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WVU J-Week features award-winning correspondent, journalism experts

The West Virginia University P.I. Reed School of Journalism’s annual celebration of the best and brightest in modern media featured national award-winning Newsweek correspondent Michael Isikoff as its keynote speaker during Journalism Week 2006, March 20-24.

Isikoff’s speech, sponsored by the Ogden Newspapers Seminar Series, focused on “The Perils and Pitfalls of Confidential Sources: An Investigative Reporter’s Perspective.” The March 20 presentation was held in WVU’s Eiesland Hall.

“We’re very grateful to the Nutting family for supporting this lecture series.” said School of Journalism Dean Maryanne Reed . “Thanks to their support, we’re able to bring to WVU Michael Isikoff, of the top investigative journalists in the world.”

Isikoff joined Newsweek as an investigative correspondent in June 1994. He has written extensively on the U.S. government’s war on terrorism, the Abu Ghraib scandal, campaign-finance and congressional ethics abuses, presidential politics and other national issues, including the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Isikoff is also the co-author of the weekly online Web column “Terror Watch,” which won the 2005 award from the Society of Professional Journalists for best investigative reporting online. The column repeatedly breaks major stories and sheds light on important trends, making “Terror Watch” a must read for senior U.S. intelligence officials, congressional staffers and other media organizations.

“Michael Isikoff is an inspiration for young journalists coming of age in the post-911 world.” Reed said. “His reporting on national security, the military and terrorism is keeping the nation informed about the most important issues of our time.”

The Gruine Robinson Lectureship for Journalism allowed the School to also host during Journalism Week 2006 News Director Mark Casey; Downtown Partners Chicago President Ray Gillette; Creative Director/Art Director Steve Montgomery; Congressional Quarterly Deputy Editor for Social Policy Maureen Conners; Photographer Linda Troeller; and Eugene Cottilli, with the Bureau of Industry and Security’s Office of Congressional and Public Affairs.

Mark Casey spoke to television reporting classes and visited with students on March 20.

For the past four years, Casey’s Phoenix newsroom has been on the leading edge of Gannett Broadcasting’s multimedia efforts, first in convergence initiatives with co-owned newspaper The Arizona Republic and most recently in product development for their joint website azcentral.com. Additionally, he’s supervised several citizen journalism projects covering youth violence, education and immigration.

Casey was named news director at KPNX-TV in May of 1999. Prior to joining Gannett, he was vice president of news for FOX-owned WBRC-TV in Birmingham, Ala. He has worked in broadcast news for over 30 years in a variety of positions on-air and behind the camera. Casey’s newsrooms have won numerous awards, excelling in breaking news and continuing coverage categories. He’s led news teams that were named Best News Operation in both North Carolina and Ohio by the Associated Press and won regional Edward R. Murrow awards. As executive producer at WSOC-TV in Charlotte, Casey was part of a team that won a national AP and a National Headliner award for its coverage of Hurricane Hugo.

Ray Gillette spoke to an advertising copy editing class and visited with students on March 22.

Following two years in the Army, Gillette began his advertising career as an account manager at McDonald & Little Advertising in Atlanta, Ga. He joined DDB Chicago in 1978 and infused a results-oriented vision to all DDB Chicago teams. He worked on DDB’s largest accounts ranging from Busch Beer and State Farm to Discover Card and Qwest Communications. In addition, Gillette was a visionary in integrated marketing, bringing its benefits to DDB clients long before it became standard industry practice. He was appointed President of DDB Chicago, DDB Worldwide’s largest office, in 2000.

In 2004, to take advantage of Gillette’s entrepreneurial spirit and love of building new business, Gillette was named President of Downtown Partners, an independent agency owned by Omnicom.

Steve Montgomery addressed an advertising copy editing class and chatted with students on March 22.

Montgomery has won every major advertising award, including Clios, On Show pencils, D&AD pencils, Cannes Lions and Athenas. The bulk of his career was sent at the creatively renowned agency Scali McCabe Sloves in New York .

His creative mentors at the agency are both inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame. His work on Volvo has won every creative award in the industry. He has worked on numerous other national accounts and has owned his own ad agency. He currently teaches ad design at Syracuse University . Montgomery is still an active art director and is uncompromising in his commitment to doing great work. He is a 1971 WVU graduate.

Maureen Conners was the guest speaker on March 23 for public affairs reporting and editorial/critical writing classes.

Conners has been deputy editor of social policy for Congressional Quarterly in Washington since June 2004. She went to CQ from the Baltimore Sun, where she served for eight years in various positions, including assistant bureau chief for the Howard County bureau and copy editor on the metro, national and foreign desks. Before that, she was a copy editor at the Orlando Sentinel for six years.

Conners also worked as a copy editor and freelance writer at the Charleston Gazette, and as a reporter and photographer and at the Evening/Weekend Journal in Martinsburg. She is a 1982 graduate of WVU and has a degree in broadcast journalism. She also worked during most of her college tenure as a writer and photographer at The Daily Athenaeum.

Linda Troeller was on campus March 24 meeting with photography and advertising students.

Troeller received her bachelor’s in journalism from WVU and a master’s in communications and MFA in photography from Syracuse University .

Canadian filmmaker Jeff McKay is shooting “Linda Troeller: A Portrait,” due out in 2007, focusing on her new book project on the Chelsea Hotel, along with interviews with her curators and publishers.

Troeller won Pictures of the Year, 1st Place Pictorial for “Jacuzzi, Calistoga Hot Springs, California,” later published in her book “Healing Waters, Aperture.” She was awarded Woman of the Year for her photo-collage exhibition on stigma, TB-AIDS DIARY.

She is a member of editorial photo agencies Zuma, Los Angelas and Grazia Neri, Italy . This year Agence Vu, France, will publish never before seen “Healing Waters”photographs on its Web site as part of its 20th Anniversary.

Eugene Cottilli spoke to a public relations case studies class and visited with students on March 23.

Cottilli serves as a media and congressional liaison with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security. He also serves as spokesperson for the Bureau, which advances U.S. national security, foreign policy and economic objectives by ensuring an effective export control and treaty compliance system and promoting continued U.S. strategic technology leadership.

Prior to his service at the Commerce Department, he was press secretary to U. S. Senator Howard M. Metzenbaum of Ohio . He was the sports editor and a news anchor at the West Virginia Radio Network (Mountainet) and the sports director at WCLGRadio in Morgantown before his work on Capitol Hill. He is a WVU P.I. Reed School of Journalism graduate.