Why I Majored in Broadcast Management

Actually, I didn’t.

My Master of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Arlington is in Communication, but I completed the broadcast management sequence rather than the journalism sequence, which might seem to you a better choice for me.

That means I took some journalism classes, but only one or two. (I was already writing professionally and learned journalism in high school.) I took broadcast diction and radio production. I minored in business, something useful for anyone. It was all very fun and informative. Really, it was. I even very briefly interned at a TV station, KTXA Channel 21 in the Dallas West End. It felt like I was only there a few times, but it must have been a few more than that. I could have easily seen myself working there, although I felt insecure among even the other two Public Affairs interns because I had less experience than they did and less drive to be involved in broadcasting. I was really only there to complete a requirement for graduation.

I probably had less drive to be a broadcaster than anyone at the station. That’s because I never really wanted to be one.

I wanted to be a print journalist, but when I enrolled at UTA in the early 90s, newspapers were thought to be dying away. (A couple of years ago it seemed those predictions were way off base. Now, they’re coming true.) The Internet existed at that time, but no one knew it would become a major force in news coverage. Broadcasting, everyone seemed to assume, would surely spawn the next wave of journalism, whatever form it might take. The best career move, most advised me, was to pursue a career in TV or radio, perhaps at an ad agency where jobs were plentiful for beginners and budgets were high.

As it turned out, the “next wave” of media was Internet news and information sites, based heavily on print journalism. Only recently has the web become a venue for audio, video and multimedia-intensive presentations based on broadcasting.

At heart, I’m a print journalist. I’m not a news man, excited by spending hours researching a 300-word story. And I’m not an author with the patience or depth of curiosity to write an entire book based one subject or idea. I’ve been a news man and I may one day be an author. For the moment, I fall into the category of essayist, commentator and explorer.

Even though I’m fully educated in fades, wipes, the impact of geography and nighttime on AM radio reception and how to make eye contact with a camera, I’m a print guy.

It’s the words that excite me.


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