I joined CMA in 1993 when I began my first advising job at my alma mater of UAB, and I’ve been an active member ever since. I joined CMA because I didn’t know much about advising student media, and the primary role of CMA then was supporting and training college media advisers. I attended the new advisers summer workshop that summer, and took home a giant binder full of resources that I still consult whenever I need it.
Since that summer, I’ve advised student media at a total of six colleges and universities, and each experience has had its own unique set of challenges and changes (did you know there were no college student newspaper websites in 1993?). But through it all, one thing has remained constant: my passion to help students grow as journalists and individuals into contributing members of society.
I’ve also spent that time attending as many student media conventions as I can, both to learn how to be a better adviser and to provide my students the opportunity to learn from others — both my fellow advisers and media professionals. I spent many of those years — almost 20 — providing on-site technical support to many of those presenters, which allowed me to get to know many more fellow advisers and professionals than I ever would have as just an attendee. I’ve tried to take all I’ve learned and apply it to my daily job.
As CMA Vice President, my vision is to ensure that CMA moves forward as the best resource for college media professionals, regardless of title, to be empowered to best do their jobs to guide their students through the perils of working for and leading college student media. Part of that vision is to work to build relationships with other college student media organizations, recognizing that many of our organizations do things better than others, and trying to ensure that all college student media support groups work together to ensure the best possible futures for our constituents.
My goals for the future of CMA, are, first and foremost, complete transparency in all matters with the membership, and ensuring that all meetings of the board be announced to the membership in advance and open to all members to attend either in person or virtually. When meetings can’t be open for matters of legal reasons, I will work to ensure that the membership understands why and is informed in a timely manner of what happened in those meetings as well.
Second, I want to work to see that CMA in the future does best what it did for me in the past: Train, teach and provide to support to advisers of college student media. Historically, that has been CMA’s greatest strength, and it should remains CMA’s premier focus.
Third, I will work to ensure that CMA’s finances are stabilized, and that the board is open and transparent with all matters of CMA’s business dealings to ensure financial stability and fiscal responsibility.
Finally, I will encourage the membership to share its concerns, ideas, complaints and anything else it wants with the board, and I will work to ensure all of those messages are heard and considered as CMA works to position itself for the future of a changing college media landscape.
I think we all know that CMA, like all media organizations everywhere, is doing its best to find its footing and direction going forward as the media landscape continues to evolve and change, often at a speed that’s difficult to follow. My hope is that the future leadership – and membership – of CMA will work together to help all current and future college media professionals and college student journalists succeed and thrive in their positions.
QUESTIONS FROM THE MEMBERSHIP
What is your vision for CMA?
I want CMA to continue to do what it has historically done best: empower, educate and support advisers in their roles as student media advocates and educators. In that same vein, I foresee CMA continuing to also continue providing the excellent training, networking and encouragement to student journalists that comes from its annual workshops and conventions.
However, having said that, I think CMA has historically also been at its best when it works in partnerships with other media organizations, allowing all involved to exploit their strengths while at the same time supporting the other organizations. CMA should not see itself as a competitor to other national student or professional media organizations. Instead, we should seek partnerships with other organizations to better leverage their strengths with ours to achieve what I hope would be similar goals and visions for all: better student journalists, better student media, and better trained media professionals for tomorrow.
What are your specific goals that will ensure that vision is completed?
Frankly, I’ve been dismayed and disheartened by much of the actions and inaction by all constituents within and without of CMA in recent years, with it clearly coming to a head in recent discussions on the listserv that, frankly, abandoned the decorum and professionalism I had grown accustomed to in my 22 years as a CMA member. To that end, one of my main goals is to work to heal and restore relationships and collaborations that have served CMA and its memberships so well in the past, while at the same time looking to the future to see how CMA as well any of its past, present and possible future partners can best serve college student media in an ever-evolving educational and professional media landscape that ensures the knowledge we are providing today remains viable in the future and that we become nimble enough to evolve with the changing landscape going forward. To these ends, I have three specific goals:
1) Re-establish the old professional advisory council we once utilized, particularly at the New York Convention, when we had advisers meet with media professionals who discussed our programming, our vision and goals, and provided us with advice and insight regarding what we should be doing specifically for our constituencies, particularly as it related to CMA’s services to its members and in terms of convention programming.
2) Invite the leaders of our past, current future partners (ACP, CBI, SPJ, ONA, CMBAM, et. al.) to a summer workshop that we also make open to our membership to attend either physically or virtually to discuss ways we can work together, rather than compete and fight each other for an ever-shrinking pot of resources our members have available,
3) Put together a think-tank of past CMA leaders, present CMA members and future CMA members (students) to discuss, on a continuing basis, issues of concern, both big and small, that are then shared with the entire membership for discussion, problem solving and consideration for how they may shape our future growth and evolution.
Could you provide details about how you are going to accomplish your goals?
It starts with a board that has an open mind and a willingness to put the past behind it and look to the future. I think a lot of it also depends upon where the headquarters winds up and in who becomes the next executive director. I look forward to the resolution of that current search, and I hope that the newly elected officers, whoever they are, are brought in early – rather than after they are sworn in at the next convention – to begin work with that new HQ.
Will you mimic other journalism organizations and conspicuously post both meeting agendas and minutes?
`I believe wholeheartedly in openness and transparency. I have fought for my students access to open records for 22 years, and it would be hypocritical of me to not do that.
Will you announce bylaw votes before asking the membership to vote on them?
I would not only announce bylaw votes before asking the membership to vote on them, I would invite membership discussion and input before crafting final bylaw language to be put to a vote.
What else will you do to ensure that the CMA Board becomes more transparent to its members?
I want to re-establish some form of the old Advisory Council, as well as look at reinstating the prior committee structure for convention programming. The more CMA members we have actively involved in all aspects of the organization’s inner workings, the less stress, I think, is placed on the board, and the more transparent we all are when we all play an active role in CMA’s inner workings.
Will you vote to partner with ACP again for a fall convention even if it means returning to the previous contract terms?
Why or Why not?
I have always believed that partnership is in the best interests of both organizations for many, many reasons, not the least of which is that ACP birthed CMA (http://www.collegemedia.org/about_cma/history/). It was always meant to be a partner organization of ACP, and the recent split has done nothing, in my opinion, to strengthen either organization’s mission. I remain a firm believer in BOTH organizations; to that end, I fully disclose I serve on the ACP Advisory Council, I plan to attend conferences presented by both ACP and CMA going forward, and regardless of whether or not I am elected, I will continue to support both organizations and work to hopefully restore the partnership that once made both of us stronger, and that I firmly believe would work to make us both stronger going forward.
What's your philosophy on the future of CMA: Compete with other organizations or partner with them?
By this point, if you haven’t figured that out from my answers, you haven’t been paying attention to my answers. But just in case it isn’t clear: Partnerships, in my opinion, make us stronger.
If you want to partner with other organizations, which organizations would you want to partner with?
In addition to the ones mentioned earlier, CMA, in my opinion, needs to work harder at increasing its diversity. I would love to see us working more closely with groups like Unity (a partnership of NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA and NAJA), NLGJA, women’s journalism groups, as well as other professional and state media groups.
Please add anything else you think can help our members know you and your leadership style.
I believe in letting my students learn from their mistakes, but I also don’t hesitate to tell them when they screwed up. And sometimes, the word “screwed” does get replaced with more colorful metaphors, when I feel it is warranted. I also believe in empowering my students and my professional staff with the knowledge, tools and personnel needed to get the job done right. I also believe in strong fiscal accountability and stewardship, which I really didn’t address in any of the previous statements. I would work to ensure that whatever decisions are made going forward, those decisions are fiscally sound for the viability of CMA.
Finally, I speak fluent Klingon. I don’t know what that says about my leadership style, but when I rant in it, everyone usually shuts up and pays attention, even if they don’t understand what I’m saying. In the end, my primary goal is to ensure that CMA, and as a byproduct, college student media as a whole, live long and prosper.