One of the early rules you embrace when you become an administrator -- especially
in academia -- is that your job is to shine the spotlight on the achievements of your
students, faculty and staff but never on yourself. I want to break that self-imposed
imperative this once to describe a recent event in my life and career that I think
also illustrates one of the distinctive positives of the College of Media & Communication
and Texas Tech University.
This last week I was delighted and honored to present some of my research on “The
Visual Persuasion Campaign of ISIS: Social Media Recruiting and the Digital Battlefield”
to two classes of cadets at Texas Tech in the U.S. Army ROTC program. A great discussion
ensued. What an amazing group of young people! After the talk, I was presented a TTU
Red Raider Battalion Challenge Coin.
The encounter made me recall that one of the biggest challenges of higher education
institutions is the silos we work within. My father, a career professor, once noted
that it was possible for one researcher/teacher to focus on the same subject for 50
years and be unaware that someone two floors up was doing similar work. Well, ROTC
happens to be in our building, but I was struck by how open they are to engage in
partnerships for mutual enlightenment and education.
That spirit of engagement and curiosity is a rarity in our business but common at
Texas Tech. I noticed that fact here at our college the first time I came to visit
Lubbock for the job interview. A few years earlier, when the faculty and staff moved
into their new quarters, Dean Jerry Hudson brilliantly decided not to segregate faculty
by department but let them choose offices anywhere next to anyone. The outcome has
been an unprecedented amount of organic and productive collaboration on research,
service and teaching for the betterment of our students and our mission. That's the
Texas Tech and CoMC way, and I am so happy to be part of it.
Advertising Graduate Featured On ABC Family's 'Job or No Job' By Rachel Blevins
A College of Media & Communication graduate was featured on the Oct. 1 episode during
the first season of the new ABC Family cable channel series “Job or No Job,” a reality
TV show that follows young adults as they go through the process of seeking a job
Christina Gutierrez graduated from CoMC in May, with a bachelor's in advertising,
and she said that when she pictured her life after college, appearing on a television
show was the farthest thing from her mind. However, she said it was an opportunity
that came up at just the right time.
Growing up in El Paso, Gutierrez said that she was very involved with the church she
attended, Abundant Living Faith Center. While in Lubbock for college, Gutierrez became
involved with a local church, Experience Life, and she said that she always pictured
herself moving back to El Paso and pursuing a career that revolved around her home
Things did not work out as planned, and on the same day Gutierrez found out that her
church wouldn't be hiring when she graduated, she said she also found out about the
casting call for “Job or No Job.”
The show follows one young adult per episode as he or she seeks out a career and goes
to a series of interviews, meeting with “Job Genius” Jane Buckingham in between to
discuss tips and tricks related to the interview process, adjusting to a new city,
and entering the job market.
“I sent them less than a paragraph and told them who I was and where I went to school
and what I wanted to do,” Gutierrez said. After going through a series of interviews
and evaluations, Gutierrez found out that she was selected as a contestant two weeks
before she graduated.
Gutierrez said that she almost didn't make the show because when she found out she
had been chosen, she also found out that she was supposed to fly to New York City
the day before her graduation. She explained that the show's producers were very understanding,
and she was moved from being featured on the premiere to being featured on the series
While at Texas Tech, Gutierrez was a member of Bullet Advertising, CoMC's advertising
student competition team, and she participated in the team's Mary Kay campaign in
2013-2014. Shannon Bichard, Ph.D., chairperson of the Department of Advertising, said
that Gutierrez was both a great student and a great asset to the team.
“Christy was an amazing student and she was always willing to challenge herself to
achieve greatness,” Bichard said. “I appreciated her work ethic and creative ability
– she was truly an asset to the team!”
The episode of “Job or No Job” featuring Gutierrez began filming in July, and she
flew to New York for five days to interview with three major advertising agencies:
Deutsch Inc., Hirshorn Zuckerman Design Group, and Catch 24 Advertising and Design,
“I've lived in El Paso all my life, and then I moved to school in Lubbock, so that
was my first time ever being in New York, and it was insane!” Gutierrez said. “People
tell you that, but you don't really understand it until you're there. I feel like
everyone was on a mission to pursue their passion.”
Gutierrez described her trip as a huge learning experience and said that it has helped
her adjust to the reality of life after college. “It was an opportunity I don't think
I would have found myself in, in any other situation,” she added.
“One thing I learned from this whole experience is that it's so important to just
be yourself,” Gutierrez said. “You only need one person to say ‘Yes' to you, and it's
more important to find somewhere where you're going to be happy and you're going to
thrive, than it is to just have a job and to be content with having the title.”
While college students are typically focused on finding a secure job once they graduate,
Gutierrez said she would encourage them to also focus on molding themselves as individuals,
and finding a career that makes them happy.
“You want that security of knowing that you're taken care of, and that you're wanted,”
Gutierrez said. “I think it's much more important to just be yourself and to show
that to your potential employer. You need to be happy where you're working and you
need to be doing what you love, and that's going to fall into place eventually.”
Journalism Graduate Works As Rangers' In-Game Host, Covers U.S. Open By Rachel Blevins
One journalism graduate from the College of Media & Communication did not waste a
second when it came to launching her career and making her name known in the world
of sports media. She went from working as a student on the “Double T Insider” to working
professionally with the Texas Rangers.
Kaitlyn Kravik earned a bachelor's degree in journalism in August 2015 and began working
as the in-game host for the Rangers baseball team over the summer. She said working
in the world of sports media was something she always wanted to do.
“I grew up a Rangers fan, above anything else,” Kravik said. “Now I'm getting to work
in sports, which is what I've wanted to do for so long now, and it's all coming full
In addition to starting her job with the Rangers this summer, Kravik interned with
ESPN Dallas. She said she spent her days commuting back and forth between the American
Airlines Center in Dallas and the Rangers ballpark in Arlington.
“The days were really long,” Kravik said. “It was a good summer, but it was very busy.
I like being busy though, and I work well when I'm busy. It keeps me inspired.”
Kravik landed the position as the in-game host for the Rangers after she began networking
with Chris DeRuyscher, the senior director of In Park Entertainment for the Texas
Rangers, in November 2014.
As a student at Texas Tech, Kravik was very involved with the “Double T Insider,”
the official sportscast of Texas Tech Athletics that is created by CoMC students.
She started as a reporter in January 2013, and then became a host and content producer.
Kravik said she was also one of the members responsible for pitching the show to Fox
Sports Southwest, where it now airs weekly and is in its second season. She compiled
some of her work from the show and sent it to DeRuyscher, asking if there were any
openings with the Rangers.
While there weren't any spots available at the time, DeRuyscher reached out to Kravik
in March and asked if she was interested in bringing back the position of an in-game
host for the Rangers games.
Kravik noted that it had been five years since there was an in-game host at the Ballpark
in Arlington, which gave her the opportunity to bring a new meaning to the title.
She began working the exhibition games on the weekend during the spring semester.
When it comes to her day-to-day duties, Kravik said she starts the day with a schedule
of events for the game, receives cue cards with bullet points, attends a pre-game
meeting, and then the rest is up to her.
“Everything is live, which is very nerve-racking, especially when you can hear yourself
and there is a bit of a delay,” Kravik said. “It is a lot to get used to, but it is
also a lot of fun, and I enjoy it so much.”
In addition to working with the Rangers, Kravik recently had the opportunity to assist
in ESPN's production of the 2015 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. She said
it started when she was networking with a producer at the MLB network, and everything
seemed to fall into place.
She flew to New York two weeks before the tournament started in August and helped
the ESPN team set up everything to prepare for the broadcast. When the U.S. Open started,
Kravik said she worked as a runner and assistant talent coordinator out of ESPN's
main broadcast suite.
Kravik said she would advise current CoMC students to network as much as possible
while they are in school, especially if they want to go into a profession in broadcast
journalism or sports media. She encouraged them to be both patient and persistent
and to reach out to the professionals in their field of interest.
“Talk to everyone you possibly can and don't be afraid to ask for advice, especially
when it comes to someone who is in the place you want to be,” Kravik said. “That's
what I've done. I've really put myself out there and said ‘This is what I've done.
This is who I am.' I've also asked for advice moving forward.”
In addition to continuing to work with the Rangers, Kravik said she hopes to work
with the Dallas Mavericks as a reporter and video producer this fall.
CoMC Master's Student Interns with Meredith Vieira Show By Rachel Blevins
One master's student in the Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication
is using her final project as an incentive to branch out by moving to New York City
and interning with the “Meredith Vieira Show.”
Lauren Locke earned a bachelor's degree in electronic media & communications in 2013.
After taking a year off to work as a consultant with her sorority, Alpha Phi, she
returned to Texas Tech in fall 2014 to pursue a master's degree in mass communications.
In addition to attending school, Locke worked as a marketing graduate assistant for
the University Career Center. Through the job, she said she learned about NBC's “Campus
2 Career” internship program, and after signing up, she found out about a possible
spot at the “Meredith Vieira Show” by networking with other members of Alpha Phi.
Locke packed up and moved to New York City where she began her fall internship with
the show in August. She said she has loved the experience so far, and as one of six
interns, her routine changes every day.
“My duties change every day, but we all get to be involved with the process of putting
the show together,” Locke said.
She explained that she goes from working as an audience intern, where she gives away
free tickets and checks in the audience members, to working as a studio intern and
making sure everything is prepared for the show's guests, to working as a regular
intern, answering phone calls and running errands.
One of the unique things Locke has the opportunity to do is to submit pitches for
segments on the show. She said she recently became the subject of one of those segments,
and learned that Meredith Vieira has a sense of humor, when she and the other interns
were pranked by Vieira, Regis Philbin and a pig.
Locke said it started out with Vieira telling the show's interns that she needed them
to look after a pig she was fostering. She then told them that the pig's name was
“Regis,” but that Regis Philbin was coming by the studio, and they were not allowed
to reveal the pig's real name.
“I didn't know what was going on at first,” Locke said. “Meredith is such a nice person,
and when she told us she was fostering a pig, we thought nothing of it. But then as
the prank went on, Regis Philbin was so persistent, and he kept staring at me.”
Locke ended up being the one to tell Philbin the pig's real name, and after a stern
Vieira re-entered the room, the interns found out that the joke was on them. Locke
said it was all in good fun, and that the interns had the opportunity to appear on
the show the next day to discuss what happened.
In addition to working with Vieira and getting to meet celebrities like Philbin, Locke
said she has also had the opportunity to work with Lance Bass, who is a panelist on
the show. And she has had encounters with celebrities such as Jimmy Fallon, Brad Paisley
and Justin Bieber, who were in the building to work with other NBC shows.
After she finishes her internship and graduates with her master's degree in December,
Locke said that she would love to continue working with the “Meredith Vieira Show,”
but if that doesn't work out, she hopes to stay in the television industry.
When it comes to advising current Texas Tech students, Locke said she encourages them
to pursue internships, independent studies, and any experience that will prepare them
for the real world.
During her time as a master's student, Locke has done an independent study with MCTV,
the college's weekly student newscast, and during her undergraduate career she did
internships with KCBD News Channel 11 in Lubbock and the Texas Film Commission in
Austin. Locke said that if it weren't for those experiences, she wouldn't be where
she is today.
“My advice for Texas Tech students is to get as much experience as you can and to
meet as many people as you can,” Locke said. “Networking is absolutely huge; that's
how I wound up where I am right now. Do your research on the types of jobs that are
in the industry that you're interested in.”
Locke concluded, “Don't be scared to put yourself out there and to try to get your
foot in the door, even if you don't know exactly what you want to do. You never know
what opportunity will present itself, who you'll meet, or how they'll direct you.”
CoMC Hosts New Student Reception for freshmen and transfer students
The Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication hosted its annual New Student
Reception on Sept. 3, giving freshmen and transfer students an opportunity to network
with fellow students, faculty and staff, and to learn more about student organizations
within the college.
Brianna Maldonado, a freshman journalism major from Dallas, said that she chose Texas
Tech because the campus is gorgeous, the people are kind, and the university makes
her feel like more than just a number.
Alyssa Yount, a freshman public relations major from Fort Worth, Texas, said her great-grandfather
graduated with a degree in engineering from Texas Tech, and always hoped his future
generations of children and grandchildren would attend the university.
Cari Whittenburg, a freshman communication studies major from San Angelo, Texas, and
Bianca Baylon, a sophomore journalism major from Plano, Texas, both said that they
chose to major in CoMC because they are passionate about communication and they enjoy
working with the public.
Whittenburg and Yount said that their favorite class in the college this semester
is Introduction to Mass Communications with Bill Dean, Ph.D., an introductory course
for all CoMC majors.
Yount said, “Dr. Dean is really easy to listen to, and it's really interesting to
hear about all of the different parts of the media and why they are the way they are.”
Representatives from student organizations such as the Society of Professional Journalists,
the Double T Insider, RaiderComm, MCTV and the Bullet advertising team were also present
at the reception.
Kaitlin Bain, a junior journalism and political science major from Houston, and the
president of the Society for Professional Journalists chapter at Texas Tech, said
that she thinks getting involved with organizations is good for students because it
helps them to network with their college community.
“These are the people that you're going to be in your future careers with,” Bain said.
“Being able to call someone up because they were in your college SPJ chapter or college
Association of Women in Communication chapter is a valuable tool for life.”
Brooke Bednarz, a senior public relations major, from Prosper, Texas, and Dylan Smyth,
a senior electronic media and communications major from Austin, Texas, were at the
reception representing the Double T Insider. They noted that the student-produced
sportscast, which airs weekly on Fox Sports Southwest and is the only one of its kind
in the country, offers great real world experience for students.
“I think this is one of the best opportunities in the college in terms of getting
real world experience,” Smyth said. “One graduate is working for the Cowboys and another
is working for the Rangers, so we've already proven that this experience can help
you find a job.”
Ashley Morales, a senior public relations major from Longview, Texas, and the director
of RaiderComm, Texas Tech's student-run public relations firm, said that she thinks
organizations are a great way for students to branch out and to apply what they learn
in the classroom.
“For freshmen, I think it's good for them to get involved in organizations to test
out the water and to find out more about their major,” Morales said. “With us, we
give public relations majors an experience they can't get in the classroom.”
Josh Robinson, the media production manager for CoMC, oversees the creation of the
college's weekly newscast, MCTV. He said that MCTV gives students real world experience
by giving them a feel for what it's like to work in a news station, both behind the
scenes and on camera.
Shannon Bichard, Ph.D., the faculty advisor for the Bullet advertising team, noted
that the experiences students gain while participating in organizations in college
can set them apart when they are looking for a job after graduation.
“I think classroom knowledge is fantastic and it's foundational, but what sets you
apart when you go to get a job is what you've done beyond the classroom,” Bichard
said. “In our college, you have opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities
that match your industry.”
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