Gary Hanson Receives Prestigious Award

Edward L. Bliss Award for Distinguished Broadcast Journalism Recognizes Contributions to Teaching, Scholarship, Service

Professor Gary Hanson of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) at Kent State University has been named the recipient of the 2016 Edward L. Bliss Award for Distinguished Broadcast Journalism Education. The award is presented annually by the Electronic News Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) to recognize significant and lasting contributions to the field in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service.

Professor Hanson, who is retiring this spring, has taught in the areas of electronic journalism and mass communication. His career spans more than 40 years as a broadcast professional and educator, beginning at a 1000 watt NPR affiliate in North Forks, N.D. Hanson spent more than 25 years in local news before moving full time to education at Kent State.

In his letter of nomination, JMC Director Thor Wasbotten wrote of an influential teacher, a dedicated scholar and a colleague who offers service to the academic community at Kent State and beyond.

“But above all else, Gary has accomplished this without compromising his principles and values of being compassionate, thoughtful, the highest integrity and a genuine appreciation for others,” Wasbotten wrote. Plus, he added, “He deserves it.” 

Hanson’s list of service to the academy is long. It includes judging numerous awards, acting as a reviewer for textbooks and journals articles, serving as a member of the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and currently serving as the selection committee chair for the Larry Bunkum Public Service Award, given by the Electronic News Division of AEJMC. He served a Division Head for what was then known as the Radio Television Journalism Division of AEJMC (now the Electronic News Division) from 2009-2010, and chaired the Radio Television News Directors Association in 1992. He was awarded the Larry Bunkum Public Service Award in 2013. 

At Kent State he developed the popular International Storytelling class, where he takes students to locations around the world to learn how to tell stories in a foreign environment. He’s traveled with students to China, India, Brazil and Cyprus.

Alumnus Nathan Edwards, ’12, considers himself lucky to have been hand-picked to travel to India as part of the International Storytelling cohort.

“When you’re in Gary Hanson’s class, it’s not just a class,” he wrote in his letter of support. “It’s an experience full of memories.”

It’s also an experience that continues long after the students have left the classroom. Alumna Julie Bercik, ’07, wrote, “All these years later, my college professor is still teaching me things, whether it is different angles for stories, tips on how to do a better live shot or critiquing my reporter packages; I value and respect what he tells me.”

Colleagues similarly describe a generous and creative collaborator.

“Gary has been a role model for me and others on the JMC faculty because of his thoughtful consensus-building and his wise council on matters ranging from course outcomes to student success,” wrote Associate Professor Jan Leach.

Hanson is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters. In his spare time, he holds workshops for broadcast professionals on using innovative software within video production. He’s received nearly four dozen awards and grants for his various research and creatives projects. He designed and created an online portal for the course “Media, Power and Culture”, as well as for several other courses. 

 Hanson received his Master of Arts degree in Media Management from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication from Kent State University in 1999. His Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Dakota was granted in 1973.  

Past winners of the Bliss Award (formerly Distinguished Broadcast Educator Award) are: Jack Shelly, Iowa State (1983); Ed Bliss, American University (1984); Dick Yoakam, Indiana (1985); Henry Lippold, Wisconsin-Eau Claire (1986); Rod Gelatt, Missouri (1987); Mitchell Charnley, Minnesota (1988); Don Brown, Arizona State (1989); Irving Fang, Minnesota (1990): Ernest F. Andrews, Syracuse (1991): Al Anderson, Texas- Austin (1992): Michael Murray, Missouri-St. Louis (1993); Joseph R. Dominick, Georgia (1994): Gordon Greb, San Jose State (1996); Travis Linn, Nevada-Reno (1997); Vernon Stone, Missouri (1998); Elmer Lower, ABC, NBC (1999); Ken Keller, SIU-Carbondale (2000); Lincoln Furber, American University (2001); James Hoyt, Wisconsin (2002); Phillip O. Keirstead, Florida A&M University (2003); Thomas Griffiths, Brigham Young University (2004): Peter Mayeux, University of Nebraska (2005); Bill Knowles, The University of Montana (2006); Jim Upshaw, The University of Oregon (2007); Glenn Johnson, Washington State University (2008); Sam Swan, University of Tennessee (2009); Phillip Jeter, Winston Salem State University (2010); C.A. “Charlie” Tuggle, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, (2011); Robert Papper, Hofstra University (2012); William Davie, the University of Louisiana Lafayette (2013); Mary Rogus, Ohio University (2014); and Mark Harmon (2015)

The distinguished broadcast journalism educator award is named for Edward L. Bliss, a long-time writer, producer and editor for CBS News. Bliss was known for his work with Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite and ended his career as an educator at American University, which now houses the plaques bearing the award winners’ names.

The award will be presented to Hanson at the Electronic News division meeting and social at the 2016 AEJMC National Convention in Minneapolis, Minn., in August. The meeting will be held Friday, Aug. 5, beginning at 7 p.m. on the rooftop of WCCO-TV. 

POSTED: Thursday, May 5, 2016 01:52 PM
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2022 05:07 PM