Kickin’ it with George Kiel III

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Jon Zmikly interviewing George Kiel III during the Digital Media Entrepreneurship Speaker Series. Photo by Dr. Cindy Royal

By: Jennifer Alvord

Texas State alumnus George Kiel III spoke to students during The Digital Media Entrepreneurship Speaker Series about his career at NiceKicks.com and non-profit organization Kiel Colon Cancer Foundation.

Kiel graduated from Texas State University in 2008 with a degree in journalism and was extremely involved during his time here. While taking 19 hours his senior year, Kiel wrote for the University Star, played basketball for the university and interned for the FOX affiliate in Austin.

Kiel is currently Editor-in-Chief of NiceKicks.com, one of the Internet’s most comprehensive sneaker-themed sites, and is the co-founder of Kiel Colon Cancer Foundation. Kiel founded the foundation and the Kick & Roll Classic 3-on-3 Basketball Event as a promise to honor his mother’s name and extend her legacy through his love for basketball and sneakers.

Since Nice Kicks is solely online, Kiel said that pushing content through social media is essential. “Social media can be a big engine as far as who sees what and how they see it,” he said. “Social media is key.”

Kiel also believes that what sets companies apart from each other is content. “Content is king,” he said. “Having exclusive content is what makes you stand out.” At Nice Kicks, Kiel helped create a series called Kicks on the Court, which is a daily feature with exclusive content about shoes worn by basketball players.

 

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Society of Professional Journalists to honor University Star staff

University Star Logo

Photo Credit: star.txstate.edu

The Society of Professional Journalists will recognize five student-journalists from the University Star at the historic Hilton Hotel in Fort Worth on March 18 and 19 for its Region 8 Mark of Excellence convention.

Region 8 is Texas and Oklahoma. If any students take first place, they automatically move on to the national competition, where they are judged against all the regions. Students receiving awards are Quixem Ramirez, Madison Teague, Brandon Sams, Monique Guerrero and Jon Wilcox.

“If you would see the way these students work, it’s just amazing to me the bond that’s here,” said Bob Bajackson, SJMC Senior Lecturer and Director of Student Publications. “I think the awards that they are able to accomplish, it’s just incredible.”

The SPJ committee will also recognize the University Star for its student-redesigned website.

“The website content has just exploded,” said Bajackson. “Last month we had over 30,000 page views.”

The University Star was formed in 1911 and is the oldest publication on campus.

Becky Larson | photo credit: sxtxstate.com/about/

Becky Larson | photo credit: sxtxstate.com/about/

The SPJ will also honor graduate student Becky Larson, who has a project as a finalist. Larson’s project tells the important story of the clash of Austin gentrification and the live music scene through loud music noise complaints.

“She did a fantastic job assimilating a range of new skills, identifying a data set and creating interactive elements that were relevant to our theme of telling stories about music with data,” said Dr. Cindy Royal, SJMC Associate Professor and Digital Media Sequence Coordinator.

Larson’s project was supported by a grant from the Knight Foundation and Online News Association.

“I am so pleased that the SPJ judges recognized this type of storytelling,” said Dr. Royal.

KTSW to say goodbye to long time station manager

Tara Pohlmeyer Headshot

Tara Pohlmeyer | photo credit: fb.me/tara.pohlmeyer

KTSW-FM 89.9, the official radio station of Texas State University, will soon say goodbye to its long time Station Manager, Tara Pohlmeyer.

As Station Manager, Pohlmeyer oversees the day to day operations of the entire student-run radio station, with 15 different departments reporting directly to her.

“It’s definitely bittersweet,” Pohlmeyer said. “I’ve been part of KTSW for three and a half years.”

Pohlmeyer, a SJMC student, will graduate in May with her degree in Electronic Media and Mass Communication.

“I’m writing a thesis for my minor in honors studies,” Pohlmeyer said. “It’s on the importance of radio during emergency situations — a look at the 2015 Central Texas floods.”

During the the 2015 Central Texas floods, KTSW provided significant radio and online coverage of the disaster.

Dan Schumacher headshot

Dan Schumacher, Senior Lecturer & KTSW General Manager | photo credit: ktsw.net

She attributes much of her success to the guidance and direction instilled by Dan Schumacher, SJMC Senior Lecturer and KTSW General Manager.

“Dan is my thesis supervisor,” Tara told me. “Dan has helped me a lot. He’s helped me grow as a person. I wouldn’t be the manager, or the person I am, without him.”

If there’s one thing Pohlmeyer emphasized, it’s that she loved her time at Texas State University and KTSW.

“When I think of my time at Texas State, I will think of KTSW,” Pohlmeyer said. “It really is like leaving home again.”

SJMC Students Go Mobile at Garner State Park

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SJMC students prepare for one final hike at Garner State Park. Photo by Sasha Kodet

By Dale Blasingame

A group of 16 School of Journalism and Mass Communication students spent the weekend of Feb. 27-28 outdoors – in the name of mobile storytelling.

The students were part of the first-ever Mobile Storytelling in the Park course, taught by Dale Blasingame in coordination with Texas Parks and Wildlife. The class, which was part of the SJMC short course series, featured two weeks of online learning about how to shoot professional-quality photos and videos on your phone – everything from shot composition, camera apps, editing apps and storytelling techniques. The students then traveled to Garner State Park to put those ideas to the test. They were responsible for four video projects while in the park, all with the goal of getting more college-aged students to visit state parks across Texas.

“It got me out of my comfort zone,” said Abby Watson, an advertising senior. “I feel like in class, you just sit there and might get a little bored. But with this, you’re constantly going.”

Faculty members Kym Fox and Jon Zmikly, along with Ky Harkey, Tyler Priest, Sasha Kodet and Whitney Bishop from Texas Parks and Wildlife, assisted with the course.

Zmikly helped lead a drone demonstration with DJI Phantom Quadcopters 2 and 3 and contributed to the official Texas State University’s Snapchat (txstateu) during the weekend workshop.

“I loved getting outside and helping students with their projects. Their stories were really creative, and I could tell they had a lot of fun. These are the kinds of experiences students don’t get in the classroom,” said Zmikly.

Students used GoPros, HD mini-cameras, smartphones, mini-tripods and lapel mics to cover and capture the weekend experience, and they also gained experience with drones and 360 cameras. Footage was then edited and uploaded to various social media sites, and mobile hotspots were used when service wasn’t available. One creative project is their 360 video of the sunset over Mount Baldy where you can see the Frio river to the east (as the below video plays, click and drag your mouse for different views).

On Saturday evening, Texas Parks and Wildlife photographers led a session on night photography where students learned about aperture settings, shutter speeds and different ISO options.

The students are currently working in teams on different mini-documentary projects that will be used by Texas Parks and Wildlife. They’ve already submitted individual video projects on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook.

To see their work, search the #txstgarner hashtag across the different social networks.