Thursday, July 31, 2008

Meserole '05, Ross '05 embed for Dolly

Click here to see and hear the work of two Aggie journalists at Bryan's KBTX-TV who went through Hurricane Dolly with search and rescue team Texas Task Force - 1. There are four videos, a story and links to their Hurricane Dolly blogs.

Jordan Meserole '05 gave us a description:
Kristen Ross (a comm '05 graduate) and myself recently had the opportunity to ride along with Texas Task Force - 1, a team of emergency personnel from around the state that responds to disaster situations. We were embedded with them, which means we were there with them at 5 a.m. on the Tuesday before Hurricane Dolly hit, and never left their side until 3 p.m. that next Sunday. It was definitely different to experience as a journalist, because not only did we get to truly see how the story develops, but we were getting information as it happened (in other words, no waiting for a press release or hounding a public relations director).

Meserole says he's always available to any Aggie students who have questions (including questions about internships -- he interned at WFAA in Dallas, Fox Sports Southwest and WPLG in Miami). Reach him at meserole at kbtx dot com.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hotel rooms for Oct. 11 going fast

I was just clicking around for hotel accommodations in B/CS on the weekend of the FJSA Fall Reception and, as is usual with football weekends, the picture is already dismal. If you haven't been back for a game in a while, there are lots of new hotels (whoop!), but they very often crank up the rates (like, $200 and up) and require a 2-night minimum stay on football home game weekends (hisss).

Warnings: A couple hotels showed rooms available via online portals (Expedia, Orbitz) that were not available through the chain's own Web site (so I suspect they aren't really available), and if you were able to get one of these rooms booked online I'd be sure and check with a human being, anyway. Conversely, a lot of hotels disallow online booking for those weekends and so you may actually have better luck with the humans.

A good tip I've gotten is to check with the Convention and Visitors Bureau, who are said to know updates about room availability.

I found a kind friend who is allowing me to crash, and if you want to coordinate room sharing/give advice/recommend places, etc., may I suggest our lovely, free and spacious online forum, where no registration is required to post.

Texas news on Twitter: Smattering of Twitterers

I was a bit surprised recently to learn that most of the major Austin news orgs are trying their hand at Twitter, and thought I would check to see if it was so in other large Texas markets. These are just the ones I found -- please post more if you got 'em:

(organized by size of TV markets)

Dallas/Fort Worth
Dallas Morning News - www.twitter.com/dallas_news
Fort Worth Star-Telegram ... not that I found, but their Web show host is on Twitter: http://twitter.com/kcampbell
KXAS 5 (NBC) - http://twitter.com/dfwscene

KERA 13 (PBS) - http://twitter.com/keratx
KRLD News Radio

Houston Chronicle - http://twitter.com/HoustonChron
(Chronicle business columnist Loren Steffy '86 http://twitter.com/lsteffy)
KRIV 26 (Fox)

San Antonio
San Antonio Express-News/ KENS 5 (CBS) http://twitter.com/mySA
weather http://twitter.com/mysaweathervane
KABB 29 (Fox)

Austin American-Statesman - http://twitter.com/statesman
Austin360 (Statesman entertainment) - http://twitter.com/austin360
KTBC 7 (Fox)
KLRU 18 (PBS) - http://twitter.com/klru
KVUE 24 (ABC) - http://twitter.com/KVUE
KXAN 36 (NBC) - http://twitter.com/KXAN_News
KEYE 42 (CBS) - http://twitter.com/keyetv
News 8 Austin

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gertson '03: TV news producer in SA, has advice

Daniel Gertson '03, who was a photographer for the Aggieland -- the cover photo for the 2003 Aggieland is his -- is now the executive producer for Fox News First (local morning news) at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio (KABB). I sought his advice for students seeking to get into broadcast media, and here's what he had to say:

I would highly encourage j-students to look into broadcasting. It's a very dynamic and exciting field. As with all journalism, you have to have a love for news (or sports, weather, entertainment, etc.) or you'll get burnt out pretty quickly. But when you find your niche, it can be very rewarding. As for getting started, the best thing to do is jump right in. Find a small(er) market -- I started at KBTX -- and take any job in the newsroom you can. If you want an on-air job, spend as much time as you can (sometimes it will have to be extra hours) with reporters and get practice writing and perfecting your delivery. Put together some packages and then apply for any open slot that comes up. It's hard to teach being good on TV -- experience is everything! I'll be honest -- I never worked in print, but in my experience, broadcast has always been fast paced and exciting. I can honestly say I've never had a moment where I looked up at the clock and thought, "I'm bored. I wish show time would just hurry up and get here!" Instead, I typically look at the clock and think, "That's all the time I have left?!"

Q: Is there a best way for students to look for broadcast openings? And is figuring out the markets pretty intuitive -- i.e. small town = small market?

I'd say the best way to find out about openings is to visit a station's website. There is TVJobs.com, but you have to pay to get an account and check the listings -- and the listings tend to be for positions that require experience. Yes, market size is pretty straightforward -- small town = small market. They are also listed on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_television_stations_in_North_America_by_media_market).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

KXAS (NBC Dallas) seeks interns

They're seeking both interns and contributors. More here. (Link gleaned from their Twitter feed)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Calhoun Leschper '80: At Alaska Dept. of Labor

Beth Calhoun Leschper ('80 and '91) was recently named communications director for the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. She had spent the last year as deputy communications director for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin; here's a description and bio from that previous position:

Beth Leschper was named Deputy Communications Director. Leschper was program coordinator for the Alaska Department of Revenue-Tax Division, where she was responsible for training and strategic planning. She also provided management oversight to Alaska's Unclaimed Property Program. Before moving to Alaska in 2005, Leschper was a mass communications educator for nationally recognized university and high school programs. Prior to her teaching career, Leschper spent more than 25 years in public relations and institutional advancement for Texas A&M University, the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, the Houston Advanced Research Center, Tarleton State University and several Texas school districts.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bean '74: Former Aggieland staffer checks in

Update received recently from Kevin Bean '74 -- thank you, Kevin!

I'm Kevin Bean '74. I served as co-sports editor of AGGIELAND '73, Sports Editor of AGGIELAND '74 and Assistant Editor of AGGIELAND '75. I also wrote the occasional sports story for the Batt during summer school in '74 and '75. My most significant achievements according to Ags I meet now seem to be that I was @ The Chicken on opening night in May, 1974, and was also a charter creating member of the Moses Hall RAB's, who apparently still champion the party life and associated depravity that we founded lo those many years ago.

I've been living in the Dallas area since getting my MS in math from TAMU in 1975. Although I entered A&M on a journalism scholarship, I never took a single journalism class. Ultimately, I missed it a lot, which led to my AGGIELAND posts. My roommates in graduate school were Steve Krauss '76 and Bill Slingerland '76, both staffers. Steve was a photographer for the Batt and Aggieland, while Billy served many Aggieland posts including assistant editor of the centennial AGGIELAND in 1976. He's now a teacher @ Port Aransas High School. I worked for AT&T for 29 years before leaving in 2007 and now work for LeeMAH Electronics in Richardson where I also live. I have a daughter, 26, married and living in Austin, who graduated from UNT in 2004.

I was glad to see Paul McGrath's posting. I have such great memories of drawing a walking call on him at the end of the 2nd annual BATT-AGGIELAND basketball game that clinched the game for us. He still claims it was a homer call, since two of the basketball team who were friends of mine had agreed to officiate. I noted a letter to the editor of the Dallas Morning News from TC Gallucci '75 so I'm assuming she still lives in the Plano area. It would be great to hear from some of the old AGGIELAND staffers like Norman Chatman, Steve Hill, Sherry Ellis Jackson, aw you all know who you are. I can be reached at jkbean74 (at) swbell.net. Thanks for this forum. I'm also in LinkedIn. Gig 'em, RABS and AGS.

Sue here again: As a former resident of Northside myself, I had heard of this place called "the Chicken" that he mentions. He tells me they didn't serve pitchers when they first opened up, just longnecks for 40 or 50 cents. When I was there, I think you could get a Pearl for 85 cents, and a Lone Star was a dollar (or "four laundry quarters," as we referred to it).

Friday, July 11, 2008

High school yearbook camp at A&M on July 25-28

Taylor Publishing's Houston office will hold a high school students yearbook camp at A&M again this month (second year at A&M). The camp will be July 25-28, and I believe students can still sign up for it. More details here. (Taylor Publishing puts out the Aggieland.)

Students will get instruction in layout/design, headline/caption writing and photography, with optional training in leadership, InDesign, Photoshop and more. They can stay in dorms, dine on campus and will be offered evening activities.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lunsford '01: Bringing online video to papers

D. Lance Lunsford's Lancer Productions is creating online video platforms for community newspapers to let their readers and reporters upload video simply, like YouTube, but customized for each paper. Here's a writeup about the platforms:

With online video still developing and attracting audience, there is plenty of revenue to generate through online video platforms – especially when you consider availability of technology in the form of viral syndication and user submission.

Lancer Productions, based in Lubbock and owned by D. Lance Lunsford ’01, is allowing community newspapers to exploit the trend by developing online video platforms and customizing them to respective newspaper brands. Each video platform is outfitted with sign-in tools, branded headings, logo overlays, advertising inventory and embeddable video capabilities that allow newspapers to become the main source for online video in communities of any size.

As YouTube continues to grow, it becomes its own worst enemy as finding material becomes difficult. Lancer Productions and other online video developers see video breaking into genres as online video evolves. The genre breakup means value to community newspapers, whose dollars will still come at the hands of hyper local coverage schemes.

Of course access to audience is key to any venture. For community newspapers, the ability to reach an audience with little marketing investment puts them at an advantage over community entrepreneurs who might take the local newspaper’s dot-com and add “video” to the end of it, thus side-stepping the local newspaper.

The Lancer Productions system is much better than existing video platforms currently used through national agreements with newspaper chains. Multimedia operations like Brightcove have limited functions and overly burdensome uploading requirements that limit newsroom efficiency. Not built for the newspaper realm, systems like Brightcove are time-intensive and do not take into account the reporter’s need to tee up the video as well as 19 inches of copy for the next day’s paper.

Lancer Productions outfits the community newspaper’s website with the video platform, training staff and leadership on administration procedures to guard over unseemly video submissions. See more at www.lancerproductions.com/YourOwnYouTube.html.

The player may be purchased outright as a service with Lancer Productions building the product seamlessly into the website. Lancer Productions also leases and finances the video player.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Addison magazine seeks managing editor

Thanks to Carrie Pierce '06 at Addison magazine for sending this. They are looking to hire someone this month:

Rodney Hand & Associates Marketing Communications, LP publishers of ADDISON- The Magazine of the North Dallas Corridor is seeking a Managing Editor/Production Coordinator.

Ideal candidate must excel at multitasking and be able to fulfill many positions, including, but not limited to editor, writer, office manager, proofreader, photographer, and production coordinator and circulation manager. An ideal candidate will have extraordinary written and verbal communication skills, great computer skills (familiarity with basic web design, In Design and graphic design is a plus), must manage self, be very independent and be able to manage vendors and staffers. Most importantly, must be a self motivator and have a “what ever it takes” attitude.

More specifically we need someone who can:
I. Manage the process of all logistics of our quarterly publication including:
§ Assigning stories and other assignments to freelance writers and managing the time line.
§ Find new writers/freelancers when needed.
§ Gather photos, calendars and materials for content of each publication.
§ Assign sections/pages to freelance designers and manage the design and layout process of the publication including the timeline.
§ Work with printer including attending press checks to assure the quality we are known for.
§ Managing all circulation and distribution contractors after each issue is printed to ensure timely distribution of every issue.
§ Assist sales department in preparing mail outs and email blasts.
II. Manage and maintain website including:
§ Update all content on site within framework, work with publisher to generate new ideas for content, including video, audio, marketing, ad sales etc.
III. Editing and producing monthly e-newsletter from template including:
§ Gathering information and editing monthly e-newsletter (“Save the Date”) that features local promotions and events.

At least one year experience in working with magazines or similar publications is required. A degree in journalism, communications or a similar field and familiarity with Addison and the North Dallas Corridor area is a plus. Must be very flexible and be willing to work some nights and weekends during production times. This is a full-time position. Salary consistent with experience and ability. Please send resume and salary requirement to info@hamcpublishing.com

Rodney Hand & Associates Marketing Communications, LP is a 19 year old Marketing Communications firm with roots in traditional agency work. ADDISON- The Magazine of the North Dallas Corridor has been in publication for 10 years. www.addisonmagazine.com

More A&M journalism scholarship winners

Two more scholarship awards to announce:

$1250 to JoLeah Stiles '08 from the Scholarship for Internships (also known as the Edge Scholarship Fund)
$1250 to Nicole Alvarado '09 from the Bill Robinson Scholarship Fund

Congratulations to both!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Rojas '10 hitting page 1 at the Courier-Journal

This past weekend, Rick Rojas '10, who's interning at the Louisville, Ky., Courier-Journal, had an A1 centerpiece on fuel and flooding contributing to rising food costs in the Midwest. That's his third page 1 story so far in his internship. He's there as a Chips Quinn Scholar; the program featured orientation in Washington and next will include some video and multimedia training. Congratulations, Rick; you are doing great things!

**Edit July 8 to add: Rick had another A1 centerpiece today! See image below (click on it for larger image):

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Byerly '99's NASA post just as cool as it sounds

Josh Byerly '99 is Public Affairs Officer at NASA's Johnson Space Center, where he gets to serve as the voice of Mission Control and participate in some amazing stuff. In this video, he interviews the flight director for the International Space Station during STS-124, the most recent shuttle mission, May 31-June 14, which featured three spacewalks by Aggie astronaut Col. Mike Fossum. Byerly will again act as the voice of Mission Control during the next shuttle mission, STS-125, which launches Oct. 8 and will visit the Hubble space telescope.

In this YouTube video, he takes us inside a mockup of the Orion space vehicle, part of NASA's Constellation program to take humans back to the moon in the next decade and on to Mars.

The Wikipedia entry on Byerly has a picture of him in Mission Control wherein you can espy his Aggie coffee mug!

And on another Aggie note, here's the musical wakeup call for Mike Fossum aboard the shuttle on day 10 of STS-124; first he's greeted by CAPCOM (astronaut Shannon Lucid) and then Byerly's voice comes in.

Bernsen '94: Headed home from Iraq

LTJG James Bernsen '94 bids farewell to Iraq and heads back to the States. Whoop! He's got some farewell photos up on his blog at http://aalan94.blogspot.com/, plus his entry titled "I'm leaving... And I'm taking the rat with me!"

His blog is rich with writing and photos from his experiences before and since deploying for Iraq last year, and he also wrote and posted a moving description of Muster in Iraq this April.