Texas Tech University

Converging News

September 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.

On Friday, September 12, we celebrated our annual scholarship luncheon by awarding over $250,000 to deserving graduate and undergraduate students. It was a privilege to meet these young people and the donors whose munificence was helping them. I think most of you know that scholarships are vital to the success of our students and our institution. We will only grow and prosper as a university if we continue to be accessible to students and if we competitively attract the best and brightest students to Texas Tech. When I talk to parents about Texas Tech, I point out three ways that I believe we provide not just a reasonable price, but a great value.

First, we are efficient. TTU is among the top twenty in the nation for lowest student debt upon graduation. In our college, almost a dozen people - as well as the faculty - pay close attention to student progress toward degrees.

Second, we know from employer surveys that the Texas Tech brand in general, and the reputation of our college in particular, is among the best, and also in the top twenty. When I travel and meet many, many alumni and employers, they remark on how our students are not only ready with technical, creative, critical, and ethical skills and abilities, but they also exude a “roll up your sleeves, get to work” attitude that employers find refreshing.

Finally, our staff and faculty provide personal service. When I walk past the faculty and staff offices, I see and hear the thoughtful and encouraging conversations they have with students. I hear from young alumni about the way an adviser efficiently planned out their degree program or how a professor inspired them to give extra effort and to discover their professional passion.

Value for education and life. Those are the watchwords for our college and Texas Tech, and will continue to be so.


David D. Perlmutter

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


Double T Insider Is Starting a New Era
by Dasha Ivanova, Photo provided by Double T Insider

"I was thrilled and speechless," Blake Silverthorn, director of “Double T Insider,” said when he found out that the program would air nationally on Fox Sports this September.

Silverthorn has been working on the show from Day One. As director, Silverthorn performs many tasks, such as editing, shooting, creating graphics and teaching camerawork.

The College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech University has been “truly and extremely supportive,” said Silverthorn, by providing new technology and space that helps “Double T Insider” greatly increase the production value of the show.

First, the college provided access to the lab, lighting kit and microphones. Later, “Double T Insider” got its own place in the basement of the College of Media & Communication. The college became even more generous and gave a grant to “Double T Insider,” which allowed students to buy new DSLR cameras, lighting kits and other technology.


DTI students filming at the Jones AT&T Stadium

Established in 2012, “Double T Insider,” a student-run sports show, enables students to get real work experience and learn how to be a professional. Students work long and unusual hours to uphold established expectations.

Starting this September, the production quality standards for the show skyrocketed when “Double T Insider” was picked up by Fox Sports, Silverthorn said.

“We have always held ourselves to high quality standards, but now there is a pressure that comes with this opportunity,” Silverthorn said. “ Now it has to be perfect.”

Since “Double T Insider” is a production of the College of Media & Communication in partnership with Texas Tech Athletics, the latter will provide insights and recommendations as necessary.

“If Texas Tech University does well, we all do well” David Hougland, director of Sports Broadcasting for Texas Tech University, said. “If Texas Tech Athletics does well, we all do well. So, what better way for students to get that experience and improve themselves? We all win and that is our ultimate goal.”

The College of Media & Communication has many students who are interested in sports media. Due to this, the College of Media & Communication has created a “Double T Insider” three-credit course.

“Working for ‘Double T Insider' is a time-consuming process, but it teaches students about how to be a professional,” Silverthorn said. "We are not students when we come here; it is our job. It doesn't matter if it is your first day, or you have been here for two years – you are a professional!"

“Double T Insider” is a college initiative. Todd Chambers, journalism and electronic media department chairperson, and former dean of the College of Media & Communication, Jerry C. Hudson, were the first ones who supported the show. Today, Dean David Perlmutter is also extremely supportive of the show, and impressed by the capability and hard work of the students.

“We want the transition of our students from the classroom to the workplace to be as seamless as possible. We know getting as much creative professional experience while at Tech is crucial to their future. The Tech Sports-DTI partnership is a model of what our majors can achieve," Perlmutter said.

Chambers added, "All students (who work on ‘Double T Insider') get a great experience and are better off in the real world. Devotion, dedication and leadership keep this program running. Today, it is running on Fox Sports Southwest and Fox College Sports.”


College Welcomes New International Faculty Member
by Dasha Ivanova, photo by Eliud Ramirez

It is a typical weekday in the College of Media & Communication. Halls are crowded with students rushing to their classes, and the faculty is ready to pass their knowledge on to the students. This academic year, the College of Media & Communication has a new faculty member - María Elena Gutiérrez Rentería, a visiting professor in the Thomas Jay Harris Institute for Hispanic and International Communication.

Gutiérrez Rentería had a chance to attend several universities in different countries in the world. She earned her bachelor's degree in Business and Finance at the Universidad Panamericana in Guadalajara, México. After graduating, she went to Spain, where she earned a doctorate in Public Communication from the Universidad de Navarra.

Shannon Smith

Gutiérrez Rentería teaching Electronic Media Operations

Today, Gutiérrez Rentería is a professor in the School of Business and Economics at Universidad Panamericana. She is also a former chairperson of the School of Communications at the same university.

"I always liked studying at the university," Gutiérrez Rentería said. "I had great professors who helped me to change my life's perspective. They explained to me how I can contribute to society through working at the university. Since that time, I have been inspired to share my knowledge with the students and become a better professor, as well as a better person."

Gutiérrez Rentería has attended annual conferences at Texas State University and the University of North Texas related to Hispanic culture and media markets. At these conferences, Gutiérrez Rentería met Kent Wilkinson, Ph.D., Regents Professor and director of the Thomas Jay Harris Institute for Hispanic and International Communication at Texas Tech University. He told her about the university and the institute. And when an opening occurred, she applied, and was accepted.

The College of Media & Communication has given Gutiérrez Rentería an opportunity to conduct research in which she analyzes the differences between Hispanics who live in the U.S. and the Hispanic population in Latin America. She analyzes the use of media technology and how it affects communication within these populations.

This fall, Gutiérrez Rentería is also teaching two sections of Electronic Media Operations.

For the last 14 years, Gutiérrez Rentería has been conducting research about large media companies, such as Grupo Televisa and America Movil, and their influence on Hispanic populations. She has been studying what strategies these companies use to attract the audience's attention and to become media giants in the Spanish-speaking world.

Gutiérrez Rentería said she is happy to be a part of Texas Tech, which works closely with Hispanic populations in the U.S. Gutiérrez Rentería said she hopes to serve Texas Tech and the Lubbock community while sharing her knowledge with the students and faculty.

"I have only one fear about my experience at Texas Tech," Gutiérrez Rentería said. "I am afraid that I will fall in love with Texas Tech even more, because the faculty and students make me feel like home."


Research Recap

Lea Hellmueller, Ph.D., Publishes New Book

Book Title:The Washington, DC Media Corps in the 21st Century


Front cover of book

Political reporting of stories that impact millions in the United States and even the world, may be affected and shaped by something that headlines do not show: the evolving interaction between reporters and politicians in the nation's political heart, Washington, D.C. In her new book, Assistant Professor of Journalism Lea Hellmueller explores how globalization in the media is affecting those interactions between reporters and their sources.

Hellmueller's new book offers insights into how those relationships are established, cultivated and maintained. After three years of research, Hellmueller shows how the decline in the number of U.S. mainstream media outlets has led to a sharp growth in both niche and foreign media groups now represented in Washington, DC. Based on original data collected in the capital, The Washington, DC Media Corps in the 21st Century provides an answer to the question of how globalization has affected the relationship between sources and reporters who cover the federal government and Congress.

Dr. Tim P. Vos, chair and associate professor of Journalism Studies at the University of Missouri summarizes the main contribution of the book: “This book is ambitious in that deals with a number of related concerns: how technological innovations affect reporter-source relationships, how the Washington press corps can function both as a multicultural community and as a link to reporters' home communities, how truth-telling strategies are negotiated in the face of relationships with sources, and ultimately, how reporters can perform their normative roles in the face of these various challenges.”

TTU Ph.D. students from the College of Media & Communication get published in the Journal of Communication Inquiry

“What a year! The framing of marriage equality through media's selected sources in 2013,” a study conducted by Nathian Rodriguez and Lindsey Blumell, will be published in the October edition of the Journal of Communication Inquiry. This study focuses on how the issue of same-sex marriage continues to be a focal point in U.S. media. The authors were inspired to take an in-depth look at newspaper coverage of 2013 because several major events in relation to marriage equality and the LGBT community occurred that year. This includes the repeal of DOMA, the legalization of same-sex marriage in 8 U.S states and 5 foreign countries, and the passage of the Russian Anti-Gay Law.

Rodriguez and Blumell utilized a qualitative content analysis of source quotes included in articles about same-sex marriage in The New York Times. The results showed a focus on political and elite sources. The findings from this analysis also revealed the use of traditional equality and themes of children, inevitability, political evolution, and fear. This study also adds insight into how U.S. citizens are exposed to the issue of same-sex marriage.

Manuscript gets published in Public Relations Review

Associate Dean for Graduate Studies Coy Callison, former TTU doctoral student and current assistant professor at Florida State University Patrick Merle, and Public Relations Department Chair Trent Seltzer have received word that their manuscript titled, "Smart Friendly Liars: Public Perception of Public Relations Practitioners Over Time," has been accepted for publication in Public Relations Review.

The article details the results of two national surveys conducted 10 years apart that asked respondents to list the three words that first came to mind when thinking of a public relations practitioner. Analyses revealed that the overwhelming majority of the words were positive and that the most commonly used terms outlined practitioner intellectual, ethical, and personality traits. While the majority of the personality and intellectual traits were positive, the ethical terms used to describe practitioners were predominately negative.

Publication in the Journal of Public Relations Research

Kevin Stoker, Ph.D., was recently published in the Journal of Public Relations Research with his article, "Paradox in Public Relations: Why Managing Relating Makes More Sense Than Managing Relationships.” You can read the full article online here

Ortiz and colleagues allow teens to create the messages they want to receive about the HPV vaccine

Texas Tech Advertising Assistant Professor Rebecca Ortiz, Ph.D., collaborated with colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to determine the best ways to communicate with young teens about one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STI), the human papillomavirus (HPV), and the vaccine available to protect against the virus. Ortiz conducted previous research with Texas Tech Public Relations Assistant Professor Autumn Shafer, Ph.D., to identify the best ways to inform parents about the virus and vaccine. However, Ortiz and colleagues also wanted to find ways to inform teens directly, as data shows many teens are actively involved in their own healthcare decisions. 

HPV is so common that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 79 million Americans are currently infected, and most Americans will transmit HPV at some point in their lives if not vaccinated. The virus can also be transmitted even if contraceptive barriers, such as condoms, are used during sex. The virus will disappear on its own for many, but for some, it can lead to major health problems, such as genital warts and various types of cancer. A vaccine to protect against some of the most prevalent HPV strands is available for both boys and girls, but it is vital they receive the vaccine before they become sexually active. The CDC recommends boys and girls get the vaccine at ages 11 or 12.

Ortiz and colleagues conducted seven focus groups and two survey questionnaires with middle school students in North Carolina to uncover their message preferences, including how text messaging and social media could be used for dissemination. Students indicated they were willing to receive periodic text or social media messages from their doctor or another trusted health practitioner about sexual health, including the HPV vaccine. They preferred messages that highlight the benefits of getting the vaccine instead of the threats of not getting vaccinated. They also noted that privacy of message receipt was important, as did not want their peers or parents to see the messages and assume they were sexually active or had contracted an infection.


AEJMC Updates

AEJMC Officer Position

Melanie Sarge, Ph.D., has accepted a 2014 officer position as Awards Co-chair for AEJMC's Mass Communication and Society division.

AEJMC Top Article Award

Dr. Sarge's article, “A Serial Mediation Model of Message Framing on Intentions to Receive the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine: Revisiting the Role of Threat and Efficacy Perceptions” published in Health Communication, won first place in the AEJMC ComSHER (Communicating Science, Health, Environment and Risk) division's 2014 Article of the Year Competition.


New Advertising faculty member Bryan McLaughlin, Ph.D., was elected as the Teaching Chair for the Political Communication Interest Group at AEJMC.


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