Friday, September 25, 2009

From down on the farm, to art and a documentary on "The Wall" - Sept. 22 issue had plenty of good stuff and surprising KUDOs winner

The Sept. 22 edition had several good campus event stories and showed why it is important for The South Texan to report on campus events. The front page shows it all - teasers of the Hispanic Heritage kickoff on the teasers, an article on the coming documentary "The Wall" to our campus, a report on the Mayan art exhibit at the Ben Bailey Art Gallery to fun by the ag kids ant the farm. this was a very newsy front page. The inside pages had even more campus coverage. From that standpoint, this was a very good issue. Now, let's look at this issue page-by-page:

Page 1: Nice teasers, much better. Thanks. We do need, however, to identify, at least, what these people are doing. You need to say what the girls is chewing on (jalapenos), especially with the expression on her face. And you need to identify the girls all pretty all in a row. And, you need to tell the reader who the girl singing is. The story on "the Wall" was well done and a good effort by Angel Flores. It could have been better if the date and time would have been higher up on the story. Literacy summit story had great info and a was a solid story, but lead is too long. Why? Probably 'cause it was late and the editors did not have an opportunity to ask for a rewrite or even rewrite it themselves. Edwin's Mayan story was a bit better, but he subject matter made it confusing. The Ag Olympics story by Claudia was very functional and made for a good package. I think the photos could have been stronger, however. Also, please, PLEASE get names of people in the photos. I know, no one will read this. Finally, the TAMUK engineering story by mary beth had some great information that could be found no where else. Well done. Teasers at the bottom were better, but not great. We have to be able to see things. For this to happen, we must blow-up the photos. And, if we do that, like we did on Miss Hispanic Heritage, we have to identify who the person about that?

Page 2: This was a very busy page with several elements competing for attention. I'm not sure that Erika's column should have been the lead story. Erika's column is very solid. Is she serious? Only the women known. Hahahahahahahahahaaha! Angela's Cheech Marin story also had some good information. When we have material like this that no one else has, perhaps we should use a deck to inform the public. In fact, we should have used a deck. The UPD Files story is solid and well done. However, when we have a student robbed at knifepoint, it calls for a separate pull-out story. Why didn't we do this? And, who does this? The page editor. The page editor will call the reporter and say "Give me a story on this." Green Tip of the Week again very interesting. Good job Sabrina Salinas.

Page 3: Who is that handsome devil who spoke on Hispanic contributions to the U.S. media? Perhaps we should have run the photo larger? Ha. Just kidding! Page 3 could well be our best page. It's got beauty queens, kids dancing and ROTC cadets taking oaths. It's almost a slice of Americana. Problems? Yes. to begin with, we had another label head on "Celebrating Diez y Seis de Septiembre." Why? Tell me something in the headline. Something like: "More than 400 attend opening Hispanic Heritage event" would have been nice. And, the photo of the kids - poor crop. And, always show the dancers' feet! Claudia did well with this straight news story. Sabrina had an outstanding short story on Miss Hispanic Heritage. Not bad for her first real journalistic effort. Edwin, Katrina and our ROTC guys also had good stories. Nice page.

Page 4:
Some very provocative columns and editorial. However, this page still needs to be better organized and planned. Also, Claudia, please try to break up the gutter all the way down the page. Let's try to break this up with a story across the page or at the bottom. On the content, Angela Palacios had a very strong column on Dr. Hector P. Garcia. I certainly hope the powers that be at TAMUK read and heed her message. Carlos' "Customer Service" column also had some provocative moments and just barely escaped the whiney factor. It was nice, Carlos. The editorials should be together, not separate. They should be side-by-side of one on top of the other. Content wise, both editorial were solid. Cartoon was little weak but our resident journalism guru - Adriana Tapia Garza - saved it. Ask her how she did it. Well done!!!!

Page5: Sports guys did well to cover volleyball and cross country. Nice work on photos, Adriana Perez. Best thing here is the cross-eyed cat. Did we adopt it?

Page 6: Page 6 is typical sports page. Okay. Nice photo by Artie.

And, now, KUDOs. Who get's this prestigious student journalism award this week? There were many good candidates but we are going to give it to Claudia Garcia. Claudia's energy and passion to learn, take on challenging stories and just do whatever she can to help are contagious. Claudia, you get it this time and you deserve it. We are very proud of you. Now, it's time to tighten up your stories and editing and swing for the fences. Well done.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

From dry to wet in less than one week, Sept. 15 issue led to interesting KUDOs decision: Katrina Alejandro rocks

In spite of heat, rain and some unexpected lack of passion for journalism by some of our staffers, we were able to complete our fifth issue of the semester this past week. The Sept. 15 issue was full of informative and important stories about our university and community. That means that we accomplished one of the most important goals of a newspaper, covering and reporting issues about the community. Now, let's look at the issue page-by-page.

Page 1: Very well designed. Nice package on 1959 team. The type on the blue should have been at least .5 bigger and could have been 2 pt. bigger if needed. When we run type over screens of any color, we run the reverse type bigger than normal. If I have one complaint about this page is that it needed some decks. Also, the enrollment story at the top should have had a better lead. The "diez y sies" story headline is a "label" head.We need a real headline for every story. Finally, on the Zambrano story, I'm not sure what happened but we forgot to read it, I guess. There were some elements in the Zambrano story, particularly in the jump, where we just didn't read the story before it bot published. This is the job of the editor, managing editor and page editor to read every thing that goes in the page or paper. Every story must be read in its entirety. Let's set up a system that will make that work. Angela, please take care of this. One other note, a word of praise for Rebecca Cepeda for her work on the "Swine Flu" article. Well done for a freshman.

Page 2: This is one of the better Page 2 layouts in recent memory. the only problem, layoutwise how great the bottom half of the page looks. Nice "Focus on Us", nice "Fall fashion" story, wonderful "Tweet," but let's put more tweets and use twitter symbol. I like the UPD stuff and "Green Tip of the Week" also nice .

Page 3: Nice layout. Bumping photos, don't! Edit the ROTC story, just don't run it like it is turned in.

Page 4: Nice sports page with very good photo of Billy scoring on a 70-YARD TD RUN! Great photo, Katrina.

Page 5: good rain photos that kind of lost luster with the ads. Perhaps just running the spread on top and using the last two photos on the right for a story would have been better.

Page 6: A nice editorial page but evidence that no one reads this blog abounds. Keep your editorials, together. In other words, one on top of the other. Nice opinion pieces, but we have done better.

Page 7: Enjoyed this page. The photos were weak, especially the BAP. The stories were solid Camps News material.

Page 8: Strong and well-designed page in EspaƱol.

Overall, this was an excellent paper that showed we had some gaps in our organization. Many of the stories showed up late, too late. Also, we forgot about our new mantra - online rules and print follows. When we cover an event, the story must be written the next day, it must be put on the web the next day and then maybe rewritten for the print edition which comes out on Tuesday. Online rules, print follows.

As for KUDOs, there were plenty of worthy candidates. They include staffers like Amanda Marcum, Mary Beth Cleavelin,Edwin Vasquez, Claudia Garcia, Rebecca Cepeda, Mark Molina, Artie Leal and Tania Garcia. However, the work of Katrina Alejandro has been consistent through the year and her work in this issue was exemplary. Katrina had the story on the 1959 national championship team, the healthfest and her great photo of Billy made her the recipient of this week's KUDOs. Well done Katrina, you're on the pot.

The Heat was "ON" and now the rains have come; KUDOS for Sept. 9 issue were "a little wet"

Well, we now have proof that God does read The South Texan. After more than 90 days of drought and a month of August with 10 dates with 100 degrees temperature or higher, the staff of The South Texan decided to do a package (feature story) on how the heat had impacted the area. Mary Beth Cleavlin did a wonderful story complete with sources and scientific data and Katrina Alejandro and Angela Palacios worked on doing a front page story with a jump to feature page 8 to make it look as enticing as possible. It was nice. The day the paper was delievered, it rained. I mean, it RAINED! More than 3 1/2 inches of rain fell that Sept. 10, most of it right on good ol' AMK. It was gratifying, however, to see student used our "HEAT WAVE" issue to cover themselves from the rain. It's enough to make a grown man cry! But, hey, after God saw our headline about the summer drought, he must have said, "Well let's just let it rain down there fellas. It's all fine. We'll take care of you." The downpours were needed and we thank God for little relief from the heat, not to mention the comic relief from those who reacted to our story while trying to escaped the rain.

Still, it was a good issue with plenty of readable and informative stories. Let's look at this issue, page-by-page.

Page 1: Katrina finally got the layout down with the burnt grass in from of College Hall as a backdrop and the headline worked, sort of. We could have done better, but this package, which jumped to page 8, worked well. Jacque Hutton's story on the Town Hall Round Table meeting was very informative. Good lead and plenty of good information and quotes. Story needed help, but that's what we have editors for....good job Jacque. Carlos' story on the Sabrios and Claudia's story on the new risk management leader were well done. Teasers at bottom look better but I still can't see the VBall photo and the maracas (they are maracas, right?) look like Indian pottery. We could have found something better than this for Hispanic Heritage. Specking of Hispanic Heritage, who is working on the "bug" for the upcoming features?

Page 2: Erika is the bomb! Really. Wow. She knows how to strengthen the bond with man. Yea. It's simple really feed us, love us, leave us along and pretty much we will be like loyal puppy dogs waiting for our next treat. But, excellent, Erika. You are getting better at this and this has syndication potential. Let me work on that on my time off. Theatre story was weak. We needed photo and a real story. We did not need a rewrite from a flier. Blotter was good. Let's develop this with a little better format. "Green Tip of the Week" well done. Nice Focus on Us page.

Page 3: Claudia tracked down the Cheech Marin story, good job. I would have suggested calling Cheech. Why did we not call him? Next time we are doing a story on a celebrity, we should try to make contact that celebrity. The Miss Hispanic Heritage story by Tania had a killer headline: "Hola Chica!" Que cute. Adolfo's story on the Poli Sci Pi Sigma Alpha chapter well done. Godd stories. Good campus news. A well-deisgned campus news page. KUDOs.

Page 4: Color on an inside page. Wow! Nice photo package on "Distant Light." Jumps well placed, but we always need to have some type of art with these many jumpbs. We should have planned this better. Nice page, for one that is inside. However, a suggestion. Let's make the color inside page our Best Campus news page and use the other black and white Campus News page for jumps. What do you think?

Page 5: This was a very newsy Campus News page and also in color. Yea! Excellent ROTC features. Where did you find this guy, Angela? His story on the Victory Cannon and the new commander were excellent. Let's use him some more. Let's talk about potential stories. Only thing bad here was the lead art on the "topping out" lunch. Surely, there was something "topped out." That was the photo we needed. Still, nice page.

Page 6: This ed-ops page was a little dull. Still, it had some poignant commentary by Nndy and Sabrina and Angela had a good column on how an editorial page works. Also, editorial were well done. A suggestion: let's keep our editorial together on this page. Claudia, you are doing a good job designing this page but you need to develop your own style and look. That includes having a solid editorial cartoon and a letter's to the editor section. Let's see if you can generate some letters.

Page 7:Sports page is weak. We need big headlines and big photos.Photo by Artie, good! Volleyball story was very well done. Where are volleyball photos?

Page 8: An interesting features page, to say, the least. Good effort on graphics, but we can do better. Sabrina's photo was excellent.

So, who gets KUDOs? Well, we can't go wroing with the rainmaker. KUDOs goes to Mary Beth Cleavelin. Great story, good sources and well designed. Good job Mary Beth. We missed you last spring semester. So, you're on the pot for $100.

Friday, September 4, 2009

KUDOs Sept. 1 issue

Our venture into social media via our Plan 21 Project is off to a great
start thanks to the efforts of the Football Online Reporting Team
(FORT, ha) for the Javelinas football opener last Saturday against nationally-ranked Delta (Miss.) State.

Behind the leadership of David Brott,
online editor, and the supervision of new journalism instructor Don
Fisher, the team was able to give us quarterly updates on the progress
of the game. Those updates included photos by ArtieLeal, quarterly narratives by Adrian Trevino, and game and summary reviews by Mark Molina. In addition, David Brott
downloaded quarterly stats. It was a good solid package. As a result,
our hits from last week went up from 50 the previous week to more than
Well done FORT. And, to make it better, theJaveinas won, 28-17. Go Hogs!

As for the Sept. 21 issue, it was another strong effort for this early in the semester. The experience of staffers like Angela Palacios,
Jaime Gonzalez, Tania Garcia, Erika Hernandez, Carlos Alvarado, Edwin
Vasquez and Katrina Alejandro came through and the enthusiasm of new
staffers like AmandaMarcum, Mary Beth Cleavelin, Caludia Garcia and others really showed.

Page 1 - Nice reader at the top. Poor photo with it. SGA
election story well done. Too bad we could not promote it more. Mark's
game story was excellent effort. Lead photo great but not ours. Please
do not run photos that were not taken by our staffers.
We probably needed a mug of Upshaw. Hughes/Gines story well done. Teasers at bottom need to be fixed. Too many, too small. Chose 3 or 4 at most.

Page 2 - Nice teaser at top. Focus On Us weak. Weak photo. Weak play. Serna story solid and also good photo. Well done. Erika's column is "bitching." Ha. Bottom of page too great.

3 - A very nice, very modular page. Lead BAP a little too far down the
page and was too dark. Every B&W photo must be lightened in Quark
or PhotoShop . Okay? the lead headline on the Blackboard story needed to
be bigger at top and smaller at bottom. We also needed info box
explaining whatBlackBoard truly is.....but not bad. Engineering story was well done. Lots of quotes and good info.

Pge 4 - Lead photo needed to be cropped. Girl eating popsicle cute but, not needed. Ice Cream social and music students stories were well done. James Guidry play was good but what was he doing? Not good! Jennifer sold lots of ads and they were pretty. Good job, Jennifer.

Page 5 - Can't read teaser. Needed to lighten backgroun. Flutist story well written and color helps here, but the Stop, listen in . . was hard to se.
This was a good idea. Let's play with it. Life Wellness picture very
good (good job), but tell my what it was? Why did they win. It needed
more info.

Page 6 - The lost page surfaces. Through no fault of
ours, the printer ran the wrong page, one from last week. We got 500
copies of the do-rights and it looks very good. Lots of good stuff on
this page. Amanda, wow! Jaime, double wow, wow! Claudia, excellent.
And, to boot, a good editorial by Jennifer, I believe.Laout is okay. It's modular. We need some letters to the editor. You guys are not controversial enough. Ha.

Page 7 - Sports page is good, not great. Nice story on top. Good use of archved photo of Vball girls. Jump needed to be in two columns and it doesn't look like body text. Is it? The charticle on the Javelina Game Day needs more info like season records, last week, etc. Can we do this?

8 - This needed to be a photo spread. And, the headline at top needed
to be bigger, Bigger, BIGGER. Nice stories by both Edwin and Mary Beth
and good, strong photos by Amanda and Artie.

Overall, guys y gals, good job. A nice issue.

KUDOs....everyone, as usual did well. But this week we must give it to the Football Online Reporting Team. So, KUDOs to David Brott, Mark Molina, Adrian Trevion, Artie Leal, Amanda Marcum and Angela Palacios. Oh, give ol' Don Fisher a big ol' pat on the back. Well done.