The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication honored three distinguished alumni Thursday at its 25th annual Gutenberg Event. Honorees are chosen by JMC faculty each year.
Those who received the award were: Scott Parker, founder and president of Hearts Bluff Music in Nashville, Jan Taylor, director of corporate communications at UK HealthCare, and Blake Farmer, news director at Nashville Public Radio.
Parker earned a master of arts in 1983. His company purchases music rights from some of the world’s most successful songwriters and publishers.
“Its an incredible honor,” Parker said via email. “It feels like a ‘full-circle’ moment where I’m able to look back at the relational and academic seeds that were planted decades ago at ACU and see the fruit of that today.”
Taylor, a 1979 graduate, spent 10 years as director of communications and advertising at the University of Kentucky healthcare system in Lexington before moving to her current position.
“Cheryl Mann was my advisor when I was the editor of the ACU yearbook, The Prickly Pear,” Taylor said via email. “We’ve kept in touch through the years, so I was not all that surprised when she called, but I was not expecting the award for sure. It is quite an honor, and I’m pretty humbled by the company of the other award winners. I’ve loved my career and it feels very good to have it recognized.”
Farmer has worked full-time at Nashville’s WPLN since 2007. Although he is about to transition to a new role as senior healthcare reporter for NPR, his current job entails leading the newsroom, making daily story assignments and guiding special projects.
“Journalism is full of awards — some of which I find meaningful, many I do not,” Farmer said via email. “But the Gutenberg is special. It validates the work I’ve been doing since graduation. Many days are a grind. And you always know what could have done better. So it has me thinking back on my 12 years of reporting and seeing some stuff that I am pretty proud of.”
JMC’s student-run advertising and public relations agency, Morris+Mitchell, coordinated the event. Account director Vanessa Ellis said while she enjoyed celebrating the tiny family of the JMC department, the hardest part of putting on the event was to overcome the logistical mishaps. But with the help of her team, Ellis said the overwhelming amount of affirmation her team was given, made the hard work worth it.
“I believe in the celebration and the honor it holds, so it felt great to know I got to be a big part of making it happen this year,” Ellis said. “My team made everything possible, and that meant a lot of people were recognizing Morris+Mitchell, which also always makes me happy.”