Communication Studies

Department Spotlight

Whitworth Communication Studies Professor Wins Service Award, Chairs Media Ethics Board

Professor of Communication Studies Ginny Whitehouse recently received regional recognition for her work as internship director for Whitworth's Communication Studies Department when she was awarded the 2001 Northwest Career Educators and Employers Association Outstanding Service Award. The association selected Whitehouse to receive the award because of the high level of time and energy she dedicates to matching students to internships and for her work monitoring student progress during their internships.

"Internships give students an opportunity to see how what they've learned in the classroom applies to the real world," Whitehouse says. "As part of the students' internships, we ask them to spend time reflecting on how communication skills and theories are put into practice in the work force. Our communication studies students take internships where they do the work they will do once they graduate-they're not just running errands and watching other people work."

In addition to receiving the outstanding service award, Whitehouse was recently elected chair of the Media Ethics Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Whitehouse, who is shaping the division's agenda for the year in her role as chairperson, is a firm believer in incorporating ethics education into the communication studies curriculum at Whitworth. Each spring, seniors majoring in communication studies, speech, and journalism and mass communications are required to take an ethics course taught by Whitehouse and Department Chair Michael Ingram.

"It doesn't do much good to teach and talk about the many media ethics issues that exist and say to students, 'What would you do if you were president of a corporation or news director for a TV station or managing editor of a newspaper?'" Whitehouse says. "Students will eventually end up in these positions, but certainly not right after they graduate. We need to help students learn how to influence ethical decisions from their first day on the job. If we can do that, then they will be more capable of making solid ethical decisions once they reach positions of greater power and influence."

Whitehouse served as chair of the 1999-2000 National Journalism Education Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. During her time as chairperson, the committee produced one of the first special editions for the SPJ magazine, Quill; the special edition covered the topic of journalism education. The issue includes an article co-authored by Whitehouse and Whitworth junior Caitlin Clapp about civic journalism education and how to integrate the community and the news more successfully.

Whitehouse joined the Whitworth faculty in 1996. She earned her master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Her undergraduate education was completed at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. Whitehouse worked as a journalist for newspapers in the southeastern United States as well as a correspondent for Baptist Press while she served as a journeyman missionary in South Korea.

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