Sunday, November 22, 2009

A great November, thus far!

November 3 Issue
The Nov. 3 issue was short and sweet, a four-pager that had our printer questioning if pages got lost and and students wondering if our budget had been cut. It was neither. Every now and then we need a small issue to catch up, budgetwise.The key is for us to have not only a small issue, but a good one. I feel like we did that with the Nov. 3 issue. The front page had some strong stories and a solid BAP on pi. I also liked the "Out and About" notation and wonder if we can incorporate this into our permanent layout of this page. Perhaps this is better than the teasers at the bottom of the page? I like page 2, but not sure why. Adolf's review was entertaining and the headline on the ROTC story was eye-catching. "ROTC spooks run without uniforms"? Wow. And we have someone that looks like Darth Vader on the same page and wonderful teaser with a half-naked young man and a young woman in bondage of some sort. Yep, it caught my attention.The Ed-Ops page had some good material, but a very weak cartoon and a design that was just too grey made this for a not-too-exciting page. Sports was short and sweet. Just the facts, thanks. Nice action shot by Artie. That's it. Who gets KUDOs? It goes to Amanda for holding down the fort while many of us were at a convention and/or in Abilene, Adolfo for solid review and Jaime for continue great coverage. Well done guys.

November 10 Issue

A very busy week and one which finally had our football team achieve something, thus they deserved front-page coverage for the first time this season. Nice photo, nice teaser, good and solid stories...great front page. Some mistakes on how to display headlines, but minor.Overall, a nice page 1. Now, page 2 will always be solid because of Erika's column, the Green Tip and the UPD stuff. A good second page. Page 3 was a solid campus news page but lousy cutlines. The photo of Christin Rycroft of KTAI should have been properly identified. I don't know how to say this, but any time any other program within our department does something good (like KTAI in this case) we need to play it up big. That also goes for our drama productions. I think page 4 missed the point on the Veterans' Day celebration and the Ricardo Sanchez sidebar was weak. I didn't like this page. Still, good campus news. And, anytime you have a picture of Dr. Goswami on the page, well it's special. The man is worldly and one of the best professors we have. Good job. Nice job on Page 5. We salvaged some very busy photos with some solid cutouts. Stories were okay as well but sort of repetitious. Need more quotes. Page 6 - Ed-Ops - was probably the most read page of the year. The "Attaboy Atterberry!" headline and accompanying editorial was extremely popular. I saw it cut out and pasted in several bulletin boards, including those in McCulley Hall and the Athletics Department. Everything very nice on this page. Sports pages were solid.Sports stories were very good. So, who gets KUDOs? This time it has to go to the Sports staff which includes Katrina Alejandro, Jaime Gonzalez, Mark Molina and Artie Leal. Also, KUDOs goes to the Online Squad with Michael Bolman, Claudia Garcia and Noe....nice job. Can you repeat this effort? We'll see.

November 17 Issue

I can't remember when I have had more fun as an adviser for a student newspaper as I did when I saw our staff produce an excellent newspaper and an even better website with our coverage of the NCAA Division II football game at Javelina Stadium that week. While the layout and design of the paper was disorganized because of illness to key personnel, the online staff coverage was outrageously excellent. Yes! The staff of the print edition kind of got it together - thanks in a large part to the work of Adriana Garza - and we were able to produce a very solid 8-pager. Page 1 - Very nice. Nuf said. Page 2 was as nice as a jump page could be and had solid elements, again. Page 3 was a little too tight. We forgot our margins and we had a few too many unnecessary boxes. Where did they come from? Headlines, too, were too tight. Don't do that. Give them room to breathe. Give them leading and never have the descenders from a top line touch the ascenders from the line below. Page4, Ed-Ops, not great designwise but awesome columns and editorial. That will do. Jaime and Nndy, wow. You're stuff could be syndicated. You two have blossomed during the last two semesters. Your political insight is very mature for a college undergraduate student. You can do this. Page 5 was one of those that we just pulled out of our !@# and it looks great. Good headlines, solid stories nice's okay. We just didn't line up ads but it was way past deadline when Jaime said, "Hey, what's on page 5?" Answer: "Whatever you guys and Adriana can find." Well done. Page 6 was well done except for the column that was too wide on the volleyball team. But, nice save, guys. Page 7 excellent except for the box around Coach Atterberry. Mark...great story. Artie, good picture. Katrina, good feature. Page 7 was very well done. We did not have a BAP, but in a game like this, what is the most important element? Sabrina, well done. Jaime, great job with copy. Adriana, great work as always. You are marvelous, hita. Thanks. And, even as I say that, the work by the online staff was even better.

Mr. Fisher and myself are very lucky. We have very talented and wonderful students with passion and a desire to learn and do well. We are so very proud of you. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for your effort and thank you for putting up with a couple of old men like us. Adriana, that goes triple-double for you...thanks.

KUDOs - Well, this week, it's toda la familia. All of you on the staff who contributed to the football game coverage in some way get in and all who helped cover for us when others were busy also get in...we proved, the last two weeks, that we're a team. Well done. Well done. Thanks. Thanks!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

On Homecoming activities and online postings - a true formula for a quality newspaper

It's almost too much for an old guy to take - Homecoming, Halloween and a winning football team. There's too much going on in our ol' campus but we had to rise to the occasion to cover all events and, for the most part, we did an excellent job. First things first, I've said all semester that we have to think online first, print second. This past two weeks, we have done that. Our online postings have been excellent and Mr. Fisher and his group have done an outstanding job. In particular, I would like to single out Noe and Mike. These two young men have taken what they have learned and taken our online production to another level - and they've only just started. Wow. Thanks guys. Now, on the print category and online, too, I guess) it would be hard to top the coverage Adolfo Castillo had on the protest at the A&I alumni luncheon. He was on top of the story from start to finish and updated it as needed. All we missed out on was an update on Teresa Remelius' comments. We need to do that soon. At any rate, some pretty good work by a bunch of young and spirited journalists. Well done. Now for a page-by-page breakdown of the regular ol' print edition.

Page 1: Nicely done. Newsy. Good photos. Great photo of Homecoming Queen and King. Thanks Claudia. Story by Adlof excellent. Claudia and Katrina did a good update on the prisoner. Homecoming story could have been stronger, but it was functional. No interviews with king bio on them...weak, weak, weak. On the layout, basic modular was good. No real BAP, was bad. Also, we had a label headline on the lead story - Javelina Homecoming 2009. What does that say? It should have said something like Houston, Tello chosen as Homecoming royalty or something like that. We missed a chance to have superb page. Stories okay, layout okay, photos okay...not great. Understand? But, well done. Funny how that works. Ha.

Page 2: Nice jump page. Pretty standard. It's a little too grey.

Page 3: Another very functional inside page.

Page 4: Colorful and functional page. Nice. I wish we would have had a stronger photo for College Night Out. I also wish we would have promoted our melodrama a little bit more and stronger. It could have been pi and the ROTC think in here as a package, but there is nothing wrong with t his page. Just a little weak.

Page 5: Good page. Nice, colorful, informative. One thing here, when we pdf our pages, we have to check to see if everything worker right. Our ad on St. Martin good messed up because of fonts...can we run again? Thanks.

Page 6: A solid sports page with two good stories by Mark and a excellent news feature by Katrina. Mark, I know you don't read this but (can someone tell him) check into the office every day at least by phone or in person. Artie, you too.

Page 7: Ed-Ops page is shaping up. I like the different layouts we have tried. Jaime's column rocks...we will get responses on this one. Editorial a little weak, but it's homecoming. Tejano Award forum needed to be marked off with a photo and explanation of when and why we use forums.

Page 8: We almost pulled this page off. A good effort.

Now for KUDOs. Well, I pretty much explained this at the top of this post. For a newcomer and a cub reporter, Adolfo did very, very well with the protest story. So, he's in the pot for the $100. Well done Adolf and well done all of you in both the print and online editions of our little South Texan experiment.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Breaking News, Crime Report and Homecoming Festivities make Oct. 20 edition solid

I think I have been remiss. I have stressed from the beginning of the semester when we implemented Plan 21, that we must think "Online First" and "Print Second." I have not done that in my reviews (which really doesn't matter cause no one reads them) and I apologize. This past week, I had a striking reminder of what it is I said and what I have not done. As we had the prisoner escape story unfold right before our faces as we neared deadline for the print edition, it occurred to me that we couldn't possibly cover the story on print. Online was the answer and online we galloped toward a great job by a group of solid young reporters and online web techs. Great and courageous job guys. David, Mike, Claudia, Katrina, Sabrina and others (including the irrepressible Adriana Tapia Garza and the indomitable editor Angela Palacios, and Mr. Don Fisher, among others, too many to name) you are the bomb! Is that good? Ha, don't matter. What I am trying to say (if anyone reads this) is that we did as good a job possible with our training and equipment in covering this story as well as any staff (university or professional) in the nation, really! The coverage was excellent. Imagine if we had waited til today (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday) to report on that story. In today's media world, it's old. Old news is like stale fruit that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. You all did it right. We (myself, Mr. Fisher, Adriana and Angela) are all so proud of you. You can't imagine. So, right off the bat: KUDOs goes to the online techs who posted our stories and updates and to the courageous reporters who went out, literally, to get the story. Well done. Those people are: David, Mike, Claudia, Katrina and Sabrina, as I recall. If I missed someone, please let me know and I will update this posthaste.

Now, as for our last print edition....not bad, not bad at all. Stories did come in late, as usual, but I couldn't tell if the delay in finishing the pages was due to our being late or our preoccupation with the breaking news story. I saw the look in Angela's face as she made a decision to tease it at the top of pi and just go with the story online. In the past, ol' Fisher and I would have yelled "Stop the Presses." Ha!!!! In today's journalism environment, there is no need to stop the presses, because even little old South Texan has 24-7 news capability now with the web. Wow, things have changed.

There is, however, one glaring mistake on our pi and it is one that has been there since the first issue of the semester. Our folio on pi has our website wrong. It's not It's only southtexan. Let' fix it, okay? Now for a page-by-page critique:

Page 1: This is a solid page with a solid news feature on the crime report, a good update on the SGA by-laws and good reporting on Tejano Heritage Awards and 2009 Homecoming celebrations. Crime story by Angela is particularly good and we seem to have gotten lucky with photo. It's an actual photo of a student actually filing a compliant with UPD. It's too bad she looks like she is being arrested, but that has been cleared up and thank God someone wrote a good, solid cutline. The best thing about this page, however, is the teaser at the top with Homecoming and the prisoner escape notice. Well done. Thanks.

Page 2: This catch-all page is a solid design but art is too heavy down the right side. We needed some art on the other half of the page. Also, disappointed on story on the serpentarium. We need a stronger story and better pics. Perhaps we can fix this next week. On the UPD column, we probably need to consider doing a bigger story on the car burglaries (but no one will read this and it won't be done). Sigh!!!!

Page 3: Well,we finally got the words "Ta Ta" on a headline. Yea! Good stories on campus events here and very appropriate for Campus News page. Only disappointment, no real BAP.

Page 4: Nice, very nice. Who did this page? Nice BAP. Good solid stories. Good color, good ads...well done. Solid Campus News page.

Page 5: Spanish page is a bit crowded but the photos do give us a look of all that happened during the previous month. We have only one Spanish page per month and Edwin did a good job with this one. Also, good story on Sigma Delta Pi. Perhaps, we should consider running this in English? (But no one will read this and it won't get done). Sigh!!!!

Page 6: Sports is again our weakest page. There is no BAP. I know, I know, we didn't have room. The good news is that Mark did a solid advance and Jaime had a good game story. On the charticle on the Javelina Homecoming, we lost the dog....let's make sure the reproduction is there by checking our PDFs. Okay? We can do better here. There was no advance on Javelina Cross Country. Oh, and the teaser, let's spice it up. Think! Think! Think! What would have made this teaser better? Duh, a photo. Let's get to work sports guys and gals. Let's lobby for more pages. Angela is a nice young woman. She will listen to you and if you have a good argument she will move ads around of give you another page. Really, she's a nice young woman.

Page 7: With the exception of the cartoon, everything strong here. Good play on Homecoming events editorial. I don't know if we had an influence on the change back to the old ways, but they did change it...hooray! You know what would have been nice, on the pi story or even here, a photo of the old king and queen and a comment from them about how they felt. We need to plan these things out. Perhaps, next time. Sigh!!!! Oh, and I never like the university to have a column on our space. Kenny did a good job as SGA President, but I don't like this. It gives us an aura of us not reporting things well (which we don't sometimes) and also that we are a mouthpiece for the university and its SGA. I don't like that. Who started this anyway? Oh, I hear it's a tradition. Well, let's just make it work. Don't let the SGA president use this piece to get on a soapbox and try to influence results of an election or an issue. All we need is info....okay? But, we can still have a forum if there is a need for that and that is determined by the editor, managing editor and ed-ops editor talking about it....okay?

Page 8: A good page, not great. This should have been designed earlier and should have been more solid. It has a good ad. Oh well. Still, good info and we got pictures of all the candidates. I remember when that used to be a chore.

Overall, a good issue. However, there is no mistaking, our best reporting and effort this past week went to our online edition. I applaud all of you for thinking "Online First" and "Print Second" and if we continue on that route, we will become better 21st century journalists. Plan 21, seems to be working, no? And, if you have a chance, give a hug and a thank to Adriana Garza and Jaime Gonzalez for planning this over the summer. Their brainchild has grown wings and is working. Thanks Adriana and Jaime.

And, also, a big hug (abrazo) and thanks for all of you who make time to produce and publish the print and online editions of The South Texan. Most of you are volunteers and we know you have to make sacrifices from your regular school work and campus lifestyle to become an integral part of our staff. And, one last note. Newcomer Adolfo is stepping right in there with the rest of the staff. Good job Adolfo and welcome to our silly crew.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dead Man and Tejanos and another thrilling Hoggie football win make for interesting Oct. 13 issue

Catastrophe almost struck this issue when one of our staffers, who was overworked with three stories, called and said she could not have those stories ready for us in time for deadline. While the call came late (Monday morning by the time we verified it), we did not panic and thanks to the leadership of our editor, Angela Palacios, and our publications lab director, Adriana Garza, we were able to salvage the issue, make deadline (sort of), and have another informative edition of The South Texan available to our students and readers. Of course, the added pressure and approaching deadline meant some things had to suffer. In this case, we did not read our material very well and we had some typos, including a story I helped with late but was sure someone would read or spell check. No one did. Still, overall, an issue about old men, Tejanos, Dead Man's phones and football came out, OKAY. Thanks for a job well done. Now, here's a page-by-page review.

Page 1: - We salvaged this page. We had a definite strong photo of the play with a very strong headline. Oh, by the way, the story and headline are right, technically. We got complaints about the "cast" not advancing but only three of the cast members advancing to regional. The publicity they got was awesome on this and the story clearly says "three" cast members. The complaints probably stem from our review. Nevertheless, good play on an important story to our university. The folklorico picture also well done. It beats all the other mugs of old men that we have on the page. Only disappointment here was that we used a "canned" PR story of Dr. DeLeon's presentation. I would have like our own story, but at least it got covered. As far as layout is concerned, the "Tejano Heritage Awards" story and the "DeLeon" story should have lined up to make it true modular. Still, it's a nice blockish format a la USA Today and it works. Teasers (both top and bottom) still need help.

Page 2: Cute (I don't really like cute but there are so many young women on the staff that cute seems to be the thing to do this semester), well-designed page that flows well. UPD column text is much too big. Let's not do that. Let's try to stay as close to body text as possible. And, why not use more items? I'm sure we have lots of interesting stuff to use here. Please tell our reporter, Raymond, to send us more items. We can always cut them if we have to for space reasons. Nice page and nice tweet. Green tip of the week turned pink - cute. Ha. Oh, nice "tweet." I, too, tweet blue-and-gold.

Page 3: Nice modular page with good art work (Javelina flag always helps, ha). Wish we would have had a solid story on Arnold Gonzalez. Still, nice play with photo. However, he is not an attorney. His son is the attorney. Can we correct this? A short explanation on p.2 next week would suffice. Everything else here is very nice. Don't really have a BAP but modular layout makes it all work. Also, Arrellano story needs to be broken up at bottom. It's a little too grey.

Page 4: This is a "wow" page. The color is overwhelming. We must have gotten every color in the color wheel for this work. Our previous printer just could not have pulled this off and our layout editors knew that. Wow. Green, blue, pink, dark pink, red, yellow, aqua in the It looks good and the Cortina story makes it newsy. Well done.

Page 5: This was the "Flores Page" - Ha! Still, it was the photo of Ronnie Jordan that made this layout complete and workable. It's the perfect use of a BAP, even though it's a publicity photo. Only thing happened is that when we PDFed the page, the headline changed and we had two ol' big dots for the ellipsis on the deck. We need to double check the PDFs before sending them. Hope this is a lesson-learned. Also, the photo of Marcos Flores should have been to the right of the story to avoid bumping photos. Okay? Lesson-learned. I don't know who that handsome man is on the bottom of the page speaking about vaqueros, but it sure made the page solid. Don't you think? Ha.

Page 6: This is always my favorite page because it shows what our staffers are thinking and feeling. From the editorial cartoon, to the columns and editorial, this page is full of life and vigor. This issue was no exception, but we failed our staffers in some way, which I will explain at the end of this post for this page. First, Katrina's column was heart-warming. It's an all too common story for South Texas, but Katrina found a way to tell it differently and with a passion and sense of purpose few could have. Well done, Katrina. Now, believe it or not, this could have been stronger. We failed Katrina because we (including myself who was too busy trying to salvage pi) did not proof read it thoroughly. The ed-ops page should be the first to be ready and its pieces (since they represent OUR THOUGHTS) should be read must be the cleanest page in the issue. Claudia please have this page ready first thing Monday (at least) so that we can read it thoroughly. Also, Amanda, can you please help read this page. Thanks. Now, the editorial on the Chicano monument was well done and timely, considering it's Hispanic Heritage Month. The Obama Nobel Prize editorial is very well done. Thanks. Solid stuff with a cute (I don't like cute) cartoon. This page could have been stronger, but the material carries it, in my opinion.

Page 7: Our sports pages still need work. However, a nice strong photo and great headline carry this page. The story was okay, but not great. We need great now. We can't stand for mediocrity. Also, it's time, as the games have more meaning, for us to do a complete advance on Monday and not just put it into the game story. We have time on Monday to do a through review of the next opponent. Mark, can we do this? You are the sports editor, right? I've asked you to this for the past month and there seems to be no movement toward doing a complete advance separate from the story. Also, with all the "pinche" sportswriters we have, why do we not have stuff on the cross country team and why do we not have solid features and columns? Oh well.

Page 8: Well, we almost got something right. Page 8 is the sports package on Billy perhaps qualifying for the Harlon Hill Trophy. This was supposed to be a story validating Billy Garza as a Harlon Hill Trophy contender. A story uses stats to verify. There are no stats in the Mark's story. Instead, there are implications of opinions. Therefore, what we had, was a column by Mark Molina on his views as to why Billy "The Kid" Garza should qualify for the Harlon Hill Trophy. Turns out, it's a good column. It's the first one ever this year. Are you kidding me? Jaime's stat story and the whole package with Artie's Johnny Bailey Story makes this a complete and very good package, but it could have been much better. I know, Mark probably let Jaime tell the stats....which he did. But, Mark needed to say just how Billy compared with other notables across the nation. By the way, Artie, good job on your story. One. more thing, the PDF bugaboo got us again on this page. When we did the PDF, the headline on Alfie's story got longer and we wound up with an incomplete headline. Angela, Jaime and Adriana, can we please double-check the PDFs for any changes from the original quark layout? Thanks

Well, that's it - from a Dead Man's phone to old men photos on the front page and a good attempt at sportswriting, this issue had a little bit of everything for the reader and our students. Question is, who gets KUDOs? It's very hard, especially since this issue almost fell apart. Sometimes, however, KUDOs is about consistency. Over the past four weeks, as we celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month, we have had one student consistently, accurately, and in a timely matter cover a myriad of presentations and activities solidly. That person is Angel Flores. His coverage of Hispanic Heritage Month is exemplary. He met deadline every time, asked for guidance when needed and then turned in solid stories that needed little editing. For this effort, he gets KUDOs. Congratulation Angel. You are in the pot for the $100.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Our 'pink' issue was a hit, postgame interviews were better

Last week, as I made my way through the campus, I could not help but notice how many students had our paper in their hands. I know that having a winning football team makes people hungry for news, but I felt it was more than that. Then it struck me! Most of the students with the paper in their hands were young women. Why? Well, the pink headline and the topic - breast cancer - had caught their attention. The article at the top of pi - the strip, if you will - is a perfect example of the WIIFM (What's In It For Me?)Theory. Later that week, breast cancer activities, including the DIGG IT Volleyball game were filled to capacity. As an old fuddy-duddy professor, I can't always gauge the news value of students. I'm glad we at The South Texan have such insightful leadership from young women like of Adriana Garza (our pub lab director, the best), Editor Angela Palacios, Amanda Marcum, Sabrina Reyna, Katrina Alejandro, Claudia Garcia, Mary Beth Cleavlin, Erika Hernandez, Sabrina Salinas, Tania Garcia, Jacque Hutton and Jennifer Garcia to make sure that we cover issues pertinent to young women and women in general. If it was up to Fisher, myself, Jaime, David, Mike and Adolfo, we would be happy with just football and we wouldn't even care if the football was pink. Hahahahahaha! Again, good job.

As for our paper last week, it was as good as it could be with the exceptions of the sports page and the photos - which were pixelized in some cases. Mr. Fisher has worked with our photographers to remedy the photo situation and sports just has to do a better job. Mark, you are your own man now. Fix it! We need more features, more photos and more pizzaz. More stats,perhaps, would also help. We have one of the best teams in the nation and our coverage is flat. We should be making heroes and role models for our students. The advance should be our main story, not the game story. How many times do Fisher and I need to tell all of the sports staff guys about this? Fisher is mad. I'm just about ready to give up.

In spite of all these, your sports coverage was still a better than average effort. I don't think you all realize this, but for the past three years we have had the best sports staff in Division III of TIPA and have consistently won more writing awards than all the other 68 university schools at TIPA. In the past we have had people like Rolando Flores, Ted Briggs, Jaime Gonzalez and J.C. Reyes as our stalwarts and all knew that when the Javelina sports staff arrived, we were the best. So, you have to live up to the tradition. Do it!

Now, here is a page-by-page review:

Page 1:
A very nice modular layout. Good use of Nieto mug. We should use a photo or a mug on every story. Audit headline, too small. BAP weak. Football package had a good idea and worked. And, on the subject of sports on the front page, I don't like it unless we achieve something significant. We haven't won a conference championship and are not even playing for that yet. Sports on pi should be reserved for "real" stories, not game stories. And, if we're going to have a game story on pi, then the advance of the coming game is the lead story on sports. Mary Beth's story on Round Table was excellent, but we had to rewrite the lead to help it make sense. Mary Beth, when all else fails, think summary lead. And, we should have used a mug of Tallant here, don't you think? Teaser was nice and the pink think was awesome, as I said earlier. That is the prettiest pink that we have ever run in our newspaper. Wow, I like pink. Who would have "thunk" it?

Page 2: Good job Erika! Wonderful, informative column! Nice page Strong elements with "Green Tip" and "UPD" columns. "Tweet of the Week" cute.

Page 3: A solid, newsy page with a solid mug of me, yea! No, just kidding. The one thing wrong with many of our inside pages is that we have a problem putting the BAP to the top. The BAP is "family weekend" and it should have been featured higher. The stories are well done. And, the review on Dead Man's Cell is solid, in spite of some misgivings from the Drama Department people. We have been doing reviews of university drama productions since 1926 and have always stated our opinion. We will continue to do this as long as the editor feels that the reporter doing the review is qualified and properly prepared to do the review. ROTC story posting also well done. Disappointed n Dr. Baker's fuzzy.

Page 4: Again, a very newsy page with plenty of information for our readers, students. Again, no real BAP. I agree, however, it would have been hard to have a BAP with these stories, but we have to try. Perhaps the ROTC story could have gotten bigger play? Good story on Goswami and the photo of him, which we had to scramble to get, and I'm sure pleased many of his fans.

Page 5: Layout here is weak. Material is strong in some places, weak in others. Katrina's "football" column is a tear-jerker for old fuddy-duddies like me. It would have worked better on sports page (which reminds me, where have our sports column been this year?). Editorial cartoon is bit weak. We can do better on this page. Let's work on it.

Page 6: Gosh darn it, guys. Our sports page is weak. Photo weaker, although a nice save with cutout. This is a color page and we have no action pics, no provocative columns and not even a real story. What's up? This is lazy reporting and not with the tradition of The South Texan sports staff. We started the page with a jump. Why? Never is the lead story on our feature page, the last page, a full-color page, a jump. And, we need an advance on the significance of the game with Commerce with interviews from both coaches. Yes, you can do this on Monday morning! Why don't we. Angela, you have to be a leader here. You have to tell them that is what you expect. Mark, you need to think. Remember, WIIFM! Poor effort. Disappointed. Please do better.

As for KUDOs, well the print edition was excellent but, like the Hoggies' win last week, it was a team effort. This leads us to The South Texan On Line where new things are been tried and quality material is been posted. The post-game interviews and video of our players after that exciting win over Tarleton State were excellent. Mr. Fisher, Ms. Adriana and I were very pleased with that posting. We understand that Noe the Nomad and Sabrina Reyna were responsible for this. So, they get KUDOs. Congratulations and keep up the good work.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

It's a dog's world after all and, on the road with Hogs helps solidify Sept. 29 effort

The Sept. 29 issue of The South Texan had some excellent stories and features, but lacked photo and design quality. However, don't get me wrong, this was a solid paper and we are very proud of you. Let's talk about the highlights first and then we will do a page-by-page review. The highlights included: (1) Excellent news coverage and advances, (2) wonderful columns and editorials, (3) great features and a great headline on "All Bark," and (4) good sports coverage and great road trips (yes we had two - Canyon and Corpus Christi). Nice, very nice. Now, let's look at this issue, page-by-page.

Page 1: Great picture on teaser. The determination on Billy's face evident. Wow, I know some of you (young women) would want to blow this up bigger. Perhaps we should have it on the sports page? The lead story about the A&I alumni well done. However, we had a hyphen in the headline. Let's not do this. The package on flu shot very nice, but label head (Being Prepared) does not do justice to the story was well done. Katrina's story on flu well written and Mary Beth story on alumni is just as good. Nice work on Tejano features. A suggestion use more decks (more decks, more decks, more decks) and more charticles (more charticles, more charticles, more charticles). Short brief info with information that is pertinent to the reader is how to describe a charticle. Also, mugs on the speakers would be good. The "Teasers" at the bottom look better every week. Let's "lighten" the pictures to make sure they reproduce. Layoutwise, a very good modular format. Headline font use could have been better.

Page 2: I think our Page 2 is pretty solid now that we anchor Erika's column at the top. I didn't like this at first, but it's the best thing there. I still feel we should use a photo with the jumps, just to break up the grey. Some of our "additions" on the page - like the Arnold Gonzales and Ishmael Soto exhibit and the Family Weekend - need "real" stories. They look like ads. UPD and Green Tip very well done. Finally, the "Focus On Us" photo is again a sideshot. We can't use sideshots or backshots. Okay? Let's work on this.

Page 3: Nice tease at top on the South Texas Archives cinema exhibit. Good story and photo by Edwin on art exhibit. Poor play and photo (no cutline) on Dead Man's Cell. This should have been on pi (page one).

Page 4: A nice color page with a great ad. Wow, have we collected for this? Photo of Ricardo Martinez excellent. The story on "Wall" documentary well done by Angel. Thanks, Angel. Jason Justice had another good story, but missed lead. Don't take for granted it's "ready for print." The editors must read the story and edit it just as any another story submitted by any other staffer. On the story on the "Wall," I think we missed the assignment. We were supposed to get student response and opinion. We missed that.

Page 5: Excellent feature page with some excellent photos. The kitty on the top left is a wow photo. The lead photo of the volunteer (he is a volunteer right?) with the cat nuzzling up to him is also wonderful. Good charticle on the bottom right and a strong story. Overall, very well done. Great headline. Who thought of this? Also, could tease on "Cat Nap." Wow, well done. It's one of the highlights of the year.

Page 6: A well done ed-ops page. Only problem is the gutter going down the middle. We need to work on this. Amanda, Claudia...good commentary. Editorials, especially the "Wall," are well done, too.

Page 7: This page lacked some cohesiveness. First, when we travel to a site to cover a football game, we need a dateline. In this case, it should have said CANYON -. Also, we need to look at style. Are we AMK or TAMUK? Angela and Mark (maybe Jaime, too), please review this and choose a style. Perhaps we need an editors' meeting to decide which style we want. Mark, the story you wrote was good for Saturday morning but was not good for Tuesday. The news in this story is old. We need an advance on the biggest game at TAMUK this year, the undefeated teams of TAMUK and Tarleton State clashing at Jav Stadium on Saturday. The sports staff totally missed this. We are disappointed. Think, THINK, THINK! THINKTHINK!! And, please don't be lazy, get quotes on injuries and coming games on Monday. You have plenty, Plenty, PLENTY of time to do this. I don't like lazy people. Javelina game week for volleyball should not be on top. Not important any more. Photo by Artie excellent. Too much space on the top.

Page 8: A very nice feature on Kristin Chancellor and a very nice story on cross country by Katrina...well done. Page layout was weak. There was no BAP. Cutout was good, but should have been higher and bigger. The photo of cross country kids should have been to the top and dogleg on ad on cross country story should have been avoided. Still, a good effort here. Well done.

So, who gets KUODs. It's tough. Lots of good efforts, including Claudia's pet story and photos, Artie's coverage in Canyon, David Brott's help on Saturday, Katrina's all over the place reporting and Edwin's reporting as well. Angel, too, did a fine job and Amanda had several worthy items as well. By sheer count, Katrina has three stories and went out of town on her own time to cover cross country meet. She also has two photos. Claudia has a column and a story plus five photos. Artie's online work, along with Mark's help, while travelling to Canyon, was also quite a "volunteer" effort. Amanda had a very good front page story, layed out and designed several parts of the paper,and a solid column. We could go on and on. What's an adviser to do? Well, time for multiple awards: Katrina, Claudia and Artie. Good job guys. Thanks. You're in the pot for the $100. Good luck.

Friday, September 25, 2009

From down on the farm, to art and a documentary on "The Wall" - Sept. 22 issue had plenty of good stuff and surprising KUDOs winner

The Sept. 22 edition had several good campus event stories and showed why it is important for The South Texan to report on campus events. The front page shows it all - teasers of the Hispanic Heritage kickoff on the teasers, an article on the coming documentary "The Wall" to our campus, a report on the Mayan art exhibit at the Ben Bailey Art Gallery to fun by the ag kids ant the farm. this was a very newsy front page. The inside pages had even more campus coverage. From that standpoint, this was a very good issue. Now, let's look at this issue page-by-page:

Page 1: Nice teasers, much better. Thanks. We do need, however, to identify, at least, what these people are doing. You need to say what the girls is chewing on (jalapenos), especially with the expression on her face. And you need to identify the girls all pretty all in a row. And, you need to tell the reader who the girl singing is. The story on "the Wall" was well done and a good effort by Angel Flores. It could have been better if the date and time would have been higher up on the story. Literacy summit story had great info and a was a solid story, but lead is too long. Why? Probably 'cause it was late and the editors did not have an opportunity to ask for a rewrite or even rewrite it themselves. Edwin's Mayan story was a bit better, but he subject matter made it confusing. The Ag Olympics story by Claudia was very functional and made for a good package. I think the photos could have been stronger, however. Also, please, PLEASE get names of people in the photos. I know, no one will read this. Finally, the TAMUK engineering story by mary beth had some great information that could be found no where else. Well done. Teasers at the bottom were better, but not great. We have to be able to see things. For this to happen, we must blow-up the photos. And, if we do that, like we did on Miss Hispanic Heritage, we have to identify who the person about that?

Page 2: This was a very busy page with several elements competing for attention. I'm not sure that Erika's column should have been the lead story. Erika's column is very solid. Is she serious? Only the women known. Hahahahahahahahahaaha! Angela's Cheech Marin story also had some good information. When we have material like this that no one else has, perhaps we should use a deck to inform the public. In fact, we should have used a deck. The UPD Files story is solid and well done. However, when we have a student robbed at knifepoint, it calls for a separate pull-out story. Why didn't we do this? And, who does this? The page editor. The page editor will call the reporter and say "Give me a story on this." Green Tip of the Week again very interesting. Good job Sabrina Salinas.

Page 3: Who is that handsome devil who spoke on Hispanic contributions to the U.S. media? Perhaps we should have run the photo larger? Ha. Just kidding! Page 3 could well be our best page. It's got beauty queens, kids dancing and ROTC cadets taking oaths. It's almost a slice of Americana. Problems? Yes. to begin with, we had another label head on "Celebrating Diez y Seis de Septiembre." Why? Tell me something in the headline. Something like: "More than 400 attend opening Hispanic Heritage event" would have been nice. And, the photo of the kids - poor crop. And, always show the dancers' feet! Claudia did well with this straight news story. Sabrina had an outstanding short story on Miss Hispanic Heritage. Not bad for her first real journalistic effort. Edwin, Katrina and our ROTC guys also had good stories. Nice page.

Page 4:
Some very provocative columns and editorial. However, this page still needs to be better organized and planned. Also, Claudia, please try to break up the gutter all the way down the page. Let's try to break this up with a story across the page or at the bottom. On the content, Angela Palacios had a very strong column on Dr. Hector P. Garcia. I certainly hope the powers that be at TAMUK read and heed her message. Carlos' "Customer Service" column also had some provocative moments and just barely escaped the whiney factor. It was nice, Carlos. The editorials should be together, not separate. They should be side-by-side of one on top of the other. Content wise, both editorial were solid. Cartoon was little weak but our resident journalism guru - Adriana Tapia Garza - saved it. Ask her how she did it. Well done!!!!

Page5: Sports guys did well to cover volleyball and cross country. Nice work on photos, Adriana Perez. Best thing here is the cross-eyed cat. Did we adopt it?

Page 6: Page 6 is typical sports page. Okay. Nice photo by Artie.

And, now, KUDOs. Who get's this prestigious student journalism award this week? There were many good candidates but we are going to give it to Claudia Garcia. Claudia's energy and passion to learn, take on challenging stories and just do whatever she can to help are contagious. Claudia, you get it this time and you deserve it. We are very proud of you. Now, it's time to tighten up your stories and editing and swing for the fences. Well done.