September 30, 2014 Leave a comment
Q: What is your role in preparing for Mass Comm Week?
A: I’m supervising Charlotte Singleton, the grad assistant, and we each have various responsibilities. She’s working on getting parking arrangements set up for our guest speakers. She’s also working with Bobcat Promotions on proofreading and copy editing the content they put up on the website, which consists of profiles of our guest speakers, social media and press releases. I am working with faculty on who exactly we want to bring in. We are getting in photos right now so we have progressive deadlines throughout these last several weeks, and our faculties have been providing names of speakers they want their students to hear from. So this all really started last spring.
One of our centerpieces of Mass Comm Week is actually at the beginning of the week with a documentary screening of the film A Fragile Trust. Charlotte has been working on that since January. She’s been working with Alkek Library to order that film, and we do now have it. It will be shown on Monday at 6:30 pm at Alkek. The bonus is that we will have the director with us, Samantha Grant, one of the many people Cindy Royal met last year during her fellowship in California.
We’re getting ready for Mass Comm Week by pulling all the pieces together, and that includes food for our guests, a little souvenir gift for them from Mass Comm Week (and that includes ordering food and beverages for our reception out at Spring Lake), reservation to the room.
Q: What would you say has been the most challenging aspect of getting Mass Comm Week together?
A: It’s just getting the speakers on the days that they are free. I think that’s the most complicated thing. Working with our schedule, the room schedule, the faculty’s desire for when they want to see speakers speak to their classes, and then of course, their own personal schedules. Our schedule is subject to change, because we are hosting reporters and editors. They may just get called out on assignment, and there is nothing we can do about it. That’s just the nature of the business that we are in. It’s a work in progress, which is good for our students to see and to realize it doesn’t all come out perfectly.
Q: What event do you think will be most beneficial for SJMC students?
A: There are so many to pick from! They really should go to the screening of A Fragile Trust. That would be at the top of my list, just to learn a hard lesson from the experience of one journalist who was a rising star at the New York Times who crashed and nearly took the paper with him.
So that would be my first choice, but for overall experience, and depending on your track, we have a panel discussion that will explore how the different media covered the Fort Hood shooting from last spring. It’s a combination of professional media folks from Austin American States Man and our own campus media students. So I want our audience to hear from them what were some of the processes they went through in order to figure out how are we going to cover this, who are we going to send, where are they going to go and who are the contacts. It’s a complex process, and it’s even more complex with the aspect of social media, although that certainly feeds into the knowledge base, too.
Another overall view would be (and this is not quite set in stone, yet) Media Coverage of Minorities, specifically geared toward LGBT. We have a student who attended a journalism conference related to that topic, and we are hoping to get another person who is in the profession who can speak to that topic. I think there is going to be a lot of interest in that.
Beyond those three, I’d say just individual speakers who are tailored to your interests. I think there are going to be several who will just be dynamite speakers. Finally, we will have our meet and greet on Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Q: Is there any one thing that you are personally looking forward to most?
A: I am hoping that Joyce King will be here. She is an author out of Dallas. If she can be here, she will also serve as a common experience speaker. She is the author of two books. The one I am most familiar with is A Review of Hate Crime: The Story of a Dragging in Jasper, Texas. She is a journalist who was working for a broadcast station in Dallas when all of that happened, and she was sent to cover that story. It’s a very interesting story of race, bias and prejudice. She had spoken to my classes up in Denton several years ago, and it’s a very healing voice to cut across the lines.