International Symposium on Online Journalism

When Li Zixin discusses what the internet is like for the population of China it makes me wonder how different things could be of the people of China were active and engaged with social media users of the Western part of the world. The limitation of what Chinese people can access on the web leaves them thirsty for a way to express themselves. Zixin describes a feature of his company similar to what a gym membership is like. There is a monthly fee that allows people to write and discuss things that they wouldn’t ordinarily have the ability to do because of the regulations the Chinese government has on the internet.  The people of China recognize the importance of having an outlet to express oneself searching for a way to do so. Compare that to the freedoms that we have on the Western side of the world and it’s unfortunate that we cannot find more quality content. We have the freedom to talk about anything we’d like and we decide to put most of our focus on things that do not matter. I’m in agreement with Dr. Kaufhold’s hypothesis that what is broken is not the news, but rather the audience. Somewhere along the way we have shifted to a society that needs everything now and this has led to the need to be entertained at every moment of the day. I too am guilty of this, but it seems that people have turned to trivial matters as opposed to issues that are important. Even when important issues are brought to the table it seems that we have lost the ability to have a conversation. Instead, one side is right and the other is wrong. The two sides continue will continue to be close-minded and continue to seek out only information that will confirm their beliefs, while ignoring everything else.  I would be interested to see what the user generated content of the Chinese people looks like and compare it to what we see on this side of the world.

Guest Speaker — Amanda Zamora

Amanda Zamora is a graduate of the University of Texas and after starting her career at the Austin Statesman, took her talents to the East coast where she worked for a variety of different news outlets. Amanda has been an adjunct professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism, where she worked to put audience engagement on the map. She spent 8 years as the digital producer and editor for the Washington Post and last year Amanda was hired by the Texas Tribune as their Chief Audience Officer. Her job at the Tribune is to develop strategies of how to get eyeballs looking the Tribune’s way, and to share as many events with as many Texans as possible.


How do you determine the topic of story that is most relevant to readers?

What are basic strategies to gain more readers?

Guest Speaker — Vera Fischer

Vera is the founder and CEO of 97 Degrees West, which works on the marketing and branding for companies who seek her expertise. When she’s not running her company, Vera has a podcast called “System Execution” and serves as a mentor at the Capital Factory in Austin, Texas. She also is in the process of getting her Master’s degree in Strategic Communication here at Texas State University. Before starting her own company in 2004, Vera worked in the marketing field for about 10 years.


  1. What is the most challenging part of starting your own podcast?

Guest Speaker — Tim Levy

Tim Levy has established himself as a guru of strategic marketing for small businesses and entrepreneurs. He and his associates have published a total of five books about the topic and offers workshops to people who are looking to get a stronger knowledge in strategic marketing. Originally from Australia, Tim began his entrepreneur endeavors at an early age. His dad was a businessman who gave Tim his first taste of consulting when he was a speaker about the internet at one of his father’s conferences. This gave him the opportunity to never really work for anyone else as he created the business, he still runs today, shortly after. He has traveled around the world, studying in Wales, and working in silicon valley. Today, he finds himself in the Austin area.



What is the most important aspect of establishing a digital presence?

What do you find is the most common mistake people are making when they come to you for advice?

Function or Design?

In my opinion in the debate whether function or design is more important, I would argue that function is most important. Yes, it’s always a plus if the design of something makes you want to show whatever it is to all your friends, however, if the item is not able to do what you want it to efficiently, whats the point? I say that, however, you’ll never catch me in a pair of step-ups– if those are still a thing. I’m talking about those shoes created by Sketchers that are built for comfort, but are have a huge sole, which doesn’t do it any favors in the style department. In a perfect world you have a product that is the leader in its’ field in both functionality as well as design. I do believe function is the most important of the two, but I do find myself sacrificing the function of something in favor of the design more often than I’d like to admit.

The first time I purchased an iPod was purely based on design. Yes it held a lot more songs than my current mp3 player at the time did, but the look of it made it seem so much better. The circle in the middle that allowed to scroll through the music stood out to me. The clicking sound that was made when a song was selected and a full display of what was being played were just a few of the design parts that made it better than the device I was using. I think that was the third generation iPod and I never turned back. The Smithsonian article spoke about the simplicity of Apple products and the iPod specifically and this is part of what it hooked me and created a long time customer.

Jeff Wilson — Kasita

The idea of Kasita is extremely innovative and my hat goes off to the creators of the idea. The social experiment done by Jeff Wilson to live in a dumpster is outside the box thinking that not too many are willing to experiment with. The dumpster dimensions of living must have struck some creative chords as Jeff thought up the idea of Kasita. First off, the name is clever. Casita is a spanish meaning, “small house,” but I’m sure for marketing purposes he changed the “C” to a “K”.

The pictures of what the units would look like are really cool and are geared to a specific type of person. In a day when people are always looking for more, Kasita seeks out the people who feel the opposite. People with a minimalist mindset allow for a simple life and are prime candidates for this type of housing. I don’t know if I could last long in a living situation like this, but as I think about all of the unnecessary things I have in my apartment it makes me think twice. I’m interested in what comes out of Kasita in the future.



  1. Was Kasita a derivative of Casita and if so what were the reasons for changing the first letter?
  2. Are these units pet friendly?
  3. When you lived in a dumpster was it an actual dumpster, or an area with dumpster dimensions?

Guest Speaker Series: Anna Tauzin

Anna Tauzin is the VP of Marketing and Innovation for the Texas Restaurant Association and her job involves trying out new restaurants and promoting them. If this is indeed Anna’s job, it sounds like one of the better jobs I’ve ever come across. Trying new dishes in new places most people have never heard of seems like a great way to spend my time. Restaurants have a special role in society, as they bring neighborhoods together and allow for a social outlet for friends and family to rejoice in.

The role of the National Restaurant Association is to empower and help restaurant owners advance their business. It provides a community of people who are all in the food industry and allows for them to help each other through the hardships the industry brings. From their website, the Associations mission statement is “We serve our members by advancing and protecting America’s restaurant and food service industry.”


  1. What is the most effective way to spread the word about a new restaurant you’ve tried?
  2. How would you advise restaurant owners to respond to negative reviews?
  3. What should be the number one priority of restaurant owners?


Twitter Interaction

Throughout the semester I was reaching out to different sports personalities in effort to get a response. I wasn’t asking about their experiences in mass media, but rather commenting on the talks they were having. Bomani Jones, is an ESPN radio personality who is very involved with his Twitter account even during his show. I like the dynamic this brings because it makes the listener feel apart of the show. I topic about whether or not basketball player Dwight Howard was a hall of fame player came about and I tweeted at him with my response. He then got back to me with a short, but responsive tweet allowing for me to reflect on the conversation a little bit more. The new level of interaction Twitter brings to entertainment of all types adds to the experience because not only can you have mini conversations with TV or radio personalities, but also with their followers who can add some insight to topics you’re interested in.

Today, I just received a reply from a journalist, RJ Marquez, who works for KSAT 12, a news station in San Antonio. He works in the field that I hope to one day transition to. I asked what his advice would for someone who is in his last couple of semesters of grad school and looking to begin a career in journalism. He told me to be willing to start in a small market in order to get my foot in the door. He said small markets will allow to better learn the craft and try different things in the newsroom and gave me the advice to learn how to use equipment and software that fit today’s world. He too is just beginning his career in the field, so I will take the advice he gives seriously and continue reaching out to others.

Presidential Candidates Across Social Media


This graphic shows the popularity of the candidates over the social media networks Twitter and Facebook. While this is a graph made in February of this year it turned out to be a good indicator of how the election turned out. Donald Trump’s stats are on the far left of the graph and shows that he had the most number of likes on both social media platforms. Hillary was second with a large number of Twitter followers, but not as nearly much Facebook likes. The graph starts to decrease as it moves to the right where the less popular candidates are located. It’s been established that social media is where a large number of people go to for their news, so it seemed that the popularity of the candidates on these platforms helped during the election. It is no secret that Donald Trump is a star and had a following before he announced his candidacy. In this social media era we live in, this graphic seems to be a good indicator of how this became not only an election, but a popularity contest.

Mass Communications Week Meet Up


During Mass Communication week at Texas State, the meet up I chose to attend was about the ABC’s of networking. Networking can be looked at as an investment in relationships, so that one day it may serve you. When going to an event it is important that one is prepared. You must know your audience, know what to talk about and understand why you’re there. Some people may naturally be introverts and that’s okay, however, when networking you must change your thinking and understand that strangers are okay. It is important to develop an elevator speech, which is a way of introducing yourself in an efficient manner. An acronym that can help with this is IPAD. I stands for talking about yourself. P stands for personal telling making sure you introduce yourself. A is for action, what have you done that relates to the reason why you’re there. D stands for desire. Telling people what you want. Is you meet new people it’s good to make a lasting impression, but to not overstay your welcome. Exit gracefully and send a follow up email within the next 48 hours to help build that relationship. While making a lot of new contacts is always good, one important personal relationship is better than a handful of business cards. Overall, it was a good workshop to be at and the speaker provided a lot of good insights.