UGA’s DiGamma Kappa recognizes top students, founding member of journalism leader

UGA’s DiGamma Kappa recognizes top students, founding member and journalism leader

Athens, Ga. – Three Grady College students, a founding member of DiGamma Kappa and a prominent electronic journalism leader were recognized at the organization’s annual banquet on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

DiGamma Kappa (DGK) is the nation’s oldest student broadcast society and was founded at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1939.

Telecommunications students Kathryn “Kacey” Patterson and Carlos Perez received Esther Awards, while Virginia Clary received the WSB Radio Award.

Patterson, a December 2007 telecommunications graduate, and Carlos Perez, a senior telecommunications major, were awarded Esther Awards for outstanding performance in a radio or television internship. The Esther Award honors the late Esther S. Pruett, a staunch supporter of students and founding member of the Georgia Association of Broadcasters, sponsor of the award.

Patterson, of Suwanee, attended Georgia State University and was originally a film and television major. After transferring to UGA, she changed her major to telecommunication arts to obtain a broader knowledge of electronic media. While at UGA, she interned for mtvU and Linkin Park’s marketing firm, Machine Shop Marketing.

In the summer of 2007, Patterson was a promotions intern for the syndicated radio station, Radio Disney in Atlanta. While at Radio Disney, she learned about promotion for a large corporation and many aspects of radio production. “I enjoyed marketing and promotion, working with the kids and seeing how excited they got,” Patterson said. She is currently working as a marketing and public relations coordinator for the small technology company, Wi-Ex.

Carlos Perez is a senior telecommunications major from Douglasville. He has been a production manager on both the Newsource 15 and Georgia Gameday programs. He has also served as a director/technical director for the “Decision 2006” and “Water Watch” Newsource 15 programs. Perez will co-direct the upcoming Red Clay Chef competition at the Taste of Athens on February 23.

Perez interned with the “Better Mornings” program at WGCL in Atlanta (CBS 46) last summer, as well as participated in the Campus Moviefest program. “I learned how to manage my time, apply what I’ve learned here, work with people and get a quality program done,” Perez said. “I’ve found this is really what I want to do, so thank you Grady for being so great.” He hopes to work in live television, whether news or sporting events, when he graduates.

Virginia Clary, a senior broadcast news major from Lilburn, received the WSB Radio Award. The award is presented annually by Atlanta radio station, News/Talk 750 WSB, to a student who shows an outstanding commitment to community service and who plans to embark on a career in radio. Clary has been on five mission trips around the country. “This fall I was co-host of a sports talk show called the Georgia Tailgate Show. We did live broadcasts from the Tate Center before each home football game,” Clary said. “We promoted the Athens Area Humane Society and encouraged listeners on campus for the game to give money or buy kisses from one of the dogs the group brought along.”

Clary described her interest in radio as a medium in which she could truly express herself. “I just fell in love with it and can’t stop,” she said. “And as far as being a girl in the sports world-I’m loving it. I take it upon myself to give a voice to female sports.” Her dream career would be to host a sports talk show in Atlanta or Boston.

Also recognized at the banquet was Warren Jones, a 1941 Grady College alumnus and founding member of DiGamma Kappa. He showed off his original gold DiGamma Kappa key and congratulated the winning students. “I congratulate you and hope you will be alive, alert and aware to the things on this campus and be involved. No one would believe I would be here 67 years later and still do a regular broadcast on WRGA,” he said.

Jones, from LaGrange, served as a graduate assistant for legendary Grady Dean John Drewry during the founding of the Peabody Awards and taught a number of prominent alumni, including Pulitzer Prize-winning editor Eugene Patterson. Jones said he still has his grade books to remember the students.

The final recognition of the evening went to media expert and electronic journalism leader Barbara Cochran who received DiGamma Kappa’s 2008 Distinguished Achievement Award in Broadcasting.

Cochran has been president of the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) and the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation (RTNDF) since 1997. RTNDA is the world’s largest professional organization devoted to electronic journalism, representing local and network news executives in broadcasting, cable and other electronic media in more than 30 countries. RTNDF promotes excellence in electronic journalism through research, education and training for news professionals and journalism students.

A leading advocate for First Amendment rights, Cochran has been at the forefront of the major issues facing electronic journalists, including fighting for cameras and microphones in state and federal courtrooms, protecting journalists’ access in post-9/11 America, opposing government secrecy and battling intrusive regulation of news content. She has led RTNDA’s sponsorship of Sunshine Week, an annual campaign to raise public awareness of the importance of open government.

She discussed how important the values of journalism are to the broadcast industry. “It’s about finding the balance between entertainment and news, what the audience wants and needs to know, fact and opinion, and the business of news and profits,” Cochran said during the banquet. “The issues are the same and the values are unchanged-trust, truth, integrity, accountability, dependability-and all must work diligently to make sure they survive and thrive.”

Established in 1915, UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers seven undergraduate majors including advertising, broadcast news, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and telecommunication arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to 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, visit www.grady.uga.edu.