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.