Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Journalism, RTV students attend NAHJ Regional Conference; Dr. Flores speaks on history of Spanish-language newspapers in the U.S.

On the left of this posting is the logo of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. The organization has become increasingly important to communicators and journalists in our nation as the Hispanic population increases. For that reason, Texas A&M-Kingsville journalism, radio-television and design students have become actively involved with the organization. Through the Javelina Press Club and help from student engagement funds from the university, nine Texas A&M University-Kingsville students attended the Region V National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention in San Marcos, Texas, Feb. 29-March 1. At the convention the students listened to presentations and panel discussions on a variety of news issues impacting Hispanics and the nation, as well as received updates on a variety of new software for everything from blogging to podcasting. The students who attend were Ellie Tamez, Rubi Reyes, Roberta Flores, Catherine Myers, Adriana Garza, Carlos Alvarado, Edwin Vasquez, Bob Pena and Jaime Gonzalez. They were accompanied by Dr. Manuel Flores, associate professor of journalism/communications, at TAMUK. Dr. Flores opened the conference with a presentation on the celebration of 200 years of Spanish language journalism in the United States. Dr. Flores explained that in 1808, the first bi-lingual Spanish language newspaper was published in Louisiana. It was called "El Misisipi," which is featured at the top of this posting. Dr. Flores said that the tradition of Hispanic journalism in the United States is one that has been constant since those dates and that in the 19th century more than 1,000 Spanish language newspapers were published in what is now the United States. Today, there are Spanish radio stations, television stations, newspapers and magazines - many of which use a bi-lingual format - that flourish and continue to serve the nation's Hispanic population. Dr. Flores said is important for all journalism students in college today, in particular Hispanic students, to realize the contribution of Hispanics to the journalism traditions of the United States. "Many people think that Hispanics are Julios come lately to the journalism scene in our country. That's the furthest thing from the truth. The Spanish influence of newspapering in the new world has been with us since the 16th century and, in what is now the United States, dates back to the early 19th century. Hispanic journalism is evolving as our language becomes more acceptable. But, make no mistake about it, Spanish-language journalism in the United States has a long and honorable history."

KUDOS for Obama issue

Usually, KUDOS is reserved for one or two top quality performances by student journalists on The South Texan staff. However, after reviewing the Feb. 26 (Obama) issue, that trend will change. The issue was one of the best produced by TAMUK student during the past two years and congratulations are due to all. Add the stories of the search for the new student president, plus the excellent columns and endorsements of the editorial page, as well as solid sports coverage and you have a solid newspaper that had local, state and even national impact with its writing, layout and design and photography. Good job by all. There were some disappointments, however. In spite of the solid editorial double truck design and the excellent columns and comments on this page, I would have preferred for the endorsement editorial to be a little longer. Perhaps, however, that's all the room we had. In that case, Juan Carlos Reyes, ed-ops page editor, did a wonderful job. So, after much consternation, here are the KUDOS winners for this issue: Juan Carlos Reyes, Javier Quintanilla, Michelle Leal, Dominique Garcia, Roberta Flores, Mary Beth Cleavelin, Edwin Vasquez and Sabrina Salinas. However, if we had to single out some people, it would be the photographers. The baseball photo by Sabrina Salinas was excellent. Better yet, however, was Roberta Flores' striking photo of the Obama supporters by Corpus Christi Bay, which is featured with this posting. Roberta caught the moment and got all their names (not always an easy task). The photo carried the back page spread and, surprisingly, reproduced well. Congratulations to all of these students. Hard work pays off and I know