TSM director offers advice for improving content despite cuts

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Gary Borders starts his new job as Texas Student Media director June 20. Borders steps into the position amid budget cuts and a reduction in the number of weekly print days for The Daily Texan.

Photo Credit: Trent Lesikar | Daily Texan Staff

Newly appointed Texas Student Media director Gary Borders said the future of the UT media outlets lies in increasing the use of technology and cooperation between TSM branches to maximize quality coverage.

Borders begins his job as TSM director June 20, replacing interim director Jennifer Hammat who worked in the position for a year and a half. He received his masters degree in journalism from UT and will leave his post as publisher of Cedar Park’s Hill County News.

As he steps into the position, Borders will see the impact of shrinking budgets as The Daily Texan reduces its print editions from five days a week to only publishing Mondays and Thursdays because of budget cuts, but he said he does not fear for the future of print newspapers.

“There’s no doubt that the landscape has shifted over the last few years,” Borders said. “But I think the printed product is really going to be around for a long time. It is a great vehicle for advertisers and people will always want to have something to hold in their hands when they sit down to have a cup of coffee.”

Borders, a former newspaper writer, editor and photographer said he hopes to see more synergy between The Daily Texan, KVRX and TSTV.

“At my last job in Cedar Park, I wrote the story, took pictures and used my iPhone to take video,” Borders said. “It’s what you have to do. It’s what they are doing out there.”

Borders said he hopes to hold the position for as long as possible and will wait to fully understand the operation of TSM before he makes any significant changes.

Hammat said she knows with Borders’ previous experience, she is leaving her staff in the right hands.

“The job entails having great administrative oversight but also letting competent people do their job,” Hammat said.
“I feel like we’ve done the right thing by hiring Gary.”

Hammat said budget issues and reorganization challenges filled the past 20 months when she served as interim director, but she feels sure Gary and the staff will continue strong.

Former Daily Texan editor-in-chief Lauren Winchester said the Texan is cutting its summer printing schedule because of the budget cuts TSM faces.

“We couldn’t afford to keep the paper printing five days a week this summer,” Winchester said. “We considered doing this since last summer but we were able to put it off until this one.”

Winchester said financial concerns caused the reduction, but the Texan staff hopes that by only printing two days a week they can be pushed toward the necessary online mind-set. The Texan will resume daily printing in
the fall.

Daily Texan editor-in-chief Viviana Aldous said this summer, the staff will focus on creating a more prominent and effective online presence for the Texan.

“We are trying to use our website as a breathing, living thing that responds to our readership,” Aldous said. “We are hoping to expand our coverage for more effective and productive use of the website and digital media.”