Capstone meeting shows some soul

They say for every credit hour you’re enrolled in, you should spend double the time on that class additionally. What they don’t say is that your capstone is actually the one class that is not included in this equation. Instead of multiplying the average time by two, your capstone multiplies it by 24/7.

I am the project manager for Soul of Athens, an interactive multimedia capstone production. This year, we’re creating a website focusing on Appalachia, from content production, to user testing, to coding. Oh, and did I mention we only have 15 weeks from conception to birth?


Because of the time frame everything runs on a tight schedule, which naturally requires additional meeting times outside of class. Our designated class time falls on Tuesday and Thursday for an hour and 20 minutes. Our other meetings range from one to five hours on Monday, Friday and even the weekend if necessary.

It’s definitely a time commitment and I sometimes think to myself, what have I gotten into? But we all work together really well and I know we will have something beautiful to show for it in the end. – Elaina Duti, website developer

Every Friday we meet in the second floor conference room of Schoonover Center for four and a half hours to decide story directions, sketch wireframes and discuss frameworks. Accompanied by Donkey coffee and off brand chocolate chip cookies, each content team met with the interactive side about the heart of their narrative and how they envision it to be portrayed. Upon bouncing ideas off of each other, we all began to see a common desire of how to best tell the story of Appalachian land though its people, our theme for Soul of Athens 2016.

As concepts continue to blossom and evolve, there is only one theme that remains concrete as of now: do not recreate Snow Fall. We don’t want our site to look like a plug and play rip-off of something that has already been done before. I guess we could consider it our team motto since I literally hear the phrase “Snow Fall” 10 times a day.

We will NOT be mimicking Snow Fall…SOA 2016, like you’ve never seen before. – Melissa Riggs, creative strategist

Emily Rich, SOA designer, sketches website layout ideas during the meeting. Rich is an Interactive Multimedia major at Ohio University.
Emily Rich, SOA designer, sketches website layout ideas during the meeting. Rich is an Interactive Multimedia major at Ohio University.

Although we still have many meetings to go before our launch date, the ample amount of time spent on this website will be worthwhile, I think. I’m gaining valuable knowledge about how large team productions work while remaining in the small bubble of Athens, OH. Hopefully the experience won’t leave me soulless in Athens instead.

Soul of Athens will launch April 19, 2016. In the mean time, come watch the journey unfold with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and learn more about the team behind it all.




Flying with Scripps PRSSA

Eight rows of colorful, cushioned chairs were set up across the Friends of the Libraries room on the third floor of Alden Library. The week 5 meeting of Scripps PRSSA was set to begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, February 8, 2016.

Scripps PRSSA or Scripps Public Relations Student Society of America, is a student-run organization within the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. The chapter’s main goal is “to offer members beneficial relationships with public relations practitioners that facilitate the learning, acquiring and development of professional skills -supplemented by educational knowledge- to be applied in everyday decisions”.

Jess and Megan have both created strong relationships and friendships through Scripps PRSSA.
Scripps PRSSA President Jess Carnprobst and Executive Vice President Megan Newton after Monday’s meeting.

A little after 6 p.m., Scripps PRSSA President, Jess Carnprobst, took the floor to kick off the night’s meeting. As a senior and member of Scripps PRSSA, I know the meeting’s typical routine. Every Monday night begins with announcements from the executive board regarding opportunities for dues-paying members, networking trips, and committees. After the exec board makes their announcements, members have the chance to make announcements of their own.

Then, it’s time for the “Member Spotlight” and on Monday, Grace Driscoll was the lucky member. The Member Spotlight is a chance for PRSSA members to share his or her accomplishments, passions, and goals with the rest of the organization. Once the Member Spotlight concludes, a professional speaker is introduced. Monday night’s speaker was Brie Strickland, a Social Business Specialist for Southwest Airlines.

Brie Strickland, a 2014 Southern Methodist University grad, stood up out of her chair and made her way to the front of the room. As Scripps students, most of us were used to hearing job titles involving the words “social media”. So, when Brie mentioned her title as a Social Business Specialist, many eyebrows were raised. Brie went onto explain that social business is “so much more than just tweeting”. Social business is a strategy form that looks at how social media impacts every aspect of a company.

“If you want to work in the social business industry, you need to get as much experience as possible. It’s such a new industry so any chance you get have a social media presence, take it,” advised Brie Strickland.

Scripps PRSSA provides great opportunities for networking.
Brie Strickland, Social Business Specialist, distributed her business cards at Monday’s Scripps PRSSA meeting.

Scripps PRSSA members were given an inside look at how Southwest Airlines operates their social media.

With nearly 4.8 million likes on Facebook, 1.9 million followers on Twitter, and 185,000 followers on Instagram, it seems like it would be impossible to keep up with all of the user activity. But Brie shared that Southwest Airlines has a Listening Center of 35 employees that work 24/7 answering questions, comments, complaints, and compliments via social media. Brie is involved with a lot of the goodwill engagement and pointed out that social listening is a major key to Southwest Airlines.

The laughter, chatter, and smiles that were shared throughout the meeting helped show how close-knit the Scripps PRSSA chapter truly is. After every Scripps PRSSA meeting, the organization gathers at The Pigskin to have dinner and socialize with that night’s speaker as well as with one another. This chapter will not only provide you with professional relationships but it will also open the door to many new friendships.

Scripps PRSSA is more than just networking trips and Monday night meetings. “PRSSA has taught me not to underestimate the power of people,” tells Scripps senior and Executive Vice President Megan Newton. “We might not be doctors or lawyers but we still have the opportunity to help people and tell their stories. Everyone in PRSSA has different personalities that we can showcase.”

Scripps PRSSA meets every Monday at 6 p.m. in Alden Library’s Friends of the Libraries room. Visit their website for more information on the chapter. And be sure to follow Scripps PRSSA on Twitter and Instagram, @scrippsprssa, for all things PR.