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.