Campus News Society & Culture

Castengera named recipient of Grady College’s Darwin-Davis Award

Athens, Ga. – Michael Castengera, senior lecturer in the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, was recently selected as the 2010 recipient of the college’s Darwin-Davis Award.

Also known as the “Grady Spirit” award, the honor was established by an endowment from Dean Cully Clark and his wife, Mary, to annually recognize a member of the Grady College faculty or staff whose performance reflects those qualities of dedication and friendship that best capture the Grady Spirit.

“I’m profoundly honored to have been chosen as the fourth recipient of the Darwin-Davis Award,” said Castengera. “To me, the award is a special honor, because it comes from the people I work with, people I am proud to say are not just colleagues but who are also, in many ways, friends.”

Castengera has worked in Grady’s department of telecommunications since 2001, co-teaching the capstone broadcast news course and overseeing editorial and production for the daily student-run newscast. Since 2008, he has served as project manager of the University of Georgia’s WNEG-TV, overseeing the acquisition and development of the new commercial television station. He also is responsible for integrating the station into the curriculum of the college, along with initiating and implementing grant applications.

Castengera was recognized for his many contributions during an awards ceremony in with faculty and staff at the Grady College. Clark presented the award and shared several quotes from co-workers who nominated him for the honor.

“Michael expertly maneuvers between competing demands of running a television station and mentoring students,” wrote one colleague. “WNEG represents a significant asset for Grady and Michael is a driving force behind that asset. He could be doing the same job in industry for a lot more money, but chooses to serve Grady College and its students.”

Another noted, “Michael’s leadership, friendship and grace under pressure, while welcoming every opportunity for the vision of WNEG-TV and the enterprises of the college, are remarkable.”

A native of Key West, Fla., Castengera received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Florida, and his master’s in political science from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

His work experience encompasses many forms of media including television, radio, newspaper and the Internet. Castengera worked as a newspaper reporter at The West Australian, Perth, Western Australia; The Orlando Sentinel, Fla.; and the Jacksonville Journal, Fla.

His television experience, in addition to WNEG-TV, includes stints as station manager/news director at WINK-TV, Fort Myers, Fla.; news director at WTVQ-TV, Lexington, Ky.; assistant news director at KMOV-TV, St. Louis; assignment manager at WTVJ-TV, Miami; news director at McKinnon Broadcasting’s KIII-TV, Corpus Christi, Texas and KBMT-TV, Beaumont, Texas; assistant news director at KWTV-TV, Oklahoma City; and assignment manager at WJXT-TV, Jacksonville, Fla.

Since 2005, Castengera has been the publisher/editor of “Message from Michael,” ( a weekly blog and e-newsletter focusing on media developments, most particularly new media. The newsletter has a subscription base of 400+ readers, in both academia and industry and is re-distributed worldwide by 602 Communications.

Castengera also serves as an advisor/consultant to Intelligent Media Consultants, Atlanta, and is president of Media Strategies and Tactics, Inc. consulting firm in Athens.

The award, which is accompanied by a $1,000 monetary gift and plaque, is named for Arthur B. Darwin and Harold E. Davis, 1949 and 1950 graduates of the Grady College, whose personal friendship and lives of service inspired its creation.

Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers undergraduate majors in advertising, broadcast news, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and telecommunication arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to WNEG-TV, the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, see or follow Grady on Twitter at