Seigenthaler music project puts students in limelight

The Tennessean’s CMA Awards night coverage from Bridgestone Arena Nov. 5 included, from left: George Walker, Sam Simpkins, MTSU/Music City Project student Dylan Aycock, Karen Kraft, Cindy Watts, Larry McCormack and Brad Schmitt.

The Tennessean’s CMA Awards night coverage from Bridgestone Arena Nov. 5 included, from left: George Walker, Sam Simpkins, MTSU/Music City Project student Dylan Aycock, Karen Kraft, Cindy Watts, Larry McCormack and Brad Schmitt.

It has been a very busy and productive fall semester for the Music City Project, an offshoot of the Seigenthaler News Service from the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies.

Students in Associate Professor Leon Alligood’s advanced reporting class (Jour 4800 and EMC 4800) have provided a wealth of music and music-related coverage to the digital and print platforms of area media partners The Tennessean and the Murfreesboro Pulse.

Coverage has included:

  • Entertainment features and album reviews have been written for the Murfreesboro Pulse, the city’s alternative monthly magazine, whose founder/publisher/editor in chief is MTSU alumus Bracken Mayo (B.S. in Journalism, 2003).
  • Under the direction of Alligood and Pat Embry, director of the Seigenthaler Chair, the Music City Project produced a number of features, breaking news stories, photos, videos and social media for The Tennessean. High-profile event coverage during fall semester included Live on the Green, Americana Music Festival and Conference, MTSU’s Bonnaroo Symposium and CMA Awards Week.
Sample tweet from Zach Ward from the BMI Awards red carpet on Nov. 4 outside BMI headquarters on Music Row.

Sample tweet from Zach Ward from the BMI Awards red carpet on Nov. 4 outside BMI headquarters on Music Row.

At the 15th annual Americana Music Festival, held for four days and nights in mid-September at various sites throughout Nashville, MTSU students provided feature advances and concert coverage of photos, from sites as varied as Grimey’s record shop’s annual Americanarama outdoor concert, Southern Ground Studios’ Acoustic Cafe nationally syndicated radio show tapings, and special concerts and interviews from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s CMA Theater.

Alligood and MTSU students also provided the camerawork for live intraconference video feeds from various panels and seminars.

Adding to the MTSU flavor, alum Dave Paulson (B.S. in Recording Industry, 2004) coordinated The Tennessean’s Americana in-house editing and logistics.

And during CMA Awards Week, veteran country music writer and MTSU alum Cindy Watts (B.S. in Recording Industry, 2001) reported and wrote the bulk of The Tennessean’s CMA Awards Week coverage from the red carpets at the ASCAP and BMI awards as well as from the nationally televised CMA Awards from the Bridgestone Arena.

Students arrived decked out in their Sunday best to help The Tennessean’s live Twitter coverage of the media-heavy red carpets, with Aaron Cantrell tweeting from the ASCAP Awards from the Music City Center, Zach Ward handling the tweets from the cramped red carpet outside BMI’s Music Row offices, and Dylan Aycock serving as both production assistant/tweeter from the high-security CMA Awards red carpet on Nov. 5.

The Music City Project's Zach Ward monitors questions and answers in preparation for live tweeting from the red carpet at the BMI Awards Nov. 4.

The Music City Project’s Zach Ward monitors questions and answers in preparation for live tweeting from the red carpet at the BMI Awards Nov. 4.

That capped a CMA Awards day that started early in the morning, as a rain-soaked Alligood and students contributed to The Tennessean’s multimedia coverage of the live Good Morning America concert outside the arena, featuring performances by country stars Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert.

Students participating in the Music City Project during the fall semester were: Dylan Aycock, Aaron Cantrell, John Conner Coulston, Morgan Massengill, Chuck Norwood, Bryan Ros, Natalie Shipley, Zach Ward, Emily West and Dawn Wyatt.

This story was written by Pat Embry, director of the Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies.

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Categories: Alumni, Events, Faculty, News, Partnerships, Students

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