Belo Center

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Professors and campaign professionals gathered at the Belo Center for New Media on Wednesday to dissect and analyze Tuesday’s election results at an event hosted by the New Politics Forum at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life.

Election Day in Texas saw Republican candidates win all statewide races with large, double-digit margins. At Wednesday’s election debriefing, Regina Lawrence, journalism professor and Strauss Institute director, said voter turnout is what makes the democratic process effective.

“Elections are kind of an imperfect way of measuring the will of the people, and they get less and less perfect, the fewer and fewer people who show up,” Lawrence said. “In a way, elections are all about who shows up.”

Lawrence said the election Tuesday demonstrated the increasing popularity of early voting in Texas.

Actually we saw, in a continued trend, an increase in early voting so that we had about one-third of Texas registered voters actually voting before yesterday,” Lawrence said.

Voter turnout across the state has been low, but Lawrence said Texas had the lowest turnout in the country in 2010.

“I’m here to tell you that the early returns suggest that Texas was not dead last yesterday,” Lawrence said.

Ross Ramsey, executive editor and co-founder of The Texas Tribune, said turnout is always an issue when it comes to election time.

“There’s a big emphasis in politics, not just in this campaign, but in a lot of places on voter registration and the importance of voter registration,” Ramsey said. “Voter registration doesn’t matter if you can’t peel them off the couch when its time to vote.”

Lawrence said despite the meager voter turnout, there were more open races on Tuesday than there has been in Texas since 1906.

“So we had a really historic opportunity for voter engagement, but we saw it unmet,” Lawrence said. 

Young voters are commonly the most underrepresented, and, according to Lawrence, this year was no different. Lawrence said her experience in the classroom has given her an idea of why this occurs.

“I can tell you, at least anecdotally, over the years of teaching, that the young people that I teach tell me again and again that one of the biggest reasons that they do not vote consistently is that they don’t feel informed enough,” Lawrence said. 

Lawrence said young voters might also vote less than other age groups because they feel isolated from the major political parties.

“Of course, we know that for many young people, these days particularly, there’s not as much of a strong connection to political parties, to those traditional political identities of democrat and republican,” Lawrence said.

Edward Espinoza, executive director of the Texas Research Institute, said there was little the Democrats could have done to fend off Republican
opponents.

“Had the Latino outreach been better, that would have taken [Democrats] from 39 percent to maybe 43 percent, but there was no stopping that wave,” Espinsoza said.

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalists and UT alumni Judy Walgren (left), Lucian Perkins and Meredith Kohut speak about their photojournalism careers at the Belo Center for New Media. Throughout the discussion, each of the panelist said that photography it is much more than having a photographic eye, but more about connecting to the people they photograph.

Photo Credit: Claire Schaper | Daily Texan Staff

Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalists Lucian Perkins, Judy Walgren, as well as famed photojournalists Eli Reed, Dennis Darling and Meredith Kohut talked about their experiences in photojournalism at a panel discussion in the Belo Center for New Media on Thursday.

At the “Through the Lens” panel, hosted by the School of Journalism, Perkins spoke about the beginning of his career, when he was a photojournalist for The Daily Texan. He said one of the greatest internships he had was at The Washington Post. Besides doing what was asked of him at the internship, he was constantly looking for stories to pitch. He said his experience at the internship led to a job at the Post for 27 years.

“It’s all about ideas,” Perkins said. “And educating yourself to go where you want to go.”

According to Walgren, one of her first projects was looking for hidden wars. She said these wars were hidden mostly because it was difficult to cover those wars.

She showed photographs she took in Africa and Colorado and said they document how people would live around these places despite the conflicts that surrounded them.

“I found out that photojournalism is sheer will,” Walgren said. “I didn’t have a good eye at photography. I just wanted to change the world.”

Kohut said she took pictures of children going across the Guatemalan border. She said she found out it was not an immigration crisis, but that the children were refugees. Kohut said it was challenging for her to tell that story.

“You have figure out how to make things work,” Kohut said. “It’s not about being able to take a picture but about being able to solve problems.”

Perkins talked about an assignment in Macedonia that involved refugees from the region. He said he realized that government corruption could cause conflict almost anywhere. 

Freelance photojournalist Felicia Graham said part of the job of a photojournalist is to deliver a product no matter the location.

“I do think it is difficult to shoot at different locations, while being a photojournalist,” Graham said. “But you cannot publish an excuse. We have a job in which we can’t just not show up. When it comes to photojournalism, you have to be there.”

Art Markman and Bob Duke, stars of KUT radio’s “Two Guys on Your Head,” and host Rachel McInroy speak on a panel at the Belo Center on Wednesday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Ellyn Snider | Daily Texan Staff

The hosts and producer of “Two Guys on Your Head," the KUT radio show on science and the brain, discussed their show and the public understanding of science at a talk at the Belo Center for New Media on Wednesday.

Art Markman and Bob Duke, UT professors and hosts of the show, and the show’s producer, Rebecca McInroy, spoke about the establishment of “Two Guys On Your Head” and the importance of teaching this science to young students. The show features discussions on various aspects of psychology and the scientific process.  

McInroy said she invited Markman, psychology professor, to appear on the psychology episode on her radio show “Views and Brews” after receiving a call from one of his affiliates. 

“I was under the impression that we had to play music,” Markman said. “Thank goodness that wasn’t the case, but I called [Duke] up anyway to accompany me on the show.”

Duke, music and human learning professor, said he recorded two episodes with Markman before McInroy realized that she wanted to create a new show focusing on the brain. 

“We didn’t want the show to feel teach-y” Duke said. “What’s missing from science education is work on the scientific process.”

McInroy said each show is a collaborative effort. 

“I wanted people to feel like they had been to a dinner party after each episode,” McInroy said. “One thing that’s great about working with [Markman] and [Duke] is that we trust each other.”

Duke said they discuss a specific topic each episode, with an emphasis on psychology.

“Science is about a process,” Duke said. “The show works to teach the process and things that aren’t intuitive. A lot of students have the misconception that science is a group of facts. Science changes constantly.”

Markman said that a problem with the public’s understanding of science is a lack of good science teachers.

“I tell my colleagues to tithe 10 percent to the field, give 10 percent of your work time to teaching the community,” Markman said. “Luckily, a growing number of people are willing to teach the public.”

According to Duke, researcher bias creates an issue of trust between scientists and the public.

“There is no such thing as inherently dispassionate data,” Duke said. “So long as humans are involved, a bias will be present. A system was developed to thwart that bias though: That system is science.”

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

When a bush caught fire outside the Belo Center for New Media on Monday, someone inside the building pulled the fire alarm and students in the building were ushered directly into the smoke-filled area. Despite the fire, evacuation was not the safest course of action, according to UTPD spokeswoman Cindy Posey.

Posey will meet with University fire marshal James Johson and emergency preparedness director David Cronk as soon as possible to make changes to the building evacuation policy, Posey said, because in the case of an outdoor fire, students and faculty should dial 911 instead of setting off the fire alarm.

“The emergency preparedness website has all the instructions for what to do if the fire is inside, but it does not specify what to do if the fire is outside the building,” Posey said. “I have a feeling we will be adding that very soon.”

On its website, the Office of Emergency Preparedness outlines the standard safety procedures for building evacuations in the event of an indoor fire, but does not give specific procedures for outdoor fires.

The Office of Emergency Preparedness is responsible for providing instructions for a variety of possible emergency situations, including bomb threats and active shooters on campus. For indoor fire emergencies, the emergency preparedness desk reference manual instructs building occupants to pull the fire alarm before calling 911.

“You are putting people in danger by getting them out of the building and putting them near the area that’s on fire,” Posey said.

Posey said students’ first instinct may be to pull the fire alarm, but, in some situations, there may not be a safe exit from the building.

“I understand it seems counterintuitive,” Posey said. “But if the fire is outside, what happens is [that pulling the fire alarm] does what we call ‘dumping the building,’ which just means it empties the building. So we would prefer that people call 911 first if the fire is outside.”

University communications director Rhonda Weldon said she is unsure whether fire alarm occurrences are recorded. Johnson was unavailable for comment.

Business senior Aakash Batra said he believes the evacuation policy is not made as clear as it should be.

“I don’t know much at all about our evacuation policy,” Batra said. “I mean, I’m sure I could Google it, but I wouldn’t think to do that.”

Other students, such as biology senior Suwetha Amsavelu, said their first instinct would be to exit the building as quickly as possible.

“I would just run,” Amsavelu said. “I’ve always just assumed that you have to evacuate, and my first thought would be to try and get out of the building.”

Safety procedures are not always easy to follow in an emergency situation, according to speech/language pathology senior Jeanan Sfeir.

“Honestly, I don’t know if I would wait for directions,” Sfeir said. “I would pull the fire alarm if I saw a fire because I would assume that is the way to alert people.”

Jessica Schwartz a memeber of winning team JMASTR presents the iPhone App - Glos Guide in the Demo Day for UT Apps Development Class on a Saturday afternoon. Five teams pitched mobile product ideas and built them for a journalsim class led by Professor Robert Quigley and entrepreneur Joshua McClure.

Photo Credit: Shweta Gulati | Daily Texan Staff

UT’s Mobile News App Design class held a Demo Day Saturday afternoon in the Belo Center for New Media to showcase five iPhone apps the class has created over the course of the semester.

The class, taught and created by senior journalism lecturer Robert Quigley, divided a mix of journalism and computer science students into five groups and asked them to create a mobile news app. Quigley said the students’ excitement about the concept of the class fueled their creations.

“There was some cross-learning going on, which was one of the goals of having this class,” Quigley said. “I hope this class got the journalism students excited about the possibilities of technology and I hope the computer science students have a new understanding of communications.”

During the Demo Day, each group was given an opportunity to come before a panel of judges including Wanda Cash, associate director of the UT School of Journalism; Debbie Hiott, editor of the Austin American Statesman; Rodney Gibbs of the Texas Tribune; Carmen Cano of Dallas Morning News; Gerald Bailey, co-founder of Snakehead Software and Christopher Visit, co-owner of Frank+Victor Design. Quigley selected the media judges and Josh McClure, an Austin iPhone developer who worked with the class in their app development throughout the semester, chose the tech judges. 

The app to win Best Overall App was “Glos Guide for Journalists,” a mobile style reference guide. The “Glos” team began its presentation by asking volunteers to look through a traditional hard copy of the AP Style guide and “Glos,” and find the rule concerning the capitalization of cardinal directions. 

“The activity showcased the timesaving efficiency of ‘Glos,’” said Ryan Niemann, computer science senior and Glos team member.

“‘Glos’ saves journalists time and money because they no longer have to go through the slow process of searching through a bulky paper catalog to find information about journalistic style,” Niemann said. “They no longer have to pay for an expensive hardcopy of a style guide–they can purchase ‘Glos’ for only ninety-nine cents.”

Pxljam,” a photo-sharing app intended to connect music lovers to their favorite artists and concert experiences, won both the award for “Best Design” and “Best Commercial Value.” “PicBook,” an app that allows its users to create digital scrapbooks, was deemed “Most Original.” “Prix-Party,” an event-guide for F1 racing in Austin, was awarded “Best Presentation.”  

Journalism and Portuguese senior Meleena Loseke worked to develop “nerv,” an app designed to make local news and hotspots easily accessible to travelers, and said the cohesion of the groups was important in the class’s creations. 

“No matter if we were creating code for the app or coming up with communication initiatives, Quigley stressed that we were each considered a ‘developer,’” Loseke said. “This experience has taught me that teams can accomplish some pretty incredible things if each member plays to his or her own strengths, which my team did.”

Members the Austin film community discussed the historical context and various cinematic techniques of the 1952 Hollywood Western High Noon for the Radio-Television-Film’s Community Screening series at the Belo Center for New Media on Thursday.

Led by professor Charles Ramírez Berg, Thursday’s screening was the first community screening presented by the RTF department. The community screening involved RTF faculty members who select some of their favorite films for display to the public.

High Noon stars Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly and Katy Jurado. The film won four Academy Awards. Berg said the film’s release was marked by controversy because of the issues that dealt with the Red Scare and the investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee. 

“It became an issue in this film because the co-producer and screenwriter of this film, Carl Foreman, was called before the committee in the middle of the film’s production. He had joined the [Communist] party, eventually quit but had to say he was a member of the Communist party. He refused to give the committee names of other Communists and therefore he became persona non grata in Hollywood.”

Berg said the screenwriter’s experiences with the committee helped Foreman to infuse his emotions into the script.

RTF sophomore Aden Wexberg said the courageous efforts of those who worked on the film allows him to continue to watch the film.

“It’s really cool to see a blacklisted artist stare that sort of opposition in the face and still keep going with it,” Wexberg said. “Every time I think what keeps me coming back is the courage of Will Kane because it sort of reminds me of ‘The Crucible’ and how it responds to McCarthyism.“

After RTF sophomore Graham Carter watched the film for the second time, he said he learned more about it from Ramírez. 

“Dr. Ramírez knows a lot about the film,” Carter said. “He is obviously very passionate about it.”

There are three other screenings scheduled by the department. RTF Professor Caroline Frick is scheduled to present ‘The Big Sleep’ on March 21. In a co-sponsored event with the Journalism Department, on April 3 the director of that department, Glenn Frankel, plans to present ‘The Searchers’. RTF professor Richard Lewis will round out the screenings series on April 18 as he is slated to present ‘A Shock to the System.’

Belo Center project manager Pawn Chulavatr and workers install a newsbox outside of the Belo Center Thursday morning. The newstand will house six newpapers, including The Daily Texan, The Dallas Morning News and the Austin-American Statesman.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Notebook in one hand, morning coffee in the other, students can catch up on the news as they walk along Dean Keeton. Thanks to a new newspaper stand installed outside of the Belo Center for New Media, 8 a.m. classes just got more bearable.

The single newsstand, installed Thursday, is located at the main entrance and will hold six newspapers including The Daily Texan, The Dallas Morning News and the Austin American-Statesman, but the other three have not been determined by the College of Communication

Although Texas Student Media typically provides The Daily Texan’s news boxes free of charge, the Lawrence Group, the Belo Center’s architects, designed the newsstand, communication dean Roderick Hart said. The college is still awaiting the project invoice, although the estimated cost is $6,000. 

In September, the college denied a request by Wanda Cash, clinical journalism professor and assistant director of the School of Journalism, for Daily Texan news boxes in front of the Belo Center, where the journalism school is located. The college, which was aiming for a LEED silver certification, cited the boxes could create potential environmental concerns. The college later reversed its decision, planning to have a news box by November, after taking bids on designs to match the building. In December, the college told the Texan the box should be installed by the start of class Jan. 14.

Dean Hart said the college will also provide about 10 copies of the city newspapers for free daily.

“The whole point is to celebrate journalism,” Hart said. “We’re going to make them available at no cost, so students can pick them up in the morning. The idea is to try to stimulate people’s interest in newspapers.”

Cash said the news box will fit the needs of the students and the college by providing newspapers at the Belo Center, while maintaining the building’s sleek look with the newsstand.

“It’s great that the college responded to student concerns,” Cash said. “It will be nice to see a collective presentation of papers with one standard looking news box, fitting with the style of the building.”

Journalism lecturer Mark Morrison, who previously served as a Daily Texan editor and as a Texas Student Media board member, said the news boxes are long overdue.  

“It’ll be nice to see the boxes have a permanent home in the building,” Morrison said. “I’m glad to hear they’re finally getting around to installing the boxes after the delays last semester.”

Journalism junior Olivia Suarez said the newsstands are a good addition to the building, if the entrance stays clear of newspaper litter.

“As a journalism major, I feel it’s important to have easy access to the news, whether it be print or virtual,” Suarez said. “I remember last semester, I was confused as to why the CMA had plenty of boxes, while Belo lacked them. As long as the front area remains clean, I don’t see any inconvenience to their installation.”

Three months after announcing intentions to place a Daily Texan news box in front of the Belo Center for New Media, the College of Communication is now saying it hopes to install specially designed and built boxes by January.

College of Communication spokesperson Laura Byerley said the college accepted three bids and will pick a contractor to construct the box next week. Normally Texas Student Media, the entity that owns The Daily Texan, provides boxes to locations free of charge.

“We’re hoping they’ll be installed by the first day of school in the spring semester,” Byerley said. “The news boxes are being designed. There isn’t anything new to report at this time.”

In September, Wanda Cash, the assistant director of the School of Journalism, asked college officials for a Daily Texan news box in front of UT’s newest building. Assistant dean Janice Daman told Cash it was the College of Communication’s policy to not have any news boxes, signage or paper in front of or in the Belo Center for New Media, the building that hosts the journalism school, for environmental concerns. The building is striving for the “silver certification” from U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

An article about this policy appeared in The Daily Texan, and following public outcry from media and former Daily Texan editors, the College of Communication reversed its decision. At the time, College of Communication dean Roderick Hart said it was never the intention of the college to ban the boxes.

Later in October, Hart said he was hoping to get the boxes installed by late November.

“They’ll certainly be operational by the start of spring semester,” Hart said in an October email.

Mark Morrison, former Daily Texan editor and Texas Student Media board member, said the slow response to placing a box in front of the new building has frustrated him.

“The University certainly does not seem to be able to move very quickly on issues such as this,” Morrison said.

He said the College of Communication should have set up temporary Daily Texan distribution areas in the Belo Center for New Media.

“There should be a high priority to get the Texan to communication college students, including journalism students, and if it’s going to take this long to get a permanent spot, why don’t they set up some temporary distribution points?”

Morrison said while the more permanent box is built, the newspapers could go in the building, on a table, in a rack or in a temporary box.

Jalah Goette, the director of the Texas Student Media board, said no one from the College of Communication has contacted her about the news boxes at the Belo Center.

After Friday, The Daily Texan will stop printing until Jan. 14, the first class day of the spring semester.

Printed on Friday, December 6, 2012 as: Belo Center to acquire custom-made newsboxes

After initially prohibiting news boxes at the Belo Center for New Media, the College of Communication announced it has recognized the demand for The Daily Texan and will place a box on-site sometime in the future.

Roderick Hart, College of Communication dean, said in an e-mail that the college has asked its architect to design a Daily Texan newspaper box for the center and choose where on the site the boxes should go. Hart could not provide a timeline or a sense of when a news box would be added.

The Daily Texan printed an article about the college’s stance on news boxes Thursday, after which there was a strong online response. Thursday morning, a blog about the issue was posted on media institute Poynter’s Web site. Posts on CollegeMediaMatters.com and JimRomenesko.com followed later in the day.

“I know the dean heard from dozens of former Daily Texan editors [Thursday],” Mark Morrison, adjunct lecturer and a board member for Texas Student Media, said. “They’ve all been in touch with his office and communicating their concern.”

Last week, the College of Communication said it would not place any news boxes in front of the Belo Center for New Media, which houses the School of Journalism. Assistant Dean Janice Daman said the news boxes might attract litter, and interfere with the college’s plans to achieve a silver certification. The certification is a rating that classifies a building’s environmental performance and is issued by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. In response, Glenn Frankel, director of the School of Journalism, said it was a mistake that the building that houses the School of Journalism did not have the campus’ student newspaper available for immediate access.

Hart said he was not sure if the College of Communication would add news boxes or news stands for publications other than The Daily Texan.

“We have to maintain pedestrian traffic flow above all else,” Hart said.

Jalah Goette, interim director of Texas Student Media, the agency in charge of all of UT’s student-produced media, said it is prepared to add another Texan distribution point. She also said she hopes the College of Communication will work with Texas Student Media on the design of the box and that it would include the masthead that is on every other Texan news box. Goette said it is important the box be identifiable as a Texan box.

On Thursday afternoon, Hart sent an e-mail to The Daily Texan, saying the College of Communication would install a news box.

The College of Communication tweeted, “there was some confusion about why copies of The Daily Texan weren’t available.” Both the tweet and Hart said the college never intended to ban the news boxes.

But Daman said in an e-mail to journalism professor Wanda Cash the policy was decided previously.

“The Belo project team decided long ago that there would be no news boxes – Daily Texan, Apartment Locators, the Onion – on the Belo plaza or sidewalks,” said Daman in her Aug. 30 e-mail.

“The Dean knows this, too.”

Morrison said he is glad to see the college decide to put a news box on-site.

“It should not have come to this, but better late than never,” Morrison said.

Frankel said he is also pleased with the decision.

“I thought it was a mistake to not give students and faculty access to The Daily Texan and newspapers here in the Belo Center,” Frankel said. “To me, it was not important whether those boxes were inside the lobby or outside, just that there is access for our students.”

Morrison said he hopes more news boxes are added besides the Texan, like other newspapers around the state and campus publications.

While UT-Austin does not have an official rule or policy on news boxes, the University requires they not interfere with on-campus traffic.