An Important Audience Relationship

I found Jim Brady’s talk to be compelling due to the fact that his business model focuses on events and local news. I really appreciate how they put a lot of thought into the user experience and taking into account how pop-up ads can ruin that experience. I also find it refreshing that this site is not afraid of curated content but rather serving the audience what they want, instead of trying to serve strictly content from only their site. What I found to be most interesting is the fact that this site doesn’t do things for page views, but is concerned about “time well spent” and serving the readers needs. This site wants to build a connection through events, which is a concept I found interesting because it isn’t a concept that one would typically think of in regards to online news. I think this idea is appropriate because of their audience. I can respect a news site that uses this model over an advertising model because it is innovative.

Shannan Bowen Stevens: Growing Audiences

Shannan Bowen Stevens began her career as a reporter, then eventually moved up to working as an editor. In 2012, she began working in audience development at Atlantic Media Strategies in Washington D.C. She then joined Hill Newspaper and National Journal at Atlantic Media sharpening her audience development skills. Shannan currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina where she works as the Product and Audience Development Strategist for McClatchy. In her position, she focuses on audience growth and engagement across digital products, social media and emerging platforms. She brings experience from local and political journalism, community engagement and development, content strategy, product strategy, data journalism and social media strategy. Shannan holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in media entrepreneurship from American University.


  1. What is your favorite part about your job?
  2. What exactly is audience development and what are some of the current trends?

Amanda Zamora: From Coast to Coast

Amanda Zamora, is the Cheif Audience Officer for the Texas Tribune. In this role, she leads the Tribune’s audience growth and engagement efforts. After graduating from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, Zamora worked as Editorial Assistant and Online Producer, respectively, for the Austin American Statesman. Zamora returned to Texas in 2016 after a 13 year stay on the East Coast working for various organizations including The Huffington Post Investigative Fund, The Washington Post and ProPublica.

Specializing in audience-centered editorial strategy, Zamora says she is “passionate about journalism, and believes the best stories we can tell resonate with the communities most interested in and affected by them.” In her position as Cheif Audience Officer, she assigns and edits news, examines analytics to understand how audiences are consuming content, and experiments with new platforms, technologies and story forms.


  1. What is your favorite part about your job?
  2. What strategies did you utlize to get the attention and eventually become employed by news organizations such as the Washington Post and The Huffington Post?

Vera Fischer: A Woman of Determination

Vera Fischer is the CEO and President of 97 Degrees Weset. She is an alumna of Texas State University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and her Master of Arts in Strategic Communication, which she will complete in May 2018.

Vera started her career in adverstising and PR at GSD&M, she then moved on to work for T3.

A few years later, in 2004, Vera founded her agency, 97 Degrees West, an Austin based brand martketing agency. The agency works on strategy, reporting, campaigns, and everything in between for their B2B and B2C clients.


  1. What was the deciding factor that lead you to start your own agency?
  2. What were the major challenges of starting your own agency and how did you overcome them?

Tim Levy

According to Tim Levy’s LinkedIn, he is a motivational speaker, coach and performer. He is the CEO of Tim Levy and Associates, a strategic marketing agency that employs around 40 individuals who create things for clients such as blueprints, web sites, books, social media channels, and Youtube production.

Levy is also an author of eleven books. He attended Baker College and the University of New South Wales where he received his degree in computer science with a focus on technology, communication and content and virual reality.


  1. What do you like most about being a motivational speaker?
  2. What made you want to open a strategic marketing agency and what are some of the challenges you face as CEO?

Design Vs. Function

Function and design are no doubt very important to consumers in the products they purchase. Arguably, they are very close in importance, however, in my opinion, function is slightly more important. Think of it this way, would you buy something that is pretty, but doesn’t necessarily work well? For example, this was the case for the IPhone 6 and it’s subpar battery life discussed in the Forbes article. Although the phone sold and was highly anticipated, consumers were still unhappy with the sacrifice of function for design. Could it be possible that Apple’s hype and reputation is what drove the sales and not the untrue fact that it functioned impeccably? Or rather, would you buy something that works great, even if it may not be the prettiest product? Personally, I would always go with the later choice. Although design is extremely important, because consumers want something to look nice, at the end of the day, they are buying a product to serve a purpose. If the product doesn’t fully serve that purpose (even if it looks nice), what is the point of having that product at all?

Design has definitely influenced my purchasing decisions. I always take into account the aesthetic of a product when purchasing. One particular example is cars. Essentially, all makes of cars have competitors that function in similar ways–the BMW 3 series and the Mercedes Benz C Class are each other’s equivalent. So how does a consumer pick between two makes of cars that essentially function in the same way and have most of the same features. This is where design comes into play. It depends on the particular style of the consumer. For me, I choose the BMW 3 series because of its sporty features and younger, more edgy design.

Jeff Wilson: A Man With A Vision

Jeff Wilson is CEO at KASITA, where he works with his company to develop an innovative approach to housing.

With a diverse educational background in feilds ranging from GIS to public health, Jeff received his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, his masters from Texas State University, his PhD from University of Canterbury and was a post-doctoral student at Harvard University.

Jeff’s work has been featured in articles from some of the most prestigues news sources including the New York Times and The Washington Post.

Additionally, he has been awarded the UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, the 2016 SXSW Interactive Innovation Award and was named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2016.



  1. What prompted you to pursue such a diverse education? Did you always have a vision or idea of what you wanted to do and choose your educational path based on that?
  2. What are some of the challenges you face as CEO of your company?

Digital Media Innovation: Online/Mobile Banking

The digital media innovation that I cannot live without is…Online/Mobile Banking!

This service is offered by all major banks and has gained popularity in recent years.

Why? Because it’s awesome!

It offers:

  • 24 hr. service
  • Convenience
  • Remote deposits
  • Online payments

Why Do I LOVE It?

  • Funds are easily accessible
  • Transfer money quickly
  • It’s free!

Blog 1- Anna Tauzin Rice

A Texas State Alumna, fellow Bobcat and Texan Native, Anna Tauzin Rice holds a bachelor of arts in Mass Communication. She has worked as a web and social media editor for J-Lab, a nonprofit journalism research center and startup incubator.

Currently, Anna Tauzin Rice is the Vice President of Marketing and Innovation for the At the Texas Restaurant Association. The objective she encounters on her day to day is to promote the Association efforts.

Before she aquired her current position, she worked as the Senior Marketing Manager for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Services at the National Restaurant Association. This position allowed her to connect restaurant operators with new technology, operations and marketing concepts. She has also worked as a Web Communications Specialist for the national Restaurant Association, and has done freelance Web Design.

Additionally, Anna holds a master of arts in journalism from American University.


  1. What are some of the challenges you encountered working in the field and how did you overcome them?
  2. What advice do you have for students trying to break into the feild of Mass Communication?