Multimedia Elements in Feature Writing


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.

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