Jena Heath, Associate Dean Arts & Humanities, Associate Professor Journalism & Digital Media, Coordinator Journalism and Digital Media program

Professor Heath spent 20 years in newsrooms as a reporter and editor before joining the St. Edward's University faculty in 2008. As a reporter, she covered cops, courts, local and state government and the 2000 Bush campaign and White House. As an editor, she supervised teams of education reporters at two Texas newspapers, covering public schools and higher education. Journalism and Digital Media students at St. Edward's analyze and think critically about the news. They also learn to report and produce stories for today's digital newsrooms. Professor Heath helps students learn professional skills and secure internships, jobs post- graduation and admission to elite graduate journalism programs. Her research work focuses on oral history and digital storytelling by the Chinese adoption community here at Our China Stories.

Personal Statement

This is a time of transition and new ideas. St. Edward's University Journalism and Digital Media students are learning highly transferable and in-demand digital skills. They are landing internships and jobs and heading off to the best graduate programs in the country. As important, they are learning to be discerning and engaged news consumers. I hope you will join us.

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Dean School of Arts & Humanities, Fall 2018.
  • Associate Professor-Journalism and Digital Media, Fall 2015.
  • Assistant Professor-Journalism and Digital Media, Fall 2008 - Spring 2015.
  • Journalism and Digital Media Coordinator, Fall 2008 - current.

Year Started

2008

Languages Spoken

Some French, some Mandarin

Education

  • M.S., Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, New York, N.Y., 1989
  • A.B., English, Smith College, Northampton, Mass., 1984

Achievement & Involvement

Honors and Awards

  • 2012-13, University Distinguished Teaching Award Finalist, St. Edward's University

Community Service

  • Member, Nominating Committee of the Alumnae Association of Smith College.
  • Smith College Alumnae Admissions Coordinator for Austin.
  • Volunteer training of Journalism teachers in the Austin Independent School District.
  • Helped launch Mandarin Chinese Immersion program at Doss Elementary School, Austin.

Organizations, Boards and Memberships

Texas Oral History Association, member of the Board of Directors 

Online News Association, member

College Media Association, member

Publications & Articles

Articles

  • Our China Stories, a digital storytelling site and oral history archive for the Chinese adoption community.
  • Commentary on the value of oral history, Austin American-Statesman, April 2019
  • Delivered paper, “The Most Difficult Story: Covering Suicide on College Campuses,” with co-author Brooke Blanton, at the national conference of the College Media Association, March 2013
  • “The Voice of God is Dead,” American Journalism Review, April/May 2012
  • Contributor, News Reporting and Writing, Melvin Mencher, various editions
  • Contributor, Newswriting on Deadline, Tony Rogers.
  • Contributor, Austin American-Statesman, columns on a range of topics.

Presentations

Presentations on Our China Stories, an oral history and digital storytelling project, at the April 2018 Texas Oral History Association conference at Texas A&M University and the Sixth Biennial Conference for the Alliance of the Study of Adoption and Culture, October 2016, Minneapolis. 

Delivered paper, “The Most Difficult Story: Covering Suicide on College Campuses,” with co-author Brooke Blanton, at the research panel of the national conference of the College Media Association, March 2013, and at the national conference, March 2015, NYC.

Exhibitions

Class Preparation

  • For information about my classes and internships and a look at my syllabi, visit my website.
  • St. Edward's University offers a Minor in Journalism & Digital Media and concentrations in JDM in the Literature, Writing and Rhetoric (LWR) and Communication majors. Professor Heath works with students in all majors.

Why I Teach

Humane, intelligent societies have the courage to tell their stories and to read, hear and watch the stories of others. Journalists tell these stories.  I teach because I believe in Journalism and because there has never been a time when understanding and practicing it well has been more important. I also like my students a lot.