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Professor Patrick Harwood
Department of Communication


Professor Kirk Stone

Stockton Professor Kirk Stone

Taking Passion from the Newsroom to the Classroom
By John Ransone

Dr. Kirk Stone has always shown great passion for his work as a journalist and his career now as a communicaton professor.

He says his passion for journalism began early, at age 7, when he began working for the local newspaper owned by his father and uncle in his native Kentucky.

"I began recording little league baseball scores," Stone recalls. "I sold newspapers, did the sweeping, sold advertising, did everything there was possible to do."

Stone broke into broadcasting at a young age too. He did announcing for a local radio station at the age of 16. He would sign on the station bright and early at 6 a.m.

"I was awful lucky because it was a good place to grow up, my envious friends would have these boring summer jobs, and I would get to be announcer at the radio station," Stone says.

Despite his exposure to newspapers and broadcasting it would be political science that Stone would study at the University of Kentucky where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees.

But he was a young man with a plan. Through intense studying, voracious reading, and passionate writing, he prepared himself for a job as a political writer.

After college, he moved north to Fort Wayne, Ind. where he worked at the daily paper, covering "everything from the dog catcher to the President."

Politics would become his main beat as he wrote of candidates, campaigns, senators, members of congress, governors and state lawmakers. He would also be involved in major investigative projects. He has spent a week in a prison and a mental hospital examining the conditions of each, and has even investigated senior citizen abuse.

Stone explains: "I like to do those big projects. For instance I would do something about the Supreme Court legalizing abortion under certain circumstances in the 1970s. How did that Supreme Court decision affect life in my community?"

While working at the newspaper for "50 hours a week," Stone completed nearly a hundred hours of coursework at Indiana University giving him a deeper perspective from which to write.

"History and political science, foreign affairs, women's history, black history, you name it I took it," Stone says.

Stone would make his way to Washington where for a time he was a speechwriter for U.S. Sen. John Glenn, the famous astronaut. He also used his years in Washington to plug away at a Ph. D. from American University. He says he wasn't necessarily thinking about becoming a teacher but rather using his doctorate as a journalist. But Stone soon enough became a part-time teacher at American.

"I was always interested in the classroom, when I was a journalist I would still take courses," Stone says. "I wanted to take what I would learn in the classroom about political science and apply it to my work, so I always had one foot in the classroom and one foot in the newsroom. I wanted to turn out other students who had the same sort of passion and fire that I had to use their journalism to do something useful."

Ensconced at the College of Charleston for more than 15 years now, Stone teaches, among other courses, media law, public affairs reporting, and sports writing.

Madison Bush, a communication major, took Stone's media law and sports writing courses. "He is a great teacher because he holds you accountable for your work," Bush says. "Dr. Stone is knowledgeable and really encourages students to participate, but he will also act silly just to keep students on their toes."

Stone also serves as the communication department's internship director. He networks on the behalf of students with local media, public relations, non-profit organizations and other companies to help communication students gain real world experience so that they will be better prepared for the future.

Communication major Stephanie Batt performed an internship at Charleston's WCSC-TV organized by Stone.

"Dr. Stone is a good internship coordinator because he has useful resources outside of the college," Batt says. "He wants to help students find internships that they are interested in and that will be beneficial to their future."

As a journalist and a professor, Dr. Kirk Stone has always used his passion to try and make a difference. Whether unearthing truths about senior citizen abuse, coordinating internships, or going over cases in his media law class, Stone is always working to better the people and places around him.