#AlumniSpotlight: Meagan Stokes

Join us in congratulating SJMC graduate, Meagan Stokes, on obtaining a position as News Producer at KWKT-TV in Waco, Texas! Meagan graduated from Texas State in May with a degree in Electronic Media, taking with her the tools, knowledge, and confidence to succeed in the industry.

“I learned so much valuable information through my time at Texas State. Not only was I given the basic information, such as how to edit video and use a camera, but I was given facts about what to expect when I entered the broadcast industry. I’m so grateful for my professors who challenged me on a daily basis and gave me the best feedback. Texas State faculty and students are family, and I will forever wear my ring as a reminder of the great university that is still a part of me.” – Meagan Stokes, 2017

Featured Student Friday – Dorian Parks

Dorian Parks is a Digital Media Innovation student at Texas State University

You may have seen this SJMC student wandering the halls of Old Main throughout the semester, or perhaps sitting beside you in class. Or just maybe you have checked out the website Geeks of Color to peruse the latest coverage of the ‘geek’ world. Well, this summer, Dorian Parks has traded the hills of San Marcos for Los Angeles and the halls of Old Main for the entertainment giant, STARZ.

The Television Academy Foundation’s Internship Program provides 50 undergraduate and graduate students with internships in various media production fields. According to their website, host companies include ABC, CBS, HBO, Disney, NBC, and Warner Bros., to name a few. Needless to say, this eight-week program is beyond competitive and Dorian has proven his expertise and passion for digital media by obtaining this position.

Dorian has been preparing for an opportunity like this throughout his education as a Digital MediaInnovation major at Texas State University. Staying true to his mass communication frame of mind, Dorian recognizes that our communication is evolving every day.

“Digital media is the new way that we ingest information and I want to be a part of that digital revolution,” said Dorian in his video interview securing him the internship. The interview, produced and recorded by the creative extraordinaire himself, provides a look into the vast imagination that Dorian uses to fuel his enthusiasm for making and distributing his original content.

While at Texas State, Dorian commits his time to the website he founded called Geeks of Color, a blog-type feed that covers current news on all things ‘geek’ and promotes inclusion and diversity in the vast world of entertainment. Reviews, podcasts, gaming, and guest contributions can all be found within this impressive digital creation, demonstrating Dorian’s passion for media and communication. Not only does Dorian care about the infinite world of comics and popular culture, but his desire to bridge the gap of race and the entertainment industry is inspiring.

“I am so excited for this internship, I can’t wait to see what opportunities it leads to,” said Dorian.

The internship is scheduled to be starting this summer and we share Dorian’s excitement as we eagerly wait to see where this position takes him in the future. In the meantime, the folks in San Marcos can stay up to date on all things Dorian and geek on his website and social media platforms.

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Twitter
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Check out what Dorian is up to next; this SJMC student does not fail to impress!

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Dr. Cindy Royal speaks on integrating digital culture in academia at SXSW

In Saturday’s SXSW Interactive panel “Disrupting J School with Digital Culture”, SJMC’s Dr. Cindy Royal explained how academic institutions can be more nimble by developing a culture of innovation. Joined by University of Southern California Annenberg’s Robert Hernandez, the session started with an introduction to digital culture, then discussed how innovation is happening at each of their respective schools, and ended by providing advice for other academics seeking to introduce digital concepts and topics into curriculum.

Dr. Cindy Royal began by explaining how students have three options when it comes to digital courses in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University. They can either take digital-focused electives, add a digital concentration to their major, or sign up for a Digital Media Innovation major. With digital courses like the Fundamentals of Digital and Online Media, Coding and Data Skills, Social Media and Analytics and one-credit short courses like Digital Tools: 360 Video & VR, any student has a wide variety of curriculum options from which to choose.

At USC Annenberg’s School for Communication and Journalism, Hernandez said he’s not just preparing students for disruption; he’s preparing them to be leaders of disruption. Through innovative courses that partner with leading media companies such as NPR, the New York Times and ProPublica, Hernandez said diversity in his courses breeds creativity.

“What was magical was the diversity of students from different disciplines and watching them learn from each other. We have students from public relations, communication, gaming, engineering, and each one brings his or her craft to the table. These are different cultures coming together to collaborate, which is what they’ll experience when they enter the real world.”

Overcoming Challenges

Developing innovative curriculum in academia does not come without its challenges. Both Royal and Hernandez explained the disrupting traditional systems is not easy and that funding can often be an issue.

“We do a lot with a little,” said Royal. “Our director Dr. Judy Oskam is great at finding pockets of money for us, and she’s been very open to find funding to support our efforts.”

However, one major misconception about innovation is that it is too costly. While some digital equipment is highly expensive, many tools and hardware isn’t as bad as one might think. The Insta360 camera that Hernandez set up to live-stream the presentation, for example, only cost $199.

“Sometimes, smartphones might be all someone needs for an innovative project.  You can do this with little to no money,” said Royal.

Being a product of a newsroom with a bootstrap budget, Hernandez said he’s used to “hustling with nothing.” Consolidating resources has been one solution for USC, where the school even eliminated some computer labs because so many students already had their own laptops.

Outside of a budget increase, Royal said grants are also a valuable source for funding.”If grants don’t cover equipment, you can set up trips for training,” said Royal. “Get creative, and prioritize your needs.” Both Hernandez and Royal also advised academics to partner and share resources with other organizations and even academic institutions that value innovation.

Building A Culture of Innovation

While a lack of funding can be difficult, affecting the overall digital culture of an organization can be more of a challenge.

“One person can’t do this,” said Royal. “You can’t have that token ‘digital’ person in an organization — you need people who are willing to take their spare time to learn this stuff.”

Hernandez said he often has be his own “hype man” for his projects and goals, especially for those who don’t truly understand what he does.

Overall, the duo’s advice for developing a more innovative culture in academia was to model the behavior first.

“When you show off student projects and successes, people start to take notice. It becomes attractive to other faculty,” said Royal.

Big Apple offers Bobcat Promotions a reality check

By Mark A. Alvarez II

NEW YORK — Seeking to make a mark in the world capital of media, Bobcat Promotions, Texas State University’s student-run public relations firm, took its fourth annual trip to New York City this past January.

Twelve young practitioners were given the opportunity to broaden their PR perspectives by engaging in numerous professionals at top PR firms, museums and the United Nations.

BPR Executive Director Kristen Torrez, a senior, explained that visiting the Big Apple was both a personal milestone and a professional development opportunity.

The Jan. 10-14 trip was Torrez’s first New York visit. She was surprised that it was not as overwhelming as she anticipated. “I thought visiting firms in New York would be intimidating, but actually it gave me more confidence once I got there,” Torrez said. “There was a lot going on, of course, but it was exhilarating. It made me want to jump in and tackle challenges alongside leading PR professionals.”

For Vanessa Mora, public relations senior and a BPR account executive, this trip to New York, not her first, would provide an opportunity for professional growth.

“I have been to New York before,” Mora said. “Quite a few times in fact, but this was the first time I could experience New York with the capacity as a young PR professional. I have always had a firm grasp on the types of firms I would want to work for, but this was a world I never could have imagined. This trip completely raised my expectations and redefined the professional goals I had for myself.”

In its fourth year, the New York trip, created and organized by adviser Chuck Kaufman, continued the tradition of attending a mixer of Texas State mass communication alumni at the host Park Central Hotel, where they welcomed 10 alumni, including Christopher Henry of Edelman and Maira Garcia of The New York Times.

The students got to dig into a variety of subjects from their professional development to simply surviving the hustle and high cost of living in New York City.

The leap from the cozy college life of San Marcos to the bright lights of New York is quite a transition.

Mondy Hobbs, former BPR Account Executive, is now working for Weber Shandwick in New York. “She’s been living in New York City for six months now,” said Danielle Martinez, PR senior and Bobcat Promotions Website Manager. “So, seeing her there made me feel like making the big move is possible.”

Edelman’s Henry advised fellow Bobcats on ways that he believes helped him land a job in the big city. He cleverly sought out a temporary phone with a New York area code so that employers would think he was from New York, he told Torrez.

Actually, Henry is from New York but moved to Houston with his family at an early age. “He thought if he had a New York area code he would be more likely to get hired, and he did. He thinks that was a big part of it,” she said. Of course, Henry was a huge talent for BPR and as an Honors College graduate as well at Texas State.

Apart from getting to network with Texas State alumni, the Bobcat Promotions team got the opportunity to speak with the communications director of the 911 Memorial and Museum, attend a media briefing at the United Nations and visit some of the world’s largest and most prestigious public relations firms.

“I still can’t believe that we had the privilege to sit it on a media briefing led by Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the secretary general at the UN headquarters,” Martinez said. “We got to listen in on real life situations during a live teleconference with a UN official in Mosul. I wouldn’t have been able to read or know about such events until it was carried by international media the very next day. I mean, how crazy is that?”

“Along with the briefing, we had the privilege of touring the magnificent and historic headquarters, from the general assembly hall to the security council. The institution is so full of history, diversity and human rights. It was truly a remarkable experience.”

These Bobcats experienced an unforgettable experience that not only provided insight into the professional world beyond college, but also an experience that would inspire them to follow their own vision within an ever-changing world of mass communication.

Taylor Carfield, a senior and PRSSA social media coordinator, said, “Visiting the 911 Memorial and Museum was by far one of the most somber experiences of my life. We spoke with the communications director and my biggest take away was that in representing the museum and memorial, people’s lives and families were very hurt and torn apart by these events, and the director explained that as a communicator we need to practice doing our job with the utmost sensitivity when dealing with such a tragedy.”

These kinds of insights gave the students a redefined sense of understanding of media and media relations and their place in it.

“After the trip, I felt more motivated to reach for the stars in all aspects of my life, including Bobcat Promotions,” Carfield said. “This trip really taught me to be confident and that if I want something, I can work hard enough to get it.”

After meetings, the students explored the full menu of the exciting opportunities and hustle of the city — the museums, restaurants, theater, Times Square, Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, the subway system and shopping.  By all accounts, there were no shortages of lifetime memories.

“The trip never fails to achieve its mission of developing students professionally,” Kaufman, BPR adviser, said. “Students return to Texas fully charged to take on the world. They are more than simply motivated; they’re inspired. And that’s very gratifying not only for them but for me as a faculty member.”

Alum Spotlight: Kevin Quintero

From valet attendant to co-founder of a digital marketing agency, Kevin Quintero is the definition of an innovated entrepreneur. Tenoch Labs is the brain child of two roommates who didn’t want to work under anyone besides themselves and knew that containing their creative minds would be selfish. With his “If anyone can do it, I can do it better” mentality, Quintero has manifested the perfect amount of perseverance to become a successful entrepreneur.

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Raised in Dallas, Quintero found his calling in digital media at a very young age. He recalls falling in love with film, editing and storytelling by the seventh grade. After attending Dallas Community College Quintero was drawn to the nature scene of central Texas and knew San Marcos was the place to be. Once Quintero researched Texas State’s electronic media program it was deemed the ideal next step towards his career.

When Quintero arrived in San Marcos he fell in love with the city, Texas State and most importantly, the professors at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Out of every resource Texas State offers, Quintero advises students to take full advantage of creating relationships with professors.

“The professors are really good people, they’re real people. They’re just there to teach. Mass Comm professors are good at communicating and want to build relationships with you. They know their field. They know everything is changing and media is shifting,” Quintero says.

Many of Quintero’s peers tell him that he is lucky for finding something is he so passionate about and that it comes naturally. They fail to realize the amount of time and effort that has been put into perfecting his craft. “Nothing comes easy, it’s not supposed to come easy,” says Quintero. He recommends that anyone who lacks a passion should try to do something they hate and they might find the love in it.

Quintero had no idea what advertising and marketing even consisted of until he was working as a valet attendant for a building that housed a marketing agency. When he searched the name of the business, he discovered that his hobbies matched almost every service they offered. At this point, he knew he could capitalize off his skill. His mindset during school began to take an entrepreneurial approach and thought of ways he could sell what he was being taught. Quintero explained, “You got to see beyond the textbook. How can I make money off of this? How can I offer this to someone that has money?”

As graduation was approaching, Quintero and his roommate, Hector Sifuentes, were managing their new business, Intel Productions, with minor projects. He was advised by peers and professors that seeking out a position with an agency would be a safer plan. Quintero expressed that it didn’t feel right to him, he had fallen in love with free creativity and the business.

One of Intel Productions first major projects was a collaborative effort with public relations agency, APC Collective. A Jarritos commercial created by the roommates for the agency and caught the attention of APC Collective. This was the start of a beneficial relationship between the two. After the project, Quintero made sure to keep in touch with the founder of the agency. The founder pleaded with Quintero to keep Intel Productions thriving and not work for anyone else, emphasizing that he will be underpaid and they are worth more. After voicing his concern with a living wage, the founder of APC collective offered to assist Quintero and Sifuentes and officially invest in the newly rebranded Tenoch Labs.

Jarritos: Love is Super Good from Intel Productions on Vimeo.

Kevin Quintero is now living out his digital media dream and can’t exaggerate enough how great it feels. Quintero’s main piece of advice to others is to never stop doing what you love, “Just keep working hard and then one person looks at your work and says ‘damn that’s awesome,’ and that one person turns to two and so on. You just can’t stop working.”

Twitter Takeover

Last week, alum and former Fundamentals of Digital Media (FDOM) Grad Assistant Randy Estevanes took over our Twitter account. He showed us and our followers what it’s like to work at a digital marketing firm.

Coffee might wake you up, but Red Bull gives you wings!

Always remember to proofread. It helps you iron out any unnecessary errors.

The SJMC also hires interns to assist in content creation and social media marketing. Learn more about it here.

Don’t forget to check out Esd & Associates when you’re looking for fall internships!

What better way to promote Goodwill on social media then with real authentic pictures!

Randy uses canva.com for its variety of design presentations, social media graphics and thousands of layouts.

Nice collage!

How awesome is it that Esd & Associates provides healthy snacks for them? #Winning

Knowing how to schedule post is an great tool to have under your belt!

Take note student: Google Adwords is a MAJOR asset!

Thank you again, Randy, for showing us your world. Once a Bobcat, always a Bobcat! #Eat’emUp

From TXST to TV, catching up with Isamar Terrazas

Just two years after graduating from the SJMC at Texas State University, Isamar Terrazas has already paved a solid foundation for her career in broadcast journalism.

Terrazas is now working for KTLM Telemundo 40, as both the Assignments New Editor and as a Field Producer.

Isamar Terrazas holding an award

Isamar Terrazas

“I am so proud of how much this station has grown,” said Terrazas. “In the two years I have been here, we went from being the #4 station to being the #1 station.”

During her time at KTLM Telemundo 40, the station was nominated for 8 Lone Star Emmys.

“I was nominated as a producer for our hurricane special, Tras La Tormenta,” said Terrazas. “We won Overall Station Excellence, being the first station in the Rio Grande Valley to do this.”

KTLM Telemundo 40’s focus is very similar to English language markets, focusing on breaking news, weather and digital media. In particular, Terrazas worked on an investigate special, Clash at the Border, which focused on the abuses of Border Patrol agents.

Terrazas credits at least some of her success to her education from Texas State University, praising the both the faculty and the electronic media sequence.

“I feel like I learned so much from Ray Niekamp and Tim England,” said Terrazas. “Their program targets what it is like to work in a newsroom in real life.”

NPPA Advanced Storytelling Workshop

cover_ASW_0The NPPA Advanced Storytelling Workshop is a week-long event, April 3-8, held at Texas State University that brings together top professionals in the television and newspaper industry from throughout the world.

Dr. David Nolan said that he is excited for the event because it will be a full house.

“We have more than 50 professional television and newspaper photographers and reporters coming from all over the world, 10 high school students and their teachers from the Vidal M. Trevino School of Fine Arts and Communication in Laredo, Texas, my Visual Storytelling class students, and of course our award winning workshop faculty,” Nolan said.

Students will have the chance to work side by side with some of America’s best journalists, which is a unique opportunity that few institutions can offer their students.

Students who attend the workshop will develop story ideas, research, report, shoot, edit and produce two stories throughout the week.

“Every year our students come away from the workshop changed, with a better understanding of how great stories are told,” Nolan said. “Many students from previous years cite the NPPA Advanced Storytelling Workshop as the highpoint of their college experience.”

If you are interested in the workshop, visit the NPPA’s website.

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

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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:

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