• A day to remember

    United Flight 175 from Boston heads for the south tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
    United Flight 175 from Boston heads for the south tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

    I was talking to my friend Denis O'Donnell on Thursday and the topic of Sept. 11, 2001, came up. O'Donnell, a music lover, musician and the man who keeps the bar at the Hole in the Wall humming in the afternoon, paused briefly when I asked him what he remembered about that day. 

    "I remember my then-girlfriend and now-wife and I got into a huge fight that morning," he said. "She came back to the bedroom to tell me I should get up and watch the television. I wanted to tell her to get the hell out, but I got up and saw what was happening, and that kind of ended the argument."

    Everyone has a story about what happened to them that day. Some are mundane, some are incredibly compelling. None will ever be forgotten. 

    I was at home in Milton, Mass., on my day off from working at The Boston Globe. I remember both my kids were home sick from school. My wife was upstairs. I watched the second plane hit the towers and I drove into work and was pretty much gone for the next 36 hours or so as the staff at the paper tried to get its collective head around what had happened. The planes that hit the towers came from Boston.

    I've never witnessed such intensity or emotion in a newsroom.

    Something very similar must have been happening in The Daily Texan newsroom that day 10 years ago. Thanks to the work of our Web team -- headed by Web Editor Gerald Rich and our Multimedia Adviser Jennifer Rubin -- the results of that effort by the Texan staff can be seen here. It's impressive, even 10 years on.

    Also impressive is the 10th anniversary 9/11 edition put out Friday by our current Texan staff. I particularly recommend this story as an entry point for the total package. The paper, like the one 10  years ago, shows a breadth and depth of coverage that is truly professional. I can't offer a higher compliment to Texan staffers past and present.

  • The matter is tabled

    I haven’t been around the Texan all that long, but I get the sense that in the past all we had to do to get a tidal wave of tryouts at the start of a semester was to make sure the door to the basement was unlocked.

    After all, having a key job at the Texan figure prominently on your resume was a pretty good entrée to the wild world of journalism, where the people who owned the presses seemed to print money along with papers.

    We all know how that has changed, and so has the flow of tryouts through the doors of the Texan.

    So we have to try different things to attract the interest of potential employees – and readers. Among them is the ancient art of “tabling,” which Texan staffers did Wednesday at the very popular “Party on the Plaza.”

    Thanks to assistant Texas Student Media director Jalah Goette and her team, the Texan has a table at this TSM-sponsored event to help spread the word about the good work that we do.

    I also want to thank Sports Editor Trey Scott, Photo Editor Andrew Torrey, Associate Photo Editor Ryan Edwards, Senior Photographer Thomas Allison Design Director Alexa Hart and Web Editor Gerald Rich for taking the time and making the effort to staff the table. It matters.

  • Taking to the field

    Holy smoke! It's a new semester and the start of a new era here at The Daily Texan and Texas Student Media!

    We have a new TSM Director, Gary Borders, and a new leadership team at the Texan -- Editor Viviana Aldous and Managing Editor Lena Price. We're expecting an exciting fall at the Texan as the Longhorn football team returns to the field and the campus continues to sort through the impact of budget cuts imposed by the 82nd Legislature.

    You can count on the Texan for the best coverage of all the topics of interest to the larger UT community. If you're interested in becoming part of the Texan team, stop down in the basement of the Hearst building and fill out an application. We're having tryouts through Sept. 8.

    You can count on the Talking Texan blog to keep you up to date on matters of interest to our organization's staffers and alums and people interested in media matters generally.

    For example, did you note that the Austin American-Statesman is dropping commenting on the stories appearing on its website (but not blogs)? Check it out here.

    Also of interest to media junkies everywhere is the announcement that Jim Romenesko is stepping into semi-retirement. Now what am I going to do with my spare time?

    We'll also be keeping a close eye on the Longhorn Network as it debuts and the changing curriculum at the School of Journalism

    Like I said, it should be an exciting semester!

  • A piece of work

    Former Texan staffers are working their chosen field all over the place.
    Former Texan staffers are working their chosen field all over the place.

    OK, so you read the story about the latest round of layoffs at Gannett and it makes you wonder why you would ever want to pursue a career in journalism. The economy keeps stumbling along, no one has figured out how to  make a lot money with news websites and the forecast remains cloudy, at best.

    But I'm here today to tell you about former staffers at The Daily Texan who have found work in their chosen field. Not all are in dream jobs and some are in less-than-desireable destinations, but the point is they are working. And that's a possibility for those of you still toiling in the basement.

    This post was sparked by the news that former senior reporter Collin Eaton has landed an internship at the Chronicle of Higher Education. Collin is already working at the Dallas Morning News on an internship this summer.

    Ana McKenzie is working in Charlotte, N.C., at Business North Carolina magazine. Sean Beherec is working at the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, while Aziza Musa is interning there. Bobby Cervantes is covering courts for the Amarillo Globe-News.  

    Olivia Hinton is designing pages in Beaumont, Andrew Krieghbaum is reporting in Laredo, Pierre Bertrand is interning in San Antonio and Ben Wermund landed in Marfa with the Big Bend Sentinel.

    The list goes on and on. I'm not trying to be all-inclusive, and I apologize to those who I have failed to mention. My point is that there are jobs out there for those who really want them and are willing to do the hard work they require. Gary Borders, our new TSM director, Jennifer Rubin and I are committed to helping Texan staffers find work and will do whatever we can to make that happen. Please feel free to contact us.

  • Competition and Coming Together

    Today’s Daily Texan is a dichotomy of print and broadcast media breaking down some barriers while social media fosters some friendly competition.

    On the friendly competition front, today marks the beginning of a six-week battle between The Daily Texan, and Texas A&M’s student newspaper, The Battalion, over who can generate the most Facebook “likes.” No money or prizes are at stake, just bragging rights in the ongoing rivalry between the Longhorns and the Aggies.

    While the Facebook fight will really benefit both newspapers equally by increasing their online audiences, we still want to come out on top. So go “like” us now at http://www.facebook.com/dailytexan.

    Unless of course you’re one of the growing number of people who are shunning Facebook, as Texan staff writer Aaron West, reports today.

    In other great reporting news, there is the coming together of The Daily Texan and Texas Student Television with their new twice-weekly feature on the KVR News program, Daily Texan Headlines.

    In the first installment, Steven Zurita, TSTV Station Manager, interviews Texan Senior Reporter Huma Munir about her article on the TEXAS Grants program.

    Look for more collaboration between The Daily Texan, TSTV, KVRX, and other Texas Student Media entities in the weeks and months ahead.

    And in the meantime, don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook.