Almost every successful moment I’ve had in college is thanks to Texas Student Media.
My first internship was because of work I did for The Daily Texan — which eventually led to my second and third internships. All the awards I’ve received can be tied to work I did for Texas Student Media. This organization has prepared me for a career in journalism.
On campus, Texas Student Media serves as a vital news service to the student body. But for aspiring journalists, this organization is a key rite of passage.
Texas Student Media has served as the training ground for tomorrow’s journalists and the future media elite. There are countless examples, ranging from Pulitzer Prize winners to people like Burnie Burns, creator of the highly popular web series “Red vs. Blue” and the company Rooster Teeth. Burns spent his college years in Texas Student Television. Others include Texas Travesty alum Jermaine Affonso, who runs the satire site Clickhole.com and former Daily Texan cartoonist Berkeley Breathed, known for his 1980s cartoon strip “Bloom County.”
Even today, the national news service is saturated with alumni from Texas Student Media. As students watch the 2016 presidential election unfold, they will perhaps unknowingly read reports from many Daily Texan alumni. Students will find national political correspondent Karen Tumulty at the Washington Post and Amy Chozick covering Hillary Clinton at The New York Times. Both spent time at The Daily Texan in college.
I don’t know what Texas Student Media will look like in 10 years — just like I don’t know what the landscape of media will look like in the future. For the record, no one really does. So much has changed just in the four years I’ve been in college, and I imagine it will change so much more.
There are plenty of reasons to hope. For the first time in years, Texas Student Media approved a budget without controversy or fear. The board made a slight increase to student wages. Gerald Johnson, TSM’s director, has outperformed expectations. Thanks to support from the Moody College of Communication and the Office of the President, student media at UT has some time to breath easy. As I graduate, I am leaving the Texas Student Media board relieved and optimistic.
But whatever the future for Texas Student Media is, I hope it will continue to serve as a teaching tool for UT’s students and aspiring journalists. And to those students slightly curious about the prospects of working in student media, I urge you to give it a try for just one semester. You’ll find friends. You’ll find a family. You may even find a career.
Blanchard is a journalism senior from Pearland. He currently serves as a representative on the Texas Student Media Board of Operating Trustees.