URI names former NBC 10 executive to new media post

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Westerly resident working in University’s Department of Communications, Marketing

KINGSTON, R.I. – July 25, 2011 – The University of Rhode Island has named broadcast news veteran Betty-Jo Cugini to the full-time post of new media supervisor in its Department of Communications and Marketing.

The Westerly resident has been working as a video and new media consultant in the department since March 2010, but was named to the full-time job after a comprehensive search.

“We are so pleased that a professional of Betty-Jo’s caliber has joined our team on a full-time basis,” said Linda A. Acciardo, director of URI’s Department of Communications and Marketing. “We learned quickly during her part-time work with us that Betty-Jo is a great team player who possesses a wealth of great ideas and has the commitment to execute them. Her integrity, ingenuity and good humor make her a great addition to a very talented staff. In short, everyone who works with Betty-Jo feels that they have been part of something special.”

In her new position, Betty-Jo is working on multi-media projects, coordinating with the department’s web communications manager, and developing the “Big Thinkers” studio, a broadcast facility with live capability allowing URI experts and visiting guests to be linked to state, regional, national and international media in real time. She is developing plans for video production, coordinating with videographers, and serving as a scriptwriter and producer on long- and short-term projects.

After leaving NBC 10 because as she put it “the media landscape had changed,” she was invited to serve on a volunteer committee planning the inauguration of URI President David M. Dooley. After that, Cugini worked part-time on several major media and marketing projects, including “The Big Idea” commercials, the “Yes on 2” campaign for a new chemistry building at URI and videos for URI’s Distinguished Achievement Awards.

“What impressed me from the start was the people at URI,” Cugini said. “URI is a jewel and there are many stories to be told here. I don’t think most people realize URI’s role in the world. Being a Rhode Island native and working in television news, I thought I knew URI. However, once I got here, I realized I knew very little about the great work going on here. I wanted to be able to tell those stories.”

Before coming to URI, Cugini had a distinguished career in broadcast news at WERI/WRX radio, ABC 6 and NBC 10. She rose through the ranks at NBC 10, from night side assignment editor to vice president of news and news director. She was named the first woman news director at WJAR in its 60-year history. NBC 10 remained the number one station in all time periods during her tenure as news director. NBC 10 held the lead news position, and was awarded the first National Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in 2008. While at NBC 10, she worked for NBC O&O (owned and operated) stations as a producer for the New Hampshire presidential primary and the coverage of the plane crash that killed John F. Kennedy Jr. Cugini was also the Rhode Island correspondent for USA Today.

She is the owner of Weathervane Communications and does consulting work and media training for various non-profit and for-profit companies and media corporations.

In 2010 she was inducted into the Silver Circle of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, New England Chapter. She is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner, Emmy Award recipient and winner of numerous Associated Press awards. Cugini is also an adjunct lecturer at Emerson College in Boston.

In her spare time she volunteers as a mentor, is co-chair of the Adult Day Center of Westerly Capital Campaign, and is a trustee of the Babcock Smith House in Westerly. As a member of the Granite Committee, Cugini headed the marketing arm of the recently released ” Built from Stone” book that details the granite industry’s ties to the area. She is also working with the Westerly School Department on creating a curriculum guide based on the book that will be used by teachers in the fourth through seventh grades in 2012. She is also a member of the board of Adoption RI and an original member of the Citizens Champions Selection Committee. She is a graduate of Leadership Rhode Island.

Cugini lives with her husband Stephen M. Greene , a certified public accountant, and is the mother of two children, Christopher and Katharine Koretski and three stepchildren.