Become a TNJN editor

The Tennessee Journalist staff will be holding interviews for 2018-2019 editorial staff positions on Monday, April 23 at 4 p.m. preceding our final meeting of the school year.

This past year our staff has included an editor-in-chief, a managing editor and editors and assistant editors for sports, arts and culture and news. However, we are open to creating new positions and sections as we see fit.

Everyone is welcome to interview for any and all positions.

If you cannot make the scheduled interview time or you have any questions, email Taylor Owens at

Al Roker arrives on UT campus

University of Tennessee students were invited to welcome the “Today Show’s” Al Roker to campus on Tuesday, March 29.

The festivities started around 10:30 a.m. when students met at the Visitors Center to ride to the airport and pick up Roker. Once he arrived on campus, he was escorted down Pedestrian Walkway.

Roker completed his day with a trip to Ayres Hall on The Hill.

The events take place a day before Roker is set to broadcast Rokerthon, a segment for the “Today Show,” live from Neyland Stadium. University of Tennessee students are attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest human letter by creating a Power T.

Students who would like to participate must sign up beforehand and commit to staying in Neyland Stadium from 5:30 a.m. until 8:45 a.m. when the segment concludes.

Featured image by Savanna Jacoby

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

Club Week: Honor society explores French language, culture

Once a month, lovers of all things French, also known as Francophiles, get together to eat authentic cuisine, learn about the culture and practice their French-speaking skills.

For some, it may sound like a party, but for Pi Delta Phi members, it is an opportunity to do what they love with people who share the same interests.

Pi Delta Phi is a national French honor society that is dedicated to students who have shown outstanding academic scholarship and language activities. To become a full member, students must have either completed a 300-level French class or be enrolled in one. Members must also have a minimum 3.0 overall GPA and a 3.25 GPA in French.

UT senior and Pi Delta Phi President, Alex Brito, has been involved with the honor society since her freshman year when she was considered an honorary member.

“I was impressed by the leadership and the tight-knit, welcoming attitude of the group,” she said. “I wanted to become more involved.”

Though she had studied French prior to joining Pi Delta Phi, Sarah Kirk, who serves as vice president, was drawn to the group because of her French minor.

“I was involved with teaching elementary school French to the kids at Pond Gap with [Brito],” she said. “When she found out I was a French minor, she told me to join and brought me to a few events, which led me to want to join and, now, help run the organization.”

Pi Delta Phi holds some events annually, such as a cheese tasting in fall. The group also recently introduced a Crepes and Conversation event, which included both sweet and savory varieties of the French food. Brito said it is something they would like to continue in the future.

This year marks the third annual presentation of French Connections week, which will begin on Monday, March 27 and end on Saturday, April 1.

Designed to promote French and French culture, French Connections hosts events such as panels with students who have studied abroad, canvas painting and coffee nights and conversations with people who have used their French skills in the professional world. They also make sure to keep some French treats on-hand.

Despite their international skew, Brito said she wants all students to come and learn about French culture.

“You don’t have to speak French or be involved in French to participate,” she said.

For Brito, Pi Delta Phi is about more than just their monthly meeting; it is a way to get out of her comfort zone and realize the differences and similarities in cultures.

Kirk, who has been studying French for eight years, said that she thinks it is important to spread international culture at UT and has also made her more internationally aware and interested.

“I think that other languages provide awareness to others and show that your needs are not the only ones around,” she said. “Clubs like Pi Delta Phi help spread awareness to other cultures with events like French Connection Week.”

Brito hopes that all Pi Delta Phi members gain a greater connection through the organization

“I hope that when students come to Pi Delta Phi, they build a connection to the French culture we have in our own community,” she said.

For more information about Pi Delta Phi, visit their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

Edited by McKenzie Manning

Featured image by Alex Brito



TNJN celebrates 10 years

Ten years ago, Dr. Jim Stovall came to the University of Tennessee with the intention of creating an online news website for journalism students that could help students adapt to the changing nature of the industry.

After six weeks of planning and creating with the help of two colleagues, Stovall debuted the website for his senior level journalism class in October 2006.

“Once we were up and rolling, I asked students from the class if they wanted to volunteer to be the site’s first editors, and several of them stepped forward, and we began publishing,” he said.

Stovall retired from teaching in 2016, but his impact still remains. The website that he came to create, the Tennessee Journalist, is celebrating ten years of articles, editors and excellence in reporting.

Though online journalism may not be new for today’s generation, TNJN’s online-exclusive content has proven useful for those interested in finding a career in the industry.

Journalism professor, Lisa Gary, has been teaching the introductory journalism course, JEM 175, since 2012 and has worked with beginning journalism students to get them involved with student media.

She said TNJN was the first student media outlet to offer a converged media experience that demonstrates where the industry is headed.

“Those students [involved with TNJN] write stories that will be read in text, that’s a lot like newspaper writing, but then they also have the opportunity to produce audio and video and audio slideshows,” Gary said.  “It was the first student media group to offer that, and still offers it more extensively.”

This focus on the future is what inspired former Editor-in-chief Jennifer Brake to join TNJN.

“I started as a news writer through the JEM 175 class,” Brake said. “I loved that it was an online publication since it was clear that was where newspapers and news distribution in general was heading.”

Brake served as editor-in-chief for a year and a half in 2012 and 2013 and currently works at Reed Public Relations in Nashville.

Brake said that TNJN has remained an important part of her life throughout the years.

“Working with TNJN was one of the highlights of my college career,” she said. “I still use the skills I honed there in my current career and recommend any journalism students interested in the future of journalism to get involved.”

Maggie Jones, who served as editor-in-chief for the 2014-2015 school year and Jessica Carr, who served as editor-in-chief for the 2015-2016 school year, both work in print journalism today.

Jones is an entertainment and features writer for the Knoxville News Sentinel and Carr works as a copy editor and page designer at the Daily Times in Maryville.

While both editors say their role in TNJN helped them to enter the professional world, Carr emphasized the camaraderie and community in the organization.

“I think that most of my friends that I made in college was because of TNJN or the journalism program,” she said. “I’m just really glad that I decided to do it.”

Though TNJN has undergone changes since its first publication, its goal has remained the same: provide readers with the news they care about quickly and accurately.

Featured image courtesy of TNJN

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

Volapalooza 2016 brings variety, ambiance

UT students were invited to celebrate the last day of classes on Friday, April 29 at the 2016 Volapalooza festival in World’s Fair Park.

They announced their lineup to mostly positive reviews at February’s Vol Night Long and have been promoting this year’s lineup as their “biggest yet.”

A group of students wait for Volapalooza to begin. //Photo by Taylor Owens
A group of students wait for Volapalooza to begin. //Photo by Taylor Owens

This year’s festival included music from Portugal. The Man, Moon Taxi and Niykee Heaton among others.

Even those who had never heard of the artists before said they were able to find enjoyment in the lineup.

“I wasn’t too familiar with any of the bands before Volapalooza, so really I came tonight with open ears to hear what these people were all about,” Alana Cooper, a sophomore at UT, said. “My favorite act was definitely Moon Taxi.”

This year’s Volapalooza also featured some lesser-known acts, including some local artists. Roots of a Rebellion, a Nashville band and this year’s winners of the Road to Roo contest, were the first group to kick off the night with their blend of reggae and rock.

“I really liked Roots of a Rebellion,” sophomore Mika Carr said. “I thought they had great audience engagement.”

Food trucks and other local vendors provided snacks, drinks and meals. //Photo by Taylor Owens
Food trucks and other local vendors provided snacks, drinks and meals. //Photo by Taylor Owens

Volapalooza also featured food trucks from various local vendors, as well as activities such as airbrushed tattoos and a station to make bracelets. Attendees were also encouraged to take photos with the Iron Throne from HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

Guests could dance to live music by the artists or take part in the silent headphone disco. Everyone listened to different songs in their headphones and were encouraged to dance along.

“The silent disco was pretty awesome,” Carr said. “It was a different community. We all kind of came together and danced and didn’t care if we couldn’t dance.”

Students felt that event was a good way to celebrate the last day of classes before final’s week.

“I really liked the atmosphere and set up and having food trucks, activities and things to do,” Cooper said. “The awesome weather complemented the laid back attitude of the whole evening.”

For more information about Volapalooza, visit their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Photos by Taylor Owens

Edited by Nathan Odom