Monday, October 29, 2007

Great media personality

Last week was Mass Comm Week at school. With more than 50 speakers in more than 30 sessions, I was exhausted by end of day Thursday.

Our keynote speaker was Ralitsa Vassileva, anchor at CNN International. As chair of the week, I spent a lot of time with her and the one thing that struck me was how humble and sincere she was. I wasn't sure what I expected, but having worked in the media since high school, I was not expecting this. She is truly a nice, sweet, sincere person.

One example, after her talk, students lined up to speak with her, get her email address, etc. The speaker after her was local morning radio personality Bobby Bones and the room was utter confusion with students leaving after Ralitsa and more coming in to here Bobby Bones. Eventually, we migrated out into the hall. We're in the hall for several minutes, the door to the packed auditorium is open and I finally suggest we go down to the first floor where it is quieter and they could talk without having to whisper. We go downstairs and the director of the School of Journalism & Mass Communication offers her office, but asks Ralitsa if she would like to freshen up a bit before continuing. Ralitsa politely declined, saying this one student had waited to talk to her for 30 minutes and she didn't want to keep the student waiting. She talked to the student for at least 15 minutes. What a pro!

Not only did Ralitsa give the keynote at the school, she went with us to the celebration that night for the 10th anniversary of our graduate program. She also attended a dinner the director hosted, which included some of our top broadcast students. She also spoke for 45 minutes at 8 a.m. to an Intro to Mass Comm course. All the while she was an utter pro and did an excellent job with the students' questions, even when the questions were a bit loaded.

In addition to her being a sincere person, her talk was interesting. She grew up in communist Bulgaria and became a journalist with the fall of communism. She talked about coming to the US with her son and just two suitcases because that's all they had. She discussed meeting Ted Turner and what a visionary he was.

Students in the Online Journalism class were live blogging during the event. See what they wrote about Ralitsa. I know as a jaded media watcher, Ralitsa renewed my faith in the way journalism should be.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Media experts to speak at Texas State

Two months of hard work pay off this week. It's the annual Mass Comm Week at Texas State. We will feature more than 50 industry experts and notable alumni covering a variety of issues, topics and trends in mass media. Our headline speaker is CNN International anchor Ralitsa Vassileva, who will discuss her career and international news coverage at 2 p.m., Oct. 24 in Old Main 320. Here is the complete schedule.

Thanks to my PR Campaigns team, we've received a lot of coverage about this event, including a mention in the Statesman, three advance pieces in the student newspaper, The University Star, and a piece on KTSW (the student radio station).

The last few days has felt like the calm before the storm. It seems like I have everything in place, but it just feels like that can't be right. It's like I'm waiting for the shoe to drop. What did I miss when organizing this? Maybe the fact that I'm worrying about this means that it's all put together and well planned. Maybe I'm just a worrier by nature (okay, that's not a maybe, that's a fact).

I am, however, looking forward to this week and hope the students, faculty and guests are looking forward to it as well.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What's been keeping me busy

I have been so busy this semester. I'm teaching four classes and then taking a fifth -- a Web design class. I think I could keep up with that, but I'm also in charge of our annual Mass Communication Week at school. This is three days where we bring in guest speakers, industry experts and notable alumni, to discuss issues, trends and careers in the mass media. This year we have more than 50 guest speakers. I've spent a lot of time arranging the event, trying to get through the university red tape to pay for travel, and working with a team of students from my campaigns class to publicize the event. To see who we have coming, click here.

I can't wait until two weeks.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Finding my heart in the art

One of my fused pieces will appear in the Find Your Heart in the Art show. The show is Nov. 1 and is a benefit for the American Heart Association. Show details can be found here.