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UW-Eau Claire graduate receives national journalism award

RELEASED: Sept. 27, 2010

Jenny You
Jenny You
(Photo by Leah L. Jones)

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire graduate Jenny Unbi You has been named the 2010 Julie Galvan Outstanding Graduate in Journalism Award recipient.

You, of Cottage Grove, Minn., is a May 2010 graduate who majored in broadcast journalism and women's studies. She will be recognized Oct. 4 at the Mark of Excellence Awards Luncheon in Las Vegas, Nev., as part of the 2010 Society of Professional Journalists Convention and National Journalism Conference.

"I was so surprised," You said. "It is a really big honor. I have never received something like this, considering it's nationally recognized. It is really cool to know people I've worked with thought I deserved the award."

You said she first got into journalism as a young girl, watching television and newscasts with her family.

"I used to do mock-ups and stuff like that," she said. "I imagined myself as an entertainment reporter on the 'red carpet.' I was always into the Hollywood side of it."

You came to UW-Eau Claire in 2007 as a high school senior to attend the communication and journalism department's "Journalism and Beyond Camp" for students of color. The students learned journalism basics and were required to write a multimedia story. For her efforts, You earned the Knight-Ridder Scholarship, worth $1,000 for each of her six semesters on campus.

"The camp gave students of color a real chance to try something they weren't really encouraged much to do," You said. "Most of the students were not well off, so it was a good experience. That introduction was a good gateway for the rest of my journalism career."

Much of what You focused on while at UW-Eau Claire was the multimedia aspect of journalism. You and a new media research team created a web portal on which students could post their multimedia stories. She also helped create a digital newsroom project group, which provided advice to faculty looking to combine the department's print, broadcast and photography curricula. She worked for TV-10 as an entertainment and weather reporter and for WUEC radio as a producer and host.

You joined SPJ in fall 2008, and served as vice president for the UW-Eau Claire chapter during the spring 2009 semester, becoming president in spring 2010. During her tenure, the chapter's membership increased and held two major events on campus.

One event was a panel discussion on the promises and challenges of social media. You helped arrange the visit of Christine Boese, a well-known authority on social media. Another panel member, a television reporter who participated via Skype, touched on using social media as a source of information and how it was used in his station's news operations.

"The panel really talked about where journalism was today and where it was headed in the future," she said.

You also organized the First Amendment Free Food Festival. UW-Eau Claire students and other participants "signed away" their First Amendment rights for free food. The unique event received national attention from such shows as "Fox and Friends," a morning talk show on Fox News.

"It was kind of controversial, but nearly 200 people participated," You said. "People from other universities were 'tweeting' me, asking how to throw one on their campuses.

"UW-Eau Claire has a really amazing (communication and journalism) program," she said. "I really attribute where I am today to the professors, students, faculty and everyone else I've worked with. If this was an Emmy, I would definitely be giving shout-outs in my acceptance speech to those people."

You attributes much of her success to her father as well. When You was a young child, her father earned an engineering degree and moved to the United States from Korea by himself. You's father tried to get a job at a computer software company, but ended up being the custodian instead. However, her father worked his way up in the company and received a job for which he was qualified.

"The good ethics and values I use today definitely come from my parents," You said. "I work harder. Seeing the struggles my parents faced makes me appreciate what I have and the opportunities I get. I am really thankful for that."

The award is named in memory of Julie Galvan, a former president of SPJ's San Jose State University chapter. Galvan was killed in a car accident in 1996 while traveling to an internship. At the close of the college year, each campus chapter of SPJ selects one graduate in journalism who is outstanding in his or her class on the basis of character, community service, scholarship, proficiency in practical journalism and significant contributions to the chapter. From this group, SPJ national leadership selects one graduate who is considered most outstanding for national recognition.

You now works as a producer at WEAU-TV in Eau Claire.

Megan Peterson, also a graduate of UW-Eau Claire, received the award in 2009.



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