Communications group
visits Atlanta media pros


A group of 36 School of Communications students, including freshman Communications Fellows and students who live in the Elon University's Communications Living/Learning Communities, traveled to Atlanta Sept. 25 through 27 to visit with communications professionals about their work in the field.

The first stop was the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 1993 communications grad Rogers Harrison met the group and led a tour of AJC facilities.

Harrison introduced Elon students to an AJC marketing executive and several journalists. The newspaper is one of the largest in the southeastern United States, with a circulation of nearly 500,000. The presses were rolling when Elon students walked through on their tour.

The AJC is owned by Cox Enterprises, which includes Cox Communications (the nation's fourth-largest cable company), Cox Television (15 stations in 11 markets), Cox Radio (the nation's third-largest radio company), and Cox Newspapers, which is one of the top 10 newspaper groups in the U.S.

This media company had its beginnings in 1898, when a 28-year-old former schoolteacher, James Cox, bought the Dayton Evening News Co. for $28,000. Cox Enterprises revenues for 2001 were $8.6 billion, and company headquarters are in Atlanta.

Harrison works for Cox Newspapers in its CoxNet office - the wire service and Internet arm of Cox. He began at the AJC as a newsroom copy carrier and followed that with stints as an advertising sales assistant and ad account executive before beginning his work as a "utility player" for CoxNet, when he sometimes writes and often works to coordinate many facets of news production.

Students toured Olympic Park, site of the 100th-anniversary Olympic Games in 1996, on their way to CNN Center. They split into two groups and went on the tour of CNN and its broadcast facilities. In the late 1970s, cable television mogul Ted Turner hired 200 new employees and founded the Cable News Network, which first began to broadcast in June of 1980 to an audience of about 1.7 million households. In 1995, Turner introduced CNN International, sending CNN around the world, and began Today, CNN's news group is owned by Time Warner, and it includes a number of television and radio networks and Internet sites. The group as a whole reaches an audience of about 1 billion people worldwide.

Students had the opportunity to visit with 1998 Elon graduate Alex Medieros in the lobby after their studio tour. Medieros works with CNN News Source, which has a live-news division and also offers archived materials of previously broadcast CNN content. Medieros works primarily with archived materials in his job with News Source. He explained that he traveled to Atlanta with no job prospects after leaving Elon. "I had some money from graduation," he said, "and I wanted to be in the media capital of the South. I gave myself three months to find something. I networked. I made blind calls to Elon alumni, and they helped me land this position."

Advertising, marketing and promotions were the main topics of study for the Elon group at the next stop, the World of Coca Cola, a museum built in tribute to a product and its public image. Students viewed films, saw historic advertising displays, viewed television ad campaigns and also had the opportunity to sample various products bottled by Coca Cola for people in other nations.

The student group met with other Elon alumni and Advisory Board member Ellen Hartman, president of Weber Shandwick Atlanta, for a dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, followed by an outing to see an improv troupe's production in downtown Atlanta.

They spent a day at Six Flags over Georgia, where they visited with public relations chief Jim Taylor (a graduate of the University of Alabama-Birmingham, not Elon). He talked about careers in public relations and shared examples, including the type of planning involved in handling crisis communications.

Leah Kessler, director of internships and special programs, coordinated the Atlanta trip. Accompanying her on the journey were School of Communications professors Gerald Gibson, Ray Johnson and Janna Anderson.




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Last Modified:  9/28/03
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