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.