Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Little '07: Whitney in the City (New York, that is)

Jossip posts an interview with Whitney Little: "The former Jossip intern is now a full-time at (sister site) Mollygood and an office favorite," they say. Whitney talks about moving to New York, loving the city and Times Square, writing celebrity gossip and celebrating her cat's birthday (aww).

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hiring/J-degree: Killeen Daily Herald

Part of a series in which professionals answer the question that students often ask me: Do you need a journalism degree to get hired in the field?

Many thanks to
Marc Gilbert, Managing Editor of the Killeen Daily Herald, for his answers.

When you hire a reporter or a copy editor, how important is it for an applicant to have a journalism degree?

I find myself going back and forth on this. I find it's most useful to consider journalism degrees as a qualifier. If a candidate has one, I know that they at least have the basic understandings of what I'm going to ask them to do or what the skills and routines associated with working in media. It is by no means a magic bullet that students with journalism degrees are sure-fire successes. Also you can somewhat gauge a person's level and areas of interest are going to be based on where their J-degree is from.

Why do you look for a journalism degree, or what do you look for instead of that?

A truer determinant of how someone is going to do, I think, is based on their clips and any practical experience they have. For example, I would be much more interested in someone who had a book of clips from their student newspaper and perhaps had a language degree than say someone who had a j-degree but had nothing to show for ever having put that skill to use. I counsel job seekers all the time about the importance of getting practical experience to show prospective employers.

Is the picture different for entry-level applicants vs. experienced applicants?

Again, experienced applicants had better have a track record of good clips to get a job. Naturally, if you have someone who's experienced (10 years) and has a j-degree, versus someone with just clips from 10 years of experience -- my estimation is that you're probably going to find a deeper level of reporting from the person with the j-degree.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bragg '80: What's killing newspapers? Newspapers

Roy Bragg '80 wrote this week about the future and the recent past of newspapers on his MySA blog. Under fire: Lazy, self-indulgent journalism and pointless "repackaging," when we should have long since been expending our energy using the Web to break news. Sing it!

More ways to check in and speak up

Many thanks to everyone who's written in to say what they're up to these days! It is just as great to get a short note as is it to get the longer write-ups, such as those that Rob Scichili '90, the Rev. Bev Hamilton '84, Mariano Castillo '02, Julie Myers '91, Dave Thomas '93, Doug Pils '92, Rich Tijerina '91 and Paul McGrath '78 have been kind enough to send. The extra benefit of the long form is that students tell me they like to read these tales and find them inspirational. I am grateful to all of you who've written!

And if you just want to say howdy in an even shorter format, I started a thread over there in the Aggie Journalists forum titled "Roll call." Stand up and saaa-lute! (Yes, I just committed a "Hee Haw" reference.) There's also a roll call on our Facebook group.

I also started a couple other topics I'm interested to see if people have any thoughts on: Swanky side of Bryan-College Station and Anti-Aggie bias at work?

As the second topic might indicate, you can post anonymously -- the forum doesn't require registration, so you can pretty much just click and start writing. Or you can register and pick a username, too, if you wish.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Journalism enrollment up again in Spring '08

More great news! The number of JOUR minors this semester is up to 67, and the number of students enrolled in JOUR classes (includes possible overlap) is 161. The JOUR classes are 102, 200, 203, 304 and 490.

Also notable: The capstone course, JOUR 490, is bursting at the seams with 24 students. Those are the ones who'll be working on projects with the Journalists-in-Residence. "People want the journalism training," says program head Randy Sumpter, noting that many students are majoring in communication and minoring in journalism.

Thanks to Natalie Holladay for these numbers!

Alphabet soup: professional journalism groups

Here are some of the better-known professional associations for journalists and journalism educators. Their Web sites can give students a look at some of the different types of jobs available -- find one that interests you, browse around and learn about the current issues in that field.

Many have resources online, whether it's job banks or help in covering a beat. And some offer scholarships and internships.

Send me more if you know of organizations that should be included.
Also see Poynter's list of links.

AAJA Asian American Journalists Association $55/$20 student Scholarships and

AASFE American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors $75-$150 based on circulation
ACES American Copy Editors Society $55/$35 student Scholarships
ACRE Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors (state capitols) $50/$25
AEJMC Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
$105/$45 grad student
AFJ Association of Food Journalists $75
AHCJ Association of Health Care Journalists $60/$30 student
APME Associated Press Managing Editors $150
APPM Associated Press Photo Managers $30-$90 based on circulation
ASBPE American Society of Business Publication Editors $75/$40 student
ASJA American Society of Journalists and Authors $195 annual + $125 in one-time fees
ASJMC Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication $50
ASME American Society of Magazine Editors $395 Internship
ASNE American Society of Newspaper Editors $195-$675 based on circulation
AWJ Association for Women Journalists (DFW chapter) $30
AWSM Association for Women in Sports Media $50/$25 student Internship/

BEA Broadcast Education Association $55/$50 student
CJJ Criminal Justice Journalists $40/$20 student
CMA College Media Advisors $80
EWA National Education Writers Association $65/$30 student
IAO International Association of Obituarists
IAPA Inter American Press Association $145-$1,435 based on circulation
ICA International Communication Association $130/$60 student
IRE Investigative Reporters and Editors $60/$25 student
IWMF International Women's Media Foundation $50
JAWS Journalism & Women Symposium $50
JEA Journalism Education Association $50/$30 student
MRE Military Reporters and Editors $50/$25 student
NAAJ North American Agricultural Journalists $60/$15 student
NABJ National Association of Black Journalists $100/$40 student Internships Scholarships
NAHJ National Association of Hispanic Journalists $55/$25 student Scholarships
NAJA Native American Journalists Association $55/$20 student Scholarships
NAMME National Association of Minority Media Executives $275
NASW National Association of Science Writers $75/$35 student
NCEW National Conference of Editorial Writers $90-$200/$25 student
NFPW National Federation of Press Women $53/$10 student
NLGJA National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association $75/$25 student Scholarship
NPF National Press Foundation
NPPA National Press Photographers Association $110/$65 student Scholarships
NSNC National Society of Newspaper Columnists $50/$35 student Scholarship
ONA Online News Association $50/$25 student
ONO Organization of News Ombudsmen $150
PRNDI Public Radio News Directors Incorporated $90-$200
RNA Religion Newswriters Association $25-$50 Scholarships
RTNDA Radio-Television News Directors Association $85-$190/$65 student Scholarships
RTNDF Radio Television News Directors Association and Foundation
SABEW Society of American Business Editors and Writers $50/$20 student
SAJA South Asian Journalists Association $20/$10 student Scholarships
SEJ Society of Environmental Journalists $45/$35 student
SND Society for News Design $105/$55 student
SOME Society of Metro Editors Free
SPJ Society of Professional Journalists $72/$36 student Internships and scholarships
UNITY UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Aggieland finalist for 2008 Crown Award

Thanks to Mr. Wegener for this news: The Aggieland is among 10 yearbook finalists in the Columbia Scholastic Press Association's 2008 Crown Awards. The Aggieland editor-in-chief is Hayley Booth '07. Congrats to the staff!

Hiring/J-degree: Victoria Advocate

Part of a series in which professionals answer the question that students often ask me: Do you need a journalism degree to get hired in the field?

Many thanks to Becky Cooper, City Editor of the Victoria Advocate, for her answers.

When you hire a reporter, how important is it for an applicant to have a journalism degree?
It is not required, but it is weighed into the equation. We have hired English majors who were much better writers and reporters than some journalism majors.

Why do you look for a journalism degree, or what do you look for instead of that?
Having a degree in journalism tells us the applicant has a background or at least has been exposed to writing in journalism style - features, news, editorials, etc, and has been exposed to open records, media law and the ethics that journalists work from.

We also look at if they have practical experience - i.e. worked on a campus newspaper, took part in an internship, etc.
As the industry moves more to the digital side, we are also looking at applicants who have multimedia experience - audio, video, etc.

Is the picture different for entry-level applicants vs. experienced applicants?
Entry level -we look closely at their college experience, their clips.

An entry-level really has no day-to-day experience in the business unless of course they have worked on the college paper or had an internship. We look closely also at their test stories done during the interview process.
Experienced reporters - we look more so at their work experience, but also weigh their college experience.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Stories from Rojas '10 at NYT Institute

They blogged. They podcasted. They shot video. They covered some big stories. The NYT Institute session that included Rick Rojas '10 has just drawn to a close (and I hear he's sorry to see it end), but the material they created is showcased on the institute's Web site.

A few Rick clips:
Arizona governor endorses Obama

Richardson ends race for Democratic nomination
After Iowa, McCain looks for lift in New Hampshire (co-byline)

Nash '77 honored in Brazos museum

The career and life of Sunny Nash '77 are part of the Brazos Valley African American Museum, which opened in 2006 on the site of the first school built for African American children in Bryan. Nash made a presentation at the museum in December about pioneering opera singer Marian Anderson, whom Nash has written about.

PR job opening in San Antonio

C. Pharr & Co. is hiring for an account executive to work onsite at a San Antonio company. (Thanks for the heads-up!)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Spring 2008 Journalists-in-Residence, speakers

Thanks to Randy Sumpter and Natalie Holladay for these updates! The journalists who will help teach JOUR 490 (Journalism as a Profession, the program's capstone course) this spring are:

  • Richard Oliver '81, sports writer for the San Antonio Express-News, February 18-22
  • Frank Smith '87, deputy copy desk chief at the Dallas Morning News, March 24-28
  • Mike Ward, criminal justice/enterprise reporter at the Austin-American Statesman, April 21-25

Also visiting campus to speak with journalism students for two days each will be:

  • Kelly Brown '89, managing editor of the B/CS Eagle, in February
  • Chace Murphy '98, news director of KBTX, in March
  • Sara McDonald '05, reporter at the Galveston County Daily News, in April

Friday, January 4, 2008

Sloan '83: My return from Kenya

(Thank you, Joe, for sending this!) Received today from Joe Sloan '83:

I noticed your comments about hearing from someone in Kenya and I assume that is me. Thankfully I left Nairobi several weeks before the current wave of violence exploded upon this otherwise beautiful country and its kind and generous people. It is deeply disturbing to me what is happening is there right now. My dear Kenyan friends do not have much hope that the situation will improve in the next few days or weeks. How did people learn to be so cruel to each other?
Currently I am comfortably at home in Washington DC with my loving wife and kids and have no plans to return to Kenya -- or anywhere else in East Africa -- any time soon since the network's part of the assignment I was dealing with there is basically done. I am, however, waiting to travel to Beirut and to India/Pakistan depending upon how the situation in these areas develops (depending also, of course, on how long I can stay in the good graces of my beautiful, kind, loving and understanding wife).
They told me when I interviewed for this job years ago not to expect too much travel and that there would be no "dangerous travel". How things have changed!

BTW -- Are any Aggies out there expecting to make it to RTNDA or NAB in Las Vegas this year?

Joe Sloan
Director of Network Operations and Production
Class of '83

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Sad news: Kevin Jordan '05, 1982-2007

Kevin Jordan '05, a Texas A&M journalism grad and copy editor at the Victoria Advocate, took his own life Dec. 22. Our thoughts are with his family and with all of you who knew him.

Family, friends shocked by young man’s sudden death
Words won’t bring Kevin back, but memories remain