My Semester in Mid-Review

This semester has been absolutely crazy for me. I’m taking two classes in the JMC Department and two in the Theatre Department while also taking a fiction-writing workshop.

Maybe this was mistake

Taking Fiction Writing and the Writing for Electronic Delivery definitely feels like a mistake half of the time. Short fiction and writing for the internet are two completely different mediums, thus causing me to have two separate writing styles swirling in my head at any given moment. On the plus side, it does give me the ability to strengthen my ability as a writer in both avenues of writing. Because of this, as much as I occasionally regret taking these classes at the same time, I can see how it will improve my writing in the future.

Web coding may not be as difficult as originally perceived

I’m not entirely sure what my hardest class is at the moment, but I know at the beginning of the semester I thought my hardest class would be Electronic Publishing. As the semester has reached the midway point, I realize that this may not entirely be the case

My professor, Dr. Smith, has done a remarkable job of teaching the material in a way that even a novice such as myself, can easily understand and relate the concepts to the coding work we do in class. It’s also extremely refreshing to have a class where the end result, which is a website that we have coded ourselves; will be beneficial even when the class is finished.

Class booInvaluable lessons learned

Sometimes, it is not always what you learn from the material that is being taught, but what you do with how you’ve been educated. Even if I never build another website again, I can take the patience I’ve gained in Electronic Publishing with me forever.

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Lessons from a summer intern

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Internships are meant to reward you with experience, connections and knowledge you weren’t equipped with before. This summer, I interned at the Abilene Reporter-News for 10 weeks and it did just that. There were a few key things that stuck with me, though, and I think you might find them beneficial, too.

Lesson 1: Expect the unexpected

There were a lot of things I did during my internship that I didn’t think I’d be doing. First, I was an actual working reporter. I did the same job as the other full-time reporters on staff. I was not expecting that. I thought I’d be running errands and filing papers as I observed newsroom happenings. Clearly, I was wrong. I interviewed people I never thought I’d talk to and wrote stories on topics I’d never heard of before.

There was always something new around the corner and I just learned to roll with the punches.

Lesson 2: Keep an open mind

There were a few assignments that I absolutely did not want to do. They were topics I was unfamiliar with or just wasn’t interested in. But you know what? In the end, I somewhat enjoyed them all. Always keep an open mind because you never know what you’ll learn or what you’ll end up liking.

Lesson 3: Don’t let your attitude dictate your actions

There are going to be times when you don’t want to work – or do anything at all. I had plenty of those days, but I pressed on because I was getting paid to work and would have gotten fired if I didn’t. (How’s that for motivation?) Sure, there were times when I just wanted to crawl under my desk and take a nap, but I didn’t let my attitude affect my performance. Yeah, it can be hard, but you’ve got to do it.

Just remember these at your internship – or your next job – and I’m sure you’ll find it much more enjoyable.

Let’s make a TV show

Being a part of the Ken Collums show has been a great opportunity. This is my second year to be part of the show and every episode has helped prepare me for what it is like in the professional world to produce a television program.

In my role as Sports Director for the student media, I am required to help plan and produce the show. There are weekly meetings on Monday mornings, in which the team discusses ways to continually improve the final product and to plan out what needs to be done before it comes time to shoot. As producer, I am responsible for ensuring that everyone knows their role and requirement for the week and that assignments are completed for the final product to be put together.

Filming days are an extremely fun time in the studio. With co-hosts Grant Boone and Shera Niemirowski, along with other crewmembers behind the scenes, laughing usually fills the air. The major roles of camera operating, directing, students, getting real experience by working hands on, fill all sound engineer, floor manager and others.

Much of the work however comes after all the lights and cameras shut off, and the tapes are ready to be edited. The show’s editor spends hours in front of a computer cutting the film and making every piece fit perfectly together to give the show a seamless feel.

Once she has finished, it is sent to KTXS to be aired on Saturday mornings. I then post the show onto the acuoptimist.com website, Optimist Sports’ twitter account and then the Facebook pages for Optimist Sports and The Ken Collums Show, so that alumni and others outside of Abilene will get to see what the students of the JMC department are producing.

There are a number of steps that go into the making of each episode. But the end results are always worth it. The professors are by our side every step and always offer advice to help us reach our full potential. Honestly, it is part of what makes ACU unique.

Presenting 101

The Perfect Presentation

There has been a time when I thought I was probably the best presenter that ever existed. My freshman year during speech class, I would present different topics and I would get awesome grades. In my mind I never had to prepare for these assignments because I could do it a night before and pull it off that next morning. As I move forward in my major of AD/PR, I’m slowly realizing that I can’t just cruise on the procrastination ship forever.

Practice Makes Perfect

Getting away with last minute presentations was a piece of cake in speech class because your audience doesn’t want to be there anymore than you want to present the topic you’re talking about. With this conclusion, this makes me question, “Can I even present.”  Being prepared for presentations, if I don’t say so myself is my biggest downfall.  I realize now that being in the field of representing others is going to take more than just a night of getting your content together.

So with that being said, what are the correct steps to take in order to give the perfect presentation to a client? How do you know when you have effectively presented your content? There are no teachers to pass you back a grade in the real world. How do you prevent the issue of missing your audience with the content you’re trying to give them? Someone, tell me. How do I prepare myself to effectively for a great presentation?

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New sports facilities affect JMC students

With the new sports facilities being constructed here at ACU, not only will this affect the student athletes but also students in the JMC department.

ACU is currently in the process of establishing a new track and field/soccer stadium just south of Wells Field. The anticipated completion of that facility is at the end of March. Once that project nears completion, ACU will begin with the preparation for the building of Anthony Field at Wildcat Stadium. Demolition of the existing track and field facility will take place in early 2015 with a projected completion date of Fall 2016 in time for the home football opener in September 2016.

These facilities will provide significant improvements in lighting and amenities available to members of the media and other journalism outlets. As with anything new, ACU anticipates that there will be some hurdles to jump. With life in a new venue, the quality of the facility and the environment will be able to create an exciting, fresh atmosphere for all fans and guests. With this in mind, it will be well worth the wait!

Current plans call for a facility that will be on another level from a technology standpoint compared to the existing arrangement. With an HD quality video board and the opportunity for an increased number of televised games, the facility will have a number of hardwired connections for video operations and camera angles along with technology to accommodate fan engagement through a number of social media outlets.

Many people, especially athletes and coaches, are excited for their new facilities. Current JMC students working in areas such as sports photography, broadcasting, videography, and more, are also elated to be a part of this brand new chapter at ACU.

JMC students present undergraduate research

“Doing research in JMC means taking a fresh and creative look at media that people usually take for granted (movies, news, TV) and connecting the dots in ways people haven’t before to expose new and useful information.”

-Marissa Jones, senior multimedia major

Marissa Jones researchJMC class offers research experience

Within the JMC Department, students are prepared to write and research for different media.  JMC classes focus on writing for a variety of platforms including news print, broadcast, blogs, and social media.

However, JMC students also have chances to be involved in academic research and writing. Electronic Media Principles focuses on showing students what academic research means in mass media. Students who take this course conduct a group research project and present their findings at at ACU’s Undergraduate Research Festival.

I took this class last semester and conducted a group research project regarding religious references in horror and action movies. Marissa Jones (pictured above) and her group researched news coverage of the Affordable Care Act. Electronic Media Principles allows students to glimpse the possibilities of academic research relevant to journalism and mass communication.

Research opportunities expand through summer internship

This past year I was selected to participate in a summer research internship through the McNair Scholars Program. I stayed in Abilene for 10 weeks this summer with students from different majoHailey Hendricks researchrs. Each scholar worked on a unique project while being mentored by a faculty member.

Dr. Jessica Smith was my mentor throughout the research process. After what felt like the longest summer ever, I was able to turn in a twenty-page paper titled “Young adults’ use of texting shorthand on Facebook.” (Spoiler alert: young adults report not liking shorthand and not using it very often on Facebook.) I was able to present my research in October at a national McNair conference hosted by the University of New Mexico (pictured at right).

Both of these opportunities have increased my appreciation for academic and professional research in mass communication fields. Do you have any special research experiences? Comment below to share!

What it’s Like to Work for Morris + Mitchell

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a part of Morris + Mitchell student-run advertising and public relations agency? I know I have, so I thought it might be fun to get the inside scoop from one of my fellow classmates, Bailey Werderich.

What is Bailey’s Job?

Bailey is the Group Account Director. Her job requires her to use verbal and written communication, so that she can make sure the leadership team has everything they need to get the job done; whether that be information on a current client, a specific project, advice on dealing with a staff member, or just support and encouragement. Bailey is also responsible for keeping Joyce Haley, the faculty advisor for Morris + Mitchell updated with the well being of the agency.

What Does a Typical Day Working for Morris + Mitchell Look Like for Bailey?

Each day changes for Bailey based on what others need. On the days that she has staff or leadership team meetings, Bailey prepares for them, leads them, and answers any questions asked. She also has to answer and send off emails to staff, Joyce Haley, or third parties that she works with, approve materials, and give feedback.

What is Bailey’s Favorite Thing About Her Job?

Bailey loves getting to work with everyone at the agency. She particularly enjoys helping the staff members when they need direction and encouragement. Last year Bailey was an Account Director. She spent time dealing with clients, trying to fulfill their needs and vision for their organization. This year she gets to help assist the current ADs in doing the same thing for their clients. Bailey is truly thankful that she got to experience both positions because they are both very different but each one offers amazing learning experiences.

Tags: Morris + Mitchell, Advertising and Public relations, Bailey Werderich, JMC Student, Group Account Director, Student Media