncertainty. Life is always moving and shaping us…. I’m a firm believer … that a bad thing can turn into a good thing if we make it a God thing.”

The book offers readers a new perspective by helping them find answers to five deeply felt questions:

• Am I the only one who is tired, overwhelmed, doubting, and fearful?
• Am I the only one who feels hurt and lonely?
• Am I the only one who still is struggling to find my purpose?
• Am I the only one struggling to trust that God is there?
• Am I the only one confused about how to be an adult?

Valentine graduated from Baylor in May of 2018 with a degree in Journalism, Public Relations and New Media.

Valentine’s journey to becoming a published author began with blogging for various websites as a Baylor freshman, when she launched her own website and blog, which has since been viewed by more than 6 million people from all over the world. Even then, inspired by her own doubts and worries, she was writing to encourage young women not to hold themselves to the world’s expectations. Publishers took note.

“Grace was an outstanding student in two of my courses at Baylor,” Professor and Chair Mia Moody-Ramirez said. “She was a hard worker and so very humble. It wasn’t until her book was about to come out that I found out she was an influencer.”

Valentine is still down to earth. She invites her readers to be her–FRIEND.

Am I Enough? was Baylor JPR&NM alumna’s first book published by HarperCollins Publishing. The book encourages young women to stop comparing themselves to others in this world, pointing to Scriptures such as 1 John 2:15-16. Her personal story and perceptive insights show other young women that not only are they are not alone, they can trust God in the middle of their hurts, doubts, and fears.

Valentine bought a house in Orlando just before COVID-19. She’d worked for a church for two years but transitioned to full-time writing to focus  “Is It Just Me?”


Scholarship Drive in the Works for Dr. Doug Ferdon, Former JPR&NM Chair December 11, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment

Back in December of 1997, former Baylor College of Arts & Sciences Dean Wallace L. Daniel Jr. had big dreams for Baylor Journalism, and Dr. Doug Ferdon was his man for the mission.

That’s when, after a year-long national search and eight years as a Baylor teacher, Ferdon received a three-year appointment as chair of what is now the Journalism, PR & New Media department.

“I know it was 1982,” said Senior Lecturer Cassy Burleson, “because former chair Loyal Gould asked me if I knew anyone good for the job. Of course, I knew it might be hard to recruit Doug from the golf courses in Panama City, Florida, at the community college where he was teaching, but … he was …

”Absolutely perfect … for Baylor.”

It turned out to be a good match for more than 30 years for the Wisconsin native.

Today, a scholarship drive for $50,000 is in the works for Ferdon, a man of many putts.

“Doug’s a man of few words, unless you get him going on history (pick any subject), his grandfather, facts, suggestions for politicians, mysteries – or his favorite subject, golf. Doug also has the best sense of diplomacy of anyone I know – and that’s important,” Burleson said.

When he joined Baylor in 1982, Ferdon was Lariat adviser for five years while teaching one course. Then he became a full-time faculty member, teaching Law & Ethics and History of Journalism.

In 1995, the department was down to 108 majors. In 1997, Wallace was quoted in a Baylor news release as saying he believed the department “had the potential to achieve national prominence, and under Dr. Ferdon’s leadership, it should reach this goal.”

Ferdon knew it would take a village.

He continued to support existing faculty while recruiting and hiring more people who could build that “nationally prominent” scholastic village. He also added public relations to the curriculum at just the right time and partnered with Baylor’s business school to have the department teach a Writing for Media Markets course for business and other majors, including Film & Digital Media.

Ferdon had increased the faculty from six to 14 when he retired in 2014. Ferdon was on the hiring team for Drs. Clark Baker, Marlene Neil, JPR&NM Chair Mia Moody-Ramirez and Burleson, as well as Robert “Bob” Darden, Maxey Parrish, Sharon Gripp, Kevin Tankersley, and former faculty member, Dr. Amanda Sturgill, now a tenured associate professor at Elon University in North Carolina.

Along the way, Ferdon negotiated some coups to get the majors up from 108 in 1995 to 400 by 2014.

For one, Ferdon convinced Darden, now a full professor, Baylor’s Professor of the Year in 2020, and creator of the Black Gospel Music project now housed at the Smithsonian, to move from the English department to Journalism. Darden attributes much of his career success to Ferdon and said, “I had found him to be a man of high ethical character and a crackerjack administrator, and I knew it would be a wonderful experience.”

Ferdon served as chair until 2005 while also teaching Law & Ethics and Journalism History.

“Doug was one of my inspirations for teaching,” said current Chair Moody-Ramirez. “He asked me to teach my first course, and I was hooked. He provided the support I needed to succeed. He is a gem.”

Since his retirement in 2014, Ferdon has continued as an adjunct instructor, although he said when he retired that he was going to “just read books and play golf.” He didn’t.

Ferdon and Sylvia, also from Wisconsin, will celebrate their 50th anniversary in August. They share a love for golf as well as each other. Sylvia toured on the LPGA circuit, is former head coach of Baylor’s Women’s Golf, and won the Big 12 national title of coach of the year – twice – after beating cancer. The couple now divides time between Waco and their cottage home in Baileys Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin.

Although they have no biological children, they’ve raised a herd of students and golfers over the years.

Still a source of wise counsel in the department, Ferdon said, “When I began college in the 1960s, enrollment was doubling across the U.S. Baby Boomers, including women and minorities, were finding a college education part of their dreams. Teaching for 46 years – full time and part-time – I saw the costs rise. If a scholarship in my name can help just a little, it would give me great pleasure,” Ferdon said.

He’s that kind of guy. Patiently building the village all these years, fostering harmony along the way.

Probably because he knows how to sink the long putt.

To contribute to the Doug Ferdon Endowed Scholarship fund, please click the link below and contribute to the Journalism Excellence Fund and designate the Doug Ferdon Endowed Scholarship as the recipient of your pledge.



Alumni Engagement 2020 December 11, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment

The Baylor Journalism, Public Relations & New Media Alumni Engagement committee was very busy during the 2019-20 academic year. Committee members planned various activities throughout the year to connect with alumni in meaningful ways. Prior to these efforts, alumni, faculty and staff reported feeling disconnected.

“Other than being in touch with a few alumni on Facebook and LinkedIn, we weren’t connected in a more meaningful way,” said senior lecturer Dr. Cassy Burleson.

Alumna Jenna Dewitt won this hat during a JPR&NM virtual reunion trivia contest.

This feeling ended after the committee met with Christie Harper of  the Baylor Affinity Office. Committee members are: Bob Darden (chair), Bruce Gietzen, Mia Moody-Ramirez, Marlene Neill, Cassy Burleson, Margaret Kramer and Lanisa Tovar.

Harper helped the team generate several ideas for alumni engagement. Ideas included:

In December, the committee began discussing the logistics of hosting alumni reunions. Once the Covid-19 pandemic became evident, the team decided to take the reunions online.

“Making this shift was a stressful adjustment for everyone,” said Chair Mia Moody-Ramirez.  “We wanted to continue our plans, so we looked at other options. It wasn’t ideal, but we made it work.”

In the end, virtual reunions provided a viable option. The department sponsored six events. The reunions were well-received by alumni who participated from all over the United States.

“We collected survey information on salary, hiring practices, tips for students, what we can do better,” said Dr. Marlene Neill. “This is valuable information for the department.  We’re always looking for ways to improve. Our alumni are a good source of information.”

The department is planning to continue sponsoring reunions in the future, Moody-Ramirez said.

“It is our hope to be able to meet in person,” she said. “Only time will tell. But we are thankful to be able to connect.”

Future efforts include a tailgating at homecoming games, selling T-shirts and cultivating an affinity groups in various geographic locations. For more information on alumni affinity groups, please visit https://www.baylor.edu/alumni/connect/index.php?id=969692.

If you would like to get involved with our department, please email us what you are interested in helping with from the list below:

Contact information:

Mia Moody-Ramirez, Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media

Christie Harper, Baylor Alumni

Bob Darden, Alumni Engagement Chair

Cassy Burleson, Fundraising Chair



JPR&NM Professor Bob Darden Shares Talents with Newspapers & Magazines December 11, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment

Baylor Journalism, Public Relations & New Media Professor Robert Darden, BSED ’76, continues to share his talents with newspapers and magazines. Darden, who earned the designation of Master Teacher in 2019, published several articles last year, including the ones listed below:

Baylor in Budapest Makes Comeback December 11, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment

By Amber Adamson & Maxey Parrish

After having to cancel last year’s trip due to COVID, we are excited to be planning for the Baylor in Budapest Summer 2021 program.

Baylor in Budapest is in its fifth year. Students focus on all aspects of multi-media journalism and public relations to produce an online publication built around travel writing. The marvelous settings of Prague, Budapest and Bratislava provide ample material for inspirational writing and photography.

Students do more than take classes and prepare published material. Each is assigned a staff position that replicates an internship experience. Students live in apartments and have debit cards to provide money for meals. Guest lecturers from local universities bring the Eastern European culture up close. This immersive lifestyle adds to the depth of subjects to explore.

Here’s what a few students who are signed up for this summer’s trip had to say.

I am so excited for Baylor in Budapest because I think it is going to be a life changing experience! With the challenges of COVID, having something like this to look forward to is so encouraging. I know I will learn so much and the experience I will gain will be irreplaceable! 

-Lauren Boyt, junior journalism major 

I can’t wait to study in Budapest this summer and grow as a journalist. I’m especially looking forward to the visit to Radio Free Europe in Prague at the beginning of the trip.

-Meredith Howard, senior journalism major

 Baylor in Budapest is a program that I have been looking forward to since I was in high school. Prof. Parrish is passionate about this trip and has taught me valuable lessons in the journalism world, as well as in life. I am grateful for the opportunity to travel as a Baylor student abroad and strengthen skills for my career in the process.

-Rylie York, junior journalism major

 In just five weeks, students grow personally and gain skills in ways they never could at home.

Here’s what a few students who have been on the trip before had to say.

When you think of studying abroad, it may seem like a super intimidating experience that only few people get to take part in. In reality, studying abroad was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and it left me with a new perspective of the world and lifelong friends. My time in Budapest opened my eyes to another world of culture, history and beauty that I wouldn’t have experienced if I hadn’t taken that step to learn more about the Baylor in Budapest program. I’m forever grateful for Professor Parrish and the time I had.

-Sion Firew, class of 2020

Courses offered in the program are:

JOU 3355 Media Photography I
JOU 3356 Media Photography II
JOU 3389 Magazine and Feature Writing
JOU 3397 Advanced Magazine Editing
JOU 4V95 Special Studies in Journalism

The cost of the trip is around $12,000. This covers tuition, flights and program fees, as well as housing, transportation and a few meals. Students may apply for scholarships for the summer program.

If interested in Baylor in Florence, contact Maxey Parrish or Amber Adamson for more information.

Student Progress and Needs Remain Important December 11, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment

By Elizabeth Bates, Undergraduate Program Director

Despite the challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the department’s goals to assist our current students and reach prospective students have remained the same. Specifically, we offered more summer classes than ever before to help our students gain valuable skills and make progress towards graduation on time. We intend to offer approximately the same number of classes this summer.

In addition to offering more summer classes, the College of Arts & Sciences encouraged departments to offer classes in a variety of teaching formats this fall to meet the needs of students. The department answered the call and offered classes in face-to-face, hybrid and online formats.

New Classes 

The department continues to plan for the needs of our students with new classes. For example, an undergraduate and graduate class in data analytics and visualization was approved. It will be offered this summer. And classes focused on social media and broadcast journalism are in planning stages.

JPR&NM Minors

As the need for effective written communication is increasingly recognized as a necessary skill for any career path, more students are seeking minors through our department in public relations, advertising, news/editorial and photography/visual media. Last spring our department met with advisors across the university to let them know about the opportunities that exist for students with a minor in our field.

The College of Arts & Sciences new core curriculum allows for students to have more elective hours to tailor their studies towards their interest and goals. This has also resulted in more students choosing to complete minors.

Student Retention and Recruitment

Student retention was another important element for the department this semester. To address retention, I reached out to students who the College of Arts & Sciences believed might need guidance to make progress towards graduation under current circumstances.

Faculty and staff, including Amber Adamson, Sharon Gripp, Bruce Gietzen, and Kevin Tankersley, and I participated in several Zoom events throughout the fall semester to meet prospective students. More of these events are scheduled for the spring semester.


Fall 2020 Baylor Journalism, Public Relations & New Media Newsletter December 11, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment

Message from the Department Chair

Without a doubt, this semester has been the most challenging in all my 19 years of teaching  in the Baylor University Department of Journalism, Public Relations & New Media. Kudos to our majors for making it through the term, despite the many obstacles they faced. I extend a sincere thanks to our faculty and staff who worked tirelessly to keep the department going. Although adjusting to the “new normal” wasn’t easy, they made sure students had the resources needed to succeed. Teaching, research and on-campus operations all continued—whether in-person, online or in a hybrid format. Undergraduate  and graduate studies remained important; and our department continued to grow—as indicated in this article by senior lecturer Kevin Tankersley.

This semester was marked by a number of other outstanding highlights. In August, we welcomed two new faculty members: Alec Tefertiller, Ph.D., and Matthew Brammer. Tefertiller has been named a Fellow for the 2020 Baylor Summer Faculty Institute, which allows participants to explore elements of teaching, research and collegiality. Brammer shares highlights of his first semester at Baylor in this article.

Baylor JPR&NM faculty also continued sharing their talents with newspapers and magazines. Professor Robert Darden, BSED ’76, published several articles last year, in addition to working on a book scheduled for publication in 2023. Likewise, senior lecturer Kevin Tankersley had a productive publishing year, with dozens of articles featured in the Wacoan, the Baylor Arts & Sciences Magazine and Baylor Business Review, a publication of the Hankamer School of Business.

Our Alumni Engagement Committee was extremely busy. Committee members planned various activities throughout the year to connect with alumni in meaningful ways MORE. A high point for our department was the re-establishment of the Baylor, Journalism, Public Relations & New Media Advisory Board and the addition of the Friends of the Department Council. Members of both groups are journalists, PR professionals, attorneys, entrepreneurs and educators, who are committed to giving back to the next generation of writers, reporters, and communicators MORE. 

Despite not being able to travel this semester, our faculty had some amazing research accomplishments in 2019-2020. Faculty and graduate students participated in a number of conferences and published books, book chapters and journal articles MORE. In addition, Dr. Marlene Neill was named a 2020 PRSA Fellow. The College of Fellows is the gold standard of public relations professionals. College of Fellows is an active, honorary organization comprised of more than 350 leading practitioners and educators, each of whom has made a significant footprint on the public relations profession MORE.

Our graduate program evolved this semester. We will launch a new online program this spring. The online degree in public relations and advertising will equip graduates with courses in the areas of leadership, social media, data analytics and research to meet the needs of communication professionals who aspire to rise to management roles in advertising and public relations. Courses begin in January of 2020. The deadline to apply is January 9. Apply now: https://www.baylor.edu/journalism/onlinema/

The award-winning Department of Student Media did not skip a beat this fall. “Editor & Publisher” named The Baylor Lariat the best college campus website in the nation. The  award comes on the heels of The Lariat winning the coveted Pacemaker Awards from the Associated College Press for our website and also the 2018-19 Roundup Yearbook titled, “Light the Way.”

Despite the challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the department’s goals to assist current students and reach prospective students have remained the same. Undergraduate Program Director Elizabeth Bates offers more details in this article. Baylor’s JPR&NM undergraduate and graduate students participated in the first One World Symposium in November. The collaborative project featured work from students from four universities: California State University, Fullerton; University of Oregon, Texas Christian University and Baylor University.

After having to cancel last year’s Baylor in Budapest trip due to COVID, we are excited to make plans for the Summer 2021 program. In its fifth year, the program allows students to focus on all aspects of multi-media journalism and public relations to produce an online publication built around travel writing. The picturesque settings of Prague, Budapest and Bratislava provide ample material for inspirational writing and photography MORE.

During these difficult times, we heard from students throughout the semester who needed additional financial help. It was with great pleasure that our department awarded 91 scholarships to students.  Meet some of the recipients. We are privileged to award more than $200,000 a year in financial scholarships to our majors. Last year, we endowed a scholarship in honor of Dr. Sara Stone. This semester, we hope to launch a campaign to raise funds for a scholarship in honor of former Chair Dr. Doug Ferdon MORE.

In this newsletter, we are excited to feature a new column titled, “In Memoriam,” by alumnus David McHam. McHam graduated from Baylor in 1958 and taught in the journalism department from 1961 to 1974. In this issue, we also feature an article by alumnus Jon Platt about the Baylor Line Foundation’s new flagship podcast, “Direct Line.” We are proud of Platt and his accomplishments as a young alum. We are also proud of these two JPR&NM graduates, Grace Valentine and Kimberly Willingham Hubbard, who recently published books.

The Baylor Journalism, Public Relations and New Media newsletter comes out each fall and spring. If you missed the opportunity to be included in this issue, please email us.

As I reflect on the fall semester, I can truly say that we are blessed as a department—despite the obstacles we’ve encountered as a nation. Please stay in touch. We are looking forward to hearing from you all! Have a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!

Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D.

💚💛🐻 #Baylor #JPRNM



In this issue:

In Memoriam December 11, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment


By David McHam

My father-in-law Dick Wall was a member of the Baylor class of 1930, a journalism major and editor of the Round-Up.  For years he had lunch every week with friends, especially some he had gone to Baylor with.

One day I was there when he came home from the lunch.  This was more than 50 years after he had graduated.  And he said, “The hardest thing about growing old is that you begin to lose all your friends.”

The older I get the more I identify with Mr. Wall.


Sherri Taylor spent 30 years on the faculty of the Newhouse School of Journalism at Syracuse University.  She was an expert in photography and design.  That started, she often said, when she took typography with Ed Kelton at Baylor.

She died on October 19 in Syracuse.

Sherri was from Irving and after graduating from Baylor in 1972 she taught for several years at high school in the Dallas area.  She went to Syracuse for graduate school and remained there for the rest of her life.

At Syracuse she taught graphic design and was director of the Empire State School Press Association.  Sherri received many awards including being selected as the Texas Journalism Teacher of the Year.


Nancye Phillips, wife of Mike Phillips, died on November 30 in Fort Mitchell, Ky. Nancye graduated from Hanover College and worked as a reporter during her career. She and Mike met while working at The Cincinnati Post. Mike became managing editor of The Kentucky Post and editor of Scripps-Howard newspapers in Hollywood, Fla., and Puget Sound, Wash. Later, until his retirement, he was in charge of all Scripps newspapers.  He was in the Baylor class of 1970.


Sometimes a death hits everyone so hard that we never get over it.

Such was the death of Mike Dewlen. He wasn’t a journalism major, but in those days at Baylor everyone knew everyone.

Mike was that kind of guy. He was a football player and active in campus life.  His father, Al Dewlen, who attended Baylor before World War II, was one of Texas’ most significant writers.

Mike went through the Marine Corps officer training program and was commissioned when he graduated in 1967.  He was killed in Vietnam in June of 1968.  I still remember what a shock it was when we heard the news.  Someone actually said to me, “You think it could be a mistake?”

Bob Darden vividly captured the story on line last summer for The Baylor Line Foundation:  Lost Father, Sleeping Son.


If you ever make it to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, look for Mike.

If you are like me, you won’t be able to hold back the tears.


David McHam graduated from Baylor in 1958 and taught in the journalism department from 1961 to 1974.



Baylor Student Media Garners Top Awards December 11, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment

By Julie Reed

Baylor Student Media earned a number of prestigious awards this semester, including Editor & Publishers’ national EPPY Award, long considered the Pulitzer Prize of college journalism. This award for Best College Campus Website recognized baylorlariat.com for its stellar multimedia coverage over the past year.

The Associated Collegiate Press also awarded an Online Pacemaker to The Lariat’s website, as well as a Yearbook Pacemaker for the Baylor Roundup’s 2019 book, “Light the Way.” The Pacemaker is ACP’s highest honor.

Rounding out the department’s big awards this semester are College Broadcasters Inc. and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. CBI recognized The Lariat as having the Best Social Media Presence in the nation. The Lariat and Focus magazine are both Crown Award finalists.

In addition to the accolades for Student Media’s individual outlets, students racked up numerous awards this semester, including a second-place award for COVID-19 coverage from the Associated Collegiate Press.

Here’s the link to the awards list from E&P.

Both are prestigious honors. It is great to see our aspiring journalists being recognized for their hard work and embracing our enhanced digital focus!

New Online MA in Advertising & Public Relations December 11, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment

By Marlene Neill

After a full semester of preparations with online instructional designers, the new online MA in advertising and public relations is ready for a January 2021 launch.

The first two courses are Theory of Mass Communication and Seminar in Mass Communication, which is focused on digital media. Courses planned for this summer include Data Analytics & Visualization and Ad & PR Leadership.

The online MA is designed to meet the needs of working professionals. It is flexible and affordable. Students can enroll one, two or three courses per semester, depending on their job demands. Students who enroll in six hours per semester can complete their degree in two and half years. The cost is $1,200 per credit hour.

“In our research that we conducted prior to launching this program, we found that similar programs at other universities have reported that their graduates have received an average of a 25 percent salary increase upon completion of the degree, so it is an investment in your career,” said Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez, professor and department chair.

In preparation for the online MA program, committee members, Marlene Neill, Mia Moody-Ramirez, Maxey Parrish and Bob Darden, researched best practices and industry trends this summer to help construct a program that would be attractive for individuals interested in getting an online master’s degree.

“There is a lot of competition,” Darden said. “We wanted to make sure our program would be cutting edge.”

In addition, faculty met with Baylor’s online instructional designers on a weekly basis to ensure the program meets expectations for quality and consistency across the courses. The program’s committee members will consider adding certificates this summer. Topics might include leadership and image management.

The online MA program is focused on the skills and competencies that are necessary for a career in advertising and public relations management such as leadership, budgeting, market research, strategic planning, crisis communication and data analytics.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, public relations managers earn an average salary of $114,800 compared to $60,000 for public relations specialists, an entry-level position. Last year, there were more than 3 million job postings that requested a master’s degree in public relations or a related discipline.

For more information, visit: https://www.baylor.edu/journalism/onlinema/

Friends of the Department Council/Advisory Board Members December 11, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment


We are excited to introduce the new Baylor, Journalism, Public Relations & New Media Advisory Board. Members of this esteemed group of journalists, PR professionals, attorneys, entrepreneurs, educators are committed to giving back to the next generation of writers, reporters, and communicators.

Whether it’s reviewing portfolios, hiring interns/alums or offering feedback on industry trends and curriculum, this talented group of professionals are always willing to help.

They have shared their gifts and talents with our students and department on numerous occasions throughout the years. We are truly grateful for their contributions to the success of our program!

Click the links to find out who they are:

Friends of the Department Council

Advisory Board


Baylor Journalism, Public Relations & New Media Faculty Continue to Publish During Pandemic December 11, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment

Department Research Summary 

Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, members of the Baylor Journalism, Public Relations & New Media faculty continued to publish research in the industry’s top journals, conferences and with leading publishers.

Dr. Marlene Neill published three journal articles this past year including “Public Relations Professionals Identify Ethical Issues, Essential Competencies & Deficiencies” in the Journal of Media Ethics, “Examining the Effects of Symmetrical Internal Communication and Employee Engagement on Organizational Change Outcomes” in the Public Relations Journal, and “Public relations primed: An update on practitioners’ moral reasoning, from moral development to moral maintenance.”

In addition, her second book, “PR Women with Influence: Breaking through the Ethical and Leadership Challenges” is scheduled for a late December release with Peter Lang Publishing. 

New faculty member Dr. Alec Tefertiller published two articles during his time at Baylor, “Cable cord-cutting and streaming adoption: Advertising avoidance and technology acceptance in television innovation” in Telematics and Informatics and “Preparing mass communication students for an evolving industry: The influence of emotional intelligence and extracurricular involvement on career adaptability” in the Journalism and Mass Communication Educator.

In addition, Dr. Tefertiller presented two papers at the annual convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication this past August. “Prepping (for) a Diverse Ad Industry Future: First-Generation College Students are More Proactive, Creative and Adaptable” was presented in the Advertising Division, and “The nature of FoMO: Trait and state fear-of-missing-out and their relationships to entertainment television consumption” was presented in the Entertainment Studies Interest Group.

Finally, Dr. Tefertiller’s paper “Company responses in times of crisis: A content analysis of COVID-19 emails” was presented at the Southwest Education Council for Journalism and Mass Communication Symposium this past October, where it was awarded a top paper award.

Dr. Moody-Ramirez had three journal articles accepted for publication and made several presentations. She co-authored Black Twitter Representations of #Kavanaugh Hearing with Dr. Dorothy Bland, which was published in the Journal of Research on Women and Gender. Along with Drs. Margaretha Geertsema-Sligh and Ingrid Bachmann, Dr. Moody-Ramirez, co-authored Educating Journalism Students on Gender and Inequality, which was published in Journalism and Mass Communication Educator. In a third article, Dr. Moody-Ramirez, Robbie and Franci Rogers published, Activist Knitting: How stitching together something so simple has created a movement in the Journal of Research on Women and Gender.

Moody-Ramirez and graduate student Emily Guajardo received a Top Paper award from the AEJMC Visual Communication Division for a paper titled, “A Critical Race-Visual Communication Analysis of Immigration-Themed Memes.” Also during AEJMC 2020 conference, Moody-Ramirez served on a panel titled, “Teaching Students How to Construct Theory.” The panel was sponsored by the Communication Theory and Methodology Division.

Moody-Ramirez also served on an Electronic News Division  panel titled, “Covering Covid-19, Black Lives Matter and the Election.” Panelists discussed best practices, challenges, fears in an effort to support one another during this era of social unrest. Moody-Ramirez also served as a panelist for the 2020 AEJMC Kopenhaver pre-conference workshop. The workshop, “Women Faculty Moving Forward: 100 Years from Suffrage to Academic Leadership,” offered  tips to new assistant professors on the tenure track.


Helping Students in a Time of Need December 10, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment


During these challenging times, Baylor Journalism, Public Relations & New Media had more students than usual seek financial assistance in the fall semester. Fortunately, the department has more than $200,000 in endowed scholarships to award each academic year. For 2019-20, we were blessed to be able to award a total of 91 scholarships. This includes students who reached out to us after the March deadline.

A breakdown of the number of scholarships awarded is below:

Freshman    48
Sophomores    14
Juniors    20
Seniors    9
Total        91

Last year, our department endowed a scholarship in Sara Stone, Ph.D.’s name. This semester, we hope to launch a campaign to raise funds for a scholarship in honor of former Chair Doug Ferdon, Ph.D. Look for details in this newsletter.

We highlight a few of our scholarship recipients below. Please visit our Facebook page to see more.

Landry Leatherwood is a 2020 recipient of a Carmage Walls scholarship. Leatherwood is a senior from Irving, Texas. She has interned at The Cove Waco, the Midway ISD Education Foundation and is currently an Advanced PR Intern at Four Columns Marketing in downtown Waco. Landry also serves on the Panhellenic Executive Board, is a member of PRSSA and Chi Omega and enjoys serving at her church home, Harris Creek. Landry hopes to end up at a vibrant, fast-paced corporate PR or marketing agency somewhere in Texas upon graduation.

Kerry “KJ” Burkley is a 2020 Fentress Scholarship recipient. He is a senior. Burkley is active in Baylor’s School of Journalism. He currently presides as Vice President of the National Association of Black Journalists, Baylor Chapter. He is a staff writer for The Roundup Yearbook, guest writer for Focus Magazine and is a Baylor Journalism ambassador. Outside of school, Burkley is part of the musician staff at Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church of Waco. Burkley’s curiosity for researching and understanding how people perceive businesses, companies and products through advertising and brand perception is what influenced him to receive an education in advertising. He plans to pursue a Master of Arts in Public Relations from Baylor.

Drake Toll is a 2020 recipient of the Headliners Foundation of Texas Sam Wood Scholarship. Toll was Baylor University’s Sophomore Class President and the LTVN managing editor. He is a Journalism, Public Relations major and a Leadership minor.

“I’m unbelievably grateful to represent Baylor University and our amazing Department of Journalism in receiving this honor,” he said. “This was possible only through fervent prayer and the extraordinary effort the faculty and staff of the Department of Journalism extended during my first year at Baylor.”

Note: While the Sam Wood scholarship is not awarded by our department, we are extremely proud of Toll.

Click this link to find out more about the types of scholarships awarded by Baylor University.



Flagship Podcast: Direct Line December 10, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment


By Jon Platt

In a year full of what seems like more downs than ups, the Baylor Line Foundation has been proud to continue both the legacy of the Baylor Family and our incredibly beneficial, important, and unique relationship with the Journalism Department. So many of my best writers, interns, and partnerships come from the second floor of Castellaw and it is a joy to stay so very connected with the place I called home as a Baylor student.

A new addition to our product suite at Baylor Line Foundation is our already stellar, flagship podcast, Direct Line. Each episode features a fantastic, engaging, and always insightful conversation with a different member of the Baylor Family, and you’ll not be surprised to recognize many of my guest in our first season. Dr. Moody-Ramirez and I spoke about (among many other things) how you can best prepare yourself and your team to respond in crisis. Robert F. Darden nearly brought me to tears several times during our conversation on his latest piece for Baylor Line Magazine on the story of highly acclaimed author Mike Dewlen and how he struggled to properly grieve the loss of his son, Baylor alum Mike Dewlen, to the Vietnam War.

You’ll also find conversations with other contributors to our Fall magazine in your feed, including current JPRNM student Sophia Alejandro and alumna (and now current JPRNM graduate student) Rae Jefferson. You can get each episode by following Direct Line in your favorite podcast app or by visiting baylorline.com/podcast.

At Baylor Line Foundation, we consider it an absolute honor to be the voice of Baylor alumni since 1859 and a true privilege to continue the legacy of the Baylor Family with you. Don’t miss these captivating interviews and many more!”

All my best,

Editor-in-chief, Baylor Line Magazine

First Semester Wisdom December 10, 2020

Posted by Mia Moody-Ramirez in : Uncategorized , add a comment

By Professor Matthew Brammer

Any good professor will tell you … your first year is rough. And those professors probably didn’t start their first years during a global pandemic. I learned several lessons in my online teaching adventure this fall, the most important being to stay real with students and keep the personal touch.

Not even 20-20 vision could have prepared me for the year 2020. On Friday, March 13, I was furloughed (read: stopped making any income at all) from my previous position as a coach and trainer in the automotive industry. I was emotionally conflicted, yet, in the midst of my human emotions, Father God had a plan for my success and a new chapter. Friday, March 13 was also the date on the email from Baylor President Dr. Livingstone offering me a position as a full-time lecturer in the Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media. God’s plans are perfect – in perfect time – and exactly what we need.

The university determined that I would be teaching all my classes online from my home in Phoenix, Ariz., so along with preparing a course, writing a syllabus and gathering my sources, I also had to create Canvas modules to support remote learning. I took my master’s degree classes online, so I was aware of what a good experience looked like for a student. I was not, however, prepared for the back side. The professor’s side. Creating assignments, discussions, quizzes and exams. And, then grading them.

One of the best things about Baylor is the opportunity for connections with students, and despite the distance and technological interface, it is still possible to build those relationships. I made sure to start class by connecting with every student, by name. I asked questions about their weekends, their events, their families. It became real and not just a lecture or video to watch.

Even though my sections were officially asynchronous, I made sure to schedule regular times for Zoom classes and lectures so students could feel they were a part of something and not alone. The meetings were recorded and published for those who could not make the session.

I also focused on being available. I’ve heard through the grapevine that some professors don’t offer their cell numbers, but I went against that grain. I was sure to set priorities in the syllabus and reinforce that calling was a last resort after emailing, one-on-one zoom meetings and texting. In fact, I only received calls from three students the entire semester, but I think that knowing I was available gave them security.

I offered and encouraged the Zoom meetings – in office hours as well as by appointment. Sometimes, the appointments were later in the evening, but, that’s when they had the questions, and I worked to make time.  I had one student taking classes remotely from Wuhan, China, so we arranged meetings at 9 p.m. my time in order to accommodate her schedule.

It might sound silly, but I also added smiley-faces and positive comments to the papers I graded. Positive psychology studies suggest the benefits from focusing on what went right and leveraging that is much more effective than only marking errors.

I also invested in an iPad and Apple pencil in order to grade the papers. With almost four course sections and 80 students, the workload can be too much when you have to print things out, grade and edit, scan and then submit them to the students, one-by-one. Canvas Teacher made it a breeze with the tablet, and my turnaround for grading assignments and providing feedback to build on reduced from days to hours.

I also have to mention the safety net of my department. Every professor and administrator was available to answer my questions and coach me on things I did not understand. Teaching is a passion, a calling, and each of my peers is gifted in ways I am looking forward to exploring. Being 2,000 miles away was challenging because there was no “coffee talk,” but we did have meetings every two weeks to stay connected and up to date on the department and university.

One other thing I did, at the end of the class was to end with a “Sic ’em Bears.” I think it reminded them that even if they aren’t learning in quite the same way this year … they’re still Baylor students, a part of something special, and that they can accomplish anything.