Journalism and Communication Spring Social 2014

The Department of Journalism and Communication celebrated its graduating class on Friday, May 2. Seven students and one alumnus were honored at the spring social.

David Jensen, class of 1989, received the JPC Alumni Award for his generous pro-bono photography for animal organizations. His photos have helped abandoned pets find loving homes.

"David's passion for the human-animal connection has resulted in wonderful partnerships with animal welfare organizations during the past 25 years," said Friends of Pets board president Michele Girault. "Friends of Pets and David began a partnership initially focused on the Pet Patrol, a collaboration with the Anchorage Daily News featuring pets available for adoption. As a result of the amazing images captured by David hundreds of pets have found lifetime homes through the years."

David combined his talent for photography and passion for helping into events such as Clicks for Licks, a fundraiser that supported Friends of Pets, and gave members of the community an opportunity to have their pets photographed.

His book, "It's Important to Paws," just won a Gold Medal/First Place National Award in the category of Animals / Pets by the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs).

Shawna Sweeney was awarded the Student Scholar Award. Her paper, "Looking at College News: A Content Analysis of Online College Newspapers Using Eye Tracking Methodology" was a UAA Student Showcase winner in 2013. Shawna's interest and engagement with her classes and classmates helped her earn this award.

Audri Pleas was honored with the Student Service Award. The outgoing KRUA station manager has had a profound impact not only on the department, but also on the university. She has been involved in new student orientation and for the past couple of years has sat on the UAA Concert Board, bringing such names as Macklemore and Ryan Lewis to Anchorage.

Thomas McIntyre was chosen as this year's Outstanding Student. He is a clear writer and humble hard worker. He also won several awards in the annual Alaska Press Club contest.

Pearl-Grace Rasmussen earned the Dean Berg Integrity in Journalism Award. Pearl-Grace has a position with KTBY-TV, the Your Alaska Link ABC/Fox station. Pearl-Grace will leave a lasting legacy in the department. The award was established last year to honor Berg, who was a television journalist and later worked in public affairs with Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, RCA Alaska Communications and the Teamsters Local 959.

Evan Erickson earned the Max Llanes "Behind the Camera" Award for his video production skills. Llanes was a student who excelled in photography and video production.

Younger Oliver was honored with the Communication Minor of the Year Award. Jonathon Taylor was recognized for the award he received at the U.S. Universities Debating Championship. He was recognized as the Top Novice speaker at the tournament, the debating equivalent of Rookie of the Year.

Mohamad Obeidi was given the inaugural Up-and-Coming Student Award.


Big change for local journalism

A big change is in the works for news reporting in Alaska. After 35 years, the Anchorage Daily News will return to Alaskan ownership next month when Alaska Dispatch Publishing closes a deal to purchase the Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper from California-based McClatchy Company. 

You can read the Alaska Dispatch's article on the agreement here:

The Daily News' article on the changeover can be found here:

UAA Department of Journalism and Communication Facebook page
UAA Department of Journalism and Communication Google+ page