A diverse array of journalism and technology professionals ended the first day of Texas State’s Mass Comm Week by participating in one-on-one conversations with students about working in the mass communication field.
Students were given the opportunity to rotate in groups of five to interview each mass communication professional about life in the field.
Jason Buch, reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, said he is a beat reporter who primarily covers events relating to immigration and border affairs. Buch graduated from Texas State in 2007 and managed to get a job at the publication through networking.
“When I started I was covering assassinations and kidnappings that were occurring in Laredo on the Mexico side of the border,” Buch said. “I’ve been working on my beat for so long my editor basically trusts me with whatever I’m writing.”
Being on the beat for an extended amount of time allows Buch to pitch ideas to his editor about the stories he will write.
“I travel down to the Rio Grande Valley a lot and go to Mexico to cover stories,” Buch said. “The mindset when traveling to a dangerous country to report can be scary, but you have to be strong.”
Buch said he has never been threatened directly, but knows the dangers of traveling to Mexico.
“I go by a philosophy that states, ‘Don’t get killed for color,’ which basically means don’t take unnecessary risks to add color to your story,” Buch said. “There are certainly stories worth taking the risk, but you have to be careful.”
Buch said he is comfortable walking through big cities in Mexico, where he blends in with the crowd, and prefers to keep a low profile in the “drug-torn” country. Before Buch travels to Mexico, he meets with government officials on America’s southern border to speak about his path into the country.
“They always tell me the routes I should take that are safe and ways to avoid confrontation with cartels,” Buch said. “I’ve interviewed drug cartel members and their family members. You just have to be careful and cautious when traveling down there.”
Buch ended his discussion with students by stating the importance of capturing all aspects and sides of a story.
“Being a journalist is really about telling a story. It’s more than just conveying the information to people,” Buch said. “My beat is interesting, but I don’t take risks that are unnecessary. I always try to find the best aspect of a story and report on that.”
Emilie Lutostanski, community manager at Community Impact and Texas State journalism alumnus, is in charge of managing social media and websites for the 20 local papers the company oversees.
“I studied journalism because I’ve always been a good writer,” Lutostanksi said. “But deep down inside I always knew I wanted to do something with social media.”
She said journalism is about evolving coverage into brand advertisements publicized on social media outlets. Knowing the intended audience is important to understanding how information should be displayed.
Lutostanski’s main focus during her discussions with students was the importance of using social media as an asset.
“If you can use social media, you already have an advantage,” Lutostanski said. “The key is to be adaptable and be open to experiencing and adopting new technologies. It’s naturally engraved in young people—don’t lose the drive to learn new things.”
In the ever-changing world of journalism where technology seems to be gaining more popularity than the print industry, Lutostanksi said there is a place for both news outlets in the world today.
She said print allows the news to be delivered to people, which is convenient and less worrisome for someone who is busy.
“When you access the news through your phone or TV, you have to make an effort to look for it, click it or turn it on,” Lutostanski said. “The print industry will be fine and social media helps connect both aspects of journalism into one component.”
Gary Boyer is a freelance videographer who has worked on different projects for corporations throughout his years in the field of journalism. Boyer’s most prominent employer and proudest achievement was working for the National Basketball Association as a videographer.
Boyer’s experience and work with the NBA was made possible by networking, he said.
“I graduated from Trinity in San Antonio and I had the opportunity to shoot video for the San Antonio Spurs working through my university,” Boyer said. “I was hooked at that point and wanted to continue doing what I could.”
Boyer took a job at ABC News in New York, but came back to Texas shortly after. The connections he made through ABC and shooting video for the Spurs allowed Boyer to meet people searching for an experienced videographer.
“I managed to hook up with NBA when I got back and became a freelance videographer in 1999,” Boyer said. “I just came back from China shooting games over there and I’ve traveled all over the world with the NBA.”
Boyer said being a freelance videographer can be difficult when it comes to looking for work. He said the NBA is a big part of his income and he plans his year around playoff schedules, season games and the annual all-star matchup.
Boyer stressed to the students the importance of finding a job where happiness and longevity come first.
“You should never do something you don’t love,” Boyer said. “I’m still working because my job isn’t even a job for me—it’s more of something I love to do.”