Letter to the Editor: Dean Ronald E. Shields

Dear Editor,

The severe thunderstorm and flooding that took place last Thursday demonstrated the power of journalism working to serve our local community. It was a proud moment to see multiplatform and production students from SHSU’s Department of Mass Communication working together and utilizing their skills to quickly document and share information with our community and other media sources.

Noted by SHSU professor Debbi Hatton, as the storm swiftly moved in students Jeff Gonzalez, CJ Cruts and Austin Mendez were on the air live with their weekly radio program on 90.5 FM and immediately switched into news reporting providing listeners with safety information and alerts, including live on-air reports from people stranded in a downtown restaurant parking lot during serious flooding. The students collected information from the campus and worked with the Walker County Emergency Unit, City of Huntsville, campus security and KSAM and stayed on the air until the danger had passed.

Also, students from the news reporting class provided live online coverage of the events in their neighborhoods by providing up-to-date photos, tweets and Facebook stories for the campus and Houston news.

Following the storm you likely saw video footage by student, Lizeth dela Garza of the Recreational Sports Center glass wall collapse which was picked up by the Weather Channel, Good Morning America, and Today as well as the major Houston news stations.

It is pleasing to see our students well prepared and set up for crisis mode to serve the community, even at a moment’s notice. A well connected community with informed citizenry is something we should all value and recognize as key to Huntsville’s quality of life.  I’m confident that SHSU’s Department of Mass Communication will continue to contribute to that mission by quickly providing the news and information our citizens need through 90.5 FM, KSHU Channel 7 and online through The Houstonian at houstonianonline.com.


Ronald E. Shields

Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication, Sam Houston State University

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