Tag Archives: texas state university

Discussing the Digital Media Landscape at Texas State

26 Apr

Last week, I visited Texas to do a talk at Texas State University, my alma mater, and to attend a conference in Austin, which I’ll go over in my next post. It had been a few years since I visited Texas State and it was nice to be back at my old college campus.

Lyndon Baines Johnson statue

A statue of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th president of the United States and a Texas State alumnus. He was editor of The College Star (now The University Star) during his time there.

A lot has changed since I went to school there, like the massive football stadium and the new buildings that have sprouted up around the campus, but a few things have stayed the same.

Before the talk, I stopped by The University Star, the university’s newspaper, to meet the staff and to reminisce with the adviser, Bob Bajackson. Bob was the adviser throughout my time at the paper, where I made my way up the ranks to become editor in chief my last year of undergrad. He recounted some of the struggles they have faced with ad revenue, just like any other newspaper. (I should mention, The University Star is unique in that it is a self-sustaining entity at the university, which permits it some freedoms it wouldn’t otherwise have.) The broadsheet is smaller, but despite these struggles, the student journalists there have been at the helm of its digital evolution. It was good to see that they shared a strong passion for journalism, no matter its form.

The talk that evening was part of the Digital Media Entrepreneurship Speaker Series, which has featured some stellar speakers. Dr. Cindy Royal, my former professor, mentor and friend, invited me to speak when she last visited New York in January, and I was flattered to be a part of such a roster.

I was interviewed by Jordon Brown, a current Texas State graduate student. We discussed my path from Texas State to The New York Times, and I took some questions from students, whose queries ranged from what digital skills were important for a job like mine at The Times to what it was like to live in New York. You can watch the video below for the full discussion.

Journalists afraid to take on multiple forms of storytelling, we’re ready to take your spot

23 Apr

I may not make many friends with this post, but I’ll risk it anyway.

Today, the 11th annual International Symposium on Online Journalism began and will run through Saturday. Since I was unable to attend today (gotta work to pay the bills), I observed tweets from the symposium and took part in some of the conversation.

One tweet in particular by San Antonio Express-News reporter Eva Ruth Moravec caught my attention, which you can see here. John Paton, the CEO of the Journal Register Company, said media organizations need to downsize their staff so that three people can do 10 jobs versus the current model where 10 people are doing one of those 10 jobs. The #scary hashtag in that tweet really got me thinking about what media organizations are doing.

Journalists shouldn’t consider this a scary thing. They should embrace it and take advantage of it. Paton has a great vision for his company and I am hoping it succeeds. While it is sad to see anyone lose jobs, if journalists are not embracing technology and learning different ways to tell a story, then they aren’t doing their job. It’s only hurting the product they produce and the audience they serve. To that end, I say you probably will be laid off and rightfully so.

I think this old-school mentality is hurting newsrooms and it frustrates me. I see so many talented, young journalists graduating from college, but they’re working as freelancers or in related fields when they should be working for a media organization. Truthfully, I feel I am one of those people. I graduated with my master’s degree in mass communication-new media from Texas State University-San Marcos and worked very hard to try to get a job at a media organization. I managed to get a journalism job after graduation, but the situation didn’t work out and I felt like I didn’t give myself the chance to weigh other options. Now I’m doing some freelance web and writing work, which I do enjoy, but the full-time journalist position eludes me for the time being. I guess I just want to make sure getting my master’s (and bachelor’s) degree wasn’t in vain. I really love journalism and realize what a passion I have for it.

Nonetheless, I, like many of my fellow recent journalism school grads, will continue to toil away on our blogs, sharpen our social media skills, and learn more about video editing or creating our portfolio sites while we send resume after resume out. We don’t do it because we feel we have to. We do it because we love it.

The truth is, you aren’t just a journalist anymore. You are a multimedia producer. That means you need to be able to write a good story, shoot photos, put together a great character-driven narrative video, and maybe know a little graphic design and HTML. If you really love this industry, you’ll stick around to learn different modes of storytelling. Otherwise, move out of the way. The 20-somethings are eager to take your spot.