Converging News

In this issue of Converging News:

MCOM Achievements

Media and the Mind

News Presentation Class Changes

Winning Ad Team


Global Film Initiative


MCOM Achievments

Award winners pictured, from left: Glenn Cummins, President's Excellence in Teaching Award; Trent Seltzer, New Faculty Award from the Alumni Association; Tom Johnson, Outstanding Research Award. Not pictured: Dennis Harp, Conferred Emeritus Faculty Status.

Congratulations to MCOM students Barbie Chambers and Prisca Ngondo who have been selected as teaching fellows for the TEACH program for the 2010-11 academic year. The Texas Tech Teaching Learning and Technology Center runs the program, which helps Ph.D. students develop as teachers. Student Kent Lowry was a TEACH fellow for the 2009-10 academic year.

Congratulations to alumna Patti Hoggard Douglass who was recently honored as the Lubbock Advertising Federation's 2010 Silver Medalist.

Photo of award winners
Media and the Mind
By Hannah Moore Cruz

Johnny Sparks photo

Seeing the excitement in a student’s face when he talks about his own research, Johnny Sparks, an advertising assistant professor in the College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech, enjoys connecting his teaching with his research.

“I have plenty of students who come to me and say, ‘When you’re ready to do some of that research, let me know, I’m interested. Either do me, or let me help,’” he said. “I think that’s awesome because I was their age when I got into it, so if they get into it maybe they’ll be a professor too someday — so they’ll kind of carry on the family tradition.”

Researching cognitive and emotional processing, or the automatic biological response to the structure and content of a message, Sparks uses negatively and positively arousing images to measure a persons’ likelihood of remembering a message. Sparks said the human body has a natural physiological response to images because it cannot discern between fiction and reality.

Sparks said this natural response was designed to protect, but also can help an individual remember images.

“My research generally focuses on how we can use sex and humor in public service announcements to get people to pay attention,” he said. “Traditionally, in messages related to STDs, they try to use fear appeals to communicate a message, but nothing is much more effective than sexual appeals to talk about sex.”

Sparks said he hopes his research can make a difference by helping individuals and companies alike have a better understanding of themselves and others.

“I hope in the end my research provides useful explanations because that’s really what we’re in the business of — we’re in the business of trying to explain human cognitive and emotional processing of media messages, and the reason we want to do that is to promote social and financial growth.”

News Presentation Class Changes
By Hannah Moore Cruz

Journalism students taking news presentation classes are preparing for the workplace by switching from using Dreamweaver to Wordpress, a Web publishing and blog platform used by news outlets such as CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Randy Reddick, the journalism department chair, said the switch from Dreamweaver to Wordpress will give students more practical experience in the classroom applicable to the workplace.

“We want on-line experience to be as much like they’ll be using in the real world as possible,” he said.

Reddick said the transition has been relatively easy for students, and he hopes students will feel more prepared for the workplace because of it.

“Students in Dr. Saathoff’s news presentation class started using Wordpress, and I looked at a lot of the stuff they’ve done and most of them jumped right in — maybe a half dozen issues but when you consider all they’re doing that’s not much.”

wordpress logo


Winning Ad Team
By Ashley Pennington
ad team group photo

The College of Media & Communication Ad Team was proud to bring home bronze for their yearlong case study and pitch for State Farm Insurance.

The Ad Team won third place against 17 other schools in the competitive District 10 American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition.

The Ad Team’s adviser, Shannon Bichard, associate professor of advertising, said she was very proud of her 17 students’ dedication, creativity and case study. The teams are responsible for creating a campaign book, a 20-minute theatrical pitch to the client, and producing materials to supplement their work. Bichard said the Ad Team even used a remote control car this year.

“They created a huge book with media highlights, and also tried to incorporate ‘bells and whistles,’” Bichard said. “It was definitely visually recognizable with the comic strip themes.”

Lately, the target market has been young adults, Bichard said, but this has been hard to apply considering the challenges clients like State Farm Insurance face. She said it has branded itself old fashioned.

“We didn’t want to do some silly campaign that did not align with their reputation. It needed to be true to their image,” Bichard said.

Therefore, the Ad Team’s theme this year followed a comic book style with an old detective, black and white and red-accented color scheme. Bichard said the book was unique from the other teams because it was focused on the agent’s perspective.

Bichard said she has been leading the Ad Team for about eight years. Each year she tries to interview a variety of students, majors and ages for coveted team positions. The team is comprised of 15 to 18 students, and then divided into four groups, with an account executive. She said she encourages all students to apply for positions in the future.

By Ashley Pennington

In 2003, Texas Tech alumnus Marc Mousseau, a 1986 journalism graduate, and his wife, Lydia, created Moose Displays & Logistics, a full-service exhibit design house in Atlanta. Ga.

The company helps clients design and deliver their messages for face-to-face marketing at trade shows and events.

“Creating marketing vehicles for trade shows and in-store use is multi-faceted within the highly competitive business-to-business marketing communication industry,” Mousseau said.

“At Moose Displays & Logistics we are exhibit strategists assisting marketing managers to design vehicles and sets to relay their company’s marketing and advertising messages on the highly competitive trade show floor,” Mousseau said. “Most exhibit strategists don’t just build the exhibits, we become a jack-of-all-trades.”

“To be successful one needs to be part designer, part engineer, part carpenter, and part advertising or marketing professional,” he said about his profession. “If you are not good at [everything] you do, you won’t last long.”

The trade show industry has two facets, Mousseau said. The exhibitor, who markets products and services, and the exhibit producer, who works behind the scenes strategizing and designing displays, graphics and multi-media messages, often for multiple companies simultaneously.

Mousseau said working in this industry can be challenging because every project is different.

“As a ‘point man’ for major trade shows, corporate, political and economic entities, such as American Express or APM terminals and the CIA, expect you to have knowledge and proficiency in exhibit design, graphics design and production,” he said.

photo of Marc Mousseau
Global Film Initiative
By Hannah Moore Cruz
global lens logo

After learning about the Global Film Initiative in 2004 while doing research on independent film distribution in the United States, Robert Peaslee, assistant professor of electronic media and communications in the College of Media & Communication, was inspired to bring foreign films to Texas Tech.

Peaslee said he hopes to accomplish exactly what the series was put together for – to promote cross-cultural understanding through cinema.

With generous financial support from the Department of Electronic Media & Communications, the Institute for Hispanic and International Communication, and the Cross-Cultural Academic Advancement Center, Texas Tech hosted the GFI’s program in 2009 starting with three films of a 10-part series.

In 2010 Texas Tech became the only university in Texas to host the full 2010 series of 10 films from different countries including Vietnam, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Iran, India, Serbia, China, South Africa and Algeria.

Peaslee said cinema provides a special platform to communicate cultural awareness, which would not be available elsewhere.

“Our news media often don’t give us a very three-dimensional or contextual understanding of folks in faraway places,” he said, “and I think movies are a way that we can learn a lot of truth about other people’s experiences in the world, even if they are mostly fictional texts.”

After the screening of each film, Peaslee said, the College hosted a panel discussion involving experts throughout the University in response to the films to enrich cross-cultural education.

Peaslee said the GFI serves a greater purpose beyond the College and University.

“The series serves a more general need for the Lubbock community, in that there are precious few opportunities to see any independent or foreign film on a big screen,” he said.

The College will host a Global Lens Film Festival July 23 through July 25 showing all 10 films including an 11th film known as the “Chairman’s Choice,” a film chosen from an earlier series. All screenings will take place in Mass Comm Room 101 and are free of charge. Some films may contain adult content. Please e-mail for specifics regarding the festival.

For employment and internship opportunities, as well as more information about the GFI see


Previous Issues

May 2010