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Advocacy journalism is topic of CU's media luncheon

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Elena Groholske

Campbellsville University

"To quote George Strait, 'I've got some ocean front property in Arizona, from my front porch you can see the sea," Beverly Kirk said at Campbellsville University's seventh annual media appreciation luncheon on Thursday, March 31.

Kirk, a former NBC correspondent and founder and CEO of BevKirk International LLC, a media-consulting and professional services agency, was the featured speaker for the annual event at CU. In quoting Strait, Kirk said consumers must learn to take things at more than just face value and broaden their horizons.

Originally from Burkesville, Kirk began her career in media at WBKO-TV in Bowling Green and at WLEX-TV in Lexington.

"The media appreciation luncheon is a chance for the university to thank the local media for all of their hard work as well as an opportunity for students to meet and network with those who have hands-on experience in the media," said Joan McKinney, news and publications coordinator for Campbellsville University.

Around 150 local media, Campbellsville students, faculty and staff attended this year's luncheon.

Kirk spoke on the rising popularity of advocacy journalism and its benefits to society. The American University School of Communications defines advocacy journalism as falling between pure advocacy and pure journalism.

"What's the future? Is it advocacy journalism? Well, it's certainly going to have a bigger place at the table in the future. The reason behind the surge is money and resources," Kirk said.

"Traditional journalism outlets continue to shrink because of budget cuts and the fact that no one has quite figured out how to make as much money from the Internet as advertising dollars provided to newsrooms in the past."

Kirk warned the audience to be on guard with the media, constantly check sources and do not be afraid to confront the media if they are not doing what they should be.

The media luncheon also showcased Campbellsville University's new radio station WLCU 88.7 FM and its first on-air broadcast.

Kirk not only was the guest speaker but also "flipped the switch" to turn on WLCU, and was on hand to record the station's first live public service announcement.

Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of Campbellsville University, and Al Hardy, dean of academic support, helped Kirk to turn WLCU's switch.

"As students learn the trade of broadcast journalism," said Dr. Keith Spears, vice president for regional and professional education, "the radio station will become their lab. The first broadcast class deals with producing public affairs and news, sports, public service announcements and other programming."

WLCU airs contemporary Christian music, information segments, public service announcements, news and weather segments. Students in the university's broadcasting class have recorded PSAs that aired during the testing phase of the station and will be used throughout the life of the station.

CU now offers majors and minors in broadcasting and digital media, journalism and public relations. A minor is also offered in photojournalism. In addition, an area, essentially a major and minor combined, is available.