In this issue of Converging News:
After exploring his golf enthusiasm as part of the staff of the Rawls Course at Texas Tech for two years and deepening his studies on sports and media as a College of Media & Communication graduate student, Kellen Kubasak was excited to intern professionally with the American Junior Golf Association.
Following a weekend-long interview process in Atlanta, Kubasak was chosen as one of 15 communication interns out of 96 candidates. Kubasak said the interview process was extensive and included writing tests, interviews, public speaking, and logistical team-building activities.
Kubasak said he was advised prior to his interview that the AJGA was looking for friendly, outgoing personalities with impressive oral and written communication skills. Going into the unique interview process that involved team-building activities designed to gauge leadership capabilities, Kubasak said being himself put him a step ahead.
“I think my personality in general set me apart,” Kubasak said. “I made sure to listen, be outgoing and talk with all of the employees there, too.”
With education from his undergrad and grad school at Texas Tech, coupled with media internships with theTexas Tech athletic department and Lubbock Christian University, Kubasak said his experience and education prepared a foundation to help him professionally acclimate to the AJGA.
“All of my internships and classes have helped me learn tremendously,” Kubasak said, “and all of it will come into play.”
Internships are perfect for building experience and a resume, Kubasak said, adding that students shouldn’t give up when applying for internships. Kubasak said he applied to many internships before receiving the AJGA internship.
“Even if you get an unpaid internship, don’t let that hold you back,” Kubasak said. “Both of my previous internships were unpaid but have given me a lot of the experience I needed to get this one."
Kubasak’s internship began May 22 with training in Atlanta. Kubasak said he has enjoyed working with golfers and their parents, traveling and watching golf. He also said he hopes to be hired full-time with the AJGA after his internship is over, and if not, he wants to work in the sports and media industry.
“Studies have shown students who live together and study together do better.”
The College of Media & Communication converged with University Student Housing to develop a Mass Communications freshmen interest group, a learning community designed to assist a small group of students in their first year of college.
Marijane Wernsman, Ph.D,. and assistant dean for student affairs for the College, is responsible for the College’s FIG program. Excited to have this special learning opportunity for mass communications students, Wernsman said she hopes the program will improve students’ abilities to learn during their first year of college.
“Studies have shown students who live together and study together do better,” she said.
With only 20 students enrolled in the program, Wernsman said she will follow them through the year as she teaches their freshmen seminar class and advises them academically.
Wernsman said students will not only live together, but will be enrolled in four classes together. She said this allows students opportunities to learn academically, as well as professionally, as they learn to network with their peers, staff and faculty.
Students will have the opportunity to listen to special presentations from professionals and faculty in mass communications, go on field trips, and, of course, network, she said. Overall, Wernsman said she hopes the program will help improve students’ experiences in the College of Media & Communication as well as help faculty improve their academic relationships with students.
“The more we know students, the more we can help them streamline their degrees,” she said.
A small town girl from Muleshoe, Texas, Kate Lepard, a senior broadcast journalism major, was ready to take on the Big Apple.
Landing an internship for Fox News in New York City, Lepard had the opportunity to meet, visit and work with some of the current leading talent in media.
“The most valuable experience I've had at Fox thus far is definitely the opportunity to meet and get to know so many successful and interesting people in the news industry,” said Lepard, referring to Fox News employees such as Bill Hemmer, Martha MacCallum, Megyn Kelly, Lou Dobbs and Juan Williams.
Lepard said her internship has afforded her the opportunity to conduct off-the-record interviews with some of these media professionals to discover what advice they would suggest for helping her become a strong job candidate.
“Never miss an opportunity to learn something new, and always ask questions,” Lepard said. “I feel like those are the two most helpful hints I've been given. The news industry is constantly changing, so the more you know, the more marketable you are as a potential employee.”
Applying the advice she’s been given, combined with the previous education she received at Tech, Lepard said she feels prepared to begin a professional career in journalism.
Lepard said she was hired as a “booking unit intern” for the Fox news shows "America’s Newsroom," "Happening Now," and "America Live." Among her responsibilities, Lepard is in charge of greeting and directing guests before interviews, collaborating with another intern to write blog teases for the "Happening Now" blog site, and attending producer pre-show meetings. Lepard said these meetings are the highlight of her day.
“Every day all of the writers, producers, bloggers, bookers, graphics people, etc. gather in the ‘war room’ to discuss what's coming up on the show,” she said. “Megyn Kelly and all of the reporters also join in on the meeting through a conference call so everyone will be on the same page. I love seeing the news team collaborate.”
Follow Lepard through her internship as she blogs about her experience at www.cowboybootsandsubwayroutes.blogspot.com.
Gaining attention from researchers at ESPN, Glenn Cummins, Ph.D., assistant professor in electronic media and communications for the College of Media & Communication, has been researching the nature of arousal while consuming sports media.
“I’m looking at it from a structural perspective," Cummins said. "What is it that broadcasters are doing that makes people interested in the game and that make you respond to the game?”
Cummins said he asked subjects to watch a series of football plays, one being highly arousing, with the next less arousing, and then asked subjects to grade their level of excitement from one video clip to the next. Cummins said he is "trying to look at the nature of arousal and the nature of viewer response and how it ebbs and flows throughout a telecast."
Cummins said his research has actually found the opposite of what he was expecting, and the opposite of what a previous theory suggests.
“The theory says that what gets you worked up from a previous event, the next event should feel more arousing because of what you’d just seen, and that’s what I was trying to do to begin with,” he said. “The problem I found is when I took it to the laboratory to try and test that basic prediction that’s been demonstrated over and over again for decades but not in the context of sports. I found the opposite response – that somebody saw something exciting and then they saw something that followed it they’d actually rate it less exciting as opposed to more exciting."
With a few kinks to iron out, Cummins said the next step in his research is in the College's physiological response lab to test if individuals ranking of arousal transfer is really how their body is responding.
“We have a real-life physiology lab down in the basement where we can see how your body responds, but the problem is what people say and what people feel aren’t always the same," Cummins said. "Right now I’m just doing all of that with self-report statements and eventually I’ll have to do that with physiological data to see, because that’s a good way to tell if it's really transferring or is the cognitive evaluation getting in the way."
Testing these theories can benefit media producers as they look for ways to improve the effectiveness of their content, Cummins said. He hopes to put his theories to the test in a more applicable situation.
Congratulations to Department of Public Relations faculty members Lori Boyer, Coy Callison, Trent Seltzer, John Wirtz, and Weiwu Zhang for having papers accepted for presentation at the AEJMC 2010 convention in Denver, Colo. Several of these papers were co-authored with mass communications doctoral students, including Jerod Foster, Prisca Ngondo, Phllip Poe, and Austin Sims.
John Wirtz, Ph.D., has received a top faculty paper award from the Religion and Media Interest Group.
Jim Ferguson, a 1975 College of Media & Communication alumnus with a degree in advertising, was honored to have his national public service campaign for seat-belt use using crash dummies Vince and Larry displayed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History starting July 14. See more information and a video of the dummies “crashing” the ceremonoy at the Smithsonian: http://newsdesk.si.edu/releases/national-museum-american-history-collects-75-years-auto-safety