Kappa Tau Alpha inducts 60 SJMC students

The Texas State chapter of Kappa Tau Alpha welcomed 60 new members — 53 undergraduates and 7 graduate students — at its induction ceremony on April 24.


KTA is a college honor society that promotes academic excellence in journalism and mass communication, and is recognized by the Association of College Honor Societies. Only those students who had grade point averages among the top 10 percent of the May 2015, December 2014 and August 2014 graduating classes were eligible for induction.

Dr. Tim England, Texas State University, is the 2015 recipient of the William H. Taft Outstanding Chapter Adviser of the Year Award. Tim has been adviser of the Texas State chapter for 14 years.  Among his contributions to KTA is serving as a judge for the Mott Research Award. He received a Ph.D. in Communication and Political Science from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where he was initiated into KTA in 1992.  In addition to his teaching background, Tim has 18 years of experience in the broadcasting industry. He will be recognized at a KTA-sponsored luncheon this August in conjunction with the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference in San Francisco. Kappa Tau Alpha is a college honor society that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communication.

At the April ceremony, former SJMC Director Bruce Smith was also recognized for outstanding service. The complete list of honorees can be found at http://www.masscomm.txstate.edu/me04/inducted.html.

Top 5 reasons to join the SJMC Graduate Program

Many Texas State University students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, as well as students from other undergraduate universities, will be graduating within the year. Preparing to graduate can be exciting but also very overwhelming. For students who do not have a post-graduate job secured, entering the real world can seem scary, as graduates are expected to make big, life-altering decisions for their futures in just a short amount of time. If you are looking to take your education one step further, have a leg up on the competition in your professional life, or simply to take more time to figure out what you want to do next, graduate school in the SJMC might be the right fit for you.


The School of Journalism and Mass Communication is housed in beautiful and historic Old Main, located at the top of the hill on the Texas State Campus. (Photo by SJMC Blog)

Here are the top five reasons why you should enroll in the SJMC grad program: Read more of this post

SJMC receives re-accreditation by unanimous vote


The ACEJMC accreditation team visited the SJMC in November

The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC) voted unanimously to re-accredit the Texas State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication on May 1, 2015 at its national meeting in Phoenix, AZ. The School’s undergraduate program was found to be in compliance with all nine standards.

The ACEJMC site-visit team was generous in its praise of both Texas State University students and faculty.  Evaluators noted “an impressive record of student accomplishment in national, regional and state competitions.” During their site visit the review team found “a lively student body proud of its work ethic and can-do commitment to professional performance.” The team wrote in its report that the Texas State School of Journalism and Mass Communication has “a faculty well balanced in academic and professional experience and expertise and committed to educating and mentoring students for productive careers in the digital world.”

The Texas State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication is one of only three ACEJMC accredited public university programs in Texas.

We would like to thank faculty and staff, especially SJMC director Dr. Judy Oskam, who worked diligently to make this happen.

International Communications graduate students present findings at Southeast Asia Conference

asiaconferenceTexas State students participating in the graduate-level International Communications class, a hybrid class made up of International Studies and Mass Communication grad students, presented their research at the Southeast Asia Conference last week.

charlotteconferenceWorking in teams, the students singled out particular events, countries and media outlets in order to examine the complex communications landscape in Southeast Asia.

The groups presented thoughtful conclusions concerning freedom of the press, political interference and cultural differences based on analysis of translated or English-language media coverage of their chosen topic or event.

Topics researched ranged from coverage of violence against journalists in the Philippines to the different ways in which Vietnam and China represent their ongoing struggle for dominance in the South China Sea.

Sandhya Rao, who heads the class, spoke briefly about the difficulty the students faced, and extra effort required when conducting research on topics and cultures one is unfamiliar with. She emphasized repeatedly how proud she was of the level of analysis the students were able to achieve.

Burnie Burns of Rooster Teeth visits Digital Entrepreneurship Speaker Series

Michael Justin “Burnie” Burns visited Texas State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication as the seventh and final speaker of the Digital Entrepreneurship Speaker Series on Weds, April 22. Burns is the co-creator of the internet video series “Red vs. Blue” and co-founder of the production company Rooster Teeth.

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Digital media professor Jon Zmikly began the Q&A-style discussion by asking Burns to give a history of his career in digital production. Though he started as a biology pre-med student at the University of Texas in Austin, he switched his major to computer science during his senior year, due to his interest in the rise of the Internet in the mid-90s.

Burns also became interested in filmmaking. But instead of taking classes to learn film production, he grabbed and college buddy and decided to learn as they went.

“It took us 13 months to shoot and edit our film,” said Burns. “And that was just the beginning. The real challenge was the distribution, like getting the film into an independent film festival. You send your film in, and a committee of eight or nine people determine if your film can be screened in a room full of 200 people at a festival. We got a lot of nice rejection letters.” Read more of this post

Digital Speaker Series features SJMC graduate and NY Times staffer Maira Garcia

by Becky Larson:


Maira Garcia at TX State’s Digital Speaker Series

Maira Garcia is a senior staff editor at the New York Times. She works to organize, strategize and push content for the paper’s homepage, NYTimes.com.

Interviewed by digital media graduate student Jordon Brown and speaking to what felt like a hometown crowd, Garcia, who is a Texas State graduate, returned to the university this past week as the most recent speaker in the SJMC’s Digital Entrepreneurship Series.

“I learned a lot at TX State…”

Garcia earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree with Texas State and was one of the first to matriculate under the graduate program’s Digital Media concentration.

It was this skills-focused digital concentration that she told the audience was one of the most important aspects of her time at Texas State.

Read more of this post

Texas State Excels at TIPA Awards

TIPAlogoTexas State students impressed last week, scooping up numerous awards from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association.

The awards included top spots across each media category.

The staff at The University Star, Texas State’s newspaper, won Best of Show while members of the team picked up individual first-place prizes in Newspaper Design, Sports Feature Writing and News Features.

KTSW 89.9, The Other Side of Radio, scooped first place for their Commercial, PSA or Promo work as well as for their Production.

The student-produced television newscast Bobcat Update also won a number of awards; for their Sports and News non-feature work, their Sportscasting and Announcing.

See below for a full list of Texas State’s awards and winners.

Read more of this post

SJMC senior Olivia Williams balances school, Greek life, and internship at GSD&M

OliviaWilliamsGSDMOlivia Williams is one busy Bobcat. In addition to her studies, the senior advertising major from Flower Mound, TX works evenings as a waitress at Texas Roadhouse, participates in sorority activities in Delta Zeta and interns at the GSD&M advertising agency in Austin.

Williams is a media intern at GSD&M and is involved in such accounts as RadioShack, Stainmaster and Whole Foods. On a typical day, Williams organizes requests made by media vendors, pulls reports for previous spending patterns of media campaigns or puts together blog posts to be reviewed by her clients in order to understand where and how to spend their advertising budgets.

“Every day is unique,” Williams said. “I also sit in a lot of meetings with vendors that are trying to have the agency buy their product or ad space for our clients – which sometimes includes yummy food.” Read more of this post

Peabody Award-winning video journalist visits Digital Entrepreneurship Speaker Series

Peabody Award-winning video journalist Whitney Shefte of The Washington Post visited the Texas State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication on Weds, April 1. The Q&A discussion was facilitated by Dr. David Nolan, professor of visual communication at Texas State, as part of the Digital Entrepreneurship Speaker Series.

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Whitney Shefte answers Dr. David Nolan’s interview questions for the audience
Photo by Dale Blasingame

From Internship to Full-Time Position

Nolan opened the discussion by asking Shefte to describe her duties as Senior Video Journalist at The Washington Post. She explained that she and her team of writers create documentary-style stories, as opposed to traditional broadcast media. Her duties include shooting and editing interviews and B-roll, traveling, and some writing. The opportunity to work with The Washington Post came as a result of a summer internship, which Shefte secured with her skills in editing audio.

“At the time I was hired as an intern, audio slideshows were the hot new thing in web journalism,” she said. “And my audio editing skills blew them away.”

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The Megaphone Project: Letting small voices be heard

With the goal of “letting small voices be heard”, a group of Texas State University undergraduate students has teamed up with SJMC lecturer Holly Wise to create The Megaphone. This online publication was created as part of the undergraduate multimedia journalism elective course, and serves as a voice for local groups looking to bring about social change in the community.


The Megaphone team members – photo by The Megaphone

Holly Wise, photo by VoiceBoxMedia

Holly Wise – photo by Voicebox Media

Though Wise spearheads the operation, she believes the students are the true stars of the show. Her goal is to facilitate the project, and guide the students in the right direction. And she certainly knows a thing or two about managing an online publication; Wise is also the founder of Voicebox Media, a group that uses multimedia journalism to tell the stories of nongovernmental organizations.

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