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! 

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SJMC Students and Faculty Represent Texas State University SPJ Chapter at Excellence in Journalism 2017

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Triston Giesie (left) and Jakob Rodriguez (right) with Senior White House Correspondent for CNN Jim Acosta at EIJ 2017

Professor Kym Fox and two SJMC students attended Excellence in Journalism 2017, the national conference of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA), in Anaheim, California this month.

“Students get the chance to meet with not only other university students but also professionals who have more than 20 years of work experience,” said Fox. “Getting exposed to high profile journalists help students learn from the pros and shape their career.”

This year, SJMC students Triston Giesie and Jakob Rodriguez attended a session called “Work in Progress: Pressing the President” with Jim Acosta, CNN; Christina Bellantoni, Los Angeles Times; Adrian Carrasquillo, Buzzfeed news; Jeff Pegues, CBS News; Margaret Talev, Bloomberg; and Kyle Pope, Columbia Journalism Review.

Triston Giesie

Currently a junior in public relations, Triston Giesie thinks that from meeting media icons to his current peers and future coworkers at EIJ 2017 helped him set future.

“The conference, to me, seemed to open my eyes and connect me to the mainstream journalism network,” said Giesie. “Now that I have attended it, I feel exponentially more confident in my ability to gain a job after graduation—or even an internship before that.”

Jakob Rodriguez

Jakob Rodriguez said he had a great time taking school trips and representing the university.

I loved being able to represent Texas State at the National SPJ conference,” said Rodriguez. “A Personal highlight is stepping up and speaking on the floor in favor of a proposed bylaw change.” 

SJMC student Jay Martinez and his band ‘Across the Atlantic’ signs record deal

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It’s not uncommon to apply for graduate school to buy some time while figuring out how to navigate the career market, figuring out where you fit in. It is, however, rather uncommon that a masters graduate and his band of over five years ends up signing a deal with a record label just weeks after the spring commencement. That’s now; let’s back up to when things started.

Jay Martinez had just graduated high school and enrolled in the University of Texas at San Antonio when he realized that he needed a social group, a small network to enjoy while he wasn’t studying for his, at the time, undeclared major. So, he did what any sane person with a laptop seeking friends would do: posted an add on Craigslist. And as they say in the business, the rest is history.

Well, not quite that easy. Jay said he just wanted some people to hang out with.

“I posted a craigslist ad to see if anyone wanted to come over and play, and that was an adventure on its own. We pieced it together from there. None of us ever imagined this would be a career pursuit,” said Jay.

After sifting through the odd, scary, and off-putting responses, Jay secured 4 friends to play music with him to pass the time, and just like that the band had a name, Across the Atlantic, and his social endeavor transformed into a way of life. Eventually.

Jason Lugo (Guitar), Julio Bautista (Guitar), Jayy Garza (Bass). and Cody Cook (Drums) would meet up and play regularly at Jay’s (vocals) parent’s house, slowly realizing that the group they had formed may be more than a casual jam session to pass the time. Eventually, the band realized that not knowing each other and recording with a group of strangers was a blessing in disguise, creating the authentic and diverse sound that they produce today. So, the band agreed their music would become their top priority over friends, school, and even relationships.

“It took such a toll on all of us, but we all had a common goal to make the band everything we knew it could be. We were quite messy in the beginning, but it ended up working for us,” said Jay.

Starting Out

The band managed to release two albums on their own, scraping by financially and working day and night to promote their music for any sort of return on their investment. But the albums did not make money and would not see a profit for a long time. Even so, Jay and the band continued to write, produce, and tour by using their own dollar and own expertise. Luckily, Jay’s education proved most helpful.

After happening into his communication studies major in his undergrad, Jay realized his passion for communication with an audience, through spoken word, song, or otherwise.

“I took my first public speaking course and that was a game changer for me. I was always very shy when speaking, but I learned that speaking could be a performance. The more I did speeches, the more I was charismatic in my performance, “ said Jay.

Learning Lessons

And Jay never stopped performing, both on and off stage. His time in the SJMC at Texas State the past two years taught him a valuable lesson- never underestimate your own power to market yourself.

“People aren’t going to go spend money on a concert for a band they have never heard of, so we had to sell ourselves. What I learned in class was how important your image is, how important content is, and how important engagement with your audience is. These aren’t practical skills for most, and I learned this firsthand,” said Jay.

After learning that starting a band is not as easy as writing songs and making good music, Jay applied some of his practical skills from the classroom. His class with Dr. Judy Oskam, Creative Problem-Solving, proved to him that there is always a way to navigate an issue.

“I had always heard about how great Dr. Oskam was, but I hadn’t had a class with her yet. So I signed up and ended up learning that there is no problem too large. Dr. Oskam’s help and feedback were amazing,” said Jay.

Getting To Work

Jay’s education and the band’s drive to succeed kept them above water for five years, but things began to take a turn as Jay began his last month of his graduate program. He began to feel the pressure of the financial constraints and began to compare himself to everyone else in his life who had their lives together, a family, kids. So he turned to his friends and family for sage advice, and the result was not what he anticipated.

“The people I went to suggested putting everything (the band) to the side and focusing more on my ‘career’- that was my fire. At that moment, I wanted to prove everybody wrong and that was the inspiration for this album. It’s not that they wanted to hurt me, they believed in me and wanted the best for me and everything they said was true. This is what provoked me to continue,” said Jay.

And so, he wrote. He worked with his music and lyrics in a way that he had never before.

“I went in thinking this is the last bit of music that I may produce. Writing this album was the first time that I wrote with no inhibitions, and just so much ambition. I put everything out there. I wanted to be at peace if this was it. And that sort of mentality drove me to a place where I found complete freedom in writing,” said Jay.

He and the band, who he had not yet told about his reservations to continue with the band, started recording their most recent album in the spring. Knowing that this album may be the last he worked on, Jay felt conflicted. After they recorded the music and were mixing the tape, he let the band know that this may be his last go.

“It took everybody by a huge surprise. We were still in the studio mixing and things were tense for the next two days. No one knew what the future held for the band,” said Jay.

But just as unexpected as successfully piecing together a band from a Craigslist ad, things took a dramatic turn two days later as they sat in their hotel lobby at a quiet breakfast.

The Deal

“My phone rang and the caller ID said ‘Germany’ which I had never seen before. On the other end, a person with broken English began to speak, introducing themselves as a person from Sharp Tone Records…they offered us a record deal! It was so unexpected. We are just so thankful for our producer, who gave us the guidance and advice of how to maneuver ourselves through the ranks,” said Jay.

As you may have guessed, the band accepted the deal and Jay’s decision was confirmed- the show must go on. This summer the band began preparing for their first international tour ever, leaving for Europe in September, where they will debut songs from their most recent album, Works of Progress.

“These songs are so much more emotional than our last albums. Our albums are just so diverse. You can find metal, acoustic, and pop, and everybody defines us differently. It gives us so much freedom knowing that I am not boxed in by any constraints. As long as it sounds good, everything goes,” said Jay.

The band is excited to debut themselves alongside their new label abroad, which Jay says is a suitable start to a new beginning.

“This band was established on the foundation of diversity. It was hard at first to take other influences into our music at first, but different views have made our music what it is today. Across the Atlantic is the embodiment of being open to different people and different backgrounds. I think music is one of the things in life that can be considered as universal, regardless of religion, who you are, where you live,” said Jay.

Works of Progress

Works of Progress, a fitting title to describe their journey and progress, debuts on Labor Day and is available on the Across the Atlantic’s website, Sharp Tone Records site, and on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Spotify for streaming. Three singles have already been released for your listening pleasure. The band is also presenting a free show to give back to the community that has supported them for over five years: San Antonio and surrounding areas. The concert is on August 18th, starting at 7:00 pm at The Korova in San Antonio. The band is expected to take the stage around 9:30 pm.

The band will be selling their new album at The Korova and it is available for preorder today. Check it out on any of the services mentioned above.

Perhaps in the future, Jay will pursue his Ph.D. to give back to the world of academia, but for now, it’s full steam ahead for the band.

“I eventually want to focus on leaving my imprint on the media market by teaching so that I can be on both sides of the industry. But I am listening to my heart right now and that is what I want to inspire people to do. Don’t ever give up on your passion, just learn to trust your heart and emotions to lead you in the right direction,” said Jay.

It is this passion and drive to start the band that fuels each member today. Follow Jay and the band on their social platforms and Jay’s blog to see what they are up to next. If the past is any indicator of the future, we know it will be an amazing journey to follow.

Facebook                          Twitter                          Instagram

Check out their music video and PSA against domestic violence: “Sundress Funeral”

#FeaturedWorkFriday: Jennings, Tribbey, Mumbach’s, and Markham’s Storify Submissions

Students in Editing for Clear Communication, instructed by Elizabeth Clark, submitted impressive content for their final projects. Students used Storify, a social networking site that gives the user the ability to create visually appealing stories through other platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to complete their assignment chronicling the evolution of mass media. Their topics relate to a print publication each student chose to examine, tracking changes in ownership, content, and design, as well as technological advances that occurred across a 20-year time span.

These stories offer an appealing display of how media is ever-changing on a medium that is continuing to evolve the journey of storytelling. Below are the title and links. Check them out!

 

Rolling Stone magazine names greatest concerts from 2011-2016

By Skyler Jennings

 

 

 

Summary Review of the News in Crisis, by Wired

By Taylor Tribbey

 

 

 

 

National Geographic: Pictures worth a thousand words

By Ali Mumbach

 

 

 

 

Traveling with National Geographic

By Caroline Markham

 

#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

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

 

 

 

#FeaturedWorkFriday: Pablo Mejia

SJMC undergraduate Pablo Mejia contributed this excellent piece for his final project in Photojournalism course instructed by Anna Mazurek. Mejia showcases the artistic talents of “The Man in the Mirror,” Texas State University bus driver, Kim Gardner. 

Texas State University students fill the maroon bus from both sides. It’s 7:30 A.M. as bus driver Kim Garner, greets the students that slowly drag themselves to fill the seats. The door closes and the braking system makes a loud, “TSST” sound. Garner looks back in his rear-view mirror making sure the students are prepared for the morning commute to school. He takes a quick look over his shoulder and swiftly turns the wheel, making a left onto Aquarena Springs Drive. The chatter from the radio fills the air as the students pull out their phones and check their social media. Garner pulls up to the intersection, waits for the light to turn green and waves at the other Texas State bus driver across the road. He drops the students off at the Undergraduate Academic Center and completes Route 20.

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Kim Garner is 63 years old. He is from Nordic descent and has green, hazy eyes. His blonde hair falls just short of covering his brows. With a full goatee, it’s hard to tell his age. He grew up in Laguna Beach, California with his dad, his stepbrother Stephan and his stepmother. Growing up on the west coast, Garner attended three different high schools. During his senior year, he attended a journalism class in which his teacher recommended he drop the class. She stated that ‘a jock’ would not be able to pass her class. The teacher teased Garner, giving him the task of writing his own novel during the semester. She was surprised when Garner presented her with an outline to a story. For the past 25 years, his paintings have been flections from the novel he first wrote in high school.

“Working through discouragement is really interesting. You could be a very talented person, in any human endeavor. It could be anything, a doctor, an engineer, but you won’t ever obtain anything if you give up.” Garner said as he looked dead ahead, his gaze fixed on the traffic.

Garner sets up his up his latest painting in the living room of his studio apartment. The historic house is split up into individual apartments. Garner and his wife share their home with their two dogs.

Garner empties out a box full of acrylic paint onto the floor. He shifts towards a rectangular paint tray, squirts out a good amount of red and blue and gets to work. Garner’s work is always of substantial size. The stretched canvas he has propped up comes up to his chest. Every so often he takes a step back, paint brush in his mouth, and looks hard at the painting.

“This has been the past 12 years of my life” Garner said. The woman in Garner’s painting is wearing a red dress with a raven perched sternly on her shoulder. For about five years he had painted “Magdalena” without face. He wanted the character to have an original face, something thatcould be uniquely his.

“It has taken me two years to finish out a painting, you can’t rush it. There are moments when your painting is taking on its own voice.” Garner said. “You must have something that’s you, it could be music or anything else. They must look at your work and say that’s a Kim Garner.”

Garner stores some of his painting in a storage unit on the outskirts of San Marcos. He slides the metal green door up and one by one, takes out several large-scale canvases. The paintings are filled with brushstrokes made in vibrant, primary colors. The narrow hallway is filled with

Garner’s last 25 years of work. Garner’s paintings reflect his environment. In his series about a Hispanic woman, “Raquel” is pictured with boots and a cowboy hat. She wears a bandolier and has plenty of guns. In one painting, she is pictured sitting down, holding onto her rifle and large knife with a bottle of liquor nearby. As a painter, Garner has the creative freedom to paint anything he wants. His horses are orange and blue and the mountains are a vivid purple. The clouds he paints are arranged in oddly trademarked shapes.

“As a painter, I can get away with stuff.” Garner said. “I could give this painting to my son who works with troubled children, he could show it to his kids and they could give it a completely different idea that I had.”
Garner remains contemplative as he slows the bus to a halt, flinging open the doors to release the students to their perspective stops. He patiently waits for some students running towards the bus as he returns his glance to the reflection of the rear-view mirror. He glimpses up at the exiting passengers and offers a kindly grin.

“I try to make even just small exchanges over time, you get to know the kids.” Garner said. “Those small exchanges make you who you are.”

“I’m a believer in the word reflection, you must take time to reflect on the things you are doing in order to make the next creative decision.” Garner said. “If you are going to make the world a better place, you must start with yourself.” Garner says good bye to the last remaining students as they empty the bus. He keeps his cool as other drivers speed around him in their commute home.

“Today I could meet someone that is going to completely change my life and I wouldn’t even know it. Life is that unpredictable.” Garner said.

“You have to be aware that who you are and how you act is going to impact who you’re going to meet. If I’m unapproachable then how [will] a person that is going to change your life ever meet you?” Garner looks forward with an open mind about the people he encounters and the experiences that may shape his future paintings. The day winds down as he completes Route 12.

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!

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Featured Work Friday: Kambiz Shabankare

The SJMC’s own photojournalism course instructed by Anna Mazurek has produced some remarkable content! Photojournalism student, Kambiz Shabankare, created this incredible feature story on the Battleship Texas BB-35 and San Jacinto Historic Site volunteer, Charles Smith. Check out his photos and story below!

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Charles Smith: Fighting on Behalf of the History

Charles Smith, while carrying two boxes, walked toward a bench near the Texas Capitol building in Austin, Texas. The bench has been his spot every Saturday for the last four years. Smith opened the boxes one by one. He took out, from the first one, a model of the Battleship Texas BB-35 made of wood and from the other one several books and some DVDs. He placed each of them on the bench in an exact order, like every single object owned a particular area.

“I don’t want to be so close to the Capitol,” Smith said while placing the objects, “I don’t want to disturb the visitors who come to see the building, but this spot is perfect.” His spot is neither too close nor too far. Smith usually stands next to this bench, approaches visitors who are passing by and shares his knowledge of the battleship with them.

“It started 30 years ago. That was the first time I saw the battleship,” Smith said. He was 24 when saw the Battleship Texas BB-35 for the first time. On Aug. 31, 1983, the battleship transferred to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and was placed in Todd Shipyard in Galveston, Texas.

“She fought both first and second world wars,” Smith said, “I had read about her since I was a child, but it’s different when you are touching her beautiful body and walking on her deck.” The first meeting turned into a life changing event for Smith.

On April 30, 1948, few years after the end of the second world war, the battleship retired and became the first battleship, in the U.S history, presented as a memorial museum. The days of retirements seemed to be easy at the beginning. People remembered the battleship and her remarkable achievements during the war. The battleship’s presence in several battles like Iwo Jima and Battle of Cherbourg was not something that the Americans could easily forget. However, as time passed her heroic actions turned into the distant and forgotten memories. In 1956, she was commissioned as the flagship of the Texas Navy and was transferred to the Battleship Texas Commission, where her bravery turned into a nightmare.

“I am wondering if they hated her so much, they left her to die,” Smith said while his eyes were filled with a spark of anger. The commission’s negligent act against the battleship resulted in cracks and gaps in coated surfaces, water intrusion and steel deterioration.

“They knowingly destroyed her,” Smith continues, “they could have done some proper maintenance, but instead they used improper colors and materials. On one occasion, they painted the wall on the captain’s cabin and destroyed a historical world map on the wall.”

“I paid 20 dollars every week for the past two months, now I have it,” Charles Smith said while opening the box of the Wonder Woman action figure. The Comic Relief is one of few places that Smith spends time outside of his job and his passion for the battleship.

Finally, in 1983, Texas State Legislature decided to step in and assigned the battleship to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), and by Aug. 31, 1983, TPWD had the sole guardianship of the Battleship Texas BB-35. “It was a happy day,” Smith said, “She was, finally, going to be with the people who cared about her.” TPWD hired some engineers to repair the battleship. The maintenance took five years. In 1988, the Battleship Texas BB-35 began her final journey to Houston. “The problem was people could not accurately remember her anymore,” Smith alleged, “Somebody had to do something, I mean I had to do something.”

Smith always has been a lonely boy. His childhood memories are filled with being bullied by his brother and by his classmates. “I didn’t have a real friend. I was mostly hanging out with my brother’s friends. They were way older than me,” Smith said. In high school, he fell in love with history. “I was alone during the breaks, so I would go somewhere and read a historical book.” Smith added, “there was no one to protect me, not even my parents.”

Lack of protection and absence of a savior has always been Smith’s concern. Therefore, from Smith’s perspective, the Texas Commission’s negligent is comparable to what he experienced as a little boy.

In 1996, Smith, who was working in Austin mostly in seasonal jobs decided to move back to San Marcos, where he was born and grow up. “I ran away from Austin,” Smith continued while laughing, “My sister-in-law was tried to hook me up with some of her friends. I need my freedom.” He already owned a trailer, so it was a total freedom comparing to his experience of living with his married brother. He was free after all and more isolated this time.

Before moving back to San Marcos Smith realized that reintroducing the story of the Battleship Texas BB-35 to Texans has become the only mission he desired to focus on. “They don’t teach the real history in universities,” Smith emphasized, “She represents some of the most crucial events in the history of the world.” Smith’s first presentation, at the Wake the Dead Coffee House, was a total disaster. “I had my video books and my model of the battleship ready,” Smith said, “there were only a few people and I knew all of them.” After showing the video, when people started to ask questions, Smith suddenly froze. “At that moment I understood, love is not always enough,” Smith smiled and continued, “love without knowledge is incomplete.”

Charles Smith lives in an old trailer in Martindale, Texas near San Marcos. “I have everything I need,” Smith said. Alongside his passion for the battleship and a job that pays his bills, Smith feels there is nothing more he can wish for. “I don’t have a girlfriend or wife and my trailer is big enough for my books,” Smith said.

Smith spent the next two years learning every detail about the Battleship Texas BB-35, WWII, WWI and the history of America’s naval battles from 1914 to 1950. In 2010, He did his second presentation this time at the Grin’s Restaurant. “30 people were staring at me,” Smith said. Two years chasing and collecting the knowledge had paid off. “I was on fire,” Smith added, “there was no question that I couldn’t answer.”

On April 22, 2017, Smith has become an official volunteer at TPWD to represent the Battleship Texas BB-35. “No one is paying me to do it, but still is an honor,” Smith said while was collecting his belongings and putting them back into the boxes. Then he walked toward the horizon and disappeared like a lonely cowboy.