Texas Tech University

Converging News

October 2012

In this issue of Converging News:

Electronic Media and Journalism Take Learning to the Next Level
by Sara Krueger, photo by Riannon Rowley

Lily Luo, Ph.D. teaching in a computer lab

One of the many wonderful things about the College of Media & Communication is the opportunity for students to learn about not only their area of interest but also the entire communication industry. News Presentation 1 is an electronic media and journalism class valuable to all students in the college looking to rise above their competition.

Yunjuan Luo, Ph.D., teaches News Presentation 1. She said students must complete Principles of Journalism and News Writing to enroll in the class. Luo said News Writing teaches students the basic skills of writing for news, and News Presentation 1 encourages students to take those skills one step further.

“The goal is to take what was learned in News Writing and apply it to different platforms,” Luo said.

News Presentation 1 focuses on contemporary design and production of news-package delivery on multiple platforms including: newspaper, broadcast and web. Luo said the college wants students to have multiple skills in today's converging-media environment.

“We want students to not only present the facts,” Luo said, “ but tell good stories in a creative, compelling, responsible way to inform and inspire the audience. “

Luo said the industry wants employees to be media generalists, so learning the different tools used by professionals is important. News Presentation 1 introduces students to different programs, such as Garage Band, Final Cut and Wordpress, but she said learning the programs is only part of the process.

“(Students) learn how to use software, but that is not enough,” Luo said. “They need to use these kinds of tools to gather information and report information to produce good stories. All the assignments are designed for them to practice these skills.”

Luo said this class is important for all majors because it teaches students to be good storytellers, which is important to the communication industry. She said students need to be familiar with multiple types of media production because media is now a critical part of our lives. News Presentation 1 helps majors outside of electronic media and journalism get a sense of how to use the different news-delivery platforms.

“I think all the other majors should consider this class,” Luo said, “because if you don't want to focus on one area, you can get a sense of all of them.”

Throughout the course, students will complete assignments that cover each of the major delivery formats. A final project is assigned at the end of the semester. Groups of students choose a general topic and work together to produce stories using the different formats practiced in class. Past topics include: studying the effect of droughts on local farmers, applying for jobs, and preparing for finals.

Interested readers can view the works of former students by visiting http://www.ttujournalism.net/j3310/lab/?cat=22.


Tour our New Home
Video by Ben Jarvis


Graduate Spotlight: Elizabeth Custy
by Sara Krueger, photos by Riannon Rowley

Elizabeth Custy Nearly four years ago, Elizabeth Custy was figuring out a new course of study after she did not get into Texas Tech University's School of Art's communication design program. Today, she credits the College of Media & Communication with paving her path to success.

Custy is a Fall 2011 advertising graduate from Lubbock. Upon graduation she moved to Austin, Texas, and joined Ted Cruz's race for United States Senate as a graphic designer. Custy said working in politics is different from other communications careers.

“Turnaround time is so much faster in politics,” Custy said. “You have to be really mindful of accuracy.”

Custy is familiar with most of what is thrown at her in the communications industry because she took advantage of many opportunities during her time at Texas Tech. She worked for the university's newspaper, the yearbook, and internal communications. She also ran a winning student government campaign. Custy said her News Writing class was the most valuable class she took at Texas Tech.

“News Writing was my most valuable class because writing is fundamental in all communications,” Custy said. “Even when making graphics, I have to be able to cut a body of text using AP style.”

Custy's graphic designs have earned her candidate, Ted Cruz, nationwide recognition. She said she created a Dos Equis-themed meme about the opposing candidate's tendency to exaggerate. A meme is an online image that is accompanied by a creative phrase. Memes frequently appear on social media sites, and the images are often intended for humor. Well-known conservative news outlets and party members picked up the meme and featured it on their own sites. Custy said the meme was done for fun in her spare time.

“It's fun to see how fast something can get picked up,” Custy said. “I think this was a perfect example of how we got organic media with something that was done for fun.”

Elizabeth Custy The meme has not been the only graphic to gain recognition for Cruz's campaign. Custy said one of her favorite assignments was creating graphics announcing Sarah Palin's endorsement of Cruz. She said the assignment was top secret. Her boss, the campaign manager and Custy were the only team members who knew about the endorsement.

“I stayed up until 5 a.m. making graphics for the announcement,” Custy said. “When I got to work, all of the staff members were excited about the endorsement, and I had known about it. It was extremely rewarding.”

Although memes and graphics are largely associated with social media, Custy said social media is used differently in politics. She said if someone is interested in a politician's social media page, the reason is because they agree with their views.

“The political world uses it as another news outlet,” Custy said. “They don't really engage as opposed to brands who use it to engage and build a community. If someone ‘liked' Ted Cruz on Facebook, it's because they share similar views.”

After the election, Custy would like to return to the advertising world and learn about application development and engagement. She hopes to join a presidential campaign after her time in advertising.

Custy's advice to college seniors is to be patient during the job search. She also recommends taking advantage of any freelance work that will help students build a portfolio.


Center for Communication Research
Video by Ben Jarvis


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