College of Communication

Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo | Daily Texan Staff

Pizzabelli, a new East Austin pizzeria,  is accepting employment applications exclusively through Snapchat.

Earlier this month, Pizzabelli posted an ad on Craigslist, encouraging people to send a Snapchat to the username “hiredinasnap” to apply for a position as a host or bartender. The company said it will use the Snapchats to screen for candidates who create “a great first impression.”

Claudia Giliberti, career services advisor for the College of Communication, said a Snapchat-based hiring process makes more sense for some business than others.

“Probably for this type of job it would be acceptable [to apply through Snapchat],” said Giliberti. “I don’t think it’s bad, honestly. It would allow students or applicants to give an animated version of themselves, you know. They can actually say something and can decide what to share.”

Giliberti said the pizzeria targeted the appropriate age demographic by using Snapchat videos.  

“Considering the age and the salary employees are going to make, it’s a decent tool, because you also want to see the person and see how the person interacts with potential customers,” Gillberti said.

Gilberti said accepting applications through Snapchat videos is part of a new trend of employer involvement on social media.

“Tools like Twitter and LinkedIn...are considered normal nowadays,” Gilberti said. “This is basically following that wave of social media interactions where employers are going to check on candidates, and look at their profiles and read what they post.”

Maria Malibiran, English and public relations junior, said using Snapchat as a hiring tool might create a barrier for would-be applicants who aren’t college students.

“There’s a very specific target demographic [for Snapchat],” Malibiran said. “The pizzeria [is] trying to make it easier for college students to work there.”

Public relations sophomore Abby Bollinger said she thinks Pizzabelli is likely also trying to spread awareness about their brand.

“If I was them, I would also be doing it because I would like want people who are using social media,” Bollinger said. “A lot of professions are looking for young people who are in touch and know how to use social media really well, so they can help them out with that when they’re hired.”

Breaking the news on Texas Student Media

The Daily Texan news team chases a scoop on the future of student media.
The Daily Texan news team chases a scoop on the future of student media.

     Set aside, for a moment, all the important questions about the significance of the university’s nascent plan to place its quasi-independent student media under the quasi-control of the College of Communication.

     Instead, consider how the news broke.

     For nearly a year, Texas Student Media, the organization that manages The Daily Texan, KVRX radio, TSTV, The Cactus yearbook and the humor publication Texas Travesty, has operated under a shroud of speculation. More so than usual, which is saying something.

     Last spring, after several years of declining revenues and turnover in the director’s office, the board of trustees that governs TSM’s operations considered a proposal to reduce the newspaper’s print publication schedule. All hell broke loose, relatively speaking. Generations of alumni, including me, rallied to support the paper, with varying ideas of how to go about it. Having already eliminated much of the professional staff, the trustees cut the wages of student journalists, declining to make other substantive changes without more information. The paper’s journalism advisor quit in disgust (but not before urging me to take the job).

     As we’ve proceeded through the 2013-’14 school year, the move to the communication school has taken on the air of fait accompli. Last month, TSM’s director suddenly resigned with little explanation. That stirred the pot. But the substantive discussions continued to take place at a high level behind closed doors.

     For journalists, of course, high-level discussions of public consequence kept behind closed doors are the reason we get up in the morning. Over the past few months, in addition to the new digital initiatives I’ve described in previous posts on this blog, we’ve focused on ramping up our competitive metabolism at The Daily Texan.

     So when the student journalists at The Texan received notification of a meeting this coming Friday concerning the future of TSM, they flooded the zone. Texts went out. Senior reporters and assistant news editors came crashing down the stairs. Though the full issue staff has not even been hired yet for the semester, news editor Jordan Rudner got a team of four reporters and two editors working the phones. After two hours of stops and starts, playing their best hardball to press journalism professors and other potential sources onto the record (consider the irony), they got confirmation.

     Managing editor Shabab Siddiqui moved ahead quickly, editing the story with an eye for balance and context. Editor-in-chief Laura Wright composed an intellectually rigorous piece defining the stakes of the decisions to come, illustrated by a fine editorial cartoon. And the rest of the staff, never losing sight of all the other things that need to happen to produce our daily miracle, covered the new football coach’s presser, introduced students to new facilities set to open at the business school, reported out a knife fight on the drag, shot wild art on East Sixth, edited a feech on native plants, planned video coverage, designed pages, promoted the work on social media, monitored online metrics and sold advertisements.

     All in a day’s work. Impossible without editorial independence. Equally impossible without financial stability. Will The Daily Texan find the right balance at the College of Communication? I know where you’ll read the answers first.

 

In this week's The Daily Texan Podcast, Christine Ayala, Jordan Rudner and special guest Madlin Meckelburg discuss the long discussion at the Student Government meeting on undocumented students. They also discuss the $50 million donation from the Moody Foundation to the College of Communication, and the committee hearings on Wallace Hall.

Tune in every Friday on www.listen.kvrx.org at 3:30 to join in on The Daily Texan Podcast live.

 

This rendering, obtained by The Daily Texan through the Texas Public Information Act, illustrates the proposed skybridge between the Belo Center for New Media and the Communication A Building. The skybridge will be built as part of a larger renovation of the Jesse H. Jones Communication Complex funded by $5 million of the $50 million from the Moody Foundation and $5 million from the University.

The College of Communication will be getting a new name and a bridge.

The Moody Foundation announced a $50 million contribution to the college on Monday, which will rename the entity to the Moody College of Communication. 

About $5 million of the donation — combined with an additional $5 million from the University — will be used for renovations in the Jesse H. Jones Communication Complex, including the construction of a skybridge across Dean Keeton Street, connecting the fourth floor of the Communication A Building to the second floor of the Belo Center for New Media. 

The endowment, which is the largest given to a public university for the study of communication in the nation, will provide $13 million for graduate student recruitment, $10 million for research and outreach centers and $5 million in department endowments.

“This is a tremendous gift that will create tremendous opportunity for the University,” UT spokesman Gary Susswein said. “The Moody Foundation has been very generous with the gift to the University. It will support students, it will support faculty, it will support learning. With this gift, the College of Communication will probably be unparalleled to other communication colleges in the nation.”

The Moody Foundation will also provide $10 million to establish an “idea fund,” which Roderick Hart, dean of the college, said will act as venture capital for ideas in departmental development.

“This really is an important time for the college, not to mention the gift is really, really cool,” Hart said. “For a number of years we’ve wanted to offer in-service training for media professionals, but we [historically] haven’t had the space or luxury of [implementing] it. This really is a transformational gift that will enhance the local and national visibly of the college.”

Mike Wilson, associate dean for external relations for the college, said what differentiates the endowment from others is the majority of the funds directly supporting members of the college. 

“The beauty of this gift, and this is what I think separates it [from other donations] is that the vast majority of the money is going to directly support faculty, students and the programs we have at UT,” Wilson said. “The money has been distributed carefully and with a lot of thought so that every department in the college receives the benefits of the Moody Foundation’s generosity.”

Wilson said discussions about the Moody Foundation’s contribution to the college began over a year ago when the foundation made its initial investment in UT3D — the college’s 3D production program for undergraduates. 

“Through that, I got to know the foundation very well and learned of their past philanthropic interests and found that they were closely related to our own college’s work,” Wilson said. “Ross Moody [trustee of the Moody Foundation] in particular was very interested in doing something of substance within the college and we ultimately talked about the gift that you’re reading about today.” 

The Moody Foundation is named after the late Galveston-based financial magnate, W.L. Moody Jr. and his late wife, Libbie Rice Shearn Moody. Moody Jr., who died in 1954, owned several businesses during his lifetime, including the Galveston News, which he bought in 1923 from Alfred H. Belo — the namesake of the Belo Center for New Media.

Wilson, a journalism graduate of the college, said the donation from the Moody Foundation will greatly affect the college going forward. He said he views the endowment as a legacy that people 100 years from now can benefit from. 

“This is going to be a stellar, stellar shot in the arm for the international positioning of the college that will help us undoubtably recruit the kind of students and faculty and get the kind of notoriety that a publicly-held university wants to achieve,” Wilson said. “I’ve been on the dean’s advisory council for close to a decade and no time in the history of my association with the college have I been prouder or more challenged by what’s going to transpire with this gift.”

Kathleen Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses political advertising at the Belo Center for New Media on Monday afternoon. Jamieson, a former professor at UT, recently won the DeWitt Carter Reddick award for excellence in the field of communication. 

Photo Credit: Sam Ortega | Daily Texan Staff

Kathleen Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, said political advertising is warping the way politicians make decisions.

“We are now affecting governance without having a policy debate about the underlying information,” Jamieson said in a lecture on Monday, which was sponsored by the College of Communication.

Jamieson, who has spent years studying the subject and who recently won the DeWitt Carter Reddick Award for excellence in the field of communication, said politicians are making important national decisions based on sound bites. She pointed to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s campaign, in which he attacked proposed “welfare work waivers” for stripping the federal work requirement from welfare, supposedly turning it into a free ride for recipients. In fact, she said, the waivers were only requested by Republican governors, because they could then implement other work requirements of their own.

“Here’s the rationale: States are different ... you might in those circumstances administer differently,” Jamieson said. “You might have different populations.”

These, Jamieson said, were the programs President Obama granted welfare work waivers to. However, explaining this to voters takes too long, she said.

“Imagine we’re Republican governors who just wanted the waiver,” Jamieson said. “[Republicans will say] I don’t want the waiver ... because I don’t want this ad from the Democrats next time I’m running for governor.”

Jamieson said this effect of political ads is too often ignored, because it is assumed that political campaigns and actual governance operate separately.

“What would Romney have done as president had he been restrained by his own advertising?” Jamieson said. “This is a broken system.”

Jamieson said it is even harder to discover how to fix the system, because correcting false advertising takes 1,000 words, while the advertisements themselves take only 30 seconds.

“They’ve created a collusion between misstatements of fact tied to basic human fallacies, moves that we make almost viscerally,” Jamieson said. “We ought to worry about that...if not we’re not going to get the kind of governance we need at a very difficult time for our country.”

Communication studies junior Heather Lorenzen attended the talk and said she has witnessed the effect of negative advertising first-hand.

“My ... parents still swear Obama’s not American,” Lorenzen said.

Roderick Hart, dean of the College of Communication, said there are important ways communication students can implement lessons from Jamieson’s lecture.

“I think the great journalism question is ‘How do you know [what you think you know]?’” Hart said. “Very few people are saying ‘Given the deluge of advertising, what’s the effect of advertising?’”

Printed on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 as Political advertising dictates public policy, speaker says 

Joe W. Neal, founder of UT’s International Office and a former professor in both the College of Communication and the College of Liberal Arts, died Jan. 14 at the age of 96.

Neal earned a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degree in government from UT and was considered by many colleagues to be instrumental in bringing international education to Texas. He worked with the governments of dozens of countries to establish exchange programs for faculty and students with universities in Texas.

When UT could no longer support the number of international students seeking access to an American education, Neal created the Texas International Education Consortium in 1985. The consortium broadened the number of universities whose faculty and resources foreign countries could access.

Pam Stephenson, former vice president of finance for the consortium, said Neal’s creativity and drive left an enormous impact on the scene of international education.

“If nothing else, he taught me, if there’s a way to get it done, do it,” Stephenson, who worked with Neal for 47 years, said. “He truly helped us to be who we are today.”

Stephenson said the lesson she learned from Neal’s life was to work toward a vision for the future.

“He never stopped working,” Stephenson said. “We might be in Malaysia one day and Thailand two days later and China the next.”

Stephenson said Neal believed international education should be focused on making students be useful for their country.

“It was about making sure that they got an education and then did something in their country,” she said.

Among the students was Abdullah al-Tariki, who attended UT before returning to his home country of Saudi Arabia to become the co-founder of OPEC and the first Saudi oil minister.

“He had a great sense for programs,” Bill Franklin, a former president of the consortium, said. “He had a sense of what we were capable of doing through the [consortium].”

Neal was instrumental in creating other international programs as well, including the National Association of Foreign Student Affairs, the Association of International Education Administrators and the Texas Partners of the Americas. 

John Schmidt, academic coordinator for the consortium, said Neal enjoyed the people and activity associated with international education. Neal owned a ranch named Horse Thief Hollow, which was a short distance from Austin, and used it to welcome Fulbright scholars, exchange students and friends with Texas barbecue and culture.

“He delighted in welcoming people, whether they were local Austinites or international visitors,” Schmidt said. “He’d get a Christmas card from somebody and they’d get a two- or three-page typed letter.”

Margie Kidd, executive director of Global Austin, a nonprofit that grew from a UT international hospitality committee created by Neal, said Neal was a mentor to many of those who knew him.

“He had a real instinct for people,” Kidd said. “He liked to take young people that he thought had a future and were bright and put them in positions of responsibility.”

Three months after announcing intentions to place a Daily Texan news box in front of the Belo Center for New Media, the College of Communication is now saying it hopes to install specially designed and built boxes by January.

College of Communication spokesperson Laura Byerley said the college accepted three bids and will pick a contractor to construct the box next week. Normally Texas Student Media, the entity that owns The Daily Texan, provides boxes to locations free of charge.

“We’re hoping they’ll be installed by the first day of school in the spring semester,” Byerley said. “The news boxes are being designed. There isn’t anything new to report at this time.”

In September, Wanda Cash, the assistant director of the School of Journalism, asked college officials for a Daily Texan news box in front of UT’s newest building. Assistant dean Janice Daman told Cash it was the College of Communication’s policy to not have any news boxes, signage or paper in front of or in the Belo Center for New Media, the building that hosts the journalism school, for environmental concerns. The building is striving for the “silver certification” from U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

An article about this policy appeared in The Daily Texan, and following public outcry from media and former Daily Texan editors, the College of Communication reversed its decision. At the time, College of Communication dean Roderick Hart said it was never the intention of the college to ban the boxes.

Later in October, Hart said he was hoping to get the boxes installed by late November.

“They’ll certainly be operational by the start of spring semester,” Hart said in an October email.

Mark Morrison, former Daily Texan editor and Texas Student Media board member, said the slow response to placing a box in front of the new building has frustrated him.

“The University certainly does not seem to be able to move very quickly on issues such as this,” Morrison said.

He said the College of Communication should have set up temporary Daily Texan distribution areas in the Belo Center for New Media.

“There should be a high priority to get the Texan to communication college students, including journalism students, and if it’s going to take this long to get a permanent spot, why don’t they set up some temporary distribution points?”

Morrison said while the more permanent box is built, the newspapers could go in the building, on a table, in a rack or in a temporary box.

Jalah Goette, the director of the Texas Student Media board, said no one from the College of Communication has contacted her about the news boxes at the Belo Center.

After Friday, The Daily Texan will stop printing until Jan. 14, the first class day of the spring semester.

Printed on Friday, December 6, 2012 as: Belo Center to acquire custom-made newsboxes

The College of Communication celebrated what officials said is a new building for a new age in a dedication ceremony attended by campus leaders, building designers, distinguished guests and students Thursday.

The Belo Center for New Media, which cost $54.8 million to construct, features five stories, space for more than 4,200 students and has hosted classes since the beginning of the fall semester. The building is intended to be environmentally friendly, featuring abundant natural lighting and energy
efficient systems.

The Belo Foundation, a charitable organization associated with the company that owns the Dallas Morning News, donated $12 million for the construction of the building. Other sources of funding included $3 million from private donors, $10 million from KUT, which occupies part of the first floor of the building, and $30 million in University debt, which will be paid over the course of 30 years. It is named in honor of Col. A. H. Belo, founder of the Dallas Morning News.

Berkley Knas, former president of the Communication Council, said the Belo Center fulfills needs she and other student leaders identified in 2006.

These needs included student demands that more classes be held in College of Communication facilities rather than buildings across campus, and a common area for students to associate with each other.

“When the Jesse H. Jones Communication Center was built in 1974, it was built to accommodate 1,000 students,” Knas said. “We were at 4,200 students.”

The Belo Center has kept the style of the Jesse H. Jones building but has a more open setting. Principal architect Thomas Lekometros said the design was inspired by the wishes of Roderick Hart, dean of the College of Communication, who wanted the building’s design to reflect a new media age.

“This building isn’t an answer then but a series of questions,” Hart said. “How will we consume information in the years ahead?”

Hart said he believes the answers to this question will arise in the Belo Center.

Robert Decherd, CEO of the Belo Corporation, said he thinks this function of the building is one of its most important because journalism is changing at its most basic level. Decherd made a $1.5 million donation toward the Belo building.

“University buildings are considered permanent,” Decherd said. “This one ... creates a sense of place for the College of Communication’s distinguished faculty and its students to delve into new media.”

Printed on Friday, November 2, 2012 as: College hosts belo's formal opening

When architects Earl Swisher and Thomas Lekometros received the commission to design the College of Communication’s Belo Center for New Media, they were challenged to design a building that would respect UT’s campus aesthetic and respond to the unique demands of teaching “new media.”  But “new media” is by its very nature shapeless and impermanent — the very opposite of the substantial, heavy architecture that characterizes the University campus.

In an age when the most celebrated architectural showpieces convey impermanence and shapelessness  — think Frank Gehry’s curvaceous Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, or Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s sci-fi Blur Building in Switzerland — tempting is the idea that a building devoted to “new media” could be as undefined as its namesake. Swisher and Lekometros resisted this temptation, and the UT campus is ultimately better for it.

Instead of a beguilingly shaped landmark, the Belo Center is an outwardly sober box that takes its inspiration from the existing College of Communications complex — some of the least celebrated architecture on campus.

Unlike “new media” websites and smartphone apps, buildings can’t simply be deactivated when no longer useful. Some of the campus’ most beloved historic buildings no longer serve their original purposes, but their significance on campus is not diminished because their form fails to follow. The Tower is no longer a library, and Waggener Hall now welcomes philosophy students instead of those studying business. Because the needs of the university change, buildings must be able to change too, and this is easier when the shape and character of a building isn’t completely wedded to its original purpose.

Thus, the Belo Center seems less concerned with making an architectural statement than with getting along with the buildings and spaces around it. The concrete grid and metal fins that shade the building’s windows establish a relationship with the Jesse H. Jones Communications Center building across, as do the new building’s flat roof and overall boxy shape. The careful positioning of the Belo Center in relation to the existing communications complex establishes a spatial relationship between the two that is readily apparent to anyone waiting in the upper-level elevator lobbies. Though the building is separated from the rest of the communication school by one of the least pedestrian-friendly streets on campus, a visual connection still ties the two together. A pedestrian skywalk, currently undergoing feasibility studies, will also help connect them.

Inside, the classrooms and common areas, which feature natural light and materials that invite touching, are a far cry from the dark, sterile spaces found even in some of campus’ newer buildings. The design attention lavished on these spaces imbues the building with a sense of importance that emphasizes the nobility of teaching and learning. The playfulness of the riotous interior color scheme makes the building’s exterior feel repressed in comparison to the exterior. That difference may have  been better appreciated by the faculty and administrators on the design committee than the students who use the building. An earlier design that was scrapped in deference to the Campus Master Plan would have mediated the sobriety of campus architecture with the incandescent promise of “new media” by housing KUT’s studios in a separate, more freeform building located between the new Walter Cronkite Plaza and Guadalupe Street. The spatial relationship between these contrasting building forms could have  enlivened the public space between the buildings. However, the freeform shape meant to house KUT was ultimately rejected by the university committee assigned to oversee the building’s design.

Despite the architects’ reverence for existing buildings, the Belo Center doesn’t look like the buildings that the UT campus is known for. Limestone and red roof tiles are nowhere to be found. And while Jester Dormitory proves that lacking these elements alone are not enough to make a building great, the Belo Center distances itself from the architectural heart of campus by eschewing forms and materials that help define the image of UT in the minds of people around the world. If the various committees that regulate the design of new buildings on campus, and the Campus Master Plan — the intent of which is to,  “preserve our traditional public spaces and extend that sense of harmony …in a way that serves our architectural heritage” — insist on honoring UT’s historic campus, they should focus on buildings that contribute to the campus’ unmistakable sense of place, rather than those that purposefully stand apart from it.

Finke is an associate editor and architecture and urban studies sixth-year from Houston.

I don’t think it would be a stretch to categorize the lack of news boxes [in front of the Belo building] as completely unacceptable. The Belo Center is, after all, the new home of one of the best journalism programs in the country and I think decision-makers in the College of Communication and the dean’s office need to strongly consider the type of message being sent to aspiring journalists (print journalists, in particular) who view the school as their guide to the future of journalism.

I do understand the desire for a sleek, aesthetically pleasing building and plaza that is beautiful, functional, and worthy of the college’s prestigious programs (after all, who can resist the draw of color-coordinated trash cans?) — but at some point, common sense must prevail.

I’m fully aware that there are news boxes across the street and around nearby corners, but I doubt that chemistry students have to leave the classroom and cross the street to get beakers for class experiments, or that students in the music building must trek elsewhere for a music stand or practice room. The journalism students in the College of Communication deserve the same easy access to the tools of their trade, as do the faculty, staff, and students working and learning in the new Belo Center.

I also completely understand the college’s desire to implement a policy forbidding fliers and other materials from being posted around the plaza. I’ve been on the unfortunate end of this policy before when trying to display banners for the Magazine Club. But while I respect the need for structured rules, I think there is a huge difference between peppering Belo with fliers seeking roommates and placing a newsstand in front of the building.

Torrie Hardcastle 
Editor-In-Chief, Orange Magazine 
Senior, journalism and radio-television-film