Society & Culture

UGA Grady College plans Alumni Authors Showcase

Athens, Ga. – Five alumni from the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication will return to Athens during Homecoming Week to take part in Grady’s first Alumni Authors Showcase, set for Thursday, Oct. 14, at 4 p.m. in the Reading Room of the Miller Learning Center.

Alumni authors Frank Baker (ABJ ’77), Rachel Balducci (MA ’97), Mignon Franklin Ballard (ABJ ’56) and Ken Burger (ABJ ’73) will speak, and Donald A. Davis (ABJ ’62) will join the group via Skype. The inaugural authors event will kick off Grady’s Homecoming festivities.

Authors will discuss their work and answer questions from the audience. Associate professor of journalism and Grady alumna Leara Rhodes will moderate the panel and lead the discussion.

Baker is the author of Political Campaigns and Political Advertising: A Media Literacy Guide, his second book.He is the developer of a nationally recognized media literary resource website, a well-respected speaker and holds hundreds of workshops across the country focusing on media literacy. Baker worked in television news for nine years and public education for 11 years. He resides in Columbia, S.C.

Balducci is a writer, newspaper columnist, blogger and author of How Do You Tuck in a Superhero? And Other Delightful Mysteries of Raising Boys. She is a mother to five children, all boys, and they greatly affect her life and influence her writing. Her website,, has been nominated for several awards. Balducci is a former staff writer for the Augusta Chronicle and has been published in numerous magazines including Good Housekeeping, Faith and Family and The Word Among Us. She resides inSavannah.

Hark! The Herald Angels Screamed is Ballard’s latest mystery in her seven-book Augusta Goodnight series. She is an award-winning children’s book author and accomplished mystery writer who has enjoyed telling ghost tales since she was a young child, a fact she attributes to being born close to Halloween. Ballard has written 10 additional novels in addition to her Goodnight series. She resides in Fort Mill, S.C.

Burger, metro columnist and former executive sports editor for the Charleston Post and Courier, published his first novel, Swallow Savannah, in 2008.The book deals with a small Southern community’s struggle with power and civil rights. Burger has won numerous awards for his writing, including being named one of the country’s best sports columnists by the Associated Press three times. He was honored as South Carolina Journalist of the Year in 1996 and most recently was named “Best Newspaper Columnist” by readers of Charleston City Paper. He resides in Charleston, S.C.

Davis is the author of 19 books, including seven New York Times bestsellers. His latest, Clean Kill, is his fourth sniper novel co-authored with top-ranked Marine sniper, Jack Coughlin. Now retired, Coughlin was with the Third Battalion, Fourth Regiment Marines during the drive to Baghdad and has operated on a wide range of assignments in hotspots around the world. Davis will discuss his new book and distinguished career. He lives outside Boulder, Colo.

The five showcase authors were selected from submissions by Grady College faculty, staff and alumni. The goal of the program is to bring together authors from a variety of genres and graduation years.

The authors will have their latest books available for purchase and all except Davis will be available for signing at a reception following the program.

The showcase is a UGA Blue Card event for students, and is free and open to the public.

Established in 1915, the UGA 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