Happenings: SXSW Interactive

Follow Texas State grad students
as they cover SXSW Interactive

Students in Dr. Cindy Royal’s Advanced Online Media class in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication will be attending the South By Southwest Interactive Festival and posting their experiences at SXTXState.com.

This is the fourth year that Royal has organized this project, and past students have enjoyed a number of networking and educational opportunities, including meeting Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Wired editor Chris Anderson.

“It’s a valuable networking and learning experience. And it’s fun, too,” Royal said. “There’s so much energy around SXSW, and it’s great that students want to spend part of their spring break participating in it.”

Leading up to the conference, students have been interviewing panelists and posting previews of SXSW events. Nicole Martinez is a mass communication master’s student on the SXTXState.com team this year and said is excited about the opportunities the project already has offered.

“The conference has not even started yet, and I’ve already interviewed multiple CEOs at influential social media and tech companies,” she said. “My first big interview was at Gowalla, a company I have followed for months and hold high on my list of places I’d love to work.”

This year, six students who are graduates of Royal’s courses – many of whom are alumni of the SXTXState project – are now panelists at SXSW.

“It’s beyond encouraging to know that many students who have done this project in the past have made valuable connections that have landed them great jobs later. This year we’ll be covering panels featuring alumni
that graduated as recently as last spring. I’m definitely hoping to be on an Interactive panel myself within the next two years,” Martinez said.

Doug Seliger, also a master’s student in the program, took on the task of lead editor of the project. He’s impressed with the quality of work done on the site so far.

“As editor of the site, it’s been really great seeing what everybody’s been working on. It’s easy to see how interested they all are, and they’ve really gone all-out getting interviews with panelists and presenters,” Seliger said. “I can’t wait to see what they’ll be posting once SXSW actually starts.”

Royal is also presenting on a panel that she proposed, one that combines her love of technology and music. It’s called Rockin’ the Check-in: Location Strategies for Musicians, and it deals with ways that bands can
use popular location services like Foursquare and Gowalla to engage and reward their fans. This is her third year presenting at the conference.

The website SXTXState.com features coverage from all four years of the project. Live coverage will run Friday-Tuesday, and students also will be posting updates from SXSW on Twitter (@sxtxstate) and the SXTXState Facebook group.

Former Texas State student Philip Hadley snaps a photo at Iron Works Barbecue with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at SXSW 2008, the first year of the SXTXState.com project. Hadley now works as a web development specialist at Convio in Austin.

Master's student Sarah Hopper interviews Bob Metcalfe - Internet pioneer, creator of ethernet and recent addition to the faculty at UT - about his upcoming SXSW talk, "The Future Enernet: A Conversation with Bob Metcalfe."


Students get ready for a day of panels at SXSW 2010.

Jon Zmikly, now an adjunct instructor of web design in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Maira Garcia, who now works for the Austin American-Statesman, practice video editing on the go at SXSW 2009. Garcia is presenting on a SXSW panel this year with Anna Tauzin, another Texas State graduate and SXTXState alumnus who now works for J-Lab in Washington, D.C. Their presentation is titled "Landing Your Next Job Through Unconventional Personal Branding."

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