Skip to main content

The launch of a new era 2021 Annual Report

Four people cutting a ribbon.
Shari VeilShari R. Veil, MBA, Ph.D.
Dean & Professor

2021 marked the beginning of a new era for the College of Journalism and Mass Communications (CoJMC). Over 75 faculty, staff, alumni and industry partners came together to chart a new vision for the college as a national leader in experiential journalism and mass communications education. The first aim of our strategic plan, approved in May 2021, was to launch a college-wide Experience Lab to provide every student the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working in one of the college’s media outlets or agencies.

Over the summer we outlined the policies and procedures for the Experience Lab and trained our student leaders. In August, we added over 13,000 square feet of new space dedicated to experiential learning and welcomed 14 professionals in residence to campus to ensure our students are career ready. In September, we secured funding for a new television studio and newsroom and a new photography studio and multimedia lab. In October, we published the first issue of Heartland Webzine. In November, we launched the first broadcast of Nebraska Nightly and approved the curriculum changes requiring all students spend at least three semesters in the Experience Lab. In December, we started construction on the new Unlimited Sports Lab.

Read More

The Launch of a New Era

four people cutting a ribbon
A ribbon is cut, and a new era is launched in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications

On Friday, Oct. 29, 2021, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green joined Dean Shari Veil and Co-Directors Jemalyn Griffin and Jill Martin to cut the ribbon on the College of Journalism and Mass Communications’ new Experience Lab.

Don and Lorena Meier Studio Concept Drawing
Alumni and industry support paves way for visible learning spaces

Five new donor-supported spaces in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications will make learning visible beyond the classroom and support the college’s Experience Lab.

New Faculty

Kelli Boling headshot
Kelli Boling

Assistant Professor, Advertising & Public Relations

Kelli Boling has a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. Her research interests include media depiction and reception of traditionally marginalized audiences based on race and gender.

Learn more

Shoun Hill headshot
Shoun Hill

Visiting Professor, Photojournalism

Shoun Hill has more than15 years of experience in photojournalism working for newspapers in Louisville, Minneapolis, Jackson, Memphis and Orlando before landing at The Associated Press.

Learn more

Jason Stamm headshot
Jason Stamm

Assistant Professor, Sports Media & Communication

Jason Stamm has a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. His research interests include sports journalism practice, sports media audiences and college sports recruiting websites.

Learn more

Ciera Kirkpatrick headshot
Ciera Kirkpatrick

Assistant Professor, Advertising & Public Relations

Ciera Kirkpatrick has a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. Her research interests include how messaging affects indivduals’ mental and physical health and how communicators can design messages to improve individual health outcomes.

Learn more

Brian Petrotta headshot
Brian Petrotta

Assistant Professor, Sports Media & Communication

Before earning his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma, Brian Petrotta spent 15 years working in sports public relations and broadcasting. His research interests include a focus on legalized sports betting.

Learn more

Brian Hubbard headshot
Brian Hubbard

Assistant Professor of Practice, Advertising & Public Relations

Before joining academia, Brian Hubbard had a long career in international advertising and public relations, founded ATTO Media and held positions with Y&R, New York; Leo Burnett, Mexico City; and J. Walter Thompson, Mexico City.

Learn more

Retirements

Trina Creighton headshot
Trina Creighton

Assistant Professor, Broadcasting

Associate professor of broadcasting Trina Creighton retired from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on August 20, 2021, after 20 years.

Learn more

Joe Starita headshot
Joe Startia

Professor, Journalism

Journalism professor Joe Starita retired on June 30, 2021, after 21 years at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Learn more

Struthers headshot
Amy Struthers

Professor, Advertising & Public Relations

Amy Struthers, professor of advertising and public relations, retired at the end of the spring 2021 semester after 18 years.

Learn more

Classroom & Student Experiences

Students talk with Garth Brooks over Zoom.
Garth Brooks interviewed by reporting students

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor wasn’t expecting to walk away with the phone number of international country music star Garth Brooks the night before his concert at Memorial Stadium in August.

Ashleigh Kawaoka headshot
Kawaoka wins Bailey Lauerman Design Diversity Challenge

Junior advertising and public relations and graphic design major Ashleigh Kawaoka won the 2021 Bailey Lauerman Design Diversity in Nebraska Challenge on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021.

Michelle Hassler and Chris Graves headshots
Hassler and Graves teach Solutions Journalism to Kenyan journalists

University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications faculty members Michelle Carr Hassler and Chris Graves helped 13 Kenyan female journalists learn about solutions journalism in July as part of a U.S. State Department program.

Students work at the Jacht agency
Jacht Agency becomes PRSSA nationally affiliated

Jacht Agency received the prestigious recognition of becoming a Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Nationally Affiliated firm. Although there are over 100 student-run firms operated by PRSSA Chapters worldwide, only a select few are PRSSA Nationally Affiliated. /p>

March Madness Bracket
Waite teaching machine learning via March Madness

While out walking his dog, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Matt Waite realized that the annual rite of spring and college basketball was also an ideal opportunity to apply some lessons he was teaching in Advanced Sports Data Analysis.

Students conduct interview at landfill
Classes partner to launch environmental podcast depth report

Two classes in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications teamed up during the fall of 2021 to launch an environmental podcast series.

#NILbraska
Name, Image and Likeness Program launches across campus

The College of Journalism and Mass Communications is one of the college partners for the new “#NILbraska” program. The Nebraska Athletics department introduced #NILbraska as a three-part initiative to help student-athletes gain Name, Image and Likeness experience.

Students talk in The Agency
CoJMC launches webzine focused on economic and community development

The UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications published the first edition of Heartland Webzine on Oct. 29, 2021, focusing on women entrepreneurs in Nebraska. Heartland Webzine is one of the programs in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications’ new Experience Lab.

Students shoot a sceen in the studio
Nebraska Nightly launches with first live newscast

Nebraska Nightly, a new live newscast from the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications, aired its first episode on Nov. 5. Nebraska Nightly is one of the programs in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications’ new Experience Lab.

#students watch demonstration
Students practice broadcasting Esports at on-campus tournament

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus recreation center and Esports club held a “Super Smash Showdown” Nintendo Switch tournament during the fall semester. When the showdown coordinators reached out to assistant professor of practice Alan Eno to see if there were students interested in broadcasting the event, Eno jumped at the chance.

Actors talking on the phone
Broadcasting class produces short-form pilot episodes

Students in the BRDC 491 special topics course Short-form TV Series Writing and Producing created television pilot episodes for their final project. They had a screening of the episodes in December with College of Journalism and Mass Communications adjunct professor Michael Svoboda.

Screen shot of website
90.3 KRNU launches new website to showcase college content

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications’ radio station, 90.3 KRNU, launched a new website on Nov. 23. 90.3 KRNU is the campus’ student-run indie rock radio station.

Journalism grad charts unique career path via digital media

Meet Mekita Rivas, a journalism graduate who — through hard work, persistence, skill and a bit of luck — has carved out a space in digital media, editing and writing for publications like Cosmopolitan, The New York Times, and Bustle.

Meet Mekita

Diversity & Inclusion

Carina Collins
UNL junior champions campus inclusion and diversity

Carina Collins was the first winner of the Bailey Lauerman Fund for Student Opportunity $5,000 scholarship which recognizes commitment to her craft and her efforts to cultivate a rich UNL campus environment by helping special needs students.

Speaker talks on microphone at rally
Being Black in Lincoln journalism project featured in Lincoln Journal Star

For twelve weeks in the summer of 2021, journalism students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln were recognized on the front pages of Sunday’s Lincoln Journal Star.

Trina Creighton
Creighton grows as diversity and inclusion leader

Associate Professor Trina Creighton has always been passionate about diversity and inclusion. But in the past few years, she has emerged as a leader on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus and in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, pushing diversity and inclusion efforts forward and ensuring that everyone has a voice.

Student stacks dominos
UNL students aim to teach people how to have productive, civil conversations

This year the UNL Bateman Team created a campaign called The Civility Effect to teach others how to have productive conversations about important topics.

group shot of faculty recipients
Five faculty earn grants from the Center for Transformative Teaching

Five faculty from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications earned grants from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Center for Transformative Teaching on May 27, 2021.

Research & Impact

Frauke Hachtmann, Valerie Jones and Dane Kiambi
Faculty awarded professorships to support research

Three faculty were awarded professorships in 2021 to recognize and support their research and creative activity.

Book Cover
Joe Weber authors book on Clayton Yeutter

“Rhymes with Fighter: Clayton Yeutter, American Statesman,” by Joseph Weber, associate professor of journalism at Nebraska, celebrates the life and career of Clayton Yeutter.

Shot of campus
Faculty, students earn research support & recognition

Faculty and students from across the College of Journalism and Mass Communications earned support and recognition for their research and creative activity.

Woman talks on mobile phone
Mobile Me & You held remotely

The annual Mobile Me & You Conference about storytelling on mobile media platforms was held remotely in October.

See All the Publications and Creative Activity

Hachtmann honored with AEJMC Advertising Division’s Distinguished Teaching Award

Professor of advertising and publications and sports media & communication Frauke Hachtmann was honored with the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (AEJMC) Advertising Division’s Distinguished Teaching Award on August 8, 2021

Read the Story

Alumni Engagement

Knowledge on Tap
Knowledge on Tap brings together faculty, students and alumni

In 2021, faculty in the college presented nine Knowlege on Tap talks.

The presenters were Shari Veil, Maria Marron, Jill Martin, Jessica Fargen Walsh, Frauke Hachtmann, Kaci Richter, Brian Petrotta, Kelli Britten, Valerie Jones and Ciera Kirkpatrick.

Knowledge on Tap is a monthly series where faculty present their latest research and creative activity and then lead a discussion exploring the latest trends and techniques in advertising, broadcasting, journalism, public relations and sports media.

words drinks with the dean
Drinks with the Dean brings CoJMC to alumni

In 2021, Dean Shari Veil hosted Drinks with the Dean events in cities throughout the United States.

These small informal gatherings provide the college a chance to connect with alumni, learn about their career paths and their successes. Alumni also learn about current happenings and future plans in the college.

This year, Dean Veil hosted alumni in New York City, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Minneapolis, Lincoln, Omaha and Kansas City.

Alums celebrate homecoming
CoJMC welcomes alumni back to Andersen Hall for Homecoming

It has been difficult to get together since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. But the college was able to bring together faculty, staff and alumni for a homecoming celebration.

More than 100 joined the event in the lobby of Andersen Hall on Friday, Oct. 1, to bask in their pride of being Huskers and see the renovations completed in Andersen Hall during 2020.

Attendees got a sneak peak of The Agency and plans for the Don and Lorena Meier Studio, the Unlimited Sports Lab and the Perry Multimedia Classroom and Photo Studio.

Alumni Visits

Randy Essex
Seline Lecture with Randy Essex

This year’s Seline Lecture guest speaker was executive editor of The Omaha World-Herald Randy Essex. The virtual event had over 50 attendees. His talk "Journalism Love Stories" covered why a news career is both important and fun

Wendy Guilles
Jacht hosts master class with Wendy Guillies

Wendy Guillies is CEO of the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, one of the largest private foundations in the U.S. In April, she led a masters class for CoJMC students called "Leading from the middle: Career Lessons from a Communicator-Turned-CEO.”

Kevin Abourezk
Kevin Abourezk chosen as 2021 Multicultural Homecoming Distinguished Alumni

The College of Journalism and Mass Communication welcomed Kevin Abourezk, a 2012 graduate of the professional journalism master of arts program, as one of UNL’s Distinguished Alumni at the Multicultural Homecoming event on Sept. 20, 2021.

Husker Love Stories

We interviewed nine couples who fell in love and met through their connection with CoJMC. Some couples met in an activity or a class, others were set up by a mutual friend at the college, and still others met post-graduation in a "right place, right time" circumstance. See how each of these couples use the communication skills they learned at the college in their work and personal lives.

Read the Story

By the Numbers

by the numbers graphic

Honors and Awards

Awards received by faculty, staff and students in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications from January 1 to December 31, 2021. 

American Advertising Federation
  • Kyla Jackson, Most Promising Multicultural Student
  • Ann Milroy, Most Promising Multicultural Student
American Advertising Federation, Region 9
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln National Student Advertising Competition Team, 2nd Place, American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition 
American Advertising Federation, Nebraska Chapter
  • Mackenzie Zaruba, Gold Addy, Out-of-Home and Ambient Media, Single Poster, “Nebraska Film Festival” 
  • Mackenzie Zaruba, Gold Addy, Cross-Platform, Integrated Brand Identity Campaign, “Nebraska Film Festival” 
  • Kyla Jackson, Remy Beauclaire, Rachel Podraza, Haley Jaroszek, Aaliyah Wells-Samci and Marsya Mazrani, Gold Addy, Cross-Platform, Consumer Campaign, “NCC: #NoFilter” 
  • Julia Strilkivsky, Gold Addy, Elements of Advertising, Animation or Special Effects, “Do More Good, This Is The Year”  
  • Destiney Chitrodom, Silver Addy, Marketing and Sales, Publication Design, “Advertising Case Study”  
  • Gus Fulton, Silver Addy, Print Advertising, Magazine Advertising, “Arby’s: Some Things Never Change”  
  • Ad Club, Silver Addy, Out-of-Home and Ambient Media, Poster Campaign, “The Ad Club Experience”  
  • UNL National Student Advertising Competition Team, Silver Addy, Cross-Platform, Consumer Campaign, “Adobe: A New Dawn”   
  • Matt Sernett, Silver Addy, Elements of Advertising, Illustration Campaign, “Creatures”  
  • Julia Kennedy, Silver Addy, Elements of Advertising, Still Photography, “Move Fashion Photography” 
  • Julia Kennedy, Silver Addy, Elements of Advertising, Still Photography, “Tea Vibe: We Know Quality” 
  • Gus Fulton, Silver Addy, Elements of Advertising, Animation or Special Effects, “I’m Afraid We’re All Born Human”  
American Institute of Graphic Arts, Blue Ridge Chapter
  • Jacht Ad Lab, Flux Student Design Competition Award, "The Decent Co"
American Marketing Association, Lincoln Chapter
  • National Student Advertising Competition Team, Prism Award, Digital Ads
  • National Student Advertising Competition Team, Prism Award, Animation/Motion Graphics
  • National Student Advertising Competition Team, Prism Award, Short-form Video
  • National Student Advertising Competition Team, Sterling Award, B2B Marketing Campaign
  • National Student Advertising Competition Team, Sterling Award, Integrated Public Relations
  • Jacht Agency, Prism Award, Animation/Motion Graphics
  • Jacht Agency, Prism Award, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Jacht Agency, Prism Award, Long Video
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications
  • Frauke Hachtmann, Advertising Division Distinguished Teaching Award
  • Maria Marron, Donna Allen Award for Feminist Advocacy
Broadcast Education Association 
  • Brent Bartels, 3rd Place, Festival of Media Arts Student Sports Competition, Radio Sports Story/Feature/News Category
Hearst Journalism Awards
  • Andrianna Jacobs, 9th Place, Hearst Journalism Awards, Explanatory Reporting Competition
  • Luke Mullin, 2nd Place, Hearst Journalism Awards, Sports Writing Competition
  • Drake Keeler, 9th Place, Hearst Journalism Awards, Sports Writing Competition
  • Natalie Saenz, 3rd Place, Hearst Journalism Awards, Audio News and Features Competition
  • Luke Mullin, Runner-up, Hearst Journalism Awards, National Writing Championship
  • Natalie Saenz, Runner-up, Hearst Journalism Awards, National Audio Championship
  • Natalie Saenz, Best Use of Audio for News Coverage, Hearst Journalism Awards
Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association 
  • Allie Snow, 1st Place, Eric Sevareid Awards, Hard Feature Category
  • Geoff Extrom, 1st Place, Eric Sevareid Awards, Talk/Public Affairs Category
  • Ashley Chong, Ted Cronin, Cicia Lin, Karlie Moore and Caitlin Thomas, 1st Place, Eric Sevareid Awards, Team Multimedia Storytelling News Category
  • John Shrader, 1st Place, Eric Sevareid Awards, Documentary/Special Category
National Federation of Press Women
  • Kaci Richter, 2nd Place, National Communications Contest, Talk Show: Radio Category, "Talk Box"
Nebraska  Alumni Association
  • Emily Conrad, Roy and Catherine Yaley Student Leadership Award
Nebraska Broadcasters Association
  • Grace Seeman, 1st Place, Pinnacle Awards, Best Student Radio Public Service Announcement
  • Natalie Saenz, 1st Place, Pinnacle Awards, Best Student Radio News Feature
  • Damon Barr, 1st Place, Pinnacle Awards, Best Student Television News Feature
  • Ryan Valenta, 1st Place, Pinnacle Awards, Best Student Television Live Sports Event
  • OliviaRamaekers, NBA Foundation Scholarship
  • Kylee Sodomka, NBA Foundation Scholarship
  • Kellen Sturgis, NBA Foundation Scholarship
Omaha Press Club
  • CoJMC Advising Team, Recipient, John Savage Visual Communications Fellowship
  • Kirsten Wandrey, Paul N. Williams Scholarship
  • Abby Ostdiek, John Davis Scholarship
  • Emma Krab, Stan Bond Scholarship
  • Alyssa Johnson, Panko-Rober's/Presidents Memorial Scholarship
  • Chris Stoehr, Senator Edward Zorinsky Memorial Scholarship for Graduate Study
  • Trina Creighton, Hall of Fame
Public Relations Society of Nebraska
  • UNL Public Relations Student Student Society, Award of Excellence, Outstanding Community or Nonprofit Event, PRSSA Gratitude Gala
  • UNL Public Relations Student Student Society, Award of Merit, Community Relations, "The Civility Effect"
  • UNL Public Relations Student Student Society, Award of Merit, Community Relations, The Civility Effect
  • UNL Public Relations Student Student Society, Award of Merit, Outstanding Community or Nonprofit Event, UNL Black Student Union Fundraiser
  • UNL Public Relations Student Student Society, Award of Excellence, Outstanding Professional Development, The Civility Effect
  • UNL Public Relations Student Student Society, Award of Merit, Outstanding Social Media or Electronic Media Outreach Campaign, #PR Hunt Social Media Campaign
  • Jacht Agency, Award of Merit, Outstanding Branding Campaign, Malone Branding Campaign
  • Jacht Agency, Award of Merit, Outstanding Campus Event, Husker Dialogues Campus Event
  • Jacht Agency, Award of Merit, Outstanding Strategy to Address a Problem, Jacht Recruitment Campaign
  • Jacht Agency, Award of Merit, Outstanding Video, McNair Scholars Video Campaign
Public Relations Student Society of America
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bateman Team, Finalist Bateman Case Study Competition
  • Jacht Agency, Public Relations Student Society of America National Affiliation 
  • JUNL Public Relations Student Society of America, Star Chapter Award
Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards
  • Ike Somanas, Morgan Wallace and James Wooldridge, Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, Best Collegiate Reporting, "Kids Imprisoned"
Society of Professional Journalists, Region 7
  • Dylan Patrick, Winner, Mark of Excellence Awards, General News Reporting Category
  •  Libby Seline, Finalist, Mark of Excellence Awards, General News Reporting Category 
  • Aila Ganic and Kayla Vondracek, Finalist, Mark of Excellence Awards, In-Depth Reporting Category
  • Andrianna Jacobs, Finalist, Mark of Excellence Awards, Feature Writing Category
  • Sophia Svanda, Winner, Mark of Excellence Awards, Online News Reporting Category 
  • Celeste Kenworthy, Finalist, Mark of Excellence Awards, Online News Reporting Category 
  • Brittni McGuire, Winner, Mark of Excellence Awards, Online Feature Reporting Category 
  • Lauren Dietrich, Finalist, Mark of Excellence Awards, Online Feature Reporting Category
  • Grace Gorenflo, Winner, Mark of Excellence Awards, Online In-Depth Reporting Category
  • Aila Ganic, Finalist, Mark of Excellence Awards, Online In-Depth Reporting Category
  • Meera Patel, Winner, Mark of Excellence Awards, Best Independent Online Student Publication 
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Collin Fink, Winner, UNL Student Affairs Student Luminary Award 
  • Thao Duong, Winner, UNL Student Affairs Student Luminary Award 
  • Jared Long, Winner, UNL Student Affairs Student Luminary Award 
  • Rebecca Boyd, Chancellor's Scholar
  • Addisyn Dupler, Chancellor's Scholar
  • John Grinvalds, Chancellor's Scholar
  • Adrianna Jacobs, Chancellor's Scholar 
  • Jared Long, Chancellor's Scholar
  • Kelli Britten, Family & Friends Recognition Award
  • Mollie Cox, Family & Friends Recognition Award
  • Alex Fernando, Family & Friends Recognition Award
  • Kris Scanlon, Family & Friends Recognition Award
  • Jennifer Sheppard, Family & Friends Recognition Award
  • Adam Wagler, Family & Friends Recognition Award
  • Ciera Kirkpatrick, Winner, Nebraska Research Slam
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Journalism and Mass Communications
  • Drake Keeler, 1st Place, Roper Sports Writing Competition
  • Luke Mullin, 2nd Place, Roper Sports Writing Competition
  • Kylee Sodomka, 3rd Place, Roper Sports Writing Competition
  • Marko Jerkovic, 4th Place, Roper Sports Writng Competition
  • Luci Moran, Winner, Philip Perry Photojournalism Challenge
  • Ashleigh Kawaoka, Winner, Bailey Lauerman Design Diversity Challenge
  • Mia Everding, Hitchcock Fellowship

Thank You For Your Support

The College of Journalism and Mass Communications is grateful for all our donors past and present, including our 2021 donors recognized here.

List of Donor Names