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MSU student’s documentary project a hit with coin collectors

lianna-spurrier.jpgFor senior MSU student and Louisville native Lianna Spurrier, she has found several interesting opportunities outside of the classroom to utilize the knowledge she’s gained as a convergent media major with a minor in both Spanish and visual communications...and it all started with an Instagram giveaway.

Spurrier, an off-and-on coin collector, entered a contest hosted by the account of esteemed coin expert David McCarthy. After submitting her entry and not hearing anything for a month, she was declared the winner and was sent a replica of what she describes as “this weird-looking coin” that she later found out was part of the Nova Constellatio Set.

“I really had no idea what it was when I won it. So, I had to find out,” she said.

Spurrier soon found an excuse thanks to her CVM 320 Feature & Documentary course, which assigned students the chance to pick a historical topic, research, write a script, record narration and utilize still images, newspaper and short historic video clips to produce a 5-6-minute, Ken Burns-documentary-style video. She chose trying to find the first American coin and what eventually happened to it.

“Here’s an excuse to learn more about this thing and do school,” she said. “I went way overboard on the project and did way more work than I wanted to.”

Spurrier said she found herself researching everything from books from the late 1880s to auction catalogues from the 1990s while learning new video production and animation techniques to make a video that was packed with concise information that was easily digestible for the viewer. That hard work ended up paying off in more than just a good grade.

After she posted the video to her YouTube page, a “like” or kind word from David McCarthy was all she was hoping for. She received that, but McCarthy helped Spurrier’s video be seen by a host of numismatic historians, fans and publications. Spurrier’s class assignment was picked up and posted on sites like Coin Week, the E-sylum Newsletter, and Washington University in St. Louis asked her to post the video on their online numismatic archive.

Getting praise from notable publications is one thing. Being asked to create content for them is something else.

Spurrier’s video on the Nova Constellations also led to her becoming a freelance journalist for Coin Week. She was given sponsorship to produce six additional coin videos in a similar style for both the Newman Numismatic Portal and the Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C4).

“It’s a media form that is not common in the coin-collecting community,” Spurrier said. “I stumbled upon a niche that I didn’t know was there.”

While Spurrier may have stumbled upon some unexpected opportunities, she knows the preparation and variety MSU’s convergent media program gave her was what prepared her when these opportunities presented themselves.

“I do appreciate the convergent media program has given me the skill set to do this when this fell in my lap,” she said.

Watch Spurrier’s YouTube video on The Nova Constellations Set.

To learn more about MSU’s convergent media program, contact MSU’s Department of Communication, Media and Languages at 606-783-2134, or visit