The six UA student media outlets have their new leaders in place for 2019-20 after UA Student Media Board members elected the managers and editors March 28.
Applicants received an email informing them of their new position after three days of interviews that saw multiple candidates for most of the outlets present their platforms to the board. The new leaders will not assume their positions until closer to the end of the year, but that has not stopped each from planning what’s in store for student media.
I sat down with each leader to discuss what changes students should expect from each of their respective outlets and to give readers a better understanding of who they are as leaders.
Senior Chase Reavis, The Arkansas Traveler editor-in-chief
Major: Spanish and journalism
Hometown: Sapulpa, Oklahoma
Q: What are the main changes you are going to make to the Traveler next year?
A: “We’re going to move to an issue a semester instead of a monthly issue. We’re going to have a really big emphasis on online content and multimedia content. We’re going to try to get a lot better at breaking news and getting things out fast and efficiently. For our biannual issue, they’re going to be investigative issues into things important to students.”
Q: What first interested you in joining student media?
A: “I took journalism in high school, but it wasn’t like a real newspaper. It was almost like a printed blog, but whenever I came to the university for Fellowship Weekend, I happened to run into Ginny Monk, who was the editor-in-chief at the time. She pitched it to me, and the first couple of weeks here I came by and picked up an application. I was literally like, ‘I’ll do whatever you guys want me to do. I just want to be a part of this’ because I didn’t know anyone here, and I wanted to be a part of something.”
Q: What do you think students should know about The Arkansas Traveler for next year?
A: “We’ve reported on a lot of things that I think are important to students. We’re always pretty good about making sure we focus our stories at students. They’re our primary audience. We’re not going to publish something unless we think they should read it. We’re really trying to be inclusive and sensitive in our reporting and keep in mind of minorities. We’re doing it for (students).”
Q: Why are you excited to be editor of the newspaper?
A: “I'm excited because I've been working for the Traveler since my freshman year and done a whole lot of things for them, so I feel like this is the next step. I have a lot of really great ideas and I think I’ll do a really good job. I’m just excited to help a lot of people learn about journalism and become better journalists. Me being editor is kind of cool because I'm not your typical dude so it’ll be fun. I’m a minority, so it’s exciting for me to be in that position, so it’ll bring a new perspective on everything that's happening in the area and we’ll always have that at the forefront of our reporting because it’s at the forefront of our staff.
Junior Ashlyn Grace Brothers, UATV station manager
Hometown: Springdale, Arkansas
Q: What are you most excited about for UATV?
A: “I have a lot of exciting plans, but I think one of the most exciting things that we’re going to do is work on media convergence, so continuing to bridge that media gap by really incorporating social media and Instagram takeovers. I’m really excited to get more students involved and really up the ante with the recruiting process.”
Q: What’s going to be the biggest challenge for UATV next year?
A: “We’re losing a lot of very talented people, specifically with senior staff. We have a lot of seniors who are graduating, so it’s going to be all new faces. We’re going to have to figure out how to operate this equipment. I’m going to have to teach some AP style. I’m going to have to teach new lingo, and it’s just going to be from a ground up operation, so there’s going to be a lot more teaching.”
Q: Why did you want to be station manager?
A: “I’ve always been one to want to excel and push myself. When I feel like things get too easy, that’s when I know I need to take the next step. For me, I was getting comfortable in what I was doing… I have extremely high aspirations and extremely high expectations for myself, so I’m going to do whatever it takes to achieve those goals I have in mind.”
Senior Beth Dedman, Hill magazine editor-in-chief
Major: English and journalism
Hometown: Keller, Texas
Q: Why are you excited to be the editor of the magazine?
A: “Being editor of Hill magazine will open more opportunities for me to learn more about writing different forms of journalism. I have a double major in creative writing and journalism, and while I’ve been really excited to learn about news writing and all of that cool stuff, I would like to get back to my roots of creative writing as well. I feel like this is a happy medium between those two passions that I have.”
Q: What changes do you plan on making for the publication next year?
A: “Unfortunately, as well-awarded as Hill is, people don’t know we exist. It deserves to be seen by more people, not only on the UA campus, but in the Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas sphere. We can really increase our social media presence, and through collaboration with other student media outlets, we will be able to get us the recognition we deserve.”
Q: How do you plan on increasing that visibility?
A: “Through multimedia packages. I intend to make our content more visually appealing to look at whether that’s through photo essays or video/audio elements. The Arkansas Traveler has a pretty decent following on social media so I think if we do more collaboration with them that’ll encourage them to bolster our content. Whenever people see our cool and excellent multimedia packages that accompany our stories through their followers, that’ll encourage them to follow us as well.”
Senior Austin Cash, KXUA station manager
Major: Art History
Hometown: Bald Knob, Arkansas
Q: What are going to be the biggest changes to KXUA next year?
A: “I would really like to start doing news on the radio and see it as a part of the greater student media because in the past it really hasn’t been like that, at least as long I’ve been here, and using it to promote the art that is made in Fayetteville.”
Q: How would you describe your musical taste?
A: “I would say I have a strong stomach. I feel like I have, for better or worse, a capacity to give time to things that are aggressively strange or generally off-putting, which is kind of what my show on the radio station called The Knot is sort of centered around. So a strong stomach but reasonably diverse because I listen to indie rock, country and jazz, everything they play on the radio station.”
Q: What are people going to get with you in charge?
A: “I do have a background in playing music and booking shows and meeting musicians from all over the state, all over the country and all over the world who I would like to be involved in the radio station.”
Senior Mackenzie Reed, The Razorback editor-in-chief
Hometown: Wynne, Arkansas
Q: What are you most excited about for next year?
A: “I’m really excited for the new direction that the yearbook is taking and the modernization of the book and transforming it into a more modern, coffee table-esque book while still being able to preserve the history of the school year.”
Q: There are going to be a lot of changes to the yearbook next year. What should students expect to see that will be different?
A: “Students should expect more photography and student involvement and engagement. We’re going to have places where students can even upload pictures for the book and be featured in the books themselves. It’ll give students better ownership of the book because a lot of people don’t feel that. We’ll also have less copy and more infographics and cool sign elements.”
Q: Why is the yearbook important?
A: “It’s the history book of each school year. It’s just a really awesome way to preserve history. That’s why I like yearbook so much, because you literally get to make a little history book of the whole school year.”
Senior Morgan Lunsford, Main Hill Media director
Hometown: Frisco, Texas
Q: Why did you want to become the next director for Main Hill Media?
A: “I didn’t really think about it until it was time to apply. I had always assumed I would just continue as an account executive, but it seemed like a really cool opportunity. I’m a management major, so the experience to actually become a manager and have the experience of leading a team of people was very interesting to me.”
Q: Main Hill is one of the newest student media outlets with lots of room to grow. What are you most excited about next year?
A: I’m excited to expand what we already do. We kind of have gotten the hang of things of like this is what an account executive does, this is what a graphic designer does, this is how we manage video projects and kind of expending the team in a way that’s more efficient and that gets more down. We do a lot right now, but I think we can do even more next year. We’re looking to expand our videographers and making sure we're making the best possible content for people who want videos.”
Q: What do you think someone should know about you from a leadership standpoint?
A: “I’ve never been in a leadership position where I have this much responsibility, so I would want people to know I’m learning. I haven’t done this before, but I’m up for the challenge, and I’m up for understanding the role, the Main Hill team and the business.”