Saturday, May 31, 2008

A&M hires veteran journalist Rice to teach

Texas A&M has hired veteran reporter and editor Dale Rice, currently the Austin American-Statesman's restaurant critic, as a lecturer who will begin teaching classes in Fall 2008.

Dale's distinguished 35-year career in journalism includes stints as education writer and city hall reporter for the Syracuse Post-Standard and education writer, capital bureau reporter and capital bureau chief for the Dallas Times Herald. He has been at the Statesman for almost 19 years, and has served as business editor, deputy features editor and, for the past 15 years (8 years full-time), restaurant critic. His opinions are widely respected by chefs across the region, and he has helped countless readers through his columns and blogs.

He says:
"I'm going to be a full-time lecturer teaching journalism-related courses and mentoring students. This fall, I will be teaching Journalism 203, the media writing course (basic reporting and writing skills), and Communication 289, a course in political blogging. In addition, I will be mentoring participants in the Student Reporter Project, a new program in the College of Liberal Arts.
"My first day of class will be Aug. 26, and, as you might guess, I'm incredibly excited about joining A&M. "

Myself, I'm very excited about this on A&M's behalf! I've worked with Dale many times and I have great respect for him on all levels. He's a principled, thoughtful, accurate journalist with a warm personal style and powerful descriptive ability in his writing. You can check out some of his stuff in his online archive and his blog.

Watch this space for more upcoming on this, as well as an update on A&M's other hire in the works, the joint Journalism Studies-Women's Studies position.

Specifically, I'm looking forward to giving some more detail on Dale's plans for his classes and students. Sneak peek: Those JOUR 203 students will be writing a story a week and filing it on deadline, and the students in his new Political Blogging class will each be creating their own blogs.

How to support A&M journalism: Connect, advise

My views on the best way to help out journalism at A&M change from time to time, so here's my latest take. Often, I base my opinions on new information and feedback -- please share yours with me!

The latest big change: I think Journalism Studies and A&M have taken a great step in hiring Dale Rice, a writer and editor with 30 years' experience in Texas journalism. He is enthusiastic about teaching rigorous classes and getting students ready for the real world.

Here are the most important things I think former students can do right now:
  • Connect with each other, keep in touch and informed about the program
  • Connect with current students, offering them friendship and advice if possible
  • Support the Journalism Studies program with your interest, spread the word about it and if possible actually drop by campus to speak to a class, talk to students at the Batt or even teach for a week as a Journalist-in-Residence. (FJSA officers can help set any of these up.)
Luckily, all this is easier now than ever before. Subscribe to this blog (of course I was gonna say that!), join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups, stay in contact with your buddies and get to know some of the current students. Come to the Fall Reception (Oct. 11 this year), meet more folks, catch up, and consider getting more involved in FJSA.

If we have an active former student network, then we can get together and react when there is an opening or a new challenge. If you've been introduced to a current student, you can easily give them a little support or advice via e-mail or a Facebook message. These little things add up. The stronger our journalism graduates, the better the reputation of A&M's journalism program, and that's a foundation that can be built on.

: ) Sue Owen Whaley '94, president, FJSA

Friday, May 30, 2008

Eagle needs Fall 2008 features intern

The Bryan/College Station Eagle is going to need a fall features intern -- this is a 10-hour-a week gig ($8 an hour, and great experience) with flexible hours. Mostly writing but some proofing, too.

Send your stuff in early July-mid-August to Managing Editor Kelly Brown, kelly.brown@theeagle.com, and Features Editor Mary Vinnedge, mary.vinnedge@theeagle.com.

What to send: Three unedited articles are preferred, plus a resume.

This is a very good teaching environment, with patient, experienced editors. You'll learn a lot.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nash '77 appears at L.A. book fair this Saturday

As the author of "Bigmama Didn't Shop at Woolworth's," Sunny Nash will be one of the featured authors at Saturday's Leimert Park Village Book Fair in Los Angeles. This is a big festival -- more than 60 authors, panel discussions, writing workshops, live music and performances on several stages, celebrity chefs, all kinds of stuff -- plus it's free, so if you're in the area it sounds like a good time!

Entry-level openings at financial trade journal

I hear that there are openings in New York and one in London for entry-level reporting hires (financial background not required) at Institutional Investor News. I don't know anything about what working at this trade publication is like, so check it out, but did find this posting at journalismjobs.

Friday, May 23, 2008

(Sampson) Sullivan '91: Her love story in DMN

The "True Romance" of 1991 A&M journalism graduate Dinah Sullivan and Casey Sullivan '93, wed for 14 years, was featured Thursday in this Dallas Morning News story. May I just say, Awww!

Waco's CBS affiliate seeks videojournalist

Thanks to Roberto Farias at A&M's Journalism Studies program for passing this along: KWTX-TV 10 in Waco has an opening for a videojournalist who will "shoot, write, edit and deliver the story online and on the air."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Jobs survey, mid-May

Aggieland calling: Texas A&M needs a web developer, salary $40,000 to $45,000...

Houston Chronicle seeks a sports copy editor... Dallas Morning News needs an "Editor/Producer I" and "II," both Web news positions ... Corpus Christi Caller-Timespage designer/copy editor... Amarilo Globe-News needs a city editor, assistant copy desk chief and city/county government reporter... Lubbock Avalanche-Journal needs a cops and courts reporter... needs a

McAllen Monitor needs a copy editor/page designer... Beaumont Enterprise seeks a communities editor, feaures editor, photographer and graphic artist... Tyler Morning Telegraph needs a sports copy editor/designer for its "seven-man" sports staff (although they do say "she or he" in the ad) as well as a feature writer... Abilene Reporter-News seeks a videojournalist, a lead copy editor and a copy editor... Victoria Advocate needs a Web/graphic designer...

Odessa American seeks an education writer... Killeen Daily Herald needs a weekly editor, photo editor, weekly sports editor, news reporters and features reporter... Laredo Morning Times needs a business editor, salary $25,000 to $30,000... Temple Daily Telegram seeks a copy editor/designer... The Brownsville Herald needs a city editor and a cops reporter... Kerrville Daily Times wants a sports writer, salary $20,000 to $25,000...

Rumbo Newspapers, which puts out weekly Spanish-language papers in several cities, needs a bilingual reporter in McAllen... The Austin Business Journal needs an editor and the Dallas Business Journal needs both a copy editor and an online/broadcast reporter... The GLBT weekly and Web site Dallas Voice seek a reporter, salary $30,000-$35,000, new grads encouraged... The Lone Star Report, "a weekly conservative policy newsletter based in Austin," needs a full-time correspondent... And, the Boy Scouts are calling, too: They need an associate editor for their magazine; office is in Irving.

Boilerplate: Though I know that people actively seeking jobs likely check this site on their own, I do a little digest occasionally because I think it's valuable, even if you're not actively seeking, to know what's out there. You never know when an opening might come up that you find enticing. And students can click to see what kind of qualifications are being sought these days. Also, I trawl the listings for salary info and to see what kinds of positions newspapers are creating as the industry transforms.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Jones '82: New dean of LSU's business school

Eli Jones '82, whose slew of degrees from A&M began with a bachelor's in journalism in '82, will take over LSU's college of business starting July 1, pending approval from the LSU board, reports the Baton Rouge Advocate.

Jones, most recently a marketing professor and an associate dean in the University of Houston's business school (here's his bio), is the first member of a minority to hold the position, the Advocate writes. The UH bio notes, "Professor Jones has won 10 Excellence in Teaching awards at the university, national and international levels."

Monday, May 12, 2008

Lovett '79: TV interview with Lyle upcoming

OK, he didn't go into journalism per se (though isn't his writing very observant?) but I can't resist plugging Lyle's upcoming interview on "Texas Monthly Talks" because I just love love love him.

The interview will air at 7 p.m. Thursday on KLRU here behind the Orange Curtain, and I'm assured that most Texas PBS stations carry "Texas Monthly Talks"; here's a list of stations and times when it airs.

All y'all residing outside Texas can also watch the video when they put it up here on the KLRU Web site. The previous interview with A&M President Elsa Murano is still up there now.

Friday, May 9, 2008

WH08P! Graduation, and more journalism job tips

Commencement, commissioning and Final Review are today and tomorrow. Congratulations to our graduating seniors, and please stay in touch! I am sure you all have jobs already, so drop us a line and let us know how things are going, but here are some more good links on resumes and interviewing for jobs.

The University of Kent has an excellent interactive practice interview for journalism job applicants. Lots of sample questions and smart thinking. You do have to adjust slightly for the Brit factor (sub-editing means copy editing, and so forth).

Also, you could be prepared to talk about how you might cover the beat, and probably want to have some questions ready to ask them, such as what kind of learning experience you will get at this job.

More advice: Every weekday over at Poynter, Joe Grimm's "Ask the Recruiter" column answers questions that journalists wish they could ask their bosses about their jobs. Here's an archive of his answers to resume questions and questions about interviewing.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Selvidge '07: Photoblogging across Europe

Know a place in Paris where a photoblogger can crash, cheap? Spencer Selvidge '07, a former photo editor for both the Batt and the Aggieland, is spending six months traveling in Europe and writing commentary. Check out his Web site for some of his thoughts and images.

Fresh off a month in Spain, Selvidge took the night train to Paris a couple days ago, and seriously, the guy could use a place to stay. "My goal throughout Europe has been to live on 25 euro per day (including a place to sleep)," he says. "So far I have only slightly gone over budget and I think it's due to the drop in the dollar both since I got here and since I planned this six-month excursion."

He's aiming to spend four to seven days in the cities he visits, and tries to spend time with locals and other long-term travelers. Selvidge graduated in December; he majored in biology and hails from St. Louis, Mo./San Antonio. He'd like to meet other Aggies in Europe while he's traveling, so throw any contacts you have his way!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Le Tweet, c'est chic: Jump in with Aggie Journalists

If you're one of the proud few mainstream journalists already using Twitter, you can now get this blog's headlines that way too; if (like me) you've been seeking a reason to sign up and mess with it to see how it works, come dip a toe in our Twitter wading pool!

This effort is inspired by Howard Owens' challenge to journalists to get wired as well as several comments on this blog post at CNET News about using Twitter for journalism:
...Twitter is both the perfect journalist tool for being first with breaking news, and the best relief from the tyranny of breaking news. There is no way to faster publish the most important fact of a breaking news. 140 chars is not much, but enough.

...The immediacy of Twitter is compelling; however, the inanity of most posts is a major turn-off. Hence our goal to create a focused group of people with common interests. As Twitter has no built in groups function, you can "follow" who you wish and you can vote with your mouse.

...If you aren't using it effectively (e.g. don't follow everyone, just a group that informs your work) then you don't get twitter.

And some from a now-expired thread at Wired Journalists:
...I have picked up on many stories using Twitter before they've gotten to the MSM and in a couple situations -- gas explosions downtown, traffic, and fires -- this has given me a jump start on calling LAPD to confirm and post a news brief before most major print/radio/tv/online outlets do. We also follow the LAFD Twitter, which is one of many ways that they disseminate their breaking alerts to the public in concert with the media.
The most exciting Twitter phenomenon for me occurred a few months back when the Bay Area was hit with a moderate Earthquake. I must have read 50 Tweets about it before it even hit the AP.

...I think there are many potential uses for Twitter by journalists that go beyond using it to push an RSS feed. Reporter could use it to cover meetings or as part of their paper's traffic coverage. One of the issues that I've encountered in discussing Twitter with journalists is that all too often they're quick to dismiss it without even trying it.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Webinar on getting journalism job is Wednesday

Poynter's NewsU is offering an online seminar titled "Getting Your First Job in Journalism" from 1-2 p.m. (Central time) on Wednesday (cost: $9.95). They say:
With graduation right around the corner, college seniors are feeling pressure to land their first journalism job in the midst of an economic downturn. To help navigate the job-hunting process, this Webinar will give you insight on how to approach building a career.

It's run by Poynter's career center director, Colleen Eddy, and Joe Grimm of Ask the Recruiter, a very useful column on journalism jobs.
They plan to include:
  • Identifying your unique skills and talents
  • Determining where you want to work and why
  • Creating a resume (traditional and video), cover letter and a personal elevator pitch
  • Asking for references
  • Networking
  • Interviewing
  • Negotiating a salary package
  • Developing a long-term career plan
  • Navigating the workplace

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Newsweek editor speaks at A&M tomorrow

Evan Thomas, editor at large of the currently much-sought-after Newsweek, is the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs' spring speaker. He will speak on "Presidential Leadership and the 2008 Campaign" Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the Bush library.

From the release:

Thomas has served as the magazine's editor at large since September 2006. Along with his editorial duties, he is Newsweek's lead writer for major news stories and is also responsible for authoring numerous longer features. He has authored behind-the-scenes issues on presidential elections and was a key part of Newsweek's award winning coverage on the war on terror.
... Seating at this lecture will be limited, Scowcroft Institute officials note. Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis at The Eagle, KBTX, WTAW, the Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the MSC Box Office.

Plan to work in journalism and keep a personal blog?

Poynter ethics group leader Kelly McBride writes:
I counsel journalists who keep personal blogs to employ a no-surprises rule. Always let your boss know if you have a blog. Ask for guidelines, if they don't exist. Never say anything in the blog that you wouldn't say out loud, to the primary stakeholders...
Some of her advice for employers trying to formulate a blogging policy:
  • Consider what you're comfortable having employees discuss in public:
    • Nothing about the newsroom at all? That might be unrealistic.
    • Nothing about stories in development? That seems fair.
    • Nothing that puts the company in a negative light? Sure, you've got a right to require that, but you might define negative carefully.
    • Nothing about sources? Good idea. Journalists who say things about their sources that they wouldn't put into their stories are treading in dangerous territory.
    • Nothing embarrassing or negative about your colleagues. (I had a young journalist once ask me if she crossed a line by blogging about a fellow reporter's bathroom habits. Yes, I told her, I thought that was rude. Maybe not unethical, but definitely rude.)
My own thought, with the campaign season upon us: Many outlets don't want their newsroom employees publicly identifying their political views -- whether it be a bumper sticker, sign in their yard or making campaign donations (which are public record). I'd bet most of those bosses, even if they haven't specified it in written policy yet, would feel the same way about blog entries or even joining Facebook groups for/against candidates.