Campus newspaper shines light, trains up-and-coming journalists
By Andrew E. Osegi
The University Star covers happenings and issues on the Texas State campus and in the San Marcos community. Published every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the Star distributes approximately 8,000 copies in and around the San Marcos area to keep local citizens and students informed.
Founded in 1911, the Star’s mission since its inception has been to embody the voice of Texas State, a task that falls to the 120 student reporters, photographers, designers and members of the student editorial board who work together to produce the paper. Given the multitude of honors and awards the Star has received over the years, they accomplished their mission regularly.
Beth Brown, journalism senior and editor-in-chief of the Star, has the final say over all the editorial content the paper publishes. The selection of stories, photos and videos is her responsibility.
“Here at the Star, my goal is to provide a viable media outlet to the Texas State campus,” says Brown. “We work hard to have a balanced, informational program to keep our readers informed and to encourage community participation.”
Brown was hired as a news reporter in the fall of 2009 as a freshman. Although she started with little journalism experience, she worked her way up through editorial positions until she was appointed editor-in-chief in May 2012. She says the experience the Star has given her has defined her college career and will propel her future after her graduation in May.
Austin Humphreys is another student leader employed at the Star. As the photo editor, he says his role at the paper is to “shed light on certain situations that people normally don’t get to see.” The mass communication junior heads a team of student photographers who venture into the community and capture photos to illustrate stories written by reporters, effectively “putting a face on Texas State,” he says.
During his senior year in high school, Humphreys traveled to China and was captivated by what he saw and photographed there. He says the experience inspired him to pursue a career in photography, including working as a photojournalist for the Star.
“The Star is a unique learning experience,” says Humphreys. “It’s cool to see people on campus and in town reading your published work. The feedback ignites a sense of gratification and pride in what you do.”
Hollie O’Connor is the Trends section editor. She manages reporters who cover local art, culture and novelty stories.
As a journalism senior expecting to graduate in May, O’Connor says her work for the Star has been a demanding but overwhelmingly positive experience.
“Our standard to be the best, uncensored source of information for students puts a lot of pressure on the entire staff,” says O’Connor. “However, the professionalism reflected in our work not only prepares Star employees for the real world, but also provides high-quality content [that impresses] employers looking to hire mass communication students.”
O’Connor added that the Star is a vital aspect of the Texas State student body, evidenced by the fact that it is established as part of the University Policies and Procedures.
Faculty from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication — including David Nolan, Kym Fox and Bob Bajackson — provide guidance to the up-and-coming journalists who constitute the newspaper’s staff. Former editor-and-chief Allen Reed frequents the news room to share his experience.
The Star is always looking to hire Texas State students who are willing to work hard to create outstanding content. Applicants do not need a background in writing, film editing or photography — the most important qualification is the drive to be successful. Committed, deadline-orientated students are fundamental to the Star’s goal of being an elite news provider. Interested students can apply to the University Star here.
- University Star: @UniversityStar
- Beth Brown: @bethbrownie
- Austin Humphreys: @AustinHumphreys
- Hollie O’Connor: @hollieOC