SJMC Students Go Mobile at Garner State Park

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SJMC students prepare for one final hike at Garner State Park. Photo by Sasha Kodet

By Dale Blasingame

A group of 16 School of Journalism and Mass Communication students spent the weekend of Feb. 27-28 outdoors – in the name of mobile storytelling.

The students were part of the first-ever Mobile Storytelling in the Park course, taught by Dale Blasingame in coordination with Texas Parks and Wildlife. The class, which was part of the SJMC short course series, featured two weeks of online learning about how to shoot professional-quality photos and videos on your phone – everything from shot composition, camera apps, editing apps and storytelling techniques. The students then traveled to Garner State Park to put those ideas to the test. They were responsible for four video projects while in the park, all with the goal of getting more college-aged students to visit state parks across Texas.

“It got me out of my comfort zone,” said Abby Watson, an advertising senior. “I feel like in class, you just sit there and might get a little bored. But with this, you’re constantly going.”

Faculty members Kym Fox and Jon Zmikly, along with Ky Harkey, Tyler Priest, Sasha Kodet and Whitney Bishop from Texas Parks and Wildlife, assisted with the course.

Zmikly helped lead a drone demonstration with DJI Phantom Quadcopters 2 and 3 and contributed to the official Texas State University’s Snapchat (txstateu) during the weekend workshop.

“I loved getting outside and helping students with their projects. Their stories were really creative, and I could tell they had a lot of fun. These are the kinds of experiences students don’t get in the classroom,” said Zmikly.

Students used GoPros, HD mini-cameras, smartphones, mini-tripods and lapel mics to cover and capture the weekend experience, and they also gained experience with drones and 360 cameras. Footage was then edited and uploaded to various social media sites, and mobile hotspots were used when service wasn’t available. One creative project is their 360 video of the sunset over Mount Baldy where you can see the Frio river to the east (as the below video plays, click and drag your mouse for different views).

On Saturday evening, Texas Parks and Wildlife photographers led a session on night photography where students learned about aperture settings, shutter speeds and different ISO options.

The students are currently working in teams on different mini-documentary projects that will be used by Texas Parks and Wildlife. They’ve already submitted individual video projects on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook.

To see their work, search the #txstgarner hashtag across the different social networks.

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SJMC student wins regional award for thesis

Sergio Carvajal-Leoni in a suit

Sergio Carvajal-Leoni. Photo from http://www.italchannel.tv

As a SJMC graduate student, Venezuelan-born Sergio Carvajal-Leoni, won a campus-wide award for his thesis, the Graduate College’s Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award in Digital Scholarship.

Now he has won again, at the highest level, the regional level, where he is receiving the Digital Scholarship award from the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools. His award, a plaque and $1000 honorarium, will be presented at the CSGS Awards Luncheon at the Omni Charlotte Hotel in Charlotte, NC on Friday, Feb. 19, 2016 at 11:30 a.m., and he attributes some of his success to his time at Texas State.

“The stuff I did in San Marcos, was the best decision of my life,” he told me. “I’ve decided to finish up with a PhD.”

Carvajal-Leoni called his research project the Intercultural Transmedia Approach to Learning, or ITAL.

“I’ve been working on models of community building media,” he said. “Any group of people who share an interest.”

By founding ITAL, he was able to focus on applying Communication Infrastructure Theory while creating a hyper-local documentary series called the Texan Italian Stories.

The key research concept behind the series, was how creating media could bring together the Italian niche community in Central Texas.

He attributed his success to both the freedom and guidance his thesis supervisor, Dr. Sandy Rao, provided him.

Carvajal-Leoni also thanked two Texas State University researchers on his thesis committee, Dr. Federico Subervi and Dr. Moira DiMauro.

ITAL partner, Romina Olson

Romina Olson. Photo from http://www.italchannel.tv

“Texas State played a crucial role in that journey,” Carvajal-Leoni told me. “This award is like, a validation, that this was the right journey to take.”

Despite being the lead researcher, writer, editor and director, Carvajal-Leoni was very modest about his achievement. He praised his ITAL partner, Romina Olson, as well as two USC researchers Dr. Sandra Ball-Rokeach and Dr. Henry Jenkins that played an instrumental role in the project.

If there’s one thing Carvajal-Leoni made clear, he loves Texas.

“I’ve been living in Austin since ’99,” he said. “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could.”

Trisha Espinoza joined us for Mass Comm Week

Trisha Espinoza remembers the time she sold everything and went into debt.

She had one goal in mind—to be a leader in the communication industry. After all, as she put it, Espinoza did not want to put in all this hard work and sit behind a desk.

Espinoza obviously reached her goal relating her journey to communication students Oct. 19 as a during a question and answer session in conjunction with Mass Communication Week.

Upon graduation, Espinoza started her career at News 8 Austin before joining Viacom as an intern with MTV’s development team in 2002. She spent seven years with MTV and MTV2 before becoming Director of Programming.

TrishaEspinoza joined NBC Universal in 2010 where she was the vice president of programming for Oxygen Media. She returned to Viacom in 2014 and is now the current Vice President of Program Scheduling for BET.

Espinoza turned to Texas State University to accomplish her goal. She was 25 years old at the time and was eager to get started.

“I remember sitting in Dr. (Laurie) Fluker’s office and crying to her saying I was so old and wasted so much time,” Espinoza said. “In reality I was right where I needed to be but that was just my sense of urgency, I wanted to do all I could to get ahead.”

Espinoza spent her session discussing all the stepping-stones it takes for people to work their way up in the industry. She talked about the importance of internships and perfecting a resume and networking

“I was shocked when she told us how many resumes she sent out,” said Tayler Chambless, Mass communication student. “She said she sent out 200 resumes and only got six internships from it, I admire her dedication and the drive she had to never give up.”

While attending Texas State, Espinoza worked at KTSW radio. She graduated at the top of her class and has left an impression on former faculty members.

“She searched for awhile,” said Tim England, Mass Communication associate professor. “People can relate to her because everyone struggles, but she found a path and continues to work her way through this profession.”

Throughout Espinoza’s discussion, she spoke of her failures and successes. She told students the media industry is for passionate and dedicated individuals.

“Never stop learning,” Espinoza said. “Always be grateful for where you are in life but strive to go further. I am thankful for where I have been and I am excited to see where I will go because we are never finished growing.”

By Molly Dodge

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/.

A Tragedy in West, TX Affects a Texas State Student

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Kayla Urbanovsky in front of Old Main

By: Olivia Garcia — Kayla Urbanovsky scrolled through her Facebook feed on Feb. 17, 2013 and that evening, she noticed many statuses about a disturbance in her hometown of West, TX. A fertilizer plant had exploded, claiming 15 lives and damaging over 300 homes. Urbanovsky’s elementary and high school were destroyed, and luckily, her family and home were safe from the explosion. On the one-year anniversary of the tragedy, she remembers how her hometown’s resilience changed her life.

“West is now known as the small town in Texas that exploded,” Urbanovsky said. “But I know it as my family of 2,800 people and the resilience of West, Texas and its people actually made me a better college student.”

Kayla

Kayla Urbanovsky at her internship

While attending Texas State University, Urbanovsky landed an internship at ChannelAustin where she puts her knowledge of electronic media to the test. She ran the teleprompter, setted up cameras and was the technical director of the control room. She was one of the top interns at ChannelAustin and felt more prepared for life after college.

Urbanovsky thanked her professors from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication for the support the Texas State University community gave her and West, TX during this tragedy.

“This turned my world upside down but was a blessing in disguise for myself and for the people of West,” says Urbanovsky. “I was inspired to be the best person I could be and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication helped me thrive to be that person.”

Urbanovsky graduated May 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication – Electronic Media. Urbanovsky hopes to work on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and to continue to help rebuild her hometown and promises to keep her resilient attitude throughout her career.

Federico Subervi Speaks at the News Literacy 2013 Leadership Conference

Center for the Study of Latino Media and Markets Director Federico Subervi makes the case for news literacy in bicultural classrooms.  You can see his presentation about bicultural, bilingual classrooms from the Center for News Literacy’s 2013 Leaders Conference at Stony Brook University in May 2013. Watch below:

Texas State students win TAWA scholarships

texas state winners

From left to right: Harold Gunn, board member and past president of TAWA; recipients Brittani Wray, a senior and Zahra Farah, a junior; Kym Fox, senior lecturer and journalism coordinator for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication; recipient Lindsay Medina, a junior; and Michael Herzing, TAWA president.

Three Texas State University journalism students received awards from the Texas Auto Writers Association’s Harold Gunn Scholarship for Journalism at the organization’s annual Truck Rodeo near San Antonio on October 19, 2012. “These scholarships are TAWA’s greatest contribution and my proudest moment,” Gunn said.