A message from Dean Andrea Miller

Andrea miller

Happy 2020 from the Mayborn School!

Welcome to the new decade! We are fully into the swing of the Spring semester at the Mayborn School and much is happening. Our students are deep into assignments, gearing up for projects and exams and producing the kind of award-winning work that sets the Mayborn apart.

Speaking of awards, we're already into awards season and, while much more is to come, we're pleased to announce that 2019 grad Joe Valdez has been named a top 20 finalist in the Hearst Multimedia Narrative Video Storytelling Competition. Congratulations to him on the Hearst honor and the new job! Joe started right after graduation at News 12 in Sherman as a reporter.

Just to sow the early seeds of big news to come, we're looking forward to celebrating the 75th birthday of journalism at the University of North Texas beginning in Fall semester 2020. That's quite a legacy and the planning for some amazing events is underway. Exciting details will be revealed in the coming months.

Plans are also underway for our 2020 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, to be held July 17-19 at the DFW Lakes Hilton in Grapevine, Texas. Our theme for this year? "20/20: Bringing Truth into Focus." There has never been a more timely topic for journalism and we hope you will make plans to join us. To learn more and register, visit www.themayborn.com.

We also have our annual Celebrate Mayborn awards gala planned for April 17 at the University Union Lyceum. We'll recognize our industry heroes and hand out more than $250,000 in student scholarships. More on that later as well. Until then, save the date.

Lastly, I'm continuing my first-year listening tour to visit alumni and industry connections in various cities. I'm coming to the West Coast February 12-13, and then dropping into San Antonio and Austin in March. We would love to meet you and hear your thoughts on what the Mayborn can do to better meet the needs of your industries in these fast-changing times. Please contact Karena Sara at karena.sara@unt.edu for more information.

Spring is always a time of renewal and energy for me. Moving through the chill of January and February, we'll soon find ourselves in a season of blossom and growth. That's the excitement I feel at the Mayborn - an enthusiasm and energy that I hope you feel, too.

All the Best,

Andrea Miller, Dean

Exposure to Photojournalism Tools

Student Photographing

Students in Lecturer Todd Bennett's Introduction to Visual Communications class study basic image exposure techniques around the UNT campus. UNT mascot Scrappy is always a popular subject.

Alumni Profile: Kimmy Davis

Kimmy Davis

By Marcus Sykes

Alumni Kimmy Davis graduated from the Mayborn School of Journalism in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations. Davis currently works for Content Pilot in Dallas where she is employed as a Public Relations Specialist.

Davis has attended several events for both the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Davis states that attending the meetings has been encouraging to hear and that she hopes to join the organizations soon.

"Incoming freshmen absorb as much as you can in all your classes because you never know how it will help you move forward," said Davis.

Davis advises students to set a high standard for themselves. She says that its hard, but by doing this "you get used to producing high-quality work".

"It'll set you apart from the crowd, but you'll start to feel a sense of pride when you turn in your work," said Davis.

Davis states that she's even been able to drop a few trivia facts that she picked up in an elective and it helped her start a conversation with a client.

The classroom setting teaches some valuable lessons and for Davis one of those was the PR 4-step cycle which involves research, planning, communication, and evaluation. The other was GOST which involves goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics for which she gives a huge thanks to Dr. Koji Fuse.

However, Davis has learned that the working world involves a lot of back and forth and that nothing operates in a straight line from beginning to end. At the present time, she sees herself as a beginner.

Her typical workday will include checking emails, writing and reviewing written content such as press releases, attorney bios, thought leadership, etcetera. She will then move on to managing the social media for the company where she works as well as their clients.

While Davis states that her job is not always fast-paced, there are deadlines that the company strives to meet with their clients. September through the end of the year is our busiest time.

"I am usually working on several projects at a time," Davis said, "I find that "multi-tasking" refreshing my mind and perspective on client projects." While Davis believes every job has a few negative aspects. Writer's block usually hits several days before a deadline. She recovers from it by unplugging for a bit and clearing her mind.

"One advantage of being in PR is that you're trained to adapt--not only to an evolving industry but to anything that your clients may throw your way," Davis said, "We're built to handle it."

She believes that she will see herself as a PR pro in five years. At this point in time, Davis believes that when she's ready to start a family that she will start doing freelance work possibly starting her own boutique agency.

While she doesn't know how long she will stay in the legal marketing niche, she's very happy where she's working.

PR Students Learn Non-Profit Writing from the Client's Perspective

PR Puppy

Even though (name) the dog seems relaxed, students in Lecturer Kim Keller's PR Writing class recently learned all about public relations for non-tor-profit groups like Idea Service Dogs, an organizations that helps people raise and train their own service animals.

2019 Grad Joe Valdez named top 20 finalist in Hearst Competition

Joe Valdez

Congratulations to Joe Valdez ('19), who was recently named a Top 20 Finalist in the annual Hearst Multimedia Visual Storytelling Competition.

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program, now in its 60th year, added multimedia to the competitions in 2010. The program also includes five writing, one radio, two television, and two photojournalism competitions offering up to $700,000 in scholarships, matching grants and stipends. 104 member universities of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication with accredited undergraduate journalism programs are eligible to participate in the Hearst competitions.

While studying Broadcast & Digital News at the Mayborn, Valdez did field reporting work for NTTV. He recently began working as a reporter for KXII News 12 in Sherman, Texas.

Share your thoughts, ideas and suggestions with Dean Miller

A Taste of Great Advertising

Student teams from Principal Lecturer Bill Ford's Fall 2019 advertising class pitched campaigns to a panel of distinguished judges from throughout the Dallas advertising industry. The team for Lawry's Garlic Seasoning hit it big with a "Slap Your Buds" concept that included print, social media, outdoor and a clever television commercial.

Meet the Dean

Meet the Dean Graphic

Dean Andrea Miller is continuing her Mayborn listening tour, speaking with alumni, industry partners and others to learn and discuss ways the Mayborn School can remain at the forefront of journalism and mass communications education.

If you're in the SoCal area, make plans now to visit with Dean Miller in San Diego on February 10 - 12. Other scheduled dates and places include:

  • San Antonio, March 25
  • Austin, March 26
  • Tarrant County, April 16
  • Collin County, April 23
  • Dallas County, April 30

For more information, contact Karena Sara at 940-565-5226 or karena.sara@unt.edu.

Planning Underway for Mayborn Conference: "20/20: Bringing Truth Into Focus"

2020 Conference Graphic

Registration is now open for the 2020 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. This year's theme? "20/20: Bringing Truth Into Focus."

Mark your calendar now for July 17-19 in Grapevine, Texas. It's always the coolest place to be during the hottest days of summer, and this year will be no exception.

Why "20/20: Bringing Truth Into Focus?"

During a tumultuous period when journalism has been in the crosshairs of the public, journalists and writers must sift through fact and fiction, truth and hyperbole, to accurately tell compelling stories that inform and educate the public.

For 2020, we're planning to offer a wide range of journalists, authors and storytellers who have been on the frontlines of reporting and writing narratives about how government agencies and private companies have tried their best to obfuscate the truth and mislead the public.

Connect with the Mayborn

Connect with the Mayborn. Follow our social media - and help us extend our reach to journalists, alums and supporters. Share your news and views with us on how we can continue to prepare the next generation of journalists.