Marshall Professor Keeps Winning Awards for His Storytelling


One professor at Marshall University has a story to tell you….and an award winning story at that. Dan Hollis- a professor in the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications has started a tradition, for producing award winning videos.

For the eighth year in a row and the tenth time in the past 11 years, Marshall University associate professor Dan Hollis has received first-place in the Video News category during the Professional Electronic Media Awards and Exhibition. The awards are given each year in conjunction with the National Broadcasting Society’s awards convention for students.

This year’s winning video, “Birthday Vase” is a behind-the-scenes look at Blenko Glass’ creation of a special vase commemorating West Virginia’s 150th birthday.

Hollis said finding way to tell unique stories is what makes this work interesting to him.

“The stories that I really like doing are the ones that combine great video with what we call great natural sound and great characters, great interviews with people that are interesting,” Hollis said.

Stories like this one- about Irish Road Bowling-  or others that show Bridge Day or a Hickory Golf Championship do just that. The former TV journalist always tries to tell a story in a unique way that only someone with no boundaries can.

“I need to exercise that creative part of my brain in that way, it’s something I’ve been doing for a while now and sometimes I just need to get out there and do those types of stories,” Hollis said.

Hollis said each year he tries to do one or two stories. He always has several ideas in the back of his mind that he thinks could make for a unique opportunity. He says sometimes the great stories or characters in those stories are pure coincidence. He says that’s exactly what happened while shooting the Hickory Golf Championship story in Greenbrier County at Oakhurst Links. It’s the oldest golf course designed and built in the United States and players only use wooden clubs.

“I just got lucky in that I’m out there shooting the event and I hear these guys joking around behind me and one of them had a very heavy Scottish accent and he was joking around and it was about old fashioned golf and when I heard him I said I have to talk to this guy and when I talked to him he was a great funny, said things in an interesting character kind of way and when you get a situation like that, man got to milk this, this is great stuff,” Hollis said.

Hollis also uses the videos  in his classroom at Marshall.

“Part of the idea to is encouraging these students to always be staying in the game, always be trying new and different things, always be looking for ways to express your creativity,” Hollis said.