Archive for September 2011

Some Photoshop Humor

September 30, 2011

A "hover hand" from actor Jim Carrey

Time for a little silliness. This blog just passed 85,000 views since its origin three years ago. Entries are usually serious observations about the media world or recognitions of outstanding student and faculty work at Elon. But since we have Photoshop in our labs, I can’t resist passing along this satire of a Photoshop tutorial from Here is the video about how to remove those awkward “hover hands.”


A ‘Fire Dance’ Moment at Elon

September 24, 2011

Peter Buffett’s “Concert and Conversation” was incredibly good, and I almost missed it.

We hosted our School of Communications Advisory Board yesterday, with professionals from Fortune magazine, “60 Minutes” and other media leaders. The professionals spoke in classes, talked with President Lambert about the future of the university, and interacted with faculty and staff on topics such as curriculum, student portfolios and summer programs.

I said farewell to the last board member at 4:28, looked at my watch, and momentarily longed to just head home on a Friday afternoon after a very full day. But I really did want to hear Peter Buffett, and I made it over to the theatre just in time.

Peter Buffett is the son of legendary investor Warren Buffett, but Peter has made his own name through his music. He played the piano, sang, talked about his life, and answered questions from the standing-room-only audience of Elon students and parents on Family Weekend. It was one of the most enjoyable hours I’ve spent at Elon.

Kevin Costner asked Peter to score the “Fire Dance” scene in his Oscar-winning movie “Dances With Wolves” because Buffett often writes music from a Native American perspective. Peter says he watched the soundless scene about 20 times to feel the mood and the beat, and then the accompaniment flowed. Peter showed the scene on the big screen at Elon. Here it is.

Accreditation Redux

September 17, 2011

Elon’s School of Communications became nationally accredited in 2006, and the six-year renewal timetable is upon us.

Our upcoming site visit by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications will occur October 9-12, and we are ready. We forwarded a massive self-study to the team two days ago that was both a labor of love and, well, just pure labor.

The self-study asks us to list what has happened in the school in the past six years, and the length of that answer surprised us.

We implemented a new curriculum, established the M.A. in Interactive Media program, created the student agency Live Oak Communications, initiated the nation’s only undergraduate research journal in communications, converted to high-definition technology, enjoyed the national successes of student media, added a career services specialist in the school, originated and expanded summer programs in Los Angeles and New York City, founded the state’s Sunshine Center to promote government transparency, added Sport & Event Management as a new major, received the national Equity & Diversity Award in 2010, and welcomed Brian Williams as national chair of the school’s advisory board.

When the ACEJMC team comes to campus next month, they will visit with students and faculty, sit in classes, study our curriculum and budget, review our faculty scholarship and service, and talk with the provost and president.

Elon is one of 18 private universities in the nation with an accredited communications school, along with Syracuse, Northwestern, Columbia, Howard, Miami and Southern Cal. We are prepared to remain one.

Our Colleagues Abroad

September 14, 2011

Three faculty members in the School of Communications are teaching abroad this fall.

Glenn Scott is a Fulbright Professor in Japan. Follow his blog here as he and his family spend a year at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa.

This photo from his blog shows that a picture can be worth a thousand words, especially if you don’t speak the language. (The text reads: “Dear Dogs, Don’t walk by yourselves. Please bring your owner with you. And don’t forget to clean up your poop.”)

Department chair Jessica Gisclair is teaching this fall in Elon’s London program, and Tom Nelson is teaching in Elon’s program in Florence, Italy. We’ll see if they can provide similarly interesting signs in their overseas environs.

Big Laugh

September 12, 2011

Back last spring, I sat at a table with several new Lumen Scholar recipients including sophomore theatre major Logan Sutton.

Logan’s project is “Everyday Odyssey,” which involves the composition and staging of a play exploring the struggles of Odysseus’s family in his absence.

Logan is one of 15 Elon students awarded a $15,000 Lumen Prize last year to pursue scholarly and creative achievements. Another is Caitlin O’Donnell, a Communications student whose project under Professor David Copeland’s tutelage is “The Media of White America: Press Coverage and Treatment of Historically Outcast Members of Society.”

Back to that dinner last spring…  After talking about the Lumen Prize, the table conversation turned to movies — and that’s when Logan and I discovered we both had a special liking for the marvelously odd 2003 movie “Big Fish.”

Fast forward to last week. When I returned to my office one day, I found a DVD of “Big Fish” on my desk, compliments of Logan. I had to laugh. Then I took it home and enjoyed watching it again. In fact, I think my daughter may now like “Big Fish” as much as I.

Logan, the thank-you note is in the mail, and best wishes on your project.

Technology, Television and Troy

September 8, 2011

The School of Communications is completing the largest technology project since its founding 11 years ago — the conversion to high-definition in the studios, control room, engineering and entire student video-camera fleet.

Communications students now have access to 55 Sony NX70s and 13 Panasonic HMC-150s, and all record HD video to memory cards for tapeless transition to editing. In addition, new Mac computers and monitors were installed in three of our Communications labs this summer for writing, audio/video production and multimedia design. The overall upgrade totals about $600,000.

Our hero, Troy Senkiewicz

The summer hero is 1998 alumnus Troy Senkiewicz, founder and CEO of DigiMax Consulting in Los Angeles. His long-standing relationship with Gepco International helped him persuade the company to donate hundreds of yards of cable, saving Elon thousands of dollars, and then Troy came to Elon in late summer and spent several days helping the school rewire its infrastructure for HD.

During his student days, Senkiewicz served as a production assistant for Elon Student Television. During his recent wiring work, he came across some items in the studios emblazoned with a familiar name spraypainted in orange: “Troybuilt” — pieces of equipment that he helped put together as an Elon student.

Now Troy has left his mark on Elon television again.