Sunday, March 15, 2009

KUDOs - March 10 issue

It was nice to see the March 10 issue. It was solid. We had a solid front page and several good layouts and we had some very good stories. It was also good to go on Spring Break with a solid issue. I think we showed much class and dignity by running the SGA story at the top of pi, along with a photo of the SGA president. The fact that there seems to be a rocky relationship between SGA and The South Texan should never preclude us from covering a story properly. SGA did a good job, it was big news and it go proper play. Well done.
And, here we have another sports story on pi. Well, it was even bigger than the other story and the fact we had the word "Madness" on the front page attracted many readers who did not realize that Division II had its own version of "March Madness." Page 2 had its usual standing columns and there is not much to say, except "good job." Adrian's column on gaming was interesting. We should consider making it a regular feature. Pages 3 and 4 had some good stories, but they were not well-written. The TV2 story should have been more powerful. Both pages, however, were very "newsy" and it shows we are trying to cover the campus as well as we can.
The Ed-Ops page had a great cartoon by Robert Pena as the ol' A&I logo is scolding the new A&M logo. Ha. This is not necessarily true, but it gets the point told very well and coincides well with our editorial below. As for Nndy's column, well, I agree with it. It's daily newspaper level quality. Really! The Athletic Fees editorial also very well done and researched. Nice page. Sports has some very solid stories and excellent pictures. Again, my grip, run at least one photo BIG!
Pages 7-8 also have interesting stories.
KUDOs....that's hard this week. Everyone was working to get the stories in on time. KUDOs goes to Tania for her front page story and for working on improving our advertising.

KUDOs - March 3issue

The March 3 issue had a sports story on the front page. We usually don't do this, except for rare occasions. Is this a rare occasion? Well, we're back in the conference tournament after being absent one year....and we had a good lead photo to go with the story...and, well, it was a slow news week. Most of our news happened outside of our campus - like the death of Mary Kleberg and the action by the Kingsville City, basketball was our lead "campus" story. The only thing wrong was our headline, which was sort of grammatically incorrect. It should have said, "Basketball Team on Its Way." That being said, it was also a weak headline. We really need to work on our headlines. Oh, well. Kristie's story on the Rhode Hall bat situation was solid and cute (I don't like cute!) and added spice to the issue. The last section on pi was the teaser and therein lies a story all by itself. The teaser points to a "Gonzo-style" story on the Talent Show by Juan Carlos Reyes, our editor. Seems as if JC had a vested interest in this story because he was a participant. He lost, badly, according to the judges, but not according to JC. Now, I feel foolish 'cause I asked JC to do the "Gonzo-style" piece beforehand and felt it would be a good opportunity to continue our practice of using this type of article when the occasion called for it, and it seemed like this one did. Well, at any rate, it became another formidable confrontation between The South Texan and SGA. There is a lesson to be learned from this, and I am the one to blame for the controversy. While there is nothing wrong with Gonzo-style reporting and it is in fact an accepted standard of journalism and has been for a long time, we are not an "alternative newspaper." That being said, when our readers see this type of reporting, they misunderstand our purpose. It's not a column, it's not an editorial and it's not even an analysis. So, why the commentary and personal reporting? Well, the lesson is this: whenever we are covering an event in which we plan to do a Gonzo piece, we must also plan to have a solid news story. If you look at page 3 and read JC's piece, I think you will agree with me. The photo spread accompanying the Gonzo piece makes it look as if it's straight reporting. It's not...thus the confusion. Add to this the fact that JC blasted some of the members involved in his MySpace page, and you further complicate the situation. JC should not have done this and this is his personal mistake. That being said, witnesses at the talent show did say that JC should have placed in the top 3. He didn't, but that still doesn't excuse us not covering the event properly and with class, dignity and respect for all involved. We didn't do this and this truly saddened me and gave me some sleepless nights. Next time, however, we know better and if you are ever in a similar situation you now know what to do. I won't go into it, but SGA also had some blame here....they, too, were lacking class, dignity and respect in this instance and it continued for several days when they confronted us about the story. This, too, saddened me, but I didn't lose sleep over it since we at The South Texan now expect these attacks.
Speaking of classy, Page 2 was full of "good stuff" with Bob's and Serbrina's "Green Tip of the Week" , Katrina's and Savannah's "Jav-A-Style" and Erika's column. Very nice. I think this was our best page this issue.
On Page 3, nice photos and an interesting Gonzo piece by JC make this page very readable. Tania's Black History Month coverage also deserves mention.
The Ed-Ops page was attractive and had some very poignant issues, including a guest column by TAMUK Foundation Board Member Hector Farias. This Forum is a good example of the editors making a decision to run a "letter to the editor" which was too long. Every time we to this, however, we must understand that the other side also deserves to be heard and when the other side sends in their forum, they will be given "equal time." It's only fair. On this occasion, we had tried several time to hear the other side but the other side never responded to our comments. Wow, we had two letters-to-the-editor. This is a solid
editorial page.....nice layout, too.
Sports had some great photos. Sabrina Reyna, good job. Guys, next time we have some good photos let's run one BIG. Okay? Remember...BAPs.
This brings us to the last page.....superb job by Edwin Vasquez with the photos and story. Very well done and very strong. It's worthy of KUDOs. Edwin, congratulations.

KUDOs - Feb. 24 issue

This was a very "newsy" issue with a solid front page in one the most important moments of the 21st century in TAMUK - Dr. Steven Tallant's inauguration. We covered this story well with a solid story by our editor and a good color photo spread in the back page. On Page 2, "The Green Tip of the Week" was really good. Thank you. Bob. Edwin also had a solid story on Chuy Negrete's visit. And, that Erika, wow! Katrina had two solid stories, one on Javapalooza and another on the Bell Tower, according to the bylines. Opinions was again solid. Nndy's "The reasoning behind Black History Month" is certainly powerful. Sports again solid. A good, small 6-page paper. Solid in several ways. As for KUDOs, we go with Nndy this week. Congratulations.

KUDOs - Feb. 17 issue

An interesting issue with an interesting BAP on page one and a quality story on Michael Nava make this edition of The South Texan, well, an interesting one. If that wasn't enough, the Foundation story by Jaime on pi was excellent. Quality reporting like that is hard to find, but Jaime found a way. This story is not over....we will be reporting more on this issue and Jaime should be on top of it. . . . . On pi, it was also good to see the brief on Tallant's inauguration. I still think that we missed an opportunity here by not playing this up bigger in the last two issues. Carlos and Angela also had good stories. Page 2 was solid with one of the most interesting Green Tip of the Week. Well done, Robert C. Pena. Erika's column again is interesting. She has great potential. Focus on Us, still lame. Juan Carlos Reyes' take on author Michael Nava's visit to the campus was solid and the photo very interesting. I also enjoyed Adrian Trevino's "Gonzo piece" on "Singled Out." While I don't encourage Gonzo-style journalism, we need to take advantage of opportunities to "practice it" and Adrian did a good job with this piece. Ha, he did better with the journalism work than with his chances on "Singled Out!" Juan Carlos continued his busy and well-done work with his Black History article on Dr. Angela Stallworth. The Ed-Ops Page was solid with a great editorial cartoon and a very provocative column by Nndy Oheri. The editorial on the proposed sports fee, while not solid, makes a good point. It's silly to spend money on sports with the economy in the shape it is in and also with the prospects of increasing student fees with this and other proposals for our university. Jaime's column is also well done. While the ed-ops page was a lot of fun for its column and editorial, the most fun were the two letters. Ha. Sprinklers....really." Sports had good action photos, good writing and solid stats....all essential for a good sports page. The Espanol page was well designed and well-written. Thank you Edwin. Edwin and JC each wrote four stories for this issue. Yes, indeed, a solid little issue. Pi carried it well. As for KUDOs, well I don't know. At this point I would say it goes to Edwin and J.C.

Friday, March 13, 2009

FEb. 10 Kudos

This was an excellent issue with good photography, good reporting and decent layout. Page 1 set the scene with the coverage of the nearby Kingsville fire by Greg Stelfox. Greg took excellent pictures and we were able to run three of them. The picture of the cross amidst the burned debris is excellent and the photo of the inferno that was a series of houses also shows the ferocity of the fire. I wish we had shown more of the cross and run the photo bigger, but space constraints and breaking news stories kept us from that. Speaking breaking news stories, Jaime Gonzalez's story on the TAMUK scholarships being safe for now was very well done. Jaime tracked down some sources from the TAMUK Foundation and he and J.C. Reyes talked to President Tallant about the consequences of funding these scholarships to be able to come up with a solid story. Well done Jaime. J.C., thanks for the help. Kristie Vela's " batty story" sprung up at the last minute and was covered well. J.C. also did a very good story on the name controversy. In short, a solid and crisp page 1 loaded with news and information and just the right graphics. Angela did a very good job with layout considering the amount of news we had for pi.
Page 2 was a well-designed, again. The standing features - Green Thing and Things Your Mama - are starting to look crisp and permanent. JC's review on "The Boss" was well done. The only thing wrong here was the "Focus on Us" photo. Again, we have people's behinds. Why? Perhaps it's time to abandon this feature. Good campus news on page 4-5. We need to do more of this type of reporting the every day events of our campus. Opinions was a wonderful mix of opinions and columns and, I must say, quite readable. Kristie's column is sure to draw some controversy. Wow Kristie, that took some courage. JC, sprinklers....really? Sports had one great photo by Greg Stelfox and good coverage. Jav-A-Stats help. Mark Molina and Adriana Trevino (albeit with some help from the old pros JC and Jaime) combined for a g ood story on recruits. Nice graphic, also. The features page on the "Hardy Man" as a good touch. Perhaps it was a bit much, but it was the introductory article and I think it's well done. Jav-a-Style should be a keeper, but I'm not sure if every week should be the norm. Try every other week? Katrina and Savannah did a good job with this. As for KUDOs, this week it goes to four staffers who contributed significant articles to our publication. The winners are Adrian Trevino, Mark Molina, Katrina Alejandro and Savannah Martinez. Well done and congratulations.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

KUDOs Feb. 3 issue

This is an excellent issue with a good front page and an excellent spread on Super Bowl. The sports writing class from both TAMUK and the System Center San Antonio did an excellent job. There are many students to thank for this but suffice it to say that some of the work was of daily newspaper quality. Page 1 was well-designed. However, I had a problem with the "tudent Fees Increase" headline. It should have said something about the SUB design. Another weak point on page 1 was the "Celebrating Tallant" should have been a bigger spread and had more play. Bob did a good job with the interactive survey. I wish it would have reproduced better on our paper. Bob, excellent work. Page 2 saw a continuation of the Green Tip. I predict this will be one of the most read features for our paper by the end of the semester. Bob and Serbrina, again, are doing an excellent job. And, speaking of excellent, Ericka Hernandez may be the new Abigail, as in Dear Abby. Well done, page 2. Page 3 is a little weak, but has a functional layout. The "gaming" column has potential....god job Adrian. Pages 4-5 (the Super Bowl spread) is excellent. Good writing, decent layout (the Boss) and good opinion columns. But, I really think the best thing about this layout is the art work by is award-winning material. Thanks again, Bob. The sports section was its excellent well-written self on pages 6.. Watch the headline...don't split up the score. The editorial page had two excellent columns - one by Jaime Gonzalez and the other by Serbrina Reyna......These style of quality columns will go a long way to help us win awards. Good job, Serbrina. Page 8 was a continuation of the Super Bowl stories. All in this section were well done. I really enjoyed Katrina's column and Carlos and Sasha's analysis was well done. And now we come to the selection of the KUDOs award. In an issue that had so much good writing, it's ironic that the person who gets the award would be an artist. Bob, because of his work on the green story and also the design for the Super Bowl graphic gets the award. Good job, as always, Bob...keep it up.