Since 2000, Bluefield College has hosted the area’s media professionals on campus for a luncheon, keynote address and media-student roundtable, 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 appreciate the way in which you tell the Bluefield College story,” said BC president David Olive, who greeted the media guests from eight different local print and broadcast organizations, “and not only for what you do for us, but the value you bring to the lives of everyone in this community each and every day.”
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 the Bluefield area.
The Shott Excellence-in-Media Journalist Award, featuring a $1,000 cash prize and designed to recognize 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 toward the local community, went to WVVA-TV’s content manager Greg Carter, who outshined 18 other nominees from six different organizations.
“He’s very passionate about improving the community,” said BC public relations director Chris Shoemaker, who helped James “Smokey” Shott present the Excellence Awards, “and he uses his position as a reporter to try to make people aware of some of the important issues our area is dealing with.”
Carter, who serves the community as a church youth group director, a coach for a girls’ rec league basketball team, executive director of Impact Tazewell County, and a member of Creating Opportunities for Youth, has spent the last 13 years at WVVA as an assignment editor, news reporter, sports reporter, sports director, news director, and now news anchor and content manager.
“Whether it’s giving away food, distributing free school supplies, handing out winter coats, attending career fairs, or calling bingo for senior citizens,” Shoemaker said, “he has a love for service and always looks for ways to give back to the community.”
The Shott Excellence-in-Media Student Award, featuring a $1,000 scholarship and designed to recognize a current BC communications student who demonstrates excellence in the classroom and in his or her extracurricular communications activities, went to junior Greg Moon of Powhatan, Virginia, who was described by his nominating professors as a student with “eager intelligence” and an “admirable work ethic.”
“He works extremely hard, and he never gives excuses for not giving his best efforts,” said Shoemaker. “We have every confidence that he will be making important contributions in sports reporting or whatever field he chooses.”
Moon serves as a reporter for BC’s student newspaper, The Rampage, participates in a video ministry program and works with youth at his church, and is a member of the Rams’ varsity baseball team.
“He exhibits qualities that support the mission of Bluefield College,” Shoemaker added, “by participating in after school reading and tutoring programs and for being sincere, humble, respectful, and sensitive to others’ needs.”
The BC Media Day program also included a keynote speech from Maynard, who shared stories of overcoming the challenges of being born with no forearms and shortened legs. Despite his physical limitations, Maynard won numerous wrestling championships and laid claim to world records in weightlifting’s modified bench press. As a result of his intense will, caring family, and strong Christian faith, he won an ESPY Award as the Best Athlete with a Disability and a President’s Award for the Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame.
“My message to you is simple,” he told the media and communications students. “Make no excuses for the challenges you’re given in life or for the difficulties you face in your work, but instead embrace them as opportunities to grow and to become a better person.”
Maynard, who wrote a New York Times best-selling book, titled “No Excuses,” encouraged the journalists to focus on the positive and not the negative in the stories they encounter, particularly because of the influence they can have on so many people.
“Because you have such a tremendous effect on how people think and feel, you have a tremendous responsibility to influence their lives for the good,” said Maynard, who earned the unofficial title of World’s Strongest Teen and was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame with a Medal of Courage. “How often are we guilty of placing limits on others. Instead, empower them and encourage them to do far more.”
BC’s Media Appreciation Day also included a roundtable discussion between members of the media and BC communications students. During the roundtable, the students and journalists discussed, among other issues and topics related to the media, the benefits of internships, the advantages of diversifying your skills, and the rapid change in the industry due in large part to electronic communication and social networking.