Innovative storytellers grow into the journalists of the future, and the Belo Foundation made a 2016 gift to the School of Journalism at the Moody College of Communication to allow students more focused opportunities to discover podcasting, coding, data and virtual reality.
Newsroom veteran Robert Quigley brings nearly 20 years of journalism experience to his direction of The Dallas Morning News Innovation Endowment. His focus is connecting students to content types and mediums they experience as users and inspire them to become creators.
Part of this vision is realized in the Tiny Texas Podcast Festival, which was hosted at Moody College in April. Students had the opportunity to sit in on live podcast recordings and learn from professionals in the industry.
“This is a really good way for students (to see) other fields or mediums they can lean towards if they want to pursue a non-traditional journalism career,” journalism senior Daniela Granados said.
A portion of the innovation endowment funding allows Ph.D. students with digital backgrounds to conduct research and work with undergraduate students on projects. Kelsey Whipple was the first doctoral innovation fellow and approached Quigley about putting on a podcast festival. Whipple guided the Tiny Texas Podcast Festival into existence in spring 2018.
This year’s festival kicked off with a discussion from Dallas Morning News Arts and Culture Editor, Christopher Wynn, and included live podcast recordings from KUT’s Two and Fro, ATXExplained and Austin Music Minute.
The second year of the festival also highlighted how the innovation endowment is successfully converting knowledge into application. The Drag, its audio production house, is led by Moody College journalism students Haley Butler and Tinu Thomas. They serve as audio directors who are currently working on a true crime podcast set to debut next year.
Quigley hopes more students will get excited about the medium and go on to start their own podcasts.
“It’s a unique opportunity for students to learn from the experts, to be able to see it in action so they can see a podcast being built right in front of their eyes,” Quigley said.