Heartland Emmy award-winning journalist, Chellie Ison, has joined the communications department at Oklahoma Christian University as an adjunct professor.
Ison will teach Journalistic Storytelling 2, a class focused on writing for television, radio, podcast, etc. The class also focuses on how journalists can craft stories in their chosen medium. Ison said she believes that this class is great for any student interested in television news, radio news, or even just television and radio in general.
“My hope is that when students leave this class they have an idea of what might be expected of them in an actual newsroom,” Ison said. “I hope that when they leave this class they would be able to walk into a newsroom and know what the management at that newsroom would expect of them on a day to day basis.”
Ison has worked in the journalism industry for 17½ years as a reporter, anchor and producer. Brian Simmons, chair of the communications department and a member of the board of trustees at The Christian Chronicle, said Ison’s experience qualifies her as a professor.
“She is able to use her real world and recent experience to supplement the textbook and in some cases to say although the textbook says it’s like this here’s how it really is, and I think that’s very valuable,” Simmons said. ”Because she has been working as a professional in the field, because she’s won awards for her work, she is very well equipped to teach that particular class.”
Ison left television news reporting in 2016, and she then worked at The Christian Chronicle for five years developing The Christian Chronicle’s social media platforms and current website. In spring 2021, Brian Simmons approached Ison about teaching a class at Oklahoma Christian.
“She was recommended to me by two of my colleagues in this department, Dr. Patterson and Professor David Journey, and she was recommended because of her expertise,” Simmons said.
Ison said she left television news because of a news reporter’s unpredictable schedule. She said she wanted to be with her family for important moments. Ison also said that she wanted to be at home when her children went to bed at night.
“I just felt like I reached a point where I had to make a decision for my family and I had to choose my family,” Ison said.
Ison said she still enjoys journalism and wants to teach students at Oklahoma Christian how to become better journalists. Ison also wants to see students succeed in their careers.
“I do enjoy journalism and I do enjoy helping young journalists learn how to be better journalists,” Ison said. “There were so many people that gave back to me when I was a young journalist and intern at a station. I feel like I try to take the lessons that they taught me and help the next generation learn those because those are important things.”
Ison still works in the journalism industry as a freelancer for the show Discover Oklahoma. She also works at a local marketing company and is an active member of her church with her husband in addition to being a mother.