Meet the Staff: Daniel Carter – Assistant professor of Digital Media

Carter_Daniel_HeadshotDaniel Carter is one of our newest faculty members in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. As an assistant professor of Digital Media, Daniel is teaching Web Design and Publishing and Online Media Design this semester.

Daniel grew up in Dickinson, Texas, which is a fairly small city about 40 miles southeast of Houston. He is excited to join a program that teaches technical skills to journalists and people entering other communication professions.

“I was also happy to have the chance to teach programming to a diverse group of students who often don’t look like the students we might expect to see in a computer science classroom, for example,” said Daniel.

“I think we’re at a point where we need smart people to think about how we’re using technology to learn about the world and to communicate with each other, and I’m looking forward to working with students to develop the skills and perspectives they need to contribute to that project.”

Daniel likes teaching students how to make things and then getting to see the creative projects they come up with.

“I think that if you really want a say in what world we live in, it’s important to be able to build. I like watching students develop the ability to create projects that express their unique perspectives and that fit their unique needs.”

Right now, Daniel is mostly looking forward to seeing the amazing websites the students in his classes will come up with. If you see Daniel around the halls of Old Main, be sure to give him a hearty welcome to the SJMC!


Meet the Staff: Shawna White

srwhite_factulty-photo.jpgShawna White is one of our newest lecturers in School of Journalism and Mass Communication here at Texas State University. Shawna is from Texas and has spent most of her adult life in San Marcos and Austin. She received my B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Mass Communication from Texas State. She has always wanted to come back to Texas State University as a faculty member, so she is very excited to finally back in class!

White says she appreciates being able to make a difference in the lives of our students.

“Nothing can top when students have those ‘light bulb’ moments, and you know you’ve gotten through,” said White.

“This is my first semester teaching here and my first semester back on a college campus in a couple of years. I’m so happy to be back in a university environment, helping students and conducting meaningful research!”

Be sure to welcome Shawna next time you see her around Old Main!


Meet the Staff: Laura Krantz – University Star Director and SJMC Faculty Member


Lecturer Laura Krantz is the new director at the University Star, the Texas State University student newspaper. Originally from Houston, Laura moved to Albuquerque as a junior in high school and later attended The University of New Mexico where she graduated with degrees in English and Journalism. She spent eight years working in media and earned her Master’s Degree in Communication from Stephen F. Austin State University. She has worked as a department chair and junior college student media adviser for 10 years.

She is excited to be part of the pivotal time in a person’s life — the college years — and encourage them to do their best work and usher them out into the “real world.” At Texas State University, Laura loves teaching MC 1313 and seeing students learn the purpose and mechanics of media writing.

Laura likes to watch students who love journalism come onto a college campus and find their “tribe.” Laura’s office at the University Star is always open for students to get advice, so be sure to meet Laura and welcome her to Texas State!

And the Award Goes to…

Each year a selection committee comprised of faculty and students comb through applications for instructors at Texas State deserving of honorary mention. One of the most prestigious awards, presented by President Trauth, is fittingly coined the ‘Presidential Award’ and can be awarded for outstanding performance in teaching, scholarship, or service.

Two of the SJMC’s very own instructors have been awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching: Senior Lecturer, Dale Blasingame, and Assistant Professor, Ms. Jennifer L. Buschhorn. These awards are among the highest honors that an instructor can receive and are meant to encourage high standards among our faculty and staff across the entire Texas State campus. Both Blasingame and Buschhorn have demonstrated superior scholastic achievement in their fields and excellence in their teaching.

President Trauth will present both honorees with their awards at the University Convocation and Annual General Faculty meeting this August. Join us in congratulating our SJMC honorees!

Gilbert Martinez reunited with Okinawa

SJMC Senior Lecturer and Assistant Director Gilbert Martinez is known by many students for his life-questioning lectures and incomparable humor. But few are aware of what Martinez has been missing for the past 21 years of his life, or to be more precise, whom.

Martinez spent his summer preparing to present research to scholars in Okinawa, Japan which happens to be the birthplace of his mother. Although traveling across the world for business, Martinez will soon find the lost puzzle piece to his ancestry.


Martinez and wife with Okinawa family.

It started at the beginning May with an invitation to the Fifth Annual Symposium on International Business and Social Science. The conference has always been in Japan but what caught Martinez’s attention was the exact city it was taking place in, Okinawa. Martinez was thrilled to finally have a perfect opportunity to reunite with his family that he hasn’t seen in 21 years. His last trip to Okinawa was with his mother and siblings in 1995; unfortunately, six months after the trip Martinez’s mother passed away. After her death, Gilbert lost all contact with his Japanese roots. “When it comes down to it, half of my life was empty for 21 years because we really just lost touch,” said Martinez. Gilbert knew the search for his family wasn’t going to be easy but with hard work and good friends he knew it was possible.

Martinez’s first thought was to contact some friends who lived in Tokyo; one personal friend and a Texas State University alumni who is a Tokyo correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. After a few online searches in Japan there were still no major leads. Martinez then went through a box of old papers and found his mother’s old address book that contained the names of his cousins and uncle. Although it seemed like a major breakthrough, the information fell short since his uncle had passed and all of his cousins were married women with new last names. The biggest clue was found by Gilbert’s sister in-law who had his mother’s old wallet. In the wallet was a card to a flower shop that his family worked at in Okinawa and is still a thriving business today. Even though the staff of the flower shop had no knowledge of Martinez’s family, they were determined to help find them. He sent a picture of his trip from 1995 to the employees with hopes that they would recognize at least one of his family members. It just so happened that one of Gilbert’s cousin Kiyomi was featured in the local paper for becoming the first female fire captain for the Okinawa City Fire Department. The flower shop employee showed up to the fire station, asked if she was the girl in the picture and it was a match! Kiyomi even expressed she had been searching for Gilbert and his siblings as well.

After spending a few days at the symposium, Gilbert was finally reunited with his family. Martinez was overjoyed to see his aunt Yoko, who was his mother’s only surviving sibling living in her 70’s. Through mannerisms, gestures and movements he saw so much of his mother in Yoko and the rest of his family. Martinez said, “My biggest take a way (from the trip) is the importance of family. Even when you lose touch, even after 21 years have passed, family is family; there is nothing like it in the world.”  Over two decades of separation and searching from both ends, Gilbert and his Japanese origins were joined once again.

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Faculty Spotlight – Vianna Davila

by Becky Larson


Vianna Davila joined Texas State in ’14 as an adjunct faculty member. She also covers Transportation for the SA Express-News.

Starting Out…

Vianna Davila, when looking at her path to a career in journalism, said, “You never know, so put yourself out there.”

A native of San Antonio, Davila studied English at Rice University in Houston as an undergraduate. Her introduction to journalism came between her junior and senior years when she got a summer job at one of the San Antonio Express-News’ community papers.

“I cold-emailed the editor at the time and said, ‘you should hire me for the summer,’” she said, laughing. “I did not know any better. I shouldn’t have had that job, but if I hadn’t got it…”

Davila worked as an editorial assistant and community reporter that summer but would return, post-graduation, to a full-time reporting position – first covering the city’s West Side and then crime.

“It was good that I had done a lot of writing,” she said when recounting the experience of becoming a reporter without a journalism background.

“That was the thing that saved me. That and very patient editors. But I’ll say this again for my students, if you can write, you can really do a lot for yourself.”

When asked why, after five years working as a reporter, she decided to get her Masters in Journalism, Davila shook her head.

“The media wasn’t nearly as crazy as it is now. But I could already see it…I wanted more skills.”

Choosing a focus in documentary film, Davila left San Antonio for California, where she would spend the next two years at UC Berkeley.

Her thesis project, a 25-minute documentary titled “In His Blood,” followed a father-son team of freelance news videographers in San Antonio. It would go on to win best documentary short at the San Antonio Film Festival.

From Beat to Beat

After returning to San Antonio, Davila moved from covering crime to transportation, where she has written extensively about San Antonio’s controversial, and recently torpedoed, streetcar project.

The area was not one that Davila had realized would be as politically charged as it was. But the transportation beat, covering, for instance, new highway exchanges and a lack of efficient mass transit downtown, often brought wealthy suburban dwellers and lower-income downtown residents into direct conflict, and was “full of adrenaline.”

The Changing Industry

Although Davila has spent the better part of the past decade at a single paper, she says the changes in the industry have been dramatic.

“When I started nobody was asking me, ‘what is your web background? What are your interactive ideas?’ Now you have to be comfortable with that.”

She adds that she still firmly believes traditional journalistic skills are necessary and that new skillsets aren’t replacing them. That instead, “it’s about weaving them together.”

When asked about the role of social media and its importance, Davila says she sees it as a form of career capital.

“Absolutely, it’s important. Whether for networking or just to be out in the community. I don’t want people to go elsewhere [for this information]. I want them to come to me. Because that is job security.”

Passing It On

This is Davila’s third semester teaching an advanced reporting class at Texas State. She credits her desire to teach as one of the reasons she pursued her Masters.

“I’m passionate about the news and [high] standards and I like imparting that to students. Even if you don’t go into journalism, you should leave as good stewards of the news. We need educated people who know what’s happening.”

Asked about her hopes for the industry’s future, Davila said, “I hope that reporting – real, thorough reporting – doesn’t get lost in the drive for online page views. And I hope there is a change to stem the tide of information fragmentation – the fact that it’s so easy to get bits and pieces of news on social media and online worries me. I think that means it’s easy to ignore, say, the news happening in Africa, or the news coming out of Congress, if you only follow publications on Twitter and Facebook that don’t care about those things.”

Strategic Opportunities for Students to Transfer to Texas State

Harry BowersOn November 24, Assistant Director Harry Bowers met with Marianne Odem, Chair of the Media Communication Department at San Antonio College (SAC), and members of her faculty. The goal of the meeting was to review changes to both schools’ institutional core and program curricula, and to review and develop strategies to maximize opportunities for two-year college students planning to transfer to Texas State. Assistant Director, Bowers was honored to be informed by SAC that the School of Journalism and Mass Communication is about the most student-centered institution that San Antonio College has worked with in assisting transfer students.

For more information about The Media Communication Department at the San Antonio College (SAC), please visit

Olga Wilson is Inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows

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Texas State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication Senior Lecturer and PR Sequence Coordinator Olga Mayoral Wilson, APR was inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows on Oct. 11 during the PRSA 2014 International Conference in Washington, DC.

The College of Fellows, founded in 1989, is a community of more than 300 senior PRSA members who have advanced the public relations profession and distinguished themselves through their experience and leadership in the public relations industry. Admission is open to public relations practitioners or educators with 20 years’ experience or more, hold the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential and have demonstrated exceptional capability and accomplishment in the practice or teaching of public relations. College of Fellows members also must exhibit personal and professional qualities that make them role models for other practitioners or educators.

The purpose of the College of Fellows is to recognize notable public relations leaders and to further the professionalism and reputation of public relations practice and education. College members provide mentoring for public relations professionals and students, support PRSA in the execution of its strategic plan specifically in the areas of advocacy and education, and create and sponsor a continuing education “Master Class” for advanced professionals each year during the PRSA International Conference.

A selection committee consisting current College of Fellows members oversees the nomination of new Fellows. The committee solicited and reviewed applications and recommended this year’s group of candidates to the 2014 Board of Directors.

“The fifteen impressive inductees of the prestigious PRSA College of Fellows each have more than two decades of exemplary public relations work and are a model of what can be achieved in our profession,” said PRSA 2014 National Chair Joe Cohen, APR. “I congratulate them onthis incredible honor and I urge students and new professionals to follow the example of this outstanding group.”

The 2014 inductees to the PRSA College of Fellows are:

Anita A. Brightman, APR, Fellow PRSA, president, A. Bright Idea, LLC
Douglas F. Cannon, Ph.D., APR+M, Fellow PRSA, assistant professor, Virginia Tech
Amy T. Coward, APR, Fellow PRSA, vice president, Palmetto Health Foundation
Sandra C. Duhe, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, associate professor and chair, Southern Methodist University
Geraldine Ann Evans, APR, Fellow PRSA, president and chief executive officer, Evans PR Group
Michele E. Ewing, APR, Fellow PRSA, associate professor, Kent State University
William A. Gay, APR, Fellow PRSA, president, Reliance Public Relations, Inc.
Laura R. Hammel, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, associate professor and program director, Ursuline College
Suzanne M. Holroyd, Ph.D., APR+M, Fellow PRSA, prevention outreach, office of sexual assault prevention and response, Department of Defense
Rose M. McKinney, APR, Fellow PRSA, founder and chief executive officer, Pineapple RM, Inc.
Christopher E. Payne, APR, Fellow PRSA, executive director of communications, Tulsa Public Schools
Robert E. Sheldon, APR, Fellow PRSA, public relations director, Creative Communications Consultants, Inc.
Brenda S. Smith, APR, Fellow PRSA, public affairs director, State Farm Insurance
Olga Mayoral Wilson, APR, Fellow PRSA, senior lecturer, Texas State University
Kelly L. Womer, APR, ABC, Fellow PRSA, vice president and partner, Linhart Public Relations

About the Public Relations Society of America
PRSA is the largest professional organization serving the U.S. public relations community. With a mission to “advance the profession and the professional,” PRSA provides news and information, thought leadership, continuing education and networking opportunities; sets standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct; and advocates for the business value of public relations and greater diversity among public relations professionals. Based in New York, PRSA comprises 112 localChapters; 14 Professional Interest Sections that focus on specific industries and practice areas; and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which is active at more than 320 colleges and universities.

Interview with Beth Clark on Mass Comm Week

Beth ClarkWe interviewed Beth Clark, a senior lecturer at Texas State, on her involvement with Mass Comm Week

Q: What is your role in preparing for Mass Comm Week?
A: I’m supervising Charlotte Singleton, the grad assistant, and we each have various responsibilities. She’s working on getting parking arrangements set up for our guest speakers. She’s also working with Bobcat Promotions on proofreading and copy editing the content they put up on the website, which consists of profiles of our guest speakers, social media and press releases. I am working with faculty on who exactly we want to bring in. We are getting in photos right now so we have progressive deadlines throughout these last several weeks, and our faculties have been providing names of speakers they want their students to hear from. So this all really started last spring. One of our centerpieces of Mass Comm Week is actually at the beginning of the week with a documentary screening of the film A Fragile Trust. Charlotte has been working on that since January. She’s been working with Alkek Library to order that film, and we do now have it. It will be shown on Monday at 6:30 pm at Alkek. The bonus is that we will have the director with us, Samantha Grant, one of the many people Cindy Royal met last year during her fellowship in California. We’re getting ready for Mass Comm Week by pulling all the pieces together, and that includes food for our guests, a little souvenir gift for them from Mass Comm Week (and that includes ordering food and beverages for our reception out at Spring Lake), reservation to the room.

Q: What would you say has been the most challenging aspect of getting Mass Comm Week together?
A: It’s just getting the speakers on the days that they are free. I think that’s the most complicated thing. Working with our schedule, the room schedule, the faculty’s desire for when they want to see speakers speak to their classes, and then of course, their own personal schedules. Our schedule is subject to change, because we are hosting reporters and editors. They may just get called out on assignment, and there is nothing we can do about it. That’s just the nature of the business that we are in. It’s a work in progress, which is good for our students to see and to realize it doesn’t all come out perfectly.

Q: What event do you think will be most beneficial for SJMC students?
A: There are so many to pick from! They really should go to the screening of A Fragile Trust. That would be at the top of my list, just to learn a hard lesson from the experience of one journalist who was a rising star at the New York Times who crashed and nearly took the paper with him. So that would be my first choice, but for overall experience, and depending on your track, we have a panel discussion that will explore how the different media covered the Fort Hood shooting from last spring. It’s a combination of professional media folks from Austin American States Man and our own campus media students. So I want our audience to hear from them what were some of the processes they went through in order to figure out how are we going to cover this, who are we going to send, where are they going to go and who are the contacts. It’s a complex process, and it’s even more complex with the aspect of social media, although that certainly feeds into the knowledge base, too. Another overall view would be (and this is not quite set in stone, yet) Media Coverage of Minorities, specifically geared toward LGBT. We have a student who attended a journalism conference related to that topic, and we are hoping to get another person who is in the profession who can speak to that topic. I think there is going to be a lot of interest in that. Beyond those three, I’d say just individual speakers who are tailored to your interests. I think there are going to be several who will just be dynamite speakers. Finally, we will have our meet and greet on Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Q: Is there any one thing that you are personally looking forward to most?
A: I am hoping that Joyce King will be here. She is an author out of Dallas. If she can be here, she will also serve as a common experience speaker. She is the author of two books. The one I am most familiar with is A Review of Hate Crime: The Story of a Dragging in Jasper, Texas. She is a journalist who was working for a broadcast station in Dallas when all of that happened, and she was sent to cover that story. It’s a very interesting story of race, bias and prejudice. She had spoken to my classes up in Denton several years ago, and it’s a very healing voice to cut across the lines.

Faculty Spotlight: Larry Carlson

By: Lindsey Holderbycarlson-bio-pic

At the peak of his dream job, a drunk driver brought this sports broadcaster’s career to a screeching halt.

Larry Carlson, SJMC Senior Lecturer, was driving home after a post-game radio interview when a drunk driver crossed the IH-35 median and hit him head-on. Along with a broken jaw, nose, ribs, and femur, his most crucial asset to his career was taken from him – one of his vocal chords had been paralyzed. After his tragic accident, Carlson was unable to speak at all for nine months, nor could he work for two years. But after three surgeries and numerous speech therapy sessions, he finally had a voice again.

Years later, Carlson returned to his journalistic calling; he was appointed as the editor and publisher for “Texas Hill Country View” and even found a way to mix his passion of traveling and sports in 2002 with a show called “Big Game Hunters” that delved into the culture and experience of the big collegiate games from the tailgates to the local eats. He and a friend pitched the idea to various networks and produced a season of episodes on ESPN2.

In the early 80s, Carlson was working in public relations for the UT San Antonio athletic department when a friend from his alma mater, Southwest Texas State, asked him if he would be willing to teach a class. Carlson immediately fell in love with teaching and picked up the first full-time teaching position that opened up in the Journalism and Mass Communication department. He has now been teaching for almost 30 years. He says his passion for teaching is the priority; however, he still manages to keep his hands in broadcasting and journalism “just for fun,” participating in coverage of Texas Longhorn football games on San Antonio’s ESPN radio affiliate station where he has also covered two of the last four national championship football games.



Larry interviews Texas QB Randy McEachern on the Longhorn Locker Room Show (KVET Radio Austin, 1977)

Carlson’s biggest influence in life was his father — a UT grad who gave Larry his orange sporting blood and brought food to the table as a petroleum engineer. He always encouraged Larry to do what he loved, and that’s exactly what Larry did. His Dad used to say, “You can do something you don’t like and make a good living, or you can do something you like and not make a damn thing.”

“Dad was semi-right; I got into things I absolutely love. You never mind going to work every day because it’s fun!” Carlson said. “I don’t see how people can get up every day for a job they absolutely hate, even if they’re making a really good living.”

Carlson’s biggest advice to his graduating students is short and sweet: get a job. He believes that every job is attainable, though it may not be easy. Carlson stresses that those who chase their dreams find it’s definitely worth it in the end because “you won’t ever have to work another day in your life.”

“Students just want to ponder forever what they want to do and never actually do it because they’re too scared,” Carlson said. “Just do it.”

On his days off, Carlson loves to read non-fiction, preferably about “the greatest American that ever lived,” George Washington. He enjoys traveling, especially anywhere with a beach, and he spends almost every other day “grilling and chilling” on his back patio in San Antonio with his wife. Carlson says he has everything he could want and wouldn’t change a thing.

Larry Carlson’s ‘Careers in Media’ MC1100 class recently took a trip to the Dell Diamond field, home of the minor league baseball team Round Rock Express, and met with announcer Mike Capps. You can find photos from their trip here.