Among the responses were these, from 12th Man Magazine On Campus editor True Brown '04 and San Antonio Express-News A&M beat writer Brent Zwerneman (both of whom have made similar points about A&M journalism before, Brown when he was at the Battalion and in a retrospective for this blog, and Zwerneman in his columns):
Brown: In my opinion, it's not a matter of writers and editors going out of their way to downgrade A&M. Rather, there just aren't enough Aggies in the state media to keep things on an even keel. Unfortunately, this is going to get a lot worse before it gets even a little better because of A&M's jaw-dropping decision a few years ago to eliminate its journalism program.
I know of several aspiring young journalists who ruled out attending A&M altogether because the perception is that the university isn't interested in helping them achieve their career goals.
Zwerneman: Look, the worst thing Bob Gates did at A&M was kill out the journalism major at A&M -- and Elsa Murano needs to bring it back. Why would you lessen the number of pen-wielding people who could spread the good word about your university?
It didn't make sense then, and it doesn't now. Graduates of a university tend to lean toward hoping it does well -- it's human nature (as well it should be!). And right now, Texas is cranking out a whole lot more graduates into the media than its rival. A&M needs to do something about that sooner than later.
To put some numbers on that last point: UT is graduating about 160 journalism majors per year. A&M has graduated a total of 23 journalism minors since the new program began in 2004.