Media Day makes its way to Ostrander

Rachel Hanel (right) smiles for the camera, holding her book We’ll be the Last Ones to Let You Down. (From Hanel’s website)

MSU faculty member Rachael Hanel to perform lecture on stories

Tuesday will mark Minnesota State University, Mankato’s annual “Media Day.” To celebrate the occasion, MSU faculty member Rachael Hanel will give a presentation in Ostrander Auditorium April 19 at 7 p.m. about St. Peter native Camilla Hall and the Symbionese Liberation Army.

The presentation, ““Filling in the Gaps: A Literary Journalism Approach to Camilla Hall and the Symbionese Liberation Army,” free and open to the public, will address the aspects of story-telling in journalism.

Hanel is an assistant professor of mass media with a doctorate in creative writing from Bath Spa University, located in England. She has been very involved in media and research in her life. A number of her essays and articles have appeared in print and online literary journals, magazines and newspapers. Hanel also has a book entitled “We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter,” published in 2013.

Although the initial plan for Media Day fell through, Hanel was excited to present her topic regardless.

“I like Media Day because it’s a chance to showcase the Mass Media department and let the wider campus community know what we do,” Hanel said. “It’s also an opportunity to recognize our star students at the scholarship and awards program that day.”

Hanel’s discovered her lecture subject, Camilla Hall, after coming across the name in a newspaper in 1999.

“I discovered that she had been a member of a domestic terrorism organization in the 1970s called the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). She was killed in a shoot-out with Los Angeles police in May 1974. In the newspaper article, I learned she was from St. Peter, Minn. She was a Minnesota girl like me. Just looking at her, I would not have guessed she would be drawn into violent, radical circles. I was curious what would make someone ‘turn’ from peaceful protester to violent radical. Thus began my research into her life,” Hanel said.

Hanel’s extensive research will make for an interesting and informative presentation this Media Day. Students of all majors, not just Mass Media, are encouraged to attend.

“Even though my topic is rooted in the 1970s, it addresses aspects of terrorism that are quite relevant and timely today,” Hanel said. “I want people to start to see connections between our past and present.

Media Day is sponsored by the Department of Mass Media. In previous years, the department has invited top Mass Media student scholars and well-known media figures such as Boyd Huppert who spoke last year, and Hanel is expected to bring her own unique spark to Media Day this 2016.

“In the Mass Media department, we try to emphasize the importance of story,” Hanel said. “Stories are all around us and as communicators, we have to learn how to tell them. My program will address how to tell a story using aspects of literary journalism. Any student who wants to learn more about storytelling should find the topic pertinent.”

For additional information, please contact Mavis Richardson, Minnesota State Mankato associate professor of mass media, by phone at 507-389-3299 or by email at

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.