National Expert to Speak on Crisis Communication

Dr. James O'Rourke, a nationally recognized expert on business communication, will be speaking at UD on Wednesday.

In light of recent Hollywood drama, crisis communication seems to be the desired skill set of the day.  A crisis can range from actors-gone-awry, to “rogue tweets” á la the Red Cross, to the substantially more serious.  Luckily for the university community, the UD Department of Communication is hosting Dr. James S. O’Rourke, a business communication expert, on Wednesday, March 16.

Dr. O’Rourke will be presenting “Crisis Communication: Ten Best Practices,” a presentation spanning his four decades in the field.  Named one of the “outstanding faculty” in the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, Dr. O’Rourke is also a regular consultant to Fortune 500 and businesses throughout North America.

Come learn tricks of the trade and gain valuable insight into one of the challenging aspects of communication.

Dr. James S. O’Rourke presents “Crisis Communication: Ten Best Practices,” Wednesday, March 16 at 6pm in Smith Hall, Room 120.

This event is free and open to the public.

Student Spotlight: STN 49’s Chris Volker

Chris Volker, a junior communication major, is the head political correspondent for UD's student-run network, STN 49.

Anyone on campus last October remembers the hubbub that surrounded the Chris Coons and Christine O’Donnell debates, held in our own Mitchell Hall.  Voters across the state, and even across the nation, watched the televised debate on CNN.  Many students got even more local, tuning in to coverage provided by UD’s student television network, STN 49.

One student got even more up close and personal than most – STN 49’s head political correspondent, junior Chris Volker.  Chris began working with the station during his freshman year, and moved up the ranks to become a correspondent and producer.

The intensity of the debates, Chris said, was a glimpse into the “real world” of television production.

“Being involved with something like STN,” Chris said, “Students gain knowledge that they may never learn in a textbook.”

To watch STN 49 live online, or to learn how you can get involved, check out their website at

Story reported by Kara Auck.

Cover Letters – Send Them or Trash Them?

A recent article on social media news site Mashable debates the relevance of cover letters – in today’s web-based world, are they still necessary?  Various career experts were interviewed, and the jury was hung at the end of the article.

MSNBC Career Columnist Eve Tahmincioglu – who was on campus to speak with a UD journalism class last fall – thinks that the traditional cover letter is still a valid and valuable part of the job application.  She references the fact that companies are still looking for well-rounded employees, something that is hard to convey with just a resume.

On the other hand, Ryan Goff, director of social media marketing at advertising and public relations agency MGH, says that boring cover letters often stop him from reading the rest of the applicant’s information.  Spend more time on the resume, he says, and employers won’t even miss the cover letter.

This article makes cover letters out to be a double-edged sword – some employers expect it and others hold it against you.  The moral of this story?  If you’re going to include a cover letter, make it something worth reading.

What do you think?

Read the full Mashable article here.

WVUD Hosts Annual Radiothon

The University of Delaware’s radio station, 91.3 WVUD, has a long-standing tradition of connecting the university community with the city of Newark.  Countless COMM students have tried their hand at broadcasting with help from WVUD, and almost everyone else has enjoyed their music at one point or another.

To keep the station running and growing, WVUD hosts an annual Radiothon – last year’s raised over $50,000 to help add HD capabilities and increase the station’s power.  This year’s pledge drive runs from April 1-10, but supporters can also donate early via the WVUD website.  Take a look at the Radiothon page for more information and to help out this one-of-a-kind student-run station!

Former COMM Undergrad and Grad Earns Ph.D.

The newly minted Dr. High, a COMM alum.

Andy High, who received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in communication at the University of Delaware, successfully defended his doctoral dissertation at Penn State on March 3rd, to earn his Ph.D.

Andy’s research included two of his main interests – social support and computer-mediated communication – focusing especially on comforting conversations.  One of the surprising outcomes of his research was that men were actually better than women at comforting others through an online channel of communication.  Considering a lot of people interact online more than in person, Andy’s research starts a timely and interesting conversation.

For any current undergrads who would like to learn more about social support, consider taking COMM 440, Topics in Interpersonal Communication.  The class’s focus changes each semester, but is always centered around interpersonal communication.

The communication faculty and staff are excited to offer Dr. High their congratulations!

Sports PR Guru Shares Tips with Comm Students

Michael Wach, of Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, shared some advice with Comm students - know how to write, and write well.

Check out this blog post by current Communication major Abby Stollar.  Abby got the chance to have lunch with Michael Wach, of Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, before he spoke with her Intro to Public Relations class to offer some valuable insight.  Mr. Wach’s biggest piece of advice, said Abby, is “know how to write and write well.”  Take a look at Abby’s blog for more great pointers.

If you have a Communication-related blog that you’d like us to share, let us know!