Allison Bennett Dyche, adviser to The Appalachian student news organization, received a national award during MediaFest22, the ACP/CMA Fall National College Media Convention, held Oct. 26-30, 2022, in Washington, D.C. Dyche was recognized as a Four-Year Distinguished Newspaper Adviser of the Year for 2022 by the College Media Association (CMA).
Dyche was one of four newspaper advisers nationwide to receive the 2022 honor. She was nominated for the award by The Appalachian alumna Ansley Puckett, who served as managing editor of the news organization in the 2021-2022 academic year.
In her nomination letter, Puckett wrote: "Allison has brought life to our organization that I had not seen before she became our adviser. Through Allison, we have grown exponentially as a paper and have improved our multimedia, print, and online presence on campus and in the community. Before Allison arrived, our newsroom was a less productive and welcoming space, and within her two years here so far, she has helped us recruit and retain members to an inclusive newsroom."
Dyche also received letters of support from The Appalachian alumna Emily Broyles, Electronic Media & Broadcasting associate professor Stephen McCreery, and Department of Communication chair and associate professor Scott Welsh.
In her letter of support, Broyles, who served as editor-in-chief of The Appalachian in the 2021-2022 academic year, wrote: "Allison is a mentor, friend, adviser and 'college mom' wrapped into one person. While she cares about our work, she cares so much about us students. She backs us up when we hit roadblocks with administration, she reminds us this is a learning experience, she advocates for us to be seen on our campus, she surprises us with snacks on hard nights, and so much more. I would not be the leader and journalist I am today without Allison, and The Appalachian would not be what it is today without her leadership."
In his letter of support, Welsh, who serves as supervisor to Dyche, wrote: "Perhaps most impressive, since her return to Appalachian State University in the fall of 2020, Allison has returned The Appalachian to robust financial health. In just two years, Allison took The Appalachian from a place of financial uncertainty and routine deficits to a place of financial strength and confidence, with over $75,000 in revenue on hand to grow the paper and it's attending multimedia properties, ensuring that The Appalachian will continue to serve the campus and the community well into the future, free of need or interference. That she has been able to move from deficits to surpluses in just two short years, amid Covid and funding reductions from university partners, is a testament to her genuinely unique commitment to and skill at advising student media."
In her acceptance speech, Dyche wrote: "In my time advising college media across three universities in three different states and being involved in CMA, I've heard and referred to student media as 'breaking your test tubes in public,' and 'learning in a fishbowl.' But it all goes back to the same idea — that student media is the ultimate hands-on, experiential learning model. And that successful student media advising requires embracing everything that goes along with that. There are multiple facets to the role of a college media adviser: educator,
therapist, event planner, technology guru, occasional surrogate parent, accountant, travel coordinator, career counselor, First Amendment advocate, the list goes on and is always evolving. However, all of these roles go back to the same basic ideas: supporting students and fostering an environment where they feel comfortable learning and experimenting."
Dyche has been advising collegiate student media for 15 years. She served as adviser to The Appalachian from 2013-2016, and returned to the role in fall 2020. She also advises The Peel Literature & Arts Review student-run literary and arts journal at App State. Originally from Georgia, Dyche holds a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Georgia Southern University, a Master of Arts in Documentary Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and is a Doctor of Philosophy candidate in the interdisciplinary Media, Art, and Text (MATX) program at Virginia Commonwealth University where she is doing research in audio storytelling and podcasting. She worked professionally in newspapers as a journalist at the Savannah Morning News in Savannah, Georgia, before transitioning into collegiate student media advising. She advised student media at SCAD from 20018-2013, at Appalachian State from 2013-2016 and 2020-present, and at Virginia Commonwealth University from 2016-2020. Dyche served as Vice President for Member Services of CMA from 2017-2019, and as Vice President for Member Training of CMA from 2019-2021.
Read more about the 2022 CMA Adviser Awards at https://www.collegemedia.org/news/article_8e0ebaaa-06c2-11ed-b224-d71e2a6e705e.html.