SJMC Study Abroad Part Four: Rome Culture

The following post is the last of a four-part series regarding the SJMC’s 2017 study abroad trip to London and Rome, contributed by graduate student, Joshua Morrison. Be sure to check out the previous three articles if you haven’t already!

In our last post about the 2017 London/Europe study abroad summer session, we talked about how this year’s students were provided the unique opportunity to explore Rome. What we haven’t yet had the opportunity to discuss are the wondrous venues for cultural exploration that the city offers.

With a history spanning over 2500 years, Rome is among the oldest inhabited places in Europe. Its history, both ancient and modern, is riddled with reasons to be excited.

The Colosseum is unlike any structure found in the United States

Among the most marvelous sites students had the chance to visit were the Colosseum and the Roman Forums. These ancient structures are unlike anything one might encounter in the United States, and, despite having seen pictures over the years, students were in awe.

“Being able to see it in person was so different!” said senior Ashley Johnson. “It was amazing.”

Senior Victor Z. Glenn was particularly excited to visit the Forums because of their proximity to Palatine Hill, a significant landmark in Roman mythology.

“It is the alleged home of the wolves that raised Remus, one of the founders of Rome,” he said.

Some students, like senior Kaley Consford, were most interested in a more modern attraction: Cinecitta, known as the Hollywood of Rome. She was, in particular, excited to get a first-hand look at film sets.

“While walking around, I truly felt like I was in a ghost town,” she said. “I would try and imagine a live movie scene happening, or even imagine if the sets were real.”

While in Italy, many students used their free day to take trips to other corners of Italy.

Cinecitta is known to many as the Hollywood of Rome

Senior Brooke Vega spent her time in a Tuscan village, soaking up traditional Italian scenery and enjoying the cuisine.

“The view was amazing from both sides of the village…fields of olive trees, vineyards and the golden grass,” she said. “We had a delicious three-course lunch at a winery.”

Denver Donchez, a senior, spent her time in Florence and was particularly taken with the adventure that comes with traveling without a guide in a foreign city.

“If you’ve never been lost in a foreign city, I would wholeheartedly recommend it,” she said. “There’s just something about being completely immersed in a foreign city that forces you to embrace uncertainty.”


SJMC Study Abroad Part Three: Rome

The following article is the third of a four-part series contributed by SJMC graduate student, Joshua Morrison. Check back tomorrow for the conclusion, or make your way down the page to see what opportunities London had to offer the students. 

With four years now under its belt, the London/Europe study abroad program through the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University has established an exciting and dynamic format.

For the past four years, the program leaders have taken students to London and a revolving door of additional locations. In past years, the program has had students travel to Cardiff, Edinburgh and Paris. This year’s secondary destination was the grand city of Rome.

By having a rotating stable of locations, the program is able to continuously make new professional contacts for the SJMC and its students. This year, students were able to visit both Il Fatto Quotidiano, a young, independent Italian newspaper, and RAI, Italy’s national broadcasting company.

For students, these visits provided a rare opportunity to see inside news organizations operating in a vastly different context than their own. Unlike the United States, Italy has only two major news outlets. Of these two outlets, one is state-owned and the other is owned by an important Italian politician.

It was thus a fascinating, and inspiring, experience for students to visit an independent news organization like Il Fatto Quotidiano, which has to struggle against the duopoly to find a place in the media market. Students were quick to praise the organization’s independent spirit.

“Stepping into the building, you knew they were something different,” said senior David Coronado. “They are the media that is free in a country with restricted media.”

Graduate student Breanna Salinas echoed Coronado’s sentiments.

“I was completely impressed with Il Fatto Quotidiano because they are fearless in what they write,” she said.

Nonetheless, the students’ visit to RAI provided a valuable perspective as well.

Joshua Morrison, a graduate student, was particularly interested in the way RAI employees conceived of their jobs.

“It was fascinating because even though RAI is state-owned, the employees were still insistent that they work for the public, not the government,” he said.

The visit to RAI also provided students with the unique opportunity to watch a live, in-studio news broadcast, and see all of the technology and preparation that goes into the broadcasting process. 

“Seeing all of the technology and watching how the news program runs behind the scenes was the best,” said graduate student Dylan Lochridge-Fletcher. “I grew up with my dad being a technical director for a local news channel, so I can appreciate all of the hard work that is put in to make a newscast happen at RAI. “

SJMC Study Abroad Part Two: London Culture

The following article is the second of a four-part series contributed by SJMC graduate student, Joshua Morrison. Stay tuned each day his week for more about the European trip or scroll down to check out yesterday’s post if you missed it!

What makes the study abroad format so unique is that the learning is decidedly not limited to the classroom or any formal setting. The unique appeal of the study abroad format is that so much of the learning comes from firsthand, unique cultural experiences.

While this year’s London/Europe study abroad team certainly enjoyed fascinating conversations with industry leaders in London, just see our last post, their experience was made complete by what the city of London itself had to offer.

Some students, like junior Lauren Frank, were most interested in London’s status as a cosmopolitan cultural hub. She said the London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel on the River Thames, gave her a breathtaking view that really drove this home.

“Watching all the massive castles and skyscrapers become smaller and smaller was humbling,” she said. “I found myself in awe of how vast and multi-cultural London really was.”

Others, like junior Lucero Ibarra, were particularly interested in the outlying, more rural areas. She used her free day to get away from the city and explore Rochester, a village with a slower pace of living.

“Surrounded by woods and lakes, I got to experience what my English friend called ‘the real England,’” she said. “Seeing the lush countryside showed me that it was worth going outside of the city to find adventure.”

The easy access to richly historical sites provided ample opportunity for cultural exploration as well. All of the students took a tour of the Tower of London and had the opportunity to see The Crown Jewels. For some, this experience was the highlight of the trip.

“The experience I had at the Tower of London was all my historical fantasies come to life,” said senior Margaret-Katherinne Fast. “A step into a time of intrigue, mystery, and royal betrayal.”

Just being in London provided students with a glimpse into a different cultural climate and way of life. Perhaps one of the most interesting things students had the opportunity to do was simply talk to people, to hear them describe their way of life. That activity certainly resonated with senior Ashley Fajardo.

“I got to sit down and talk with people from the city and see how they lived,” she said. “They made me realize that it’s okay to slow down and take the scenes in, that’s what life is all about.”

Whatever their favorite part of their time in London, students are likely to return to the states with a tiny piece of British culture. Junior Victoria Chacon, for example, fell in love with tea time.

“I hope to incorporate that in my everyday life,” she said.

SJMC Graduates Develop New LGBTQ Magazine ‘BRUNCHCLUB’

Check out this new edition: Two of Texas State’s SJMC graduates have been selected to contribute to the magazine ‘Hello Mr.’ as part of a residency called ‘The Issues.’ Ernesto Macias and Colby Anderson are 24-year-old graduates from the SJMC, now both dedicated to their creation, ‘BRUNCHCLUB’, an editorial that focuses on the quest for truth, culture, and diversity within the LGBTQ community.

The objective of ‘The Issues,’ which will feature Anderson’s and Macias’ work, is to promote and feature stories of LGBT individuals that cannot be found in mainstream media. ‘Hello Mr.’ will be in a partnership of sorts with these creators, propelling them into a larger spotlight by offering them experience, mentorship, and a vast readership. According to the publication, ‘Hello Mr.‘ is a magazine about men who date men.

According to the magazine’s Kickstarter page, “We are a collective of artists and writers that reflect the diverse perspective of the LGBTQ community. When we launched in 2012, we sought to create a platform for emerging talent and unheard voices, and add to the momentum for more inclusive representation in media.”

While Macias and Anderson are proud and excited at the opportunity of their residency, the brand they have built in New York City thus far is beyond impressive. The two note their issue will include, “poetry from the West Texan desert, a day-in-the-life account of a gender queer babe in Ohio, an exploration of the Latinx body in nature, a profile on Costa Rican model, activist, and artist Hazkel, and more.”

The two graduates are now navigating a Kickstarter campaign to gather funds for ‘The Issues’, an endeavor that will help raise awareness for the new stories and promote change within the community.

According to the Kickstarter page, “The funds raised will support the production costs of ‘BRUNCHCLUB‘ and allow it to be distributed inside the next issue of ‘Hello Mr.’ later this summer.”

Check out their campaign to learn more and help them in their mission to keep print alive! Follow their progress on their website ‘BRUNCHCLUB‘, at ‘Hello Mr.’, or any of their social platforms: Instagram and Twitter.

Featured Student: Ryan Reissig

Reissig Media began with a model Compag computer with Microsoft Paint and games. Mass Communication junior, Ryan Reissig, started capturing memories with his brother and their Polariod cameras.  Reissig Media is a product of the dynamic duo simply doing the things they love.  Last summer, Reissig Media was created after they used a drone to capture real estate footage of their cabin at the Frio River.  The duo produced a couple more real estate videos, which allowed them to upgrade and add equipment.  Reissig Media is now the proud owner of a Panasonic GH4, lighting and sound gear.  Now they have been able to produce promotional videos for RedBull, concert videos for Parker McCollum and weddings.

Q: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced having your own company?
Reissig: “The hardest thing about owning a small business is marketing yourself and finding work.  Recently, I came to the realization that if you truly love what you build your company around, the work will come as you begin to master whatever it is you love to do.  Someone who builds their company around their passion will progress far more than someone who establishes a company for the sole purpose of making money. With this mindset, I have been able to lift stress off my shoulders and focus on making more videos for pure enjoyment.  The more we create and share videos for fun, the more people notice them and send us job requests.”

Q: What advice do you have for students looking to venture out in the industry like you did?
“I will advise any individual to take a jump and follow their passion. Personally, my biggest fear is to give up on my dream and spend my life building the dreams of someone else. My brother and I have progressed more in a year than I could have ever imagined simply by truly having a love for all these components that make up Reissig Media. The more we focus on creating and the less we focus on money, the more progress we make. This mindset applies to any passion an individual possesses and I encourage you to go for it because you will forever look back and wonder what could have been.”

Q: What’s coming up next for you?
Reissig: “On a small scale, we plan on getting another camera soon with an electronic stabilizer and create a branch of Reissig Media that does primarily weddings. On a larger scale, we plan on hiring employees eventually to do work locally so my brother and I can have residual income while we travel and network in other states. I plan on getting a degree in digital innovation and meeting people in my classes to do work with.  We never focus on the setbacks and will continue to move forward. We are excited to see what the future holds for the company.”

Mobile Storytelling Students to Visit Bastrop State Park

flowers bastrop state parkTexas State School of Journalism and Mass Communication students will head to Bastrop State Park next weekend as part of a Mobile Storytelling in the Park course. Professor Dale Blasingame is teaching the course with 19 students enrolled. They’ll be spending a weekend in the park while producing social video content for Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram that Texas Parks and Wildlife can use to encourage other young people to visit Texas state parks.

Going Mobile

Students in the Mobile Storytelling in the Park course have spent the past five weeks learning how to turn stories solely using their phones. They’ll be responsible for creating social content that will 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.

“This is a different experience for the students – to find the beauty in nature that isn’t instantly observable,” Blasingame said. “This is a great park, and I’m confident it’s going to rebound. It’s an honor to have our students play a role in that rebirth.”

This is the second year for the Mobile Storytelling in the Park course. Last spring, Blasingame’s students produced video content from Garner State Park with a goal to get more young people to visit our state parks. Blasingame will also teach a version of this class over Summer 1, along with Kym Fox and her Feature Writing course, as part of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s first-ever Study in America course offering. Students will visit six state parks and three national park properties across west Texas and southern New Mexico.


Save the Date for Mass Comm Week 2016!

photo-oct-22-1-00-23-pmMass Communication Week (#mcweek) is a few days away, and the SJMC is very excited for this year’s event! The week long conference brings in a wide variety of speakers and panelists, such as Google, Dieste, Univision, and GSD&M, all of which should be of interest to our mass communication students.

In addition to guest speakers and panelists coming to our great school, a variety of workshops and hands-on sessions will be offered to the students. There will be an average of seven sessions scheduled each day. On October 26, there will be a networking etiquette workshop put on by Career Services. The goal is to prepare students for the speed networking event on Oct. 27, immediately followed by the “Network and Chill” informal reception at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday Oct. 27 for students, alumni, faculty, speakers, advisory council and special guests.

Committee Chair Emmeline Olson, said she is looking forward to the various networking and career development sessions. “What seem like basic or innate skills actually need to be learned and practiced,” said Olson. She added, “Some of the other sessions are more knowledge- or learning-based. The soft skills gained from the networking and career development events create that next step toward getting a job.”

Mass Comm Week committee member A.J Arreguin will oversee the Public Relations, Photography and Hachar teams made up of undergraduate students who are putting the entire event together. Arreguin said he is excited to see how his team members will implement their ideas for the entire event.

The full schedule is posted on the website ( Check the schedule and arrive early because space may be limited. You can follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat for the latest updates.

New DMI major approved

hand touching touch pad, social media concept

After many months of preparation and planning, the SJMC is proud to announce the Digital Media Innovation & Mass Communication major has been approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Now that it’s official, students can declare the major!

Dr. Cindy Royal, professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, led the efforts for the major. “I am pleased the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and our Texas State University System Board of Regents values this innovative, new approach to media education,” Dr. Royal said. “I am confident that this program will result in excellent career opportunities for students who receive a degree in Digital Media Innovation.”

Students who are currently majors or pre-majors in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and do not need any academic advising may declare the new major by completing this form.

Students who wish to declare the new major and need academic advising should call 512-245-1932 to make an advising appointment. During the advising appointment your major can be updated.

Media Innovation Lab Coming Soon

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication has add a new addition to the program. Starting this fall, students will be able to receive a BS in Digital Media Innovation. The Digital Media Innovation major will prepare students for any new and emerging media roles. Check out the gallery below to catch a sneak peek of the new Media Innovation Lab!


Twitter Takeover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nice collage!

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

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

Take note student: Google Adwords is a MAJOR asset!

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