SJMC’s 2017 Awards Ceremony

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication honored its brightest and best students at the 2017 Awards Ceremony in Old Main on Tuesday. Proud parents, family members, faculty and staff joined in celebrating the scholars’ achievements. Check out the photo slideshow below for a visual recap of the event, and learn about our outstanding student honors!

PRSSA members visit Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks’ communication teams

prssa

PRSSA members and faculty on the Texas Rangers field.

On Friday, March 24, Texas State Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) members traveled to Dallas to gain sports public relations (PR) knowledge through speaking with the Dallas Cowboys, the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Mavericks’ communication teams.

PRSSA Faculty Adviser Paul Villagran coordinated the trip to give members the opportunity to network and learn from PR professionals, with hopes to begin traveling to different places every spring semester.

“I really want to grow PRSSA and begin taking the members on trips every year,” Villagran said. “As a test-run, I could not think of a better place to go than Dallas. But I hope in the future we can maybe even do San Francisco or somewhere further.”

The group of 15 members and two faculty advisers, Villagran and Prisca Ngondo, arrived in Arlington, Texas, Thursday evening, where they stayed in a near hotel and woke up at 7 a.m.  for our first visit to the AT&T Stadium, also referred to as Jerry’s World or Cowboys Stadium.

Joe Trahan, Dallas Cowboys’ media relations and corporate communications coordinator, gave an exclusive tour of the 100,000-plus seat and 300 suite stadium. Trahan pointed out works of art that Jerry Jones’ wife, Eugenia Jones, put throughout the stadium, along with bringing the group to ground level to the VIP access area where the players run to the field. While Trahan showed off the million dollar suites and the 300-seat capacity press box, he explained how the industry is very demanding and rewarding.

“I haven’t been home for Thanksgiving or Christmas since I started 10 years ago,” Trahan said. “But, I mean I love what I do. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Trahan also said that his job is to bridge the gap between his players and the media and that the most important thing to do is to build his player’s trust. Ways that he can build their trust is reaching out to fellow sports PR professionals, such as Sarah Melton, director of communications for the Dallas Mavericks, and getting her to provide tickets to Dak Prescott, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, when he asks for five courtside Mavericks tickets the day of. Trahan also goes to mention that the network of professionals is very small and one of the many perks is free games when he travels to the Cowboys’ away games.

Next, the group traveled down the street to Global Life Park, which is home to the Texas Rangers. There they were toured the press conference room and the dugout, then spoke with the directors of marketing and advertising, PR and social media. It was a great opportunity for the members to get a well-rounded view of all sides of communications, especially since the Texas Rangers are one of the few MLB teams that do all their marketing and PR in-house.

The group agreed that it was interesting to see how the Rangers communication team handled different issues and delegated tasks. For example, director of social media Kaylan Estepp mentioned that the Rangers are on 10 social media platforms, however they give access to MLB staff to live-tweet on game days.

The last part of the trip, the group visited the Dallas Mavericks’ PR team at their office – the American Airlines Center. they met with Sarah Melton, director of communications, and two others: the communications manager Scott Tomlin and the communications coordinator Alan Rakowski. All three professionals had a few things in common:

  • They gained their most valuable experience in their universities’ sports information office
  • They were willing to move wherever the job took them
  • They worked hard to be known in the industry.
  • Their connections are what landed them a job

The PR professionals mentioned that sports PR world is a niche market, which makes networking important to get into the field.

“I was obsessed with Indiana basketball,” Melton said. “But once my former boss came to Texas and offered me this job, I could not pass it up.”

Melton also went on to say that being in sports PR, the fan in you must die.

“You’re there for work and you have to be professional,” Melton said. “Much of our job is media relations, so when one of the players have a bad game and they’re too upset to talk with the media, it is up to us to be the example and not let an emotional loss or a bad call get in the way of holding a press conference.”

The demand of 82 basketball games keep life for the communication team very busy, to the point where most days of the season they’re working from 7 a.m. until midnight; then up at work again the next morning. However, much like what Trahan said, all three of them said that it’s all worth it when you love your job.

Katie Stone, sophomore PRSSA member, has been to a few PRSSA events and said that this was by far her favorite and looks forward what other opportunities PRSSA will bring her in the future.

Story by Kristen Lavone Torrez

PRSSA Gala Photos

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PRSSA’s Gala was a hit! Over 100 people came out.

Seniors Paige Vaughn and Gregory Tate received the Mass Communication Leader of the Year awards.

Here’s to looking forward to next year!

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 http://www.alamo.edu/sac/mediacomm/.

An Internship Bound to Happen

MacKenzie Smith

McKenzie Smith

McKenzie Smith grew up in New Braunfels, Texas, where weekly trips to the local waterpark, Schlitterbahn, were her favorite activity. As a teen, she spent her summers working as a lifeguard for the park, but eventually she knew she wanted to do more for the company.

After graduating high school, she decided to pursue a degree in public relations at Texas State University. Currently, She holds an internship with the water park where she is getting hands-on experience working with press releases, social media and updating their media website, “Schlitterbahn Newsroom”.

Her passion for the company and the field she works in keeps her motivated while she strives to better herself and the company. As a consecutive dean’s list recipient, Smith prides herself on her ability to quickly learn and adapt to every situation. She describes herself as being a hard working perfectionist with a strong focus on innovation, always trying to find new ways to reach her audiences. Smith can also be described as a “people person”, someone who has the ability to strike up and hold a conversation with anybody. She can also be described as strong-willed and independent as she held a job all four years of college to pay for her education.

“She [Smith] has been a determined and hardworking addition to the team,” said Winter Prosapio
, Corporate Director of Communications at Schlitterbahn. “She’s a leader, a person you can count on to solve any problem no matter how fast a deadline may be approaching.”

With graduation in May 2014, Smith is looking to take the skills she has acquired into her future career. With a strong passion, great work ethic and a desire for greatness, McKenzie Smith will be a great asset to any company.

Hard Work, Great Ethic Pays Off

Stephanie Ortega in New York City.

Stephania Ortega in New York City.

By: Niloofar Torabi — Life can bring us challenges and hardships, but who other than Stephania Ortega is better to take on the tasks? Born on Dec. 1, 1991, in Monterrey, Mexico, Ortega worked her way from the bottom up to achieve lifelong goals, traveling all over the globe in hopes of gaining more hands-on experience. In less than one month, she will take her steady walk across the graduation stage and accept her certificate of becoming a Texas State University alum.

Soon to have her bachelor’s in public relations, Ortega always showed an interest in the communications field due to family ties. Both of her parents were involved in the advertising industry. After participating in the high school newspaper and yearbook, Ortega realized that she enjoyed writing and connecting with people, and that’s when her career possibilities were endless.

“I have experience with several internships on campus like being a PR intern and a social media contributor for the school,” said Ortega. “I also completed a digital media planning internship last summer.”

Stephanie Ortega (third from left to right) at a PRSSA Convention in San Francisco.

Stephania Ortega (third from left to right) at a PRSSA Convention in San Francisco.

Freshman year, Ortega became involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). It was a great learning experience for her where she could apply the skills she learned in class to reality. It has given her a great network of professionals along with new friends. Eventually, she moved her way to the top and was nominated president of the organization.

“Being president helped me further develop my leadership skills and taught me how to work with people with different skills and find ways to bring them together.”

Ortega was also involved with El Centro, The Center for the Study of Latino Media and Markets. Seeing it as her second home at Texas State, Ortega was able to assist first-generation students through tours and gain PR skills such as making media lists and event planning. It opened her eyes and created awareness of the Latinos on campus and sparked her interest in Hispanic marketing. However, that wasn’t enough for Ortega — she also joined the Texas State Ad Club.

Stephanie Ortega (third from left) as she assist future bobcats on a tour of Texas State University.

Stephania Ortega (third from left) as she assist future bobcats on a tour of Texas State University.

Through these organizations, she landed an internship in New York which encouraged her to pursue a career in the advertising field due to the strong multicultural community. Ortega received professional advice and eventually decided that her career interest was in strategic planning.

Ortega gained her first internship at University Marketing here at Texas State University, and then she gained another internship through the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program. Through a painstaking application process that included a video submission, essays and letters of recommendation, Ortega managed to be one of the 114 students picked from the hundreds of finalists the agencies chose for the summer program. By demonstrating her involvement in the community and revealing how she promotes diversity, Ortega slid her way into the program and began a new stage in her life.

“Within my agency I grew because I was able to prove that I could get something done in a timely manner and be there if the team needed me,” said Ortega.

“Texas State has provided me with so many opportunities to pursue a career in advertising and public relations,” said Ortega. “I wouldn’t have the network and a clear idea of what I want to pursue if it wasn’t for the organizations in the SJMC and great professors who have served as mentors throughout my time here. I was able to find my niche of Hispanic marketing and feel ready to keep furthering my skills to meet the demands of the ever-changing digital world.”

This is not the end of Ortega’s journey. She plans to gain more experience in the advertising or public relations industry for a couple years prior to attending grad school. She wishes to continue her studies in global communication or a similar program, while keeping her eyes open for bigger opportunities and study abroad programs.

Featured Student Organization: PRSSA

Texas State PRSSAOrganization Name: Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA)

Recent events: Bobcat build, Hays county CROP walk, Hill and Knowlton Workshop, Puntos De Vista

Recent projects: Bobcat build, Hays county CROP walk, Hill and Knowlton Workshop, Puntos De Vista 

Meeting times / location: Wednesday’s 5:30 PM (every other Wednesday) Flower Hall: 130

Plans for the future: PRSSA National Conference in Philadelphia, Dress for Success Fashion Show, Guest Speakers from Various different PR sectors, Student Fair Organization Participation, Philanthropic Involvement, Professional Networking and Workshops.

2013/2014 Officers:
President: Carlos Rocha
Vice President: Stephania Ortega
VP of Special Events: Allie Horton
VP of Public Relations: Chelsea Cua
VP of Membership: Sarah Sutton
Secretary: Sarah Smith
VP of Treasury: Colin Ashby

Web Resources:
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
Website

Texas State PRSSA Bateman Team wins honorable mention for ‘Be the Difference’

photo of participantsTexas State University’s 2013 PRSSA Bateman Team was one of 16 teams nationally to receive honorable mention for its anti-bullying campaign called “Be the Difference.”
Seniors Callie Hill, Rachel David, Marissa McMinn, Seth Schoolcraft and Kerri Driver comprised this year’s team. They worked closely with officials with the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District.
“The ‘Be the Difference’ campaign celebrated differences among people and tolerance,” said Chuck Kaufman, senior lecturer and faculty adviser of the Bateman team. “Thousands of people were exposed to the bullying issue through traditional and new media to a difficult, but real, local, state, national and international problem.
“The students used excellent research, including an extensive survey among students in different age brackets, and teachers, to devise an excellent public relations plan. They executed it well.”
Callie Hill, team leader, said, “Through in-school programs and displays, publications, and traditional and social book media, the campaign began an important dialogue. We have learned that the education about bullying must be ongoing as new students make their way onto the playgrounds, school hallways and, of course, online. We believe today’s students in San Marcos have an opportunity to develop a trust between themselves and people in authority — parents and teachers.”
Among the honorable mention teams in the national competition were Brigham Young University, Butler University, the University of Alabama, the University of Florida, the University of Maryland and the University of Minnesota. This year’s finalists were Kent State University, Loyola of New Orleans and North Dakota State University.
Kaufman and the team saluted Pam Guettner, director of Curriculum and Instruction PK-12 for SMCISD, for her insights into the issue and support for the campaign team’s efforts.