Saturday, September 29, 2007

Lots of good news from today's FJSA reception

"When I was 17, I decided to attend Texas A&M over Princeton because the Aggies had a better football team. My logic might have been fuzzy, but I've never regretted the decision. In fact, I thrived under the nurturing of my instructors and the patience of my fellow Batt colleagues. I might have been the world's worst Batt staffer, but I learned from the talent surrounding me." - Kathleen McElroy '81
Well-deserved honors for Kathleen McElroy were among the highlights of today's FJSA Fall Reception, held in the MSC, which also featured a great address by Pam Matthews, the associate dean in charge of interdisciplinary studies, who is currently overseeing the journalism program; she outlined some developments in the works that may bring the interdisciplinary journalism major closer to fruition. (Watch this space for more details)

McElroy, who began at the New York Times in 1991 (hey, I said the date right this time!) has this month been named the Times' senior editor for continuous news; she writes and edits as well as coordinating blogs and slideshows for nytimes.com, the single most popular newspaper Web site in the country. She was introduced warmly by her friend Sherylon Carroll, Texas A&M's associate vice president for communications, and she spoke about, among other things, her days at the Batt and A&M, including a dead-on impression of Bob Rogers.

A fantastic surprise: McElroy announced a donation to FJSA that includes money to start a scholarship fund in the name of Skip Leabo. There will be more details to come!

(edit 10/1: Photos are up at the Journalism Studies web site)

During the reception, FJSA members elected some new officers, bringing the current slate to:
President Sue Owen Whaley; Vice President Rob Clark; Secretary Rich Tijerina; Treasurer Jerry Cooper; Programs chair Natalie Holladay; Web chair Arena Welch; Membership chair Scot Walker; Mentoring chairs Loren Steffy and Kelly Brown.

Natalie Holladay, Kelly Brown and Arena Welch did yeoman's work getting the reception together, inviting speakers, securing the classy Stark Galleries and the food, procuring donations, plaques, mailing lists, programs and ballots, handling RSVPs and printing nametags. The event's success is due to them, our great speakers and McElroy herself. Judging from the amount of happy chatter and mingling -- the reception didn't break up for nearly two hours, despite at least half of us being sunburned and sweaty from the football game -- the proverbial good time was had!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Batt features editor published in Statesman

The Battalion's Aggielife editor, Krista Smith, wrote about places to eat and stay in B/CS during the upcoming Big State music festival for today's XL entertainment section in the Austin American-Statesman. Thank you to Krista for the piece! Check it out especially if you're coming in this weekend for the FJSA reception. And here's a couple professional points that you can't tell from reading the finished product:

-- She turned the story around in less than a day in the middle of the school/work week
-- Hit the budgeted length exactly
-- Filed early
-- Copy was clean as a whistle

All points to warm a metro editor's heart. (I am assured they have such things : )

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Meet the 2008 Aggieland editors

(thanks to Mr. Wegener!)

From left, Alyssa Pena '10, education, San Antonio, sports editor; Kenzie Barnhart '09, human resource development, Houston, academics editor; Rebekah Brown '10, horticulture, Huntsville, Corps of Cadets editor; Rachael Hardman '10, marketing, Sugarland, The Other Education editor; Spencer Selvidge '07, biology, San Antonio, photo editor; Catherine Tepera '08, English, Quantico, Va., editor in chief, and Allison Legg '10, biomedical science, Henderson, greeks/groups editor.
The editors took a team approach to devour a gallon of ice cream, and plan and start the yearbook. Not pictured is Naureen Dhanani '09, English, Houston, copy editor.

Longtime Texas newspaperman Murphy dies

The Houston Chronicle's obit for John Murphy, 94, is here.

"He was a true newspaper professional, dedicating the bulk of his professional life to the industry in Texas. As head of the TDNA, he took membership from 31 newspapers to 98 through his ingenuity, creative ideas and love of journalism," said Jack Sweeney, president and publisher of the Houston Chronicle.

"Texas newspapers and particularly the Houston Chronicle owe John a deep debt of gratitude for his enthusiasm and dedication to our business over the years," Sweeney said.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Lunsford developing dot-com for Texas news

Received today from D. Lance Lunsford '01, a former reporter at the Midland and Lubbock newspapers, who also wrote a book about Jessica McClure ("Baby Jessica"):

As class of '01 and former Aggielife contributor, I now run a developing dot-com focused on Texas news.

ByTexas.com is now recruiting bloggers. The program allows bloggers to have a customized look, and contributing is as easy as sending an email. The ByTexas.com staff does all the work of getting the blogger set up.

Please send this on to anyone who might be interested in blogging about football, Aggie Life, politics, or ANYTHING!!!

Thanks. And Gig 'em.

D. Lance Lunsford '01

President::Lancer Productions

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Journalism enrollment rises slightly

Both the numbers of journalism minors and students enrolled in journalism classes are up slightly so far this fall from Spring 2007: 50 minors, 135 enrolled (a number that may include overlap, i.e. students enrolled in more than one course).

Natalie Holladay '01 with the Journalism Studies Program says that the uptick in JOUR minors is, she hopes, "a result of more people being aware of the minor and wanting to participate." She'll begin visiting fall classes soon to spread the word further.

2007-2008 journalism scholarship winners

Thank you to Natalie for the info on this year's winners. The recipients must be journalism minors and meet certain other criteria. (This year's deadline was in April, FYI, if future applicants want to make a note for next spring.)

(Special note: The Bob Rogers scholarship was created by FJSA)

Audrey Cardenas '88 memorial scholarship, up to $2,300:
Junior communication major Angela DeLeon of Farmers Branch
Senior communication major Sarah Rodriguez of Cleburne

Kyle David Tilton '89 memorial scholarship, up to $2,000:
Sophomore telecommunication media studies major Scott McLaughlin of Sunnyvale

Scholarship for Internships in JOUR and COMM, up to $2,000:
Senior history major Randall Mayes of San Antonio
Senior communication major Allison Murray of Las Vegas, NV
Senior telecommunication media studies major Amanda Crawford of Allen
Junior communication major Kelsey Hunter of Houston

Bob Rogers endowed scholarship, up to $1,600:
Junior English major Kimberly Huebner of Seabrook

Sue & Willard Clark scholarship, up to $700:
Junior communication major JoLeah Stiles of Cuero

Joe C. Monroe/George Carlin scholarship, up to $650:
Senior history major Travis Yoesting of Katy

Monday, September 17, 2007

Baylor game now 11:30; reception still 3:30

The Sept. 29 A&M/Baylor game got picked up by TV and kickoff moved to 11:30 a.m. We're KEEPING our 3:30 p.m. reception time.


Come chill with us after the game!
  • Air conditioning
  • Food and drinks
  • Just a short stroll from Kyle to the MSC -- let everyone else battle traffic!

Brought to you by the Committee for No More Triple Overtimes Above 90 Degrees

To recap, that's

3:30 pm Saturday, Sept. 29 (after the Baylor game)
In the Stark Galleries, MSC (next to the Flag Room)
Honoring Kathleen McElroy '81 of The New York Times

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Former department head Leabo, 81, dies

Here is the obituary from the Eagle for Skip Leabo, a professor at A&M from 1967 to 1987 who was head of the journalism department for eight of those years.

From Arena's story:

His son, Peter Leabo, said his father will be remembered for his innovative teaching methods.

"He really broke a lot of traditional university molds and really energized the students to learn," said Peter Leabo. "They hated him, but they learned from him. He was the toughest professor in the world, but his love of good journalism was infectious."

Please feel welcome to leave a comment (no registration is required).

Monday, September 10, 2007

Visited with A&M students lately?

If you've been to campus to meet with journalism students, work with Batt or Aggieland staff, address a 400 meeting, etc., would you do a short writeup for this blog?

What stood out from your experience; what questions did the students ask you; what did you enjoy most; any useful tips; how did you prepare; what kind of information did you feel was most appreciated or needed?

Such anecdotes might help encourage more former students to visit, or might help them prepare for their visit. Thank you! and just e-mail 'em on in to aggiejournalists@gmail.com.

Hall of Honor inductee: Kathleen McElroy '81

Latest on the reception: Kathleen McElroy of The New York Times will be honored! Read more about her at fjsa.com.

A firm time for the reception has been set: 3:30 p.m. And, there will be food of some sort -- tasty snacks, I believe. I will go anywhere for cheese.

Those are the latest developments! Come and meet Kathleen as well as the FJSA officers. (Also at that FJSA link, there are contacts for mentoring or to RSVP to the reception.)

To recap, that's

3:30 pm Saturday, Sept. 29 (kickoff of the Baylor game is still at 6 p.m.)
In the Stark Galleries, MSC (next to the Flag Room)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

How the new Batt/Aggieland newsroom came to be

Many, many thanks to Mr. Wegener for all of the following!

On Sept. 16, staff members will celebrate the one-year anniversary of producing The Battalion and Aggieland in the Memorial Student Center (after more than 30 years in Reed McDonald). Check out the following timeline and slide shows. Better yet, drop by and see us.

From 013 Reed McDonald to 032 Memorial Student Center in 11 months, 6 days, 21 hours and 47 minutes…

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.


Oct. 11, 2005 — Christmas comes early for The Battalion and Aggieland:
Dr. Dave Parrott, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of Student Life; Dr. Carol Binzer, director, Offices of the Dean of Student Life, and chair, Student Media Board, and Bob Wegener, general manager, Student Media, tour space formerly occupied by MSC University Plus Craft Center (wood shop, pottery wheels, glass working, and darkrooms). Oh, the possibilities!

Oct. 26, 2005 — Texas A&M Council on Built Environment endorses the relocation (also, supported by MSC Council and Vice President for Student Affairs Dean Bresciani).

Nov. 8, 2005 — Deal is sealed.

Dec. 16, 2005 — Wegener meets with University architect Dan McGuire to come up with preliminary architectural plans for renovating MSC Room 032 for Student Media operations. The challenge: What sort of workspace best attracts and prepares the journalists of tomorrow? How might the Aggieland yearbook, Battalion print, broadcast and online media, and the Student Media professional staff (including a server room, phone closet and storage area) be integrated into 4,000 sq. ft. of space (on three levels)?

Jan. 17, 2006 — For the next six months, plans are shown to everyone Wegener can corral for feedback. So many choices: paint colors, doors and hardware, carpet, linoleum, ceiling tiles, placement of electrical, phone and computer outlets, desks and chairs and their arrangement, fabrics, mini-blinds, TVs, etc. Inspiration from Texas A&M's Bright Football Complex and Wehner Building, University of Oklahoma Gaylord Hall, Savannah Morning News, Washington Post…

June 15, 2006 — Construction begins.

Sept. 15, 2006 — Student Media moves to 032 MSC (assistant general manager Trish Heck and advertising/sales reps pave the way by moving a week earlier). The final Batt from Reed McDonald is produced on Sept. 14. Staff members at 013 RDMC put out the paper on Thursday night (summer EIC Allison Miles, fall-spring EIC Melissa Filbin and Wegener finish packing at 3 a.m.!). Batt staff reports to the MSC newsroom on Sunday the 16th and never misses a beat. Sept. 17 issue is the first Batt from the MSC. Oh, yes, convergence: The Battalion and Aggieland staffs share a common space (except for offices for the editors in chief).

Price tag — $375,000 to demolish, renovate and furnish 032 (funding comes from Student Media)

WHAT'S GREAT ABOUT 032 (according to Batt staffers who also worked in RDMC)?

• Location, location, location
vs. being hidden in basement of a building that nobody knows about
• Technology: new computers, software, plasma televisions, video cameras, etc.
• New furniture
• More efficient use of space
• Proximity between section editors
• Easier to communicate with professional staff
• Regulated temperature
• Multi-purpose media conference room
• Professional: looks more like a newsroom
• Lighter, brighter


It's not just the state-of-the-art facilities, it's the pros who in 2006-2007 joined news adviser Cheri Shipman and students for "JOUR 400" and newsroom "roll-up-the-sleeves" sessions: Michael Landauer, The Dallas Morning News; Michael Mulvey, The Dallas Morning News (Pulitzer Prize winner); Marissa Alanis, The Dallas Morning News; Chris Wilkins, The Dallas Morning News; Bryan Butler, The (Bryan-College Station) Eagle); Doug Pils, San Antonio Express-News; Honny Pils, San Antonio Express-News; Kelly Brown, The (Bryan-College Station) Eagle; Selwyn Crawford, The Dallas Morning News; Sherolyn Carroll, Texas A&M assistant vice president for Communications; Mike MacKenzie, special asst. to the Texas A&M athletic director (Pulitzer Prize winner at Kansas City Star and Times), and James Bernsen, Bernsen Consulting. Also, Dr. Randy Sumpter and 2007 Journalists in Residence: Roy Bragg, San Antonio Express-News; Sue Owen, Austin American-Statesman, and Kathleen McElroy, The New York Times. Daily critiques prepared by Dr. Doug Starr. And, one-hour conversations in the newsroom with Texas A&M Interim President Eddie J. Davis, Head Football Coach Dennis Franchione, and Chief Marketing Officer and VP for Communications Steve Moore and Assistant VP for Business Development Mike Huddleston.

Journalism education is alive and well at Texas A&M.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Eagle seeks student intern

UPDATE: This position filled. Leaving the post for future reference. /sue

Received today from the Eagle:

The Features Department (food, health and fitness, lifestyles, gardening) at The Bryan-College Station Eagle is looking for a student with a strong interest in journalism to proofread and take on some modest writing assignments. Knowledge of AP style will be a huge plus. 10 hours per week/weekdays only; flexible on hours. People can call me and/or submit clips.

Mary Vinnedge
Features Editor
The Bryan-College Station Eagle
(979) 731 4633

Test yourself: Current events

If you're interviewing for a journalism job, it's never a good idea to sound like you don't know what's going on in the world. Here's a way to test yourself whenever you like: MSNBC's weekly news quiz.

This quiz, in particular, regularly manages to hit the most talked-about topics. It's intelligent, up-to-date and relevant.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Batt, Aggieland staffers in action

Many thanks to Mr Wegener for the following!

Recruiting staff and taking yearbook orders are Catherine Tepera '08, 2008 Aggieland editor in chief; Naureen Dhanani '09, Aggieland copy editor; and Brent Shirley, Battalion editor in chief. The Battalion and Aggieland were two of more than 400 organizations that participated in the MSC Fall Open House Sept. 2.

Battalion editors photographed during the final week of Spring 2007 production. Clockwise from left: Adam Scharn, managing editor; Meghan Donnelly, news editor; Kalli Turner, copy editor (standing); Katie Tjonpiangi, page one editor; Chris Hokanson, multimedia editor;
Jack Molitor, assistant sports editor; Ryan Ditty, chief photographer; Krista Smith, Aggielife editor; Chris Griffin, graphics editor; and Melissa Filbin, editor in chief.

2007 Aggieland editor in chief Hayley Booth and section editors pause after dinner and ice cream during a summer deadline push for Texas A&M's yearbook. From left: Booth '07, English major from Houston; Kristin Leveille '09, political science, Katy; Catherine Tepera '08, English, Quantico, Va.; Alyssa Peña '10, education, San Antonio; JoLeah Stiles '09 English, Cuero; Rachel Watters '06, English, College Station; and Spencer Selvidge, '07, biology, San Antonio. Tepera will be editor in chief for the 2008 Aggieland.