Video producer Martin receives Distinguished Employee Award

Since joining Rice in 2011, Public Affairs’ Brandon Martin has touched every part of campus while producing nearly 500 videos that tell stories of Rice’s students, faculty and staff through their teaching, research, expertise, initiatives and community service. And for his “go-to, can-do” attitude, effort and skills, Martin has received Rice’s Distinguished Employee Award.

Brandon Martin

Brandon Martin

Over the past 2 ½ years, Rice’s YouTube channel views have grown from 76,000 to more than 3.6 million, and Martin’s videos have been picked up by local, regional, national and international news media for broadcast and online reports.

“Brandon has the gift of telling people’s stories in a way that is both informative and evocative,” said Linda Thrane, vice president for public affairs. “His numerous videos showcase what makes Rice great — from groundbreaking research to in-depth reports on the people who make Rice an exceptional institution of education, research and community service. He’s a great talent and great guy.”

Martin’s 2013 video about Dee Faught, a local teenager who suffers from brittle bones, and the robotic-arm device created by Rice bioengineering students at the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen to help him has received more than 812,000 views on YouTube and contributed to national and international news coverage. The video and Rice News story of Faught also went viral on numerous social media channels.

“Brandon’s shooting, storytelling and video production are truly incredible,” said David Ruth, director of national and broadcast media relations. “His ability to quickly see and get to the heart of a story, shoot it and edit it makes it possible for us to show the rest of the world more of what is happening at Rice in our media relations, social media and Rice News efforts.”

Working with Rice’s Centennial Historian Melissa Kean, Martin created and produced the Centennial Series videos, which captured stories of Rice’s history and traditions from its first 100 years. That series, along with all of Martin’s work, is being digitally backed up on hard drives and stored at Fondren Library’s Woodson Research Center and will be a valuable resource for the university’s second century.

“It’s an honor to tell Rice’s story everyday,” Martin said. “Rice University is the perfect combination of all the elements you need to tell honest and meaningful stories: Nice, hard-working and smart people combined with the prettiest location in Houston make for great videos.”

Martin has already begun capturing Rice’s second century. He was on hand to capture history when the Rice Owls football team won its first outright conference title in 56 years, and he traveled with the team to Memphis, Tenn., for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in December. In the span of six days, Martin produced 10 video stories surrounding the bowl experience.

One of those videos has become the second-most viewed on Rice’s YouTube channel. After the Athletics Department tipped him off about an offensive lineman’s would-be touchdown celebration, Martin produced a video — “What if a Rice offensive lineman scored a touchdown?” — that has earned more than 735,000 views.

Others have taken note. Shortly before Rice’s winter recess, the Houston Independent School District (HISD) asked Public Affairs to create a 30-minute show based on Martin’s work to air on the district’s Comcast cable channel.

Martin is currently in the final stages of editing for the new show, called “Inside Rice University.” The show will usually feature three segments and will be hosted by a Rice student. The first is Rice senior Susannah Eig. Two of Public Affairs’ Rice public service announcements will also air during the show.

“Inside Rice University” is tentatively scheduled to start airing in February on HISD-TV Mondays at 7 p.m., Wednesdays at 9 p.m. and Saturdays at 5 p.m. HISD-TV can be found on Comcast Channel 18 and on AT&T U-verse Channel 99. It will also stream on

To nominate a staff member for the Distinguished Employee Award, contact Dana Hess at 713-348-4755 or


About David Ruth

David Ruth is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.