Mass Comm Week 2017 is Just Around the Corner

unnamedMark your calendars for Mass Comm Week 2017!

Coming up next month, the SJMC will host its annual Mass Communication Week from Oct. 16 to 19. It’s your chance to meet a very wide range of panels and speakers from different companies and organizations that will all bring something new, different and interesting to our students.

We will invite several professionals who will talk about important and current topics as well as what it is  like to work in their specific communications / journalism fields. Students are welcome to attend the panels and sessions that most interest them and will have the opportunity to connect and network with these professionals.

Lecturer Nicole Hengst, graduate assistant Rachel Mosley and a Mass Comm Week committee of several faculty members are running Mass Comm Week this year. Rachel said she is most excited to see the impact that Mass Comm Week has on students this year.

“It’s always great to hear feedback about the event and hear the great stories of students connecting with the professionals that attend,” said Mosley.

Students can follow the event on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat for the latest updates! 

Advertisements

SJMC Study Abroad Part One: London

The following four-part series regarding the SJMC’s Study Abroad program to London and Rome was contributed by SJMC graduate student, Joshua Morrison. Check back each day this week for coverage of events that took place in Europe this June. 

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s London/Europe summer study abroad program just wrapped up its fourth annual trip, and brought back its fourth group of forever-changed students.

For this series of posts, we talked to some of those students, and we’ll be sharing the ways in which the program broadened their horizons and provided them with an experience they’ll never forget.

The trip began in London, where the program leaders, Drs. Sandhya Rao and Judy Oskam, and Mr. Harry Bowers, arranged for an impressive itinerary of visits to both media organizations and cultural sites. For this particular piece, students shared their experiences and discuss what they learned from the former.

One of the opportunities that provided students with particular excitement was getting to visit the headquarters of two leading news organizations: The Guardian and CNN London. Each visit provided a unique perspective on a vibrant and dynamic field.

As a historically print-oriented news outlet, The Guardian gave students a firsthand look at how one of the media landscape’s biggest names is adapting to the digital era. Eleni Stefanou, who is The Guardian’s head of social, discussed the organization’s efforts to engage readers through social and video content.

Stefanou’s talk provided students with the opportunity to hear from a professional about the industry changes they have been learning about in their coursework.

“It was inspiring to see how journalism is not a dying art, but a changing art,” said senior David Coronado. “The writers, editors and all of The Guardian’s employees are so dedicated to their work.”

The program’s visit to CNN London was made possible by a Texas State alum, Bharati Naik, who serves as a planning producer for the organization.

While students were thrilled to get some photographs of themselves sitting behind the CNN news desk, it was the in-depth tour that really stunned.

“Getting to see the production side of an international newsroom really gave a lot of us perspective and it was unbelievable to see it first hand,” said senior Madison Morriss.

The itinerary also included opportunities for students to learn from public relations practitioners.

Students received a half-day seminar from Weber Shandwick, a global firm who shared their varied expertise and provided a comprehensive look at all of the work that goes into successful campaigns.

“It was incredible to hear about award-winning campaigns and have each director of the different branches of the company explain their input into the end product,” said senior Chris Soliz. “Seeing how such a large company uses communication internally while creating effective communication externally in such powerful ways was such a valuable experience.”

 

 

#FeaturedWorkFriday: Madeleine Page’s Internship with Horoscope.com

Everyone has at least one person in his or her life who is gifted with the passion for daily horoscope readings. Whether they’re conveniently found online or in your favorite lifestyle magazine, most people take the readings with a grain of salt. But others take them as a way of life, following each line as closely as you would follow instructions when assembling a piece of IKEA furniture.

Next time you check out your horoscope for the week, you might be reading the works of Madeleine Page, a Digital Media Innovation undergraduate. Madeleine recently secured an internship with Horoscope.com and has been contributing to the site all summer.

Madeleine Page is an undergraduate student in the SJMC at Texas State

After finding the internship posting on Linkedin, Madeleine responded immediately with her application and resume.

“The process of securing the internship took place in December, when I had applied, and it consisted of numerous phone calls and Skype interviews. I believe I had about three phone calls, all from different people, and 2 Skype interviews,” said Madeleine.

After enduring the lengthy application process, Madeleine was informed that she had been selected to work with the company throughout the summer, performing research, writing articles, producing social media posts, and performing search engine optimization (SEO) for the company’s website, which is a fancy term for tracking keywords and ranking them to ensure traffic is being directed to the website.

“I track the website’s progress through multiple sites such as Google Analytics and SEMrush. I have also created editorial dashboards for the editors, which contains page views, unique page views, bounce rates, etc. for each article posted. Overall, I’ve gotten a taste of many different fields within the company,” said Madeleine.

Confused about some of these fancy technical terms and job descriptions? This is just one way that Madeleine has demonstrated her expertise in the field of digital media through the SJMC.

“The Texas State SJMC prepared me for my internship by teaching me how to correctly write for a company through AP Style and how to write better in general. SJMC also prepared me for the analytical tasks because of social media, multimedia, and digital media classes I took,” said Madeleine.

If nothing else, Madeleine notes that her studies at Texas State have given her the confidence and resilience to work in the highly competitive industry, alongside highly trained individuals.

“Overall, I felt prepared to go into my internship because SJMC and the wonderful professors who have guided me throughout the years in multiple ways, constantly making me a better writer and educating me on the digital media world,” said Madeleine.

Since starting with the company, working closely with other graduates of the same field, Madeleine has learned the value of education and internships firsthand. Nevertheless, Madeleine is quick to note that an internship should be selected with great consideration.

“When looking for an internship, I think it’s important to really contemplate what kind of job you would like to have in the future and pick an internship that closely resembles that job. I say this because internships really do give you a taste for the job and you are able to evaluate what work you enjoyed, and what work you despised. It gives you a better understanding of which direction you should go after graduating.”

Whether you are a zodiac skeptic or a horoscope fanatic, keep an eye on Horoscope.com and its social media platforms to see what Madeleine is working on throughout the remainder of the summer. If you have a bad fortune for a day or week, keep your chin up; the stars will soon align in your favor, just as they were for Madeleine. With a little luck and a great amount of hard work, we believe your fortune will be prosperous.

Check out some ofMadeleine’s work on these social media platforms:

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

 

 

 

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.

YouTube
Twitter
Instagram

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

No more classrooms, no more books for outdoorsy SJMC students

February was an unconventional month for SJMC students who wanted to get out of the classroom and into the “wild”.

On the first Saturday of February, senior lecturer Jon Zmikly took his Digital Tools: 360 Video & Virtual Reality course to the Meadow’s Center for Water and the Environment on the campus of Texas State University-San Marcos. This one-credit “Digital Dash” hybrid course revolved around immersive storytelling and giving students hands-on experience with virtual and augmented reality. Armed with 360 video cameras, smartphones and GoPros, students learned how to plan, shoot and edit video content for these new platforms.

“My favorite aspect of this course was the hands-on experience at Spring Lake. I am a very visual learner, so physically working with the technology allowed for me to fully grasp what I was learning in the modules,” said student Savannah Stockton. “I enjoyed the change of devices and the ability to work different parts of the story using the different technology, and I feel as if it not only expanded my professional qualities, but also my level of coolness.”

Zmikly said all 18 students enjoyed getting outside and had fun with the unconventional “classroom.”

“I was amazed at how many students were excited to get up early on a Saturday morning for class,” Zmikly said. “They also picked up quickly the nuances of filming for a 360 environment. It’s a different world than flat video, so there was a lot more to think about than just shooting one subject. I was really impressed.”

The team worked with the Meadow’s Center for Water and the Environment in celebration of the Center’s 15-year anniversary. Multimedia intern and SJMC student Dy Rios also joined the team to help provide content and act as a liaison between the class and the Center.

“I can’t tell you how much I loved working with the students at the Meadow’s Center,” said Rios.

Some of the students’ content will be published on the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment’s website at meadowscenter.txstate.edu.

Last weekend’s out-of-the-classroom experience was led by senior lecturer Dale Blasingame, with help from Kym Fox and Jon Zmikly. After spending five weeks learning how to turn stories solely using their phones, students were responsible for creating social content that chronicle the rebirth of Bastrop State Park, which suffered a devastating wildfire in 2011 and a flood last year. Signs of life are emerging at the park – including flowers and new trees, nearly 2,000,000 of which have been planted in the past five years.

Students and faculty at Bastrop State Park

“Weekends like this mean so much to me. Hearing the students talk about experiencing a park, some for the very first time, never gets old. I’m beyond excited to see the work they come up with,” said Blasingame.

The group used everything from Go Pros to smartphones to get footage and create social media-specific posts on topics from “10 Things to Do at Bastrop State Park” to “Signs of Life”. They even partnered with Texas Parks and Wildlife and “took over” the organization’s Snapchat account. During the final night of the weekend, Texas Parks and Wildlife captured a Facebook Live of the campfire and has now garnered over 23,000 views (and counting)!

 

“Obviously we’re always busy on social media, but we never actually focus on the storytelling part of it,” said student Marco Martinez.

Both of these courses are digital electives for students throughout the SJMC program, and Blasingame and Zmikly said they are proud to be bringing an out-of-doors angle to the Digital Media Innovation major, of which they are faculty.

“Dale and Jon have been particularly creative in developing these experiences for students,” said Dr. Cindy Royal, director of the school’s Media Innovation Lab. “Their work has been instrumental to the direction of our Digital Media program in encouraging students to get outside and engage people with digital tools, as opposed to using technology to avoid doing that. I appreciate the time and effort they have taken to learn new skills, develop curriculum, manage the logistics and build relationships associated with these successful experience projects.”

Blasingame’s three-credit Mobile Storytelling class began as a one-credit “Digital Dash” hybrid, and Zmikly said he hopes his 360 class can make the same evolution.

“I’m very excited students can gain hands-on experience on new tools for storytelling. It will serve them well wherever they go in the future,” said Zmikly.

Emily Sharp in D.C.

The 2017 Presidential Inauguration was one for the books. As protestors, supporters, heads-of-state and average citizens filled the Capitol building and its grounds on Jan. 20, members of the University Star joined their ranks to cover the big event. Editor-in-chief Emily Sharp attended both the presidential inauguration and the Women’s March, while also covering the Texas State Strutters’ performance for the school newspaper. Sharp sat down with us and shared her experience in Washington, D.C. and attending these historical events.

Q: How did the opportunity come about?

A: “The Friday before we left, we brought it up with our advisor and told him we would love to go but didn’t know if we had the funds for it. He told us he could make that happen and pay for it using travel funds that the University Star had. Going and covering the Strutters’ first-hand was an opportunity we didn’t want to miss. While we were sitting there talking about it, I asked if there was enough money for two people to go. I didn’t want my news editor, Bri, to go alone. It would be dangerous and with the amount of stories to cover, one person wouldn’t be enough. Within two hours they informed us that everything was being sorted out by the travel office and told us that we were going.”

march-in

Photo by Emily Sharp and Bri Watkins

Q: From a journalism and historical standpoint, how important was attending this event to you?

A: “Any inauguration, being able to go to that, for many people, is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and I don’t know if I’d be able to do that again. That alone was a lot but also the Women’s March, which itself is probably going to be in history books. It was just another thing that I couldn’t believe I got to be a part of. As far as the Strutters’ performance, the university needed to cover something as big as that.”

Q: How do you feel about the backlash received from Texas State students about the stutters performing?

A: “I understand that some people are going to be unhappy about it. I think regardless of the election results people would still be upset that the Strutters attending. Regardless of that, they [the Strutters] get to add to their list of performances that they got to do. They’ve performed in China, they’ve performed at past presidential inaugurations, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was a great opportunity for those girls to experience performing on a stage that large.”

womens

Photo by: Emily Sharp and Bri Watkins

Q: What were some main takeaways from attending the inauguration?

A: “Security was ridiculous. I have never seen anything like that up close. The biggest thing I noticed during the inauguration was the split in the people. Whoever went up and spoke had a huge crowd reaction. There were never only polite claps for whoever was up there. Both from the protesters nearby and the people attending the inauguration, there was noise. It was crazy to see the divide so clearly and see all the different types of people. We see a little bit of that on campus, but it’s different to see it on a national scale of people from all around the world.”

Q: What was the Women’s March like?

A: “I noticed the contrast between the people the most. Both [the inauguration and Women’s March] had amazing people and both had not-so-great people. I was so surprised how peaceful the Women’s March was, especially with the slightly violent protest the day before. We expected to see Trump supporters in the streets, but we didn’t see any of that. If we did see someone wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, nobody was calling them out. It was all very peaceful and I think that was the best way to get their message across. It was huge! It sounded like when you get concessions at a game and you hear the roar of the crowd — that’s what it sounded like throughout the whole city. We were 30 minutes away, walking to our hotel, and you could still hear the roar. It was crazy to see, and the thing I remember the most is seeing the wide variety of ages, types, color — everybody that you could think of to be represented was there. It was something I feel like I’m going to remember for my whole life. Talking to people from both sides really humanized it for me.”

Q: Was there anything that took you by surprise?

A: “The participating peacefully took me by surprise. The amount of security took me by surprise. A lot of people up there [Washington, D.C.] were saying that they’ve never seen that amount of security before. That was interesting to see, I expected to see security but not that amount of security. You felt fenced in everywhere you went, like at any moment you could be trapped in an area. Gates and fences everywhere. They also changed the parade route last minute, so that was a huge surprise. Luckily, we were still able to catch the Strutters. Another thing that took me by surprise was the attendance at the inauguration. The sections were not filled up at all. I was expecting there to be a lot more protesters as well as supporters.”

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say about your trip as a whole?

A: “I’m really thankful that we got the chance to go. just to be able to record the Strutters’ performance. That has gotten so much attention, there have been people who reached out to us and thanked us for covering it. It was a crazy trip with little sleep but it was so worth it to get these historical aspects and bring them back to Texas State with our coverage on it. There were people from all over following it because we were one of the many news sources covering it. I think if people can, they should attend celebrations of different points of view because that’s the only way to grow and understand. That’s why I do what I do.”

Featured Student: Sara Shields

11205507_1094288760588668_4648911632773368105_nWith a love for drones, web design and technology, Digital Media graduate student Sara Shields is constantly looking for new, innovative ways to tell a story. That’s what led her to her newest endeavor: graduation video “e-nouncements.” As she works hard in earning her master’s degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Shields shared with us what led to her passion for these new media projects and how she hopes to use them for her future.

Q: What is the “senior graduation” video about?

Sara: I just recently made a “senior graduation” video (shown below).
While I was doing a friend’s senior portraits, I also captured candid moments during our photo session through a video format.

Q: Why did you make the video?

Sara: I’ve always tried to find interesting or creative ways to visually tell a story. For a few years, I’ve been doing senior portraits and designing graduation announcements for college seniors. One day I was trying to think of new creative ways to announce a college graduation, when all of a sudden the video idea hit me: “E-nnouncements.” Rather than announce a senior’s graduation through printed images or invitations, why not “e-nnounce” it online through a video? Since my main passion is videography, I decided this would be a perfect opportunity to try something new and different on a digital platform.

Q: What would you like to do once you graduate?

Sara: Once I graduate, I hope to find a job doing videography or web design, as these are two of my passions.  


Sara received her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations at Texas State University, and now she teaches two Web Design and Publishing courses in the mass communication program and loves the challenges and opportunities in web design. Great job, Sara! If you would like a graduation video made by Sara, check out her contact information and website below!

Email: saramshields@gmail.com
Website: www.sara-shields.com

Going with the Current: A Google News Lab Workshop

kakaotalk_photo_2016-10-26-18-06-37

Nick Whitaker, Media Outreach Manager at Google, spoke about strategies, trends and directions in data and information and tools that Google News Lab uses to help journalists and entrepreneurs change the future of media by organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful during 2016 Mass Comm Week.

“This is a unique moment in the history of news,” Whitaker said as he opened the Wednesday afternoon session of Mass Comm Week on October 27, 2016. “There are a lot of labs popping up and people are trying new things. Industries are realizing that we should not place in one place forever. It should be adapting and changing.”

Whitaker spoke about Google News Lab’s effort to empower innovation at the intersection of media and technology by sharing his experiences of collaborating with journalists and entrepreneurs to build the future of media with Google. While there are millions of ways of storytelling and understanding the information,Whitaker said “we do this in three ways: training and development, trends, and programs.”

Whitaker also spoke about the importance of VR Journalism that virtual reality is a totally new medium of telling stories. “Interfaces are changing the way we see things. We need to come out from a comfort zone,” said Whitaker. “We need to change the mindset about anxiety into excitement about experimenting with technologies.”

Whitaker emphasized that visual striking storytelling is flourishing like never before and encouraged journalism students with new opportunities for innovation in journalism.

You can follow Nick Whitaker on Twitter at @googlenewslab. For more information about Google News Lab, visit the website g.co/newslab. 

News Engagement Day success!

Despite the disheartening statistics behind Millennials and their involvement with current news, Dr. Kelly Kaufhold spent News Engagement Day (Tuesday, Oct. 4) proving otherwise. Once again, Kaufhold did an amazing job last week engaging students in the best way possible. A “Cash Cab” style questionnaire and fantastic incentives kept the students crossing the front of LBJ Student Center curious. Kaufhold was able to draw in many students enthusiastic to prove their knowledge on current events. Even though some of Kaufhold’s questions left participants scratching their heads, he accumulated large crowds with correct answers! A perfect mix of pop culture and politics revealed that these students are far from letting statistics determine their standards of news involvement.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.