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 Home>Communications>Authors>
Name: Thomas Merrill
Title: Professor
Specialization: Editor and Writer
E-mail:
Department: Communications
Organization: LSU AgCenter
Address 1: 109 Knapp Hall
Address 2: Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Phone Number: (225) 578-5896
Fax Number: (225) 578-4524

Education/Training

University of Florida (Gainesville, Fla.)

  • Master of Arts in Journalism and Communication degree conferred "with distinction" in April 1984
  • Newspaper reporting and management program

Northeast Louisiana University (Monroe, La.)

  • Bachelor of Arts degree awarded "summa cum laude" in May 1982
  • Journalism major / accounting minor 
Areas of Specialization/Research
 
Tom Merrill is a publications and special projects writer/editor for the LSU AgCenter, who previously served 12 years as managing editor for the AgCenter's news services. His routine duties include editing various publications, writing copy for printed publications and the Web, working with publication designers, editing/moderating sections of the LSU AgCenter’s Web site, working with media representatives on special requests and occasionally writing/editing/distributing news releases. A 26-year veteran in land-grant communications, he started his professional career working for weekly, daily and special-interest newspapers as a reporter, bureau chief and editor.

Professional/University Activities:

Association for Communications Excellence (ACE) Web Communications Committee – 2010-

ACE International Meeting planning committee member and scheduling chair for 2010 – 2009-10

ACE/National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) planning committee and scheduling chair for 2009 International Meeting/Conference – 2008-09

ACE Regional Director (and Director-elect) – 2004-2007

ACE Member – 1986-present

ACE Professional Development Committee – 2003-2006

ACE State Representative – 1999-2004

USDA/CSREES National Impact Writing Team Member, 2004-2005

LSU AgCenter Diversity Council Member – 1999-2007

LSU AgCenter Diversity Initiative Senior Trainer – 2000-2007

Gamma Sigma Delta, The Honor Society of Agriculture, member – 1999-present
 

Professional Experience

LSU AgCenter professor in communications – November 2009 to present

  • Serving as editor for most LSU AgCenter permanent (numbered) publications; editing various newsletters and fact sheets; writing and editing for special projects; accomplishing variety of tasks related to production of tabloids, fact sheets, brochures, annual reports and other publications; writing and editing promotional material; writing and editing news releases;maintaining electronic style guide for writers and editors in unit; media relations; editing and designing material for the Web; and serving as moderator for variety of channels in LSU AgCenter's Web site

LSU AgCenter professor in communications – September 2007 to October 2009

  • Serving as special projects writer and editor; accomplishing variety of tasks related to production of tabloids, fact sheets, brochures, annual reports and other publications; writing and editing promotional material; writing and editing news releases; assisting with editing a variety of publications; maintaining electronic style guide for writers and editors in unit; media relations; editing and designing material for the Web; and serving as moderator for variety of channels in LSU AgCenter's Web site

LSU AgCenter professor in communications – July 2002 to August 2007

  • Serving as managing editor for print news service for university campus; accomplishing variety of editing and media relations tasks; handling 800 or more news releases per year; writing average of 100 or more news releases a year; managing Internet site for news, writing, editing and designing other material for the Web; editing and designing electronic newsletter; writing and editing other promotional materials

LSU AgCenter specialist in communications – July 1994 to June 2002

  • Serving as news editor for all print news releases; media relations; writing and editing for the Internet; designing Web pages; designing and maintaining systems for electronic distribution of news; editing internal newsletter; and writing and editing other publications

LSU AgCenter associate specialist in communications – July 1989 to June 1994

  • News and feature writing; editing newsletters; writing for other publications; desktop publishing; media relations; communications training; photography; and providing technical support on computer systems

LSU AgCenter assistant specialist in communications – December 1985 to June 1989

  • News and feature writing; designing systems for computerized dissemination of news; maintaining computer databases; writing computer programs to aid in communications administration; providing technical support/training to computer users; and serving as computer equipment and software coordinator

General Aviation News editor – April 1985 to November 1985

  • Broad range of experience in writing, editing and supervising production of two aviation-related newspapers

Monroe News-Star court reporter, bureau chief – January 1984 to April 1985, November 1981 to August 1982

  • Experience in news and feature writing, covering parish and local government, reporting about court cases and other legal news and managing news bureau for seven parish area

University of Florida graduate assistant – August 1982 to December 1983

Richland Beacon-News reporter/photographer – August to November 1981
 

Awards/Grants

Association for Communication Excellence Critique and Awards Program gold award for publishing/educational package, 2010

ACE Award of Excellence for media relations, 2008

Metropolitan Community Church of Baton Rouge Outstanding Steward Award, 2008

Metropolitan Community Church of Baton Rouge Community Service Award, 2008

ACE Critique and Awards Program bronze award for marketing communications campaign, 2008 

ACE Critique and Awards Program silver award for media relations, 2007

ACE Outstanding Professional Skill Award for marketing/media relations, 2006

ACE Critique and Awards Program gold award for media relations, 2006

Metropolitan Community Church of Baton Rouge Outstanding Steward Award, 2005

Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation Regnal Wallace Ag Communicator of the Year Award, 2004

ACE Critique and Awards Program silver award for newspaper writing, 2004

ACE Critique and Awards Program silver award for non-credit educational project, 2004

UFMCC South Central District Dr. Tom Reveley Memorial Award for Excellence in Lay Ministry, 2002

LSU AgCenter Diversity Program Outstanding Service Award, 2001

Krewe of Apollo-Baton Rouge Captain's Award, 2000

UFMCC Commission on Laity Award for Faithfulness, Service and Leadership, 1997

ACE Critique and Awards Program gold award for specialized color publication, 1994

ACE Critique and Awards Program honorable mention for computer program, 1989

Louisiana Associated Press honorable mention for 12-part series, 1985

"Best of Gannett" honorable mention for series on rural health care, 1985

Scripps-Howard Foundation graduate fellowship, 1982-83, 1983-84

Publications/Presentations/Patents

“What if Soybean Rust was Found in Your Backyard,” Agricultural Communicators In Education International Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, June 2005

"Media Relations Made Easy," Agricultural Communicators In Education Superworkshop, News Orleans, September 2003 (served as conference logistics coordinator/planner and helped to produce training manual)

"Designing a News Web site that Attracts the Media" and "Get It Growing Sweeping Louisiana," Agricultural Communicators in Education International Meeting, Savannah, Ga., August 2002

"Meeting with Newspaper Editorial Boards as a Media Relations Tool," Agricultural Communicators in Education and National Extension Technology Conference, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, July 2001

"Writing, Editing and Production of `Focus on Louisiana,'" Poster Session, Agricultural Communicators in Education International Conference, Moscow, Idaho / Pullman, Washington, July 1994

"Computer Delivery of News Stories," Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists, Communications Section, Nashville, Tenn., February 1987

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