Student/Alumni Kudos

Dec. 8, 2017

Courtney Talak was selected by the university-wide Arizona Student Media Board to be the editor in chief of the Arizona Daily Wildcat for Spring 2018.  Professor Susan Knight was a member of the media board.

Rocky Baier won the Mark Finley Gold Pen Award in the school's spring 2017 best beginning news writing contest for JOUR 205 students and will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Zachary Ogden finished second and Owen Zerambo third. All 17 participants received engraved gold pens. They interviewed Pima County Supervisor Richard Elías and had an hour to file a story. See more details.

Editors Andrew Paxton and Chastity Eva Laskey oversaw fall 2017 El Independiente, "Racism in Arizona," a 64-page issue with each story translated by the UA Spanish Translation and Interpretation Program. Other staffers included Issac Andrews, Brenna Bailey, Sarah Covey, Leah Gilchrist, Chad Hanna, C.J. D’Innocente, Jireh Lopez Jimenez, Erik Kolsrud, Deborah Lee, Sophie Manley, Clarisse Markarian, Tirion Morris, Monique Stewart and Steven Spooner.

Brenna Bailey, an intern at Arizona Public Media, has received a paid internship at Arizona Public Media in the spring. She has interned at AZPM for several semesters and did a radio report, "English Only: Millennials Reflect on Growing Up Latino in Arizona Schools" on Nov. 28.

Six of of the school's 13 December 2017 grads attended a get-together Dec. 7 at Gentle Ben's. Director David Cuillier handed out UA Journalism reporter's notebooks to Gabriella Vukelic, Betsy Kaplan, Danyelle Khmara, Leah Merrall, Monica Milberg and Kylie Warren. The other grads are C.J. D'Innocente, Deborah Lee, Clarisse Markarian, Briana Otanez, Noah Saunders, Monique Stewart and Jules Zappone. The ceremony was part of the Daily Wildcat/UATV3/KAMP Radio's end-of-semester bash, organized by Adviser Brett Fera. 

Ashley Mikelonis will graduate this semester with a Master's of Arts in Journalism. Here thesis is titled, "Exploring the Success and Defeat of Ronda Rousey: A Content Analysis of Twitter and Newspaper Coverage from 2014-2016." Her thesis chair is Jeannine Relly and other committee members are Linda Lumsden and Terry Wimmer.

Broadcast students previewed this semester's Arizona Cat's Eye on Dec. 6. Brandon Dawkins and Page Jones are the anchors. Stay tuned for a link to the school's television news show, which was filmed at the Arizona Public Media studios. Click here for photos.

Students shared their border reporting projects in Prof. Celeste Bustamante's class with the Ambos Nogales community on Dec. 4. The presenters included Amanda OienMaria Inés Taracena, Zeina C. Peterson and April Lanuza, Emily Ellis, Philip Rody, Kristan Obeng, Angela Martinez, Daniel Rezetko and Natalia Navarro. Click here for photos.

Students in Prof. Carol Schwalbe's Science Journalism class presented their 15-minute documentary, "A Modern Zoo" on Nov. 30, with Elizabeth Kinney, Allysa Hill, Carly Oseran, Marissa Heffernan and Nick Smallwood presenting their segments. The students — with help from alums Alan Davis, John de Dios and Julian Ibarra — profiled wildlife conservation and education at the Reid Park Zoo. The class also will produce a magazine, ZooView, by early next year. For more class projects, go to

Jessica Suriano, an apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star, published a Sunday A1 lead story, "Fentanyl seizures skyrocket at border in Arizona," on Nov. 26; and "Local credit-card scheme aided by Ukrainian hackers, Hong Kong company" in the Dec. 1 edition.

Jessica Blackburn, an apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star, saw her story, "UA aquatic center trespassers risk injury, arrest and punishment," published on the front page of Sunday's metro page.

Grad student Emily Ellis, an apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star, published a story on the front page of C1 on Dec. 3, "Salvadorans in Tucson fight against possibility of losing OK to stay in US."

Ava Garcia, an apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star, published "Vintage instruments fill home of music," on the Dec. 3 Home and Life front page.

Paul Barlyn, an apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star, published "Small filmmakers find a home in Tucson" on the Home and Life front page on Nov. 26.

C.J. D'Innocente, an apprentice at the Arizona Daily Star, shared a byline with former student Murphy Woodhouse with, "Number of failed restaurants jumps to 21 in November."

Six J-school majors were among 78 students to receive $750 Magellan Circle Scholarships from the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences: Hannah Dahl, Fatuma Abas Haji, Gloria Knott, Alejandro Munoz, Elizabeth O'Connell and Haille Saal-Khalili. The Magellan Scholars met their patrons Dec. 7 at a breakfast.

The Dec. 1 Tombstone Epitaph featured stories on citizenship (by Deborah Lee), wild horses (Janie Todorovich), Chinese immigrants (Lee), holiday traditional food (Tirion Morris), guest farm workers (Steven Spooner), Bisbee Festival of Lights' fire (Leah Gilchrist), minorities in prison (Lee), Bisbee's bag ban (Garret Green), boredom (Jamie Lindsay) and mine tours (Hannah Bloom). Read the PDF.

Pascal Albright helped with the audience Q&A at the Dec. 3 showing of "Obit" at The Loft Cinema.

Zack Rosenblatt ('13) accepted a job to cover the Philadelphia Sixers for and move back to his hometown, Cherry Hill, N.J. Rosenblatt, also an Arizona Daily Wildcat alum, has been an Arizona Daily Star sports reporter for the last five years. Read his last story in the Star.

Briana Sanchez ('15) is a photographer/videographer at the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, after previous work at the West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minnesota.

Jade Nunes ('15) is a business development manager at FITCH, a global retail and brand consultancy in Scottsdale, after previous work at WestStar Multimedia Entertainment Inc. and Habitat for Humanity.

Ashley Nevel ('13) is the social media/game recap reporter for the Grand Canyon men's basketball team at Cox Communications in Phoenix.

Melanie Hunter ('12), a traffic anchor and reporter at KVOA-TV in Tucson, is moving to Sacramento, California, for a similar job at KCRANews (also an NBC affiliate).

Ryan Bertrand ('17) accepted a job with the NFL Network, working in the news department in Culver City, California. 

Mary Brandenberger ('99) is now the section chief for national media affairs at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) after a previous job as press secretary for the U.S. Department of Justice's community policing services office;

Shane Dale ('04) is a digital sports journalist at ABC15 in Phoenix, co-host of the "Wildcat Country" radio show on 1580-AM in Phoenix and author of "Territorial," a book about the UA-ASU football rivalry.