An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

Contact Information
Friends of The Daily Texan, Inc.
1401 Lavaca St
Austin, TX 78701

[email protected]

From a tough financial picture to 10 years of success at Texas Student Media

Gerald A. Johnson

What’s the secret behind Texas Student Media’s success?

Nationally, TSM is widely known not just for editorial success of The Daily Texan and the other media entities that fall under its umbrella. But it’s also known for its financial success.

Texas Student Media has made a profit for the past 10 years, a fact that is almost unheard of in student media nationally and certainly in mainstream media.

The Spring 2024 edition of the Texas Connect UT staff and faculty magazine

When Gerald A. Johnson was hired from the Houston Chronicle 10 years ago to take on the challenge of reaching profitability, the financial situation was grim. Since then, not only has TSM made a profit every year, but added $1.3 million to the reserves, which totaled $340,000 when Johnson started.

“Our success is partnerships and finding ways to monetize things we do naturally,” Johnson said.

“We have partnerships with Dean of Students with Marketplace, a guide that is delivered inside the Texan; the President with Texas Connect, a print and digital magazine for the campus which uses journalism students to write the content and students to do design and photography as well; and Athletics: Bevo Video Productions.”

Johnson said another key reason for the success “is that we have professional sales people on staff, and don’t solely rely on students that are always changing and graduating.”

Johnson recently closed out his tenure with TSM, when he accepted a job on the Dean’s staff at the Moody College of Communication. He is now Executive Director for Innovation and Partnerships, and TSM will be one of the areas that falls under his direction.

Gerald A. Johnson

When TSM was struggling 10 years ago before Johnson arrived, the Friends of The Daily Texan non-profit group was organized to rally alums and assist in any way that it could, and also to raise the level of discussion about the need for professional leadership at TSM.

Shortly after the Friends group was formed, Moody College of Communication was created, and TSM was brought under the wing of Moody, and Johnson was hired to build a new leadership team at TSM.

“The Friends group was here before the changes took place, and we’ve seen the legendary Phoenix emerge  as TSM regained its footing under new leadership,” said John Reetz, president of Friends of The Daily Texan, Inc.

“After decades in newspaper management it’s very clear to me what makes TSM work today,” Reetz said. “It’s creativity plus hard work, growing new ideas, not giving up on traditional media but further developing existing products, quick thinking, embracing change, doing and not just talking, and looking for new ways to use new media and new ideas to prosper and better serve readers on any platform.”

“The University of Texas is fortunate to have a team at TSM that pulls all this together for success.”

Read more about TSM and its people here.

Meet the TSM team:

Learn more about TSM’s growth:

Learn more about the innovative Marketplace project: