My Gannon Media Family

Content Contributed By Rebecca Hilker ‘16

A family does not necessarily mean the sharing of a bloodline. It can come in all shapes and sizes, races and religions, ages and genders– it is a bonding like no other. Being a part of a family holds a different meaning for everyone. It certainly does for me.

As the 2015-16 editor in chief of The Gannon Knight, my media family has taught me the importance of working as one unit. We all hold the same goal and want to produce the best work. Utilizing one another’s talents does just that. By having this strong supportive family, we have also created a fiercely competitive, award-winning one as well.

We work well and accomplish great things together because we have the same aspects of a loving, caring and supportive family. Now, let me introduce you to our Gannon media family.

The Gannon Knight

The oldest member of the media family is The Gannon Knight. It has been a student-produced newspaper since beginning in 1946 and was once the only media outlet for Gannon news.

Now, 70 years later, it is still publishing 24 issues per year with a circulation of 2,000. Growing with the fast-paced changes in today’s media may not be easy, but The Knight has made the move to publishing online, is active on social media and is also an award-winning newspaper.

The Knight received a first-place award from the American Scholastic Press Association (ASPA) in the category for collegiate newspapers for the 2014-15 academic year. Additionally, the ASPA recognized the student-produced publication as one of the two most outstanding university newspapers in the same year.

All of this wouldn’t be possible, though, without the help and guidance from advisor Frank Garland, assistant professor, journalism communications. He believes The Knight received its first-place honor because of the editors’ hard work, dedication and understanding of what a student newspaper means to a university campus.

“Our student reporters and editors always have had high standards,” Garland said. “It’s been passed down from one staff to the next.

“Our staff writers and editors go out of their way to make sure students, faculty and staff are well-represented in the stories they report,” Garland said. “All of The Knight staff members bring a professional attitude to their work and it shows in the final product, both print and online.”


The second-oldest member of the Gannon media family was created in December 1972. Starting out in the Zurn Science Center basement as 89.1 WERG, it was overseen at the time by the Rev. Thomas McSweeney, a theatre professor.

Now known to the Gannon and Erie communities as the student-run 90.5 WERG, airing from the Center for Communication and the Arts, WERG was a national finalist for eight awards in seven categories, including Best College Station in the Nation at a University under 10,000 enrollment, at this year’s Intercollegiate Broadcasting System media conference. WERG placed in the top five nationally in four of those categories, and was named the national champion for Best Sports Update and Best Event Promo.

WERG continues to give students the hands-on learning needed to prepare for the world of broadcasting. Samantha Griswold, a junior journalism communication major, shares her experience as a student staff member of WERG today.

“The staff at WERG were so nice and understanding about everything,” she said. “They helped train me so I could become an on-air professional. I love the atmosphere of the Center for Communications and the Arts in general; everybody knows everybody by first name (even the teachers) and it’s like one big family. WERG helped me fit in and become a part of the Gannon community.”

Schuster Theatre

A family wouldn’t be complete without the one member who always has a story to tell. The Schuster Theatre is that family member, and certainly never fails to amaze us with a story or two.

Schuster Theatre has not only provided the Gannon and Erie community with spectacular productions since the 1960s, but also has been recognized for their hard work and dedication.

The student production team was honored at the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) for their production of “Stage Fright: Play Fest of Fear,” a show that was completely produced and directed by the students of the honorary theater fraternity, Alpha Psi Omega. The production, which was comprised of five short plays, was selected to advance and perform three of the plays at the Region II KCACTF in January.

Jacki Vadney, a fine arts adjunct lecturer and technical director for the Theatre, has been a member of the Schuster family for nine years. It is a naturally supportive environment, which she thinks plays into the loving family atmosphere that consumes the theater.

“With what we do, we work so closely together with a rather small group of people,” Vadney said. “We are exploring stories and emotions, and naturally you become a part of the family.”

Vadney said a deeper level of understanding and care for each other was seen at the conference in January. Thirteen students traveled to West Chester to share an experience and apply what they have learned.

“The conference inspired them all in different ways,” she said. “There are always new and interesting relationships that are created each year, but the love the theatre family holds and the way the older students mentor their younger peers never changes.”


Totem is a literary arts magazine that compiles work from the Gannon community, and is produced annually by Gannon students. Since 1996, ASPA has awarded Totem with first-place or first-place with special merit, and this year was no different.

The ASPA competition is open to all colleges across the United States, and Totem is in the category of colleges with an enrollment total of over 2,501. The student-produced publication received first-place with special merit with a total of over 990 out of 1,000 points for the 2015 issue.

As described by Berwyn Moore, English professor and advisor to the publication, the name Totem holds much significance to the idea of a community-created artistic piece.

“A totem pole is a Native American art piece that represents the community,” Moore said. “That is what Totem is – a binding of the Gannon community through art.”


The youngest of the family can be looked at as the new generation– always staying on top of the latest trends and social media styles. Edge Magazine was established in 2009 and is an online, student-run magazine.

Covering topics such as academics, campus life, sports, arts and entertainment, and faith and service, Edge also creates quizzes and videos for its readers to enjoy. Reaching the Gannon community, alumni, family and friends through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, the youngest member of our family is taking the media world by storm.

“On my first day working at Edge, I was welcomed with open arms among all members of the existing Edge staff,” said Marisa Guyton ‘16. “It felt like I have been a part of the team since it began. While gaining experience as a social media manager, I can say that I gained friends in the process.”

We all interact and work together to keep the media family headed in the right direction, and Edge helps push the rest of us to the next level by showing us the way to the future of media communication.

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