Bluefield College will pay tribute to the work of local journalists during its 18th Annual Media Appreciation Day, Thursday, November 30 — an event that will include the presentation of a Shott Excellence in Media Award to an outstanding local journalist and remarks from Samantha Perry, a 28-year media veteran and the first ever female editor of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
For the past 17 years, local media representatives have been recognized on the BC campus during the school’s annual Media Day for their efforts in “informing and educating the public at-large,” while “sharing the Bluefield College story” and “spreading the word about BC news, events and achievements.” In fact, in 2005, thanks to a grant from media entrepreneur Michael Shott, the college heightened its recognition of the local media by incorporating the Shott Excellence in Media Awards Program into the Media Day schedule.
“We are extremely grateful for the generosity of Mr. Shott for providing the funds to underwrite the college’s Media Day and the Shott Excellence in Media Awards Program,” said Chris Shoemaker, BC’s director of public relations. “It is our hope that through this program, the college will not only increase its recognition of outstanding local journalists, but also contribute to the preservation of the media legacy of the Shott family.”
During the awards portion of the Media Day program, the college will present two Shott Excellence in Media Awards — a $1,000 Student Scholarship Award to an outstanding current Bluefield College communication student and a $1,000 Excellence in Media Award to a local member of the media who demonstrates excellence in his or her vocation and who, through his or her work in journalism, makes a significant contribution to the local community.
“Bluefield College is not the only beneficiary of the service of our local journalists,” said Shoemaker. “Many other schools, churches, civic organizations, government agencies, businesses, and individuals within our community are better off, thanks to the work of area media. That’s why we dedicate this day to recognize local journalists for informing, educating, entertaining and, above all, bettering the public at-large.”
The BC Media Day program also will include a keynote address from Perry, whose career is one that has been recognized with local and national awards, historic firsts, and a steady climb to the top of her field. A Mercer County native and graduate of Montcalm High School and Bluefield State College, Perry began her career as a reporter for the Bluefield Daily Telegraph in 1989. A year later she was promoted to “Lifestyles” editor, a role in which she served for a decade before being promoted to city editor in 2000 and then managing editor in 2002.
Today, Perry holds the highest position in the newsroom as editor of the Daily Telegraph – the newspaper’s first ever female editor in its 121-year history. Under her leadership, the newsroom has been recognized by the West Virginia Press Association for service to the community, breaking news, in-depth reports, photography, sports writing, editorial page content, newspaper design, and best single issues. Individually, she has been honored on the state level for her reporting of legal affairs, business and economics, breaking news, investigative reporting, and column writing. Nationally, she was named “Columnist of the Year” in 2014, 2015 and 2016 by Community Newspaper Holdings.
Perry will join a long list of distinguished BC Media Day speakers, including NASCAR Magazine editor David Bourne, nationally syndicated columnist Jim Davidson, war hero and undercover government agent Maxey Gilleland, local news writer and sports radio personality Jim Nelson, retired Bluefield Daily Telegraph journalist Bill Archer, Army Blackhawk helicopter pilot Phillip Brashear, mass communications professor and TV anchor Dr. Teresa Keller, political lobbyist Dr. David Bailey, former White House correspondent Bob Deans, retired executive editor of the Associated Baptist Press Greg Warner, inspirational athlete and author Kyle Maynard, Compassion International feature writer Brandy Campbell, performance improvement specialist Spencer Wood, Roanoke Times senior editor Dwayne Yancey, Associated Baptist Press News-Herald editor in chief Robert Dilday, Princeton Times editor and general manager Tammie Toler, and West Virginia MetroNews Radio Network news director Jeff Jenkins.
The annual event will begin at 11:30 a.m. on November 30 in Shott Hall and will feature a luncheon, the awards ceremony, remarks from Perry, and a roundtable discussion between local media representatives and BC communication students.