An Extraordinary Investment
For almost 50 years, the Moody College of Communication has been nationally recognized for its faculty members, research and student media. But until the Belo Center for New Media opened in August, space constraints at the Jesse H. Jones Communications Center often compelled classes and special events to move elsewhere. A lack of gathering spaces did not complement the College's collaborative nature, and windowless rooms put award-winning work out of sight.
The Moody College dedicated its new building on Nov. 1, 2012, in a ceremony for alumni, friends and students.
Named in recognition of the seminal role that Col. A. H. Belo played in the early days of Texas journalism, the new facility provides much-needed space for more than 4,600 students.
With an abundance of natural light, floor-to-ceiling windows, a café and expanded student advising and career services areas, the Belo Center provides a more open, interactive environment. It includes lecture halls, auditoriums, student offices and meeting rooms, as well as spaces for film screenings and conferences for all Moody College departments. The facility also houses the offices of Moody College administration, the School of Journalism, the Department of Advertising and Public Relations and the KUT Public Media Studios.
In recognition of those who made the Belo Center for New Media possible, the Moody College hosted building tours and a dedication ceremony on Nov. 1, 2012. The dedication ceremony remembered the third generation of Belo Corp. leaders — Joe M. Dealey (B.A., '41), H. Ben Decherd (B.A., '36) and James M. Moroney Jr. (B.B.A., '43) — whose grandfather G. B. Dealey established The Dallas Morning News on behalf of A. H. Belo in 1885. The ceremony also honored the generosity of The Belo Foundation, Robert W. Decherd and Maureen H. Decherd (B.A., '73), the estate of James M. Moroney Jr. (B.B.A., '43), and the Jim and Lynn Moroney Family Foundation.
The ceremony featured presentations by Moody College of Communication Dean Roderick P. Hart; University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers; Rosental Alves, School of Journalism professor and director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas; Robert W. Decherd, chairman of The Belo Foundation of Dallas and chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of A. H. Belo Corporation; and Berkley Knas, a 2007 public relations graduate and Belo Center supporter.
"This building represents an extraordinary investment in us by President Powers, Chancellor Cigarroa and the Board of Regents, not to mention the wonderful Belo folks in Dallas," Hart said. "The fact that the Belo Center is as beautiful as it is functional only adds to our wonderment. This is the most important thing that has happened to us since the Jesse Jones Complex was opened in 1974. We must now do all in our power to remain worthy of our benefactors."
Communication Education in the Digital Era
The college classroom is changing forever. No longer is it exclusively a physical destination. Now, someone thousands of miles away can watch a lecture or participate in a discussion using a laptop. Undergraduates can collaborate on an assignment without meeting in person. A graduate student can get real-time feedback on her dissertation while conducting field research.
New forms of media are reshaping how ideas are delivered, and how students learn. And the Moody College of Communication is at the forefront of these changes. During the past year, the College moved into the Belo Center for New Media, its state-of-art new facility, and is in the midst of renovating its traditional homes, the CMA and CMB buildings. But it's what happens inside these buildings that matters.
For instance, the School of Journalism has unveiled a new digital-based curriculum to prepare students for the rapidly changing journalism profession. Faculty members from across the College continue to conduct cutting-edge research that helps industry thrive and makes the world a better place. Most importantly, through innovative teaching we're preparing our students to transform society. To help prepare for changes in the classroom, the Moody College has hired an instructional designer to help use technology to enhance learning, and our faculty members continue to find ways to reach students and make their lessons relevant.
Indeed, the way we teach and our students learn is rapidly changing – but we will continue to provide the framework of a traditional education in a new digital era.
Roderick P. Hart
Dean, Moody College of Communication
The University of Texas at Austin
And That's the Way It Is
On April 19, 2012, the Moody College officially dedicated the area in front of the Jesse H. Jones Communication Center the Walter Cronkite Plaza, and celebrated the occasion with the premiere of a public art installation by new media artist Ben Rubin.
The art installation, titled “And That’s the Way It Is,” honors the legacy of Walter Cronkite, an alumnus of the Moody College of Communication. It was commissioned for the Moody College by Landmarks, the university’s public art program.
Walter Cronkite Plaza honors the reporter's legacy with an art installation by Ben Rubin.
“And That’s the Way It Is” will illuminate the face of the CMA building with projections of choreographed text drawn both from archival transcripts of Cronkite’s broadcasts and recently published news. As daily news is generated, the text adapts to reflect current events – connecting the past and present. The installation will be visible every evening from dusk until midnight from the Walter Cronkite Plaza.
“I’m looking for ways that the Cronkite perspective – his reporting, language, the subjects he covered and the news of his era – might illuminate our contemporary news,” Rubin said. “Part of what I’m looking for are rhythms – figures of speech or grammatical constructions – that when placed one after the other form a litany that will occasionally seem poetic.”
Several university units collaborated to realize this commission. The Moody College of Communication provided funding as part of its capital improvement project, the Briscoe Center for American History contributed transcripts from its archive of Walter Cronkite papers, and the School of Information offered technical expertise to the artist.
"As one of the Moody College’s most accomplished sons, Walter Cronkite epitomized the traditional values of journalism – accuracy, courage, independence and integrity – that we seek to imbue in our students,” said Roderick P. Hart, dean of the College of Communication. “By honoring the Cronkite legacy we hope to instill in our students the moral and ethical framework they will need in a new digital era."
The Future of Journalism Education
The School of Journalism has launched a new, digital-based undergraduate curriculum. As of the fall 2012 semester, entering students no longer focus on a single area of journalism – such as print, magazine, photography or broadcast. Instead, students study all of these areas to prepare for the rapidly changing journalism profession.
The School's first major curriculum overhaul in more than a decade, the new curriculum is a response to market demand for graduates who are literate in various media platforms. “The School of Journalism strives to produce journalists who are grounded in traditional values yet familiar with all of the tools for information-gathering and communication that modern technology provides,” said Glenn Frankel, director of the School of Journalism. “We seek to use these new tools not only to teach journalism but also to create and present original stories that better inform and educate our students and the public.”
As part of the new curriculum, students are immersed in digital media. They build websites and create digital portfolios and are required to take a professional internship and a “capstone” course in multimedia journalism. The School of Journalism continues to teach the key concepts of traditional journalism, including writing and reporting, photography, storytelling and the role of journalism in a democratic society.
“The primary mission of the School of Journalism will remain unchanged,” Frankel said. “We will still educate students to think critically and skeptically; gather information accurately, honestly and fairly; hold institutions and individuals accountable; and produce stories in various media platforms that communicate clearly, concisely and powerfully.”
The Next Generation of Innovators
Moody College of Communication and Department of Radio-Television-Film alumnus Robert Rodriguez visited campus May 2, 2012, to host a conversation with students and inspire what he called "the next generation of innovators."
Charles Ramirez-Berg, a university distinguished teaching professor, arranged the event in conjunction with the Center for Mexican American Studies under the title, "The Future of Latino Images in Film and Media."
Radio-Television-Film alumnus Robert Rodriguez
addressed students on his
new cable channel, El Rey.
Rodriguez, founder of Austin-based Troublemaker Studios, said that many of his innovations ushered original trends into the Hollywood mainstream. These included the push and acceptance of independent films in the 1990s, the rise and explosion of digital film around the new millennium and the profitable return of the 3-D genre in the 2000s.
A large portion of Rodriguez's lecture centered on the filmmaker's new cable channel "El Rey," slated to premiere in 2013 on Comcast. When it airs, shows will be in English but tailored to Latino audiences.
Rodriguez also said he wants the programming to be so good that the network attracts all audiences, and that his network is currently accepting pitches.
Improving Access to Literacy & Language
Although almost 47 million people in the U.S. speak a language other than English at home, a recent American Speech-Language-Hearing Association survey shows that only 8 percent of speech-language pathologists feel highly qualified to serve English language learners.
Complementing the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders' focus on bilingual language development, the U.S. Department of Education recently awarded the department with a $249,551 Project Access to Language and Literacy grant. U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s office presented the grant to Professor Lisa Bedore, who will serve as principal investigator.
"... this underscores our continued leadership in preparing professionals with a specialization in multicultural speech-language pathology."
In the next five years, the grant will enhance training for 30 master's-level students with a specialization in multicultural speech-language pathology. Ultimately, the program seeks to increase the number of speech-language pathologists who can effectively provide services to culturally or linguistically diverse children at risk for poor literacy outcomes. It also seeks to train speech-language pathologists who can develop, implement and evaluate evidence-based practices.
“This is an important award for several reasons,” said Craig Champlin, chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. “First, the grant emphasizes the ongoing need to develop speech-language pathologists with advanced competencies in bilingual language learning and literacy. Second, this underscores our continued leadership in preparing professionals with a specialization in multicultural speech-language pathology. Finally, the project provides both educational and financial support to students interested in pursuing careers as bilingual speech-language pathologists.”
Project faculty include Professor Bedore; Professor Elizabeth Peña, Anita Perez, research associate; Mary Anne Nericcio, clinical assistant professor; and Jessica Franco, clinical assistant professor.
When Charli Kilpatrick received a Labrador puppy as a Christmas present last year, little did she know that he would become famous.
Thanks to a project she completed in the Department of Communication Studies' “Celebrity Culture” course, her Labrador – Dudley – has appeared on “Good Morning America,” NPR, TeddyHilton.com and Radio Télévision Luxembourg. On Oct. 24, Kilpatrick and Dudley appeared on Anderson Cooper’s “AndersonLive.”.
The assignment – which charged students with creating and promoting a blog or YouTube video that would receive at least 1,400 views – inspired Kilpatrick and her four team members to create a video starring Dudley. The video, “Ruff Dog Day,” follows Dudley as he gets ready for his day, albeit with human hands.
Because Dudley was already trained, it only took the group about 30 minutes to film the video. “Also, I caught him on a good day when he was super-tired and cooperative,” Kilpatrick said.
While they initially emailed the video to their families and friends, Kilpatrick's team also drummed up interest by posting the video to sites, such as reddit.com and StumbleUpon. They also pitched the video to TV shows, such as “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and Comedy Central.
Through the assignment, Associate Professor Joshua Gunn wanted students to think about how the processes of publicity have changed over time. “Publicity used to be poised on a model of marketing an object or product – including a ‘star,’ as with the studio star system that developed in classical Hollywood,” Gunn said. “Today, publicity has shifted to a logic of circulation. It's about staying in the ‘public eye,’ so to speak. Getting noticed.”
Offered as an interdisciplinary elective since 2009, “Celebrity Culture” examines the importance of fame and its relation to education, entertainment and politics. About 200 students typically sign up for the course each semester.
“I will say, students are attracted to the course by its title, and then are somewhat surprised that they are learning history, public sphere theory, film theory and political theory,” Gunn said. “A ‘celebrity appreciation’ course this is not. By the end of the course, however, I think students are really into thinking critically about their mediated experiences in ‘everyday life.’”
A Scholar's Scholar
The Moody College has renamed its Faculty Research Award the "Ellen A. Wartella Distinguished Research Award" in honor of former Dean Ellen Wartella. On Oct. 31, 2012, Dean Roderick P. Hart presented Wartella with a plaque bearing the award's new name at the College's 2012 Wayne A. Danielson Lecture, where she was the keynote speaker and delivered the presentation "Food Marketing and the Childhood Obesity Crisis."
"Not only was Ellen a fine administrator, but she is also a scholar's scholar... one who has carved out entirely new areas of research in the area of children and media and who has built an international reputation as a result," Dean Hart said. "How appropriate then, that we name the College's research award for the scholarly leadership she has shown."
The faculty research award has been renamed in honor of Wartella's service and scholarship.
Each year, the Moody College presents the award to a faculty member whose research has made considerable innovations to its respective field. Awardees receive $1,500 and a nomination to the University Co-operative Society Research Excellence Award for Best Research Paper.
Wartella, who served as Moody College dean from 1993 to 2004, is a professor of communication, human development/sociology and psychology at Northwestern University. From 2004-2009, she served as executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California-Riverside.
Wartella's research focuses on media and children's health, specifically the childhood obesity crisis. She serves on the board of Harvard University’s Center on Media and Children's Health, the board of the World Summit on Media for Children Foundation, the national educational advisory board of the Council of Better Business Bureaus' Children's Advertising Review Unit; and the advisory board of Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. She is a trustee of Sesame Workshop and serves on the PBS KIDS Next Generation Media Advisory Board. Wartella is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; a fellow of the International Communication Association; and a Distinguished Scholar of the National Communication Association.
The first recipient of the Ellen A. Wartella Distinguished Research Award is Anthony Dudo, assistant professor in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, for his article "Science on Television in the 21st Century: Recent Trends in Portrayals and Their Contributions to Public Attitudes Towards Science," which appeared in the December 2011 issue of Communication Research.
With top-ranked Communication Studies and Advertising departments, it's fitting that Moody College of Communication alumni receive similar accolades. Sarah Bachman (B.S. Communication Studies, 2005) and Danielle Gonzales (B.S. Advertising, 1995) were among 12 media professionals recently honored as Adweek Media All-Stars. The award recognizes talented and innovative media professionals.
When Bachman reflects on her college years, she remembers professors challenging her to be adaptable, never becoming too comfortable. It's a principle that has served her well as director of mobile strategy for Horizon Media, a media services company headquartered in New York. "I learned that you have to be flexible and there isn't always a simple black and white answer," Bachman said. "Working in the field of advertising is fast paced, and when you throw in new technology and a rapidly evolving medium, no day, week or month is ever the same, making my days far from monotonous," Bachman said.
Bachman and Gonzales earned the designation "Media All-Stars" for their innovative contributions in advertising.
As an executive younger than 30, Bachman earned Adweek's designation of "Rising Star." Bachman's role is focused on leading Horizon Media’s mobile practice, giving her the opportunity to drive clients' mobile strategy, educate others on the mobile ecosystem and identify new technologies. She has worked with clients such as Capital One and Corona.
As a first-generation college graduate, Gonzales did not have the added benefit of parental advice when searching for her first job. "I followed a dream and for me, I just kept asking people for help and trying to find a way in," Gonzales said. "If you have a passion for something, follow it and don't let it go. It is really hard to find a job but if you know somewhere you want to be, find a way to talk to that company, pursue it and keep on it until it happens. You can be successful even with the humblest of backgrounds – just work outside the expected path."
Having followed that advice more than 17 years ago, Gonzales now serves as executive vice president/managing director for Tapestry/Starcom USA – a Chicago-based media agency partnership. One of her career highlights was negotiating a $100 million-plus deal between Univision and clients, including Burger King, Mars/Wrigley and Kellogg. The 2012-2013 contract is the largest single-agency upfront deal ever signed by Univision. It also is the first upfront deal to utilize a video-neutral approach, incorporating all of Univision's properties.
"The upfront deal our team completed was groundbreaking," Gonzales said. "For the first time in history, the first upfront agency deal was not between a big firm and English networks. It was a big firm plus multicultural team and the number one Spanish network. This truly marks a change in advertising when a Spanish network can lead the marketplace in setting rates and momentum."
Fresh Thoughts Magazine
The new issue of Fresh Thoughts is now available online! Fresh Thoughts is the magazine that highlights new faculty and student research in the Moody College of Communication.
This issue features articles on Bharath Chandrasekaran, Iris Chyi, Matt Eastin, Caroline Frick and Keri Stephens.
Discover how newspapers are preparing for a digital future, how music training alters the structure of the human brain, the effects of mobile technology on the workplace, the dynamic between video games and violence, and how Texas film history is being preserved.
Read Fresh Thoughts online
Publisher: Nick Hundley | Designer: Andy Greer | Contributing editor: Nick Moore | Contributing writers: Laura Byerley, Marc Speir | Contributing videographers: Marc Speir, Christopher Palmer