Student Publications director candidate talks Star Telegram experience, expanding Shorthorn reach

Jeff Caplan, Student Publications director candidate, speaks during a forum on Nov. 6 in the University Center. Caplan works as the University of North Texas at Dallas media director. 

The first of three scheduled candidate forums took place Wednesday as part of the search for a new Student Publications director.

The position oversees the Student Publications office, which houses The Shorthorn.

In mid-July, the position was left vacant when former director Beth Francesco took a position as an operations director for the National Press Club Journalism Institute in Washington, D.C.

Jeff Caplan, the University of North Texas at Dallas media director, gave his presentation titled “Business Model for the Modern Student Media Program.”

With a journalism degree from UT-Austin, Caplan was a sports reporter at various news outlets such as Fox Sports, ESPN, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He also covered news for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Caplan said as director he would help and defend student journalists.

“My main goals would be to just foster really great student journalists who could then take their skills and their knowledge into careers in journalism and carry on the torch of journalism,” he said.

During his presentation he said through research and bringing facts to the surface, journalists have the ability to enact change.

“I don’t think journalism is dead,” Caplan said. “In fact I think there’s going to be a surge, a need for journalism.”

He said his years of experience in journalism set him apart from the other candidates.

Understanding both the reporting and administrative aspects of journalism is something that works to his advantage, Caplan said.

If chosen as director, he hopes to expand the reach of The Shorthorn through community journalism and marketing efforts as well.

Jonathan Johnson, Student Affairs assistant vice president, said Caplan’s presentation helped give him an understanding of the reporting potential on campus.

Johnson said he hopes whoever is chosen as the new director is someone who can engage with students and administrators.

Alumnus John Ostdick said it was interesting to hear a prediction of a “journalism renaissance” because of how it contradicts what is oftentimes heard.

Ostdick, who worked at The Shorthorn from 1978-1980, said a group of alumni — both in person and over the phone — spoke with Caplan before the forum to ask questions.

He said he liked the open forum because it allowed for multiple viewpoints.

“Everybody who has come through The Shorthorn has a pride in the tradition,” Ostdick said.


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