I think I have been remiss. I have stressed from the beginning of the semester when we implemented Plan 21, that we must think "Online First" and "Print Second." I have not done that in my reviews (which really doesn't matter cause no one reads them) and I apologize. This past week, I had a striking reminder of what it is I said and what I have not done. As we had the prisoner escape story unfold right before our faces as we neared deadline for the print edition, it occurred to me that we couldn't possibly cover the story on print. Online was the answer and online we galloped toward a great job by a group of solid young reporters and online web techs. Great and courageous job guys. David, Mike, Claudia, Katrina, Sabrina and others (including the irrepressible Adriana Tapia Garza and the indomitable editor Angela Palacios, and Mr. Don Fisher, among others, too many to name) you are the bomb! Is that good? Ha, don't matter. What I am trying to say (if anyone reads this) is that we did as good a job possible with our training and equipment in covering this story as well as any staff (university or professional) in the nation, really! The coverage was excellent. Imagine if we had waited til today (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday) to report on that story. In today's media world, it's old. Old news is like stale fruit that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. You all did it right. We (myself, Mr. Fisher, Adriana and Angela) are all so proud of you. You can't imagine. So, right off the bat: KUDOs goes to the online techs who posted our stories and updates and to the courageous reporters who went out, literally, to get the story. Well done. Those people are: David, Mike, Claudia, Katrina and Sabrina, as I recall. If I missed someone, please let me know and I will update this posthaste.
Now, as for our last print edition....not bad, not bad at all. Stories did come in late, as usual, but I couldn't tell if the delay in finishing the pages was due to our being late or our preoccupation with the breaking news story. I saw the look in Angela's face as she made a decision to tease it at the top of pi and just go with the story online. In the past, ol' Fisher and I would have yelled "Stop the Presses." Ha!!!! In today's journalism environment, there is no need to stop the presses, because even little old South Texan has 24-7 news capability now with the web. Wow, things have changed.
There is, however, one glaring mistake on our pi and it is one that has been there since the first issue of the semester. Our folio on pi has our website wrong. It's not www.tamuk.edu/thesouthtexan. It's only southtexan. Let' fix it, okay? Now for a page-by-page critique:
Page 1: This is a solid page with a solid news feature on the crime report, a good update on the SGA by-laws and good reporting on Tejano Heritage Awards and 2009 Homecoming celebrations. Crime story by Angela is particularly good and we seem to have gotten lucky with photo. It's an actual photo of a student actually filing a compliant with UPD. It's too bad she looks like she is being arrested, but that has been cleared up and thank God someone wrote a good, solid cutline. The best thing about this page, however, is the teaser at the top with Homecoming and the prisoner escape notice. Well done. Thanks.
Page 2: This catch-all page is a solid design but art is too heavy down the right side. We needed some art on the other half of the page. Also, disappointed on story on the serpentarium. We need a stronger story and better pics. Perhaps we can fix this next week. On the UPD column, we probably need to consider doing a bigger story on the car burglaries (but no one will read this and it won't be done). Sigh!!!!
Page 3: Well,we finally got the words "Ta Ta" on a headline. Yea! Good stories on campus events here and very appropriate for Campus News page. Only disappointment, no real BAP.
Page 4: Nice, very nice. Who did this page? Nice BAP. Good solid stories. Good color, good ads...well done. Solid Campus News page.
Page 5: Spanish page is a bit crowded but the photos do give us a look of all that happened during the previous month. We have only one Spanish page per month and Edwin did a good job with this one. Also, good story on Sigma Delta Pi. Perhaps, we should consider running this in English? (But no one will read this and it won't get done). Sigh!!!!
Page 6: Sports is again our weakest page. There is no BAP. I know, I know, we didn't have room. The good news is that Mark did a solid advance and Jaime had a good game story. On the charticle on the Javelina Homecoming, we lost the dog....let's make sure the reproduction is there by checking our PDFs. Okay? We can do better here. There was no advance on Javelina Cross Country. Oh, and the teaser, let's spice it up. Think! Think! Think! What would have made this teaser better? Duh, a photo. Let's get to work sports guys and gals. Let's lobby for more pages. Angela is a nice young woman. She will listen to you and if you have a good argument she will move ads around of give you another page. Really, she's a nice young woman.
Page 7: With the exception of the cartoon, everything strong here. Good play on Homecoming events editorial. I don't know if we had an influence on the change back to the old ways, but they did change it...hooray! You know what would have been nice, on the pi story or even here, a photo of the old king and queen and a comment from them about how they felt. We need to plan these things out. Perhaps, next time. Sigh!!!! Oh, and I never like the university to have a column on our space. Kenny did a good job as SGA President, but I don't like this. It gives us an aura of us not reporting things well (which we don't sometimes) and also that we are a mouthpiece for the university and its SGA. I don't like that. Who started this anyway? Oh, I hear it's a tradition. Well, let's just make it work. Don't let the SGA president use this piece to get on a soapbox and try to influence results of an election or an issue. All we need is info....okay? But, we can still have a forum if there is a need for that and that is determined by the editor, managing editor and ed-ops editor talking about it....okay?
Page 8: A good page, not great. This should have been designed earlier and should have been more solid. It has a good ad. Oh well. Still, good info and we got pictures of all the candidates. I remember when that used to be a chore.
Overall, a good issue. However, there is no mistaking, our best reporting and effort this past week went to our online edition. I applaud all of you for thinking "Online First" and "Print Second" and if we continue on that route, we will become better 21st century journalists. Plan 21, seems to be working, no? And, if you have a chance, give a hug and a thank to Adriana Garza and Jaime Gonzalez for planning this over the summer. Their brainchild has grown wings and is working. Thanks Adriana and Jaime.
And, also, a big hug (abrazo) and thanks for all of you who make time to produce and publish the print and online editions of The South Texan. Most of you are volunteers and we know you have to make sacrifices from your regular school work and campus lifestyle to become an integral part of our staff. And, one last note. Newcomer Adolfo is stepping right in there with the rest of the staff. Good job Adolfo and welcome to our silly crew.