College Honors Local Media

By Chris Shoemaker | December 6, 2017 | RSS

College Honors Local Media
Bluefield College paid tribute to the work of local journalists during its 18th Annual Media Appreciation Day, November 30, which featured remarks from Bluefield Daily Telegraph editor Samantha Perry and the presentation of two $1,000 Shott Excellence in Media Awards.

Bluefield College paid tribute to the work of local journalists during its 18th Annual Media Appreciation Day, November 30, which featured remarks from Bluefield Daily Telegraph editor Samantha Perry and the presentation of two $1,000 Shott Excellence in Media Awards.

Since 2000, Bluefield College has hosted the area’s media professionals on campus for a luncheon, keynote address and media-student roundtable discussion, all part of Media Appreciation Day. The event, according to BC officials, is designed to “recognize area media representatives for their efforts in promoting Bluefield College and serving the community.”

“We want you to know how important you are to Bluefield College,” BC public relations director Chris Shoemaker told the 33 journalists in attendance. “We’re grateful for the ways in which you share our story, but we’re even more appreciative of the greater role you play in informing and educating the public at-large.”

As part of the recognition for the day, the college presented two Shott Excellence in Media Awards, made possible by the generosity of media entrepreneur Michael Shott and his North Point Foundation in an effort to help preserve the legacy of the Shott family who pioneered the presence of news media in Greater Bluefield. The Shott Excellence in Media Journalist Award, determined by votes from the local media and featuring a $1,000 cash prize for the journalist who demonstrates excellence in his or her vocation and who makes significant contributions to the local community, went to WVNS 59 News anchor Tim Carrico who outshined 23 other nominees from nine different organizations.

“He has worked his way up from entry level positions to main evening news anchor and at his hometown television station,” said Shoemaker about Carrico’s 14-year career. “Not too many aspiring or professional TV journalists can make that claim. He is the essential smaller-market TV anchor who’s made the commitment to shun the brighter lights in larger markets to stay here to work for his viewers at home.”

Throughout his career, Carrico has been recognized with awards from the West Virginia Broadcasters Association and the Associated Press. In fact, he received an Emmy nomination and the AP’s highest honor for his work as a producer, editor and anchor of the TV special “1,000 Year Flood: Neighbors Helping Neighbors.”

“He is a dedicated journalist and a great asset to the news business,” said Shoemaker. “You can tell from his delivery that he fully understands the stories he’s reporting and cares for his fellow Southern West Virginians.”

The Shott Excellence in Media Student Award, featuring a $1,000 scholarship and designed to recognize a current BC communication student who demonstrates excellence in the classroom and in his or her extracurricular communication activities, went to Bluefield, Virginia’s Ben Ayers for his “strong work ethic” and “willingness to go above and beyond what is required.”

“His abilities could take him in so many directions, but he has chosen to major in graphic communication,” said Shoemaker. “He’s very proficient with programming languages and is an extremely gifted graphic designer, all with a commendable sense of aesthetics.”

Described as an “exceptionally bright” and “star” student, Ayers has been on the President’s List every semester he has attended Bluefield College with a grade point average consistently greater than 3.9.

“He’s also becoming a talented writer,” said Shoemaker. “After just one semester in a media writing course, he is already producing quality work for the student newspaper, The Rampage. He is a quick learner whose stories are well-reported and well-written.”

BC’s Media Day program also included a keynote speech from Perry, a 28-year veteran journalist recognized on the state and national level for her reporting of legal affairs, business and economics, breaking news, investigative reporting, and column writing. The first ever female editor in the 121-year history of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Perry spoke about the value of small-town journalism.

“All too often in our profession the common goal seems to be moving up – moving up to a bigger viewership, a bigger readership, a bigger market,” Perry told her colleagues. “Success equates to making your name in a metro area, large state, or at the top of the chart, a national audience. These are certainly lofty and admirable goals, and those who achieve them deserve the resulting kudos. But my challenge to you today is to consider the rewards of community journalism.”

Perry also acknowledged members of the Shott family in attendance – Michael Shott, John C. Shott, James and Diane Shott, and John H. and Kathy Shott – and spoke of the contributions the family made to pioneering community journalism in the region.

“As one-time owners of the city’s newspaper, television station and radio station, they were, in a sense, the founding family of journalism in southern West Virginia,” said Perry. “In an iconic and legendary way, they brought the news of the day to the coalfields, which opened up knowledge and communication to the those in the region. Rich or poor – shop owner or underground miner – residents were kept abreast of national politics, international strife and crime close to home, thanks to their due diligence in journalism’s infancy stage.”

Perry also thanked Bluefield College for its efforts to host Media Appreciation Day. The media, she said, doesn’t often receive appreciation for doing a job that she described as “challenging, stressful and, more often than not, just downright crazy.” With her nearly three decades of newsroom experience, she asked her listeners what do stories from old-timers like her mean to newcomers coming up in the profession.

“They mean listening to your heart – connecting with readers and viewers on an intimate level,” she said. “They mean judging with journalist integrity, while keeping an eye to the heart and soul of a story. They mean small towns are different from big cities, but stories are still covered passionately, accurately and fairly. They mean that big market or small, be kind to your followers. And they mean that whether your market is one million or one thousand, you have the power to make a difference.”

The Media Appreciation Day also included a roundtable discussion between members of the media and BC communication students. During the roundtable, the students asked questions about objectivity in the industry and the time commitment required to be a journalist. The members of the media spoke about the importance of internships, time management, teamwork, and the value of being factual before first. The journalists also encouraged the students to be persistent and to persevere past the “no’s” to get to the “yes.”

Media Contact

Chris Shoemaker, Assistant Professor, Communication