How can j-schools prep students for the world they’re headed into?

Cindy RoyalDr. Cindy Royal teamed up with Amy Schmitz Weiss of San Diego State to try to answer the question: How can j-schools prep students for the world they’re headed into? Royal and Weiss provide approaches for a Digital Media/Data curriculum in Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab. Check out the article, and give us your thoughts!


SJMC offers study abroad class in 2014

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication is proud to be hosting a study abroad class during the summer of 2014 in the United Kingdom! Spearheaded by Drs. Sandhya Rao and Bruce Smith, the class will travel to London, Edinburgh and Cardiff.

What You Will Learn
The program’s theme is ‘Global media in the United Kingdom.’ The program includes class meetings on campus and online before and after the 10-12 day cultural and media immersion trip to three capital cities of the UK. The program will include field trips to international media organizations and cultural excursions. Known for its leading media companies including broadcast companies such as the BBC and  ITV, newspapers such as The Daily TelegraphThe Guardian, international news organizations such as the Reuters, and public relations firms such as Taylor Herring, the  UK will provide an amazing global media experience. Students may choose from public relations, media writing (travel emphasis) and international communication or an independent study.

The Cities
LondonLondon, the capital of England, is a modern global metropolis, and world business center housing hundreds of international companies, and a thriving cultural center drawing millions of visitors from all over the world. Standing on River Thames, London has a history of nearly 2000 years and was a site for the 1948 and 2012 Olympics. A culturally vibrant city, London offers a wide range of top class cultural attractions including theatres, museums, art galleries, music converts and shopping centers. Landmarks such as the Buckingham Palace, the seat of British Monarchy, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the Tower Bridge and Westminster Abbey are known as much for their history as their architecture.


Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is known for its banking industry. Declared as the first UNESCO City of Literature, the city is host to many international festivals. Located about 400 miles to the North East of London, it is the second most popular tourist destination after London.  Edinburgh is a World Heritage Site, and has historical sites including the Edinburgh Castle, the Old and New Towns, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Cardiff, the capital of Wales, is a port city located 124 miles West of London and belongs to the Eurocities network of the largest European cities. In addition to a beach front, gardens, museums, historical sites, and sporting venues, Cardiff houses a large independent TV production center with 6,000 employees.

More information and details on the course will be available soon. Questions may be directed to Sandhya Rao at

Dr. Laurie Fluker changing lives, one student at a time

Dr. Laurie FlukerFaculty Spotlight: Dr. Laurie Fluker, written by Chioma Nwosu:
Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication and an Associate Professor of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Dr. Fluker has a passion for her job and says she falls in love with it more and more every-day. It radiates through her teaching and her attitude toward her students. I was a student of Dr. Fluker’s last semester, and her Intro to Mass Communication course is said to be difficult. For me, the course did not feel like a chore but more of an extracurricular activity. If that does not persuade you to meet her, take her course, or both, I do not know what will!

CN: What is your concentration?
LF: Broadcasting and Electronic Media

CN: What is your hometown and where do you currently live?
LF: I’m from Houston, and I live in Austin.

CN: What brought you to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University?
LF: I was working on a Ph.D at UT, and the person in charge of Electronic Media left unexpectedly, so the school was looking for someone to take his place. They asked UT if anyone was working on a dissertation, and Roger Bennett called me and asked if I was interested to come work at Texas State. I was not looking for work the time, and my husband told me that I should start because a job would not come looking for me — but it did! There was no Internet at the time, and I invited Bennett to our apartment, so for all I knew, the Son of Sam could have been coming. Bennett was a treat, and I was invited to come work here. I had 20 interviews, going office to office; they liked me, and I was offered a job! They didn’t do a national search, since the person before me had left too late. And as they say, the rest is history! I feel so blessed and I’m so happy. I’m so in love with my job.

CN: How long have you been with the SJMC?
LF: Since 1989.

CN: What courses do you teach?
LF: I teach Intro to Mass Communication and University Seminar.

CN: Have you been involved in any research/projects lately?
LF: I have been working on two chapters for my Mass Communication class about the music industry and the film industry. I’m attempting to write a book on the role of television on the Civil Rights movement. I’m so excited about it, continuing my dissertation (Fluker wrote a dissertation called “NBC Coverage of the Civil Rights Movement: 1955-1965.”).

CN: Have you received any awards or have been recognized?
LF: Black Student Alliance gave me the University Diversity Award for 2012-2013 this year as well as other awards.

CN: What are some of your hobbies or things you enjoy outside of work?
LF: I like swimming and reading. I love spending time with my family. I try to have a TV show or movie to watch with each child. With my son, I watch Doctor Who, and with my daughter, I watch any reality show.

CN: What inspires you?
LF: My students inspire me. I have some of the greatest students ever. Seeing them makes this job worthy, which is why I will not leave it. My family inspires me as well.

CN: What do you find most fulfilling or rewarding about teaching college students?
LF: There is no other job that will let me get to know hundreds of people every semester. Doesn’t get any better than that! Most students are yearning for knowledge, and I’m yearning to teach it. Most students are already interested, and I get to fulfill that.

CN: Do you have any advice for current SJMC students?
LF: You have to have a thirst and a passion for knowledge. Nothing else will beat that thirst and passion. It will take you places. You have to want to constantly get better. You have to learn to write well; you have to learn a second language. If it’s not what you want to do, you have to get out of it. If you’re apathetic to your major, you need to move on. You cannot be something that sounds cool, you have to want it!

CN: How long have you been married?
LF: I have been happily married for 33 years this August, but we have been together for 37!

CN: How many kids do you have? I know that you have twins.
LF: I have three kids, the oldest is 31 this year, and the twins will be 23!

Interviewing Dr. Fluker did not feel like one; it felt like a conversation. It feels like an understatement to say that she is amazing. She is truly one of a kind. Dr. Fluker affects most of the lives she comes into contact with, and as stubborn as I am, she has changed mine.

International Studies honor student Hylary Ahrendt recognizes Dr. Sandy Rao for sharing her expertise and support

In her “Be A Bobcat” interview, International Studies honor student Hylary Ahrendt recognizes Dr. Sandy Rao for sharing her expertise and support. Ahrendt completed projects in Germany and India as part of her honors coursework.  Dr. Rao is Professor and Graduate Director in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Old Main gets much needed facelift

Old Main gets much needed facelift: If you haven’t noticed the massive frames of scaffolding lining the walls of Old Main or the giant white tubes pumping assisted AC into its windows, perhaps you’ve heard the sounds of jackhammers from across campus. Yes, Old Main is finally getting a well-deserved renovation this summer. We’re excited to see the new and improved building when restoration is completed this fall. Learn more about our beloved, historic building here.

Student Spotlight: Kolten Parker

Student Spotlight, Kolten Parker:

Bobcat Blog

Journalism senior gains experience at university newspaper, reports at State Capitol

By Andrew Osegi

Kolten Parker, senior at Texas State University, has worked hard to get where he is today.

Parker, 23, was born and raised in Stephenville, Texas, a city where dairy rules yet high school football is king. After graduating high school, Parker decided to stay close to home and pursue his first two years of higher education at Tarleton State University; however, he soon discovered a change of scenery was overdue.

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Oskam talks hybrid courses at World Journalism Education Congress in Belgium

BelgiumSchool of Journalism and Mass Communication Professor and Director Judy Oskam gave a presentation as part Broadcast Education Association’s Ignite session at the World Journalism Education Congress on July 5, 2013 in Mechelen, Belgium.  Oskam’s presentation focused on hybrid and online teaching strategies for mass communication classes.  You can see the slides from her presentation below.

Cultural Enlightenment and International Connections

scholarsDr. Cindy Royal traverses Europe, works with journalists, attends ICA:

As a college professor, I often get to attend academic conferences, which can take place at many locales around the globe. This summer, I chose to attend the International Communication Association (ICA) conference in London. Since I was going to travel so far, I decided to make a trip out of it, both personal and professional. The first two weeks were mostly for fun. I had an amazing visit to Italy, with a stop off in Paris before heading to London for the professional part of my journey.

It was my first time in Italy, and I was enthralled by the beauty, culture and food of each city. Rome is a thriving metropolis integrating modern and ancient in unexpected ways. My hotel was right next to the Pantheon, one of the oldest buildings in continuous use in the city. I visited the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum and Ruins and the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. I even got to see the Pope as he greeted the crowd before a public mass.

In Florence, I enjoyed the Uffizi and Accademie galleries, where I saw many wonderful works including Michelangelo’s Statue of David. I walked the steps of the Boboli Gardens and Piazzale Michelangelo. From Florence, I was able to take a quick train trip to Lucca, where I rented a bike to tour the city’s enclosed walls. All the walking and biking helped to work off the delicious pizza, pasta and gelato I enjoyed every day.

Venice was incredibly beautiful, every square inch of it. The colorful buildings surrounding the canals make for a spectacular landscape. It was fun to explore and get lost along its alleys and byways.

After Italy, I made a stop in Paris, which required a new language and a change of cuisine. In Paris, I visited the Musee d’Orsay, Montmartre and, of course, the Eiffel Tower. I had the opportunity to meet with scholars Sylvain Parasie of Paris Est University and Eric Dagiral of Paris Descartes University who do research in the area of interactive news. They are both in the sociology departments at their respective universities, and I enjoyed sharing the details of our shared interests.

My next and final stop was London. I spent 12 days in the UK, continuing some sightseeing, but moving on to the professional part of my trip. While in the UK, I visited with Jonathan Hewett and George Brock at City University’s Interactive Journalism Master’s Program, Thanassis Tiropanis and Leslie Carr in the Web Science Program at Southampton University and Eric Meyer and Ralph Schroeder at Oxford University’s Internet Institute.  I took great inspiration from their progressive and interdisciplinary approaches.

I also had the opportunity to work at the Guardian with their Interactive News team. I spent three days working with Rich Harris, Jonathan Richards, Robin Beitra and others. While there, I assisted with debugging a Web scraping program and attended meetings on the Firestorm multimedia project and best practices in Web development. It was definitely a valuable and enriching experience for which I am grateful.

The personal highlights in London were visits to the Tate Modern Gallery and the David Bowie Exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum. I also loved walking around Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and Soho. And I got to see the London production of Book of Mormon and attended a concert by the U.S. band The Breeders at the London Forum. I also got to spend time with Alex Hering, a 2010 Texas State graduate now working and living in London.

The final stop on my trip was the conference. ICA brings together scholars from around the world covering all aspects of communication. I attended panels on data and multimedia journalism, attended the launch of the new Digital Journalism academic journal and got to spend time with friends and academic colleagues Amy Schmitz-Weiss (San Diego State University), Alfred Hermida (University of British Columbia), Carrie Brown Smith (University of Memphis), Corinne Weisgerber (St. Edward’s University), Margaretha Geertsema-Sligh (Butler University), Andrea Hickerson (Rochester Institute of Technology) and more.

You can see more pictures from my trip at

Now that I am home, things are a bit of a blur, and I am trying to organize my thoughts around all these new and enlightening experiences. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to explore these beautiful places. I will be spending the next few weeks teaching summer school and prepping for the Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford, starting in September.

Students explore free speech laws through class blog

Honors Students

Martinez’s students in his Free Speech and Free Press honors class

Featured Work: Student Free Speech and Free Press Blog: 

Gilbert Martinez’s spring Free Speech and Free Press honors class has done an outstanding job contributing to a class blog, “Free Speech and Free Press Around the World.” For the blog, each student was required to choose a foreign county of his/her choice and research free speech and free press issues in that country. Then, students analyzed those issues and compared them with free speech and press rights in the United States. Each essay were added to the blog Martinez created last year, so the spring semester’s essays are intermingled with the essays from the honors students last spring.

There are now 27 countries covered on the website. New essays this semester include Libya, Israel, North Korea, Syria, Turkey, New Zealand, Croatia, France, Spain and Canada. The project tied in nicely with the Common Experience theme of the Global Odyssey.

Feel free to check out the above link to the blog. We are very pleased with the work of Martinez’s honors students.