Texas Tech University

Converging News

September 2015

In this issue of Converging News:

Dean's Note

Dear CoMC Friends:

David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.
Dean David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.

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.

Dean Perlmutter speaking to ROTC students
Dean Perlmutter speaking to ROTC students
Dean Perlmutter and ROTC getting their Guns Up

Best Wishes,

David D. Perlmutter

David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.
Professor and Dean


Advertising Graduate Featured On ABC Family's 'Job or No Job'
By Rachel Blevins

Christina Gutierrez
Christina Gutierrez

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 after college.

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 church.

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 finale.

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, Inc.

“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.”

Christina Gutierrez
Christina Gutierrez

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

Kaitlin Kravik
Kaitlin Kravik

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 circle.”

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.

Kaitlin Kravik on the Jumbotron
Kaitlin Kravik on the Jumbotron

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

Lauren Locke on the Meridith Vieira Show
Lauren Locke on the Meridith Vieira Show

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.

Lauren Locke
Lauren Locke

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

Students learn more about the CoMC organizations
Students learn more about the CoMC organizations

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.

Student talking to professor

“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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