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Communications Advisory Board makes spring visit to Elon

Fifteen board members and guests, including chair Michael Radutzky of “60 Minutes,” were in attendance April 10 to hear about the future of the School of Communications and to share their professional insight with students and faculty.

Michael Tackett, deputy political editor with The New York Times, shared his professional experiences with Professor Janna Quitney Anderson’s ‘Media Writing’ class. Tackett was on campus April 10 to participate in the Communications Advisory Board’s spring meeting.

​For an ever-so-brief moment, the conversation during Associate Professor Anthony Hatcher’s “Journalism in a Free Society” course turned to vending machine food.

As part of the Communications Advisory Board’s visit for its spring meeting April 10, board chair and “60 Minutes” senior producer Michael Radutzky fielded questions from Hatcher’s students following a discussion of the evolution of today’s media. At this time, 14 other Advisory Board members and guests were engaged in similar exercises throughout the McEwen Communications Building and other on-campus locations.

Asked about his most memorable professional experiences, Radutzky pared his impressive archive down to three, including his five hours spent in a jail cell with American terrorist Timothy McVeigh. Accompanying journalist Ed Bradley for an interview, Radutzky recalled how startling the conversation topics were with the now-executed mass murderer.

“[While we’re] sitting there, he’s the nicest guy on the planet,” Radutzky said, noting McVeigh asked about his interviewers’ kids and lives, even providing his guests with snacks.

“He offered me – and he’s sitting on death row, right – Doritos, Fritos, ice cream bars. It was his way of showing his power,” the news producer recalled.

Michael Radutzky (left), Communications Advisory Board chair and “60 Minutes” senior producer, and Tom Howe, former director and general manager at UNC-TV, visited with Associate Professor Anthony Hatcher’s ‘Journalism in a Free Society’ course.

​But when the conversation turned to his motive for killing 168 people ­– the deadliest terroristic act on U.S. soil at that time – McVeigh turned cold. “All that friendly banter done and he turned to stone … and you say to yourself, ‘That’s the guy who killed those people. Now I get it,’” Radutzky said.

The personal anecdotes and professional insights from board members like Radutzky were among the many highlights of the spring meeting.

In addition to their classroom tour, the board members were briefed on the school’s facilities expansion and building campaign, weighed in on current challenges facing communications schools, and discussed the university’s future aspirations.

At a luncheon, a five-person panel comprised of board members discussed the world of media and communications in today’s society. Video and photography work by Interactive Media graduate student Brandon Booker and undergraduate Al Drago ’15 were displayed during the meal.

In the afternoon session, the board joined President Leo M. Lambert for a discussion and presentation on how to best articulate the university’s value to its audiences and prospective students.

Photos of the Advisory Board’s visit are available on the School of Communications’ Flickr page.

​Board members who participated in the spring meeting were:

  • Michael Radutzky (chair), senior producer, “60 Minutes” and executive producer, CBS News
  • Brad Brinegar, chairman & CEO, McKinney
  • Julie Carey, Northern Virginia bureau chief, NBC News4
  • Tom Howe, former director and general manager, UNC-TV
  • Claudia Jepsen, vice president of marketing, This Old House Ventures
  • Allen H. Johnson III, editorial page editor, News & Record
  • Eric Kraus, executive vice president of communications, Clean Harbors, Inc.,
  • Jack MacKenzie, president, Magid Generational Strategies
  • Sunshine Janda Overkamp, president, Overkamp Overkamp-Smith
  • Lee Rainie, director, Pew Internet & American Life Project
  • Michael Tackett, deputy political editor, The New York Times
  • Craig Waller, president, Pace
  • Ken White, broadcasting consultant and PR strategist
  • Norby Williamson, executive vice president for production, program scheduling and development, ESPN

Former board member and Elon alumna Carol Fountain Nix, director of marketing communications and public relations for the North Carolina State University College of Design, attended the spring meeting as a special guest.

Tommy Kopetskie,
4/20/2015 8:45 AM