PR student relies on experiences, classes to achieve goals By Carson Wilson
Story telling is at the core of public relations. The goal of a public relations practitioner is often to tell a story of a company, a person or an event. Amy Cunningham, a junior public relations major from Houston, knows the importance of this, and through her work experience, she’s learning to become a professional narrator.
"All the time, people ask me why I am not a journalism major and what made me choose PR," Cunningham said. "I’ve worked with many talented PR professionals who have shown me exactly why I want to pursue public relations as a career. I love telling stories and working strategically to communicate. There’s nothing I appreciate more than a challenge that forces me to think creatively and critically."
She is the managing editor for The Daily Toreador, Texas Tech’s student-run newspaper. She said she has worked in various writer and editor positions with the newspaper for the past two years. She also serves as the vice president of public relations for Tech PR, a public relations student organization in the College of Media & Communication.
Even though she is a working journalist now, Cunningham said she thinks it is important for PR professionals to have skills journalists have, including knowledge of Associated Press Style, professional communication and overall writing skills.
"When I’m covering a story for the newspaper," she said, "I love building relationships with sources. I’m looking forward to developing those same relations through a career in PR."
She said she also is the public relations director for the Texas Tech St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn team, which has a goal of raising $50,000 this year for the children’s research hospital. She was also involved with Define Your Line, a campus-wide campaign for open sexual communication, this past school year.
She just completed a summer marketing internship with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Lubbock-Plainview agency, which, she said was a great experience with an equally amazing nonprofit.
Her résumé includes a long list of job experiences. However, she said taking courses the college offers has helped her have those job experiences and steer her in the direction she is taking today.
"When I arrived (at Texas Tech), I just wasn’t sure what I wanted my major to be," she said. "I’ve had amazing professors who have gone out of their way to help me reach my goals and learn as much as possible. Even professors outside of the PR department have helped through my first two years."
For incoming students, Cunningham said, while it is important to maintain grades, building a résumé and making connections with others is just as important.
"You’ll gain great time management skills and be a well-rounded student by learning to balance all three of those things," she said. "You also shouldn’t be afraid to pursue new opportunities, even if you don’t know what the outcome will be. Everything is a learning experience if you look at it the right way. "
Get to know your ambassador: Joshua Hutchinson by Carson Wilson
Joshua Hutchinson, a senior public relations major from Houston, Texas.
What do you love about the College of Media & Communication?
I really enjoy the classes. As soon as I started, it’s the stuff that got my attention. Especially with public relations, I like seeing how things that most people take for granted or use on a daily basis actually impact them in ways they don’t see. So, I love learning the strategy behind the media as well as the impact the media can have.
What are you involved with in CoMC and the university as a whole?
I’m an ambassador, in addition to taking classes. I am heavily involved with Red Raider Orientation. This is my third year working for them. I’m also heavily involved with University Student Housing to a ridiculous extent. I work for Housing, and I represent multiple student organizations within Housing. I’ve worked with the Residence Halls Association and the Student Staff Leadership Council which represents all student staff within Housing. And I am currently the president of the Texas Tech National Residence Hall Honorary Chapter.
What are your hobbies?
Mostly just hanging out with friends and YouTube and social media.
What have you enjoyed most about being an ambassador?
The opportunity to share the excitement that I have for finding a college that fit me. When I first came to Texas Tech, I wasn’t in the college. I came undeclared and I found my way in. The excitement, once I found it and realized what was going on is something I like to share with other people.
What is your advice to prospective students?
The most cliché thing I can think of is go to class, but it’s never too late to find out what it is you can do. There is always something. If you don’t love what you’re doing then you need to rethink the angle you are approaching life at.
What is your favorite Texas Tech tradition?
I like the Carol of Lights as far as events go. But for long-standing traditions, something I obsess over is Memorial Circle and not stepping on the grass. It’s my biggest pet peeve. I like the idea of there being a spot we consider a living memorial and where you don’t walk on the grass. I think it’s an easy thing to not do, and it makes the campus look prettier. It’s just one of those things that I thought was a big deal when I came to tour, and I take it as a big deal. You’re giving respect to the memorial as well as to your campus and to the people the memorial represents.
What’s a fun fact about yourself?
My go to is the fact that I have a size 15 shoe.
What are your future career goals?
I actually want to work in student affairs, primarily in recruitment and retention, transition and engagement. I like orientation or recruiting or freshman programing on a campus wide level. I plan on going to grad school after undergrad.
Oldest tradition at Texas Tech preserves university history By Carson Wilson
Texas Tech University’s yearbook is called La Ventana. That is Spanish for "the window" and means just that. It is a gateway to look back in time throughout the history of the university.
Davian Hopkins, La Ventana editor-in-chief, said he wanted to be involved with the yearbook because he loved documenting history. He was on his high school yearbook staff and wanted to continue his passion.
"The yearbook is important," the sophomore electronic media & communication major from Lancaster, Texas, said. "It documents your time at Tech. Every year is unique and we try to document that. It allows you to go back and look at your favorite memories. It’s like a window to your time at Texas Tech. It’s a fitting name."
One of the older Texas Tech traditions, the La Ventana was first published in 1925, according to the Student Media website. The Spanish name was in keeping with the Spanish Renaissance-themed architecture, and also was reflected in the student-run newspaper’s name - at the time, The Toreador, and Texas Tech’s football team, The Matadors.
Today, a student editorial board operates the La Ventana. This board is in charge of the student staff, consisting of designers, writers and photographers. Students are completely in charge of content. However, there are Student Media advisers to ensure students are following the correct writing skills, ethics or to give help with other issues.
"My duties as editor-in-chief include managing staff, running weekly meetings, creating templates, going through the pages to make sure there are no errors in the copy. I am also in charge of having everything sent off (to the publishing printer) in a timely matter. I make sure the quality is superb," Hopkins said.
Last year, the yearbook won 21 awards from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association, Hopkins said.
This semester, Hopkins said he is expecting to have a staff of 13 students to produce the yearbook. The process to create a yearbook does not have much of a time crunch like other media publications.
Since it is a yearly publication, deadlines are once a month, he said. Students find story ideas, write and, design pages, and lay them out. After continual edits, the book is sent to the publishing printer.
"I think incoming freshman should be involved because it’s a great way to be involved with Texas Tech," Hopkins said. "As a freshman, I was able to learn more about Tech culture, its organizations, students and professors. It’s a great way to become more involved on campus."
La Ventana is printed and distributed to students by the end of each spring semester, according to the website. Students can have portraits made in the fall semester to be included in the yearbook, and a student can purchase a yearbook by contacting the Student Media office or by including it in their tuition.
The Student Media office is located in room 180 of the Media & Communication building, according to the website.