Monday, November 30, 2009

Hot gifts for the Aggie Journalist on your list!

Cyber Monday is crashing the servers, and we're here to cash in. Even more goofy products have been added to our Aggie Journalists store! Ooo, a T-shirt and a mousepad:

While these products are mostly offered for your entertainment, I hasten to assure you that 1) They are real; 2) You can buy them; and 3) All profits -- $2 per shirt -- go to journalism scholarships at A&M. Bumpersticker anyone?
But, also, one of the main problems facing our journalism program is that most people -- from our industry colleagues to Texas high school seniors -- think A&M doesn't teach journalism any more. So buy a shirt and spread the word! (And if you've got an idea for more shirts, even better. Send 'em in!)

Not related to A&M journalism (but still benefiting A&M journalism scholarships) are these new designs, fresh from the front lines. Explanations, in order:

"Work harder...": This is how a straight-shooting news editor once summed up a department heads' meeting for his staff. "Ladies' Pages": Formerly just an outdated term, now derogatory, for the features section - but we're takin' it back! In form-fitting cotton! With pink curlicues! "MSM: That's right baby, I'm part of the problem": Battered and bruised, but still here, we're the mainstream (or lamestream) media. Bad punctuation and all!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wright '92 on Chicago biz 'Top 40 under 40' list

1992 A&M journalism grad Sherman Wright's marketing company, Commonground, landed him and his partner in a Chicago business magazine's list of young, influential businessfolk. Click here to see him interviewed (in a very slick and visually appealing interface, by the way) on Chicagobusiness.com.

More, from an interview by Shamontiel Vaughn:

Chicago marketing company Commonground was honored this year as two of the four African-Americans in Crain’s Chicago Business Magazine’s annual Top 40 under 40 list for 2009. Both Sherman Wright and Ahmad Islam have an impressive background in marketing, especially from a multicultural standpoint.
Shamontiel: Your company Commonground emphasizes multiculturalism. Why is diversity in marketing and advertising so important to you? How do you get your clients to want diversity?

Sherman Wright: I think the biggest challenge is getting [marketing agencies] to break tradition. Most of your organizations are not as nimble, and they’ve been doing things a certain way. A lot of times, as far as those individuals at the top don’t necessarily have visibility about what’s going on in the marketplace because they’re so tied up into the business from a functional standpoint. As business people if you can show them a model that works and benefits them, I think they’re more open than they’ve been in the past, especially with the challenges you’re seeing in these times.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A&M journalism hosts Texas Monthly 'Bonfire' author

Look for more panels and events like this as Dale Rice works to raise the profile of Journalism Studies on the A&M campus. Rice writes:

Journalism Studies hosted Texas Monthly writer Pamela Colloff on campus this week.
Here is what we did on Tuesday:

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Lunch with the newly formed A&M student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

12:45-1:45 p.m. — Meeting with JOUR 303, the advanced media writing class, to discuss their stories on the Bonfire Memorial.

2:15-3:15 p.m. — The story behind the story: A Q&A with Texas Monthly writer Pamela Colloff, author of this month’s cover story on Bonfire.

3:45-4:45 p.m. — The Bonfire Memorial’s place on campus: A panel discussion on the Memorial and what it has come to represent on campus.
  • Pamela Colloff, writer, Texas Monthly
  • Dr. Sylvia Grider, Professor Emerita, Department of Anthropology; collected and cataloged more than 3,000 mementos left at the site after the tragedy
  • George Rogers, Professor, Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, School of Architecture; co-chair of the Memorial selection committee
  • Ryan Dudley, Class of 2010, chair of MSC Hospitality, the service organization that conducts tours of the Bonfire Memorial
  • Dr. Jennifer Jones Barbour, assistant professor, Department of Communication; panel moderator who conducts research on memorials

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Texas A&M chapter of SPJ revived

Last heard from over a decade ago, the Texas A&M chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists lives again. The group's adviser-to-be and head of Journalism Studies, Dale Rice, says:
The new SPJ chapter will elect officers and adopt by-laws on Dec. 2.
The core group of students has already held three organizational meetings.
After last night's meeting, they established a Facebook page. Here's the link:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Aggie journalists record, reflect on Bonfire anniversary

The 20-page special edition of The Battalion marking the 10th anniversary of the deadly Bonfire collapse came out yesterday (its cover is the image at left). KBTX interviewed Batt staffers, including Amanda Casanova '10 and Matthew Woolbright '12, about their work preparing the issue; you can watch that video here.

Manager of Student Publications Bob Wegener said, "I'm really proud of The Batt staff's work. People have been calling/e-mailing this morning to request extra copies."

You can read the full special edition online here.

Today, Batt staffer Doug Klembara '11 posted some marvelous images and a moving description of the 2:42 a.m. vigil on his blog. He gave me permission to reproduce the image below, of Aggies around the granite slab that marks where Centerpole stood. More of his photos are on his blog and his Flickr photostream.

At the Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner '91 illustrated both the print and online coverage with his wonderful photographs. A gallery can be viewed here.

The San Antonio Express-News' Roy Bragg '80 wrote a great story about the Bonfire ceremony that both his paper and the Houston Chronicle used. Wegener said he will be using Bragg's story as a teaching tool in his work with A&M students.

Too many Aggies to count work at both the Bryan-College Station Eagle and at KBTX, which have both outdone themselves with anniversary coverage. This page lists all the Eagle's stories, and this page all the KBTX coverage.

FJSA members Nicholas Roznovsky '01 and Denise Mattox '03 did some civilian journalism. Click here for Roznovsky's excellent photos from the vigil and here for Mattox's touching remembrance of the events of that week in 1999.

My thoughts and love are with the families, the friends and relatives of the 12, with all those who worked our guts out on Bonfire through the years, with the lifelong friends I made on Bonfire and with all of the Aggie family. And now here's that Klembara photo I promised above:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Eagle posts video, remembrance page for Bonfire

The Bryan-College Station Eagle has extra coverage leading up to the 10th anniversary of the deadly Bonfire collapse. Online, the paper has a page up where readers can post their own Bonfire memories, and has posted part of a video that Timm Doolen '91 did for FJSA in 2000, titled "Explaining from the Inside – Bonfire."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Aggieland wins 2009 Pacemaker Award

Thanks to Bob and Kelly for the news!

The Texas A&M yearbook, the Aggieland, hauled in college media's top award, one of seven yearbooks to win this year's Pacemaker competition. (They've also got a cool Web site, if you haven't checked it out yet: aggieland.tamu.edu.) The Battalion won a Pacemaker last year in the newspaper category.
“The Pacemaker is college journalism’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize and the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a college yearbook,” said Robert Wegener, general manager of Student Media.

The press release also highlights Associated Collegiate Press honors won by Batt staffers Stephen Fogg and Chris Griffin:
Fogg, a senior marketing major from The Woodlands, won honorable mention in the “picture story” category for photo excellence. Fogg accompanied a 2009 student body presidential candidate during campaigning in the spring. He then put together a story using his photographs and captions.
Griffin, a graduate student in visualization science from New Braunfels, received $100 in third place in the cartooning awards.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

UTEP alum Sam Donaldson helps launch new J-degree

UTEP has blended two degrees, electronic media and print media, into one multimedia journalism program, and Sam Donaldson was there Monday to help publicize the new program. From the El Paso Times story:
"You can't do it the old ways. You can't go and take video and television or print, and then say I'm educated in the business that I'd like to pursue," Donaldson said. "You have to have the whole range."
The 75-year-old newsman, once ABC's White House correspondent, spoke before a crowd of more than 100 people at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Until this fall, UTEP offered degrees in electronic media, for those interested in TV and radio, and print media, for those looking to work for newspapers and magazines.
But UTEP has merged the two degrees and is launching the new bachelor of arts in multimedia journalism through the Department of Communication. Professors said the university is a pioneer in offering a program of this kind.
"We have been able to move really quickly in this direction, when a lot of other institutions with traditional media programs, it's been a little harder for them to change," said Zita Arocha, a journalism professor.

Hey, do we know anybody else who's lacking an entrenched journalism program? OK, more from the article:
Arocha said she hoped to have a multimedia training academy to teach professors at UTEP how to implement different platforms in journalism. Frank PĂ©rez, chair of the communication department, said they expect to hire one professor who can teach communication theory and journalism.
Some of the classes that the degree plan includes are multimedia storytelling, audio and video news production, ethics, investigative journalism and a news magazine class in which students produce stories for a Web site called Borderzine.com.