Wednesday, April 30, 2008

KUDOS for April 22 issue

The "Lock-down" issue proved to be a good one, but with few exceptions. The articles by the lock-down staff were done very well under very trying circumstances. I was impressed with the "command center" attitude to the students when they discovered we had a big story on campus. Most reacted like professional journalists and through cell phone or internet were busy compiling data for their stories even while the lock-down was being enforced. We even got a photo of the empty campus (don't ask how). My disappointment, however, does revolve around quality photos or lack of news photos. The front page had excellent news articles, from part 2 of "A&I/A&MK name change" controversy, to the lock-down story, Miss TAMUK saga and the death of a graduate student. These were all solid stories. Page 2 focused on student issues with the "question of the week" and had a good review on a current move. Page 3 had a good variety of campus news issues. Page 4 was a solid editorial page, with the exception of no letter to the editor. We had several sent to us but we didn't use them. Page 5 and good lead art and a solid "Christians Profess" story. Page 7 had a solid "enterprise" story on the high price of gas. Good graphics, solid story make this a winner. Design was a little weak because the graphics get lost but there was lots of effort here. Good job. Page 8 had another "enterprise" story (by the way, these are stories outside of the regular beat system for a newspaper or reporter) Page 8 had a good art head and solid big photo....I would have like to have seen the story in bold face of bigger. Sports page was newsy and had solid local stories...always a good sign. Again, here I would have liked for our photos to have been stronger. The one photo-op that I wish we could have done better with was the Javelina football team visit to Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi. I wish the picture would have shown the boy who was in for a tonsillectomy. Still, well done. Now, there were several very good individual efforts for this issue. Rubi Reyes did part two of her series and teamed with Juan Carlos Reyes for a report on the lock-down. She also had a photo of students stranded in the cafeteria during the lock-down. Well done. She also designed one of the campus news pages. Kristie Vela had a good folo-up on the Miss TAMUK controversy as well as an article on how the alert system worked during the campus emergency. Kristie's Miss TAMUK story, unfortunately, was responsible for our newspapers disappearing from our news stands. Someone, didn't like the fact we wrote the truth, I guess. Still, there were plenty of papers to go around so, it didn't matter. Dominique Garcia, Kiki Ausbie and Patrick Desmond all had excellent column on the campus emergency and the staff had a good editorial on how the alerty stystem worked. In addition, Krystal Burgess had a solid column on hunger and Robert Pena continued his excellent series on TAMUK's computer system operations. So, there is plenty of praise to go around. The lock-down staff led by lab assistant Adriana Garza while most of us were away to the AAF meeting did well. But, as always, when the pressure is on, at least one person rises to the top. While this is very difficult, KUDOs this week goes to Rubi Reyes (pictured here). She is in the pot for the $100. Good luck to her and thanks to all for another good issue. It's another good 10-page extravaganza.

Monday, April 21, 2008

KUDOS for April 15 issue

As former editor of The South Texan Paul Martinez would say - "We are printing a 10-page extravaganza!" Paul is now with the Beaumont Enterprise, but he would have been very proud of the 10-page issue The South Texan staff produced for the week of April 15. The paper had solid news on pi and lifestyles with the controversial Miss TAMUK story, A good page2 layout and question, features on a variety of people and subjects (including STDs), an informative entertainment page, good sports and opinion pages and a solid page en Espanol. Well done. The only weakness was art - or the lack of powerful photos. All students did an excellent job this week, from the Spanish story on the zarzuela by Edwin Vasquez to features by Pam Hinojosa, Angela Palacios, Patrick Desmond and Jami Rash and Jaime Gonzalea, the ready was easy and entertaining. However, there were several standout performance. No. 1 this week was the performance by Jaime Gonzalez, who had five stories in this issue. Rubi Reyes and Roberta Flores (they are pictured at the top) each covered controversial stories with integrity and news savvy. Rubi tackled the controversial A&I/A&M name change issue. Her research led to the development of a series - the first for this year. Roberta covered the breaking story on the Miss TAMUK mix up which had the university crowning the wrong young women as the winner. She received several phone calls asking her not to publish the story, but she persisted and came up with a solid news story with quotes. Well done. Both Rubi's and Roberta's stories got at least regional attention. More importantly, The South Texan, thanks to them. . . got the scoop. They're in the pot for the $100. Good luck.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

TAMUK Students Compete in AAF National Student Advertising Competition

DALLAS - Members of the COMM 4306 Advanced Advertising class, the Graphic Arts Club and the Javelina Press Club participated in the American Advertising Federation's National Student Advertising Competition, April 16-19.
The Texas A&M University-Kingsville students had been preparing for this competition all semester and competed against some of the most established university advertising programs in the 10th district of the American Advertising Federation. Among the competitors was Texas State University, a former national champion. Other top universities in the competition were Louisiana State University, Oklahoma State University, University of Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Houston, Texas Christian University, Southern Methodist University, UT-Pan American, Angelo State, West Texas-A&M and others. All schools had the same project - to complete a advertising/marketing plan and strategy to help American On Line (AOL)improve their share of the online market by 15 percent. AOL representatives and judges from other sections of the country helped judge the competition.
The TAMUK team placed 13th out of 16 universities competing and created a buzz as a returning school that had not competed since 2001. "Most long-time observers felt we wound finish last or not even complete our 20-minute presentation," Todd Lucas, TAMUK art professor and sponsor of the Graphic Arts Club, said. "It is not unusual for the non-traditional participants to just not complete their program and finish last. We completed our performance, did well and learned what we need to do to improve our performance in the coming years."
TAMUK finished ahead of the University of Texas at Arlington, Hardin Simmons University and West Texas A&M. Texas State won the competition, marking the 8th time in 11 years it advanced to nationals. Last year's champ, TCU, finished second. Other top performers were SMU and OSU.
Lucas said that the presentation by the TAMUK students also generated some interest from advisers who sought him and the students out to offer graduate school opportunities.
"This was great. Our students got noticed as individuals, even though we performed as a team," Lucas said.
Lucas added that extra pressure was put on the team when senior political science and journalism major J.R. Quintanilla was chosen to represent the TAMUK Ad Team in choosing the order of the 16 presentations. Each team sent a representative to the front of the auditorium and each would ask to turn on a light bulb, representing the conference's theme - The Big Idea. As the light turned on, it would display a number that was inside the bulb. The TAMUK light bulb showed "No. 1."
"Well, that meant we were the first of 16 teams to go. We had to be ready to present at 7 a.m. We worked all night - many of us got only an hour or a little more of sleep that night - and were at the presentation room by 6 a.m. for one final rehearsal. Going first is always extra pressure, but our students were ready. They did a great job."
The class and club raised most of the money for the trip and also had help from the Student Engagement Funds and Students Services Fees.
"We thank everyone for their support, but most of all thank the students for their hard work," Lucas said.
Dr. Manuel Flores, associate professor of communications/journalism, is the lead professor in the class with Lucas assisting as a co-teacher.
"There are many improvements we can do to the class," Flores said. "It was our first time in a long while and I personally was hoping for a Top 10 finish. We didn't quite make that, but the competition is ferocious. The students who compete in this are dead serious about their opportunity and their future career. In the long run, it was a good experience for our students. It's as real-world as it gets and they met some of the people they will be competing with for jobs as they head out into the job market."
The TAMUK presenters included (pictured l to r) J.R. Quintanilla, Catherine Myers, Nereida Anaya, Vanessa Arellano and Roberta Flores. Students who helped with the props, research and technical aspects of the presentation who accompanied the team to Dallas were Carlos Alvarado, Veronica Arellano, Jeremy Martinez, Ashley Sanders, Ellie Tamez, Katherine Robinette, Ozzy Vela, Bob Pena and Diane Torres. Students who were in the class and helped with the preparations but were unable to attend were: Emily Lane Morin, Jacqueline Hutton, Carolyn Heatley, Angela Palacios, Rebecca Gutierrez, Michelle Leal, Alitrinette Scott, Mario Ramirez, Lorraine Rodriguez, Patrick Desmond, Valeri Earwood, Katrina Alejandro and Adrian Gamboa

Friday, April 11, 2008

TAMUK students win 22 awards at TIPA

TAMUK journalism, RTV and graphic art students won 22 awards - including a school record nine first place awards - in Texas Intercollegiate Press Association competition. The awards were presented at the TIPA annual convention and workshop in College Station April 3-5. The awards included a HM (5th place) recognition among Division 3 schools that includes A&M-Commerce, Midwestern State, Angelo State and A&M-Corpus Christi, among others. The South Texan Staff also earned an honorable mention (4th place) for "Best of Show" in the weekly newspaper division that included 30 universities for its Feb. 26 issue that featured coverage of the Barack Obama visit to South Texas. The South Texan Online was also rated the third best student produced website among Texas universities and colleges. Attached is a list of awards received by the staff. Thank you for your support. Below is the complete list of winners:

Catherine Myers
3rd Newpaper Ad Design
3rd Infographic
HM Online Breaking News
Angela Palacios
1st Feature Photo
South Texan Staff
1st Special Edition
(Javelina Crossing)
2nd In-Depth Reporting
(Tejano History)
1st Single-Subject (Rangel)
HM Overall Excellence
HM Best of Show

Jaime Gonzalez
3rd General Column
1st Sports Column
Dominique Garcia
HM News Story
1st Page One Design
Edwin Vasquez
1st Spanish Newswriting
HM Feature Page Design
HM On-Site Spanish News
Ellie Tamez
3rd On-Site Advertising
Jeremy Martinez
1st On-Site Cartoon
Juan Carlos Reyes
1st On-Site TV Sports News
2nd On-Site Radio Sports
Bob Peña, ST Staff
3rd Student Online Site
Kirk Notarianni
1st Radio PSA

Thursday, April 10, 2008

KUDOs April 8

The April 8 issue had much good work and some good reporting, considering that the majority of our staffers were busy with the annual Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention in College Station, April 3-6. That being said, the issue is very good. Good work on the Legacy Ball feature on the back page. The story is solid. The photos could have been stronger, but they work. Page 7 had an excellent feature story by Jami Rash on Dr. Sonny Davis. Well done Jami. Thanks. I would have liked to have seen a current photo of Dr. Davis. We assigned this. Why didn't we run it? Nice sports page. Much better from the previous week. Jav-a-stats strong again. The editorial page had two strong opinion pieces and two good columns. Good job, Kristie Vela and Michelle Leal. Page 4 had two good stories and nice modular layout. Mary Beth Cleavin and Emily Lane wrote the stories. The Chicken Wire art layout is "cute." I don't like "cute." Who did this? Page 3 is solid campus news. I'm sorry that they were all staff reports, but it works. Page 2 has a quaint layout on Miss TAMUK. I would have liked something bigger. The Who's Your Daddy layout could have been better and the question should focus more on campus news. Still, it's functional. Good job on the layout. Page 1 was a nice try. The Atterberry/Blue Angels story "clear for take off" is well thought out and the article is well done. Emily Morin and Patrick Desmond had good hard-breaking news stories on this page. That being said, Patrick Desmond gets KUDOs for this week. Patrick had a front page lead story, wrote a column for the Sports Page and designed Page 2. Great job, Patrick. You're in the pot for the $100 KUDOs scholalrship to be awarded at the "-30- Banquet."

KUDOs for April 1

It's been a hectic month, but the staff of The South Texan continues to work hard and the last two issues continue to show the progress we have made during the year. The April 1st issue, our April Fool's sorta edition, was solid with but for one mistake. We did not have a folio on pi. Was it intentional to "fool" our readers. Only our editor, Dominique Garcia, knows for sure. Nevertheless, the newspaper was solid with good strong news on the front page and a decent modular layout. Page 2 continue to be entertaining and Page 3 had solid campus news articles, all done by staffers or publications lab students. Well done. Page 4 had a solid lead photo but the University Concert stand alone photo was lost without a story. It was buried among ads. We should avoid this. Page 5 had a solid editorial, one "cute" column on Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition and a serious column on the cost of gasoline. Also, it was nice to see a letter-to-the-editor. The sports pages this week were our weakest elements, designwise. It's great info but we can do much better. There were solid stories on spring football and also the feature on Ruben Cantu (pictured here top right). Well done Claves Charles. Jaime also had a good column. Sports pages should be exciting. These two are not. These two are as functional as my old 1999 Dodge Ram pickup. Finally, Page 8 is a solid photospread on Spring Break 2008. The only thing missing here is a BAP and, perhaps, a scene setter. All the photos compete for attention and the "student element" is missing. This layout could have been better. But, hey, it's functional. In other words, like my old 1999 Dodge Ram pickup, it still works. Having said this, KUDOs this week goes to Clavens Charles (pictured here top left), our chief photographer, who wrote a solid feature for the sports page. Clavens had to do three rewrites before his feature was accepted, but he kept working at it and got it done. Well done, Clavens, your in the pot for the $100 KUDOs award. Good luck.