Converging News

April 2014

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In this issue of Converging News:


Dean's Note

Dear Friends of and Colleagues in the College of Media & Communication:

David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.

Dean David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D.

These months, Texas Tech University and our college meet many prospective students — high schoolers — and their parents. We greet them and reach out to them. And, of course, no family or freshman is the same. We cite many of the advantages of Texas Tech and the college, from our unparalleled research facilities to our dedicated faculty and staff. One feature of a Texas Tech education also worth highlighting: Our value. Many families are quite rightly concerned about the cost of a college education. But just looking at the price of tuition and textbooks alone is sometimes misleading.

It's good to compare. At Texas Tech, for example, our base tuition for even an out-of-state student is lower than in-state tuition in many other states. Second, our advising staff and faculty are dedicated to students getting their degrees in a timely and efficient manner—that means fewer tuition payments. Finally, Lubbock has a lower cost-of-living than many other areas. The result? According to one survey: "Among the top 100 ‘best value public colleges' listed, Texas Tech is 11th in the group in students graduating with the lowest average debt at just more than $18,000.

We never pretend we are the only media and communication program for everyone. But we are very, very good. And you can come to Texas Tech, earn a degree, and accumulate minimal or modest debt.

A news professional told me about a graduate he met from a big name northeastern private college who just got his journalism degree and racked up some $120,000 in student loan debt. I would argue he was ill-served and ill-advised, devastatingly so. Here at CoMC we know we can achieve high quality without breaking families... and we aim to keep providing such high value!

David D. Perlmutter

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




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Integrated Communications Campaigns Client: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
by Alicia Thomas, photos by David Vaughn

Liz Gardner, Ph.D., selected a for-profit client for her campaigns course this semester. Because she believes a class is more engaging with a for-profit client, she reached out to The Own Group and selected Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

The integrated communications master’s level course, which is similar to both the public relations and advertising undergraduate campaigns courses, is structured to focus on all types of strategic communications, including adverting, public relations, product packaging and graphic design.

Gardner said the class used a basic campaign model. Students started with a situation analysis, moved into gathering original research, and are currently conducting focus groups and interviews to supplement their research information. Toward the end of the semester, students will turn their research into strategic recommendations to pitch to the client.

“In my experience, if we select a client who students are excited about, they tend to find the class more interesting and produce higher quality work,” Gardner said. “It helps give students that extra motivation than just the grade from a course.”

“It’s exciting to actually do research that contributes to more than an academic paper,” said Matthew VanDyke, a student in the course. “We’re applying theory in practical situations, and it’s exciting to think that perhaps the research we complete could influence business decisions, and the way Alamo Drafthouse Cinema communicates to audiences and reaches those audiences. It’s nice to know what you’re producing has a meaningful influence.”

The four teams are comprised of Texas Tech students from the College of Media & Communication, Interdisciplinary Studies, Exercise and Sports Science, as well as students from other universities. Gardner said students bring unique skill sets to their team.

The class’s collaborative efforts, especially in the research phase, have generated many ideas, VanDyke said. He has particularly appreciated receiving exposure to every aspect of campaign planning.

Gardner said, “I find the creativity is very strong. I’m impressed with the master’s students because they benefit by bringing a high level of experience into the classroom, which translates into some unique ideas. The teams are distinct in their approaches, and I’ve been impressed with the creativity.”

VanDyke said the goals of the client include understanding their target audience and reasons why this audience attends movies and particular movie theaters, the scope of the audience’s awareness and opinions of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, and how the audience uses media.

“The Alamo team, including Triple Tap Ventures and The Owen Group, has been generous and involved in the work students are doing,” Gardner said. “It’s always a pleasure to work with a client who sees the value in what you’re doing and wants to contribute.”




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Career Development Conference
video by Ben Jarvis




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Ben Jarvis' Internship with the National Association of Television Program Executives
by Alicia Thomas, photos courtesy Ben Jarvis

Ben Jarvis, senior media strategies major, attended the National Association of Television Program Executives conference in Miami, Fla., Jan. 27-29.

As one of 40 interns selected from around the world, Jarvis was there to help the NATPE administration manage and run the conference. He said interns escorted VIPs, pointed attendees in the right direction, and passed out supplies.

Ben Jarvis and NATPE interns group photo on NATPE speaker stage.

Ben Jarvis and NATPE interns group photo on NATPE speaker stage.

"A lot of the times when you're doing these activities, you get to meet industry professionals from companies such as Discovery, YouTube, Google and Lion's Gate," Jarvis said. "For example, I was handing out promotional bags, and I got to meet some professionals from Discovery, as well as a former YouTube employee who started his own company in media management."

Todd Chambers, Ph.D., and other professors have attended NATPE conferences throughout the years as part of a faculty fellowship program. He said he was excited to see students such as Ben getting involved because it's an exciting time for electronic media.

"For Ben to have had this experience is great," said Chambers, who wrote Jarvis' NATPE recommendation letter. "He really represents the type of student that we want here in the college. He's got entrepreneurial spirit, a creative eye, and he's just extremely talented. It's great to have him represent Texas Tech at the conference."

Jarvis said the NATPE conference was a forum for companies to buy and sell media. There were also daily panels where interns could attend and contribute to discussions with industry leaders.

At one of the panels discussing industry research and mobile devices, Jarvis said he spoke with a panelist about consumer television watching. Jarvis, who had just taken Research Methods, explained what he learned in the course regarding television-viewing habits. He said this conversation was a really memorable moment and he enjoyed exchanging the information.

Ben Jarvis with the creator of Boardwalk Empire and writer of The Wolf of Wall Street, Terence Winter.

Ben Jarvis with the creator of Boardwalk Empire and writer of The Wolf of Wall Street, Terence Winter.

"Another takeaway was learning that the entire media industry is shrinking, not from a scale perspective, but globally," Jarvis said. "There was a plethora of countries at NATPE, and it was amazing to see how many of these countries were there buying and selling the same types of media or making similar deals with television studios."

At the end of each day, interns were invited to attend some type of after-party where they could meet network professionals, exchange business cards, and further their connections. Jarvis said in addition to these meetings, there were multiple Facebook Intern Alumni groups with which to continue networking opportunities.

"I've reached out to a few people I met at NATPE," Jarvis said. "I hope to continue discussions with them, whether from a research perspective or an actual production standpoint."

Jarvis was recommended to apply for this weeklong internship by a classmate and former NATPE intern, Taylor Shofner. Jarvis said he was surprised how few students apply for this opportunity because he thinks "...it's the most exciting thing you can do in your undergraduate career."

"I think every major within our college would benefit from attending NATPE," Jarvis said. "The media industry is shrinking and it's becoming international. Everyone is a part. You need to know what's going on in each section of media to stay ahead, to put yourself and your company ahead of everyone else."




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Minute to Mentor: Liz Gardner, Ph.D.
video by Ben Jarvis

Liz Gardner, Ph.D., takes a minute to provide some tips to help you stay ahead of the game.

Click here to view an archive of our Minute to Mentor series.





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Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication Professors Share Photos
by Alicia Thomas, photos by David Vaughn
Advertising department chairperson Shannon Bichard, Ph.D., shares her photographs with Sami Hicks.

Advertising department chairperson Shannon Bichard, Ph.D., shares her photographs with Sami Hicks.

The College of Media & Communication has invited all faculty and staff to participate in displaying personal photos outside their office doors.

Dean David Perlmutter said he discovered this idea when visiting a graduate student at an advertising agency in Austin.

"I thought it was a fun way for people to express some of their personality," Perlmutter said. "It also can be seen as more open and inviting to students."

The purpose of the display is to "humanize" faculty members and make the college seem less institutional and more personable. Perlmutter said he recognized an opportunity for faculty to be more open to students because he felt many students might be shy toward their professors. Ideally, the photos can lead to a conversation.

Jo Grant, M.A., said she chose to participate because with a college full of creative people, she thought the walls were too blank. Each of her photos reflects a memory and hobby.

Current faculty and staff participating include: Shannon Bichard, Ph.D., Erik Bucy, Ph.D., Bill Dean, Ed.D., Olan Farnall, Ph.D., Liz Gardner, Ph.D., Kristi Gilmore, Ph.D., Jo Grant, M.A., Geoffrey Graybeal, Ph.D., Andy King, Ph.D., David Perlmutter, Ph.D., Eric Rasmussen, Ph.D., and Annie Ruland.




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Crisis Communication Short Course
video by Ben Jarvis and Hannah Westbrook

Course Description: Linda Rutherford, vice president of communication and outreach at Southwest Airlines, will take students through several real-world crisis scenarios to learn methods in practice today for effective crisis communication, including strategies deployed, an overview of multi-channel response, and the opportunity to manage a true scenario in real time.




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Tech PR visits Dallas
by Alicia Thomas, photo courtesy Tech PR
Students at Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Tech PR members at Hill+Knowlton Strategies

, a student organization aiming to prepare members for careers in communications, traveled to Dallas on Friday, March 7, to tour local public relations companies and network with industry professionals.

The day started with a conference at AT&T's headquarters. Students were given a tour of the building and a chance to hear Brad Burns, vice president of global media relations, explain AT&T's overall public relations landscape and media relations focus.

"I enjoyed visiting the AT&T headquarters and seeing the social media monitoring system," said Kelly Linthicum, Tech PR's vice president of finance. "It's one of a kind, and I think it's interesting to see how a company that large can track what the public is saying about its brand in real time all over the world."

Texas Tech alumni joined Tech PR members at AT&T to give presentations regarding their experiences in the public relations field. Kay Jackson, a 1983 advertising graduate, discussed lessons she has learned and how she started her own business. Casey Welch, a 2007 public relations graduate, encouraged students to apply for the Southwest Airlines' NoLimits Internship and gave insight about some of the company's creative campaigns.

During the afternoon, students broke into groups to tour two of the following agencies: HCK2 Partners, Hill+Knowlton, Ketchum, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Edelman and M/C/C.

"I really enjoyed being able to see a variety of companies. It gave me a real-world look at prospective jobs after graduation," said Brady Bacchus, a senior public relations student who participated in the trip. "I enjoyed the group-oriented structure of the events and learning from Texas Tech alumni in the field."

At the end of the day, students, agency employees and Tech alumni were invited to a networking social to exchange thoughts about the day's activities and speakers.

"My biggest takeaway was the importance of media relations," Linthicum said. "Every representative who spoke to our group mentioned that without strong relationships with the media, whatever you're trying to promote will not receive coverage."

"It's groups like Tech PR that make our college the best and provide great networks for students of all majors," Bacchus said.




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