Texas Tech University

Converging News

August 2016

In this issue of Converging News:

Dean's Note

Dear CoMC Friends:

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

What was the most exciting thing you did this summer? For more than 150 Texas middle schoolers and high schoolers, we hope it was attending a summer camp for a week with us at Texas Tech.

As you know, in the last three years we have greatly increased our recruiting efforts toward pre-college students, their parents, and high school guidance counselors. One means for their getting to know the College of Media & Communication and our innovative curriculum, expert faculty and staff, and pathways to careers beyond just started in Summer 2016. We offered three one-week summer camps that drew students from as far away as the Texas-Mexico border and Houston.

The camps focused on fun, intellectual stimulation, and skills training.

Minecrafter Camp took the hugely popular digital game as a starting point for learning about programming and coding, storytelling, creativity, decision-making, and collaboration.

Sports Media Camp for high school students centered on visual storytelling in the sports industry, including hands-on experience editing sports-action footage, learning about interviewing techniques, mobile device production, and creating a story package. (Both of these camps were offered in partnership with the university's IDEAL Program within the Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity & Community Engagement.)

Speech and Debate Camp (cohosted with the Texas University Interscholastic League, regional office) featured debate, extemporaneous speaking, and acting/interpretation events with the guidance of high school coaches, successful former competitors, and members of the TTU Forensics program – which is part of CoMC's Communication Studies Department.

Reviews of the camps from participants and their parents or guardians were strongly positive. They reported that the camps were both "super fun" and a deep learning experience with clear future applications for careers and life – which we like to think is a good capsule description of our Media & Communication majors.

We are already making plans to renew the camps next year and perhaps add some in other areas. We hope more pre-college students (and their parents or guardians) will get to know who we are and what value we provide at CoMC and Texas Tech for their future.

Best wishes,

David D. Perlmutter

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

Media Strategies Major Interns with High Noon Entertainment


Alixandra Haley
Alixandra Haley

Senior media strategies major Alixandra Haley spent the summer working as a production intern at High Noon Entertainment, and she said the first step towards finding the internship was taking the time to research.

While she has gained experience in sports broadcasting working as the lead content producer and a host for “Double T Insider,” Haley said she wanted to pursue an internship that was outside of her comfort zone. After turning down offers to work with two professional sports teams, she began to research High Noon Entertainment when she noticed the company's logo at the end of an episode of the HGTV show “Fixer Upper.”

“Anyone who knows me knows that I am a reality TV junkie—from shows like ‘The Bachelor,' to ‘The Voice,' to ‘Cake Boss,' I enjoy keeping up with them all,” Haley said. “The production side of entertainment TV has always interested me, but I've never had the chance to actually see the process up close and personal.”

When she did not initially find listings for internships with High Noon Entertainment on their website, Haley said she looked up the company's human resources department on Linked In.

“I wanted to reach out to them and learn from the people at High Noon because I was shocked at how many successful programs they produced. There are very few production companies that have big names across networks for consecutive years,” Haley said. “They were not a one hit wonder kind of production company.”

Jody Roginson, an assistant public relations professor in the College of Media & Communication and the faculty adviser for “Double T Insider,” said she was impressed by Haley's ability to take feedback and improve while working on the show and by her motivation and drive in the classroom.

“She proved herself to be a self-directed student and one who paid attention to details and instructions and to deadlines,” Roginson said. “Those things are so important for career success. Alix Haley is one of those students who makes it so easy to love this job!”

Alixandra Haley outside of High Noon
Alixandra Haley

Haley's perseverance paid off, and she was offered a summer internship with High Noon in Denver. She said one of her favorite parts of the experience was working with a team she described as personable, honest and encouraging.

“I've worked with a production assistant, associate producer, the lead of development, the caster for Freeform and Animal Planet, and a line producer,” Haley said. “One of the things I'll treasure most about my time here is getting to learn where people come from, why they wanted to work in television, and how they got their ‘foot in the door' because it can be done in so many ways.”

Working as a production intern for “Good Bones,” a show that airs on HGTV and features a mother/daughter team remodeling houses in Indianapolis, Haley said one of her main duties was working with “hot sheets,” which are documents that give a summary of daily events.

“I was responsible for going through each hot sheet and organizing that information on a Google Doc file that I have made for each episode,” Haley said. “The purpose of organizing all of this information into a document for each episode is so that when the show's writers begin writing they are in a convenient situation to see the start to finish of the house's progress, which will ultimately help them in building the narrative.”

Haley said another aspect of her job involved sitting in on Skype interviews with potential hosts and/or talents for prospective shows.

“I never even thought about that being a job, and after spending some time with the casting and development team, it's a position I'm seriously considering pursuing after graduation,” Haley said.

Haley said one of the most valuable things she has learned from working at High Noon Entertainment is that it takes a dedicated team working together in order to put a TV show together.

“The biggest benefit of working at High Noon Entertainment has been the ability to learn from each side of the production spectrum,” Haley said. “This is neat because I've basically gotten to learn how the making of a TV show comes together, from coming up with program ideas, pitching them to a network, making sizzles and pilots, casting the leads for the shows, receiving all the notes and footage from the field to log them, sending the footage off to transcribers, and synching the scripts to the footage so that they read like closed captioning.”

Geoffrey Graybeal, an assistant public relations professor in CoMC, said he was impressed by Haley's passion, and he described her as a student who stands out and makes Texas Tech proud in all of her endeavors.

“Alix is inquisitive, energetic and creative,” Graybeal said. “She brings a passion to entertain and inform to all of her projects, from the classroom to applied industry work.”

The “Double T Insider” Prepares for Third Season with Fox Sports


Double T Insider
Double T Insider

The “Double T Insider” completed its second full season of 38 episodes airing on Fox Sports in Spring 2016, marking a legacy of student-production within the Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication that has grown since the show's inception in 2012.

Jody Roginson, faculty adviser for DTI, said the show has developed a lot since it started out as a series produced for YouTube that later partnered with Texas Tech Athletics.

“During this past season, we actually transitioned the show even further because our partnership with the athletics department has grown stronger, and some of those changes are behind the scenes,” Roginson said. “Our workflow has shifted, and now we're able to produce more and better quality segments and use the professional on-air talent that the athletics department has access to.”

Roginson said she thinks the show provides valuable experience for students because, while some students might know how to operate a camera, edit video and write a script, knowing how to produce high-quality work on a demanding deadline is another challenge entirely.

“We've developed a great process for scaffolding the learning for students before we dump huge expectations on them so that students can be successful,” Roginson said. “You have to be dedicated in the process to make it to working on the TV show itself. But, once our students get there, it's a tremendous experience.”

Bret Brown, a senior media strategies major and the senior producer for DTI, said he began volunteering with the show his freshman year because he saw it as a way to be involved in a student organization while pursuing his love of sports.

“Right away, after joining the ‘Double T Insider,' they put me to work,” Brown said. “I started out doing voice over work, but I quickly began making packages and even hosting the show on camera. Now I am going into my second season as the senior producer of the show along with being an editor and an on-camera host.”

Brown said he has watched the show flourish during his time at Texas Tech, from a small group of students to 30 members and four paid student staff. Even with the show's growth, Brown said he loves the fact that the current cast has the same passion for sports media as the original cast.

Erica Taylor, an assistant professor of practice in journalism, said that as a former DTI member, she loves working with the show because the students involved are willing to take big risks in order to achieve great rewards.

“What many people have the opportunity of seeing is a weekly finished product on television by students of the ‘Double T Insider,'” Taylor said. “What many people aren't able to see is the amount of time and effort that students put into the show in so many ways. Students who are a part of the Double T Insider aren't just producers, or video editors, or writers. They are also leaders, motivators and teachers.”

Fall 2016 Incoming Ph.D. Student Cohort

Oluseyi Adegbola
Oluseyi Adegbola

Oluseyi Adegbola. MA from University of Nebraska Omaha. Background in PR and print media. Interested in family communication, social media and international communication among other things. 

Santiago Arias
Santiago Arias

Santiago Arias. MA from Texas Tech University. Experience in teaching both Spanish and English. Also has worked in sales and broadcast journalism in Ecuador. Interested in participatory action research in media literacy as it relates to Hispanic audiences.

Janice Cho
Janice Cho

Janice Cho. MA from Brigham Young University. Has worked for Ogilvy PR in Seoul and has taught both English and Korean. Interested in research related to strategic communication, pop culture and race, ethnicity and gender.

Peter Lindmark
Peter Lindmark

Peter Lindmark. MA from Cleveland State University. Has taught college-level public speaking and research writing in Ohio. Also has professional experience in media relations in the gaming industry. Research interests center on selective exposure as well as product marketing in gaming.

Samer Melhelm
Samer Melhelm

Samer Melhelm. MA from Texas Tech University. Has a nursing license/degree in Jordan and served as a teaching assistant in public speaking at Texas Tech. Also has worked with international youth non-profit organizations. Interested in organizational communication and effectiveness in the area of nongovernmental organizations and Middle Eastern youth.

Jonathan Villarreal
Jonathan Villarreal

Jonathan Villarreal. MA from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.  Has taught communication at Angelo State University.  Interested in gender equity and video games among other things. 

CoMC Graduate Interns with Television Academy Foundation


Jenabeth Morgan holding an Emmy
Jenabeth Morgan

After earning her master's in mass communications from Texas Tech University in May 2016, Jenabeth Morgan spent the summer working as a digital entertainment intern with the Television Academy Foundation.

Morgan said she found out about the internship by networking with the Tech Association of Electronic Media, and she was intrigued by the opportunity to work with seasoned professionals in the entertainment industry.

“I have always wanted to work on the digital side of the film industry and there just so happened to be a digital entertainment category among the 31 different categories offered,” Morgan said. “I knew that the opportunity to live in Los Angeles, California, and meet the best media creators in the business would definitely give me an edge in the work field.”

Robert Peaslee, chair of the Department of Journalism & Electronic Media, described Morgan as a diligent student and said he was not surprised to see her land such a prestigious internship.

"Jenabeth is one of the most hardworking and humble students I've had the pleasure to teach,” Peaslee said. “It is of no surprise to me that she has landed so plum an internship, and I have every confidence that during her time in LA she will reflect the excellence of the College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech.”

Cam Stone, an assistant professor of practice in journalism & electronic media, said that as a student, Morgan was “a real go-getter” who sought to fully understand the objectives that were presented in class.

Jenabeth Morgan
Jenabeth Morgan

“Jenabeth was always extremely easy to work with, and she made sure to ask intelligent questions,” Stone said. “Her process seemed to follow the steps of working through whatever the problem at hand was as far as she could, diligently pondering the situation, and then asking additional thoughtful questions about a potential solution or set of solutions to the problem.”   

During her internship, Morgan said she gained experience by doing social media research for the Emmy Awards with Galan Entertainment, and by scripting videos for a new online platform created by People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly with Time Inc.

“One cool thing that I got to do was attend the Emmy Nominations, where I saw Lauren Graham and Anthony Anderson present the Emmy nominees,” Morgan said. “While at the nominations, I met Bob Bain, an executive producer for various award shows. He actually hooked me up with free tickets to the ‘Teen Choice Awards!'”

Morgan said her biggest takeaways from her internship include learning more about working in the digital media industry and networking with professionals in potential careers.

“This internship has helped me a lot with learning more about how the entertainment business works and how digital media is created in the nation's top media outlets,” Morgan said. “I have made various professional connections that I know will help me with future careers. I am learning creative and professional skills that will help prepare me for my career in entertainment media.”

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