By Sara Magalio
Not long ago, Lauren Smart was learning from the distinguished faculty members of SMU’s Division of Journalism. Today, she’s returned to the Hilltop – but this time she’s on the other side of the desk. Smart is now a professor of practice in the division, teaching basic reporting, digital journalism and arts criticism. Smart also serves as the faculty adviser for the digital operations of the SMU Daily Campus.
Smart joined the faculty in fall 2017.
“Education is what I love, and I’ve found it’s made me a better writer,” Smart said. “For me, since I’m still doing professional work in the field, I’ve found that my work with my students really inspires me to take risks and try new things.”
Smart graduated with a B.A. in Journalism and a B.A. in English from SMU in 2011, and then went on to receive her M.A. in Journalism from Syracuse University in 2012.
She said she was very involved with the Daily Campus during her time at SMU, attending theatre productions on campus and around Dallas, and providing reviews of the shows. Covering stories as a reporter helped her hone her journalistic skills while staying close to the arts, something she is passionate about.
Smart also serves as a programming director for The Wild Detectives, an independent bookstore and café in Oak Cliff, where she is the artistic director of Women Galore, an annual feminist literary festival. Most recently, she was a managing editor at Arts & Culture Texas. She was previously the publication’s go-to theatre writer covering North Texas.
“I value all forms of journalism,” Smart said. “But what you spend your life doing affects who you become as a human being, and I didn’t want to spend my entire life writing about crime and all the bad events in the world, I wanted to write about something beautiful.”
Smart has also been involved with Storytellers Without Borders as a project coordinator, where she worked with The Dallas Morning News and Dallas Public Library to develop high school journalism programs. Storytellers Without Borders is an 8-week program that instructs students from the Dallas area in journalism and research skills, in order to help them craft fact-based stories about their communities.
Smart said she has big plans for the SMU paper’s online operation, including updating the website so it is more aesthetically appealing and user friendly. She also wants to encourage student journalists to focus on covering events specific to SMU, making the Daily Campus the go-to news source for all on-campus happenings.
“The internet has created this need for audience-driven content, and I think that’s one of the things that the Daily Campus needs to get better at,” she said.