Friday, May 23, 2008

Heading out into the real world

The semester is finally over, and students are scurrying to find summer work, enroll for summer classes or to just relax. That's the routine for most college and university students. Unless, of course, you are a senior and graduating. That's when the stark reality that your youth may be over hits you in the face like the chill from a Texas Blue Norther coming in early in September. It's time to head out into the real world, make decisions that will impact you for a lifetime and this time truly be out on your own.
For some Texas A&M University-Kingsville seniors in the Journalism Program of the Communications Theatre Arts Department that day came sometime this May. It was time to head out into the real world. Here are some of the results:
Rubi Reyes - accepted a job as education reporter with the Victoria Advocate.
Roberta Flores - accepted an internshihp with the Seguin Gazette
Dominique Garcia - accepted a job as copy editor/designer with the Victoria Advocate
Jami Rash - accepted a job as a reporter with the Childress Index.
For others, mainly juniors, it was a time to seek out internships to gain the experience they need when it comes time to apply after graduation. Here are some of the results:
Alitrinette Scott - has accepted an internship at KPIX-TV CBS5 in San Francisco, California.
Carlos Alvarado - has accepted a public relations internship with the International Broadcasting Corp. in Washington, D.C.
Pamela Hinojosa - has accepted an internship in public administration and public relations with the Centers for Diseases Control in Atlanta, Ga.
Michelle Leal - has accepted an internship and full-time position as an account executive with Planet 102.3, Classic Rock 104.5 and JAKE 107.3 radio stations in Corpus Christi.
Katrina Alejandro - is conintuing her internship with the Nueces County Record*Star in Robstown, Texas.
Juan Carlos Reyes - is continuing his internship with the Nueces County Record*Star in Robstown, Texas.
Jaime Gonzalez -has accepted an internship in sports information with the Corpus Christi Beach Dawgs of the Continental Baseball League.
We wish these students and others who are still searching the best of luck. And, please know, you will always have a home at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The irony of graduation

Graduation ceremonies at Texas A&M University-Kingsville were held at the Steinke Physical Education Center Friday, May 16. More than 400 TAMUK students walked the stage. Among them were 14 Communications/Theatre Arts Department graduates who had completed their coursework in journalism, radio-television, speech, theatre arts or communications.
Graduation is an event full of irony and metaphor. It is an end, and yet a beginning. It is a sign of maturity, and yet many of the graduates still have much to learn and some still must continue their march into adulthood. It is a time of celebration, and yet there are tears. Fear, hope and pride are feelings which transfix each graduate as they wait for their name to be called and to be congratulated by TAMUK President Dr. Rumaldo Z. Juarez.
As the moment gets closer, the heart beats faster, the eyes search for loved ones and friends among the thousands seated in the cavernous gymnasium and the stomach feels a little queasy.
Then, the moment is at hand. The name is called. Some rush toward President Juarez as if galloping toward their last meal. Others prance through the stage as if tiptoeing through broken glass. Still others puff out their chest, mainly the young men, and walk proudly toward their destination, knowing that a firm handshake is expected of them at this moment. Some, a few, walk quickly through the ceremony, as if the thought "it's time to get on with my life" is their primary motivation. Some, after receiving their diploma, raise their arms triumphantly over their heads, trophy (diploma) in hand, as the distant cheers of loved ones echo off the SPEC walls. Others give a sigh of relief and walk slowly toward President Juarez, as if trying to stall the impending end of their university education as long as possible.
Some cry. So do some professors.
Seeing young men and young women accomplish their goals is, perhaps, the most satisfying moment for the lecturers and professors in a university. It's bittersweet. As a professor, you hope and pray they are ready. You hope and pray you did as much as possible to teach them well and prepare them for the real world, realizing that each student is different and that there is no magic pill or one style of education to reach all of them. You wish them well. If you can, you look for them a give them a "abrazo" (hug) and shake the hands of their parents, who are swelling with pride and often wiping tears from their eyes. They realize, as many professors do, it's time to let go. . . .
For the Communications Theatre Arts Department, it was time to let go of several talented students. They were:

*Vanessa L. Arellano, San Benito, Texas, Bachelor of Arts (speech/journalism), cum laude
*Patrick William Desmond,San Antonio, Texas, Bachelor of Arts (minor journalism)
*Jacob F. Flores,Bishop, Texas, Bachelor of Arts (communications/journalism)
*Roberta Flores, Dilley, Texas, Bachelor of Arts (journalism), summa cum laude
*Griselda Gonzalez, Kingsville, Texas, Bachelor of Arts (theatre arts)
*Kathryn A. LaGesse, Alice, Texas, Bachelor of Science (educaiton/journalism), cum laude
*Analicia Valdez Martinez, San Antonio, Texas, Bachelor of Arts (radio-television)
*Catherine Skye Myers, Eagle Pass, Texas, Bachelor of Fine Arts (minor journalism)
*Sunnie Ann Odom, Corpus Christi, Texas, Bachelor of Arts (journalism)
*Javier Rene Quintanilla, Premont, Texas, Bachelor of Arts (minor journalism), cum laude
*Rubi A. Reyes, Weslaco, Texas, Bachelor of Arts (journalism)
*Jami Quinn Rash, Childress, Texas, Bachelor of Arts (journalism)
*Christi Rodriguez Lopez, Kingsville, Texas, Bachelor of Arts, (theatre arts)
*Jinelle Veronique Aguilar, Sandia, Texas, Bachelor of Arts, cum laude (theatre arts)

Many of these students were integral parts of our department. Many worked on the student newspaper or broadcast media and others were part of the drama productions. They left their marks on our university and programs. Congratulations. We will miss you.
Graduation is a strange time. It's a time to say goodbye to those who nurtured you during one of the most important periods of your life, as well as a time to say hello to a new and exciting time in your life.
Adios, y que dios los bendiga.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

-30- Party set for Monday

The annual "-30- Party" will be sponsored by the Javelina Press Club Monday, May 12, at the Pizza Parlour in Kingsville. This is a time when staff members of The South Texan and the Press Club come together to reflect on a year of achievements and hard work. Awards for serving on the staff and club will be presented while the outgoing editor will bid farewell and the incoming editor will announce principal members of his/her new staff for the coming school year. The Press Club president will also say farewell and give an end-of-year review. Now, why is it a "-30- Party?" The designatin "-30-" has long been a tradition of saying it's "the end" of a story in journalism. Legend hold that its origins date back to the 19th century when reporters filing stories via telegraph from the expanding westward movement of our country had to find some way to denote the story had ended. The mark "-30-" emerged. Thus, "-30-" means "the end" in journalism. The Javelina Press Club has taken its meaning to a new level, however. Unofficial "-15-" (mid-year or end of Fall semester) parties have been known to occur. Of course, someone must have had a "-1-" party somewhere down the line. At any rate, the end-of-year function is designed to recognize the hard work of students, reflect on a job well done and investigate how each of us can improve and to make plans for the new year. It's a special time. The Javelina Press Club has added a juried contest (judged by professional journalists) to the list of events to make the meeting special. It should be fun. All J Majors are invited.

Juan Carlos Reyes new editor of South Texan

Juan Carlos Reyes, senior communications/journalism major from Corpus Christi has been appointed editor-in-chief of The South Texan student newspaper for Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
Reyes joined the student newspaper Spring 2007 but has been involved in other student publications and media prior to arriving at TAMUK. He has served as Associate Editor ad Sports Editor for The South Texan and has covered several university events including sporting events, entertainment, features and news. He was alson on the staff of The Foghorn at Del Mar College and has worked as a reporter and columnist for the Nueces County Record*Star in Robstown.
“I’ve gained enough experience and diversified myself as more than just a sports writer,” Reyes said. “I want the student body to understand that.”
Reyes received associate degrees in radio/TV and journalism from Del Mar College.
His interest in journalism began when he was asked to write a column for an advertising course while at Del Mar College. Soon after that he was asked to join the staff of The Foghorn, the award-winning student newspaper at DMC.
“I realized this is my future and this is what I want to do,” Reyes said.
Reyes said he intends on making the student newspaper at TAMUK even more student-oriented by adding more music and band reviews, features on student and faculty members and web blogs to the student newspaper’s web site.
“I think that everybody including students and faculty have something special about them,” Reyes said.
Reyes also said he intends on working well with Campus Activities, Student Activities, Dean of Students office, Student Government Association president and the TAMUK community.
“I think I have the personality to do something like that,” Reyes said, giggling.

Special News, special editions

In this era of instant communication and technology, the "extra" or "special edition" in print journalism has become a thing of the past. It takes very special circumstances for a newspaper staff to come together and produce a special issue. The news event must be of major consequence to the readers of that newspaper and it can't be just another story that will be on the evening news or can be announced on the internet. Texas A&M University-Kingsville had two such stories this past week. The first was the tuberculois (TB) scare. When it was announced that a TAMUK student had the disease and that others may have been infected, no amount of press coverage from Corpus Christi TV stations and newspapers 50 miles away would suffice. Also, in spite of the university's excellent effort communicate with students, some students continued to have questions and natural concerns. It was natural for the university's student newspaper to step forward. When the students at The South Texan saw a line of more than 50 students at the Life Wellness Center for the TB test, the staff decided it was time for a "speical edition" just to get some clarity to the situation. It wasn't enough, but seeing a university or local newspaper cover an event openly adds calm to a crisis. It's been that way since the 19th century when responsible journalists saw that adding interpretation and meaning to an event was the ethical and correct way of reporting a news event. So, the first page of a special tabloid edition of the South Texan was in the works. The second significant event happened miles away in Abilene, Texas, where the TAMUK baseball team was making some big news of its own. The Javelinas, ranked 6th going into the Lone Star Conference baseball tournament, surprised every one in the nation and won the LSC title! Problem is, it was so far away from home and the coverage was so minimal that few realized this historic athletic event had happened. The sports guys on the staff took over and thanks to the work of Sports Information Director Sean Johnson and others, page 2 of the "special edition" was planned out. The special edition was printed in the office printer at The South Texan, to save money. The students distributed the paper to the different areas. Only 1,000 copies were printed (the normal run for our paper is 4,000) and distribution was limited. The first place the paper was distributed was at Mesquite Groove, the annual end-of-year bash, and it was met with enthusiasm from students and some negative remarks from administrators and teachers. Still, it was picked up and read and a sense of calm and pride (because of the different issues covered) ensued from holding the newspaper. The South Texan staff is there for the students, and saw producing this issue as a right and a privilege. The fact that most of this students volunteered for this while we are in finals week is inspiring. No, they didn't miss out on their work. So, as a result, the "Speical Edition" is out. It came about because of special circumstances. It is significant because it is as rare as mosquitoes on a frigid night in the South Texas Brush Country. Congratulations to The South Texan staff, its new editor Juan Carlos Reyes, reporters Rubi Reyes, Kristie Vela and Jaime Gonzalez and Publications Lab Assistant Adriana Garza. KUDOs to Carlos Alvarado, Sabrina Salinas, Kiki Ausbie, Ellie Tamez, Bob Pena and Edwin Vasquez for helping with various areas of production, printing and distribution. Thanks. It's a good way to "finish" the year. We made it, finally.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Journalism graduate courses to be offered

For the first time since the 1980s, the Communications Theatre Arts Department will offer graduate courses in journalism. Offered this Summer I is COMJ 5303 - Mass Communications Research. Students will be expected to complete research projects on a variety of media topics. Among the possible research projects are viewership, listenership or readership surveys of area media. Offered this Fall 2008 will be COMJ 5303 - Hispanics in the Media. The course will revolve around doing research on the impact of Hispanics on U.S. media. Students interested in these courses can register on line, after completing admissison requirements. They are also encouraged to visit Dr. Manuel Flores, associate professor of journalism/communications, at TAMUK. Please contact Dr. Flores at ext. 3401 or cell phone 361-813-7808.

KUDOs April 29 issue

The last issue of the 2007-208 school year is out and distributed. There will be no more South Texans until the 2008 Fall Semester in September. Summer is a time for training and keeping up with the news via The South Texan Online at We encourage all journalism students and Javelina Journalism fans to keep up with the TAMUK news via the website and to continue to contact us if there are news to report.

It's been quite a year, but for right now let us review the issue at hand - April 29. First, The South Texan made a bit of history this week. For the first time in the history of the journalism program at TAMUK, A&I, South Texas State Teachers College or whatever this university has been called, the university's student newspaper published in two sections. There was an 8-page Section A and a 4-page Section B, completing a 12-pager full of information and data pertinent to the university's student body, faculty and staff. To Dominique Garcia, editor-in-chief, and her staff, congratulations.

There were many good stories in this issue. Last start with pi, page one. A newsy front page is a must for college journalism and this one did not disappoint. The death of a university official is always sad to report, but this story on the top strip was done with class and dignity. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Trudy Anderson. She will be missed. The article on the students at the students at the University Family Housing Unit being asked to vacate the buildings was touching and well done as well. It was accompanied by a solid photo of a father picking up his child's tricycle. I would have liked to have seen more quotes here, but I know the story was done on deadline. The story on the TAMUK/A&I conflict brought to conclusion a 3-part series by Rubi Reyes. Good job, Rubi. But we missed something. We needed an accompanying editorial reaching our own conclusion on the debate. It was written and it didn't run. This was a mistake from the editorial page editors. At the very least, a column was needed.

A2 is solid. The final exam schedule is always a "must run" on the last issue of the semester. Page A3 had some solid campus news with a review of the visit by the Chancelor, a story on a retiring associate vice president and news stories on The South Texan's website and on Earth Day at TAUMK. Well done. A4 was a pleasant surprise. Sunnie Odom's story on drinking and driving and the accompanying layout provided a solid page. The opinions page had two solid columns and a solid editorial on the presidential search. This is where the TAMUK editorial should have run. It was ready, but I guess news judgment, or lack thereof, got in the way. Page A6 included a review of several editorial and a farewell column by Dominique. It was solid. Page 7 featured sports and had good stories. We still need to use bigger photos and more attractive layout on sports. Maybe this will come next year. Page 7 was the last Spanish page for the year and it included some solid photographs and stories from Edwin Vasquez, The story on Dolores Huerta is very well done. Now, for the B Section. While B1 stands along as a section front, it is not as strong as I would want it to be. I was glad to see the article on the new SGA president and the story on Mesquite Groove. The story on the University Police adding two new cars was also well done but I was disappointed with the photo. We need our UPD patrol officers in the photos boasting and showing pride about about the new cars. B2 as the entertainment page featured a review of Big Love, the final drama production of the season, and a story on the senior art exhibit. But, we save the best for last, Page B4, the lifestyles page and final page of Section B and th newspaper were excellent. Kristie Vela's "My Iraq" was very sell done and the photographs brought the story to the forefront. Kristie's last page was a great way to end the first two-sectioned newspaper in Javelina Journalism history. It was a great way to end a long and trying semester and a good way to allow me to say "well done" to the staff. Thanks, staff, for a great job this year. You've helped maintain the standard and we will work to make it even better. Kristie, (pictured at top) by the way, gets the last KUDOs of the year. She's in the pot for the $100. Well done, Kristie. Thanks.