Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ways to help

What can former students do to help A&M journalism? Here are a few things, big and small, that I know of:

-- Join FJSA. They're active and doing great things to forward the cause of journalism at A&M, and they need more help. (Not limited to former journalism students.)
-- Speak to classes or the Batt staff, or both. In a day or two days, you can make contact with a number of A&M students and give them real-world knowledge and advice. Contacts include Dr. Randy Sumpter and Batt adviser Cheri Shipman.
-- Sign up here: Send me a line for the directory; sign up for the monthly e-mail; ask questions, send me news and ideas, and forward the Web site to anyone you know who might be interested. The larger our community, the more we can help each other.
-- Be a Journalist-in-Residence. A great program in which a journalist visits A&M for a week and leads JOUR 490 students in an assignment. There is interest in a longer-term project also.

More TK!

Meet Dr. Douglas Starr, AGCJ professor

I taught Journalism from 1986 till the dean killed the J-department in 2004, and I moved to the College of Ag, Department of Ag Leadership, Education, and Communications, where I teach Journalism.

Journalism is not dead at Texas A&M University. It is alive and well. Our Ag Comm/Jour program provides a major, not a minor, in Journalism: newspaper news, broadcast news, public relations, magazine production.

We have four faculty members.

Dr. Deb Dunsford, who taught eight years in Journalism before moving over to Ag Comm/Jour where she teaches PR principles and practices and PR writing.

Dr. Gary Wingenbach, who teaches graduate Comm/Jour courses.

Dr. Tracy Rutherford, who teaches feature writing, photography, and magazine design and publishing.

I teach copy editing, news writing for print and broadcast, and PR principles and practices.

Three of us have had professional experience, some more than others. Dunsford worked in PR for several years, Rutherford worked in photography a short time. I worked in news, covering government, politics, and desegregation in Mississippi and Florida for the Associated Press; and in government public affairs (PR) in Florida.

Note from Sue: I went here to read more about the Ag Jour courses.

Dr. Starr says: "If you remember your JOUR 203, 303, 304 courses, you know AGCJ 203, 303, 304. They are the same courses. Even taught by the same professors (Dunsford and Starr).

"Like the old days, you need an A, B, or C to pass a J-course. D won't do it."

Meet Rich Tijerina '91, Austin American-Statesman

Richard Tijerina
Class of '91
Austin American-Statesman (5 years)
Deputy Sports Editor

I was the one who never went to class. I always figured the best education I'd get was the one inside the Batt walls. I think I was right.

My Batt nickname was "TJ." My city editor when I was a sophomore — Richard Williams — named me that, I think because he didn't want two Richards on staff and probably didn't want to try pronouncing (or writing) my last name.

Some folks around my Sports department still refer to me as TJ, because they heard that was my old nickname. It makes me feel like I'm 20 again. OK, not really.

For anyone who attended one of our infamous Pink Man parties, you should know that the beloved 5-foot tall Styrofoam structure stolen from the University of Texas is alive and well and gracing the garden in our South Austin backyard.

I married a Longhorn. We have a 14-year old son and a 10-year old daughter. He wants to be a mechanical engineer and go to Texas A&M, God bless him. She'll end up at Texas. And that's OK.

I've written a novel. But it'll stay in my desk drawer forever. I've also co-written a movie script. But you'll never see it.

Like a lot of us in this profession, I've dotted myself around the Texas map the last 15 years: The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (sports editor), the Galveston County Daily News (assistant sports editor), the Corpus Christi Caller-Times (sports writer), the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (sports writer), the Caller-Times again (assistant metro editor, then sports editor) and finally here at the Austin American-Statesman (sports writer, then deputy sports editor).

Someday, I'll figure out whether I want to be a writer or an editor. In the meantime, I'm absolutely enjoying the ride.

You can find me at rtijerina (at) statesman.com.

Teach at 2008 conference, help A&M journalism

Needed: Journalists to conduct 50-minute workshops for college
students next April in College Station.

What: TIPA (Texas Intercollegiate Press Association) conference and
job fair hosted by Texas A&M
When: April 3-5, 2008
Where: Hilton in College Station

Here's the why: It will help A&M recruit transfer students in
journalism. The more journalism students we have, the better a case
can be made for expanding the journalism program. Numbers come
first, it appears. And more than 600 student journalists come to
this thing.

Cheri Shipman, Battalion advisor, is putting together the workshops.
She says hands-on exercises tend to keep the students more involved
than lectures do. Any workshop topic is welcome.

"I'd like to promote as many Aggies as possible who are in the
field ... more demand for the J-program to return," says Shipman.

The students are mostly from two-year colleges, often with weekly or
monthly newspapers, and typically do all of these functions: write
the story, edit it, lay out the page and publish it to the Web.
Shipman says, "They all need to know the basics of getting the word out!"

You can reach Shipman at cheri.shipman (at) gmail.com.

Meet Paul McGrath '78, Houston Chronicle

Paul McGrath
Class of '78
Houston Chronicle (25 years)
Asst. News Editor

Basically I do Page 1 once or twice a week and design the A-section (national and world pages) three or four times a week on the news copydesk. I recently received a Jesse Award as the Chronicle's copy editor of the year and won the annual headline contest -- which helped pay for my cruise over spring break.

I teach twice a week at UH Clear Lake (media writing and editing) and guest lecture when asked. How long have I been teaching? Well, a student who was in my first class at UH in 1990 has just joined the Chronicle as a journeyman. Seems like my fish year wasn't that long ago.....

My wife, Elizabeth, an assistant principal in Spring Branch ISD, and I live in Cypress. My son Brian and his wife live in north Dallas. My stepdaughter Kristina will soon be leaving the nest for college, but our hockey player, Alex, will be with us a bit longer.

You can reach me at superag1 (at) yahoo.com.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A&M students published in Statesman

JOUR 490 students this week completed a project that was published in the Austin American-Statesman's XL entertainment section and online.

The students, who are mostly graduating seniors completing the journalism minor at A&M, advanced the Northgate Music Festival:
-- Which of the more than 100 bands to see
-- Places to eat and drink
-- Ways to entertain yourself in the B/CS area during the day
-- How to find hotel rooms at the last minute
-- Background on the 10-year-old festival

Not only do they get class credit, they got a clip to use!

Be a Journalist-in-Residence

I've just completed my week as a J-I-R working with A&M journalism students -- they bring in three professional journalists per semester to work with the JOUR 490 class and other students. It was a blast. Here's what I did:

-- Assigned and edited a project for the JOUR 490 capstone course.

-- In addition to JOUR 490, which met T-Th 12:45-2, spoke to JOUR 102, 202, 203 and AGCJ 303 about career paths, self-editing, writing features, writing for the Web, copy editing, working in sports, getting a job and whatever else they asked me about!

-- Led evening sessions with the Battalion copy desk and reporters; edited stories for publication in the Batt.

-- Had hourlong student conferences with seven students, offering editing and coaching on interviews, finding internships, career paths, getting clips together.

-- Played 42 at the Chicken, ate lunch in Sbisa (by choice!) and the Underground with students, bought lots of Aggie paraphernalia at the bookstores.

I'm probably about the least prestigious/experienced person they've had as a guest in this program, but I do feel that I was able to make connections with a lot of the students, answer their questions and give them direct help -- and that was very rewarding. I strongly encourage anybody who's interested to contact Dr. Randy Sumpter.

Also, if you'd like to dip your toe in first, you can probably come down just for a day or two and meet with the Batt staff and talk to classes. Getting involved with the students is a rush!

Batt staffers, 1893-2004

A&M Student Media has a list online of the former Battalion editors and section editors going back to 1893. Good gravy. Relive the past here.

Cool internships

I know the journalism minors are supposed to find their own internships. But if they navigated their way to this page, I think that qualifies! Besides, I talked to a number of students this week who were interested in magazines, travel writing and food writing, and we Googled some interesting trailheads for internships in those fields. Send me more if you know of them.

(Deadline for application listed first.)

Summer internships

(Nov. 1) Dow Jones -- fairly prestigious, 10 weeks, paid. They pick what newspaper you go to.
(Early Nov.) Austin American-Statesman -- Paid, with free housing, and you get real assignments. They're flexible with letting people try different fields too -- reporting, editing, photo, graphics. Our interns usually have a blast (I've worked with the program before). You don't have to be a senior.

Non-newspaper category

(March 1) Wiley & Sons Publishing -- I don't know much about the company, but they publish Frommer's travel guides and their internship is supposed to be a Princeton Review Top 100 program. Interns can work in a number of fields including editorial.
(Sept. 26; March 7) Southern Living -- Paid. Hiring every six months. Most interns work in Birmingham, Ala. You don't have to be a senior, and you can also do the program up to a year after graduation (my thought: build up resume, then get a better entry-level position somewhere else than you might have otherwise!)
(March) Discovery Communications -- Runs the Travel Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, more. They have an internship program and I have a call out for more info. But all I did was Google their offices and start calling numbers -- you can do the same thing.

Friday, March 23, 2007

1963: A&M goes co-ed; 'Now What?'

April 30, 1963

My dad, who was a student at the time, said the administration waited until students left town on Friday for "Splash Day" and then made the announcement. This story led the Batt on the following Tuesday, with reaction from students including:

"I think that it is a good thing for the school but I hate to see it come."
"I came here for the corps life and there are plenty of other colleges in the state which are co-educational."
"I am a veterinary medicine major and I think that it is a big inconvenience for women to have to go out-of-state to study veterinary medicine."

Before the announcement, Cadet Slouch had this to say:

Meet Cadet Slouch

The "Cadet Slouch" strip, drawn by Jim Earle*, appeared in the Battalion for years. This book, a collection of 'toons from 1953 to 1961, is dedicated to the Batt editors from those years.

* Correction: This article originally said that Jim Earle created the Ol' Sarge caricature as well. Not true: It was Pete Tumlinson '42 (a fact y'might have thought I would have known or checked, since there's about a 60% chance I wrote the 1993 article cited on the jump of this Batt story).