Media Day 2011 Offers Sound Advice to Students

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The University of West Georgia’s Mass Communications Department gave veteran journalist Shaunya Chavis-Rucker its Distinguished Alumni Award at its 30th annual Media Day program.

The University of West Georgia’s Mass Communications Department gave veteran journalist Shaunya Chavis-Rucker its Distinguished Alumni Award at its 30th annual Media Day program.Chavis-Rucker, a former WSB-TV reporter and anchor, graduated in 1988. She is the anchor and executive producer for the flagship weekly news program “Fulton Today” on Fulton County’s public government television station, FGTV. In May she will launch “The Chat Room,” a news magazine program on WXIA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Atlanta.

“You need to get as many internships as possible – even if they are non-paid internships,” Chavis-Rucker told the mass communications students in her keynote address.

“This opportunity is key and critical to your success,” she said.

Media Day included a panel discussion and a networking session for UWG mass communications students.

The panelists gave students a similar message; if they want to succeed they have to learn as much they can. In the new media world they must know how to shoot stills and video, understand technical equipment and keep up with technology.

But the most important thing they need to do is “write, write and write some more,” said Mitch Gray, UWG’s sports information director, during the panel discussion.

“No matter what end of the business you are talking about -- whether it be radio, print, video, social media, public relations -- the one common thread everything has is writing," Gray said.

“It is the most important thing,” said Gray, who also hosts B92 Country’s morning show and is the “Voice of the Wolves” on Kiss 102.7 FM.

The other panelists were:

  • Elise Burkart, a reporter for WAKA CBS 8 News in Alabama, who graduated from UWG in 2008.
  • Kristal Dixon, a reporter for the Cherokee Tribune, who graduated in 2006.
  • Jason Wilson, an AV specialist for the Social Security Administration, who graduated in 1999.
  • Kristal McKanders, a former journalist who is with the Atlanta public relations firm Jackson Spalding.