Saturday, February 27, 2010

Critique for Feb. 23 issue

Much work went into this issue, but I was disappointed with several venues. First, we had a breaking news story with the death of our student in the car crash. Had I not insisted that someone get updates, this story would not have been done. There was reluctance all around to call the Kingsville Police Department and the hospital on the update of the student and there still is reluctance now as we have yet to update the story online. This is poor journalism in the digital age nd just sloppy reporting. I also had some problems with layout and design, in particular for pi and for the Spanish page. Still, it was a good effort. I saw many students,faculty and staff picking up our newspaper which was full of important and pertinent information Now, here is a page-by-page review:

Page 1: Nice use of art and solid front-page story, albeit without updates on status of survivor (they were much needed). Also, we're quoting the Caller-Times.YUK! We do our own reporting. Please, don't be lazy and please don't be scared to call these sources for updates. Amanda, Jaime, Angela you have to lead when these type of stories occur. The photo of the Bears is nice,but what happened to our "Top Story" designation? Amanda, as editor you have to "designate" the story which is the "Top Story." If this is not working and we're not comfortable with it, let's stop this now. Also, the "Early morning crash" and "KTAI celebrates" headlines are competing for attention. Make one bigger than the other. Finally,we are not modular. The "TAMUK makes top 50" headline must line-up with something. Overall, a good effort (not great) on this page. Solid stories. All were well done. All were pertinent. Thanks.

Page 2: This is a very busy and confusing page. What happened to "Blotter?" We need this every week. Please make sure we get this. The "By the Day" feature also needs some way to stand alone and our readers to find easily. Perhaps a screen here would work. Not pleased, sorry.

Page 3: Solid modular layout and one decent photo with some very good reporting make this page palatable from a "Campus News" standard. Still, every story must have a photo. We needed a photo of Dr. Vargas and his book, for example. And, we probably need a photo with the Gottschalk address. Still, nice. Thanks.

Page 4: A good e-ops page. Interesting columns and commentary (you go Michael). Enjoyed the KUDOS editorial. Is this catching on? Should we give certificates and put it on web? Help me think here. Of course, no one reads this so...I'll figure it out later.

Page 5: Best sports page of semester. Good layout. Nice "strong" photos. Still, what's missing is that we used a "staff reports" for the most important story of the week - Soza's 1000 point story. What should we have done? Mark, you should have interviewed the girl and had a solid feature with quotes and a past history. Are you scared to interview people? She's only a girl. Why can't we have "real" quotes from her in the most important accomplishment of her life and one of the all-time performances in Javelina women's basketball history? Mark, please do better on these type of stories.

Page 6: Spanish page layout is very, very poor. Two long vertical columns split the page in half and then the color makes it look even more awkward. A horizontal modular approach would have been much better here. Edwin, try to do this next time, please. This is very disappointing.

Overall? A good job. Many people stepped up to the front this week in spite of several misgivings. There was good work all around, but KUDOs for print should go to Michael Bolman who is "just there" smiling for everything and never complains. Michael had a pi story, covered the South Africa story and had an outstanding column. Good job Michael. Congratulations.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Critique for Feb. 16 lissue

Hola Javelina Journalists. Nice job on the Feb. 16 issue. We still, however, have a lot of room for improvement. Let's do a page-by-page review.

Page 1: Nice modular layout. That's a plus. Teaser weak, too weak. Why not a photo of our cops handing out, oh, you know, tickets? I know, I'm being sarcastic. Sorry, but this is a critique. Let's see if we can get Paul or Sabrina to work on our teasers ahead of time. It's always good to have it early, oh, you know, to meet deadline and stuff. The other major thing I don't like on this page is the screen and the reproduction of the photo on t he KTAI story. We just have not gotten this right. I think I know how to fix the photos. From now, every photo has to be screened at 300 dpi and made lighter by someone who is in charge of that. Talking to Amanda and Angela, the suggestion was made that Sabrina Reyna be in charge of this. So, every Monday morning, Sabrina will review photos and try to make them as sharp as possible on PhotoShop. I would like for Allen Fisher to help with this, especially with the sports photos. Our photos have been too weak. As for rthe color screens, like just use blue and use white type. I don't know. I'm confused. Fisher (Don) help!!!!! Storywise, we had some very excellent stories which should have some high readability. The story on the MSUB changes by Edwin was very well done. Good reporting. Yes, we needed help editing but the detail was there. Edwin, nice job. Claudia's research into the KTAI story made this a strong "top story." Well done Claudia. Raymond's extra effort on the missing artwork was also well done and Katherine Robinette had a surprisingly good article on our new police chief. Page 1 looks clean, modular and solid. We just need to spruce up here and there and we will have a better looking page.

Page 2: Our "Focus on Us" should be clear and standout. This was nice, but we can do better. Then, the "KTAI jump story" and the "Pilot Project" story seem to jumble up. Next, we're not modular. The "From the Files of the UPD" feature and the "Green Tip" column should line up. The page is nice and has nice tweet but can be much better.

Page 3:A very interesting page with lots of Campus News. Sabrina Reyna certainly worked hard - 3 STORIES! Wow! She and Claudia Garcia and Michael Bolman all had interesting reports. Layout is okay but we do not have a BAP. And, the "bug" on the Black History Month is great except for the "Wolrd Peace" emblem. Paul, can you fix this please? Thanks. Claudia's story was very informative but missed the lead. Remember, no chrnonology. You have to tell the reader what the most important element is first. Okay?

Page 4: With the big "Name Change" forum by our president, we didn't have much room left for other things. But, we got that one column about Sarah Palin and the Fox News cartoon in....they will sure stir things up for the conservative element in our university. We should get some letters, I hope. Yea! I love letters to the editor. Jaime, nice work on the column. The KUDOs article was also solid. Perhaps we should develop its own logo. Don't know. Let's talk.

Page 5: Sports can be much better, layoutwise. The stories are okay and the the lead photo is fine, but we lost too much space with the silly Jav-A-Stats at the bottom. It's ugly, If we're going to use this much space, but some more stuff in there. Please, do a job that will make our readers thing we care. Also, the "Player of the Week" feature must be more attractive. Please, fix this. Oh, and don't use italic so much on a sports page. Okay> I don't know what else to say. The columns are too big. If you are taking or took editing by now you know no column should be more than 20 picas. Don't know what picas are? 6 picas to an inch. Figure it out! Also, why can't we use body text on the sports page? Everyone else does. USE BODY TEXT!!!!! Well, enough. I know you all work hard but we have to produce a product that will make the readers at least think we know what we are doing. They need to be proud of our school when they pick it up if even for a minute. You know what I mean.

Page 6: This is a better page. It's more colorful and we did a good sidebar with "Cassie Talks." Still, a solid photo of this young lady would have helped. Good work.

As for online, we finally got caught up with the Dean's search videos and we posted some of the stories that were left behind. We still don't have a good system in place for this but we're getting there. I expect we will have new site soon, right Michael?

Okay, KUDOs for print??????? Hard. At this venture I feel it should be Sabrina Reyna. She said she stayed up all night working n these stories. Good. But, next time do them early and make deadline. HA. I know, it's "inappropriate."

Online KUDOs to Paul Camarillo for helping us catch up and coming up with some ideas for our streaming video of the baseball games. Good job Paul.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

KUDOS - Eligible for $100 Scholarship

Print: A solid first effort of the semester saw many good efforts from our staffers. In the end, KUDOs is going to Claudia Garcia. Claudia had two front-page stories and also helped layout and design a page. The first issue of any semester is always hard to get ready for. It's obvious that Claudia had her boots on and was ready to work. Congratulations Claudia. You're in the pot for the $100 end-of year scholarships.

As for online, the work of Paul Camarillo to get to get the site going is impressive. Paul, too, is in the pot. Congratulations.

Jan. 26 KUDOs
Print: Claudia Garcia
Online: Paul Camarillo

Print:This was not one of our best efforts for the print edition. However, we still had individual performances that did need to be recognized. Claudia Garcia, Michael Bolman, Mark Molina, Allen Fisher, Jaime Gonzalez and Artie Leal (among others) did very well. In the end, Artie's effort wins out. Way to go Artie, your new column will attract readers and your analysis for Super Bowl was one of the most-read articles (thank God) in this very weak edition of our student newspaper. You're in the pot for the $100 end-of year scholarship.

The online team continue to work very hard. The video stream of the baseball game was very impressive as well as the video of the candidate for dean of Arts and Sciences. A very close decision, but we give KUDOs to Sabrina Reyna. Way to go girl, or is that "inappropriate."

Feb. 2KUDOs
Print: Artie Leal
Online: Sabrina Reyna

A solid issue with much hard work and dedication from staffers to bounce back from the fiasco of the previous week. There were many good efforts here. Jaime Gonzalez' lead front page article on "Javelina Spirit" was excellent. Allen Fisher's review also very well done, albeit misplaced on pi. Allen also had a solid story on the TAMUK author and artist on page 3. Adolfo Castillo had two solid Campus News articles on page 3. Micahel Bolman had solid story on the Wind Symphony. Nndy had a fabulous column. Artie had a great action shot. mark had his usual and solid effort in sports. All-in-all, a good effort overall. KUDOs this week, however, go to our newcomer and rookie Allen Fisher - a.k.a. "Big Fish" - for his solid all around effort. Well done Allen and welcome to The South Texan. You're in the pot for the $100 end-of year scholarship.

Online wise, Michael Bolman has stepped up to the plate to try to help us catch up in a wee when some people were out of pocket.

Feb. 9 KUDOs
Print: Allen Fisher
Online:Michael Bolman

The strong point of this issue was that we are understanding the modular concept of modern newspaper layout and design. But, also, there were some strong reporting efforts. We are very pleased with Claudia's leading article, Edwin's report on the MSUB, Katherine's strong story on the police chief and Raymond's artwork theft story on pi. Inside, including sports,we also had some reporters who shined, including Claudia, Sabrina Reyna, Michael Bolman, Jaime Gonzalez and Mark Molina. All wrote very well. Good job. However, Sabrina Reyna's effort was inspiring. She just recently became a journalism/communications major and has truly helped us with her versatility. She works for both the print and online edition, is one of our main photographers and shoots video. She is our most complete communicator on our staff right now. So, for that, Sabrina Reyna, you are appropriately in the pot. You're in the pot for the $100 end-of year scholarship.

Online wise, Paul Camarillo gets KUDOs for his ideas on how to help improve our live video streaming of the Javelina baseball games and for his reporting of sports events online. Well done Paul. Thanks.

Feb. 16 KUDOs
Print: Sabrina Reyna
Online:Paul Camarillo

Print: This was one of our better issues, in spite of some layout and reporting blunders. The paper was laden with informative and poignant stories. The layouts were decent with exception of Spanish page. Many people did very good work. Micahel Bolman had a myriad of stories (three in all) and Claudia Garcia and Sabrina Reyna has very good reports and photos. Nndy Oheri had a solid news article and a good column. Allen Fisher had a good feature story and Artie Leal had a solid column. Edwin had a good story on the visiting chef and did the Spanish page. Lots of work, I know, thanks to all. KUDOs, this week goes to Michael Bolman. He keeps working very hard and is improving vastly as a journalist. It's wonderful to see him grow, gain confidence and spread his wing span. He is becoming multi-talented and nothing can hold him back, not even Sabrina R. saying he "inappropriate." Good job, hito, your in the pot for the $100f KUDOs prize.
As for online, Michael, too, has done a great job here updating material and making corrections So, congratulations, again.

Feb. 23 KUDOs
Print: Michael Bolman
Online: Michael Bolman

March 2 ISSUE
Print: This was a solid issue with a lot of good reporting. Certainly, Edwin, Michael, Nndy, Sabrina and Allen were in mix to get the award this week. Allen missed deadline and Sabrina was doing videos and could not concetrate on, its Nndy, Michel and Edwin. As for online, Michael, continues to a great job s, ocongratulations, again.

March 2 KUDOs
Print: Michael Bolman, Nndy Oheri, Edwin Vasquez
Online: Michael Bolman

March 9 ISSUE
Print: We had some strong elements in this issue but we have a long way to go. At least we shifted over to InDesign. Angela, good job. Online:

March 9 KUDOs
Print: Claudia Garcia, Edwin Vasquez
Online: Jennifer Garcia

Critique of first 3 issues

Our first three print issues showed much dedication and diligent work by our staffers. They also showed good leadership from our new editor Amanda Marcum and our new Publications Lab Director Angela Palacios. We had a lot of transition after the December edition, losing some key staff members (Katrina Alejandro and Adolfo) as well as Angela stepping down as editor and our experienced Pub Lab Director when Adriana Tapia Garza left us to accept a high-paying job with the university. But, we are a team and we can survive. Angela is the new Pub Lab Director and has hit the road running. Amanda is quickly learning the role of a leader and others like Jaime, Claudia, the two Sabrinas, Edwin, Mark, Artie, Michael, Paul have stepped up. New additions like Allen Fisher have been a joy to have on staff. We are still building our staff so we will get better., here are some critiques. KUDOs will be on a separate post and will stay together for the entire semester. It will be easier to see who gets print KUDOs. Mr. Fisher will do the online critique on another post.

Jan. 26 Issue

Page 1 - A decent modular layout with a good reader at top on the search for Honors College Dean. The headline was an attempt at what is called a TRIPOD headline. To make it work, one of the elements must be much bigger. Let's talk. I'll explain. Also, the H1N1 story at the top got good play and was good information, but it should not have been centered. It made for some strange "widows" or words that stand along like "p.m." by itself. Also, when we mention a room number it's always caps. For example, it's Room 219C. Okay? A disappointment on this page was the Black Heritage story. It's great that we ran a schedule but we needed a real story. Okay? The story on Viper's Day was strong, but we needed to run it on a clearer screen. The Haiti story was good and had a picture of students. Good job.
Page 2 - A solid page with a good "Focus on Us" feature and solid "Tweet of the Week." The photo of Angelah Johnson needed to be cropped tighter. Too much space on both sides. And, "Tweet of the Week" must line up with the book rental story to be true modular layout. Speaking of book rental story, that sure seemed like pi material. What do you think? News judgement is crucial to the appeal of the paper to students. Certainly many students feel this is important. Enjoyed the "By the Day" feature. It's a good addition and complements the "Green Tip of the Week."
Page 3 - The Ed-Ops page had some good material for a first edition. Amanda's column was informative and told about our goals for the year. The only problem is that we did not justify it at the bottom. This looks bad and makes it look as if we don't care about accuracy and layout. We had several stories like this. Let's fix this. Also, Nndy's logo on his column is butting against the photo on the Haiti relief effort. Please move it to the other side of the column and also to the top. Nndy's story solid. Our editorial on Haiti needed a little more work.
Page 4 - The sports page had some good stories but seemed to lack "zest." It's the first issue. We will get better.

Feb. 2 Issue

First, this was one of our poorest issues in recent memory. I'm sorry I was not there to read the pages before we PDFed them. It's obvious something went wrong and we had some very important stories that gained much attention on campus and from our alumni. Unfortunately, we had many, many (too many) errors. We will not mess up like this again. Please, read the PDFs before we submit them. Also, please make sure the right stories get posted. And, please remember that when we finish proofing pages on Quark,we must step back and wait at least 10 seconds before we touch anything. Okay? Personally, I was very disappointed with this effort. Now, let's look at the issue page by page.

Page 1 - On pi we had several stories that were not justified at the bottom. In particular, the theatre season opening story had too much white space the bottom. Again, we don't do this. Use a layout device like a "big cap" or Quoteout to take up some of this space. Okay? Also, I was disappointed on some of the stories, including this one. The photo on Kingsville cleanup story was also disappointing. We have butts and backs. We need faces. Also, when we are running a story on a Regents Professor, don't you think he/she deserves a picture? Of course, yes. Plan for this. And, another disappointment, this story should have been written by one of our staffers. We should have gotten quotes from his students and other professors. This is very, very weak and very, very disappointing. On the front page, at the very least, the stories must be written by our staffers.
Page 2 - This page has some good ideas to increase student readership. Our new feature column - "Greek Letters" - should be popular with our readers. Artie did a good job to start this out but the column needs to be developed into one with a lead section and then some briefs. For example, the lead article is good and then on other notes we use the actual Greek letters to announce what other groups are doing. Angela and Amanda, please help Artie develop this. Nevertheless, Artie we are proud of you. "By the Day" looks better. "UPD" stuff good addition. Also, good place for "Tweet of the Week." Overall, nice page.
Page 3 - This was a good Campus News page It was very newsy and covered several campus activities. Again, we had a story by a non-staffer. Not good. The stories we did cover were solid, in spite of several typos and errors. Again, we can't do this.
Page 4 - Originally, this was one of our weakest pages ever in the history of The South Texan. Mr. Fisher and I are glad the PDF was corrected, but the damage was done. Hundreds of administrators and alumni and we suspect faculty and student saw the myriad of mistakes we had on this and it reflected very poorly on your hard work, the work of myself and Mr. Fisher and on our university. People were actually laughing at us - Mr. Fisher and I included. One of our supervisors actually called and asked "What are we paying you for?" Of course, it's our fault. We should have "read" the final pages but didn't. What was wrong? First, the lead editorial on budget cuts had too many errors. How did this happen? We don't know and we ope it doesn't happen again. We have too much at stake, including our funding that pays for some of your salaries and for our trips. Needless to say, it was embarrassing. The good news is that Angela made the corrections and Michael posted the new pages online. Perhaps our readers will realize that we can make corrections. Also, please place Nndy's column bug on the other side of the page. Okay?
Page 5 - A good sports page with a good addition for Player of Week, but we can do better. Mark, can you and Paul workout a new graphic design for Player of the Week and let's also run it on the online edition. Please do this. Good job on the golf coach story. We can still do better. The sports page is flat. It needs more "zest".....Mark, get more zest into it...okay?
Page 6 - A very nice Super Bowl page. Writing could have been tighter on both stories. Next time, please let Mr. Fisher read items like this before we publish them.

Feb. 8 issue

First, a much better effort. Thank you. It seems as if we truly worked to cut down on mistakes. Unfortunately, this issue did not have a story of the caliber and interest of the 5% budget cut story, so it went unnoticed by many. At least, the students, faculty and administrators who read it and did not laugh at us. I saw many students pick this edition up and carry it throughout campus. Of course, some were using it to shield themselves from the rain, but many also read's a good change of pace from the mistakes of the previous week. And, at the very least, we do serve a purpose. A wet South Texan is better than one which we dump in the trash. Ha. Now, let's look at this issue page-by-page.

Page 1 - A very sweet page with the candy teasers. Ha. It makes my mouth water (sugar fit) and is eye-catching. The layout is much better, but we are getting away from "big headlines." Why? The enrollment story should have had a bigger headline. This story, too, was updated late and did not truly match the headline. Michael and Amanda, whenever a story like this emerges (with late additions or statistics) please make an editor's note for readers to catch up online. Okay? Jaime's story on "Javelina Spirit" was solid and the photo good, but needed to be bigger and more commanding. Okay? Ask me how? The review by Allen Fisher was in the wrong place. A review is never pi material. It goes inside. Also, on this layout, the "cast" is to the bottom. Remember, all graphic elements to the top. The photo was also too weak? Can't see who they are. It's better to run a close-up of one actor than a photo of five cast members you can't recognize. The review itself was well done. Good job Allen. Amanda, good job on the dining hall story.
Page 2 - Okay, nice layout and the graphic material from the Roundhouse Movie Club makes this page stand out. Good job. But, again, we need a real story here. The "Go Green" column was very, very interesting and romantic. Ha.
Page 3 - Good and important tease at the top. Nice advance to "Brown Bag" story. Did we say where it was? Good job, Michael, on wind symphony. Good job overall Allen. Adolfo we're going to miss you.
Page 4 - Everything is solid on this Ed-Ops page with two exceptions. First, the cartoon is weak. We need to get much better on this. Jaime, can you help Ernest with this? Thanks. And, second, the letter-to-the-editor may need a editor's note. The subject covered in the letter has not been reported on by our paper so we need to inform the readers about the subject. Nndy's column and the editorial are solid. Nndy' column excellent. Wow.
Page 5 - Sports page getting better. Great action shot of Clifton Thomas stealing a base. Unique shot. Only ball was missing. Mark, you're lead is too weak and unimaginative. You can do better. Player of the Week feature still to weak. Make a nice design for this. It must stand out and it must run online. Layout good. Okay, getting better. And, in case you didn't realize it, you scooped all the papers on the Randle story. Unbelievable.
Page 6 - Cute. Nice job. It's nice to see Mary Beth writing again. Remember, she is auditing our Pub Lab course. Please let her know. She won't return my calls.

New Rules for Critiques

First, sorry for the delay in posting the "critique" of our first three issues. The new semester and the duties of the search for the new dean of the university's College of Arts and Sciences has kept me very busy. I was also waiting to see how our Plan 21 effort would evolve as The South Texan Online got momentum and because a more integral, or perhaps most important, part of our efforts to communicate with our students. Of course, there are no excuses and I, essentially, missed a deadline. Well, no mas, we will try to be diligent with this and Mr. Fisher and I will keep a weekly update on critiques. I will be doing print media and he and I will both be doing online media on a weekly basis. We will have KUDOs (attaboys) in two areas, print and online. At times, the person will be the same one. Chances are that the online KUDOs will have many repetitions since there are only a few students who work on this, but we hope that others will soon join in the fray. As for photographers, they will be eligible for both and can win both awards. Of course, at the end of the semester, all are eligible for a $100 KUDOs scholarship and Mr. Fisher and I are thinking of making it two awards this year. We'll see. It depends on the quality Okay, ready for the new rules? The first critiques follow on all of our print editions to date. Mr. Fisher will critique the online edition starting next week with some observations and some praise.....buena suerte.

Off and Running in 2010

Hola Javelina Journalism students and fans. We're off and running in 2010 and there are some new and exciting things happening in the field of Communications in our university. First, the concept that print media rules the world of communications has now been erased. In our South Texan news room, it's online first, print 2nd. Our Plan 21 - to transform our news room from the old let's wait a week to print the news to let's put it on right now, right now - is being implemented. While we still have lots of gaps in accomplishing our goal, the effort of adviser Mr. Don Fisher and his online staff, as well as the cooperation of editor Amanda Marcum and publication lab director Angela Palacios, has made this transformation a bit easier. We're on the way to teaching our communications students that convergence has arrived at TAMUK and that knowing a little bit about every form of digital media and print media production is essential to success as a journalist, not to mention just finding a job out there in this very tight job market. So, good job thus far, but know that we have a long and treacherous road ahead.
Dr. Flores