Davis Supports Future of JRMP

Photo by Vicky Smith

Vicky Smith
Managing Editor

Thanks to a gift from the Don C. Davis family and the Brewer Trust, the Cameron University Foundation has established the Davis Family Endowed Lectureship in Communication, a sum of $25,000.

To establish the endowment, the Cameron University Foundation received approval from the University of Oklahoma, Cameron University and Rogers State University Board of Regents. Currently, the foundation is seeking matching funds from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

According to the fund agreement, former Cameron President Don Davis and his wife Beverly established the lectureship, and its purpose “shall be to promote and celebrate the academic and professional tenets of broadcast journalism with a particular focus on public, not-for-profit radio and digital productions.”

Chair of the Department of Communication Dr. Christopher Keller said Davis believes public radio to be a cultural cornerstone of southwest Oklahoma.

“Davis has an undergraduate degree in Journalism from OU, is a retired attorney, former legislator and master teacher himself,” Keller said.

“In 1989, as CU President, Dr. Davis ushered the launch of Cameron’s first ever national public radio station, KCCU.

“This endowed lectureship supports Dr. Davis’ original vision and recognizes continued excellence in digital and broadcast journalistic media.”

According to the fund agreement, the three objectives of the endowment are to “support student-produced broadcast journalism programming; to support named, thematic, continuing public radio news shows; and to promote convergence journalism initiatives, theory and community awareness.”

Keller said this endowment will not only benefit students, but it will also support an incredibly important facet of new-millennia media.
“This is a one of a kind endowment in that it targets, very specifically, digital, non-fiction creative media” he said. “The Communication Department has worked very hard to establish and attempt to grow a Journalism and Digital Media Production program in the face of declining broadcast media and journalistic media consumption.”

As a Cameron student, Keller gained experience for his future when he participated in a student-produced journalism program. He worked on staff at the Cameron Collegian from 1993 to 1996.

“I learned to think critically and write solid prose on a tight deadline,” Keller said. “I learned how to work with a team, how to use technology and how to talk to strangers. And, in the semester I had a food review column, I learned to really, really, really like beer. All together, it was formative experience.”

According to Keller, free speech is a cornerstone of democracy, and he believes student-produced journalism is important.

“Student-produced journalism, especially in a formative environment like a college campus, is both training for and access to an ideology” he said. “The ethic and ethos and responsibility and bravery required for true journalism is taught in our programs. It is one of the most important things we do in this department.”

In a press release, Davis agrees that journalism is a profession recognized in the Bill of Rights, for the Founding Fathers considered it important to protect the rights of the press.

“Just as we as journalists need to staunchly defend the rights of freedom of the press, we need to be able to tell the story,” he said. “Broadcast journalism is based on being able to tell a story, and to tell the story, you have to be able to write the story.
“You have to teach students to learn to write before they can effectively communicate.”


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