journalism professor

While emergent social media may seem more popular than older forms of communication, according to a survey by Gallup, TV is still the main news source for most Americans.

In a poll of 2,048 adults, Gallup found that found 55 percent of Americans still get their news from television. Roughly 21 percent of Americans found their news on the Internet, while nine percent found it in newspapers and six percent get their news through the radio.

Journalism professor Kate Dawson said television’s unique delivery helps it stand out when compared with other forms of media.

“Most people are very visual and it’s easier, in some ways, to tell a story with video,” Dawson said. “Viewers can connect with the subjects, they’re more tangible. I think you leave a news story with a lasting image in your head.”

Ian Reese, the station manager of Texas Student TV, said television could turn the challenges of social media to its advantage.

“TV has figured out ways to utilize these social media platforms, building in interactive components involving mobile devices and PCs into everything from reality TV to evening news,” Reese said.

However, time limits and hastiness cannot be underestimated and still impose limits, said journalism senior Syeda Hasan.

Hasan said she thought TV lacks deep analysis of news events because it is much more condensed than print media.

“There are a lot of things you have to cut out in order to convey what’s most important in the story, and there is less room to expand on the details,” Hasan said.

Journalism professor Bill Minutaglio said traditional media have not yet figured out the right business model to prosper and still convey the news in the new information era, which is why UT now combines various forms of media in its evolving journalism curriculum. 

Dawson said students should know more than just one form of media to work in the current media environment. 

“In this new world of journalism, everything changes so quickly and students need to know how to operate in all mediums because they’re combined on the Internet,” Dawson said.

A crowd assembled Wednesday in the CMA plaza to protest The Daily Texan in response to the controversial editorial cartoon published in TuesdayÂ’s paper.

Photo Credit: Nathan Goldsmith | Daily Texan Staff

The Daily Texan editorial board apologized for a cartoon published in Tuesday’s Daily Texan at a Wednesday protest by students and Austinities who said the illustration reflected ignorance and racism.

The five members of the editorial board signed off on the cartoon before it ran, said Daily Texan editor-in-chief Viviana Aldous, Plan II and philosophy senior. In an official apology published in today’s Texan, Aldous said the board should not have approved the cartoon. Stephanie Eisner, the editorial cartoonist who drew the illustration, is no longer working at The Daily Texan and has apologized in a separate statement.

The cartoon depicts a mother reading to her child the following words: “And then the big bad ‘white’ man killed the handsome, sweet, innocent ‘colored’ boy.” The mother reads from a book entitled “Treyvon (sic) Martin and the case of yellow journalism.”

Many were upset with the use of the word “colored” and timing of the comic, which was released the same day as a large downtown rally for Trayvon, said Black Student Alliance member Jasmine Kyles, journalism junior.

“A lot of people don’t realize how insensitive this comic is, and this affects the recruitment of African-American students to the University by making the campus look bad,” Kyles said. “When they see things like this, they think the University is racist even though that hasn’t been everyone’s experience here.”

Eisner said she created the work to criticize the media’s attempt to simplify and sensationalize news stories.

“Our intent was not to offend anyone, and we are sorry that it happened,” the board said in its apology. “There was clear oversight that happened in allowing this cartoon to be published.”

The usage of the word “colored” also tied the cartoon directly to racist sentiments deeply embedded in U.S. history, said journalism professor Robert Jensen, who teaches a class on media law and ethics.

“Any cartoon that uses an overtly racist term such as ‘colored boy’ expresses a racist sentiment,” Jensen said. “The evidence is clear that in a white-supremacist society, we white people who do not endorse a racist ideology are not free of racist sentiments at an unconscious level.”

Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old African-American, was allegedly shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman while walking through a gated community to his father’s fiance’s home in Sandford, Fla. last month.

Zimmerman has claimed the killing was in self-defense, and because of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law he has not been taken into custody. Following a slow build of awareness through a number of articles published in The New York Times and discussions in online forums, the killing rose to national awareness and clamor has grown for Zimmerman’s arrest.

Occupy UT members Lucian Villasenor and Michelle Uche, who is also a member of the International Socialist Organization at UT, created the protest that began outside The Daily Texan’s office at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. They also drafted a petition to censure the cartoonist who created the illustration, replace the editorial board and open The Daily Texan to commentary and guest editors from the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies to raise awareness about racial issues, Villasenor said.

Daily Texan Managing Editor Audrey White and the editorial board spoke and answered questions from members of the protest.

“We have not done enough to try and explore how racism affects this campus,” White said. “You deserve a paper that reflects the interests of everyone at UT.”

Many members of the protest were unhappy with just a simple apology, such as anthropology graduate student Elvia Mendoza, who said UT needs action about racism and not just discussions about diversity.

“We need to do more than just talk about race and diversity, we need to talk about how racism continues to affect this campus, and that means having more than just forums and meetings,” Mendoza said.

A large number of Daily Texan and UT alumni were also unhappy with the publication of the cartoon, including those who published comments on The Daily Texan website.

Journalism graduate student Tara Haelle, who taught journalism for four years at Sam Houston High School in Arlington, said she was disappointed by the “knee-jerk” reaction of the alumni and believes the board should not have apologized.

“I would expect the alumni to recognize the importance of free speech and not to chastise and patronize the editorial board,” Haelle said. “I don’t happen to agree with the opinion of the cartoonist, but if nothing else, that cartoon encourages a discussion about race.”

Journalism professor Maggie Rodriguez, who teaches a class on Hispanics in the media, said journalists could not use professional practices as a substitute for sensitivity.

She also said that while The Daily Texan was not being intentionally racist, more diversity in the staff was needed.

“By diversity I don’t mean people of the same race, but people who can be anyone and have special sensitivity to ethnicity,” Rodriguez said. “Just filling The Daily Texan with people of different races wouldn’t work, because you can have a person of a special race who is not aware of certain issues in our country.”

Rodriguez said she hopes The Daily Texan is able to grow from the oversight involved in publishing the cartoon.

“I hope people don’t just get fired,” Rodriguez said. “If people can come out of a mistake on race related issues and learn from it, then you can become a huge advocate for looking at race in a more nuanced way.”

In the board’s apology, it offers steps to improve the Texan’s coverage of race and racism, including requiring education about race and media for Texan staff and seeking submissions from a wider range of columnists.

“We understand these are only small steps in the much larger transformation we must undergo,” the board said. “We sincerely apologize for publishing the offensive cartoon and for the harm that decision caused.”

Printed on Thursday, March 29, 2012 as: Protesters: racism still affects campus

China’s rising prominence is likely to encourage greater enrollment of UT students in study abroad programs to the country, said Tracy Dahlby, the journalism professor with the Reporting China Maymester program.

The growing interest among UT students coincides with the Obama administration’s goal of doubling the number of students studying abroad in the largest Asian country by 2014. First lady Michelle Obama also stressed student travel to China at a Wednesday speech at Howard University in Washington, D.C., which came shortly after the Obamas welcomed Chinese President Hu Jintao at a state dinner at the White House.

Currently, 18 UT students are enrolled in the 2011 Maymester program, which runs from May to June. Dahlby said he expects student interest in China to increase because of general curiosity and the country’s greater presence in the professional world.

Dahlby said study abroad programs help young individuals understand the relationship between the United States and rising superpowers. He said the programs are long-term investments, not institutions designed to generate immediate results.

“We won’t see the exact shape of things to come,” he said. “But we can see the vector.”
He said China is emerging as a world superpower because of its technological and economic expansion.

Foreign exchange programs allow students to view different nations and cultures on an individual level in lieu of viewing different countries on a collective level, Dahlby said.

“Study abroad programs are beneficial because it gives students the opportunity to experience different countries and cultural values,” said Tommy Ward, China program coordinator of UT’s International Office.

Multimedia journalism and economics senior Simrat Sharma, who participated in the China Maymester in 2009, said she gained experience in the country by witnessing different cultural interactions.

Sharma said Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington, D.C. signified improvement in the often strained relationship between the U.S. and China.

“Simply engaging in talks is a great step into U.S.-China relations,” Sharma said.

Advertising junior Suchada Sutasirisap said she saw the changing nature of China as well as its traditional roots when she studied there in fall 2010.

“In a city like Shanghai, there is a mix of Chinese and Western culture,” Sutasirisap said. “It is a very developed city but you also see people hanging clothes. In some ways, you see China is still China.”