Converging News

In this issue of Converging News:

Former Texas Tech Graduate Retires From a Fulfilling Career in the Sports Industry
By Andrew Hart, photo courtesy of Bob Condron

Bob Condron From playing Little League baseball, to working on the United States Olympic Committee, former Texas Tech graduate Bob Condron has made a life-long career working in the sports industry.

Condron earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Texas Tech in 1968 before working as an assistant sports information director at Texas Tech from 1968 to 1971. Condron ultimately ended up on the U.S. Olympic Committee where he has worked for 28 years. He was named an Outstanding Alumnus of Texas Tech University's School of Mass Communications in 1999 and inducted into the College of Media & Communication' Hall of Fame in 2009.

"My bachelor's degree from Texas Tech helps me every day. My teachers at Texas Tech were more than somebody in a suit standing in front of a class," Condron said. "They were my friends, they cared about what I did."

Condron said his love affair with sports goes all the way back from when he ran track in first grade, played Little League baseball, and worked on a golf course at the age of 15.

"Mowing those greens as a 15-year old, fertilizing, mowing fairways, picking up driving range balls at 1 a.m. made me fall in love with the game and it helped me become a pretty good player at one time in my life," Condron said.

Condron announced his intention to retire at the end of the year from the U.S. Olympic Committee. He is just short of spending 16 Olympic games as the director of media for the U.S. Olympic Team.

"I have made thousands of friends for the U.S. Olympic Committee and for the United States in this position," Condron said. "I believe I've done that by being honest, being able to laugh, and by being kind to whoever walks in front of me. I'll take that away from this fantastic experience."

Condron's memories include an exciting story about when he picked up 16-year old gymnast, Mary Lou Retton, for a press conference the morning after her gold medal win in the 1984 Olympic Games.

"Her and her coach, Bela Karolyi, and several of the U.S. Olympic Committee media staff, including me, were in a car at a stop light and this little kid looked into the car and recognized Mary Lou," Condron said. "He pointed at her then did a perfect back flip. Mary Lou almost hyperventilated laughing so hard. It was a Kodak moment for sure."

After Condron retires, he said he plans on continuing some of his beloved hobbies such as fly-fishing in Colorado streams, trying to shoot his age in golf, photography, writing, and sleeping past 6:30 a.m. every morning.

"I'm not dying, just retiring, and will do some work for the International Olympic Committee, possibly helping some of the Olympic sports," Condron said.

Condron said he comes back to Lubbock at least once a year to attend the national board meetings and to see some Texas Tech friends.

"I feel like I'm home when I see that flat land that disappears only with the curvature of the Earth and smell the smell of a thousand cows downwind from somewhere near the Strip," Condron said. "It all makes me feel part of something. The best people in this galaxy are in and around Lubbock."

MCOM Student Recognized for Her Investigative Reporting
By Andrew Hart, photo by Tarryn Lambert
Ioanna Makris

After writing an investigative report about off-campus crime in her advanced reporting class that was later published in The Daily Toreador, Ioanna Makris was recognized by The Light of Day Project by receiving this year's President's Future Journalist Award.

Makris, a senior journalism major from Plano, Texas, and co-worker, Henry Ramos, had worked on the off-campus crime article for more than three months.

"The award was kind of unexpected and it felt good to know that my work was being recognized," Makris said. "I'm still learning and trying to adapt and figure out the best way to have my writing style be. It's a good experience and definitely something I'm proud of."

The Freedom of Information of Texas organization promotes The Light of Day Project, which is aimed at giving college-level journalism students practical, real-life experience working with open records to develop investigative article and data-driven projects.

Makris said that the organization recognized her for specifically all the open records that she and her partner, Henry Ramos, had to file. She said that they had to go through many loopholes in order to get those requests.

"I think what specifically wowed the committee was the fact that Henry and I filed open records requests with Texas Tech University asking for all the paper work and the audit that they had a few years back," Makris said. "We got pages and pages of paperwork and it took weeks."

In 2002 to 2003 Texas Tech was audited by the U.S. Department of Education regarding the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The work honored by the The Light of Day Project by the Freedom of Information of Texas, in conjunction with The Texas Tribune, was conducted to determine if a serious problem exists with the Clery Act in that the legislation does not require the reporting of off-campus crime against students. Makris found that in 2009, approximately 1,600 students were victimized off campus that were not included in Texas Tech's federally mandated crime disclosure report, which only includes on-campus crimes.

Over the summer, Makris interned at The Texas Tribune in Austin, Texas. While working at The Texas Tribune, she had an article published in The New York Times about strip clubs.

"I would love to continue to do investigative reporting. I fell in love with it during this project," Makris said. "I like making people aware of something that is hidden because I don't think people ever realized how much crime there is off campus."

Texas Tech Public Media Coming to the College of Media & Communication
By Nick Stockland, KTXT logo designed by Ryan Vatzlavick

KTXT 88.1 FM The College of Media & Communication is adding to its resources with the addition of KTXT-FM from Texas Tech Public Media.

KTXT-FM is now broadcast directly from the College of Media & Communication. Its first official broadcast from the new location was held August 19, a 1-0 victory for the Lady Raiders in a soccer match against Rice. Derrick Ginter, director of Texas Tech Public Media, said he is excited about making the transition.

"It's very exciting, also very busy," he said. "Changing our reporting lines is merely the beginning. We have new studio facilities and more space to accomplish our mission of serving Texas Tech and the South Plains. We can't wait."

Ginter said the new studio space is a major improvement for KTXT-FM.

"Not only will we have the studios we need to operate, but there will also be collaborative efforts with the Department of Journalism and the Department of Electronic Media & Communications," he said. "We are planning a shared working newsroom that will allow students an opportunity to work in a real news environment, while also providing the functions of news and audio production that the station will need in order to serve its audience."

Ginter said the relocation gives students an increased opportunity to work hands-on in the broadcasting field. He said the proximity of being within the same space as the college would be an added benefit, as the new location allows better access and visibility to the students, staff and faculty.

Todd Chambers, department chairperson of Electronic Media & Communications, said a staff of students have taken leadership positions at KTXT-FM. The student staff, which consists of one graduate and three undergraduates, will take the positions of program director, news director, sports director and producer.

According to TechAnnounce, Texas Tech Public Media is a listener-supported broadcast service that provides public radio programming to the Texas Tech community, the city of Lubbock, and the South Plains region. Programming includes classical and jazz music, as well as National Public Radio's "Morning Edition," "All Things Considered," and "Car Talk."

New Enrollment Numbers and Their Impact on the College
By Andrew Hart, photo by Kent Sparkman

The College of Media & Communication seems to be ever changing in numerous ways, including the new variance in its enrollment numbers.

The official 2011 enrollment numbers for the College of Media & Communication is 1,405 undergraduate and 71 graduate students. This was a slight change from the 2010 enrollment numbers of 1,454 undergraduates and 66 graduates.

Mass Communications building Although the slight decline in the undergraduate numbers may come as a surprise to some, the College of Media & Communication' dean, Jerry Hudson, thinks otherwise.

"The concern that some faculty have is that the enrollment numbers are going down, but in return, the student credit hours are going up," Hudson said. "We are teaching students more than we have in the past."

In 2009, the college changed the 40 hours requirement for majors to 58 credit hours. The reason behind this was to no longer require a minor. The dean said that he believes this is one of the silver linings of the small decline in enrollment numbers.

"Three years ago we were limited to 40 hours that our majors could take. We've increased that to 58," Hudson said. "But now, we've got a cross pollination of our own majors taking other departmental courses."

Despite the small decline in the undergraduate enrollment numbers, the graduate program has grown far more quickly than anticipated. The new one-year master's program that is being offered has helped attract more students into the graduate program.

In regard to the next five years, Hudson said he would like to see the college to have about 1,800 to 1,900 students. Because of the College of Media & Communication moving into the old Rawls College of Business Building, Hudson beleives the expansion will help the college achieve its five-year goal of 20 percent growth in enrollment. He also said that he did not want the college to grow too large.

"Even though we plan to grow in a couple years, we still want to keep our student-to-professor relationships personal," Hudson said.

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