Saturday, November 29, 2008

KUDOS, Nov. 25 Issue

To use an athletics analogy, you don't measure a good team by how well they did in the first quarter or first part of the season. You don't take the score at halftime or at mid-season and say, "Well, that's it." You don't look at the results toward the end of the season or game and simply throw in the towel. No, you don't do that. A good team is measured by the sum of its parts, at the end of the game or the end of a season. A good team learns from its mistakes, adjusts, works together and sets its sights high. And, when the final buzzer sounds and the game is over,that's when you look at the score and measure the worth of the team. As Yogi Berra used to say (all of you know who Yogi is, right?), "It's not over til it's over!" Amen. And so, as we near the end of the first semester - literaly, the end of our first game, things seem to be coming together and our hard work is reaping benefits. The Nov. 25 issue was a good one, overall. We had a "scoop" - a story no one else had before us - and that's worth gold in journalism. We also had a good legal story on pi with the tax free book week and solid city improvement story on pi. Both these stories could have been stronger, but no one else had them and we can always do folo-ups. As for the Billy Garza story, Jaime stuck with it until he could verify it. KUDOs, literally, to him. We got this story before mainstream media got it. The Valley did have it this weekend, but we scooped them. Page 2 was a little better and Melinda Sepulveda did a good job in her first layout assignment. Good reviews and a good Chupi and, most importantly, a correct staff box. Tania's story on the art students on page 3 was very appropriate. Juan Carlos had another solid review and Savannah had a good news story on this page. Page 4, ed-ops, had two solid columns, a cute editorial and a slamming editorial and accompanying editorial cartoon on Catholics. Wow. Lightning is sure to strike us now. Our Lady of Victory, as the Notre Dame football team would say, "Pray for US!" Page 5, solid sports page except for the graphic I added in Jav a Stats. Evidently, I did not put it in the photo box in the server and it did not update. My mistake. But, we should have caught this on the PDF. Always open PDFs to make sure all the stuff is there. Back page is cute and I look wonderful, don't I? Ha! We should have gotten other people for this, but cie la vie (such is life in French, I think. Kristie, is that right, ha.) Well, a little known fact as I look at that turkey on page 6. My nickname in middle school was guajoloton (which means Big Turkey). Don't ask why. Basically, I have been the size I am today since I was 11-12. So....well, never mind. Take care y good job. As for KUDOs, it's hard to not name Jaime for the honor. Also, Kristie had two front page articles and she too is making a rebound of sorts. Well done. So, both of you - Jaime and Kristie - get KUDOs. You in the pot for the $100. Good luck. And, for the record, uno mas (one more). Let's go get it......

Saturday, November 22, 2008

KUDOs Nov. 18 Issue

First, thank you for stepping it up while I was sick, Monday, on press day. You all got 'er done. Thanks. Now, I know we were late, but the dateline says it's Thursday, Nov. 18? Wow. Well, it was almost right. I guess we can take a shot at the date and's like 50-50 we're going to make deadline. Again, when things are late and there is no pi photo ready, every thing becomes a distraction and little details like this...the one's that make a difference between excellent, good and average or just plain lousy....are missed. We can do better. We will try. The layout on pi is unimaginative and boring. We had a great story on Rumbo al Anac'ua and on the Foundation. Why didn't we have photos of that? Rumbo would have been a better lead photo and it involves our department. Why didn't we even run a photo of that. By the way, the story on Rumbo lacked depth. The Economic troubles story needed at least mugs...don't you think? Wow, guys, plan. Please, plan. Design ahead. Find the photos. Wow, guys. Plan, think. Think WIIFM. The photo of construction was a nice grab,but ...oh, never mind. Again, JC and Angela and Kiki (as chief photographer) must take care of having a solid pi photo every week, every week. Same holds true for Focus on Us, every week, every week. Wow. And, how embarrassing...we have a "staff reports" story on pi. Nice that we did, but we write everything for pi....unless the world caves in and we fall into China. Wow. This is planning, organization, etc.

Page 2....same song, same verse....again, lack of planning and organization led us to find a sports photo for Focus on Us. It's also a boring sports one in the stands....nice touch, Patrician and Angela had nice stories here.

Page 3 was a nice page. Modular. I see where we ran a house ad. Cute. Edwin had a nice story on Norma Cantu. Not much else.

Page 4 again was solid. A nice editorial page with a mix of columns and stuff. Where were letters to editor, at least one. Oh, when we run a professor's column it's called "Forum" by tradition started by Paul. But, it was very good, but I liked Amanda's column better. Well done, Amanda.

Page 5 - wow, finally, a real BullFest photo. Wow. Nice work. A bit crowded but much information.

Page 6 was a nice effort but our big photo was too weak and it ruined the layout, which reproduced horribly. Also, we gave Jackie Thomas the plague. Ha.

KUDOs? Jaime Gonzalez and Amanda Marcum stand out in my mind. Jaime's work on the Foundation story took much time and research. Amanda's first-ever column for us was solid. So, they get it.....congratulations.

We're almost over..we're going to make it....I think...

KUDOs Nov. 11 Issue

First, don't be confused by the date on the front's Tuesday, Nov. 11. Sorry I didn't catch this. However, as you may recall, it was past noon and we had no lead photo for the front page, so who has time to look at the details? How did this happen? It goes to show we are not a true staff. A staff picks each other up and takes care of fellow staff members. A staff doesn't take advantage of its editor or advisers and say, "Oh, JC, Angela and Jaime or Dr. Flores and Adriana will take care of it." That shows gross disrespect for these people, the tradtiion of The South Texan, our student body and the profession of journalism and communications. It also shows that those who do this may not want to be part of something which some of us consider very special. It's depressing. Nonetheless, we perservered and JC, Angela, Jaime, Dr. Flores and Adriana did their best to take care of a very critical situation. It's depressing. Page one is passable with a pixelized photo of BullFest that we scrounged up at literraly at the lat minute, thanks to JC. I tried to make it work. The photo scheduled to run was Greek Week, but there were none. Someone dropped the ball and it wasn't done and no one called in time so that we could take care of finding another one...I know, don't won't to hear. This is total disrespect for the staffers who work had and to our student body, the profession of jouanlism, etc. The highlight of page one was Erika Hernandez's story. Solid. Now, JC and Angela, since you both are in charge of pi, when a story like this is the lead, please think first about photos, next about graphics and finally about infographics. They have to be done in advance. JC or Angela, when you do a dummy, you must place this in the dummy and assign, get it ASSIGN someone to do it before Monday morning or Monday noon. This represents a total lack of organization. The one page that must be planned down to a "T" earlier in the week is Page 1. It's the window to our newspaper. Teaasers, photos, graphics, decks, hammers, cutlines....all must be planned before we even set foot in the office Monday morning. Oh well.

Page 2....we followed formula layout again. Thank God! But, again, there was no Focus on Us photo. Why? So we do what we do best, find a canned sports photo. It worked, but it needs planning. This represents a total lack of respect for the staff. The inability for either the chief photographer, p2 designer or editor to come up with one pinche photo for one pinche page is depressing. It hurts! I know ...lalalalalalalalalalalala. I'm sorry. There were some nice stories by Angela, Amanda and Edwin and Leanna had a strong "Police Blotter" again. Thanks.

Page 3 had Campus News and, lo and behold, a Greek Week photo. It was only the biggest social event of the year for Greeks and we had to go beg, borrow or steal a photo. KUDOs for perseverance to whomever clutched this photo away from someone's desktop. It's a nice page.

Page 4 had one of the best editorial cartoons in recent Palacios has certainly grown up and will some day be the replacement for Jeremy Martinez, out cartoonist and the best in the state last year. Wow. Also, great columns by Jaime - wow, he was pro Palin - and Tania (with some rewrite, but she's learning). Layout wise, very solid. Who did it?

Page 5 was our first "Letters to the Editor" page of the year. It was nice.

Page 6 was solid a sports page. It still lacks a "big photo." But, hey, Kiki must have a thing for Billy Martin. She got another good action shot of the Javelina running back. Also, here, Jaime did a great job on a column. It's local, well-researched and makes a solid point that has implications at the conference and national level. Well done Jaime. I enjoyed it.

As for KUDOs . . . .I'm singling in on two people. Our cartoonist Ernest Palacios and our managing editor Jaime Gonzalez. Ernest's creativity bloomede with this cartoon. Jaime is simply relentless and shows his depth of knowledge and understanding for journalism by taking on a front page story, a solid ed-ops column, designing the sports page and writing a solid sports column. Jaime, you the vato. So, both Ernest and Jaime are in the pot for the $100. Congrats. Good luck.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

KUDOs Nov. 6 issue

Well, this could have been a great issue. In many ways, it was solid. The pi layout and the back page layout kind of salvaged this edition. But, even the pi layout was flawed. The story, which was very good by Mary Beth Cleavelin, is not readable. A poor print job by Alice soured this otherwise very solid page design and I messed up by not counting on my experience and telling you that type was too small to pass the Alice Publishing litmus test for a reverse type layout. I knew that, but said nada. Well, let's examine why. It all boils down to the vast majority of the staff not doing its work. We asked for an extension for pi and maybe another page, from the Monday deadline to Wednesday morning. This means we had plenty of time to get the other pages together and read and fix them and make sure they were solid and professional and (whatever). Instead, no one worked Monday. No one worked Tuesday and no one had finished products on Wednesday for us to read, proof, make sure it was correct, etc. I wound up doing most of page 2, editing the columns, and Adriana did the ed-ops page. Are you kidding me? In the meantime, we had no time - I repeat - no time to do a comprehensive and scholarly (yes, this is scholarly) study of design and content because Alice was calling asking "Where's the paper?" Again, I plead with you (no one is listening or reading this I know) to finish the editorial page, P2, the Campus News Page and most of the sports page by Sunday so we can fine tune it on Monday and not be on !@#$%$* rush. I know, no one is reading this. We will just continue to wait til the last minute 'cause we work well under pressure. Maybe, but as of this week, two of us have had chest pains and it's not getting easier. Please do your work. Please finish P2, the ed-ops page, campus news, most of sports and pi by Sunday so we can fine tune on Monday and make adjustments where needed. Page editors must finish their pages or just say "I can't do this no more." Also, JC, let's see if we can "review" preliminary layouts at the very least Friday afternoon. The layouts, look at the Campus News page, are sophomoric and deserving of a D5 paper. We're D3. We can do better. Come on? I would like to do a page-by-page evaluation but it's useless. Nothing is ready until after the noon on deadline day, and by then it's just "let's get this paper out of here!" For example, the ed-ops page had that column by Bob that has too much leading, too much. There were several stories with too much or too little leading. We know better, but we couldn't fix it cause we didn't have time. The ed-ops page also had Nndy's picture darker than the caverns of Carlsbad. We should have fixed this and we all know how to do it but (join with me here) "WE DIDN'T HAVE TIME!" The same can be said about the "blue" picture of groundbreaking and we should have had a more solid picture of this. Get on the ground. Take a picture of the shovel, which by the way had a big picture of HOG!. Wow. The Hog, getting dirty, into the make a good photo.
There were some good points on pi. We didn't have a teaser 'cause the most important story of the 21st Century was going on, and that was good. We, instead, had a horizontal tease line at the bottom of the page. That was good. It looks nice. And, our "weather" eggs made sense. How did we do this? Wow. And, I would be remiss if I didn't mention what a fine job Mary Beth did with her story. Too bad (say with me here) NO ONE COULD READ IT! Why? Okay, (say with me here) WE DIDN'T HAVE TIME TO EVALUATE THE TYPE SIZE CAUSE ALL OF US WERE LATE, LATE, LATE AND DIDN'T WORK, WORK, WORK ON THE EXTRA DAYS AND ADDED TIME WE HAD. We could have done better and we will.
On P2, well, we didn't have the PacMan photo in the layout until noon Wednesday. Why? We took the photo last Halloween. And, it didn't fit the fortmat. Oh, what does that say? Use another picture, crop it in Photo Shop or use different bastard measures to make it fit. On P2, the blotter was solid, Chupi was cute and JC's review was excellent. On page 3, what a waste of space with that blurry picture of Tallant, our blue president. We needed to fix this in Photo Shop. Why didn't we? Say with me now -WE DIDN'T HAVE TIME CAUSE ALL OF US WERE LATE, LATE, LATE AND DIDN'T WORK, WORK, WORK ON THE EXTRA DAYS AND ADDED TIME WE HAD. Oh, on this page stories were solid but the best things were the ads. The Squirrely's ad is cool. Editorial page had some solid writing and great local cartoon. The edtorial was solid and timely. On sports page, we had one great picture - Billy Martin running. We should have run this bigger. The other two pictures were "stretched." We didn't fix this because, (say it with me now) WE DIDN'T HAVE TIME CAUSE ALL OF US WERE LATE, LATE, LATE AND DIDN'T WORK, WORK, WORK ON THE EXTRA DAYS AND ADDED TIME WE HAD. Oh, congratulations to Jaime on the wonderful prediction record he has. Nice work. And, finally, page 6. it's solid.
Mary Beth's last-minute work (as it was supposed to be) was excellent. Her post-election story was well written, had several quotes and had excellent information. So, she's in the pot again Well done, thanks!

KUDOs Oct. 28 issue

This was a very solid issue with a unique and powerful double-truck editorial page section on the upcoming presidential election. Except for reproduction issues (we had a blue Dr. Tallant again), this could be our best effort this year.
Page 1
On pi, teaser was solid, main stories (Dia de los Muertos and Jav-a-Ride) were informative and trailer at bottom of page on Round Table (by the way, they are capitalized) was informative. Tania Garcia did an excellent job on these stories and is approaching the time when we can no longer call her a "cub" reporter. This girl's a real bear of a reporter. Ha. Well done, Tania, and thanks for your passion and hard work. On the lead art, Bob Pena must be having visions of the Chupa Cabra, or is that "Porkey's" father? Whatever, it's "Forever (Por Vida)!" dude. Our weather "eggs" look like they're fried this time. I guess that means a change in the weather. Don't know? I still think they should be down in the rail and that news should be a the top of this rail. I also think that we need news briefs here for late-breaking news. What do you think? I know, no one will respond and it will be the great mystery of the year at our news desk. Yes, we have a news desk. Can someone find it?
Page 2
Page 2 continues to improve but it is always late and that cuts into our editing time on Monday a.m. Amanda and Patricia had solid stories. Good job. Chupi made some sense. Nice Jeremy. "Focus on Us" still weak. Again, this should be the Chief Photographer's and P2 editor's job. Has anyone told Kiki about this? I know she doesn't read this,but we're still a team. Or, Kristie, are you coordinating this with someone new? If so, this has to be complete, solid, with cutline info, etc. Also, if you need it wider, you can make "By the Day" thinner with a bastard measure. But, you won't know this until you select the paper. In other words, even the P2 formula layout is flexible. Only you can do this, Kristie. The others are busy with their work. You also need to be in the office Monday to finish your page. Please try to do that.
Page 3
Page 3 had two very solid columns and among the best I have read since my time here at the South Texan. Kristie's "undecided" column is provocative, intelligent and inspiring all at once. It's hard being a young voter and it's hard to figure out the issues. Kristie wrote not only from the heart, but here mind and soul. Think about it. Nndy (Is that how we spell it) has a true flair for writing. He is a welcomed addition to editorial page.
Pages 4-5
Simply a wow! This is as good an ed-ops double-truck as I have ever since in college journalism. We could have used more graphics, but it's fair to say that all of the elements stand alone and are solid. The two "cases" (Jaime and Nndy for Obama and Mary Beth for McCain) are among the best essays any one in our university could have written. Wow. Really, wow! The endorsement editorial is also very good. Juan Carlos, this is the type of leadership and writing you have to show to help lead the way. This is serious stuff and your insight and passion for this certainly added credibility to this 2-page spread. Thanks. Please keep this type of "thinking" up. And, the final design came from Angela Palacios. Angela, you need to be a leader in the design area for all pages. J.C., you need to re-think Angela's role in our paper. Well done, Angela. Also,nice cartoon from Jeremy was a nice finishing touch. Guys, the opinion pieces in this edition of The South Texan were solid. Thank you!
Page 6
Sports is solid. It has two strong stories and one good picture. The Peterson picture is also good, but poor reproduction killed it. I still think we need to "advance" stories rather than just report old news, but this works.
Page 7
A good idea for Spanish Page, but there is nothing new here. We need some enterprise stories to spruce this up. This are just translations. It's obvious we need more planning. Let's make sure our next Spanish page is planned appropriately. On the upside, we had three solid pictures.
Page 8
This is a solid photo spread It had just a little too much copy at the top. Also needed more white space. I think the person who did this page is awesome. Who was it?
AS for KUDOs....who get's it? In an edition like this where there is much quality and hard work, it's hard to single out one person. So, my thoughts are that the ed-ops team should all get KUDOs. They are: Angela Palacios, Mary Beth Cleavelin, Nndy Oheri, Kristie Vela, Jaime Gonzalez, Juan Carlos Reyes, Jeremy Martinez, Ernesto Palacios, Kiki Ausbie. You're in the pot. Congratulations. See you at the "-15-" Party.