Posts filed under ‘Guest appearances’

Elon professor Ken Calhoun discusses storytelling, responsive visuals and conversation with journalism students

By Patrick McCabe

Written April 14, 2009

On April 8 Communications Professor Ken Calhoun spoke to journalism students about the importance of interactive media.

Ken Calhoun

Ken Calhoun

“There are three flavors to interactive media,” Calhoun said. “storytelling, responsive visuals and conversation.”

The restrictions that once existed for different types of media used to tell a story are gone. Interactive media allows the storyteller to use pictures and video to effectively tell their story using all sorts of media entities. 

Responsive visuals are the next key component or flavor are simply online experiences that are visually based.

“They have to be open, organic and fed by the changing world,” Calhoun said.“They’re graphics, info graphics, data visualizations, timelines, maps, stuff like that.”

The final aspect of interactive media is conversation. Through online media people have found a new way to communicate, whether through online blogging sites or social networks.

“These sites set the conditions for conversation while we host a conversation,” Calhoun said. “Whether it is through one of these sites or not interactive media must be a part of conversation.”

Calhoun graduated with an M.F.A. from Emerson College. His professional background includes work in interactive television, corporate and entertainment industry multimedia production and creative writing. 

He will be teaching in Elon’s Interactive Media Master’s program in Fall of 2009. The one year program will prepare students for work in all different media platforms. This program is the only one offered in the state of North Carolina.

To learn more about the iMedia program check out the iMedia blog here.

See Calhoun speak about the importance of interactive media:


April 16, 2009 at 12:16 pm 2 comments

The man behind the ‘Blow’ bust will speak at Elon University

Michael McManus will share his experiences from his work in the DEA with Elon students tonight.

By Patrick McCabe

Written April 6, 2009

Ever wondered who the real people were behind the characters in the Johnny Depp’s film Blow?

Michael McManus, former Drug Enforcement Administration supervisor, posed as a dealer and gained the trust of drug lords in order to bring down George Jung, the man responsible for establishing the American cocaine market.

Michael McManus, former DEA agent.

Michael McManus, former DEA agent.

McManus arrives on Elon’s campus on April 9 to share his experiences as a part of the American drug world. He hopes to promote knowledge and awareness among the student body.

My father was a Federal Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration and was undercover for over 17 years,” daughter Kelly McManus said. “He has spoken all over the world and I know he will do a great job of educating us all at Elon.”

As a part of the Isabella Cannon Leadership Program, Kelly is completing a common good project on drug education at Elon. She has been working all year on various projects to make all Elon students aware of the serious drug issues that plague college campuses. Teaming up with the Office of Greek Life, Kelly was able to bring her father to campus as a part of her education effort.

 He’s been in a lot of life or death situations,” said K. McManus. “Its hard to ever think that your father could not come home one night. It was scary but he was fighting the war on drugs.”

While going undercover and meeting all sorts of rich and powerful people may sound like a dream job to some Elon students, Kelly says it is a hard way of life.

McManus spent much of his career as a Drug Enforcement Administrator befriending and than arresting hardened criminals. He has had experiences with some of the top drug lords in America and he has helped put many of them behind bars.

“Going back and traveling to certain parts of the Bahamas can be risky for my family,” said K. McManus. “When we lived there my father put so may people in jail that people know his last name. So every time I travel back there I never tell people my last name unless I have to.”

Michael McManus will help Kelly continue her efforts in educating Elon students on the serious issues that go hand in hand with drug use and abuse, as well as share some of his experiences, including the role that was modeled after him in Johnny Deep’s film, Blow.

See McManus Thursday, April 9, at 7:30 in Alumni Gym.

April 9, 2009 at 3:03 pm 2 comments

Anderson Cooper gives Elon University “A 360 Degree Look at World Events”

Anderson Cooper shares his international reporting experiences at Elon University. 

By Patrick McCabe

Written April 7, 2009

“I’d never actually studied journalism,” said CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. “But I was always fascinated by news and television.”

Anderson Cooper speaks at Elon University.

Anderson Cooper speaks at Elon University.

Anderson Cooper arrived on Elon’s campus around noon today and spent the day interacting with students and faculty. He visited three classes, met with countless communications students and faculty, took part in an intimate question and answer session and spoke a gymnasium full of students, faculty, trustees and public individuals.

“You are trying to bring people along a journey and if you can find a way to make them fell as if they have walked in another person’s shoes than you have been successful,” said Cooper, on his motivation behind reporting. “My job is to tell the story and I think it is a great privilege to tell people’s stories.”

At Cooper’s speech entitled “A 360 Look at World Events” he talked a lot about the importance of sharing others stories. Through out his career he has traveled to many different countries and has had incredible experiences reporting.

“You can’t allow your own fears to affect what you are reporting,” said Cooper. “We must look into things that scare us.”

Cooper has faced many life-threatening situations. From barricading himself in a hotel room in Iraq to filming his translator fill the gas tank while being shot at in sniper alley, Cooper has really seen it all and reported every step of the way.

He began his career with a forged press pass, a camera and by sneaking into Burma to talk to students fighting the Burmese government. After working for a number of news organizations Cooper has secured a nightly show on CNN called Anderson Cooper 360. He continues to act as a war correspondent and travels to war zones often.

“I insist on going to war zones and conflict zones at least twice a year,” Cooper said. “There is always a story to tell and we cannot be afraid to try and tell it.”

After he spoke he gave the audience the opportunity to ask questions. One of the questions a student asked was how he is able to separate himself from the stories he reports on.

“There are times when you can do something,” Cooper said. “I don’t see a huge conflict with being a human and a reporter at the same time.”

Cooper also commented on the current state of news programming.

“There is this increasing tendency in television to take a political view,” Cooper said. “People expect their news to have a slant but what they should expect is the facts. I don’t think anyone cares about what I think and it isn’t my job to share my views.”

With the current state of the economy and the ever-changing field of communications some students looked to Anderson Cooper for advice on journalisms future.

“I think there is going to be some new outlet for reporting and I am pretty optimistic about the future of it,” Cooper said. “My company would love me to be twitting and web casting all the time. No one really knows what the future holds so it will be interesting to see.”

See part of Anderson Cooper’s speech:


April 8, 2009 at 4:20 am Leave a comment

Elon University students learn the importance of International awareness from Madeline Albright

Madeline Albright addresses Elon students at honor convocation on the importance of International awareness.

By Patrick McCabe

Written March 31, 2009

The trumpets sounded as 65 flags, representing the 65 countries where Elon students hail from, processed up the aisle to begin the Honors Convocation that took place this afternoon at Elon University.

Madeline Albright speaks at Honors Convocation

Madeline Albright speaks at Honors Convocation


As students who made the dean’s and president’s list sat down at the ceremony to celebrate their achievements they witnessed as Dean of Cultural and Special Programs, George Troxler was honored for his hard work, Elon alumni, Noel Allen, received an honorary doctorate and the keynote speaker former secretary of state, Madeline Albright addressed the future of leadership.

Speaking with absolute poise and grace, Ms. Albright was quite comfortable joking with students while still recognizing their accomplishments as honors students.

“You should be proud,” Albright said. “And I hope today’s convocation will inspire you to even greater success.”

As the first female secretary of state, Albright can be considered on of the most accomplished women of our time. Yet she calls on future generations to do even greater things than she could imagine.

Albright focused her speech on three interconnected ideas including the role of education in the current changing world, importance of international learning and the process of connecting what we do with what we learn.

“We are in a time when truth and lies are locked in a constant battle for dominance,” Albright said. “We must challenge ourselves economically and socially to do better.”

As a foreign diplomat Albright is a huge advocate for international study. She insists that we incorporate international study for all students. She believes that we have a lot to learn from other cultures. Through our foreign relationships we have the opportunity to grow and mature.

When I was Secretary of State,” Albright said. “I encountered Members of Congress who boasted that they did not own a passport and had never ventured outside the United States.”

Albright is hopeful that with this new generation a new attitude towards international awareness be present.

“If we’re going to create a dynamic whereby intellectual freedom and global security reinforce one another,” Albright said. “These experiences are a great place to start — because the connections made in a classroom or a dorm have a way of strengthening over time.”

Secretary Albright also spoke about President Obama and the current situation he has taken on as president. President Obama is not afraid to ask for help and is looking to the new generation for help.

“He will need young leaders who are not just dreamers, but also doers – people who combine theoretical knowledge with real-world skills,” Albright said. “After all, every new president inherits headaches, but President Obama has inherited a whole emergency room.”

Albright closed by talking about the long road of hard work that awaits both our president and our country as we attempt to fix our current situation. A lot of tough decisions await our nation as we continue the race between education and catastrophe.

“As I look around this audience of excellent students and high achievers,” Albright said. “I am convinced that we will win – not easily, not immediately, but slowly and surely, we will prevail.”

See video footage of Albright’s speech:


April 1, 2009 at 2:02 am 1 comment

Anderson Cooper tickets available to Elon students and faculty causing a big scene and long line

Anderson Cooper’s “A 360 degree Look At World Events” to draw in a huge crowd, Tuesday, April 7th.

By Patrick McCabe

February 17, 2009

Students flooded the Center for the Arts at Elon University, only to find a line wrapped all the way through the building, yesterday as tickets for guest speaker, Anderson Cooper became available to students and faculty.

Anderson Cooper, CNN anchor.

Anderson Cooper, acclaimed journalist and CNN anchor.

Copper, an acclaimed journalist and CNN anchor, will present a lecture entitled “A 360-degree Look at World Events” at Elon on Tuesday, April 7th.

The box office opened at 12:30, Monday afternoon and students and faculty flocked to get their ticket. By the end of the day 400 student tickets remained and 1,000 tickets will be available to the general public for $12.

“It was ridiculous, I have class all day Monday and am required to attend the lecture for class,” said freshman Parker Davis. “How am I supposed to get my ticket when I am taking midterms or in class during the only time that the box office is open?”

Students were not happy with the long wait they faced Monday afternoon.

“I waited for over an hour and I got here before the box office opened,” said junior Kristen Clements. “I ended up missing my second class because the line was so long and the ticketing process was so slow.”

The remaining student tickets and the general admission tickets are available today from 12:30-5 p.m. and students who were not able to get tickets yesterday are encouraged to face the line once again.

March 17, 2009 at 6:41 pm 2 comments


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