Former University Star editors reflect on student media
By Sawyer Click
SAN MARCOS – In Thursday’s concluding Mass Communication Week panel, former University Star editors-in-chief and current public relations assistant reflected Oct. 18 on the importance and benefits of working for student media.
The Benefits of Working for Student Media panel consisted of former editor-in-chief Debbie Hiott, who served from 1991-92, and Kelsey Bradshaw, who served from 2015-16. Natalia Rodriguez, a current University Star public relations assistant, joined the panel at the last minute.
Mass Communication Week, a four-day conference hosted by Texas State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication from Oct. 15-20, covered topics related to the school’s majors: journalism, public
relations, advertising, electronic media, and digital media innovation.
Hiott, a 1992 Southwest Texas State University graduate, began at the Austin American-Statesman in 1990 as a reporting intern and was promoted through the years, ultimately becoming the executive editor in 2011. As a hiring manager, Hiott said she looks for student media on resumes.
“If there were two applicants, a freelancer and someone who was working on student media if the clips were similar, the person who was on student media is someone I would look at more closely,” Hiott said. “As a freelancer and as somebody writing stories for a class, you’re not necessarily having to go through that full experience of working as a team and learning how to work closely with people in really stressful situations.”
Bradshaw, a 2016 Texas State University graduate, worked at the San Antonio Express-News as a digital news reporter before moving to the Statesman in May to work as a news reporter. She said on top of student media acting as a buff to resumes, it is also an opportunity to experience different genres of journalism.
During her time at the Star, Bradshaw had bylines on editorials, news articles, trends articles, and more. As the editor-in-chief, she was able to gain a general understanding of each section, which helped her better understand her own specific interests in news media.
“I wouldn’t have had either of my jobs if it wasn’t for The University Star,” Bradshaw said. “I wouldn’t actually know how to write an article if it wasn’t for The University Star. It’s a real newspaper. It’s not something where they hold your hand the whole time. You’re not babied when you get there and I think that’s really important.”
In a post-panel conversation between Carrington Tatum, the current editor-in-chief for the Star, and Bradshaw, Carrington said student media makes student journalists be a jack-of-all-trades.
“The Star is the heart, soul, and conscience of journalism,” Tatum said. “There is a unique opportunity to do real journalism with an authority that you wouldn’t have at any other publication. Because every piece of content is created by students, it forces you to become a jack of all trades, which gives you a competitive edge over fellow classmates.”
Texas State students can apply to The University Star year-round. Positions are available in news, sports, life and arts, opinions, multimedia, design, public relations, advertisements, creative and more.