Converging News

In this issue of Converging News:

Proposed new Mass Communications degree program to begin Fall 2012
By: Andrew Hart, photos by Tarryn Lambert and Melissa Wofford

Different from all other current degree programs in the College of Media & Communication, the newly proposed Media Strategies degree program offers a new outlook on the study of mass communications.

The proposed Media Strategies degree program, which will be considered by the Board of Regents in February 2012 for final approval, will be a general mass communications program that has an emphasis on critical thinking rather than specific skills.

Dr. Kevin Stoker

Dr. Kevin Stoker

Kevin Stoker, the associate dean for faculty affairs, took the lead on this degree proposal and presented the new program to the Academic Council. He believes the Media Strategies degree will provide an opportunity for students who may not know what specific area of mass communications they want to work in.

"One of the things the College of Media & Communication really wanted to do with this was to give students the freedom to create their own program by using all the available classes out there," Stoker said.

Stoker also mentioned that the generality of the new degree program may attract new students to the College of Media & Communication.

"A lot more students just want to know more about what's happening across the board," Stoker said.

A second reason why Media Strategies will stand out from the current degree programs of the college is the added element of entrepreneurism.

The College of Media & Communication' dean, Jerry Hudson, said the college wants to add an entrepreneurial component to Media Strategies in order for students to learn about the new technology and non-traditional ways of communicating and to turn it into their own business.

Dr. Jerry Hudson

Dr. Jerry Hudson

"If you think in terms of opportunities that will be available within the next five years, it is kind of mind-boggling that some of those haven't even been thought of yet," Hudson said.

The College of Media & Communication has teamed up with the College of Business to offer students in the newly proposed degree program a chance to take five entrepreneurial courses, two of them being required.

"With these new entrepreneurial classes, students will know what it takes to create a new business," Stoker said. "Students will be able to come out of here and think across disciplines and have the ability to turn what they know about mass communications into a business strategy."

Unlike the current 2.75 minimum GPA for the other mass communication degree programs, Media Strategies will only require a minimum 2.25 GPA. The general core of the mass communication classes still will be required.

Ms. Ramsey Goes to Washington
By: Andrew Hart, stock image from

Immediately after reading about the Washington, D.C., Congressional Internship, Logan Ramsey knew that she wanted to participate in the life-changing experience of living and working in the nation's capital.

"Living in a city like Washington, D.C., directly across the street from our nation's capital and working for the United States House of Representatives for an entire semester just sounded like an invaluable opportunity I could not pass up so I decided to apply," Ramsey said.

Each semester, approximately 10 students are chosen to participate in the Washington, D.C., internship program. The Washington, D.C., Congressional Internship was established in 1999 by Texas Tech University President Donald Haragan to provide Texas Tech students who have an interest in government and public policy the chance to participate in public service by observing and contributing to the legislative process. More than 180 Texas Tech students have partaken in the internship program.

White House Logan Ramsey, a senior majoring in public relations from Austin, Texas, already has seen the benefits of the internship to her future career path.

"I am a public relations major and I would definitely say a job in a congressional office is beneficial to my major and any other major out there," Ramsey said. "Our government is composed of so many different aspects and committees so there is definitely something that should spark your interest no matter what your major is."

A typical day at her internship consisted of running errands to and from the capital, booking and giving tours to their constituents and compiling research for current issues.

"We speak with staffers from other offices as well as constituents from our district," Ramsey said. "We must make sure that we are up to date and educated on bills that are about to be voted on or controversial house resolutions related to our district."

Outside of work, one of her favorite experiences while interning in the nation's capital was to explore and get acquainted with the city. Being in a city with public transit helped to achieve the goal of discovering the area.

"Each area has its own personality and feel so it's great that you can be in one area of the city and simply travel to another in a matter of minutes without even having to drive, " Ramsey said. "It's easy to walk to a lot of places you want to go and if you can't walk the Metro is always convenient."

She said the first-hand experiences, insight, and the people she has met from work and outside of work always will be remembered.

"As for advice to other mass communication students, I would definitely recommend applying for this internship," Ramsey said. "It will seriously change your life. I never want to leave Washington, D.C."

Team of Public Relations Students Travel to Dallas
By: Andrew Hart, Photos by Tarryn Lambert

A team of four public relations Texas Tech students, led by Professor John Wirtz, competed in the 2011 student competition sponsored by the Texas Public Relations Association.

The competition was held Nov. 11 at the University of Texas at Dallas along with Texas Public Relations Association's fall Digital Media Summit. Eleven other teams from colleges around Texas attended the competition.

Sara Krueger

Sara Krueger

Texas Christian University, Abilene Christian University and Texas State University were the three 2011 Texas Public Relations Association Student Competition winners in ranking order. Abilene Christian University won best writing quality and the University of Texas at Austin won best critical thinking.

The Texas Tech team consisted of Sara Krueger, Ray Olivas, Trevor Bell, and Madison Peeler. Krueger, a junior majoring in public relations from Fort Worth, Texas, said the team that was chosen to represent Texas Tech was a solid one that worked well together.

"Although we didn't place this year, we were still very excited because we knew we did a very good job," Krueger said.

Competing student teams were given a hypothetical scenario where they had to discuss how they would handle it. The theme of the competition focused on social media in public relations.

"The competition made me more confident to know that when I am thrown into a situation, I can react to it," Krueger said. "Everything I learned here in mass communications I can apply to real-world situations."

Madison Peeler

Madison Peeler

Team member, Madison Peeler, a junior majoring in public relations from Midland, Texas, enjoyed competing and seeing the contrasting styles of work each team produced.

"Going in I didn't really know what to expect. I was kind of intimidated at first but once we got there it was really laid back and you realize it's a bunch of other teams that are in the same place as you are," Peeler said. "It was interesting to see what a bunch of the other teams had to offer."

Since the competition was held with the Texas Public Relations Association Digital Media Summit, students were able to network with industry-related professionals when they were at the luncheon.

"The most beneficial thing that I took away from this opportunity is the networking aspect," Peeler said. "We got to meet a bunch of public relations professionals from all over Texas."

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