Saturday, August 30, 2008

KUDOs and Special Awards - Back to School Issue and Aug. 26 issue

The first issue of the semester was our "Back to School" special edition which was published Aug. 21. This issue is always hard to produce because many of the students have not yet returned to campus or to their Kingsville apartments. As a result, a skeleton staff does most of the work while some assignments are produced from the students' homes and are digitally sent to the staff in charge. While meeting deadline was hard, South Texan Lab Director Adriana Garza rallied our staffers to complete all their tasks and the result was a pretty decent publication.
Back to School KUDOs: Jeremy Martinez, Yamira Gonzalez-Mendiola, Kristie Vela, Jaime Gonzalez
This year's issue was not as "pretty" as last year's, because of a lack of funds. Last year's issue was published in higher-quality paper and, thus, had the slick look to it that made it seem a bit "more special." This year's edition was published on good, ol' newsprint and it looks like a tabloid newspaper. While not as fancy, the product was as good or better.
The cover was especially well done by staff artist and cartoonist Jeremy Martinez. Featuring the traditional "Porky" Javelina logo and the College Hall Tower replica on the cover prominently, ensured that students and other readers knew that we respected the past traditions. But, then, adding "A Renewed Sprit" for a theme and having the new "screaming Javelina" logo coming from out of the word spirit, signified the future and spoke of the changing face of our university as we undergo a major construction project and embark in a new era of leadership under a new president, who is expected to be announced in September. For his magnificent cover, Jeremy Martinez gains a KUDOs to start out the year. He is "in the pot" for the $100 scholarship to be drawn from KUDOs winners at the end of the semester during the Javelina Press Club's annual "-15- Party" or Holiday Party. Good luck to him and thank you Jeremy for an excellent product. Jeremy worked on this cover several days and came up with several versions before approval. Jeremy is already an award-winning cartoonist with The South Texan, having claimed first place for cartoon in Texas Intercollegiate Press Association competition last year. Evidently, more awards await Jeremy this year.
Another person who deserves mention for this issue was our new advertising manager/spanish page editor. When funds were short and our advertising revenues from last year did not have enough money to even pay for this issue, Yamira volunteered to take charge of advertising for "at least" the Back to School issue. Her efforts - along with that of her advertising team of Jaime Gonzalez and Kristie Vela - resulted on at least 50 percent of the edition being paid for from advertising funds. She and her advertising team did an excellent job. So, they too gets KUDOs. Yamira is a transfer student from Del Mar College and she hit the road running. Yamira, you're in the pot and welcome to TAMUK Journalism. Your spirit, hard work and passion are appreciated. And, as a bonus, Jaime and Kristie also make KUDOs for their efforts in advertising as well as in the production and story flow of the Back to School issue. Congratulations to the KUDOs winners for the Back to School issue. Other staffers like Angela Palacios, Carlos Alvarado, Mary Beth Cleavlin and Bob Pena made sure this Back to School issue was a good one. Thanks, again.
First Issue KUDOs: Jaime Gonzalez, Adrian Trevino
While the "Back to School" issue is hard to produce because of many of the staffers have yet to return, the first issue of the semester is even harder to produce. Okay, so now we are all mainly together. But, there are new faces and new assignments, we must cope with a new editor and adjust again to meeting deadlines that at times seem as hard as climbing Mount Everest. Such was the case that first week as the staffers struggled to make deadline and the dreaded phrase Dr. Flores issues each week - "We're not going to make it!" - was about to be fulfilled. Through the hard work of our Lab Director - Adriana Garza - and the dedication of our editor Juan Carlos Reyes and some key staff members, the day was saved. We missed deadline, but only by an hour, according to Cecil at the Alice Publishing Co., and we did not miss our print window. The paper was published and delivered on time and was "good" for a first issue. There were many mistakes and several layout and copy editing errors, but it was a good first effort and a learning experience that will only help to make us stronger in the coming weeks. Before we go on to the KUDOs portion of this blog comment, I would like to go over some items I feel we can improve on for the coming weeks.
First, we need to finalize our style sheets. Let's make sure the same style sheets are being used on every page.
Second, let's think about using decks. For example, on the front page, we did not use Dr. Tallant's name in the headline. It's okay, but the story called for a deck, at least.
Third, the weather feature is nice, but can we maybe promote this on our web? Bob, can we get a better weather web site.
Fourth, on the front page, we have to have a kick ass photo, a good one. Yamira salvaged this by using a PDF she was given. Also, why didn't we use those PDFs elsewhere to talk about the construction? JC, you have to make sure we have a SOLID photo. Kiki, that's your help JC get a solid photo.
Fifth, when we talk about someone as important as Gene Upshaw and don't have a photo, we just at the very least run a mug shot.
Sixth, on page 2...this was a nice first effort. we need to finalize this potpourri design and come up with some standing features. Do we want to run Our South Texas there or do we move it to features? Kristie, your call. Talk to Angela and Katrina about this. You can run it every other week. I prefer the student stuff and I liked JR's stuff on internships. Also, Kristie, we must have a distinctive photo each week. You are to assign this each week and Kiki is to make it happen, somehow. Get solid information for this feature. Also, you said we will be getting the Chupi cartoon every week. Good. Nice feature for this page. And, as far the Q&A that we had last year on this page, we don't need it if you don't want it. Move it to the editorial page. Talk to Kiki about it. That's your job, just make sure that JC knows about what you're doing and that you also talk to Adriana about this.
Seventh, we missed an opportunity for a great photo with the student lenders and financial aid line story. Are you kidding me? We get photos of people's behinds and they're not even in focus. Whoa, that's not what I meant. We have three state-of-art digital cameras and Photoshop, there is no excuse for this. JC and Kiki and any other page editor, do not let photos like this get in our paper!
Eighth, the Campus News Page had a solid story and an okay picture on the Fallen Heroes. Good job JC and Bob, that was good photo once we understood. Nice artistic work. We, however, embarrassed ourselves with the story on the Oaxacan culture and exhibit. This was a major story becasue the work they did is going to be used to decorate Bishop Hall, and we ran a story that had more than 20 mistakes. We have to read every thing that goes in our paper. I know this story was late, but it was one of the most embarrassing stories we have ever run, because of the mistakes. There's no excuse. There are people in Oaxaca, freaking Mexico, laughing at us beause of this. Come on! Please do better!
Ninth, I know we have U Wire,but I can't help but think that using material like this just means we're lazy. Editorial and columns, with the experience we have, should be one of the easier chores around. U Wire is "last resort" stuff, as far as I'm concerned. There were some good points here. Jaime's Upshaw column is very good and J.C. transition column kind of got better as it went along. And, of course, the Upshaw artwork by Jeremy is wonderful. Well done. This page must be planned ahead. We must have editorial board meetings and we must write the material ourselves, if at all possible. JC and Jaime, you work with Kiki to make this page work better. Also, start plannng the election stuff now.
Tenth, the features page was an intersting one. Nice photos and an interesting column(?) by Adrian. Angela, this is your page. You noticed that Adrian, one of our new reporters, used a little bit too much commentary in his article and you decided to run his mug with an editor's note. Good job. However, you are a veteran here. As a veteran you have the responsibility to train the new staffers. Work with Adrian and others and tell them we need to cover stories as objectively as possible. I know you can do this. You have the authority to do this, so help them get better. Adrian, by the way, did an excellent job and your solution, Angela, was a good one. Good job. Also, nice attempt at having strong photos, Jaime.
Eleventh, well done on the picks and on the layouts for pages 7 and 8. I would have liked a more polished and finished layout on Gene Upshaw but both these pages were very functional and a very "sporty" feel to them with stats and other material. Juan Carlos, good job on the Atterberry story. Now, sports guys, you need to think about what makes sports interesting to our students. What we have is excellent. But, the WIIFM factor is even more alluring to the sports aficionado than others who read the paper. What do the sports nuts want to know? Oh, well, let's see, how is the quarterbck battle coming? Who is this Billy the Kid guy? Who are the better players on the volleyball team. Photos, photos, features, features, quotes, quotes about and from our players is what we need. We need to sell our players to our students so that they can be excited about being Javelinas and go cheer for those who represent us on the field of play.
Bueno, enough.
Now, for KUDOs.....Very good work by many of our students. Juan Carlos Reyes, our editor, tried to pull us all together for this first issue. It wasn't easy. Again, through the help of our South Texan Lab Director, Adriana, we salvaged deadline. Thanks. But good stories were written by Yamira, Kristie, Angela, Katrina, Mary Beth and Carlos. We did have a short staff, so several of you all wrote more than one story. Believe me, that dedication is appreciated. Many of you showed much passion in meeting deadline and turning in a story on time for us to read and correct and even rewrite if we had to do that. Some of us turned our material and layout in much too late. Please don't do that. I'll leave it at that...please don't do that. When it comes to KUDOs, it's hard for JC, Adriana and I not to be impressed by the work of our managing editor Jaime Gonzalez. In that position, he must serve as an example to others. Jaime does this by taking on more than he can chew, at times. As a result, his only fault was not having everything ready by deadline, but that was more because of first-issue consequencs then lack of effort and hard work. Jaime had a solid front page story, a solid column, three photos, four sports stories and much more. For that, Jaime gets KUDOs. Another person who was impressive this first week was cub reporter Adrian Trevino. Seldom has a freshman stepped in and just taken off running covering stories and taking pictures. He did. He did well and showed passion. Thanks, Adrian. You have a bit to go but your effort is appreciated. For that reason, you're in the KUDOs pool as well.
Bueno, this was a mouthful. Please take the suggestions to heart. Please work to make OUR newspaper better and please work to be a team. Thank you for an exciting first two weeks and, if we keep improving, I promise to stop saying "We're not going to make it!" again. Nah, just kidding.


SoTexEditor said...

It's cause Jaime is a pocket of excellence.

Long Time Hoggie said...

Yes, we have some pockets of excellence out there and hopefully they will filter into the rest of the paper.