Bobby Blanchard

bobby at desk
Bobby Blanchard - Director of Audience
Class of 2015

What advice do you have for #TEXASMoody students? 

I speak to a lot of college students who are incredibly hard on themselves and have this unreasonable expectation for what they should have accomplished and what they should be doing. UT-Austin is a competitive school to get into — so students arrive on campus having worked very hard to get there. I see a lot of young professionals who still think they have something to prove. I think we all could stand to be a little kinder to ourselves. You have to take the golden rule and invert it — treat yourself like you would a best friend. You would never speak harshly to a loved one about their career performance. It is just as inappropriate to speak to yourself that way. Give yourself the same kindness you give others. Somewhere along the way, we decided it was okay to torture ourselves. All nighters have become this weird badge of honor — we're all so excited to rush to be the most miserable and overworked. Kill that instinct. Kill that early and kill that now and you'll be so much happier in your career and life.

What do you miss most about Moody College?

Really, the breadth of experiences I had while I was a student there. I got to touch just about every aspect of journalism. My only regret is never DJing for the student radio station, KVRX. I wished I had carved out time to try that for just one semester.

I think we all could stand to be a little kinder to ourselves. You have to take the golden rule and invert it — treat yourself like you would a best friend.

Bobby Blanchard, Journalism 2015

Can you talk about your career path?

I spent most of my college career building up experiences, clips and a resume to become a city hall or state bureau reporter. That was my goal — I touched The Daily Texan, KUT, the Houston Chronicle, The Texas Tribune and The Dallas Morning News along the way to help me achieve that goal. Obviously I am doing something very different today, but the basic tenets of journalism that I learned both in and out of the classroom still helps me navigate my role every day today. My job today is to make sure everything the Tribune does find an audience and that everything our audience needs can be found with the Tribune. I advanced to this position at the Tribune after spending several years working on its audience team and making sure that our journalism was helping people navigate wonky policy and politics news. At the end of the day, I use a lot of the same skills I did as a reporter: I'm curious, I ask a lot of questions, I try to get answers on behalf of readers and I use my news judgement to ruthlessly prioritize. This is why I always tell people to do good work. Worry about 5- year plans later. Just do good work that is fulfilling and makes you happy and the rest will follow.

What classes/professors helped the most?

Woof, this is a hard one to answer because there are so many I reference. I really loved the data journalism class I took with Christian McDonald. Kris Wilson's class on environmental journalism was also exceptional. I got my first real experiences with social media programming in Robert Quigley's social media class. I try to hold on to everything Wanda Cash, a Texas journalism legend, ever said to me. I use lessons from my media law class every week — which is still one of my favorite classes of all time. That's not a complete list, but if I gave you that we'd be here all day!

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