Monday, April 12, 2010

Critique of March 23, 30 and April 6 issues

With TIPA, spring break and the Easter holidays, production of the last three issues has been, well, an experience. Add to that the fact that we have changed from Quark to InDesign for desktop publishing program and that we were celebrating the 40th anniversary of our radio station and sports is going crazy, crazy, crazy . . . well, it's enough to drive an adviser or two, along with some staff members of the print and online editions of The South Texan, plum loco. No?
Nevertheless, we survived. Our results at TIPA in Kerrville were decent. That means we are still among the best in the state in our division, but we could have done better. Our online edition continues to improve, slowly. However, we have some leadership issues which and petty fights between staffers that takes away from our overall work here. We need to learn to work together and follow the chain of command, in both print and online edition issues. Let's see if we can do this to finish out the year strong. Now, let's look at each of the past three issues one at a time.

March 23: A good four-page issue with modular layout in the front page and a good teaser. Weak part about this is the lead photo on pi. We could have done better. We had a nice touch on the "Cast Members" info box and also a good "refer" on the healthcare bill. Stories were good. Lead story on trombone choir was disappointing. Why can't we write our own stories?

Page 2: This page also followed modular layout very well. Congratulations. Again, our lead photo was very weak. We need to fix these photos prior to deadline so that they reproduce better.

Page 3: Two solid campus news stories with the Battle of the Bands and program with Corpus Christi Calallen ISD make this a solid page. However, we did not use body text on both stories. We need to be consistent. And, when we have one good photo as Claudia's photo was on the lead singer for "Day of Reckoning," we need to run it big, Big, BIG!.

Page 4: This was one of our better sports pages. Nice balanced layout. The only thing wrong with this is that we ran only stories done by Shane Meling and everything is "old." We need to write analysis of the coming games so that students understand how we stand and what are chance of making the playoffs are. I don't think we will ever get there this year. Oh well.

KUDOS: Great effort from several reporters. Claudia Garcia and Edwin Vasquez were the best for print edition. Award goes to Claudia for print. Online KUDOs goes to Michael Bolman. Congratulations.

March 30: A solid front page with a good lead photo that could have been a tad better if fixed properly in photo shop. I think that now that we are using InDesign we should use more TIFFs. Sabrina, can you please take care of this? Overall, a good 6-page issue. We had plenty of good stories and some decent photos.

Page 2: Good lead story on "Caligraffiti" by Edwin. Well done. Excellent photo as well. Green Tip of the Week also well done, again.

Page 3: An outstanding story by Mark Molina on clean-up efforts and a good story on Gary Davis. Only problem here was the dog leg on the Davis story. Disappointed on the Asian Pacific Heritage coverage. This deserved a story.

Page 4: A good editorial page with a point-counterpoint type strategy on analysis stories by Mary Beth and Jaime. Both are excellent pieces and show how every story has more than one side. Well done. Nndy's column is again strong, but lacked depth and organization this time. Editorial cartoon still our weak point. I know it relates to Nndy's column but it just seems to lack punch. We can do better.

Page 5: A "wow" story on Christin Rycroft by David Brott. Very, very well done and we used the bold italic in the lyrics from the songs very well. We probably could have used some spacing, but hey this is fine. Nice contributed photo as well. We should have "referred" this story from pi to page 5. We need to be alert for this type of opportunities. Jaime and Angela are cute in the TIPA story.

Page 6: Weak sports page. Nuf said.

As for KUDOs, there were many good stories for the print edition by Edwin Vasquez's overall reporting gets KUDOs. Online KUDOs goes to Sabrina Reyna for fixing several videos and helping Michael update the website.

April 6: We had a chance to have a really good issue this week. We missed it by a slim margin because of style errors and some mistakes with photos. The lead photo for the Cesar Chavez Marcha was not fixed well. This could have been the focal point of the paper. It was not. Also, we have to get away from "label" headlines. We have them throughout. This is a newspaper. Our headlines must be bold and say something. We can do better here.

Page 1: We had a good story on KTAI and then we run only three pictures of the alumni honored, why? When we have a story on people being honored, we try to run all those honored. I'm embarrassed by this since this was our event. Jaime had a good story on TOMS and Claudia and Michael did a good job on their stories.

Page 2: This was a weak layout with a dog leg and no photos. We can do better.

Page 3: Nice story on bilingual education and also the "Be All You Can Be" and the "Japanese Ceramics." This was a strong campus news page. It's a little bit to horizontal modular for my taste and the biggest photo is below the cut, but we're learning. It will do. Nice job by Michael and Katherine on their stories.

Page 4: The editorial page lacked some cohesiveness but had excellent writing and a letter-to-the editor. Good lead photo that makes sense with the diversity editorial.

Page 5: Weak, too weak. Columns are too wide. Jav-A-Stats horrible. Photo by Artie very good. Nuf. said.

Page 6: Best part of the paper. This feature layout on bunnies had some solid and strong photos with excellent color. Still, it could have been better. The "football player bunny" photo could have been much stronger. We need close ups. These are kids. Get close. They will pose for you. Or, are you afraid. Ha. Bueno, nice job overall Claudia.

KUDOs: The reporting and writing of Michael Bolman, Jaime Gonzalez, Claudia Garacia and Edwin Vasquez continues to be very strong. All did wonderful for the print edition. Michael and Jaime get KUDOs for print. Paul Camarillo gets KUDOs for onlne.

Thanks for the hard work.