Jalah Goette

Jalah Goette  
Texas Student Media director

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

Jalah Goette, director of Texas Student Media, announced Friday that she will be stepping down from her position at the end of January.

TSM oversees The Daily Texan, Texas Student TV, KVRX radio, Cactus Yearbook and Texas Travesty, a humor publication.

“I have enjoyed my time with Texas Student Media and have appreciated the opportunity to work with you and the many other students that have been associated with TSM,” Goette said in an email to student managers and editors. “After eight years, it is time for me to move on to take the next step in my career.”

Jennifer Hammat, assistant vice president for student affairs and the person who oversees the director position, said currently there is no timeline to appoint an interim director.

Goette became interim director in March 2012 and was appointed by the TSM Board of Operating Trustees as permanent director in November 2012. Goette stepped in during a period of controversy when former director Gary Borders said he was forced to resign by the University after discussing the possibility of selling the TV station’s federal operating license. Before that, Goette — a UT alumna — had served in various roles at the organization including as the assistant director overseeing advertising and business operations.

“I want to thank Jalah Goette for her eight years of service to Texas Student Media, where she has been a vital asset to the organization,” said Dave Player, third-year law student and president of the TSM board. “We wish her all the best in her next endeavor.”

Goette’s resignation will mark the fourth change in the director position in four years. Hammat, who served as interim director from October 2009 to June 2011, said the University will likely take a close look at the job description of the position before moving forward.

“Clearly, the way we’ve structured it hasn’t yielded us longevity,” Hammat said.

Currently, TSM is tackling a number of potential changes in its structure. The entity is housed in the Division of Student Affairs, though since earlier this semester, there have been discussions about possibly moving it to the Moody College of Communication. Hammat said Roderick Hart, dean of the Moody College, has been notified of Goette’s resignation but said no decisions have been made, and that the next seven weeks before Goette leaves will give the University some time to think about the best next step.

“If we’re looking for the right administrative home for TSM, then we need to make sure we’re talking to the [Moody College],” Hammat said. “We need to at least give it enough time to breathe so we can formulate what the options are.”

Last year, TSM offset a $190,000 shortfall in revenue by dipping into its reserve funds. The board will be setting a budget in March for the 2014-15 fiscal year and asked Goette in November to come up with two budget plans: one that maintains the status quo and one that makes several changes to the current structure. Hammat said she still hopes to see preliminary budget plans before Goette leaves.

Ian Reese, Texas Student TV station manager, said he enjoyed working with Goette in his current capacity and felt that she communicated well with students and staff. Reese said her resignation comes at an inopportune time as he feels the organization is in need of leadership and a point person on budget issues.

“It brings up the question on what the game plan is now on how TSM is going to operate in the next year,” Reese said.

Player said the board will continue developing a new business plan.

“We are excited for what the future has to offer for our student media,” Player said.

The Texas Student Media Board of Operating Trustees acknowledged its financial hardships but declined to take specific actions at its meeting on Friday. The board also certified candidates for The Daily Texan’s upcoming editor-in-chief election. 

The Texas Student Media board oversees the operation of The Daily Texan, Cactus Yearbook, KVRX Radio, Texas Student Television and The Texas Travesty.

Jalah Goette, director of Texas Student Media, presented new financial data to the board and said the finalized board budget in March needed to include drastic changes for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

“The model we have now is not sustainable, given the financial situation we’re facing,” Goette said. “The media world is changing and we need to evolve, too.” 

Although members discussed potential solutions, the board did not settle on a specific course of action. David Verduzco, accounting lecturer and board member, said it was impractical to depend on rates of ad revenue increasing in the future. 

“We can’t just stick our heads in the sand and hope to earn more revenue,” Verduzco said. “That’s what we did this year.” 

The Daily Texan has faced a sharp decline in advertising revenue, dropping by almost 50 percent in December 2012 compared with December 2011, according to budget documents submitted to the TSM board, and one-third of the way into the fiscal year, only 27 percent of the amount of ad revenue in the 2012-2013 budget has been earned.     

Daily Texan Adviser Doug Warren said the board might consider hiring a professional staff member to look at marketing strategies and development and another to work full-time on the Daily Texan website. 

Verduzco said this wasn’t out of the question. 

“We can spend money to make money, but we don’t have much money left,” he said. 

The board also certified journalism sophomore Bobby Blanchard and Laura Wright, Plan II honors and biology junior, as candidates for editor-in-chief of The Daily Texan for the 2013-2014 academic year. Originally, the board did not approve Wright’s application because she did not meet two of the requirements to run for the position. Wright appealed directly to the board, which then approved her but extended the application deadline.

Further complications arose when it was discovered that the qualifications listed on the editor-in-chief application did not match the qualifications listed in official Texas Student Media policy documents. 

The editor-in-chief position is elected by the University student body. Blanchard and Wright are Texan staff members currently on a leave of absence, as required by the Texas Student Media bylaws.

Jennifer Hammat, assistant vice president for student affairs, said she also wanted the board to consider reducing the level of detail included in the minutes published online after each board meeting.

“I don’t know if you want that much detail on your website all the time,” Hammat said. “To personally identify folks is something previous boards had not expressed interest in, and for now I would advise everyone that anything you say can be personally attributed to you.”

Goette agreed to table the approved minutes pending further revision.

Published on February 4, 2013 as "TSM wants new financial strategies". 

This story was edited for accuracy after its original post.

Jalah Goette  
Texas Student Media director

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

For the first time in nine months, Texas Student Media has a permanent director.

Jalah Goette was appointed to the position Nov. 8 by Gage Paine, Vice President for Student Affairs, after the Texas Student Media board members recommended Goette be appointed to the position instead of conducting a month-long national search. Texas Student Media represents the various student media organizations on the UT campus, including The Daily Texan, Texas Student Television, KVRX, the Texas Travesty and the Cactus Yearbook.

“Goette understands the complexities and changing horizon of college media,” Paine said. “She is also respected by TSM’s professional and student staff.”

Goette has served as interim director since Gary Borders resigned from the position in February. Borders said he was forced to resign by Juan Gonzalez, former vice president of student affairs, because he suggested selling Texas Student Television and KVRX. Goette said working as the interim director helped her prepare for working as director. Before she was appointed interim director, Goette oversaw business and advertising as the assistant director.

She said the top priority for Texas Student Media is developing its budget for the upcoming school year.

“Incorporating feedback from all aspects of the organization in the budget development process is crucial for our success and is a great educational opportunity for our student managers and editors to better understand the business model,” Goette said.

She said the biggest struggle faced by Texas Student Media and its entities is figuring out a way to reach the student audience as news consumption becomes more digital. She said she wants to see more collaboration between the different student media outlets.

“This year our student managers and editors have been eager to work together to enhance collaboration and cross-promotion of our media entities,” Goette said. “I will continue to encourage this type of work.”

Becca Rushworth, TSTV station manager and a nonvoting member of the Texas Student Media board, said she is glad the new director is coming from within Texas Student Media.

“It really helps to have someone who has been here a long time, is happy to be here and knows what it is like to be a student,” Rushworth, a radio-television-film senior, said.

Rushworth said she is hoping Goette can keep the different student entities operating during a time when many college news organizations are cutting back.

“I know it’s mostly part of the students’ jobs to find a method to keep it alive, but it is going to take her leadership and knowledge to keep the entities afloat,” Rushworth said.

The Texas Student Media board is composed of 11 voting members and 11 nonvoting members. As director, Goette is a nonvoting member. The board is composed of students, faculty members and professional journalists. Some are appointed and some are elected by the student body.

Texas Student Media recently named Jalah Goette the interim acting director Wednesday after Gary BordersÂ’ resignation last month. Her first priority will be balancing the projected $175,000 TSM budget deficit for 2012.

Photo Credit: Nathan Goldsmith | Daily Texan Staff

Texas Student Media assistant director Jalah Goette will serve as interim TSM director until someone is selected to permanently fill the position, the TSM Board of Trustees decided Wednesday.

Goette’s appointment comes almost exactly one month after the former TSM director Gary Borders’ Feb. 8 resignation, which Borders later said was forced by vice president of Student Affairs Juan Gonzalez.

Goette will hold the position for an undetermined amount of time because the TSM board has higher priorities, Goette said.

“Based off what the board said, there is no defined timeline for how long I am needed to act as the director,” she said. “The priority right now is to stabilize the organization and identify a plan to balance the budget as soon as possible.”

TSM currently faces a projected $175,000 deficit for 2012, according to the TSM consolidated financial summary.

“Our only problem is the budget,” said TSM board president Lindsey Powers. “The students are great and all the publications and stations are great. It’s just the budget, and [Goette] has already been working so hard on that so we really think she’ll do a good job.”

Goette, who has been with TSM for six years, said she will oversee the day-to-day business of TSM as director in addition to her current duties as assistant director, in which she oversees TSM business and advertising. Goette said she did not apply for the position, but showed interest in serving during the interim time. The TSM board reviewed Goette’s qualifications and selected her at a board meeting Wednesday.

“In the coming weeks I’ll have a chance to sit down with the chair of the board and find out the specifics of the job description,” Goette said. “I’ll find out how different duties can be shared.”

Goette said she is proud of the improved communication between the TSM board members, students and the University in the past few weeks since the controversy over Borders’ resignation, and she hopes to continue it.

“Communication is essential to the success of TSM,” she said. “I am so pleased with the way everyone has pulled together recently to build a strong line of communication.”

KVRX station manager Travis Bubenik said Goette is a good fit for the position because of her years of experience with TSM.

“I just wanted to be sure we didn’t appoint someone outside of TSM because the problems are just too complicated, and we don’t have time to throw someone in there out of nowhere,” Bubenik said. “She has a great budget presentation and knows the finances of TSM like the back of her hand. It was a wise move to appoint her.”