ETSU Communication Day to focus on 'real life' experiences

JOHNSON CITY -- More than 300 high school students and over 19 of the region's top professionals are taking part in Communication Day this week at East Tennessee State University.
   On Friday, March 22, teen-agers will be pounding out hard-hitting news stories, learning the ropes backstage in Gilbreath Hall's Bud Frank Theater, standing in the spotlight or behind the camera for a newscast, and learning how to persuade audiences and use words effectively. The full morning of workshops will give a close-up view of communication careers and the tasks each entails.
   While the students coming from schools throughout East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina possibly think they know everything already, "Hopefully, they will take away with them a better idea of the career path they want to follow," says Dr. Charles Roberts, chair of the sponsoring department of communication.
   "This has been a long tradition in our department," he added.
   "Communication Day gives us the chance to reach out to high school students, showcase the university and provide some extra knowledge and expertise about the field of communication. We would like to see this program continue another 20 years."
   Since 1978, the department has invited the region's young people to campus where the students learn more about each specialty area within the ETSU unit: speech, theater, public relations, journalism, advertising, and radio/TV broadcasting.
   This year, students will be able to participate in hands-on activities for journalism, theater and yearbook. The professionals will conduct "Meet the Pros" sessions where students can ask questions and gain firsthand information about communication careers.
   "It is a great opportunity for students to learn skills in their field of interest," said Stacy Fentress, Communication Day coordinator. "This year we are not only privileged to have the region's best-known professionals speaking, but we are pleased to have our own nationally recognized actor Pat Cronin speaking for ETSU's theater division."
   Registration starts at 9 a.m. in the D.P. Culp University Center, followed by opening speaker Delanna Reed of ETSU's storytelling program. The students then break for their respective interest areas.
   Guest speakers for "Meet the Pros" include Josh Smith and Phil Schoener, WJHL-TV11; Chip Kessler, the "Voice of ETSU Sports"; Steve Haas, WQUT-FM radio; Sam Barnett and Tony Treadway, Creative Energy; Bob Feagins, Kingsport Chamber of Commerce; Jay Sokolow, Target Marketing; Gregg Powers and Sam Watson, Johnson City Press; Karen Brewster, Barter Theater costumer and ETSU faculty; and Cronin, ETSU Theater faculty.
   Three specialized workshops will feature hands-on activities led by the following professionals: journalism -- Brad Lifford, Kingsport Times-News, and Lise Cutshaw, ETSU faculty and adviser for ETSU's George W. Kelly Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists; yearbook -- Danny Boring and Kelly Pryor, Josten's yearbook consultants, and Julie Speer, Herff-Jones; and a theater workshop in unarmed combat -- Pamela Hurley, ETSU adjunct professor.
   "There have been many changes made to Communication Day 2002," Fentress noted. "The number of students has doubled from last year. We're eager to see how the teachers and students respond to the new format to gain insight on how to make it even better next year."
   Schools wanting to participate or in need of more information should contact Fentress at (423) 538-4528, or Lise Cutshaw, 439-4199, or cutshaw@etsu.edu