Sunday, September 21, 2008

KUDOs for Sept. 16 issue

First, thank God all of us are safe. A scare from a hurricane often puts journalists in harm's way. Last Wednesday, when we met to discuss the publication schedule in case the hurricane hit our area, there was both a sense of urgency and anticipation in the air. I appreciated the journalistic and professional attitude of all who were present - JC, Jaime, Mary Beth, Jaime, Edwin, Kiki, Adriana (I don't remember the others, but there was a lot going on). Assignments were made. We all understood what we were doing. Immediately, we must point out the work of two of our students - Mary Beth Cleavelin and Edwin Vasquez. Mary Beth took it upon herself to head to the hurricane-torn area to get a first-hand look and report on how strong the damage had been to the Houston-Galveston area. The devastation was unreal, and Mary Beth was there. Her photos and stories were poignant and solid. Edwin Vasquez was the first on the staff to recognize the news value of what was happening on our campus Wednesday prior to school being let out. Edwin noticed the scores of National Guard troops and trucks lined up along University Boulevard and Santa Gertrudis Ave. and immediately set out to take pictures and interview the guardsmen. His news instincts were superb and he is to be commended for his efforts.I also want to thank Juan Carlos Reyes for his column and news story on Michelle Leal's husband, one of our students, who tried to save a person who drowned as the hurricane approached. Juan Carlos' story and column were well done and actually we had a news exclusive. Angela did her usual goo job with the layout - she's becoming "Circle Girl," but very effective in this case. The only thing we have to watch for in a photo layout is that we have one solid BAP. One solid lead big photo. The photos compete for attention and that is distracting. Of course, the problem is that we had so many good photos. In another case like this, run three or four at the most and refer to the web for more marvelous photos. Okay? Also, the colors were too dark. Because they are dark, the text is hard to read. No matter how good the layout is, if you can't read the text, the photo layout won't work. This concept was almost true for pi this week. The front page lead photo of the hurricane in the gulf, which still needs a cutline by the way, printed out too dark in some issue and reading the copy was hard. By the way, Edwin's and Jaime's story was very good. The timeline is also a good touch. The only disappointment was that the photo of the bus was too dark here and the photo of Vera was "fuzzy." Homero Vera should not be a fuzzy character. Page 2 was good. The Q&A was a good touch but is unlabelled - in other words it needs a headline. The "Focus on Us" is lame. We need a good strong photo here every week, every week. Kiki, this is you job and Kristie, you find an assignment to cover this. Okay? Film review is bogus. No rating stars, no Hog's heads, now a grade of "D." Pick a symbol and stay with it, and also run a photo of the movie so it won't be so grey. Okay? Our South Texas graphic works, but barely. Bugs must be distinctive and add to the layout, not distract. And, the photo of the bridge is like from the 1970s, what's up with that? Plan, Plan, Plan, Plan...Please Plan. Page 2 is the easiest page to layout and design. Please, let's work on this. Sports is functional. Clavens had a good action photo. Thanks. Well, back to the start. KUDOs? We hav to give it to Mary Beth and Edwin. Both showed wonderful news judgment and Edwin "rode the storm out" here in Kingsville. He was ready for action and his photos were timely and newsy. Well done, both of you. You're in the pot for the KUDOs Award. Congratulations.

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