January 2, 2019

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Dr. Pat Miller, VSU Department of English Professor and Journalism Advisor

VSU Print Journalism Students Earn National Recognition

Four Valdosta State University journalism students earned a certificate in Multimedia Basics from the Poynter Institute during the Fall 2018 semester. Pictured, from left to right, are Prince Robinson; Kaitlyn Balch; Dr. James LaPlant, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Hannah Colligan; and Arelexus Brown. 

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University journalism students recently took their academic training to the next level. 

During the Fall 2018 semester, students taking JOUR 3520: Essential Reporting Skills had the opportunity to earn a certificate in Multimedia Basics from the Poynter Institute, a nationally recognized journalism think tank dedicated to ensuring journalists remain on the cutting edge of their profession. To earn the certificate the students had to complete a series of online courses in how to tell stories using text, audio, images, video, and more.

Four students earned the Poynter Institute certification. They are Kaitlyn Balch, Arelexus Brown, Hannah Colligan, and Prince Robinson.

“A Poynter certificate is one way the journalism program ensures its students remain a half-inch taller than their competitors,” said Dr. Pat Miller, who directs the print journalism program and teaches Essential Reporting Skills, which requires students to complete a semester-long project that marries theory and application.

The Poynter certificate assures employers that VSU’s journalism students have enough background in multimedia to contribute to a news organization’s success from the first day on the job, Miller said.

“The ability to earn a Poynter certificate exemplifies the ‘value-added’ opportunities that the journalism courses offer students,” she added.

Those opportunities complement the program’s focus on integrating practical experience with academic rigor.

“One of the great pleasures of my job is to provide students in the journalism program with the opportunity to succeed academically and professionally,” Miller said. “We built the program, including its relationship with The Spectator, VSU’s award-winning student newspaper, with that goal in mind.”

The journalism program is part of VSU’s Department of English, which is housed in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. This arrangement guarantees students get intensive training in writing, deep reading, and rhetorical analysis.

Students can pursue the news track that prepares them to succeed in community news organizations, the magazine track that prepares them for more generalized writing careers, or the editing track, which prepares them to be entry-level editors for both digital and print publications.

“All tracks require practical application,” Miller said. “Students get the hands-on experience employers want by working on The Spectator, On Tap (VSU’s general interest magazine), or Omnino (VSU’s undergraduate research journal) or by interning.”

Baich, a junior, and Colligan, a senior, will intern with South Georgia Today during the Spring 2019 semester. Robinson, a sophomore, is the current sports editor for The Spectator. Brown, a junior, will join the Spectator staff in January.

Contact Dr. Pat Miller at pmiller@valdosta.edu or (229) 333-7353 to learn more.

On the Web:


  • General VSU Information
  • 229.333.5800
  • Office of Communications
  • 229.333.2163
  • 229.333.5983
  • Campus Address
    Office of Communications Powell Hall West, Suite 1120
  • Mailing Address
    1500 N. Patterson St.
    Valdosta, GA 31698