Blood drive Tuesday hosted by SJMC students

facebookIn the spirit of giving (and earning an A), some SJMC students are asking students, faculty and staff to literally give from their hearts this season. Students in Grace Capwell’s PR Campaigns class are hosting a student-run blood drive on Tuesday Dec. 1  from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the LBJ Student Center (room 3-15.1).

Along with the blood drive, they are also running a Twitter contest — everyone who participates is eligible to win a Jam Wireless Speaker. The following rules apply:

  1. Take a selfie donating blood
  2. Tweet the selfie, tag and follow @centralTXblood
  3. Use #TXSTstudentsgive

Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments can also be made here. The Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas is located in Austin and keeps all donated blood local. With the upcoming holiday season, the blood center needs more donations to keep up with the demand. According to the center, each pint of blood can help save three lives of local people.

SJMC Digital Short Course Series


This fall, SJMC offered its first Digital Short Course Series. These one-credit-hour courses are meant to provide students with an introduction to cutting-edge, digital topics. Students may take one, two or all three courses in a semester. This semester, the topics were Digital Media Ethics (taught by Jon Zmikly), Drones and Sensors (taught by Cindy Royal and Dale Blasingame) and Coding Workshop (taught by Cindy Royal).

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 9.09.02 AM

Jon Zmikly leads the online Digital Media Ethics course.

The Digital Media Ethics course was delivered completely online over three weeks. Students completed modules via TRACS, covering topics including Truth in Storytelling, Transparency and Community.

Sensor Workshop

Cindy Royal assists with a sensor connection.

The Drones and Sensors course was delivered in a hybrid model with two weeks of online work that culminated in a one-day, in-person workshop. Students gained experience working with a drone and using a sensor kit. They manipulated connections on the sensor to control LED lights, monitor brightness, detect motion and log temperatures to a spreadsheet.

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 9.44.05 AM

Students in the Coding Workshop learned the skills to create an interactive quiz.

The Coding Workshop was delivered in a similar hybrid manner, with two weeks of online preparation leading to a one-day workshop. In the workshop, students got experience with HTML, CSS and JavaScript, developing an interactive quiz. They learned the basics of Web design and introductory programming syntax.

Students had positive responses in blog posts about the workshops.

As it turns out, I LOVE messing with tiny breadboards and photons. The whole process tapped into the engineer buried somewhere in my brain, and we even got to mess around with coding, another casual interest of mine.

I developed a strong interest in these topics when I realized how significant this technology is in both good and bad ways. Flying drones over volcanoes? The capability to take photographs and videos of endless matters that a human could never possibly do for themselves? Count me in! Spying neighbors or general violations of privacy? No sir.

Drones and sensors class was a blast! What other course lets you play with flying cameras and tinker with electronics?

Getting to see all of those radio buttons and objects respond to your changes makes me happy in the heart for some odd reason.

You can make anything you want whether it is your own website, a quiz, a form, etc. I did not realize how easy it was and how fast it is to create these things with coding.

Taking this class has to be one of the best decisions of my career. The main reason I feel that way is because now if you want to be involved in media, you have to know how to build a website and know a bit of coding.

You can read all the student observations by visiting the course sites linked above.

The gender makeup of these sessions was 83% female, which indicates that women are interested and enthusiastic about technology topics related to communication careers.

The Spring 2016 Digital Short Course series includes three more cutting edge classes: Framing Solutions-Storytelling Through Digital Narrative taught by Holly Wise, Mobile Storytelling in the Park and Digital Media Entrepreneurship, both taught by Dale Blasingame. See CatsWeb for registration information for these Spring courses.

More photos from the workshops:

SJMC Student selected to present at NCA Conference

Graduate student Joshua Morrison, will be representing Texas State and SJMC at this year’s National Communication Association’s 101st Annual Conference. The conference will take place Nov. 19 – 22 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This is Morrison’s second time to present at the conference and will be presenting two papers — one in the Performance Studies Division and the other in Rhetorical and Communication Theory Division.

The rhetoric division is the biggest at the conference, and Morrison will be presenting as one of the top four papers in that division.

He discusses how celebrity studies is an emerging and growing field in academia, a very broad and interdisciplinary field that includes departments in English,FullSizeRender history, sociology and communications.

“The intersection that I meet at when I study this topic is rhetoric and communication, media studies, performance studies and critical cultural studies,” Morrison said.

Morrison is interested in the role the media plays in celebrity culture and the conversations the media industry has about fame and celebrities, especially women as public figures.

According to Morrison, the conversations regarding men usually revolve more around their craft as a performer, but the focus of women is more about what they are wearing and less about their craft.

Morrison encourages expanding the institution of celebrity studies to increase awareness about the disparity of gender, racial and class lines that exist in the media’s coverage.

“Who better to change these conversations than the people who write the headlines?” Morrison asks.

Best of luck to Joshua at the conference this week!

Texas State Bateman team selected

The Public Relations Department in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University has selected its 2016 PRSSA Bateman National Case Study Competition team. The will begin planning its campaign for client the Student Veterans of America. SVA is working in partnership with the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations and Edelman.

Team members are seniors Tammy Garman, Jericka Desire Christianna King, Kelsey Heitzmann and Jaelyn Lyles. All are public relations majors.

“I’m proud to say we’ve assembled another outstanding Bateman team,” said Chuck Kaufman, Bateman coordinator, who works with the team in tandem with his Public Relations Campaigns course. “But this team, particularly, brings some very special qualities from diverse experiences that should enhance their creative and strategic thinking. They all are highly motivated individuals in very special ways.”

Garman, who is minoring in Aerospace Studies, is wing commander at the University’s Air Force Reserved Officer Training Corps, Detachment 840th, and a recipient of the Sons of the American Revolution Medal of Honor. Garman also is a Dean’s List student and a New Student Orientation Leader.

King is a minor in international studies and has worked at several retail jobs in San Marcos. She is the reigning Miss Black Texas State University. Previously she was the assistant public affairs officer for the Arnold Air Society’s U.S. Air Force Association.

Heitzmann is a Dean’s List communications studies minor and has studied abroad in Great Britain, German and France. She has served as both an Orientation Leader and Resident Assistant at the University. Kelsey has worked with the South by Southwest Music Festival, Phi Beta Chi sorority and the Victoria Generals baseball club of the Texas Collegiate Baseball League.

Lyles has worked as the PR chair/webmaster for Mu Phi Epsilon; interned with the American Diabetes Association; and worked in the Office of the President at Texas State University.

In addition, Kaufman also named alumna Rebecca Hind Gough, an account executive with Weber Shandwick in Austin and a former Bateman participant, as a professional outside adviser to the team.

Planning begins immediately with implementation taking place between Feb. 15 and March 15. Case studies are due to the PRSSA national office on April 8.

The goals of this year’s Bateman Competition are to increase awareness on college campuses and in communities about veterans who are students around the globe, as well as to increase the support and networks for these deserving individuals, PRSSA announced from its New York headquarters.

“As the number of veterans in college continues to increase, so does the need for university administrators and the public to gain a deeper understanding of their issues,” said Jared Lyon of Student Veterans of America. “Just like traditional students — there is no singular journey for the student veteran. Our goal at Student Veterans of America is to change the public perception surrounding veterans at the crossroads between military-to-civilian transition to a longer view from degree completion to meaningful employment. We believe that veterans bring with them a wealth of knowledge, experiences and diversity, and we are thrilled to partner with PRSSA to ensure that every veteran becomes an informed consumer of their GI Bill benefits and to communicate the value that veterans bring to higher education, employers and to our communities.”

Trisha Espinoza joined us for Mass Comm Week

Trisha Espinoza remembers the time she sold everything and went into debt.

She had one goal in mind—to be a leader in the communication industry. After all, as she put it, Espinoza did not want to put in all this hard work and sit behind a desk.

Espinoza obviously reached her goal relating her journey to communication students Oct. 19 as a during a question and answer session in conjunction with Mass Communication Week.

Upon graduation, Espinoza started her career at News 8 Austin before joining Viacom as an intern with MTV’s development team in 2002. She spent seven years with MTV and MTV2 before becoming Director of Programming.

TrishaEspinoza joined NBC Universal in 2010 where she was the vice president of programming for Oxygen Media. She returned to Viacom in 2014 and is now the current Vice President of Program Scheduling for BET.

Espinoza turned to Texas State University to accomplish her goal. She was 25 years old at the time and was eager to get started.

“I remember sitting in Dr. (Laurie) Fluker’s office and crying to her saying I was so old and wasted so much time,” Espinoza said. “In reality I was right where I needed to be but that was just my sense of urgency, I wanted to do all I could to get ahead.”

Espinoza spent her session discussing all the stepping-stones it takes for people to work their way up in the industry. She talked about the importance of internships and perfecting a resume and networking

“I was shocked when she told us how many resumes she sent out,” said Tayler Chambless, Mass communication student. “She said she sent out 200 resumes and only got six internships from it, I admire her dedication and the drive she had to never give up.”

While attending Texas State, Espinoza worked at KTSW radio. She graduated at the top of her class and has left an impression on former faculty members.

“She searched for awhile,” said Tim England, Mass Communication associate professor. “People can relate to her because everyone struggles, but she found a path and continues to work her way through this profession.”

Throughout Espinoza’s discussion, she spoke of her failures and successes. She told students the media industry is for passionate and dedicated individuals.

“Never stop learning,” Espinoza said. “Always be grateful for where you are in life but strive to go further. I am thankful for where I have been and I am excited to see where I will go because we are never finished growing.”

By Molly Dodge

SJMC Attends SXSW Eco 2015


Last week, Oct. 5-7, a group of SJMC students and faculty had the opportunity to attend SXSW Eco in Austin. In its fifth year as an annual offshoot of SXSW, the three-day conference covered a variety of eco-conscious topics. From the future of food production to using memes to raise climate awareness, Texas State professors and students dove head first into a realm where the world’s problems are being solved through creative innovation.

SJMC part-time lecturer Jordon Brown was impressed by the range of technologies being used for ecological and social good:

As someone who has attended several other SXSW events (a few i’s, a couple Edu’s) I wasn’t prepared for the absolute insane vision of the future that was SXSW Eco. In the span of three days, I heard about a method of transportation that moves at the speed of sound, meat being grown in labs, self-driving cars, a town that’s moving to 100% renewable energy (in Texas, no less!), and crowd-sourcing satellite imagery that identifies areas of need after natural disasters. As someone who is an advocate of tech, Eco and I got along splendidly. My main takeaway from Eco: the future is here, the future is amazing and I want to be a part of it.

Several panels discussed gendered global issues. SJMC graduate student Josh Morrison found out what gender has to do with sustainability at one of his favorite panels:

Panelists at Sex and Sustainability: Youth Reproductive Rights couldn’t help but joke that it was the only conference session with the word “sex” in the title. Far from being an opportunity to talk about sex, the panel was an insightful exploration of issues of the body, specifically reproductive rights, and their implications in the struggle to care for our planet. Advocacy is imperative for the implementation of reproductive regulation tools in parts of the world where they are culturally taboo. Cat Lazaroff and Jade Begay of Resource Media stressed the importance of communication in social advocacy. I spoke with Cat Lazaroff after the panel to find out more:

Read more of this post

#NewsEngagementDay at Texas State

Last Tuesday, October 6th, was News Engagement Day, an initiative started last year by the president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication aimed at getting young adults to pay more attention to the news.

Assistant Professor of Journalism & Mass Communication, Kelly Kaufhold led this year’s initiative by standing outside the LBJ center and playing “News Engagement Cash Cab,” a game show that asked students current events questions. The initiative isn’t just targeted for journalism students but all students on campus around the nation.

Students who were able to answer a few questions correctly won prizes, like key rings, car phone chargers and t-shirts. Every participant received a free News Engagement Day wristband.

Kaufhold is a member of the executive committee for News Engagement Day and a founding member. This is the second year for the event, which was designed to find creative ways to get young adults more involved with news.

“I hope students learn that news can be fun, and that’s it’s always important. I also wanted to get the message across that news impacts them and that they have a responsibility to stay informed,” Kaufhold said.

To see more tweets and pictures from the event, check out the Twitter hashtags for #NewsEngagementDay and #TXST!

I see London, I see France, I see SJMC students with a study abroad chance


Study Abroad 2015: Aisling Niestroy and Rebecca Silvas at the Eiffel Tower

Join us next Friday, Oct. 9 at 1 p.m. in Old Main 320 for our first information session about the 2016 London-Paris study abroad opportunity.

The program includes class meetings on campus in Summer II before the 12-day media and cultural immersion trip to two of the world’s top capital cities, from July 18-July 29.

Students will receive six credit hours and choose from Strategic Communication, Travel Writing, International Communication, International Advertising/ PR Issues or an Independent study.

The program also includes visits to leading global media companies such as the BBC, The Guardian, Agence France Presse, and Weber-Shandwick and international organizations such as UNESCO and Sorbonne University. Cultural tours of the two cities include a visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower and the Tower of London.

Academic Program Director Dr. Sandy Rao and Dr. Bruce Smith will be accompanying students on the trip.They have each been to six continents around the globe and are highly experienced professors. Also accompanying the group will be Study Abroad Program Assistant Mr. Harry Bowers.

Read more on the blog from graduate student, Aisling Niestroy’s and 10 things she learned from last year’s trip and AJ Arreguin’s post about their tour of the BBC in London.

Students at the BBC in London

Study Abroad 2015: Students at the BBC in London


Run, Cheyenne Run!

This past Saturday, the Running with the Graduate Deans organization participated in the 2015 Country Roads 10k. Texas State was well represented with a sea of maroon by seven graduate students who ran with the deans, including SJMC graduate student Cheyenne Meyer.


Not only did Meyer participate, but she was the overall female champion in the 10k race, which is the equivalent to 6.2 miles. Originally from Houston, Meyer is studying strategic communication and was a former student athlete during her undergraduate studies.

Associate Dean Eric Paulson was the male master’s champion and several other runners from Texas State placed in their age groups, as well as set their own personal best records.

The organization encourages fitness and community building within the graduate programs, and the Graduate College matches the amount of the race fee for everyone who participates as a runner, helper or spectator wearing their logoed shirts. The group raised $420 to be put into a scholarship account for the coming year.

Meyer beat both graduate deans, thus raising twice the amount of the entry fee for the scholarship.

“When I found out about the Running with the Graduate Deans challenge, I was ecstatic. I’m a competitive distance runner and had already signed up for the Country Roads 10k many months ago. But when the deans sent out the email issuing the challenge, I knew it was my time to represent the School of Journalism and Mass Communication grad program, as well as earn some money for the scholarship fund. Associate Dean Paulson is a fierce competitor; he only finished a minute behind me. I kept looking over my shoulder to make sure he didn’t pass me,” Meyer said.

The next event will be the Día de lost Muertos 5k in downtown San Marcos on October 31. All you need to do is bring your race registration to The Graduate College (280 JC Kellam) and pick up your shirt to participate. You don’t have to be a runner to participate, email to volunteer and cheer on our graduate students and deans!




SJMC to help state reach Medicare beneficiaries

Researchers in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication have received a $448,800 award to help the State of Texas connect with rural and low-income Medicare beneficiaries who might be eligible for additional assistance.

The grant from the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) will allow Texas State University to research the most effective strategies for communicating with and educating Texans who are on Medicare or who will be within the next five years. The effort is part of a larger state-federal project, the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA), to improve access to Medicare and ensure low-income beneficiaries get the medical care they need.

Through interviews, surveys and other outreach efforts, Texas State’s team will evaluate how older Texans are using the media and learning about Medicare-specific services, including Medicare savings programs, low income subsidies, Medicare Part D and prevention and wellness benefits. Researchers will then develop strategies to more effectively reach these target audiences.

Judy Oskam, professor and director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is leading a team with expertise in media, creative strategy, adult education and outreach.  “We are excited to work with the aging network across the state to determine the best way to reach key audiences with Medicare information,” Oskam said.

Texas State’s final report will be used to support the state and the area agencies on aging (AAAs) in reaching beneficiaries. The AAAs are responsible for communicating aging-related materials to seniors in local communities.

For more information about Texas State’s involvement in this project, please contact Dr. Judy Oskam at 512-245-2656 or

The Texas State University MIPPA Project team includes Kelly Kaufhold (research director), Judy Oskam (PI) and research associates Jenny Buschhorn, Kym Fox, Vanessa Higgins Joyce, Gigi Taylor, Jacie Yang and Carrie Boden-McGill. Grant coordinators Jessica James and Dan Seed and three graduate research assistants, Zahra Khani (Geography), Rana Zeidan (Social Work) and Yazmin Rodriguez (Health Administration), are also working on the project.  Lisa Westerbeck, C3 Research Coordinator, has provided budget and staff support.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,613 other followers