Our debt to Student Publications alumni is monumental. You've been returning to the campus as often as possible and have helped maintain a long-standing tradition, the annual Homecoming breakfast, for more than six decades. The 63rd annual Student Publications Homecoming Breakfast will be in October 2013.
When the possibility for Student Publications to have its own building surfaced, more than 200 alums pledged and donated more than $1 million. The result was the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center, a $1.6 million, state-of-the-art multimedia facility that opened in January 2008 as a joint venture between the Student Publications Alumni Association and WKU.
Adams-Whitaker, named for Bob "Mr. A" Adams and the late David B. "Boss" Whitaker, gives students a place where they can hone their skills and produce award-winning publications that serve WKU students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. Throughout the year, but especially around Homecoming, alumni are frequent visitors to Adams-Whitaker. The staff of Student Publications as well as the students on the Herald and the Talisman enjoy showing people around the building and take great pride in the professional environment that alumni generosity made possible.
Publications alumni are scattered across the country and around the world. Many are still working in publications-related fields; many are not. But everyone has the common bond of having worked on the Herald or the Talisman.
2012 HERALD AWARD
for outstanding contributions to journalism
Ryan Craig the co-owner, publisher, editor and chief bottle washer at the Todd County Standard newspaper in Elkton, Ky.
The Standard, which Craig bought in 2006, has been the recipient of the General Excellence award for small weeklies in the Kentucky Press Association's Excellence in Newspapers contest for the past six years.
The Standard has recently received both state and national recognition for uncovering serious flaws in the Kentucky social services system after an adopted girl was left in a home where substantiated abuse was found. The girl was later murdered by one of her adoptive brothers. The Standard also had to fight, using the state's open records laws, to have the girl's files made public when state officials reclassified her status and tried to cover up any ties with the girl whatsoever. The investigation eventually led to the resignation of the cabinet secretary, the retirement of the head of social services, a new gubernatorial-appointed panel to look into child abuse deaths and near-deaths and legislative hearings to consider changing the policies, secrecy and bureaucratic blight of the state social services department.
Craig is a graduate of Western Kentucky University. He currently is a Kentucky Press Association Board member, a member of WKU¹s publication committee, and belongs to Bellview Baptist Church in Allegre, Ky.
While at WKU, Ryan was a longtime columnist, general news reporter and features editor for the College Heights Herald. He also worked as a sports reporter, crime reporter, copy desk chief and front page designer for newspapers in Hopkinsville, Ky., Russellville, Ky., and Clarksville, Tenn.
Craig lives in Russellville, Ky., with his wife, Jenni Osborne Craig, his sons Owen, 8, John, 5, and daughters, Summer, 2, and Sparrow, 6 months.
2012 TALISMAN AWARD
for outstanding contributions to communications
Caring is contagious. You never know how an act of kindness, how caring about someone can change a life.
For Epha Riche, it started with a personal note that her high school journalism teacher scribbled at the end of her scholarship application to Western. "Terry - this one's a real gem. Hope you can find some scholarship dollars for her." It worked. And just like that, one teacher who cared passed the torch to another.
At Western Kentucky University, Bob Adams encouraged Epha to join the Talisman and the College Heights Herald and it didn't take long for her light to shine.
Epha was named editor of the Talisman her sophomore year, despite financial pressure to cease publication of the book. After Epha and the student publications team lobbied the Board of Regents, it was decided that the yearbook would be published for one more year. Aptly themed "Against the Odds," the 1994 Talisman went on to win a Pacemaker Award from the Associated Collegiate Press.
After her successful stint as Talisman editor, Epha joined the Herald staff and became Herald editor in the fall of 1996.
Throughout her years on the publications staffs at WKU, Epha developed a passion for telling stories to readers and working as a team. Her energy and enthusiasm were contagious, and became her trademark.
As she served as presentation director at The Herald-Dispatch in Hungtinton, W. Va, the Times of Northwest Indiana, the Lexington Herald-Leader and The Indianapolis Star, she developed a "Take Five" system which pulled together a reporter, photographer, graphic artist, designer, copy editor and editor. They'd take five minutes to focus an upcoming story and answer key questions like "Why should I care" and "What's the best way to tell this story?"
In the fall of 2006, The Indianapolis Star launched IndyMoms, a website and magazine for local moms, with Epha as editor.
After six months, Indy Moms magazine had 83,000 readers with 60,000 circulation, delivering nearly 50 percent of the targeted market. IndyMoms.com had 2.5 million monthly page views after 18 months, and made national headlines from The New York Times to The Wall Street Journal. Two years later, Gannett evolved IndyMoms.com into the network of MomsLikeMe.com, with more than 60 sites across the country.
Epha is using her passion to share a different story these days. It's the story of God's love. As the marketing and communications director at Community Church of Greenwood, she can't think of a better story to tell. Caring is still contagious.