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Faculty Member Receives Scripps Howard/AEJMC Grant


JONESBORO — Dr. Lillie Fears, professor of multimedia journalism production at Arkansas State University, has been selected as one of six faculty members across the country to receive a grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation Visiting Professors in Social Media Program.

The six visiting professors, members of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), will have the opportunity this summer to learn first-hand how news and information delivery is being transformed in a digital media world. Fears will be working with the Dallas Morning News in Dallas.

"I'm both honored and excited to be one of this year's recipients of a Scripps Howard Social Media grant,” said Fears. “I look forward to gaining exposure at the Dallas Morning News about how social media is transforming newspaper newsrooms."

This is the sixth year the foundation has funded grants for journalism/communication faculty to spend two weeks during the summer learning how media outlets are using social media across multiple platforms.

Educators then take these updated skills and knowledge back to their classrooms and share with students what they have learned.  The second phase of the program funds the travel of an outlet representative to the faculty’s campus for a three- to five-day visit.

“We are excited to have Dr. Fears participate in this program,” added Dr. Brad Rawlins, dean. “This grant is extremely competitive, and to have Dr. Fears win it indicates her preparation and dedication to professional development in multimedia journalism. There is no doubt that our students will benefit from her experience this summer and from the visiting journalist from the Dallas Morning News who will speak to them next fall.” 

Each grant provides $3,000 for the visiting professor’s travel, housing and other expenses for the two-week media outlet visit and $1,000 for expenses related to the outlet representative’s campus visit.  AEJMC administers the program for the foundation, selecting a panel of judges to evaluate applications based on the value/need of the program for the applicant, impact of the visit on the applicant’s home campus, strength of ideas for the professional’s visit and the overall quality of the application.  The call for applications was issued in February, and the selection process was completed in May.

"The selection of Dr. Fears as a recipient of this Scripps Howard grant brings honor and recognition not just to her but our entire department,” said Dr. Osabuohien Amienyi, chair. “The experience she will gain from her externship will be transformational to our efforts to prepare the next generation of journalism professionals. It will enhance our ability to keep our student learning at pace with contemporary industry demands.”

In addition to Fears’ selection, recipients for 2016-17 include Amara Aguilar, University of Southern California, who will be working with C-SPAN in Washington, D.C.; Jan Boyles, Iowa State University, who will be working with the Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C.; Mark Poepsel, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, who will be working with DigitasLBi Chicago in Chicago; Larry Strout, Mississippi State University, who will be working with WCPO TV and WCPO.com in Cincinnati; and Lei Zhang, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, who will be working with Scripps Washington Bureau in Washington, D.C.

The Scripps Howard Foundation is the corporate philanthropy of The E.W. Scripps Company, news and information company with 33 television stations and 34 radio stations operating throughout the United States.

AEJMC is a nonprofit, educational association of journalism and mass communication educators, students and media professionals. It was founded 104 years ago in Chicago by a group of 23 journalism educators and practitioners. 

Lillie Fears
Dr. Lillie Fears