WP Students Win National Recognition in a Student Podcast Competition Emphasizing Media History

Sean Mauro, left, and Ryley McKiernan, right

William Paterson University students Ryley McKiernan and Sean Mauro were among six students to win national recognition in a student podcast competition emphasizing the importance of media history. The Journalism History contest was organized by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).  

The students created the podcasts as part of a project in their class, Media Law and Ethics in fall 2020, taught by Nicholas Hirshon, assistant professor of communication.

"I'm thrilled their excellent work has been recognized,” says Hirshon. “Two months ago, our campus chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists won national campus chapter of the year. And now two of our own have placed among the winners in another national journalism competition, alongside students from universities more than triple our size."

McKiernan, a communication major, won second place for his podcast examining the history of music copyright law through the lens of the 2013 song “Blurred Lines.” It features insights from an interview with Jason Lee Guthrie, a media historian at Clayton State University in Georgia. The judges wrote that McKiernan "managed to make copyright law riveting - a claim few people can make."

Mauro, a dual major in popular music and communication, won an honorable mention for his podcast discussing the concept of prior restraint of publication, a form of censorship that allows the government to review the content of printed materials and prevent their publication. It includes the 1971 reporting on the Pentagon Papers with journalist and author Roy Harris.

The episodes will air during the week of March 22, 2021 on the Journalism History podcast, which has listeners in 96 countries.