social media editor and a media-and-politics researcher

UT’s School of Journalism has hired an Austin American-Statesman social media editor and a media-and-politics researcher to start this fall as the school prepares to transition to a new curriculum.

Robert Quigley will leave the Statesman to teach multimedia courses as a senior lecturer. Between 30 and 40 people competed for Quigley’s position, said School of Journalism Director Glenn Frankel. The school will merge the five concentrations into a single program for all students in fall 2012, and Quigley’s multimedia experience will aid that transition, Frankel said.

“We are hoping and expecting that he will help our school develop more courses and more directions in multimedia, in social media, in mobile devices and apps; all in the name of creating better journalism,” Frankel said.

Quigley said he wasn’t interested in leaving the Statesman until he learned more about the position from Frankel.

“Glenn clearly has a vision of making UT a powerhouse for new media, and he said this position is a key part of that transformation,” Quigley said in an email. “I helped lead the charge at the Statesman into the new media age, and I love the challenge of doing the same at UT.”

Quigley said he hopes the skills he will teach in class will prepare students for the modern media environment.

“It’s a difficult time to be a journalist, but especially [for] one who is looking for a job for the first time,” he said. “My overriding goal will to be to make every student I teach a more attractive job candidate and a more valuable employee once hired.”

The journalism school will see other staffing changes this fall. Regina Lawrence, the senior chair of political communication at Louisiana State University, will teach graduate courses and an undergraduate course about how women are covered in the news. She will take over the Jesse H. Jones Centennial Chair in Communication from professor Max McCombs, who retired in the spring. Associate professor Mercedes de Uriarte also retired this spring. Both will continue part-time work as professors emeriti.

About 30 people vied for Lawrence’s position. Frankel said Lawrence’s media and political research will make her a great successor to McCombs.

“She has a proven track record of working well with both undergraduates and grad students,” he said. “She’s published widely. She has collaborated with some of the top people in the field.”

Lawrence said she wanted to work at UT because of its reputation in her field.

“My research and teaching expertise is in political communication, and there are very few universities with such a strong concentration of scholars in that field — particularly when you include the Department of Government as well,” she said in an email.

Lawrence said she is excited to work on research for news and politics when both face a time of immense change.

“This is such a fascinating and treacherous time for the news industry, for our political system and for citizen engagement,” she said. “All of these things are in peril, and yet there are also remarkable opportunities to reinvent news, to reinvent politics and to reinvent what it means to be a citizen.”

Printed on 06/27/2011 as: UT journalism to see changes, updates in fall with new fires