The JMC Network, the student-run public relations and advertising agency Morris & Mitchell, and student multimedia agency 99 West have new directors for the 2015-2016 school year.
Brittany Jackson, junior convergence journalism major from Mission Viejo, California, was selected by a panel of faculty members within the Department of Journalism and Communication as the new editor-in-chief of the Optimist and director of student media.
Kinsey Lee, junior advertising and public relations major from Plano, was also chosen as the group account director for Morris & Mitchell.
Erika Thrasher, junior multimedia major from Coppell, was chosen as the director of 99 West.
Jackson has been on staff of the Optimist since her freshman year, writing for the publication as part of her Reporting I class.
“The opportunity arose my sophomore year to be copy editor,” Jackson said. “And then, due to class scheduling for the managing editor at the time, she ended up leaving for a semester, and I got to be managing editor last spring. I studied abroad in the fall of this year, and I came back as managing editor.”
Jackson has a range of experiences on student media as well as experience from her internship with the Abilene Reporter-News last summer. This summer, she has another internship at TulsaPeople Magazine.
“Having daily news experience is a definite plus,” said Dr. Kenneth Pybus, associate professor of journalism and faculty adviser to the Optimist. “It’s helped her to understand what’s appropriate for the web, what’s appropriate for print and to understand the multiple roles that news media play in society.”
With the ever-evolving industry of journalism, more people are reading stories online, and the Optimist staff is looking to change the way they approach getting content to students and faculty.
“We’re going to be making some changes in our distribution schedule, and Brittany has the abilities to emphasize breaking news in our web coverage while holding on to the history that we have with print coverage,” Pybus said. “And she’s excited about doing that.”
While most students may not be aware of the amount of work involved in the role of editor-and-chief, journalism and mass communication professors understand it is a tough position to be in.
“Dr. Money used to say it was the hardest and most demanding student job on campus,” said Dr. Cheryl Bacon, professor and chair of the department. “When he was president and would participate in the interviews, he told every single person who applied that. I always appreciated the fact that he understood that.”
Jackson has been interviewing students this week for positions on next year’s staff and is working on matching them with the right positions on the JMC Network.
“I’m really looking forward to this opportunity to work with students more on the student media and to help the publication advance into the ever-changing atmosphere of journalism,” Jackson said.
After working at Morris & Mitchell this year, there was no better choice than Lee to take on the lead role at the agency, said Bailey Werderich, senior AD/PR major from Spring and the group account director for the current school year.
“As soon as she started working here, Kinsey jumped in with everything she had,” said Werderich. “She was not afraid to ask questions and always wanted to know what she could do to help. Her experience this past year will definitely help.”
Werderich knew that Lee would take on her position, even early on in the year.
“My assistant, Amy Sloan, asked me in September who I thought would get it next year, and I knew it would be Kinsey,” said Werderich.
Thrasher will be the director for 99 West’s third year on campus. She was chosen by faculty closely involved with the group.
Thrasher became involved in multimedia her sophomore year when she switched majors to JMC. She started working alongside the producers of 99 West at the time and served as a producer for the media group this year.
“It’s an awesome place to be and so I feel really lucky to be the director next year,” she said.
In the past year, Thrasher has worked extensively with video production, live shooting, interviews and web design. .
Dr. Jessica Smith, associate professor of journalism, helped choose Thrasher as producer for next year.
“This was her first year on staff and she impressed us all year long with her enthusiasm, good attitude and her ability to pick up on technical tasks quickly,” Smith said.
Thrasher just completed interviewing potential workers and plans on announcing her staff within the next week.