Thursday, October 30, 2008
Looking forward to even bigger and better things in 2009. Great work team!!!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Old Main, the oldest building on Texas State University campus in San Marcos, was filled with students and faculty eager to attend seminars for Mass Comm week.
Texas State University hosted its annual Mass Comm week October 20 - 23, which included professionals discussing issues, trends, and career insight for those interested in mass media.
Helen Anders, Terry Bertling, and Kevin Robbins were just a few of the many to share their expertise on the world of journalism.
A variety of topics were covered including photography, deadlines, blogging, Facebook, and Twitter. Students' interest level increased when such relevant topics were discussed.
Helen Anders, an experienced travel columnist for the Austin American Statesman, wished she had the chance to learn social media in college. "I am an old dog who had to learn a lot of new tricks," she said.
Anders didn't forget to emphasize the importance of blogging either. "You can put a link to a good hotel deal in a blog. They are also very well read, and people love to go with you on your day-to-day journeys through blogs," she said.
Terry Bertling, a San Antonio Express News veteran, provided an in depth description of her role as an editor who provides guidance to a full staff of writers. Some of her staff writers include Tracy Barnett, a travel editor who uses online video as a communications extension. Travis Polng can be found discussing the latest trends on business, obviously a hot topic in our current economic climate.
SA Express News tried to capture the ever-growing Hispanic market. "Latinas in SA" is a new online forum geared to attract the Hispanic women demographic. Talent like Rita Viagurri is leveraged during Hispanic Heritage Month to connect with their audience. "Food Coverage" provides insight for finding a local farmers' market.
Kevin Robbins, an editor for the Austin American Statesman, used humor to engage with his audience. Kevin focused on shared uses of social media from a sports columnist perspective. Kevin, a sports writer for four years, uses different forms of media to keep in touch. Kevin divulged "I twitter for football games". Some notable experiences that created an impact in his career were historical events like the Columbine Massacre, "I became an expert on tragic events and how they affect the community". Kevin witnessed how journalism can sometimes cross the line, "A photographer was arrested for taking a picture of a family. You really get to see the fine line between reporting a story and peoples' privacy.
Kevin produced a segment on the famous 'Friday Night Lights' football team in Odessa, TX. This football team was made famous by a feature film and network TV show. Some out of the box thinking could be found with his video featuring "Whiplash the Cowboy Rodeo Monkey".
Social media surrounds the next generation of journalists. Helpful hints and advice on this new upcoming form of media gave students hope for their future of journalism.
As the LBJ teaching theater filled with anxious students, Tom Grimes prepared his questions for the keynote speaker, Scott McClellan. McClellan is the former White House press secretary who recently published What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception.
The presentation started by making it very clear that McClellan was not here to kiss and tell, but rather give his side of a story that needed to be heard. McClellan went over many of President Bush's goals, including which one's he has accomplished and those that have been swept under the rug.
McClellan stated that Bush's mistakes were "largely based on some misguided policies that overshadowed the good that he did." Those policies are what McClellan has a problem with. McClellan related the White House to a bubble, saying that one's visions get obscured and clouds the judgment of some. He said that reaching outside the bubble and getting new faces into the White House was a good thing.
It "was not absolutely necessary," said McClellan while explaining his views on the current Iraq war. Although this book was written previous to some of the current issues today, McClellan said he wouldn't change anything he wrote in his book.
Although there was lots of political issues talked about, one thing McClellan said stood out with me the most. He talked about a time he and the President went to visit injured soldiers. McClellan said that the only time he has ever seen self-doubt in the President's eyes was when they turned to leave the clinic. This is a side of the President not known to others outside the White House and it was nice to hear the President isn't as cold as the media makes him out to be sometimes.
After giving his personal impressions of some of the people working in Washington, McClellan said something some might say was unexpected. McClellan is voting for Obama. Makes one wonder, did the republicans in Washington really disappoint him that much?
Photos by Colter Ray.
The speakers at Wednesday’s Energy PR session offered attendees advice, anecdotes and information about they’re work.
Ed Clark, communications director for Austin Energy, said students should intern because of the experience it offers and they connections they can make.
“Intern somewhere — a newspaper or an advertising or public relations firm — and just work for nothing, because it will be worth it”
Clark said working in the energy industry is stimulating because people have begun paying attention to the resources that supply power and the importance they have placed on being environmentally conscious.
“The energy industry is an interesting field right now,” Clark said. “No one likes coal. People like wind power and solar energy. But, you can’t press a button and make wind turbines turn without wind or make the sun provide power on a cloudy day. We need something that can run 24 hours a day on the push of a button.”
Will Holford, manager of public affairs for Bluebonnet Energy Cooperative, agreed with Clark.
“Ed is right: Coal is a dirty word,” he said. “People don’t like it, but it’s a necessity because it runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
Colin Rowan, parter of I&O Communcations, expanded on the issue.
“Coal is a dirty word because it is dirty,” he said. “Frankly, if I had a mound of crap that I could burn to supply power, that doesn't mean it’s the best source to use. We need to find a way to burn coal responsibly.”
Clark said working in public relations involves significant interaction with reporters.
“We deal with the media a lot,” he said. “We put videos together and put all the facts on a sheet of paper so reporters have all the information they need.”
Holford expanded on how public relations workers interact with reporters and offered caution with an anecdote.
“R.G. Rátcliffe was writing a story about government spending,” Holford said. “He called Mark Sanders, a longtime friend who did PR for a government office, and asked him what he did to earn his salary. Mark answered, ‘Absolutely nothing,’ and hung up the phone. A minute later, R.G. called back and asked, ‘Can I quote you on that?’”
Holford said the quote was not printed (which Rátcliffe told Sanders after letting himworry for a one day or so), but the story goes to show: Do not say anything to a reporter that you don’t want to see in print.
Rowan described what working in the public relations industry involves. Rowan told a story about his daughter, who was in kindergarten at the time, asking what he does for a living.
“When you try to reduce what you do to a language a kindergartner can understand, it makes you wonder what you’ve done with your life,” he said. “When my daughter went to class, she said, ‘Daddy tries to change people’s minds.’”
Rowan said his daughter “hit the nail on the head.”
“Some people say public relations is about informing,” he said. “It isn’t. I try to persuade people using information.”
Rowan, who closed the presentation, said knowing how to write well is the best way to become indispensable.
“It makes me feel so old and fatherly to keep throwing out advice, but I will,” he said. “Knowing how to write clearly and communicate information in a manner anyone can understand is an valuable skill in any industry, especially public relations.”
Saturday, October 25, 2008
As a proud founder of Rooster Teeth Productions, Micheal “Burnie” Burns is well aware of the strong presence online video has developed over the years. During his presentation Mr. Burns discussed how he got his start in video production and editing while working to get his computer science degree at The University of Texas. Before Rooster Teeth Productions, Burnie Burns contributed to a website called Drunkgamers.com, which was a site all about drinking while playing video games and rating them in hopes of getting free games—an unsuccessful attempt according to Burns. Eventually Burns’ obsession for Halo led him to create the machinima series known as Red v. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles. A huge fan base was created soon after and Rooster Teeth Productions has since then claimed the cover of The Wall Street Journal and was also featured in the New York Times.
During the presentation Burns illustrated how online video went from only five minute flash videos here and there to the development of youtube.com and the popularity of people producing their own videos.
“Online video really didn’t take off until youtube utilized their flash player. This reduced file sizes and fixed compatibility issues.”
Burns also made sure to give some helpful tips for aspiring filmmakers on how to get started and becoming a success. According to Burns, the greatest challenge is building your own presence and maintaining an audience. It is also vital to learn how to promote yourself, but the key is to be consistent.
“Consistency can be the most powerful weapon you have because there is a lot of noise out there right now.”
Burnie predicts that the future online environment will be even more centralized. Everything seems to be coming together at a fast pace—networks are now posting full episodes online.
For those of you that were unable to attend the presentation, you’re in luck! A live video of the speech has been posted for your viewing pleasure. Feel free to post comments about the video on the forum.
Watch the archive of Burns' presentation.
The Journalism and Mass Communication department would like to thank Burnie Burns for giving such an interesting and inspiring speech about online video. We hope to see you again!
Friday, October 24, 2008
On Thursday Oct. 23, four former Texas State students came together to speak at Mass Communication Week. The alumni formed a panel to discuss the topic, "What I didn't learn in school." The panel included, Mike Vela- The Children's Shelter, Emily Shaw- I&O Communication, Patrick Quinn- Reagan National Advertising and Qmunications Management and Katie Mullins Cook- Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Kerri Qunell, Non-Profit PR: Using Social Media to Spread the Message
Video by Lindsey Schroeder
Kerri Qunell, Vice President of Communications at Capital Area Food Bank, was skeptical about social media in the workplace. That is until she activated a Facebook account to support a local event. More than 80 people immediately befriended her, something that without the networking site would have been near impossible to do.
After learning the potential of Facebok, Kerri began promoting the CAFB on her own Facebook page, mixing her personal life with business.
Such social media interfaces such as Facebook and Myspace are great for networking; however, Kerri and the people at CAFB needed to have the capability to produce and consume instant communication.
A friend introduced Kerri to Twitter, an online networking source that is similar to micro-blogging. Twitter gives you the ability to have instant communication, in 140 characters or less, to anybody associated with Twitter at any place and time.
With the use of two major social media networking sites, Kerri’s message to help raise awareness throughout the community was being heard.
During September, CAFB started the HAM-Up Tweet Up. This gave Kerri and co-workers a chance to put a face with a tweet. The plan was to encourage the community to follow them on Twitter and to bring donations to the food bank. Though the project was halted due to Hurricane Ike, it was considered an instant success due to the community’s involvement and support on Twitter.
The folks at Tyson heard about the CAFB’s HAM-Up and contacted Kerri and the CAFB via Twitter. Tyson then proposed a challenge to the CAFB stating that if the CAFB community posted 600 comments on their website, then they would receive a donation of a truckload of Tyson products to the food bank.
The challenge only lasted 3 hours!
Now understanding the influential power of social media, the CAFB is building a new foundation for communications in non-profit organizations.
“We don’t know what we’re doing. We are trying something different!”
Obviously, Kerri and the people at CAFB are doing something right. Kerri’s passion allows her to create something from nothing with just a few keystrokes!
Politics are heading into a new direction. A direction in which politicians and constituents can interact with each other directly. No more mailing in letters to your representative, hoping that one of their subordinates will read it and relay the information. We are leaving the era of old media, where communication is a one-way street. Where a politician, or anyone for that matter, says something and that is it. It is just broadcast and you have to take it for what it is without any feedback.
Instead, we are moving toward a new era in which politician and constituent can interact with each other directly. This new era or New Media is referred as Social Media by Mike Chapman and it is already revolutionizing the way campaigns are run and the way elections are won.
Social Media and Web 2.0 go hand in hand. Web 2.0 is the social internet which include sites like Facebook, Youtube, Blogger; anything that allows two-way conversation. Politicians are starting to understand the importance of these sites and the power of interacting with their (possible) constituents. This new social media is already leaning elections in one major politician's favor, Barack Obama.
Obama's campaign is unlike any other's before. According to Chapman, politicians need three things, "money, media and votes," and all three go hand in hand. Obama's campaign, has invested a lot of effort to apply social media to it's campaign, and it has shown that it has worked. Voters can interact with Obama and his staff, they can tell him what they like and what they don't. Most important, people feel that he is listening, that he is responding. This simple idea alone is winning people's votes, is making the campaign money (over 150 million dollars in September alone) and msot important, it is winning the election. But, it doesn't stop there. With this new media idea already rolling, the American public is looking towards a new kind of presidency. One where the preseident can listen to his people in a way unlike ever seen before.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
“PR is more than calling the media, but clients and companies always want the article,” Tiedt said.
Public Relations needs to work on how to get the ink.
“Who holds the power? The reporters, the editors and the assignment editors. You also hold the power though,” Tiedt said. “You also hold the power with your clients and with their internal executives and decision makers at your company,”
The Public Relations Society of America says there are more than 32 practices in public relations.
Practices include public affairs, media training, speech writing, among others. Tiedt recommended students to consider exploring their career path.
Tiedt said the pitch and place of public relations is more than proactive. It is where public relations practitioners should place their story and target the right media.
An understanding of news is required.
“You never want to call a reporter, unless you have something to tell him,” Tiedt said. “It’s embarrassing and could be so painful if you really don’t have news to share with him.”
Companies and clients need to understand good news is no news.
“Conflict is newsworthy, and clients and companies don’t want to hear that, but business is usual. It really isn’t news,” Tiedt said.
Practitioners should never get discouraged when a reporter says not to a pitch.
“You can have a reporter tell you no but don’t give up the game, keep going in finding someone you can connect with, where your story will resonate,” Tiedt said.
Clients in public relations fall prey to an aired segment, or a published story will automatically bring success.
Tiedt has past experiences with customer wanting to be in Oprah, thinking the television show will bring success to the company.
“That’s not really how it works. An article does not mean that your stock market goes up,” Tiedt said. “Or if you’re non-profit, a front page article in the Statesman doesn’t mean that you’ll have more donors or money that you’ll know what to do with.”
Tiedt’s 10 Tips for PR practitioners:
- Know comprehensive communication efforts effectively.
- Know public relations is more than calling the media.
- Know clients and companies always want the article.
- Know what news is.
- Know how to get the ink.
- Know writing, grammar skills and AP Style.
- Know what to do when the media calls. Get contact information.
- Know and get involved with new social media applications. Ex: Facebook, Twitter, blogs.
- Know public relations is not personal, just business.
- Know to go beyond the ink, marketing your press.
Arreaga shared what Mercury Mambo actually does, who some of her clients are, how she feels about the corporate world, what it took to start her own business and more.
Before founding Mercury Mambo in 2001, Arreaga worked as a Hispanic marketing executive for Coca-Cola. She was grateful that she chose to do marketing with a corporation before opening her own agency.
"I'm glad I went that route," said Arreaga. "It gave me the foundation to open Mercury Mambo."
Mercury Mambo is a marketing agency focused on experiential marketing focused on the Hispanic community.
Arreaga explained that experiential marketing is below-the-line marketing. Above-the-line marketing is the things you see on TV and hear on radio; it's the branding of the product.
"Below-the-line marketing is where the customer can touch, feel, taste or smell the product," said Arreaga.
She stressed the importance that experiential marketing and the branding of a product work together.
"We feel that below-the-line marketing isn't to replace the branding; it's to compliment it," said Arreaga.
Kandace Fierro, employee of Mercury Mambo and graduate of Texas State, joined Arreaga on her trip to Mass Comm Week.
Fierro heads up a promotional project for Dr Pepper that Mercury Mambo does. She travels to different states where she locates mainly Hispanic areas. Fierro and a street team set up camp with attractions, coupons and free Dr Pepper.
"In L.A. I gave out approximately 120,000 Dr Peppers," said Fierro.
Dr Pepper has found it challenging to connect with Hispanic audiences and get their product out there, so when Mercury Mambo takes Dr Pepper as one of their clients, they set up an experiential marketing campaign that targets Hispanic communities.
Arreaga mentioned that Mercury Mambo is really focused on consumer insights, so they can know what kinds of promotions the Hispanic community is particularly interested in.
In addition to experiential marketing, students were interested in Arreaga's bold transition from the corporate world of marketing to starting her own agency.
Arreaga shared experience, advice and strategies for starting one's own agency.
"Looking back, I'm really glad I had business partners," said Arreaga. "If you can do it on your own, go for it, but if you need some support, don't be afraid to bring in partners."
Arreaga assured students that the most important thing when starting one's own business is loving what you do.
"You've got to know in the pit of your stomach that this is what you really want to do," said Arreaga.
The money seemed to be the last thing on Arreaga's mind. She seemed like she was always confident that because she loves what she is doing, she would make it.
"If you want to do it, the money will follow," said Arreaga. "I used to wonder how the rent would get paid, but somehow it was always paid."
Both Arreaga and Fierro were very informative and helpful for students interested in either experiential marketing or entrepreneurship.
Arreaga is passionate about her choices and experience, whether it be marketing to the Hispanic community for Coca-Cola or experiential marketing campaigns for Dr Pepper.
By Ashleigh Mangum
Photos by Lesley Ornelas
“I hate lecturing, so I will be asking questions,” said Pranikoff.
He described PR Newswire as the conduit between media and people’s word, and explained that he would discuss other topics than his company. Students have been taught many tricks to the trade in the field of public relations, advertising and journalism. Something that Pranikoff professed was the five C’s of Web information: collaborate, content, coverage, services, community and conversation. Pranikoff illustrated each point through interactive Web by engaging students with a Youtube collaboration video of George Bush “singing” U2’s song “Bloody Sunday.” The video was a prime example of how quality content can generate a community and start online conversation and interaction.
According to statistics Pranikoff discovered, the largest social media users are between the ages of 12 and 24. Social media is delving its way into professional communication while one in four jobs has disappeared since 2002. 60% of press articles and 34% of broadcasts come from pre-packaged sources
“Everything is moving online and we have to do more with less,” Pranikoff said.
Numerous business networks have developed impressive Web sites, but many have not explored Web accessibility on cell phones. Pranikoff offered advice for communicating a message effectively in our fast-paced world. The content must be accessible, easy to view and easy to use.
He talked about ‘search engine optimization,’ which is the process of making sure information on the Web is displayed in a topic search. There is an entire industry behind search results, and Pranikoff stressed the need to make sure content will be discovered by stating three to four key words for every 400 word text block of content.
RSS is a format for delivering regularly changing web content, and many news-related sites, blogs and normal Web users syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to any viewer. He described RSS as “one of the most important recent technologies.” It makes more information available for consumption at a given time, rather than combing through portions that are uninteresting to the user.
“Information is power. A person who holds more information holds more power, and RSS is a way to constantly consume,” said Pranikoff.
Pranikoff uses a number of online communication tools and demonstrated his personal sites to the audience. A site that allows him to pick and choose topics and information to be displayed is through NetVibes. Another site that uses RSS is Technorati which is the largest blog on the Web and issues out information faster than Google. A Delicious page lets a user post sites they find interesting on one page that is accessible to any viewer. All of these site lead back to a form of search.
Pranikoff highlighted innovative social media tools that are available online for free, and emphasized how crucial it is to become a part of Web 2.0.
As the clock struck two, the four speakers took their seats in front of a crowded room of students. The event, entitled The Journalism Alumni Panel: What I Didn’t Learn in School, was hosted by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The panel included Erica Hernandez, a producer and reporter for KGNS TV in Laredo, Joe Ruiz, an online editor for KSAT.com in San Antonio, Alicia Lacy, a news reporter for the Killeen Daily Herald and Jennifer McInnis, a copy editor for 210SA paper in San Antonio. All of the speakers attended Texas State’s mass communication school.
Failure, experience, internships, networking, multimedia skills, etiquette and methods of relationships were some of the topics that the panelist discussed.
“Do not be afraid to fail,” stressed Ruiz. “If you made a mistake, own up to it. But don’t make that mistake again.”
Erica talked about her experience in today’s TV media world.
“I think for TV, you have to be strong with criticism,” said Erica Hernandez. “It’s so cut throat in the TV business.”
Alicia Lacy, who graduated in August of 2008, talked about the importance of asking questions.
“Learn to ask questions, especially while you’re still in school,” said Lacy. “You have to be very diplomatic in print journalism.”
The subject then shifted to internships. Many panelists suggested applying for more than one internship and stressed their importance.
“I would recommend two or more internships while attending school,” said Jennifer McInnis.
The panelists also stressed the importance of networking in journalism.
“You have to maintain the relationships you have attained and stay in touch with mentors,” said McInnis.
Etiquette in the news room and in the public view was another issue the panel brought up, stating it was very important to be nice and be the bigger person.
“Don’t go in expecting to get front page,” said Ruiz. “You are going to have to do some leg work. But you are going to have conflict also,” added Ruiz.
The panelists advised the attendees on effective methods to get people to speak with reporters.
“You have to establish a good relationship and they need to be able to trust you,” said Hernandez.
After the event, some of the students in the audience were quite impressed with the issues that the panelists brought up.
“I feel that they all offered something different and important to the topic at hand,” said Michael Barone, a junior mass communication major. “They really stressed the importance of internships as well as multimedia and interactive skills.”
Another mass communication major talked about the most important message he got out of the event.
“Networking is really important,” said Shawn Dullye, a junior print journalism major. “Meet everyone you can and maintain a relationship with them because you may want them as a reference later on.”
The best advice that Grant Martin would give to future graduating students was to start applying for internships and jobs as soon as possible.
“Get involved soon if not already,” said Martin, a senior mass communication major.
Alisha Lacy, a speaker with the Journalism Alumni panel, spoke about the hard work and how to balance your social life and work life.
Glenda Goehrs, former GSD&M Vice President of publications took me by surprise. As expected, she was very knowledgeable in the advertising field, but she was also very passionate about her line of work and witty as well. She gave advice on how to seek internships and how to impress a client. This means going above and beyond your call of duty.
"I was in the business for twenty-two years. My god, I'm slightly masochistic." said Goehrs.
In regard to internships, Glenda said that getting and internship at GSD&M is highly competitive. They usually have about 500 applicants and 20 spots to fill. She said not to worry because plenty of smaller agencies in Austin will willingly take interns.
She took special note of things to do to prepare yourself for an internship, including volunteering, researching the industry, asking questions, customizing your resume, immersing in new media and not being self-centered.
"Let someone else talk about you," Goehrs said.
Glenda had similar suggestions in regard to winning over a client. Glenda noted that while the client says to talk about your company, what they really want to hear is a suggestion and an idea that works.
"Pitch is won by a great idea. period," Goehrs said.
GSD&M hasn't always been a front runner. They have had their fair share of rough patches, expecially in 2007 when they lost Walmart as their client. As a result, they laid off 114 employees, but were able to recover.
"We got back on a roll again... with Home Depot," said Goehrs. "Home Depot!"
Glenda said that sometimes being in this industry means losing a night of sleep, and getting a month-long project finished in three days, but it's well worth the ride if you love the industry.
"It's the best education you will ever get," Goehrs said.
LINK TO GSD&M:
GSD&M Idea City
LINKS TO OTHER SMALL AGENCIES IN AUSTIN:
Door Number Three
If you've ever attended Austin City Limits or Lollapalooza and can plead guilty of being that frantic fan quickly thumbing through your program guide to see when one of the bands you were dying to see was playing, then you can say you've had a taste of Ramser Media.
Ramser Media has published program guides for music festivals such as Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza. They began specializing in print products about music and sports. Their 2 publications are Texas Music Magazine and Horns Illustrated. They have also produced compilation cd's for big named businesses.
Although Ramser Media is successful today, Stewart's first magazine idea, Texas Music almost didn't launch.
On Tuesday afternoon in Old Main room 232, Stewart talked about how he got his dream of starting a magazine to come true, which later lead to the founding of Ramser Media.
"A friend gave me money to eat and to pay rent for my shoe box room so i could conserve as much money as possible and promote my business plan" said Ramser.
Stewart attended SXSW to find out if Texas Music Magazine was a good idea. There he promoted and talked to prospective advertisers and met his partner Richard ,former Rolling Stones writer.
"This is a great idea", said Richard Skanse, " i want to be involved!"
From there it was history. Texas Music Magazine went into print shortly after Stewart's SXSW trip and the rest fell into place.
"The recipe to success and moral of the story is you've got to be flexible. We've looked at other opportunities to grow that have been a little outside of what people were thinking," said Ramser.
"Ethics is the single most important thing that news organizations have," Calzada said in her Thursday morning Mass Communication Week presentation.
The talk gave an overview of the most common trouble areas photographers encounter when on the job. Those include behavior while setting up photo opportunities, conduct on assignment, editing guidelines, invasion of privacy and copyright issues.
"Ethics and law are kind of similar in that they sort of rely on the same moral principles," Calzada said. "But there are a lot of gray areas.
Questionable situations that fall in these so called gray areas are the actions that most often go to court because there is no clear answer as to what is right and wrong. This is the reason that understanding the legal and ethical limits at all times is a must.
However, practicing sound ethics isn't just a way for journalists to stay out of trouble, according to Calzada. It is also the best was to preserve the public's trust in the news.
"The worst thing that happens to a photographer is they get an assignment to go photograph somebody doing something. They get there, and the person says, 'what do you want me to do?'" Calzada said. "As a journalist, you want them to do what they are normally doing. ... Setups are not OK."
The best thing to do is to find out when the subject is doing whatever the news is interested in, and to shoot photos then. Meeting the subject to take photos whenever they are free does not produce truthful images. From that moment on, when the subject sees images in newspapers or magazines, they will always have the suspicion that the photos are setups. This erodes the public's trust, the most important asset of the news.
Ethics violations in photo editing also have a large impact on news credibility. When Brian Walski combined two photos to create a more interesting composition during the 2003 invasion of Iraq the LA Times had a serious public relations battle to ensure it didn't lose the public trust.
"I think what happens to photographers is they start doing a little bit of manipulation. Then they start doing a little more and they get away with it. And everyone starts telling them what a great picture it is. I think it is easier than you would think to get caught up in a pattern of manipulation like this," Calzada said.
According to Calzada, photojournalists must live up to a high standard because ethics are "what sets us apart from art and advertising."
The laws pertaining to photojournalism are, for the most part, easy to understand. The ethical issues journalists face are the truly questionable areas. If a situation feels fishy at all, it is best to steer clear. Any publicly known ethical violations can destroy confidence in the media, and that trust is really the only thing that keeps the news alive.
Burka, senior executive editor for Texas Monthly, has been with Texas Monthly since one year after it started. He spoke about how his opinion of traditional media and new media transformed over time.
"The new world of media was 25 years away back then," said Burka. "There was no 24/7 media world; we operated at a much slower pace and that went on for a number of years."
For his very first encounter with new media, Burka wrote a column that was very dismissive toward the new media.
Before working with Texas Monthly, Eileen Smith wrote her own political blog in 2005. She ran across Burka's column and was appalled.
"I saw his column and went off on him!" said Eileen Smith, now editor of Texasmonthly.com. "I was like, 'Who is this dinosaur?'"
Evan Smith, now president and editor in chief of Texas Monthly, did not like Burka's column either and saw Eileen's comment. He sent her an email because he was interested in what she had to say.
"Then I was hired and now Paul and I are best friends!" said Eileen Smith.
Since his column, Burka gradually started to realize the benefits of new media. With traditional media he provided the filter. Each story he wrote would go through a process of re-checking facts and making a concise paper.
"With new media even if things are wrong you don't have to worry about it, it's self correcting (and it will be corrected in the most insulting way by your readers)," said Burka.
He still was uncertain about new media when his job description changed to blogging.
"I felt as though I foreclose on a beautiful house and moved to an apartment in the slumps," said Burka.
Soon he started to see that with traditional media he had so many ideas before that were useless because they were not timely. The next month, when the new edition would be issued, the ideas would not be any good.
"Now I no longer have that problem," said Burka. "I am able to get my opinion out there quickly for people to make hot shots at. The world does not sit and wait for anything."
"Instant feedback and conversation is important," said Eileen Smith. "It will not mean the same thing in a month."
She started on the print side of journalism, but now sees that today if you do not know how to write for the web you are out of luck.
Smith spoke about all the interactive things you can do on Texasmonthly.com that you cannot do with the magazine and how it's all available for free.
"These days you need to be able to do everything," said Smith. "You should be your own multimedia producer."
Now you need to be able to write and be able to provide
all of the interactive things on the Internet.
"You shouldn't be in it if you are not driven to do it," said Burka.
He feels as though he has never worked a day in his life.
"I want to know what the hell is going on and I want to be the first to tell the public," said Burka. "If it doesn't feel like work, do it!"
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Texas State strutted, flashed and flaunted its way through the first Mass Comm week fashion show inside the LBJ student center. The joint effort with PRSSA, dubbed “Dress for Success” showcased what to wear when trying to capture the eyes of potential employers.
The event was as informative as it was fun. In classic runway style a DJ was on hand doling out energetic techno beats to accompany guest Emcees Amanda Dugen and Jonathan Valdez, of KTSW’s morning show Orange Juice and Biscuits. Their witty interpretation of the outfits made for an entertaining combination of professionalism and sensationalism.
Fifteen Texas State students graced the runways wearing hand selected fashions from local San Marcos stores and boutiques, including; Struts, Calvin Klein, Dressbarn and Calli’s. It was Elizabeth Janecka, chair on the event planning committee, who took charge of selecting the outfits and vendors of the nights apparel.
“It was a challenge to a point to get the stores on board,” said Janecka. “But most were pretty willing to donate stuff for the show.”
The event itself was originally brought to PRSSA by Mass Comm week director Dara Quaakenbush. Janecka could not have been more excited.
“We wanted to do something a little more fun,” said Janecka. “We also wanted to make it something PR majors could work on to prepare for event planning.”
When the lights went down and the trance music cued up, nobody was questioning whether or not they were having fun. Some models played coy with the crowd. Aaron Desimone showed his professional confidence with his blazer thrown over his shoulder when he handed a business card to an attractive young female in the second row. Sean Myers showed how versatile his Fossil messenger bag was when he pulled a red rose out for one lucky lady. Just behind him Lauren Syrinek dazzled with her ruffled maroon blouse that looked professional enough for an interview, but chic enough for cocktails downtown.
Coordinator and fashion merchandise Professor Pauline Sullivan concluded the event thanking all the contributors and lending a precious piece of advice we can all live by.
“You are what you wear,” Sullivan said. “It’s fun, it’s fashionable, it’s your first impression.”
Photos and words by Sam Ladach-Bark
“There is a street in Austin called South Congress which people started calling SoCo,” said Kelso. “After all the hookers left I suggested that they start calling it NoHo,” said Kelso.
This among many were the funny twists that the panelist entertained his audience with.
“I’ll do anything for a column,” said Kelso.
He spoke about personal stories that he has written in past columns, as well as stories about celebrities that he has written about. He explained that if writers don’t write on the edge they won’t be popular in the news.
“If your not dancing on the edge you can fall off the cliff,” said Kelso.
The panelist graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in English, but didn’t write anything until he got out of college.
Before coming to the Statesman, Kelso worked for a newspaper in West Palm Beach, Florida as their outdoors writer. He didn’t know anything about the outdoors so he gave a funny twist to his stories, and his editor thought this was funny. His editor moved to Texas to work for the Statesman. After reaching out to the man that found his writing to be funny, Kelso acquired a job there also.
“So, basically I got the humor column because I didn’t know anything about fishing,” said Kelso.
Another accomplishment of Kelso’s is that he has written a book called “Texas Curiosities”. The book which was published in 2000 includes “quirky characters, roadside oddities and other offbeat stuff”.
After the panelist gave a summary of the columns that he has done in the past he opened the floor to any questions from students and faculty. One student asked what were his favorite writers. Kelso said he enjoyed Rick Reilly, from Sports Illustrated, and Mark Twain. He also said that he loves reading the New York magazine. Another student asked what he would be doing if he wasn’t a writer for the Statesman.
“If I had another job it would be as a Wal-Mart greeter,” said Kelso as he ended his panel.
“One ingredient in anything you do is love.”
Eric Gay stated this yesterday during his visit to Texas State for Mass Communication Week, and he certainly loves what he does.
For Gay, his love for photography has flourished into a career with the Associated Press that is now in its third decade. Between regularly shooting the San Antonio Spurs and covering historical events including Columbine and Hurricane Katrina, Gay has experienced almost everything since beginning as a photographer for his high school’s yearbook.
“As a photojournalist, you’re recording history,” Gay said. “I want to tell the story. I want to tell it truthfully.”
In 2006 Gay’s ability to tell stories through photographs landed him among the finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. His nomination came as a result of his work during Hurricane Katrina.
“I try to make my pictures look simple,” Gay said. “It’s harder said than done.”
When asked how to cover events of mass destruction such as Hurricane Katrina, Gay credited much of it to patience.
“A lot of it is just patience, planning and a lot of luck,” Gay said. “Remember your skills – shoot high, shoot medium, shoot wide, shoot the details.”
But more importantly, Gay stressed that photographers should avoid getting caught up in the destruction aspect of the event.
“What people care most about are people,” Gay said.
Gay plans to continue working for the AP and to continue to find more stories to tell.
“I still do this because I love it," Gay said with a smile.
Slideshow by Lauren Bickford
W. Gardner Selby, chief political writer for the Austin American-Statesman, has been in the political writing scene ever since he covered his first legislative session back in 1983. Selby has written in the past for such newspapers as the San Antonio Express-News, The Daily Texan, the Wichita Eagle-Beacon and the now defunct newspapers Washington Post – Southwest Bureau and the Houston Post.
Taking time out of his schedule, Selby spoke to a crowd of 20 people Wednesday morning about his job covering candidates.
Selby’s session, “Politics and the Paper Trail,” focused on discussing his thoughts about the impending presidential election, included anecdotes about covering candidates and offered advice on how to obtain information through paper trails.
Throughout his hour speech, Selby touched on what kinds of paper are in every campaign and went on to highlight prime examples that reporters have discovered over the years. One example he included was when a reporter uncovered that Lena Guerrero, former State Representative and Texas Railroad Commissioner, did not in fact graduate from The University of Texas at Austin like she alluded to.
“There are always things you can chase down, given time and resources,” Selby said. “Find out what you want to know personally about a candidate.”
Selby suggested to start from the bottom up by finding out a candidate’s life story and to always remember the rule of fox.
“Ask everything you can think of,” he said. “The worst they can say is no. You need to keep your ears up the entire time.”
Selby's Statesman Archive
Elsberry started her 2 p.m. presentation in Old Main by having the audience sit on different sides of the room based on political affiliation. She explained why she made the audience move with a news clip. It showed two neighboring families with different political views. One was Republican and the other Democrat. The reporter didn't mention his political view on screen. Something Elsberry considers important.
"As journalists, we have a responsibility to vote, but we also have a responsibility to remain unbiased," Elsberry said.
She said that being a good journalist is having the ability to be curious about the world and asking questions constantly. She said if you're not curious about the world, then journalism isn't for you.
Elsberry's primary job at News 8 Austin was to cover the death of Lady Bird Johnson. For seven years, she planned the coverage of her funeral.
"I equate work in a newsroom to working in an Emergency Room. You see people at their best and people at their worst," said News 8 Austin's Rachel Elsberry.
Coverage of the funeral was then shown. The clip was raw footage and showed a few photographers getting in the way of some of the cars.
"There are no rules about how TV is produced, as long as you don't spell anyone's name wrong or slander or libel anyone. Normally, when people fresh out of school get into a job, they assume there are all these rules because that's what your taught. That isn't really the case once you're out there. Don't be afraid to tell a story that way," Elsberry said.
Elsberry has been working as a producer and a reporter for 15 years. She currently works at News 8 Austin as their Special Projects executive producer. She also produces coverage of the Austin City Limits.
"I started out as a tape editor working 3 a.m. to 11 a.m. and I was terrible at it," Elsberry joked.
"But, I was good at writing and producing stories, so eventually I started producing my own show."
She ended by giving advice for future journalism students.
"You have to be an organized, forward thinking person. You need to see the train coming into the station before it actually gets into the station."
The Mass Communication Department welcomed Randall Dillard and Elizabeth Christian Wednesday morning on Oct. 23. The two keynote speakers enlightened students about the different aspects of public relations in the work force, starting with the public sector and working to the private.
Randall Dillard, Director of Communications for the Texas Secretary of State, opened the presentation. He began by identifying with the students and reminiscing of his own school days and from there went on to explain his own trials and tribulations he overcame that led to his success in the PR field.
Dillard went on to talk about the importance of governmental communications, and its changing nature.
“While the government is cutting back on expenditures, there is still a need for citizens to access the government and be involved in government decisions. There’s still a need for government programs to exist,” said Dillard.
He went on to talk about how college students are a generation of people that multitask, making it difficult to find one easy way to communicate with everyone. The government is looking for college students and graduates who can find ways to communicate better, faster and cheaper.
He also outlined his three tips to succeed for journalism students today. The first is learning to write well.
“You can never write too well. You can’t get around being a poor writer in communications,” said Dillard.
He followed with the advice of learning how to break down technical information and make it meaningful to the average citizen. Lastly, Dillard voiced the need for journalism students to work hard if they want to succeed.
“You have to be the person volunteering, being the first to show up and the last to leave, whatever it takes,” said Dillard.
He was followed by Elizabeth Christian, who owns her own private PR firm in Austin.
“There is a critical intersection between PR and journalism,” said Christian.
She explained the relationship between PR officers and journalists, referring to the PR officer as a seller of ideas and the journalist as the buyer.
“It’s a symbiotic relationship,” said Christian, “I can look through a
newspaper and see that 70 percent of the stories in it are touched by a public relations person”.
Christian also stressed the importance of remaining truthful, and how while it is ok to spin information, it is unethical to lie.
She further went on to outline what she described as a communication MAP, something that is important for planning in PR and journalism. MAP stands for Message, Audience and Plan.
“You have to begin by finding the overriding message, the M, and then the different audiences, the A, who will hear this message. Once those are identified, you can move onto the plan, or P, and how you will convey specific messages to specific audiences,” said Christian.
Both agreed that you have to work hard to achieve what you want in the journalism world and to not only be a producer, but also a consumer of news.
(Blogging live from OM 320)
"What many of you consider to be play (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter), it is very much work related for us."-Sheila Scarborough
Omar Galaga: Journalism in Web 2.0
Omar has been working for the Statesman for 11 years. Part of his job as a writer is blogging, researching, shooting video, presentations, etc. The Statesman started using Twitter over the summer to cover things such as Hurricane Ike and ACL. The people who follow the Statesman's Twitter are highly engaged with what's going on. Omar is showing us Twitter pages on line and explaining how it all works.
"The more people I follow, the more I get a window into people's lives."
(he is omarg on Twitter....follow him!)
The Statesman is on Twitter to help people be easily engaged with what they are reporting. The Statesman also has a Facebook and MySpace page. Breaking news from events can be posted quickly (faster than blogging or reporting), which Omar says helps a lot when getting a story out there. Another thing that is up and coming in journalism is video. Omar says that sometimes instead of writing out a long story about an event, it is easier, faster and more fun to shoot it all on video.
Question from audience: "What would you say to the older readers that say these technologies are useless?"
Answer: "It takes a lot of effort to show people this is useful, but it opens my eyes a lot. To be honest, I don't think we need those readers. We need the younger people to invest in the media because you are our readers of the future."
LinkedIn is another social network used in journalism (it's kind of like a business version of Facebook). It has become a very powerful site for businesses and it is good to be familiar with it.
Why would journalists want/need to use MySpace and Facebook?
Sources can be found FAST on these networks. Omar has used MySpace to source an entire story because he found people who were talking about it.
Other useful tools: Google Docs, Google Calendar, YouTube, Flickr
Mobile Broadcasting is something new that may hugely impact the media world...some technologies are now allowing you to stream live video to the internet via cell phone. HUGE advancement for the media, and also really cool.
Kim Haynes: Getting a Job in a Web 2.0 world
"I want to empower you guys to learn things in Web 2.0 in order to get jobs."
The Evolution of the Job Hunt:
Kim is talking about how the normal job-hunting processes (applications, job boards, faxing, etc.) are becoming outdated. Craigslist is a way to search resumes and post resumes, but you need to be careful about that and not give away too much information or you may have a stalker on your hands.
Referrals are a good way to get candidates for jobs. Kim says she looks for peole who know people. She is also an advocate for LinkIn, and suggests that you get your profile out there.
"If you are not out on a social network, you need to be!"
Some social networks you may not know about: plaxo, XING, Ning
"Web 2.0 is all about the connections between people."
A good way to get a job in the media is to network....go to company parties, Social Media Breakfasts, mixers, etc. Kim says that she and Sheila have had "Tweet-Ups" where they started tweeting, asking people if they wanted to meet up. Kim has met up with a lot of important media people through these Tweet-Ups. There is a Texas State Alumi Ning, and Kim encourages us students to join to keep up with everyone and what people are doing after college.
Sheila Scarborough: Creating a good web persona
"Social media presence shows how people are in real life. It's difficult to maintain a false persona online."
Sheila thinks it is important to Google your name frequently (and search Google images too) to see what kind of things are out there about you. You need to work on your web-based image. Sheila says you don't need to sabotage yourself online because it's already so difficult to get a job in this time of a bad economy.
Sheila is a big fan of blogging. Her blog has become a large part of her job as a travel writer. She also pitched herself to an editor as someone who may not know much about drag-racing, but she knew how to blog about it, so she got hired and ended up loving the sport. When creating blogs, you need to be careful about it and be of sound mind before you spill your guts to the entire world.
Twitter has brought Sheila two "gigs" directly. She suggests that you learn Twitter and make sure you "write good stuff. "
Audience Question: "What advice do you have for students graduating soon, and going out into the media and web world?"
Answer: "Get on LinkedIn, learn how to take good photos and video, and the most important is learn how to write."
Great speeches! Photos By Brian Cummings
During her speech on crisis communication, Baggett spoke of the power the media can hold and warned against journalistic pitfalls and what she refers to as ‘Gang Journalism.’
“You see it all the time. One station reports something, and five minutes later the same thing is on every news channel,” she said.
The major problem with ‘Gang Journalism,’ according to Baggett, is the conflict it creates with journalistic ethics. Journalists are supposed to find a story or angle that no one else has thought to cover, then verify, verify, verify.
Baggett says it’s too easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of breaking-news and not check to see if it’s actual, factual breaking-news. Journalists can become too concentrated on the idea that “he who presents the message first, wins,’ instead of focusing on presenting true, honest news.
Baggett also warned about the perils of got’cha and cliché journalism.
“It always happens. One station will go out and find the one person that will say ‘this is the worst I’ve ever seen it,’ and it may be one person in a million, but they found that one person and they dwell on it,” said Baggett.
Baggett says that there is a story in the one person in a million, but in times of crisis it does not always help to focus on it. She said that it can add unnecessary stress to an already stressful situation and undermined the relief effort.
Baggett said the job of journalism is “to make the comfortable, uncomfortable,” however to do so with discretion.
“Decide now what your ethics are,” she said. “Because once you lose your credit, it’s almost impossible to get it back. It takes a monumental event to change that.”
Taking advantage of newest technologies, media coverage on the Rwandan genocide, independent music and advertising, and gender stereotype in newspaper comic strips were the four topics presented in a panel of graduate students.
Cooper Cherry, mass communication graduate, presented Netwar. He opened with a statement on Internet taking over television.
“The revolution will not be televised, but maybe you can catch on YouTube,” Cherry said.
He said Netwar is a term that utilizes social networks, sophisticated communication technology and a decentralized organizational structure.
“These are groups that there is no really one nation that unifies them,” Cherry said. “They’re just dispersed in several different countries or regions.”
Cherry said al-Qaida has become a well-known brand with a decentralized network.
“You can take out Osama bin Laden, but the al-Qaida terrorist network will still be able to function,” Cherry said.
He also mentioned the demand for Web 2.0 technologies is increasing social activities. “Twitter and Facebook are really powerful tools for social movement,” Cherry said. “You can organize things so much better, protests, social movements.”
He said these tools help in political and social action.
“I think we should utilize (Twitter and Facebook) and change the world for the better,” Cherry said.
Justin Udomah, mass communication graduate, targeted the media coverage and social responsibility in the Rwandan genocide and examining the legitimacy of advocacy of media practice.
“Apart from just reporting news, do the media have a role to play?” Udomah said.
He researched on the Rwandan genocide because he said life should be respected. Udomah found in his research that the media played a crucial role in the killings.
He said the word genocide was not used. Instead, the media called it tribal war, militia clash or civil war.
“When they took the news to the newsroom, the newsroom didn’t check it,” Udomah said.
Udomah said advocacy should be defined as standing up for something that is wrong and also create awareness of a situation.
Udomah evaluated the media involvement in the crisis. He said 800,000 people were killed in a hundred days in that genocide, but the media lacked to communicate the impact of the news.
Comic strips in newspapers are some people’s favorite section to read. Few would imagine the comics had gender stereotypes.
Jaime Kilpatrick, mass communication graduate, focused on content analysis of gender stereotypes in syndicated comic strips.
She said gender stereotypes exist and wanted to research to prove it. Kilpatrick focused on strips with stereotypical behavior.
Some criteria taken in consideration were the placement of the character: at home or at work.
The comments and thoughts made on the character. Other criteria were the activities the characters were participating in.
“Some notable findings we have were that there were more characters that were male in work locations than female,” Kilpatrick said. “They were significantly more female characters shown at home with males, either in the kitchen, at home with the kids.”
Christ Troutman, mass communication graduate, researched on advertising and independent artists. He focused on the idea of advertisers creating ads with mainstream music.
He researched the response of people to brand and independent music. He said there are two pitfalls in using mainstream music.
First, artists sell their right to use their music to corporations. A movement that can upset fans, Troutman said.
“A classic example of this is whenever the Beatles song ‘Revolution’ was used for the Nike ad,” Troutman said.
The second pitfall is some music has a pleasant connotation for bands.
“If someone broke up with you and there’s a song playing in the car of what happened, and you heard that song playing through a Cheetos commercial. You might start crying every time you see Cheetos,” Troutman said.
Advertisers have been using unknown bands because of the pitfalls, he said.