“Everyone has a story to tell.”
Within his storied career, Larz Roberts continuously returns to this motto, one he plans to implement as the newly appointed director of the University of Mississippi’s S. Gale Denley Student Media Center. The center, located in Bishop Hall, houses the multi-media organizations NewsWatch Ole Miss, Rebel Radio, The Ole Miss yearbook and The Daily Mississippian.
In assuming the role of SMC director, Roberts marks a return to the university where he earned his master’s degree in journalism in 1997.
Although a born storyteller, Roberts initially was unsure about a career path.
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do until I had been a couple of years into a bachelor’s degree,” said Roberts. He was an undergraduate student at Florida A&M University. “My original major was political science. It didn’t quite gel with me, and then I realized that broadcast journalism was my specialty.”
Following this revelation, Roberts began to focus his attention on the world of journalism.
“I had to play catch-up and do a little bit of anything and everything I could do to get caught up, to get that experience,” said Roberts. “I did radio. I did television. I became a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, and I continue to do so even after I graduated.”
This multifaceted approach to journalistic storytelling became a key turning point in Roberts’ own ideology and remains something he encourages in those around him.
“In this day and age, everything is going to end up online no matter what your specialty is, as most people are coming to their phone first for information,” Roberts said. “You need to have a bit of cross-pollination in your experience.”
Concurrent with the meteoric rise in technology, multi-platform content is something Roberts heavily champions. Journalism careers may not be as neatly compartmentalized as they once were, but Roberts posits that it is ultimately for the better – for readers and creators. The diversity and mediums of storytelling, particularly at the Student Media Center, directly reflect this notion.
“I know a lot of print journalists who very quickly had to learn rudimentary skills in recording/editing audio and video, shooting still photography, etc.” said Roberts. “Because now people are going to expect to see links, photos, videos – anything that is going to make that story real.”
Beyond the ever-changing realm of technology, Roberts continues to believe in the value and integrity of storytelling, hoping to instill that passion within the various Student Media Center organizations.
“I love telling stories. I like writing stories that other people may not think of,” Roberts said. “Everyone has a story to tell. Gathering those stories, telling those stories, releasing those stories for a mass audience to listen to, to watch, to read … that appeals to me above all.”
Roberts previously served as an instructor of multimedia journalism at Arkansas State University, faculty adviser to Red Wolf Radio and ASU-TV on campus and president of the Arkansas College Media Association.