I started at The Battalion as a reporter. I wrote general news stories, but began covering the Corps of Cadets beat before long. Despite all the difficulties I encountered in reaching people and making stories interesting and informative, I was truly happy. I had finally found my niche.
... Four semesters and four positions later, I find myself locked away in the basement of the Memorial Student Center five nights a week, eyes glued to a computer screen, watching the time with bated breath. Deadlines, stories, copy editing, AP Style…industry terms rush through my head as quickly as the second hand on the clock. The adrenaline rush and positive stress of working for the paper is what really gets my blood pumping. I can't imagine myself being this happy with any other job.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
So the FJSA reception time will not move: 11 a.m. Oct. 11 in the MSC Stark Galleries. (If you're in the Flag Room and you look north, there are big glass walls looking into the galleries; the door is there, kind of to the left.)
We'll have A&M Journalism Studies head Dr. Randy Sumpter speaking; we'll vote on officers, drink some punch and nibble on fruits; and of course we will celebrate Roland Martin '91 and induct him into FJSA's Hall of Honor.
*I originally had the week wrong. Mil gracias to Jerry C. for the catch!
FJSA Fall Reception: 11 a.m. Oct. 11, MSC Stark Galleries
Bryan Broadcasting (WTAW/KZNE) is the official flagship station for Aggie athletics on the radio. A&M Athletics says WTAW was at one time owned by the university and the call letters originally stood for "Watch The Aggies Win." Whoop! I'm assuming it was at one time also a TV station or else we've got the makings of a fantastic Aggie joke here. Anywhere in the world, 'cept maybe China, Ags can listen to the station (and thus Aggie sports) online.
The Eagle has launched the careers of many Aggie journalists and regularly rakes in the awards, including recent recognition by Texas APME for its Web site, community service, specialty reporting, sports photography, infographics, headlines and more. Of particular interest to Aggie readers inside or outside the B/CS Megaplex might be the Eagle's excellent Dining Guide, its many RSS feeds through which you can subscribe to A&M news, and its Aggie sports Web site, Aggiesports.com.
Did I mention we are grateful for their support? We surely are. Go click on their content for us.
Monday, September 29, 2008
If you had graduated college this May, would you have gone into newspapers? And for us budding writers who are still young and unfettered, is it time to switch paths?
Joe's answer is a good one (oversimplified version: Newspapers? Maybe not. Journalism? You bet), and gives a long-time newspaper employee's perspective on the change facing our industry.
And though news orgs are laying off and buying out, there are signs that for new journalism graduates, the job picture isn't as bad. UGA's annual survey of the journalism job market found that:
- 63.3 percent of 2007 journalism and communications graduates in 2007 had a full-time job by the end of October 2007, almost exactly the same as the year before.
- Median salary also stayed level at $30,000.
- 78.3 percent had at least one job offer upon graduation, up from 76.2% the year before.
The report makes a statement with which most journalists out in the field will probably agree: ..."graduates mostly enter the labor market at the bottom, so turmoil at the top of the market isn't likely to affect them immediately." My translation: Companies who may not be hiring older, experienced (and thus more expensive) employees might still be seeking younger workers who start at a lower salary level. They also want your tech savvy and intrinsic knowledge of the youth market -- it's not just a cheap labor thing. : )
A related thought on the value of studying journalism in school: Though it is true that you don't absolutely need to study journalism to be a journalist, I would say that you will start off as a better journalist for having studied it in school. Which means, speaking in purely mercenary terms, that your first job will be a better-paying job at a larger news organization. Essentially, you are starting higher up the ladder.
Our own survey of Texas newspaper editors indicates that they often look for a journalism degree to help determine whether a new hire can do the essential work of a journalism job.
And this entry on the National Review's higher education blog does an excellent job of explaining the value of a journalism education, including these key points:
- The most important thing a journalism school does is teach the basics. This comprises reporting and writing.
- Journalism professors don't just present the material, but give students a chance to practice it, and get professional feedback, without publishing the results. Learning "on the job" in journalism, you can't make mistakes without misinforming the public. It's important to hone your chops outside the newsroom.
- There are journalism-specific skills that only a journalism major will teach.
A solid first internship can lead to a great second internship before you graduate -- and a better job afterward. Multiple internships also let you try out different jobs, which can definitely shape your decisions. And in the current converging world of journalism, those with skills on many platforms are most attractive: You could combine, say, a summer of producing video or creating content for a Web site with a summer of beat reporting at a local paper. That would make a pretty appealing package.
First, some links to get things started:
- Texas A&M Journalism Studies' internship page
- Internship links for Texas TV stations
- Links to Texas newspapers, ranked by size
- Journalismjobs.com, which offers an internship search
- Links to Texas newspaper internships and more from this blog
- Sign up for a professional-looking e-mail address (e.g., just your name, not icanhazkitteh345) -- and, if you can afford it, your own domain. More on this below.
- Join LinkedIn, fill in your background (and join our group for contacts!)
- Scrub any embarrassing photos, political diatribes and anything else you don't want your boss to see off your Facebook and MySpace pages, your old blog from high school and anything else that comes up when they Google your name.
- Start saving printouts, clips or links to your best work now. It's harder than it might seem to round it all up the Thursday night before it has to be sent off. Get in the habit of saving these and adding your best new work to the top -- it sounds like a pain, but I have learned through mind-grinding experience that this is a habit that will serve you well.
- Read about internships that interest you and see what they are asking applicants to provide (links to four videos you produced, three news stories, etc.) If you don't already have those, you still have a month to get some together!
If you can, spend $10 to reserve a professional-sounding domain -- your name is a good choice, but not the only choice. Plan to use it to showcase your work. Poynter's E-Media Tidbits recently had some great advice on using a blog as "career insurance" for media professionals, giving specific advice on choosing a domain name, managing your site and what to post on your blog.
Now that you've polished your online presence, here's a great article a coworker of mine wrote on how to polish your personal image and why -- even in creative fields -- looking neat matters when you go to the interview or while you are on the job. It's a new world and we're not talking about wearing suits. But what does a trendy haircut say about you? What colors can make you look more professional in almost any type of clothing? Read on...
Both of these articles talk about "your personal brand," which seems to be the current buzz phrase in journalism job-seeking and other endeavors. The idea seems to be that you may change jobs a lot (or you may not), but within that you can always sort of "work for yourself" and maintain a professional identity of your own as, for example, Sue from sues-news.com who Tweets as @aggiejournalist ... an identity you can control. (My Web site looks icky, I'm working on it.) And the president of a career-management company recently told me that 80% to 90% of jobs in a field like mine come from people who already know you.
That's it for now -- but more posts on job hunting, interviewing and strategies are coming this week!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
The TCU Daily Skiff reported Friday that a $5.6 million renovation will add a television studio and converged newsroom to the TCU Schieffer School.
Also on Friday, Abilene Christian University dedicated its new converged-media newsroom:
Back in August, the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation announced $1.85 million in grants to journalism organizations, and last week Chicago's McCormick Foundation announced more than $4 million in journalism grants, including:
On the newly renovated second and third floors of the Don H. Morris Center, the $1.1 million project offers common spaces and floor plans designed to encourage collaboration among students and faculty as well as a space for the department's first advertising and public relations agency.
Dr. Cheryl Bacon, chair of the school's department of journalism and mass communication, said it used to be enough for students to enter the job market with a good education and clips, an impressive portfolio or a great audition tape to display practical, real-world experience.
But "for students to get jobs today, it's not enough for them to have only one skill set," she said. "They have to be able to write, to shoot, to edit, to design. They have to do stories for print, for broadcast, for online."
While students may still specialize in one area of media, they will emerge competent in multiple platforms, she said.
4. Investigative Reporters and Editors (Columbia, MO) $100,000
To assist in conducting customized workshops for ethnic
5. Kansas University Endowment Association (Lawrence, KS) $50,000
To strengthen its Military and the Media Projects
6. Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) $1,355,000
For the Medill School of Journalism and its national
security training initiatives
7. The Trustees of Indiana University (Indianapolis, IN) $75,000
To launch a Nonprofit and Philanthropy Reporting Program
8. University of Colorado Foundation $110,000
To launch the Resolving Door community journalism project
9. University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA) $120,000
For coverage on urban environmental justice
10. West Virginia University Foundation, Inc.(Morgantown, WV) $85,000
To launch a multimedia training program between journalism
schools and rural newspapers
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
• City Hall beat: Reporter will cover the municipal affairs beat and general assignments. The vastly different cities of College Station and Bryan make for interesting stories while constantly testing reporting skills.
• Business: Reporter will be responsible for keeping up with the trends in Brazos Valley, along with the businesses selecting this region as their home. GA reporting included.
You will help shape our coverage of a community that includes Texas A&M University, the George Bush Presidential Library and eight counties.
In 2008, the newspaper won multiple Texas Associated Press Managing Editor awards, adding to the newsroom walls already covered with writing and design honors. It's no coincidence that many use The Eagle as a launch pad to the major metros.
The Bryan-College Station area offers an active nightlife and arts scene, great schools and all that Texas A&M University and Blinn College have to offer. B-CS is a growing metropolis in the heart of Brazos Valley.
We highly value our community and our employees, who are compensated with a good benefits package (health insurance/401K) and competitive pay. Send cover letter, clips and resume to Kelly Brown, managing editor, 1729 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan, 77802 or e-mail her at email@example.com. No phone calls please.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Here's a list of, well, pretty much every TV station in Texas that I could find, with their job and internship links where I could find those. (Send more if you got 'em!) They are ranked in order of market size, which can help you get a feel for the viewing areas. They are NOT, however, ranked by their ratings within the individual markets. (I couldn't find that info for free :)
Every single one of these stations is part of the Victoria Television Group. For the group's jobs page, go here.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
JOUR 102 - American Mass Media (instructor Ed Walraven, 80 seats filled)
JOUR 200 - Mass Media Information (instructor Ed Walraven, 24 seats filled)
JOUR 203 - Media Writing I (instructor Ana Martinez, 11 seats; instructor Dale Rice, 12 seats)
JOUR 301 - Mass Comm Law and Society (instructor Joshua Heuman, 11 seats)
JOUR 303 - Media Writing II (instructor Ed Walraven, 16 seats)
Saturday, September 20, 2008
After I got kicked out of the Red Cross shelter in Austin, I’ve had some calls from talk radio stations and other media asking about the experience. I’ve also apparently become a journalism lesson for a class somewhere out there.
Other media outlets ... got part of the same story I reported. They knew the shelter didn’t have cots, had some organizational problems and scarce water. But they only heard from those complaining. They only talked to those healthy enough to walk outside and scream loudly.
They didn’t talk to the volunteers who were working hard to fix the problems. They didn’t talk to other evacuees.
For the most part, I ignored those complaining loudly about relatively minor problems. I tried to find those who needed attention, who needed someone to talk to, who needed medical care.
Those were usually the ones happy to talk, but not seeking media attention out for themselves. I reported the good things, too. The hot showers and warm meals were ignored by some, but reported by me.
I didn’t force anyone to talk to me. I told everyone, even the officials, that I was a reporter from the beginning. I didn’t find one person who didn’t want to talk.
When I said I was with the Galveston newspaper, we had a connection. I wasn’t with the national media. I was one of them. My house was in just as much danger as theirs were.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Ronnie Crocker '85 in the Houston Chronicle:
Essay: If you're 'B.O.I.,' there's no place like Galveston
Sara Foley '05 and and Rhiannon Meyers '05 at the Galveston County Daily News -- these are just a few of today's stories; there are many, many more:
Medical examiner: 19 dead from Hurricane Ike
Evacuees get first glimpse of their homes
Bolivar devastated, no longer a peninsula
Electricity restored to much of mainland
Tiger, other livestock await rescue
Medical Branch organizes return to normalcy
Police put out prayer box for requests
Loren Steffy '86 in the Houston Chronicle:
Commentary: Grocery workers should count as first responders
Commentary: Deal with fuel problems by keeping a cool head
In his blog: "A post-Ike musical interlude - 'Plywood, A Love Song' "; "Picking through a grocery store, thinking of the Apocalypse"
Roy Bragg '80 in the San Antonio Express-News:
Twitter shows serious side when disaster strikes
My thoughts so far: Set up a camera on a tripod and have everyone pop in front of it, one at a time, to say....
- Some clever catch phrase (?) about journalism at A&M. This could be edited into a quick little video simply showing the faces of different folks involved with the program. Or...
- Their job title and where they work. (i.e., "Online editor, WKRP.") Can be edited into quick and friendly video showing students some of the different careers possible with a journalism education from A&M. Include names and class years?
Sunday, September 14, 2008
... and here's a link to the Batt staff's photo gallery on Ike, preparations for and aftermath of.
I've been blogging Ike from the KRIV Fox 26 newsroom. I'm a newscast director at KRIV, and I've been working on the continuous coverage since 5am Thursday (obviously taking breaks!). During those breaks, I've blogged our coverage on "Ike vs. Houston". Anybody curious about the workings of TV news might find it interesting.
I'm sitting here in the Chronicle's hurricane bunker, where we have a skeleton crew ready to put out the paper if Chron Central downtown loses power. Oddly, the Chron has sent most of its Aggies up here -- me, Ronnie Crocker and Paul McGrath. This is sort of our Al Haig moment. The entire fate of one of the country's biggest newspapers could rest in our hands. The bunker is designed to withstand almost any natural disaster, so it should be able to withstand us. The bunker's location is, of course, a secret, much like Dick Cheney's, but I can tell you it's somewhere in Montgomery County.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Multichannel News reported the second installment, "6 Weeks to Go," will air Sept. 20 and 21 at 7 p.m., and the third special, "5 Weeks to Go," will air Sept. 27 and 28 at 7 p.m.
42 minutes ago from web
Galv Daily News editor rode out the storm in the newspaper building, which seems to have largely lived up to its hurricane-proof billing
44 minutes ago from web
Meyer '05 and her husband OK, and so are rest of Galveston Daily News staff from what I hear. Foley '05 got a car here and has headed back
about 1 hour ago from web
Foley '05 got herself booted from the Crockett HS shelter in Austin (no lie http://plurl.me/u2) and is now reporting from our spare bedroom
about 19 hours ago from web
Friday, September 12, 2008
Sara Foley '05 (GCDN) blogging from Austin shelter for Galveston evacuees: http://plurl.me/tv
Rhiannon Meyers '05 (GCDN) covering flooding, evacuations in Galveston: http://plurl.me/tu
Peggy O'Hare '91 (HC) reports from Surfside Beach, an area now underwater: http://plurl.me/tw
Richard Oliver '81 (SAE-N) hunkers down in Port Lavaca: http://plurl.me/tx
Thursday, September 11, 2008
And LCRA meteorologist Bob Rose -- also an Aggie -- will hold a second live chat about Ike Friday at 2 p.m. on www.statesman.com, taking questions from readers.
Today, September 11, 2008, 13 hours ago
Foley '05 reporting in evacuating Galveston http://tinyurl.com/623976 Janner '91 part of Statesman Ike teams tweeting here @trackingike
Today, September 11, 2008, 9 hours ago
Rtwt from @trackingike: http://twitpic.com/b382 - "Take a hike Ike.. Bad Ike Go Away" Photographer Jay Janner working the storm in Corpus.
Today, September 11, 2008, 8 hours ago
Oliver '81, others blogging Ike for SA Express-News here http://tinyurl.com/5xxmzk
Today, September 11, 2008, 8 hours ago
A&M campus closes Friday; hurricane-force winds expected in Brazos Valley http://tinyurl.com/3pa3vp (Watkins '07 writing for Eagle)
Today, September 11, 2008, 7 hours ago
Meyers '05: Minor tidal flooding begins in Galveston http://tinyurl.com/4dqv2l
Today, September 11, 2008, 25 minutes ago
Galv. Co. Daily News' Foley '05 is now, I'm glad to say, blogging from an evacuee bus headed to Austin http://tinyurl.com/3vfopv
Today, September 11, 2008, 24 minutes ago
rtwt fm @mySA Richard Oliver found the last restaurant open in Port Lavaca. http://is.gd/2w2F
Spencer Selvidge '07 has returned from his 181-day photoblogging trip across Europe and has kindly agreed to let me show some of his photos here. He's in Austin doing studio portrait work now, so let me just SEO this blog entry real quick in case anybody is searching for a wedding photographer in Austin, wedding photos Austin, beautiful wedding portraits, Austin wedding, engagement photos, family portrait photographer Austin, book wedding photographer, individual photo portrait Austin... and you can find more at his Web site, http://www.spencerselvidge.com/.
Thanks to all three Aggie photographers who have sent in the news, photos and video I've used this week, and please keep it coming!
More of Selvidge's photos:
The video is embedded in a lengthy list of photography tips, well worth visiting on its own, but I'll pop it in here too so you can see:
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Head on over to his blog, check it out, leave him some comments, send it to photogs you know!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
In recent weeks, we've posted here about Aggie journalists covering hurricanes this season, including San Antonio Express-News writer Roy Bragg '80, who went to New Orleans to report on Hurricane Gustav, and KBTX's Jordan Meserole '05 and Kristen Ross '05, who embedded with a search and rescue team during Dolly.
This time around, Richard Oliver '81 will be liveblogging Ike for the Express-News; please write in and tell us if you will also be covering the storm. We have many Aggies at newspapers on the coast as well as Houston and San Antonio, and this storm currently seems set to come far inland. At times like these, all of us tend to convert to storm coverage, whatever our normal job descriptions are. Tell us what you're up to: Twittering breaking news or blogging from an emergency bunker, or send us a link to your photos.
Above all, be safe. Gig' em. And remember, no matter what they tell you, the official Houston evacuation route for Aggies is NOT Loop 610!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
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.
(Austin) - Speaker Tom Craddick (R - Midland) today named Alexis DeLee communications director and announced the hiring of James Bernsen as press secretary. Additionally, he named Chris Cutrone media relations liaison for the House. This is part of a reorganization of the Speaker's Press Office to better facilitate communication of the speaker's goals and priorities.
"Alexis has been an excellent communications advisor, and I am pleased to promote her," Speaker Craddick said. "James is also a great addition to my press office. He brings a wealth of capitol experience through his work with a key senator and a prominent house member, and he has observed the legislative process from a reporter's perspective."
James Bernsen is a former news reporter and correspondent for the Lone Star Report, a newsletter covering the Texas Capitol. He served as the deputy press secretary for U.S. Senator Phil Gramm and as the campaign press secretary for Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. He has also served as a legislative aide for former Rep. Dianne White Delisi and for Senator Craig Estes.
Tigé Boats, a leading inboard watersports boat manufacturer, is actively recruiting a qualified Communications Coordinator to join the company's marketing team. Duties include developing and writing news and information materials for print and on-line distribution to Tigé owners, dealers, the marine industry and the general public. The successful candidate will also be directly involved in development of brochures, on-line website content and other Tigé marketing materials.
This position requires excellent writing skills and full working knowledge of web-based and print-oriented communications media. Strong organizational skills and the ability to communicate well verbally and in writing are also essential. Degree and/or journalism or public relations experience preferred. Boating background is also a plus.
This position is located at the headquarters office in Abilene, TX. Tigé offers a complete benefits package including health and dental insurance, matching 401(k) plan, company bonus plan, and paid time off. Qualified applicants should submit a current resume and cover letter detailing experience and background relative to the position. Send information in MS Word or PDF version to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corporate Relations Manager
Monday, September 1, 2008
...because of the hotels that are still open, Vieux Carre, as the French Quarter is also known, is also the defacto press center of Hurricane Gustav coverage. Every hooker on Bourbon Street has been replaced with a television crew.
His most recent dispatches:
NEW ORLEANS, 9/1/08 10:15 AM Television crews are reporting that water is going over the top of the rebuilt levee in the Lower Ninth Ward. Photographer Lisa Krantz and I are heading out there. I'll report back as soon as I can.
NEW ORLEAN 9/1/08 10:14 AM Michael Homan, a theologian at Xavier University, has been riding the storm out at his rebuilt, reinforced Mid City home."We're doing pretty well,'' he said. "The power went out at 4 a.m., but I have generator so I'm doing well. Three families on his block, which sits in an area that didn't get a lot of flooding, are riding out the storm. He feels safe.
Winds and water damaged the house during Hurricane Katrina, causing it to list precariously. It took Homan three years to rebuild the home, which is almost finished: one year to get the insurance company to write the structure off, one year to get them to pay a fair market value, and a year to build a new home that's 2 1/2 feet higher off the ground and with reinforced steel beams throughout.
"Ironically," he said, "we moved into our house 4 days before the 3rd anniversary of Katrina."