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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Photos from FJSA Fall Reception: Manitzas '52

On Oct. 30 we added to our Hall of Honor a journalist who covered the moon landing, the Iran hostage crisis, the RFK assassination, Pinochet's coup in Chile and the world's first heart transplant as part of his work with ABC, CBS, NBC and the Associated Press and other news-gathering organizations: Frank Manitzas '52.

There was a real family feel to this year's Fall Reception, thanks largely to the fact that a good number of Mr. Manitzas's relatives made the trip to see him inducted.

Below are some photos -- courtesy of Jerry Cooper '63, to whom many thanks -- and more information about Mr. Manitzas' career and honors.

(Also, scroll down to the next post on this blog to read a full update on what's happening with Journalism Studies at A&M, provided for the reception by program head Dale Rice.)

Jay Socol '91, director of communications for the City of College Station, reads a proclamation honoring Mr. Manitzas for his many achievements in news.

Chuck Neighbors '54, who nominated Mr. Manitzas, made the journey also, and made the formal introduction. Well, more fun than formal, really! (Chuck is standing, right)

And I got to give Mr. Manitzas his plaque (I'm Sue Owen Whaley '94, features copy chief at the Austin American-Statesman and a past president of FJSA). One copy of the plaque went home with him, and one will hang with the others in the Battalion newsroom. Here's the text (scroll down for more readable version):

Frank N. Manitzas penned unpopular editorials calling for Texas A&M to allow women in the early 1950s, more than a decade before it happened. He interviewed presidents of 11 countries and coordinated television coverage for all three major networks. He reported on or produced coverage of many major events, including the world's first heart transplant, Robert Kennedy's campaign and assassination, the moon landing, all things Latin and South America and negotiations that led to the American hostages' release in Iran. And he's still working as an independent journalist, providing news of persons living in and interested in Cuba, as well as the Americas and the United States' relationship to the hemisphere.
After a year as co-editor of the Battalion with Joel Austin in 1952-53, Manitzas started his career at the San Angelo Standard-Times. Called to military duty, he served 22 months as public information officer in Wurzburg, Germany. He returned to Texas, working for the Associated Press in Austin from 1955-59 before a career-changing move to South America after a year on the Latin American Desk in New York. The AP took him to Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Urugauy, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela (1960-64). He moved to McGraw-Hill in Argentina(1964-1967) and to CBS (1967-1974), NBC (1974-1979) and ABC (1979-1994). He won the Columbia University's Cabot Prize as the senior producer to the three-hour ABC News documentary "American Held Hostage: The Secret Negotiations," revealing the efforts to free the U.S. Embassy employees held by Iran. He won a Lowell Thomas Award from the Overseas Press Club of America for his work on the Falkland Islands conflict between Argentina and Great Britain. As Deputy Director of Special Events at CBS News in New York, he covered or produced Dr. Christiaan Barnard's first heart transplant operation, the moon landing and the Kennedy coverage. In 1974, he and his family were among the last foreign journalists who witnessed General Augusto Pinochet's coup d'etat to leave the country. Manitzas graduated from Texas A&M in 1953 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

Update on Texas A&M's Journalism Studies program

Dale Rice, head of Journalism Studies at Texas A&M, is doing some great work to raise the profile of the program on campus and off. For the FJSA reception Oct. 30, he gave us this great summary/update.

(My favorite fact here is that next year's course catalog will have 16 journalism courses, up from eight a year ago. But there is lots of good news contained below. Enjoy!)

The 2010-2011 academic year is off to a great start for Journalism Studies. Here are
some examples of our progress:
  • We’re continuing to raise the profile of Journalism Studies within the College of Liberal Arts and the university at large. We co-hosted, with American Studies, Pulitzer Prize winner Sonia Nazario in September. Her book, “Enrique’s Journey,” was selected by the college as this year’s Common Ground read for all incoming freshmen. Besides exposing a wide audience to an award-winning journalist, Sonia’s visit allowed time for her to spend several hours with journalism students, both in and out of classroom settings.
  • Our newly reformed student chapter of SPJ has been officially recognized by both the national organization and the university. SPJ members are working hard to recruit new folks and build the organization. For example, they are meeting next week to build sandwich boards to place on campus, one of the perks that come with being an official student organization.
  • We’re working to broaden the Journalism Studies program. We currently have six new course listings winding their way up the approval chain. They include five cross-listed courses (one of which is the blogging course I created with that purpose in mind) and a new course in political reporting. With two courses added to the books this year, we will have 16 journalism courses in the catalog next year, compared with eight a year ago.
  • I am working now with Charlie Madigan, a former journalist at the Chicago Tribune and now professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago to jointly teach a course in political reporting via videoconference, with half the students in the class from Roosevelt and half from A&M. It was the suggestion of Charles Middleton, president of Roosevelt, who I met when he was here as the keynote speaker for a conference on campus. We will launch the course in the 2012 election cycle, which should offer lots of great reporting opportunities for the students.
  • We are exploring with the university and Rick Dunham, the Washington Bureau chief for Hearst Newspapers, the possibility of placing a journalism student in Washington each semester as part of the Public Policy Internship Program. Working with Dunham, the students would report and write stories dealing with public policy issues for the Hearst wire.

Finally, on a personal note, I’m really excited to see interest growing in journalism on campus. I’m teaching a one-hour freshmen seminar on food writing, part of the university’s effort to provide a small-class setting for first-year students who are mostly in very large classes. On Wednesday, after class, two of the students stayed behind to discuss the program and said they were going to apply now. That’s what makes this job fulfilling: to see freshmen joining Journalism Studies because they’re interested in a career in the profession. In just a few years’ time, you are going to look at those students who came into the program early and made use of our expanded offerings to obtain a first-rate journalism education and you are going to be very proud of them. FJSA’s support of the program has been a critical factor in our rebuilding effort, and we can’t thank you enough for that.

Friday, October 29, 2010

FJSA Fall Reception - Saturday, 12:30. C'mon!

The time is set, the weather should be awesome and you should be there to meet with us Saturday at 12:30 p.m., 2 hours before kickoff, at the "POD" in Cain Hall (room B-111) to help us induct Frank Manitzas '52 to the FJSA Hall of Honor.

I would LOVE to meet you and we particularly want as many people as we can get to make Mr. Manitzas feel honored, so please swing by, hang out for a couple short speeches and meet Eagle editor Kelly Brown. You might see some of your old profs or former Battcavers. Shout at me at aggiejournalists@gmail.com if you need anything.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wright '92 part of this year's Aggie 100

Sherman Wright '92 came to campus last weekend to be honored as part of the Aggie 100 -- his agency, Commonground marketing of Chicago, was No. 12 on this year's list of the "100 fastest growing Aggie-owned or Aggie-led businesses in the world," as chosen by the Mays Business School's Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship.

Wright says he got to meet with College of Liberal Arts folks and with Dale Rice, head of the journalism program, and that he had a great time. Whoop!

The list is pretty impressive -- pop over there and check it out!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Why the time of FJSA Fall Reception is TK

1ST LEDE WRITETHRU: EDS NOTE TIME REFERENCES THROUGHOUT

OK, so as soon as I say this, they announce the Tech game won't be televised. Kickoff will be at 2:30 and I anticipate we'll try to schedule the reception for, say, 12:30.

--------------------------------------------------

Kickoff time for the Tech game will be determined by TV plans, and they apparently don't have to make that plan final until six days before the Oct. 30 game. Rest assured that we'll adjust -- the Fall Reception will happen at a suitable time for Aggie football-goers. Usually if it's a morning game, we'll have the reception shortly afterward; if it starts midday or later, we'll have it beforehand. Either way, our site, Room B-111 (the "POD") in Cain Hall, is very close to Kyle Field. Nice and handy!

(TK, for those who haven't been taught the antiquated jargon, stands for To Come. I dunno why the K. Maybe baseball fans made it up. At least I finally found out what CQ means...)

(And oh yes - Go Rangers!!!)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sign book for Hall of Honoree Frank Manitzas '52

If you can't be with us Oct. 30 to induct Mr. Manitzas -- and we really really want you to, because it's fun, it's convenient to the football game, and we want to meet you -- then definitely please drop a word to him here.

Leave a comment on this entry (no signup necessary) or e-mail me your words for Mr. Manitzas, and I will give him a nice printout!

Or you can do both -- leave a message here and then come hang out with us, anyway. Don't worry if you're in game-day attire -- half of us will be wearing our maroon T's and shorts with 12th-Man-towel accents, too.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lovett '79 plays to benefit A&M Association

More reasons to love Lyle Lovett, an A&M journalism grad who has generously helped FJSA in the past: He's bringing his Large Band to campus Nov. 11 to benefit the Association of Former Students. And the whole thing was his own suggestion. Aww!

Tickets go on sale Oct. 15; read more at www.aggienetwork.com/lylelovett. And watch for an upcoming interview with him by FJSA'er Matthew Watkins.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Join us at A&M on Oct. 30 to honor Manitzas '52

The date -- and the honoree -- have been set for the 2010 FJSA Fall Reception! Come hang out with us in Cain Hall on Oct. 30 (Tech gameday) and help us induct Frank Manitzas '52 to the FJSA Hall of Honor.

More details will come, including the reception's start time, but the location will be the same as last year: the "POD" in Cain Hall (room B-111).

FJSA President Doug Pils says:
A former Battalion sports editor and co-editor in 1952-53, Frank Manitzas '52 retired from a stellar career in TV journalism as Chief Latin America Correspondent of ABC News. Among the many noteworthy events Manitzas covered, he was present in Bolivia as an Associated Press correspondent when Che Guevara's body was brought in, and he was in Chile for Augusto Pinochet's coup that overthrew the government run by Salvador Allende.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Rojas '10 graduates, moves from WaPost to LA Times

It really seems not that long ago to me that I was putting up a post about Rick Rojas '10, then a sophomore journalism student at A&M, getting selected for a New York Times training program. Well, Rojas followed that up with an internship at the Washington Post; graduation in May; a second summer at the Post; and now he's moving west to enter the Los Angeles Times' editorial training program.

TAMU News recently profiled him, writing about his start in journalism, his work at the Post (and meeting Bob Woodward) and his coverage of the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting:
“The Metro editor at The Post, the boss of the department I interned for last summer, called me to see if I could get out there. I got to Fort Hood by Thursday night, and stayed for three days. I covered press conferences and prayer vigils and camped out at the hospital where the victims were taken, and basically did whatever the editors on the national desk told me to do,” he said.
Here are a few of Rojas' favorite stories from his time at the Washington Post:
He adds: "I recently had a chance to meet up with another former student; I was in New York last weekend, and I met with Kathleen McElroy, an Aggie and the deputy editor for continuous news at The Times, where she took the time to give me a tour of the newsroom."

Rick, congratulations from the bottom of my heart on everything you've achieved and everything you're about to embark on. Whooooop!!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Register by Sept. 12 to hear NASA's Byerly '99 in Bryan

The Voice of Mission Control, Josh Byerly '99, will speak Sept. 16 at the IABC Brazos Valley meeting, and if there's anybody who should know about business communication, it's him. I'd say communication's pretty critical when you're talking to folks flying a ship 300 miles above the earth going 17,500 mph.

Register here by Sept. 12 for the speech. You can get a glimpse of Byerly on the job here, and he also makes a quick cameo near the start of the latest "NASA: Behind the Scenes" video (on a somewhat yucky but highly necessary topic).

The KBTX alum will speak about his experience and his NASA role during the 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. meeting at Christopher's World Grille in Bryan (full details here).

"I'm excited about it because it's the first time I've returned to B/CS for about two years... we've been so busy with shuttle missions and I've been going to Russia and Kazakhstan a few times per year," he said.

"Russia and Kazakhstan?" I said.

"There are four Russian Soyuz launches and landings each year, and we send American and international partner crewmembers up on them," Byerly said. "My colleague and I rotate going over there throughout the year any time we have a crewmember on the flight. For launch, we are in Kazakhstan at the Baikonur Cosmodrome (same launch site that Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin launched from), and for landing we are a little more north in Kazakhstan.

"We climb aboard Russian military helicopters and fly out to the landing site, pick up the crew, head back to Moscow and then ultimately back to the U.S. It's always an interesting trip.

"Also, as you know, we have two shuttle missions left, one in November and one in February... The one in November will be space shuttle Discovery's final flight, and I'll be calling the launch and landing on TV from Mission Control. It's an honor for me to be able to do it, because Discovery is our oldest and most historic shuttle. "

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sell yourself in the elevator

Because this blog is also for mid-career Aggie journalists coping with the industry's current weirdness, I like to include items geared for those of us who graduated farther back in history. Like me. (These include the "What's Your OQ? Quiz" and a tutorial in building your own website fast and cheap, complete with vanity e-mail address, to display your resume and clips.)

So I'll add these "Questions to ask yourself" to the "Questions they might ask you" (a practice journalism job interview), the "Questions you might want to ask them" and the "Questions they can't ask you."

One piece of advice us mid-careeries get sometimes is to have our "elevator pitch" ready. This is a short sales pitch for your own self that will persuade someone to either hire you or keep you, in no more time than you might spend in an elevator together. You might think of it as, "What the hell would I ever say if the publisher came into the newsroom and stood at my desk," or how to sell yourself if you meet a prospective employer at a professional conference.

This can sound totally awkward, Business Insider observes, and they offer some practical thoughts on making yours better. Among them, it suggests asking yourself these questions (and answering literally out loud, perhaps phoning your own voicemail), then boiling down the answers.
  • Say, why do you like your work?
  • Why have you been doing this for 10, 15, 20 years?
  • What is it that you find interesting about it?
  • No, seriously, don’t talk to me like I’m your boss, what do you really find interesting about it?
  • Why do you want to stay in this field?
  • What do you like about this industry?
  • When you’re in the shower in the morning, what types of challenges at work make you excited to get the heck to the office as soon as possible?
  • When are you having the most fun?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Meet Maroon Weekly's editor, Chris Shepperd

Maroon Weekly is a tab-sized publication that comes out weekly, distributed free around the Texas A&M campus and in Bryan-College Station; it began in 2004 and focuses on entertainment, music and reviews. Several A&M students from Agricultural Communications and Journalism are among its writers, and AGCJ master's student Chris Shepperd recently took over as editor for the upcoming school year.

Shepperd has plans to strengthen the weekly's local coverage and its web site, www.maroonweekly.com, and Maroon Weekly offers students a chance to pick up some money and build up clips with feedback and coaching.

How many writers do you have, and how much will they be writing -- does everyone file a story for each issue, one per week, or is it more or less than that?

The current staff consists of three editors including myself (editor in chief, managing editor, sports) and 20 staff writers. Most of the writers will file one story per issue. Some are a little busier than others and only write once every few issues.

We are also working on creating a lot of web-exclusive content. We haven't really focused on that in the past. We normally simply put our stories online and leave it at that. But we want to drive traffic to the site. So we will have some blogs, stories, exclusives that will be only on the website.

Please tell me, because I'm out of town and don't see the Weekly itself much, what you normally cover. I'm told there's usually a good amount of content about music/entertainment around town? Also, what should students know if they'd like to work for you: What are you looking for in writers, and how much would they get paid?

Our main drive is definitely entertainment, music, and reviews. Books, CDs, bands, movies....etc. We also try to cover sports from more of a human interest standpoint.

This semester we are going to have some new columns I am excited about: "Cheap and Easy" will be a low-budget cooking column; "CheapSkate" will be a column about repurposing old stuff; "Sojourner" (perhaps my fave) will be a column on discovering B-CS. There are so many unique things in the valley that nobody knows about. Historical and otherwise.

As far as work is concerned ... I am always open to talking to people about writing for the paper. The pay is per word for printed stories. $.05 a word. And flat rate for online content. It is definitely geared towards those looking to build their resume and portfolio.

One thing I am actively looking for right now is one more sports writer. NOT someone that wants to write about football and basketball [exclusively -- that is, to cover games regularly]. But someone that wants to write feature stories on athletes. ... I need someone to write personality profiles and features on athletes from ALL the sports. Including football and basketball.

How long do you want stories to run -- what does that five cents per word usually work out to?
Basically the stories vary in length dependent on the topic. For the sports features it might run 800-1000 words ... maybe a little more. So we are talking $40-$50. For reviews we are looking more at the 400-500 word count. So $20-$25.

Do you work with people, edit them, help 'em learn a little?
Absolutely work with people. That is one of my favorite parts of the job. I want to teach journalism when I graduate.

The learning experience is the best part of working at MW. If someone wants to grow, then that is what I am here for. I was the editor in chief of my junior college paper, staff writer, sports editor, managing editor and now editor of MW. So I have seen lots of different sides. Have also been the editor for a magazine our department publishes. So it is always a bonus when someone is doing this to get better and wants to grow. I am not trying to say I am a know-it-all; I am NOT. But I love to help people discover.

Monday, August 9, 2010

How A&M can turn out Web-skilled journalists - NOW

I asked Chris Hokanson '08 -- Editor in Chief of the Battalion in summer 2007, who also served as news editor, multimedia editor and new media editor -- to write up his thoughts on what A&M could do to educate programmer-journalists. Hokanson, who is currently a Genius at the Houston Galleria's Apple Store, responded extremely graciously with this article.

Read on and you'll learn:
  • Some of the Batt's new media efforts in recent years
  • One way Batt staffers could learn web technologies for free
  • Who to watch: Leaders of the digital news revolution
Here's Hokanson:

Why College Publisher is good, and why A&M needs to make it unnecessary

When I transitioned the Batt's radio desk - a daily, 3-minute news clip that did double duty as our podcast and a segment on the local public radio station - to the Multimedia / New Media desk, I learned something.

I learned that if you want to shoot video, develop for the web, and produce podcasts and radio shows, a little background in those areas goes a long way. Unfortunately, I had none of those things. My experience with "new media" consisted of some old home videos and a LiveJournal account. My introduction to social media was at least encouraged by the fact that Texas A&M was one of the first schools to get access to Facebook (with all the farming that happens on Facebook these days, you would have guessed A&M started the site).

The tasks given me were daunting for someone with so little experience: produce a daily radio show, weekly podcasts, video stories (both independent and complementary to print stories), and maintain and improve The Batt's website. Pretty big task for a guy who had no idea what a <div> tag was.

But thankfully, College Publisher was there to help. If you're not familiar with CP, it's a web-based content management system that the Batt and 600 other college papers utilize. Think of it as Blogger for college papers - a fairly strict template focused on content over design. CP makes money by providing its service free of charge in exchange for a large portion of ad revenue on the paper's site. In return, guys like me could record a podcast and post it into CP's system without knowing anything about creating RSS feeds or XML documents.

Today's web design world requires an alphabet soup of languages and systems to be present on one's resume. PHP, CSS, xHTML, Java, Flash - Comp Sci majors have tough times meeting the requirements of some newspaper job postings I've seen recently. CP's system is a tremendous resources at schools that simply don't have the resources to teach their students more than simple HTML. With CP, advisors and professors can spend time teaching their students about writing and reporting - not wasting away teaching them to be code monkeys.

But A&M has the resources to do both. I'm amazed at the strides the Batt's new media desk has taken since I graduated. The production quality of the videos make mine look downright childish. But sticking a YouTube embed into CP's standard article template is no longer compelling. It's a bad experience for the user and it makes for a huge headache for archiving (I started out using BrightCove because of YouTube's resolution and length restrictions, but BrightCove's non-Enterprise divisions folded - and so did all my videos). The tools are out there to make online news presentation compelling and engaging, but CP's system severely limits that.

So what can Aggie students and the student media department do?

First, make some friends in the Computer Science department. Those kids need jobs, too. Hiring from a pool of students learning those web technologies not only brings help in the form of direct experience, but their knowledge spreads like wildfire. I didn't learn Photoshop in a class. I learned it watching Stacy Reeves and Spencer Selvidge work magic with the lasso tool.

Second, learn from those leading the digital news revolution. Don't be content to simply look at chron.com and say, "Hey, let's do that!" Call up folks outside traditional newspaperdom that do work for sites like Wired or Engadget, Talking Points Memo or Popular Science. Heck, chat with the designers at The Onion - they've got one of the most engaging experiences when it comes to multimedia news (even if it is all fake). Subscribe to Smashing Magazine - probably the best continual resource in web design today.

Third and most importantly, be entrepreneurial. Don't be afraid to try new technologies and push the limits of College Publisher's system. Most of my time leading those first few years of the New Media desk was spent trying, implementing, and many times failing with systems and technologies that have become digital dodo birds. But the knowledge I gained was valuable. Innovate for innovation's sake - that's what a college paper is for! When you start pushing against College Publisher's walls, discuss whether or not it's right to break free. Talk to the staff at - heaven forbid - the Daily Texan. They're on their own now. And while their site has seen an obvious decline in usability (even just readability), their students are gaining valuable insight and knowledge by building and maintaining their own web presence. Those are skills that will allow students to succeed in the 21st century journalism - whether that means a job at the Washington Post or a career as a freelancer.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tales from the Battcave '05-'06 and Battapus captured!

I think most of us who spent waaay too much time in the Battcave will find some memories that resonate with our own in these blog posts (scroll down to the "My Life as a Journalist" entries) by Rob Saucedo '07, a 2005-06 Batt staffer and section editor, who writes very descriptively of his time working at the Battalion, both good times with his coworkers and harder times as the choices of editors came into conflict.

Also, Saucedo has been kind enough to give me a photo of the "Battypus" (or "Battapus"), a creature that was featured on Battalion staff T-shirts of this era. Love it!


In his series of nine posts, Saucedo includes some reasons why he didn't get invited back to interview then-University President Robert Gates a second time, and how his fear of the gruff Battalion adviser Ron George grew into great respect and admiration.

He also gives his view of the blackface YouTube video scandal, which made national news, and the Battalion's handling of it. "From talking to the students in question, it became obvious that the purpose of their video was to lampoon the perceived second-class status of minorities at Texas A&M. This message, unfortunately, was not obvious in the video," he writes.

(In his discussion of the controversy and coverage, he gives an opinion or two that, were this more than a blog post, I might contact other parties for comment about. But he keeps it nice and it's so clearly his own opinion that I'm sure I'd do more harm than good by raking up old differences. Just so you know.)

Having been, during my own time at the Batt, privy to the truth inside another "racist" scandal that blew up into the national news, I can tell you for absolute certain that even though there likely are race problems at A&M as elsewhere, people can be WAY too quick to tag Aggies with the racist label. In my case I'm speaking of an editorial cartoon that was latched onto by a black lawmaker as racist. I am as confident as anyone can be that the person who drew that cartoon had NO intention of including race as a factor (in fact, I think I recall that the cartoonist did not actually know the race of the lawmaker).

One factor that's the same in both cases: young people not realizing how their actions will look to outside viewers. But I digress! Share your own stories of too much time spent in the newsroom, or other Battalion tales... the comments section is open, and you can e-mail me at aggiejournalists@gmail.com.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Batt keeps No. 5 spot in Top 10 College Newspapers

The Princeton Review has again placed the Battalion, Texas A&M's student newspaper, at No. 5 on its list of popular American college newspapers. Whoop!

The Batt was No. 8 in 2008, No. 5 in 2009, No. 5 this year, "and No. 1 in 2011," said the incoming fall 2010 editor, Matthew Woolbright '12, when I contacted him for reaction.
I've got a Q&A with Woolbright in the works, but for now here are his responses to this honor:
I was thrilled to see that we have maintained our spot in the top 5 college newspapers in the country. I think it says a great deal about the skill, passion and determination of everyone involved with The Battalion. The people I have met working on staff are some of the most incredible people I know, and I am extremely proud to be a part of this team. I will say that my charge all along has been to be the best college newspaper in the country. This is no secret to the staff, and they are ready to show the everyone what we can accomplish together. It truely is an honor to lead such an exceptional group of Aggies, and we are excited about going into the year as the top newspaper in the Big 12.

The Princeton Review ranks newspapers according to student responses to the question, "How popular is your campus newspaper?," so I asked why he thought so many Aggies gave the Batt a thumbs-up:
I believe the students gave such a strong response because we have strived to always be their voice, and center our focus on what matters to them. Our first duty is to our classmates, so I am very happy to see that they think we are doing a good job with our top priority. We want to keep getting better and are looking into ways to incorporate even more students' opinions in how we operate and what we cover. The students of Texas A&M are our top priority and always will be.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Roland's on a roll: CNN's Sanchez, 'Daily Show's Stewart

One of the most prominent Ags in the nation is CNN's Roland Martin '91, who wears his Aggie ring with pride and has donated generously to journalism at Texas A&M. So I want to round up some triumphant Roland moments from recent broadcasts.
When the Ags whomped on Florida International in the College World Series, Roland collected on his bet with Rick Sanchez:


I'm a little late on that one, but I'm using as an excuse to document something even better that I missed first time around: Roland's feud with the "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart over ascots! This was back in May... Jon mocked the ascot, and Roland struck back:



And Jon admitted ascot defeat:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jobs: Do the work of 7 sports slots at once!

My semi-regular perusal of journalismjobs.com yields some sports gigs, some photo editor gigs and one of those nifty "Let's edit copy from three states, all in one site!" gigs. [/sarcasm]

The Dallas Morning News is hiring an education writer ... KENS-TV CBS in San Antonio) needs a digital content producer ... AP seeks a photo editor in its Dallas office.

In Corpus Christi, Scripps wants a senior editor for its sports desk‚ a position on the new "Central Desk" that "as of fall 2010 will execute the copy editing and page design for seven papers -- Ventura County (Calif.) Star, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times, Abilene (Texas) Reporter-News, Wichita Falls Times News Record, San Angelo (Texas) Standard-Times, Redding (Calif.) Record-Searchlight and Kitsap (Wash.) Sun."

Just copying and pasting all that makes me sad. But they say the job should pay "$50,000+."

Amarillo Globe-News/Amarillo.com seeks an executive editor ... Beaumont Enterprise seeks a sports reporter ... Tyler Morning Telegraph is looking for a photojournalist ... Abilene Reporter-News seeks both a city hall reporter and a sports editor ... Victoria Advocate is looking for a "21st-century" photojournalist.

Killeen Daily Herald needs a managing editor ... Laredo Morning Times wants an "enthusiastic" business editor ($25,000 to $30,000)... Kerrville Daily Times needs a news page designer ($25,000 to $30,000) ... New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung needs a family and culture reporter ... The Mexia News needs a managing editor.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Job help for Aggie J-grads; peek into USA Today hiring

Help for Aggies on the hunt for journalism jobs
Part of the reason there have been few posts here recently is because a chunk of my time has been spent helping new Aggie grads in their job hunts. Looks like a few of these searches are about to pay off, and it warms my heart-cockles no end to see how generously Aggie journalists give their time and help to the students and new grads.

Typically, somebody will write me with specific questions, and I'll say, "Let's ask ..." a particular person with experience in that field, and an e-mail full of detail and wisdom will come right back at us. So thank you, all of you.

Find salaries and Aggie contacts at newspapers
Another cool thing coming out of the search is my discovery yesterday of a new use for my old posts on Texas newspaper jobs. Now, job listings themselves disappear as soon as they're filled, but since I usually typed in the salary range if that info was available, this blog's archives now have a data set of salaries for some jobs, mostly at small Texas dailies.

So give it a try: Type in a town name into the "search this blog" window up there on the left, and you'll get all posts mentioning the town... this gives you posts naming the salaries, if I recorded them, and also the names of any Aggies associated with those papers who have been in the blog.

What Web skills does a great news designer need?
And since job listings do disappear, I've decided to record here what exactly USA Today is looking for in a "Senior Web Designer/ User Experience Architect." The job's open right now, but even after it closes, this is interesting for reference.
Job Snapshot
Location: TYSONS, VA 22108
Employee Type: Full-Time
Industry: Internet - ECommerce
Manages Others: Not Specified
Job Type: Media - Journalism - Newspaper
Education: 4 Year Degree
Experience: 3 to 5 years
Division: Editorial
Post Date: 6/14/2010
Contact: USA TODAY Human Resources
Ref ID: 2659
Description: USA TODAY is looking for an ambitious digital designer with the ability to rapidly prototype and execute outstanding user experiences that lead to growth in the business. This position requires the ability to communicate design principles verbally and through wire frames, comps and HTML. We’re looking for a team player able to easily move across disciplines in working with journalists, developers and business professionals. USA TODAY’s history for excellence in design demands you be among the best and brightest. You will be part of the Innovation team that is building some of the most high profile and cutting edge products in the company. Must be at home in code as well as more traditional digital design tools. Looking for fluency in (x)HTML, CSS and JavaScript (particularly jQuery).RESPONSIBILITIES:* Responsible for design and implementation of various aspects of USATODAY.com, especially the Health/Lifestyle and Travel content verticals. This includes web user interface design, news design, multimedia reporting and special events. * Demonstrates technical knowledge and skills, such as interaction design, user experience, tableless HTML and CSS, and cross-browser compatibility, and applies them to USA TODAY’s editorial and business objectives. * Helps foster an open and productive atmosphere within the Design Team. * Delivers hand-coded XHTML and CSS files to Engineering team for development. * Developing design prototypes and comprehensives for any given stage of design process. Required Skills/Experience:* Four-year degree in design or relevant experience * 3-5 years of hands-on experience in visual and interactive design * Skills in major graphic software programs: Photoshop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver * Detailed understanding of color, space, and typography * Keen eye for detail and a proven track record producing consistent clean icons, graphics, and layouts * Strong HTML/CSS skills: The ability turn your creative vision into code is a must * Able to successfully manage all aspects of a project from start to finish * Must be self-motivated, a good communicator, comfortable following direction, and able to balance great design with meeting short deadlines * Able to produce results independently as well as collaboratively in a teamRecommended:* Well-developed portfolio of proven, client-facing work.* Understanding of SEO best practices and semantic markup.* Familiarity with next generation HTML 5 and CSS 3 technologies.* Ability to write standards-based code that validates (XHTML/CSS/508).* Excellent understanding of User Experience Design and the ability to move users through a series of tasks to achieve a particular outcome.We recognize and appreciate the benefits of diversity in the workplace. EOE.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A little flag-waving for our own Dr. Starr

The flags are up for Memorial Day, but I've got a different kind of celebration in mind! Since I missed the real retirement party for Texas A&M's Dr. Douglas Starr on May 21, I'm throwing a little party right here on the blog for him.

He's taught journalism at A&M since 1986, first in the Department of Journalism and then in the Department of Ag Leadership, Education and Communications. That makes 4.8 bajillion of us he's instructed. Feel free to jump in the comments and post a note or story about Dr. Starr!

He was one of the very first contributors to this blog, writing a little bit about himself and a little more about AGCJ.

KBTX recently interviewed him for its Voices of Veterans series, so you can watch the man himself talk about his experience joining the Navy at 17, in 1943. He had to wait until his 18th birthday to be sent into combat, and then "a month later, we were in the Marshalls shooting up the place." Watch Parts One and Two at KBTX.com.

He also vividly described life on an antisubmarine warship for USSNicholas.org:
Even in a calm sea, destroyer sailors eat with one hand while balancing their trays with the other, and walking is always a test of balance. Destroyer sailors develop sea legs quickly—a special roll that, ashore, singles out the destroyer sailor from among other ship crews.
In a rough sea, life takes on a new meaning as the ship rolls and pitches and leaps and falls and slings itself about like a thing alive and berserk.
Normal ship’s work is suspended because it cannot be performed. Ship’s cooks cannot prepare proper meals, producing only beans and coffee as long as the rolling and pitching continue.
Never one to shy away from expressing opinion, he was recently interviewed in a series on the "Future of Journalism," and the true Dr. Starr touch is apparent:

What do you think of the idea being bandied about that governments as a last resort should bail out failing newspapers?
DPS: It's a terrible idea, and it is against the Constitution. The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights states: "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press."

...

You have 45 years of experience in journalism and teaching it. From your experience and vantage point, is there anything newspapers can do that they're not doing to improve their chances of surviving? (Editor's note: Prof. Starr crossed out the "45" in his reply and typed in "57 years, 1952-2009.")
DPS: Attract young readers of news by focusing on their age group. Ask young people what kind of news they want and add that to the mix.
Return to the time-honored requirements of reporting. Use the inverted pyramid approach to writing news, giving readers the whole story in the first one or two sentences, because most readers do not read through any news story. Use simple English and simple sentences and proper punctuation and grammar.
Reduce the length of international and national stories by cutting unnecessary detail that people don't read.
Ensure that reporters report accurately and objectively, without opinion and conjecture, except in analyses and columns.
Ensure that analyses and columns draw conclusions based upon stated fact.
Publish more local news, news of what's going on in the newspaper's geographic jurisdiction.

You have said that every time a paper fails, all of us lose a little bit of freedom and people don't realize that. With the prospect now that many newspapers across America are on the brink of bankruptcy, what do you think the effect will be on our society if they don't make it?
DPS: The United States as we know it will disappear; it will no longer be a nation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. One by one, all of our freedoms will disappear; the Bill of Rights, of freedoms, will be meaningless because there will be no freedom of speech or of the press. Without a free press, there will be no one to keep an eye on the government and to tell the people what the government is doing and is planning to do.

"Every time a paper fails, all of us lose a little bit of freedom," eh? I might just have to make a shirt out of that.

In any case, here is a big hearty WHOOP for Dr. Douglas Perret Starr, and for all our veterans. Former students of Dr. Starr, you can still connect with him on Facebook! And if you get a chance to catch up with him in person, a little birdie told me he likes sugar cookies.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Help us build a list for FJSA's Hall of Honor

FJSA President Doug Pils sends the following:

The Texas A&M Former Journalism Students Association is looking for nominations for our 2010 Hall of Honor nominee. If you know an A&M journalism or ag journalism grad who has had or is still having an outstanding career in our field, please send along his or her name, year of graduation and some details about why this person should be considered. We'd like to build a good list of people this year, so we have a strong group to consider in the coming years.

Doug says you can send nominations to him at dougpils (at) aol.com.

This is one of the most important things FJSA does each year -- it brings us together at the Fall Reception, it helps record our history and gives some inspiration to our students. Plus FJSA and Aggie journalism get a lot of much-needed publicity. So please do take time to ponder and help us out! Here are the past honorees, to get your thoughts flowing.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Whoop! Kelly Brown '89 named Eagle editor

Thank you to Scot Walker '90 and Bob Wegener for alerting me. So happy for Kelly! Most of y'all know her, probably because she helped you/taught you/hired you. She is amazing, a really good person, a consummate journalist and a bottomless font of energy and good cheer. She actually is one of my (few) heroes -- she will swat me on the head for saying that, but it's true. HURRAH for Kelly!

Begin forwarded message:
From: "Scot Walker"
Subject: Kelly Brown named Eagle editor

Eagle Staff Report
Longtime Eagle staffer Kelly Brown has been named editor of the newspaper.
She will replace Donnis Baggett, who will become publisher of the Waco Tribune-Herald at the beginning of June.
Publisher Jim Wilson made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.
"I am very excited to have her join our senior management team and look forward to the energy and ideas she brings to the table," he said.
Brown, 43, has served as the managing editor of The Eagle since 2001 and is the first woman to be the paper's editor.
"The Eagle is consistently recognized throughout Texas and across the country as one of the finest newspapers of its size," Brown said. "I'm excited about continuing that tradition, while increasing The Eagle's multimedia offerings."
That Brown already knows her staff and community should make the transition smooth, she said.
"Working with journalists who are passionate about their jobs makes it very easy to go to the newsroom each day," Brown said. "Too, I've been a part of this community for the better part of more than 20 years."
The 1989 Texas A&M graduate has covered courts, police and politics locally, as well as education, business, higher education and communities in north Dallas earlier in her career. She's also been a city editor and for two years was a private investigator.
She has served on a Journalism Studies Advisory Board at Texas A&M, where she was appointed to teach as a journalist-in-residence five years ago.
Brown has won more than 15 journalism awards, including four from the prestigious Headliners Press Club in Austin. She has led The Eaglenewsroom to more than 30 awards in the past five years.
She is the outgoing president of the Texas AP Managing Editors and has been active in other press organizations, including as president of the Brazos Valley Society of Professional Journalists.
Brown is on the advisory board of the Sexual Assault Resource Center after rotating off the board of directors following 11 years of service. She's also been on the board of directors for the Junior Achievement and was a HOST volunteer in the Bryan schools.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Aggie NFL writer, prizewinners among Batt speakers

A&M grads including the president of the Pro Football Writers of America and the creator of "Tubularman" came back to speak with Batt staffers this year, and other speakers brought experience from the Dallas Morning News to tales of a Pulitzer with the Kansas City Star. Among recent grads, Jordan Meserole of KBTX taught about creating a story visually, and Brent Shirley, now at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, talked about his McClatchy President’s Award for sports writing in a community paper.

Thanks to Cheri Shipman for this summary of the journalists who came to speak with the Batt staff this year:

In addition to internal training of legal issues, daily activities and editing, the staff was fortunate to be exposed to some of the top journalists in the industry. If you'd like to do a workshop for The Battalion team, please let Cheri know. Speakers who gave tremendous feedback for Spring 2009 - Spring 2010:


Charean Williams shared what the industry was like for her as she began to cover more than jus the NFL. She spoke in March with the staff. She has covered the NFL for 15 seasons, the past nine for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Her peers recently voted Charean the first female president of the Pro Football Writers of America. For the next two years, she will serve as the organization’s liaison between the NFL and the journalists who cover the sport. Three years ago, Charean became the first female selector for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. She remains one of only 44 voters for the Hall. Charean appears weekly on ESPN2’s First Take morning show as an NFL expert and, last year, she served as an analyst for ESPN”s second-day NFL Draft coverage. Charean’s second sport at the Star-Telegram is the Olympics, and she traveled to Beijing last summer. That was the fourth Olympic Games she has covered for the paper. Charean is a 1986 graduate of Texas A&M University, where she worked in the sports department at the school’s newspaper, The Battalion, for two years. She began her full-time career on a three-person sports staff in Orange, Texas, at the Orange Leader. After eight months covering high schools and Lamar University as well as working the desk, Charean returned to Bryan-College Station, where she spent six years covering Texas A&M and the Southwest Conference for The Eagle newspaper. Charean was hired by the Orlando Sentinel in 1992 to cover NASCAR. She soon was promoted to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the NFL. She left the Orlando Sentinel in 1999 to return home to Texas.

Artist and former cartoonist for The Battalion Boomer Cardinale, Class of 1994, discussed graphics and illustration efforts with the graphics team. He showed them his portfolio and talked about creative ideas to incorporate into The Battalion.

Brad Loper shared video and photo storytelling opportunities with the staff. Brad, 39, joined the staff of The Dallas Morning News in July 2001 as a Staff Photographer following a five-year stint as a Staff Photographer/Special Projects Page Designer at the Arlington Morning News. Born and raised in Amarillo, Texas, Loper moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth area in 1990 to attend The University of Texas at Arlington where he received a BA in Communication with a minor in Criminal Justice in1993. Following graduation, Loper interned at the Topeka Capital-Journal (Kansas) and the Palm Beach Post (Florida) before moving back to the DFW area. During his career as a photographer, Loper covered notable events including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy in 2003, the Dallas Mavericks through 70 plus playoff games from 2002 through 2006 including the NBA Finals in 2006. In 2006, Loper was one of eight photographers from the DMN awarded The Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for their coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Later that same year he moved into his current role as a Photo Editor. During the last three years, Loper has served primarily as the Photo Editor in charge of daily and Sunday 1A and Metro news coverage. In both 2008 and 2009, Loper was awarded Newspaper Picture Editor of the Year in the National Press Photographers Association’s Best of Photojournalism competition. In addition, two projects for which Loper was the lead editor were finalists for The Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography (The Bottom Line by Mona Reeder – 2008 and At the Edge of Life by Sonya N. Hebert - 2009). Loper and his wife, Adrienne, have four children: Nathaniel, 12; Ian, 9; Gabriel 6 and Jacqueline Mei, 5; who was adopted from China in 2009.

Mike McKenzie returned to Aggieland from Washington and discussed the art of storytelling to student journalists in the newsroom. He was the special assistant to Texas A&M Athletic Director Bill Byrne. McKenzie worked with external operations (focusing on marketing and media strategies) for Aggie Athletics from May 2003 to November 2007. But his roots extend past Aggie sports and into the world of journalism. A 1982 Pulitzer Prize winner, McKenzie was a member of the Kansas City Star reporting team that covered the deadly Hyatt Regency Hotel skywalk collapse. He would go on to spend decades working for various publications including six daily newspapers and Sports Illustrated.

Jordan Meserole, videographer, showed samples of shot set-up (or "scene composition" if you will), then talked about building a story with the camera. He showed some RAW footage of a story he shot for KBTX followed up by playing the final product to give students some ideas for video projects. Jordan came for two sessions, one on video camera work and the other on editing. He enjoyed working with the staff. The first session in the fall he stayed all day and shot video on construction, then edited the footage with the staff.

Wayne Nelson, executive producer of Dan Rather Reports on HDNet, shared information on documentary storytelling and internship opportunities in the newsroom. Dan Rather Reports is a weekly investigative hour featuring correspondent Dan Rather. Two student journalists — Nicole Alvarado and Daniel Crump — from the spring 2009 semester editing team spent the summer in New York interning for Wayne Nelson after his last visit to Aggieland! Prior to HDNet, Nelson was employed for CBS News for more than 20 years where he was a producer at 60 Minutes, the Senior Broadcast Producer for The CBS Evening News in New York and Washington as well as bureau chief for CBS in Dallas and Atlanta. He was also assigned to London where he reported on the fall of eastern Europe and from Baghdad, the Gulf War. He recently returned from Afghanistan where he completed a documentary on the role of United States and NATO troops in the ongoing war against the Taliban. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has awarded him with four Emmys. Nelson was a member of the "Fightin Texas Aggie Band" and was graduated from Texas A&M University in 1978 with a degree in Journalism. His son Ben was in the Class of 2006. He lives in New York City.

Brent Shirley, Class of 2008 and former editor in chief, returned to the newsroom in the fall to discuss what it was like getting his first job. He talked about what was expected of him at a mid-sized newspaper. He recently joined the sports team at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Brent Shirley won the McClatchy President’s Award for sports writing in a community paper (a $1,000 prize and a crystal trophy). Here are the comments: First Place: Weatherford Telegram. Brent Shirley shows that you don’t have to work at a big newspaper to have big ideas. He gets it – alternative presentation, a different way of presenting traditional news. Shirley submitted a collection of otherwise routine story assignments and turned them into something special through his creative storytelling and presentation. The matching series of thumbnails and small chunks of copy worked on “Kangaroo countdown.” Some of the details were fantastic: “The blaster” helping with a fumble issue, using “upside-down tubs” as opponents, and winning players running a victory lap. Once you read one nugget, you had to read them all, and you were glad you did. “How Brock won state” is another strong example of doing something different. Good journalism starts with strong reporting and great detail, and Shirley came through again.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A&M students fan out for summer internships

The Houston Chronicle, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and ABC-13 in Houston will all get Aggie interns this summer! Others will head to Dallas, Georgia, Arizona and, in one case, to Japan, writing for an NPR affiliate.

Thanks to Cheri Shipman for the following:

Julie Rambin, slot editor and junior English and history major, was selected to participate in the Campus Coverage Project. Competition for the available slots was tight and we would like to congratulate her on this accomplishment! Participation in the program includes attending a workshop from Jan. 7-10 in Phoenix, Ariz. Travel and lodging were covered by the program. She will also take part in online programming throughout 2010. Additionally, she will be asked to use the skills she learned through the workshop and follow-up training, to produce news stories at Texas A&M. Those stories will be shared with program organizers and in many cases will be highlighted, exposing her work to a larger audience. She will be leading the team as managing editor of students who produce "Truth" the literary magazine for the philosophy department in fall 2010.

Laura Sanchez, city desk assistant and communication major, was selected as a summer intern for ABC 13 in Houston.

Amanda Casanova, Fall 2009-Spring 2010 Editor in Chief, spoke in spring 2010 at the Associated Press Managing Editor’s conference in College Station. She walked away with several job opportunities after she shared her experiences in her internship at the Abilene Reporter News. She accepted a summer 2010 internship with the Houston Chronicle.

Meagan O’Toole-Pitts, 2009 city editor and 2010 reporter/copy editor, received a summer 2010 internship at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Matt Woolbright, assistant managing editor and fall 2010 editor in chief, received a summer 2010 internship at the Houston Chronicle.

Beau Holder, sports reporter, received a summer 2010 internship with The Tribune, Camden County, Ga.

Angela Wascheck, lifestyles desk assistant, will be interning in summer 2010 with Neighbors Go, the Dallas County community newspapers.

Katy Ralston, city reporter, received the Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting Award and will take a 10-day journalism study trip to Japan. She also writes for The Invisible Jungle, a student-operated affiliate of National Public Radio. The expenses-paid trip will be led by Bradley J. Hamm, dean of the journalism school at Indiana University and a Roy W. Howard scholar, who has extensive travel experience throughout Asia. Travel begins June 11 and includes excursions in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima, site of the first atomic bomb dropped on any city, where events to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II are planned for the students.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A look back, part 2: Batt/Aggieland staffers' awards

Thanks to advisor Cheri Shipman, here's a review of awards won by Batt and Aggieland staffers in the past year:

Kevin Alexander, now the sports design editor at The Victoria Advocate, was a finalist for the Society of Professional Journalist's Mark of Excellence Award for his coverage of Weathering the Storm, Hurricane Ike.

Stephen Fogg and Chris Griffin received Associated Collegiate Press 2009 individual awards in October at the National Convention in Austin. The awards are considered the highest national honors for student journalists. Fogg, a senior marketing major from The Woodlands, won honorable mention in the picture story category; Fogg followed a 2009 student body presidential candidate during campaigning in the spring. Griffin, a graduate student in visualization science from New Braunfels, received $100 in third place in the cartooning awards.

Several staff members from the fall 2008 - spring 2009 enterprise team won second place for the coverage of Texas A&M-Galveston and Hurricane Ike in the Best of Collegiate Design Awards given by College Media Advisers. Doug Klembara, Aggieland photo chief, won third place for his unique cover on the Qatar campus issue.

Ten staff members attended the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention in Kerrville. They were among 476 student journalists from across the state and among 47 schools. Samantha Johnson, city reporter, competed in the on-site news writing competition and received third place for her story. The staff members attended sessions and they’ve shared tips and suggestions with other staff members. The staff took home multiple awards in in-depth reporting, design, illustration, and special packaging.

List of winners:
Kevin Alexander 1st place in In-depth reporting, Shattered life April 28-29
Kyle Cunningham 1st place in sports news story, Renewing a Thanksgiving tradition Nov. 25
Kyle Cunningham Honorable mention in sports feature Taking the reins Nov. 6
Nicholas Badger Honorable mention for news photo Service Minded Oct. 19
Patrick Clayton Honorable mention Feature photo Fanfare for the Fourth July 6
Jeremy Northum Honorable mention Sports feature photo Undefeated Sept. 28
Jon Eilts Honorable mention Sports action photo Suiting up March 26
Stephen Fogg & Doug Klembara 2nd place Picture story Songfest Dec. 8
Staff Honorable mention Editorial Protestors pass presidential test Oct. 19
Kat Drinkwater Honorable mention General column Holding back the hate Oct. 27
David Harris Honorable mention Sports column What’s wrong with the Big 12 Nov. 3
Clay Harley Honorable mention Critical review Blast from the past Dec. 3
Osazuwa Okundaye Honorable mention Editorial cartoon Meal plan Aug. 4
Micah Stephens Honorable mention Page One design Obama on the way Sept. 16
Karen Cruickshanks & Chris Griffin 1st place Single Subject design Finding Aggieland June 10
Nicholas Badger 3rd place Single Subject design The past four years May 11
Jason Staggs 1st place Opinion/Editorial page Of dining and dollars Aug 4
Osazuwa Okundaye Honorable mention Illustration Myths and legends Aug. 26
Ramya Prakash 3rd place Information graphic Bonfire Memorial Nov. 17
2nd place Special section Staff Bonfire: Remembering the Stack Nov. 17
3rd place Overall excellence Staff Oct. 13-15, 2009
1st place online multimedia package Bonfire
2nd place online interactivity Obama coverage, overall
1st place best online video Christian Hughes Rudder’s Rangers
1st place best slide show Stephen Fogg Belief in Ben
2nd place general web site excellence

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A look back: Saluting the Batt 2009-2010 staffers

It's Reading Day at A&M, soon to be followed by final exams and commencement. We wish all our student the best of luck! And thanks to info provided by advisor Cheri Shipman, we will spend the next few days honoring the Batt and Aggieland staffers of the past year. Great work, guys.

Coming up soon are details on students' summer internships and their recent awards. Today, we'll start with a general salute to the past year's Batt staffers. (Matt Woolbright '12, a sophomore sociology major whom we've written about before, will be leading the Fall 2010- Spring 2011 teams, and those leaders will be announced in June.)

Leadership team
Fall 2009-Spring 2010 Editor in Chief Amanda Casanova
Fall 2009 Managing Editor Mattie Williamson
Spring 2010 Managing Editor Jill Beathard
Fall 2009-Spring 2010 Assistant Managing Editor Matt Woolbright
Fall 2009-Spring 2010 Opinion Editor Ian McPhail
Fall 2009 City Editor Meagan O’Toole-Pitts
Spring 2010 City Editor Vicky Flores
Fall 2009 Sports Editor TD Durham
Spring 2010 Sports Editor David Harris
Fall 2009 Lifestyles Editor Jill Beathard
Spring 2010 Lifestyles Editor Megan Keyho
Fall 2009-Spring 2010 Graphics Chief Evan Andrews
Fall 2009 Photo Chief Nicholas Badger
Fall 2009 New Media Chief Calli Turner
Spring 2010 Video/Photo Chief Megan Ryan
Desk assistants
Kyle Cunningham, Jeramie Heflin, Laura Sanchez, Sam Smith, Angela Washeck
Copy editors
Brandon Earman, Rachel Latham, Meagan O’Toole-Pitts, Julie Rambin, Jason Staggs, Micah Stephens, JD Swiger, Tracey Wallace

Summer team
Editor in Chief Vicky Flores, junior management information system major
Graphics chief Evan Andrews, junior visual studies major
Page one/copy editor Rebecca Bennett, senior English and communication major
Sports/Lifestyles editor David Harris, junior economics major
Opinion editor Ian McPhail, senior history major
Managing editor Megan Ryan, junior English major

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mattox '03 blogs in her flooded hometown, Nashville

In photos and words, Denise Mattox '03 blogs today on the Nashville flood. Here's a photo; following are excerpts from her blog and more, including where to send donations.

A Joe's Crab Shack restaurant is underwater on Second Street in downtown
Nashville, two blocks up from the Cumberland River, which crested at 51.8
feet in that area, where 'flood level' is 40 feet. DENISE MATTOX photo


In case you haven’t heard, which is very possible given the lack of national news coverage, Middle Tennessee was hit hard by storms this weekend and much of the Nashville area is severely flooded.
I’ll start my account with an email I sent out to family late last night/early this morning:
...

I thought I’d take a moment to let everyone know that Craig and I are okay up here in Nashville! This has been one of the craziest weekends and experiences. Never in my life did I think I’d live through something like this flooding.

There has been storm predictions leading up to Saturday, but our biggest concern was the chance of tornadoes. In fact, Saturday, Craig and I were under a warning several times. At one point, they listed off streets in which rotation was being seen by Doppler radar… and all those streets were just blocks away. We had pillows and blankets in our guest bathroom tub, ready to take cover any second. To say I was beside myself scared would be an understatement.

As we watched on TV, the interstate that we take into town every day turned into a lake. A portable classroom literally floated down the interstate, and LaVergne (where we live) was declared a disaster area. We couldn’t have gotten out if we had to… all exits out of town were flooded. Luckily, we had food, electricity, and a sense of humor. Our foundation did get over saturated/flooded and our garage had about a quarter inch of water in it… but opening the garage door released that and we were fine.

The storms subsided, but we had more coming our way Sunday morning.


She goes on to describe the vigil that Sunday became for her and Craig, and to describe the damage and loss of lives in Nashville -- I strongly recommend going to her blog, Musician's Widow, and continuing to read.

Also, while she acknowledges that there are other important stories on the national agenda right now, she calls out the media for their lack of coverage on Nashville's crisis. A particularly painful example she cites: One newscast gave the floods the same amount of time as a lost cow in Indiana.

But there are bright points, too: Mattox told me via Twitter: "A call out to know if any Mid-TN Aggies needed help was replied with only more offers by Aggies to help other Aggies. Did my heart proud," she said.

"People can donate online by visiting www.nashvilleredcross.org or by sending a text message to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross relief for Nashville," Mattox says, and she gave me this link for people who want to help (most on this list are for locals, but a few addresses to donate are included).

Friday, April 23, 2010

Share stories, items about Dr. Starr for his retirement

Since 1986, Aggies have been learning the principles of journalism from Dr. Douglas Starr, a wonderful man who always has time for his students and former students -- and who was my first friend on Facebook and the first member of our Aggie Journalists Facebook group. So this is a sad announcement for journalism students and grads of A&M. But it's a retirement well deserved, and I hope he'll be relaxed and happy in no time! Here's the official word from Dr. Dunsford:


Doug Starr is retiring at the end of August.

We are collecting letters or other items from former students and former colleagues. If they would send their items to me at the address below, that would be great. We’re also collecting for a retirement gift. Any contributions can come to me as well, or to Debbie King, 107 Scoates Hall, MS 2116, TAMU, College Station, 77843-2116.

His official retirement party will be Friday, May 21, at the REC Center on Campus. Details will be along soon.

Thank you!

Deb Dunsford


Deborah W. Dunsford, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer and Program Coordinator
Agricultural Communications and Journalism
Texas A&M University7
127 Scoates Hall, MS 2116
College Station, Texas 77843-2116
979-458-3389; fax 979-845-6296
dunsford (at) tamu.edu