The ‘write’ combination

BGSU’s Holly Shively honored for public affairs reporting

By Amber Stark ’99

For some students, choosing a major is a tough decision. Even more so when you have three primary interests. But Holly Shively found the ideal path at Bowling Green State University.

“Growing up, I loved writing,” the Hamler, Ohio, native said. “And when I was in high school, I became interested in economics and politics. Going into  journalism brought all of that together perfectly.”

Shively rounds out her passions with a minor in  political science.

As a junior, Shively serves as editor-in-chief of the  BG News. She has held previous positions as general reporter, city editor and social media editor. She was also a reporter for Key magazine, vice president of the Society of Professional Journalists and secretary/treasurer of the Student Philanthropy Committee.

“I’ve gotten insane amounts of experience,” Shively said. “I wouldn’t have gotten this experience anywhere else. This experience has taught me more than my classes in some respects. Without it, I wouldn’t be near as prepared to go into the workforce.”

At first, BGSU wasn’t on Shively’s college list even though her mom and brother both earned BGSU degrees.

“I didn’t want to come here because it was so close to home, but after I visited I loved it here,” she said. “I got to talk with reporters on the BG News staff and learned that I could get involved right away. Other schools did not offer that option.”

Through these experiences, Shively has put together an extensive portfolio, which now includes an award-winning public affairs  article on anxiety and depression.

“It was a huge surprise,” Shively said of the Excellence in Journalism Touchstone she received Oct. 27. “If you had asked me if I ever thought I’d be nominated for an award, I’d say you’re crazy.”

Bob Bortel, BGSU director of student media, nominated two of Shively’s articles for awards; the other was about  heroin addiction in Wood County. The Press Club of Toledo Touchstone Awards are an opportunity to celebrate those who have made an outstanding contribution to northwest Ohio through journalistic excellence or community service.

“You write a ton of articles,” Shively said. “But these were hard-hitting topics, public affairs reporting; it was actually an issue.”

Shively added that because she cared about these topics, it came through in her writing. She is now writing a series of articles on heroin in Wood County for her Honors project, exploring angles others haven’t.

Scholarships named for the late Bernard F. Judy, who was editor-in-chief of The (Toledo) Blade, were also awarded to Shively and BGSU student Amy Steigerwald at the Touchstone ceremony.

“Most of the things I’ve wanted to do, I’ve been able to do because of scholarships,” Shively said. “This scholarship will give me the cushion to be confident that I could afford to take an internship this summer.”

BGSU alumnus Dustin Sopher ’16 also received a Touchstone for his broadcast work about the  1975 Poe Ditch Music Festival held at the BGSU football stadium.

Although she is a semester ahead of schedule, Shively said she is not ready to leave BGSU. After three years of progressively more experience, she has several ideas for the future of the BG News.

“We need to become digital-friendly,” she said. “We have a changing audience and it’s a changing world. I want to try to get the off-campus audience, who are used to reading a physical newspaper, online.”

Shively knows she will go to grad school at some point and eventually work in higher education, but she is also interested in quickly starting a career in journalism.

“There is room for BGSU students to move up really quickly in the journalism field,” she said. “Being a reporter and educating is one of the most valuable things you can do with your life if you do it right.”