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The National Communication Association has awarded Andy J. King, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Public Relations at Texas Tech University, and his collaborators, with the National Communication Association's prestigious Golden Anniversary Monograph Award for his research in the field of health communication.
The research project was a collaboration between King, and Jakob D. Jensen, Ph.D., Melinda M. Krakow, Ph.D., and N. Jewel Samadder, MD, all of the University of Utah; and Nick Carciopplo, Ph.D., and Susan Morgan, Ph. D., both of the University of Miami.
"The project was completed a few years ago, but tracked behavioral data longitudinally, as the study tested how communicating information about colorectal cancer in a certain way influenced people adhering to colorectal cancer screening recommendations," King said. "It took a total of about three years, which included designing the study and software used, carrying out the intervention, and waiting to get the tracked data."
King explained that the study looked at adherence to colorectal cancer screening recommendations from doctors through intervention among manufacturing workers and healthcare workers. He said that after being exposed to narratives and other types of messages, the respondents and their medical habits were then studied via insurance claims for the next 18 months.
"Because of that, we were able to have behavioral outcomes linked to our intervention, and we found evidence that certain types of messages positively influenced people's health behaviors," King said.
In addition to this study, King said that he is continuing work on health-related communication research related to cancer prevention and organ donation.
Trent Seltzer, Ph.D., the chairperson for the Department of Public Relations, described King as an excellent scholar and said that the department congratulates him on receiving this prestigious award.
"Dr. King continues to build a reputation as one of the most outstanding and dynamic young scholars in our field," Seltzer said.
King said, "Research is essential to being a better teacher. I'm a better teacher when I'm doing relevant research. Being a productive researcher is important to connecting with students in the classroom and preparing them for life after college."
King and his collaborators will be recognized as recipients of the 2015 Golden Anniversary Monograph Award at an annual award ceremony held by the National Communication Association this November in Las Vegas.
- The Region 8 Society of Professional Journalists honored Lucinda Holt, a recent graduate from the College of Media & Communication, as a national finalist in the Online Feature Reporting category of the 2014 Mark of Excellence competition for her story "American Dream, Mexican Nightmare."
Holt graduated from CoMC in December 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism and a minor in anthropology. She said she began working on the story in her Advanced Reporting class taught by Randy Reddick, Ph.D. After the students were told to pitch several topics, Holt said she felt that a piece on immigration was "The One."
"Immigration has always been a hot-button issue, yet very necessary," Holt said. "The first angle I chose was the one of the immigrant – an angle that is often underrepresented. I was fortunate enough to have met a family who was willing to share their heartbreaking tale of loss and unity, struggle and strife. In this process, I was also able to meet a woman who had been apprehended and detained by authorities for bringing undocumented children across the border."
Holt said she then traveled to Juarez, Mexico, to take a closer look at the perspective from "the other side of the fence." She explained that she worked closely with Reddick, who guided her with statistics, advice and encouragement.
Reddick, the Morris Professor of Journalism in CoMC, said that when students in Advanced Reporting pitch a topic, they are required to follow the "Three-D Depth Reporting" rule where their project includes documents to add their unique perspective to the story, data to help put an issue into some form of objective context, and diverse sources to give voice to all the players in an issue.
While "American Dream, Mexican Nightmare" started as a semester project, Reddick said that Holt continued to work on it, surpassing the project's requirement. "It was much more than just an assignment to her, especially as she got into it," Reddick explained. "I would send Lucinda a note about documents or data or even sources that I ran into in my reading that might help put her story into context or provide new perspective."
Reddick said that in addition to following up on leads for the story, Holt also did an incredible job of developing her own sources. "Throughout the project, it was clear Lucinda had a rare combination of compassion and healthy skepticism toward the human subjects of her story," Reddick said, and went on to explain that Holt also exhibited some "hard core courage" as she ventured into Juarez to document her own experience crossing the border.
Holt said that her "biggest break" in the investigation for the story occurred when she had the opportunity to do a personal ride-along tour with border patrol agents, which gave her insight into law enforcement operations and tactics.
"For me, this story was genuinely a labor of love and I could not have done it without the support and guidance from my family and CoMC family – specifically Dr. Reddick, Professor Brewton, and Alicia Keene," she said.
Holt is also a former Enterprise Editor at The Hub@TTU, a multimedia student-run publication in CoMC. Sarah Self-Walbrick, a CoMC master's student and the Hub's Graduate Managing Director, said that working with Holt has been one of the highlights of her time at The Hub@TTU.
"She has endless story ideas, and knows how to execute them in the most effective way possible," Self-Walbrick said of Holt. "She has a passion for reporting on issues that actually impact people, and hopes to make a change in the world through her reporting. Even though she hasn't worked for us since the fall 2014 semester, I still call and ask her advice on how to go about certain stories. She is truly an inspiration to me."
Pete Brewton, J.D., formerly the Hutcheson Professor of Professional Practice in the Department of Journalism and Electronic Media, was the journalism faculty advisor to The Hub@TTU in 2014. He described the story as one that took the kind of guts rarely if ever seen in college reporting. "Lucinda Holt went above and beyond the call of duty to get this story," Brewton said.
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- Alumni Daniel Sneed shares tips on how to land your dream job and tells us why you should treat a job search as a full-time job. - See more here.
- Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication alumnus Rick L'Amie recently accepted a position as the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority's manager of communications. - See more here.
- Get to know faculty member Bill Dean, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Journalism and Electronic Media, Public Relations and Executive Vice President and CEO of the Texas Tech Alumni Association.. Watch here