“Being called to be a journalist is a mission,” Dr. Lynette Holman said. “It is a career that provides a service to the community, whether it’s rooting out corruption, helping people know what they need to know or informing them on an issue.”
Holman was hired by Appalachian’s Department of Communication to help introduce a new era of storytelling after a career as a visual journalist for multiple newspapers, including The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va.
“When I came here the curriculum was very much ‘print’ oriented, the mind-set was still thinking about careers in a print newsroom,” Holman said. “When I was hired, my job was to bring in a multiple media aspect of storytelling.”
Since then, Holman has developed new curricula for two classes she teaches: Multimedia Storytelling and Journalism Ethics in a Free Society. She has also developed and teaches classes from her own expertise and experience: Photojournalism, Layout and Design for Print and Interactive Media, and Internet Communication.
Holman also belongs to a Faculty Learning Community that was created to investigate how to apply Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles to teaching. UDL classes are designed to reach individuals with different types of learning styles through multiple means of representation, action and expression, and multiple means of engagement.
She utilizes these concepts when developing and fine-tuning her journalism classes.
“The point is to push the envelope and create an engaged classroom environment,” Holman said. “I spend a lot of time working on and developing classes that I would want to take, that the students need and are interesting – I make it so that it’s accessible and reaches all students.”
Researching and writing about health communication, however, is something that is also very important to Holman, whose research focuses on media portrayals of health and mental illness.
“My interest is in media effects and so I’m always talking about how a story is reported,” Holman said. “I try to bring that awareness into the classroom – how you write and how you present stories can have an impact on readers.”