By Brittany Brand and Chelsea Hackney
Small wooden models of Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press sat in a prominent position on stage in the Hunter Welcome Center on Thursday night. The presses were actually Gutenberg awards, given each year to alumni of the Journalism and Mass Communication Department for distinguished professional achievements.
The three 2009 Gutenberg recipients were Brittany Huckabee, Cynthia Patterson Nellis and Skip Dampier. All of them have found roles in the professional world, all very different.
Huckabee graduated from ACU in 1999 with a degree in electronic media, although she began her freshman year as a broadcast journalism major. After her first video class, she discovered another aspect of film she enjoyed much more.
“She just fell in love with being behind the camera,” said Elaine Huckabee, administrative coordinator in the Brown Library and Brittany Huckabee’s mother.
After graduation, Huckabee worked for New River Media, where she produced several documentary films that aired on PBS, the most recent of which was The Mosque in Morgantown. Her next project is a documentary film about human trafficking in Nepal, Elaine Huckabee said.
Nellis is the fashion “guide” – editor and publisher – for About.com, a New York Times company. She writes from her home in East Texas, but travels to major fashion events, such as Fashion Week in New York, said Dr. Cheryl Bacon, professor of journalism and mass communication and chair of the JMC department.
Nellis graduated in 1986 and has worked for About.com for 10 years, since the beginning of the move to online media.
“She really got into online journalism before anyone was doing it,” Bacon said.
Dampier, who graduated in 1987, is the vice president of planning at Rapp Collins Agency, Dallas, a major advertising and marketing company. As part of his responsibilities, he is the global planner for the Hewlett-Packard International account, a $1 billion value – and it all began with an advertising position at the Yellow Pages, he said.
By tradition, faculty and alumni purchase tickets for JMC students so the students can attend for free, Bacon said. Although the purpose of the evening is to honor distinguished alumni, the Gutenberg recipients directed many of their comments to the students, offering encouragement and advice for college and the future.