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Ginger Blackstone, Harding University, has been named the recipient of the 2017 Kenneth Harwood Outstanding Dissertation Award.

Dr. Ginger Blackstone is an Assistant Professor at Harding University, where she teaches a host of Broadcast Journalism and Communication Research courses.  She also serves as News Director for the university’s live weekday locally-focused half hour newscast, Live at Five, produced and presented exclusively by undergraduate students and televised on HU16, the university’s 24/7 cable television channel (also streamed at

In 2016, Dr. Blackstone earned her Doctorate in Philosophy degree in Mass Communication from the University of Florida. As a Ph.D. student and candidate, she also served on the Dean’s Graduate Student Advisory Council, was a member of the Delta Epsilon Iota academic honors society, and spent time working in the university’s premiere Innovation News Center, sharing her wealth of experience with undergraduates involved in UF’s PBS television station, WUFT.  She also served as the president of the college’s Graduate Students in Mass Communication Association for the 2014-2015 school year.  In 2011, she earned her Master of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock with honors (Kappa Tau Alpha & Golden Key International Honor Societies); and in 1991, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio/TV Broadcasting at Harding University.

Before her career in academe, Dr. Blackstone spent 19 years in the broadcast and cable news industry, including 13 years at CNN and the former CNN Headline News (now HLN) as a supervising/executive producer, producer, and voice talent. Prior to that, she held management, producer, reporter, writer, and anchor positions at various local television stations, including WSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia; WTVC-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee; WHOA-TV in Montgomery, Alabama; KTHV-TV in Little Rock, Arkansas; and KHBS/KHOG-TV in Ft. Smith, Arkansas.  Her professional work has been honored with a NATAS Emmy Award for CNN’s coverage of the 2001 September 11th Terrorist Attacks, two Peabody awards for CNN’s coverage of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina Gulf Coast disaster and the 2008 Presidential Elections, an RTDNA Edward R. Murrow award for best show for KTHV’s newscast covering the 2009 Anne Pressly murder trial, and a Columbia-DuPont award for CNN’s coverage of the 2004 South Asian Tsunami disaster.

Dr. Blacktone will receive the award for her dissertation, “The Worst of Times”: The Prevalence and Power of Fear in Television News.

Established by Kenneth Harwood, Professor at the University of Houston and a former President of BEA, the award has been offering $1,000 for the outstanding Ph.D. dissertation in broadcasting and electronic media for over 25 years. The award was established through gifts started by Professor Harwood and a donation from a friend of BEA. The Harwood Dissertation Award will be presented to Dr. Blackstone at BEA’s annual convention in Las Vegas during a ceremony and reception on the evening of Sunday, April 23rd at the Las Vegas Westgate.  Visit the Harwood Dissertation page for more information on the award.