Spectrum Regional News Director Visits Texas State University
By April Gutierrez
SAN MARCOS, TX- Texas State University alumna, Jennifer Dodd-Taylor returned to the university Monday to give a lecture during Mass Communication Week about the state of local news and her current position.
Taylor was joined by associate professor, Dr. Tim England, who moderated the session.
Taylor started the session by sharing what has changed in news over the past two decades.
“There have been many, many, many, many changes,” Taylor said. “It’s been a really just invigorating time. I’ve edited a package from my phone. I think changes have allowed us to cover news from anywhere.”
After being asked why it’s important to cover news 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Taylor asked for the audience to raise their hands if they watch the 5 o’clock news. Two hands went up.
“In this generation, you have a different way of watching news. You no longer want to wait till 5 o’clock,’ Taylor said. “Because it automatically pops up on your phone when it happens.”
Taylor then went on to talk about the place politics has in the newsroom.
“I think that the political scene is always going to be huge in news coverage,” Taylor said. “If you have a degree in journalism and political science, you’re golden in any newsroom.”
Taylor also shared what she looks for when hiring reporters.
“When I look for a reporter, I don’t look very long,” Taylor said. She said the things she looks for are a strong and clear voice and a neat appearance.
“The story is what’s important,” Taylor said. “I don’t want the audience looking at, you know, your wild shirt or your crazy hair. I want them looking at the story. I want them thinking about the story. You are the teller of the story, you’re not the story.”
Taylor offered some words of encouragement to the audience.
“The people who make it are the people that don’t give up. You have to keep pushing and trying,” Taylor said.
“I have been in their shoes,” Taylor said after revealing that she has hired six former Texas State University students.
The alumna graduated from what was then Southwest Texas State University in December of 1999, where she received her bachelor of arts in mass communication and broadcast journalism.
Taylor concluded the session by offering to edit attendees’ demo reels.
In attendance of the event was School of Journalism and Mass Communication student, Carissa Rose. Rose said the most influential thing she took from the event wasn’t actually in the lecture, but from the conversation she had with Taylor after the session.
“The most important thing I took was knowing that the career I want is accessible through this major,” Rose said.
“I’m a senior this year, so the resume critiques she gave us, who to talk to and just the reality of it all was really great information to me,” said Breann Barrow, a Texas State University senior.
As well as advice, Taylor shared some of the obstacles she had to overcome before starting her career.
“My senior year, here when I actually walked across the stage, I had a huge bandage on my back. I had cancer and I was diagnosed right before I graduated. I had stage three melanoma,” Taylor said.
Upon her diagnoses, Taylor said she knew that she needed to live her life to the fullest.
“I graduated and immediately packed my car and drove to Los Angeles, with no job,” Taylor said. “I lived in a shed, like quite literally a shed, with spiders. It was not glamourous. I walked into a radio station and I asked the program director to give me a job. I told him I would do anything, and he gave me a job.”
Taylor worked as on-air personality “The Lovely Jenny,” for over two years at XTRA Sports 1150.
The Houston native began her position as the Spectrum regional news director in April of 2017 where she oversees news operations for Austin and San Antonio.
More information on Mass Communication Week as well as the full week’s schedule can be found at https://www.txstatemcweek.com/.