Professional Staff

Cherie Speller
Director of Student Media & TEC Adviser

Cherie Evans Speller was a newspaper journalist for 30 years before joining the staff in the summer of 2016 as the Adviser for The East Carolinian. In the fall of 2020, Cherie was appointed the Interim Director of Student Media. In the summer of 2022, she formally assumed the role of Director. She has served as the readership and community news editor and then associate and senior associate editor at The Daily Reflector in Greenville. She edited the newspaper’s community news section, managed reporters, assigned and edited stories and wrote columns. She also served on the Reflector’s editorial board.

Cherie has also worked as a reporter, features editor and promotions manager at the Reflector, when she marketed the newspaper and its niche products through other media, sponsorships and events. She also has managed the newspaper’s marketing surveys and coordinated employee training and volunteer efforts. Cherie has worked as a news copy editor at The Fayetteville Observer and as a reporter for the Greensboro News & Record. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a concentration in public relations. She also has extensive training in leadership and customer service.

As The East Carolinian’s Adviser, Cherie serves as a resource to TEC’s news team, providing input about journalism, the news and the community. She also assists in organizing and conducting candidate classes, helps in recruiting candidates and serves as the overall TEC office manager. Cherie also serves as an adviser to the Lambda Mu chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., a registered Greek Life student organization.

As Student Media’s Director, Cherie holds an administrative role that oversees the organization’s budget management, educational programs and professional staff.

Shayna Jones
WZMB 91.3 FM Adviser

Shayna Jones, known by the students as ShayJo, is a former WZMB 91.3 FM radio station manager now a member of the Student Media Professional Staff, serving in the position of Broadcast Adviser of the college radio station.

ShayJo began her professional career in her current role in 2017. She serves as a resource to the student staff, providing students with input about on-air software, techniques, and current radio trends. ShayJo has also represented Student Media at national College Broadcasters Inc. conventions

Her foremost responsibility, however, is to coordinate and conducts a semester-long training program called Zombie Radio Corp for students wishing to become DJs and members of the WZMB staff.

The Zombie Radio Corps is an eight-week program that includes informational sessions and practicum experience. The informational sessions cover topics such as FCC rules and guidelines, the law of slander, building an on-air personality, preparing a show, radio ethics, interviewing guests, gathering news, announcing and production. Practicum experience include learning and voice tracking, Adobe Audition demonstrations, PSAs, board work and hands on training for DJs to learn to run their own show.

She interned with the #1 hip hop & R&B station in Eastern North Carolina, KISS 101.9, where she worked as an on-air personality and hosted the daily trending topics with Jay Blaze and Clarke Jones. Shayna also completed an internship as a personal assistant for talent manager Antonio Reid Jr. in Atlanta, GA.

A May 2017 graduate of ECU, she was a four-year member of the radio station. Beginning her freshman year and for the next four years, ShayJo handled the roles of disc jockey, music director and, finally, radio station manager. She was 2013-14 DJ of the Semester Award winner, and in 2017 she earned the Student Media Manager of the Year Award. That year her staff won the inaugural Yvonne Moye Outstanding Media Award.

ShayJo, the valedictorian of her senior class in high school, graduated from ECU with a BS in Public Relations. She is an aspiring painter and children’s book author.

Annah Schwartz Howell
Multimedia & Production Adviser

Annah Howell serves as Multimedia & Production Adviser for East Carolina University’s Student Media, a jack-of-all-trades position that puts her at the center of the entire organization. As the Multimedia & Production Adviser, Annah works with students at all media providing guidance in areas of design and multimedia. She has spearheaded projects involving the creation of websites for each Student Media division, establishing the organization’s Creative Quarter’s division, and running a monthly, internal organization newsletter. She also serves as a liaison between Student Media’s printers and oversees production schedules, as well as serving as the liaison with ITCS and Student Media’s content management system partners.

Prior to joining the Professional Staff, Annah held numerous positions as a student staff member for The East Carolinian. She started as a designer her freshman year, working on various sections and serving as head designer for The East Carolinian’s weekender publication, 72. In her sophomore year, Annah went on to become The East Carolinian’s production manager. She was awarded designer of the semester during the spring of her freshman year and the fall of her sophomore year.

During the summer of 2016, Annah switched from production to editorial in the role of Arts & Entertainment Editor and News Chief. She carried on as Arts & Entertainment Editor in fall 2016, where she received The East Carolinian’s Editor of the Semester award. In the spring of her junior year, Annah became The East Carolinian’s Multimedia Manager. She redesigned and launched a new look for which won an award for best website from the North Carolina College Media Association.

As a senior, Annah rose to the highest level at The East Carolinian, having been appointed Editor-in-Chief of an organization that took home awards for best print newspaper and website from the North Carolina College Media Association that year. She was also the winner of the 2018 Student Media Manager of the Year Award and her staff was presented with the annual Yvonne Moye Outstanding Media Award.

Alongside the skills she learned while working in media, she also worked as a marketing assistant for local student-apartment complex University Park. There, she helped establish the complex’s social media accounts and collaborated with corporate in rebranding and marketing which resulted in a $497,000 revenue increase over the complex’s previous year. In her spare time, she continues to work in freelance marketing and design, as well as offering writing services.

Annah received a bachelor’s degree in communication with a concentration in media studies from East Carolina University in May 2018. In the fall of 2020, she completed ECU’s Student Affairs in Higher Education Certificate Program and in the fall of 2021 completed ECU’s Marketing Certificate Program. She is currently enrolled in Appalachian State’s Master of Arts in Educational Media program with an anticipated graduation date of December 2024.

Candy Griffin
Administrative Support Associate

Candy provides oversight to daily business and finance operations for all areas of Pirate Media 1. She offers financial recommendations regarding the use and distribution of funds and develops operational systems that streamline and centralize all administrative functions. Additionally, she assists the director of Student Media with invoicing, monthly reporting and execution of contractual agreements/grants with vendors, including all sales agreements. She works closely with and provides support to the Advertising & Marketing Agency, including the advertising adviser. She serves as the media accountant handling the billing and collections for advertising. She is the Student Media Board Secretary as well.

While in high school, Candy worked part-time at a privately-owned grocery store where she wore many hats and eventually learned the accounting functions that ignited her love for accounting, leading to more than 35 years of experience in the business world through a variety of industries.

In 1987, she moved on from grocery and worked for Heilig-Meyers Furniture. A year later, she began working in the retail industry at Brody’s where she eventually took on the role of buyer’s secretary where she oversaw clothing orders and inventory control.

After 10 years at Brody’s, the company was sold and Candy was introduced to working in media through her new position with “The Daily Reflector.” There she held many positions, starting with accounting. She was later promoted to circulation customer care manager, then circulation information systems manager where she was responsible for maintaining the circulation system and ultimately assisting with the implementation of the paper’s new circulation system, Brainworks.

In 2015, she accepted a job at Hyster-Yale as an accounts payable clerk and was promoted a year later to accounts payable help desk, where she processed payment runs, set up new vendors and assisted with the testing of new implementations among many other duties.

She is married, has two children, three stepchildren and five grandchildren. Her hobbies include shooting pool, fishing, horseback riding, swimming and spending time with her family and friends.

Ryder Barrett
Advertising and Marketing Associate

Ryder graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2018 with a Bachelor’s Degree in communication studies. From there, he began working for the Carolina Mudcats Baseball Team as a box office assistant. In October of 2019, he accepted a full-time role with the Mudcats as a group sales associate where he worked with approximately 100 clients annually.

In April of 2023, Ryder joined the Pirate Media 1 team as the Marketing and Advertising Associate. In this role, he generates revenue for Pirate Media 1 through selling advertisements and sponsorships for our various mediums. As the associate, he also assists in pitching new promotions and coordinating marketing and social media opportunities.

Recently married, Ryder and his wife currently reside in Winterville. He’s an avid sports fan and has an unmatched love for baseball, basketball, football, hockey and golf. In his free time, he also enjoys playing video games and running as well as playing various sports including basketball, softball and golf.