Glenn Frankel

Photo Credit: Caleb Kuntz | Daily Texan Staff

R.B. Brenner, deputy director of the journalism program at Stanford University, will be the new director of the School of Journalism in the Moody College of Communication starting in August, according to Moody college dean Roderick Hart. 

In May 2013, the journalism school’s current director Glenn Frankel announced he would retire to work as an author full-time. Hart said Brenner’s official paperwork was signed Wednesday. “We had a search committee that had a bunch of people on it,” Hart said. “When they said he was an applicant, I was very pleased. When he came to campus he just kind of wowed everybody.”

Brenner, who worked in a number of editing positions at The Washington Post, said one of the biggest challenges facing modern journalism is the rapid development of new technology. 

“The more technology speeds us forward, the more you also have big issues between some of the real traditional values of journalism,” Brenner said. “You’ve seen that in the last few years, in the coverage of the Newtown shooting and the Boston Marathon bombings, with this constant competition between speed, accuracy and credibility. News outlets have to ask themselves, ‘How important is it to be first if it ends up damaging your reputation?’”

Brenner said he has ideas for potential changes at the journalism school in mind, but he is not ready to share them until he has a chance to familiarize himself with the school.

“I think it’s premature,” Brenner said. “I am a journalist and reporter at my core. The way I think about anything is, ‘Would it be smart for a reporter?’ I think it would be bad for me, from several miles away, to make claims on best practices for the school.” 

Frankel, who also worked at The Washington Post and Stanford before joining UT, said Brenner’s academic and professional experience will be valuable when he becomes the director. 

“I think that people felt strongly that we needed someone with a real solid grounding in professional journalism because of the huge changes transforming news at every level,” Frankel said. “He’s just a very warm, communicative person who listens carefully, who respects students, who really loves students and then is collaborative.”

In January, The Daily Texan reported Texas Student Media, the umbrella organization that manages a number of student-produced media properties, including Cactus Yearbook, Texas Travesty, Texas Student TV, KVRX and the Texan, would be moving under the domain of the Moody college. According to Hart, this move has not yet officially taken place. 

Brenner said he is unsure of what role Texas Student Media will play in the journalism school moving forward. 

“What’s really important for student media, first and foremost, is for it to be independent, that students are running student media,” Brenner said. “I don’t think the days of anything being print alone exist anymore. It’s essential for [publications] to understand the specific needs and wants of their audience.”

Additional reporting by Nicole Cobler.

Clarification: This story has been updated from its original version. Brenner was an editor at The Washington Post.

Glenn Frankel, pictured here with his new book, will leave UT after the 2013-2014 academic year.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

After four years as the director of the School of Journalism, Glenn Frankel will retire from his position and become a full-time author.

In an email to his colleagues Thursday evening, Frankel announced he will be leaving UT after the 2013-14 academic school year. In his last year, Frankel said he will focus on transforming the curriculum in the journalism master program and focus on helping a new person transition into his position. 

Frankel said he will return home to Arlington, Va. and write books full-time, which he says is "a cherished dream."

He said the new journalism director needs to be able to demonstrate how journalism is a value to UT as a whole. Frankel said the new director also needs to be concerned with the fate of The Daily Texan, which almost cut its printing from five to four times a week this past semester due to budget concerns. Frankel said the Texan must remain as independent and student-run as possible.

"This is a time where journalism needs that kind of support, and all of our former assumptions are up for grabs. We need to reassert and reestablish the critical importance of journalism in a democratic society," Frankel said in an interview with The Daily Texan. "And that's part of the job for the School of Journalism."

Frankel, a former Washington Post editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, was hired as the director of the School of Journalism in 2010. Looking back at the past three years, Frankel said the opening of the new journalism building, the Belo Center for New Media and the launching of the new journalism curriculum were some of his high points of his career as journalism director. 

In the 2012 fall semester, the journalism school released a new curriculum aimed to better train students to become multimedia journalists and have multiple skills. It was the first time the undergraduate curriculum had been critically changed in two decades, Frankel said.

"Our students are getting digital tools from the day they come to the school while still getting basic journalistic sensibility that goes with it," Frankel said. "There are still bugs to iron out and things to get done, but its an enormous achievement."

The new curriculum requires students to conduct a professional internship, which Frankel says has strengthened relations between the School of Journalism and professional news organizations such as the Dallas Morning News. The Morning News recently ran six stories about race in school classrooms by UT students writing for Reporting Texas, a journalism class at the University. 

Despite these gains, Frankel said the school needs to form even better and stronger relationships with these news organizations.

"There is an enormous opportunity here to be a spokesman and a champion of good journalism and the value of good journalism," Frankel said.

Frankel said he was convinced now was a good time to retire after receiving positive critical response on his most recent book. "The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend," was released in February.

"I want to be a full-time book writer. I've written three and I've got several more in mind," Frankel said. "It just seems to me the success of my newest book has given me the opportunity to do that."

Journalism director Glenn Frankel will appear at Book People Wednesday at 7 p.m. for a reading and signing of his new book, “The Searchers: Making of an American Legend.”

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

“There’s a deeper meaning to westerns, which is about how we conquered the west, and what our country’s about,” Glenn Frankel, director of UT’s School of Journalism, said. 

According to Frankel, on the surface westerns are about a guy with a gun and the shoot-out, but in his new book, “The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend,” Frankel explores the film and American history of the 1956 John Ford film, “The Searchers.” 

David Hoffman, a former Washington Post colleague of Frankel’s and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, said that Frankel’s “The Searchers” will be the cultural book of the season because Frankel took one strand of American history and followed it all the way through. 

“It cuts from a really raw, serious, violent conflict to a great filmmaker trying to make a film,” Hoffman said. “History is best understood by somebody who can show that it cuts across culture, mythology [and] dirty old clippings. And that’s the great thing about this book. It’s a journey through history that is completely cutting across different times. And you feel like you’ll see things in a different way.”  

Frankel is a former Washington Post reporter and a Pulitzer Prize winner. In his book, he addressed the incident in which Comanche Indians kidnapped 9-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker who grew up as a Comanche Indian, married a warrior and bore him three children before her American family came to “rescue” her and her infant daughter 24 years later. Frankel examines this event from both a historical standpoint and through the lens of John Ford’s film.  

Frankel said his subtitle, “The Making of an American Legend,” describes how every generation re-imagines history, then changes what it doesn’t like in order to fit its own sensibility and needs. When writing the book, Frankel tried to put himself in Parker’s shoes.

“I think it was pretty clear by the way she acted how frightened she was, how vulnerable she felt,” Frankel said. “Can you imagine what that’s like? I had to. I tried to. I can’t feel those feelings in the same way, but I tried really hard to see what that would be like. It’s great to see her picture, to look in her eyes at her half-panicked ‘I don’t know what I’m doing here.’ You use every clue you can. You go with what they give you.”

Joseph McBride, Ford’s biographer and a film professor at San Francisco State University, described Frankel as a reporter at heart who does great research to find out about things lacking sufficient knowledge. 

“His research is astonishing,” McBride said. “He has many great discoveries important for American history. He’s a great writer who tells the story very engagingly. It’s a very gripping book. I read it almost in one sitting. It’s rich. He understands people really well and is fascinated by complexities and varieties, which you can see in the book. It was a story [that] needed to be told.” 

According to Frankel, the future is all decided but it’s the past that’s unclear. However, Frankel does not want to teach history lessons with his book, he wants to tell stories. 

“It’s interesting to me to capture someone in a moment of crisis when they have to make decisions about what to do,” Frankel said. “They all lived such colorful, complicated lives. I feel like they were all searchers in a way, for a way to survive the world. You don’t make stuff up. You give [the readers] something powerful and meaningful and hope they get it, and they can decide how to live their lives or how to act based on it. I’ll be writing, I hope, until I leave this earth, and I’ll never be done.” 

Frankel will appear at BookPeople on Wednesday at 7 p.m. for a reading and signing of his new book.

Published on February 27, 2013 as "UT Journalism school director discusses book". 

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 and 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.

Photo Credit: Marc Morales | Daily Texan Staff

As the Belo Center for New Media works to gear students up for the new digital age of journalism, some faculty and students are concerned it is leaving the print age behind.

Citing environmental concerns, College of Communication administrators have stopped The Daily Texan from placing a news box in front of the $54.8 million Belo Center for New Media. Janice Daman, assistant dean of the College of Communication, told the School of Journalism last week that no news boxes are allowed in the Belo plaza or on the sidewalk. Since opening in August, the University’s newest building has housed the School of Journalism and the departments of advertising and public relations.

Mark Morrison, adjunct lecturer in the School of Journalism and a Texas Student Media board member, said he was disappointed and wants a Texan news box in front of the center.

“I think it is outrageous,” Morrison said. “We should make it as easy as possible for our students and faculty to get access to the Texan. The Belo Center is, after all, the home of the journalism school.”

The issue arose when Glenn Frankel, director of the school of journalism, asked journalism professor Wanda Cash to look into why there were no Texan boxes in front of the Belo Center for New Media. Daman informed Cash of the college’s policy regarding news boxes in an e-mail.

Daman said the building is environmentally friendly, and the presence of news boxes raises concerns that litter, clutter and debris could gather around the building.

The Belo Center for New Media is striving to achieve the “silver certification” from U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Signage, banners, plaques and other forms of paper have also been banned from being posted outside the building.

“It’s not a news box issue, per se,” Daman said in an e-mail to The Daily Texan. “That is important to understand.”

In her e-mail to Cash, Daman said the project team rejected a number of requests for material to be posted in front of the building in order to maintain “the look of the plaza.”

“You’ll notice that even the trash cans’ color was specifically chosen by the architect,” Daman said in her e-mail to Cash.

Daman also said there are Texan boxes nearby, one across Whitis Street at the Kinsolving Residence Hall and another across Dean Keaton Street.

Morrison said faculty and students at the Belo Center for New Media should not have to cross the street to pick up a copy of the Texan.

Frankel, director of the school of journalism, said he thinks it is a mistake not to put news boxes in front of the Belo Center for New Media.

“This is the School of Journalism and the College of Communication, and newspapers remain one of the fundamental platforms and vehicles of journalism,” Frankel said. “I would like our students to be exposed to journalism and all of its manifestations here — and that includes newspapers.”

A former editor-in-chief of the Texan from 1969 to 1970, Morrison said he did not face similar issues during his time as editor, but problems with placing news boxes outside of buildings have become more common recently. Last semester, the College of Communication did not let The Daily Texan place news boxes in front of the CMA building in the Walter Cronkite Plaza.

“I mean, to think that the Walter Cronkite Plaza does not have a Daily Texan newsstand, Walter would be rolling over in his grave,” Morrison said.

Cronkite, an icon in the industry of broadcast journalism, got his start at the Texan.

Susannah Jacob, editor-in-chief of the Texan, said she was disappointed there are no newsstands in front of the Belo Center.

“We make every effort with every issue to stop any confusion between The Daily Texan and trash,” Jacob said.

The Daily Texan, UT’s official student newspaper, has roughly 75 news boxes on campus and 100 off campus. The Texan also has about 175 off-campus distribution locations where business owners receive bundles of the Texan and then offer free copies to their customers.

The UT System’s policy on solicitation allow the individual universities to decide where news racks or news boxes can be located. While UT-Austin does not have a specific policy or rule, a spokesperson for Facilities Services said UT does not allow the location of boxes and stands to interfere with foot and vehicle traffic or building access.

Printed on Thursday, September 6th, 2012 as: No Texan news boxes available outside Belo

Pulitzer Prize winner David Hoffman, formerly of The Washington Post, spoke about the legacy of Anthony Shadid Monday evening at the Jesse H. Jones Communication building. The presentation was hosted by the Institute for Communication on Media and the Middle East.

Photo Credit: Batli Joselevitz | Daily Texan Staff

Journalists, students and educators gathered Monday to discuss the work of Anthony Shadid, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who had planned to visit the University before he died while fleeing Syria in February.

The Institute for Communication on Media and the Middle East hosted the talk, which featured a speech by Washington Post contributing editor David Hoffman followed by comments from School of Journalism director Glenn Frankel and professors Karin Wilkins and Robert Jensen.

At the time of his death, which was caused by an acute asthma attack, Shadid worked as a foreign correspondent for the New York Times. Prior to writing for the Times, Shadid won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 2004 and 2010 for his work for The Washington Post.

Hoffman, who oversaw Shadid while serving as assistant managing editor at the Post, said Shadid exemplified a mastery of the art of journalism.

“He fulfilled an ideal for many of us as journalists,” Hoffman said. “He had shown us that it was possible to attain a kind of perfection.”

Shadid achieved that excellence by committing himself to the people and events he reported about, Hoffman said.

“Anthony would record every detail, every sight, every smell,” Hoffman said. “He would linger looking for clues.”

Frankel said Shadid’s method resonated with the title of the late reporter’s memoir, House of Stone.

“Reporting starts on the ground, going to see one person at a time, gathering little bits of material, like building a house,” Frankel said.

“Shadid’s work was this edifice of knowledge that he built one brick at a time. No one had this body of knowledge, and it gave him the altitude to see the Arab Spring coming.”

Shadid’s open-mindedness enabled his foresight into the future of the Middle East, Jensen said.

“He didn’t come in with a conclusion that he wanted to prove true,” Jensen said. “He did have assumptions that made him able to see things more clearly. One was that Arabs are fully human.”

Finding the human element amidst war was a theme of Shadid’s reporting, Frankel said.

“Anthony was always looking for that human moment,” Frankel said. “He was trying to get to the essence of that human suffering — to show you exactly what the price of war is.”

Hoffman said Shadid’s career will inspire the next generation of journalists.

“I don’t know who the next Anthony Shadid will be, but I hope there will be hundreds,” he said. “I just hope they pull Shadid’s books off the shelf and read the master.”

Printed on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 as: Talk honors Pulitzer winner's legacy

The University’s School of Journalism is making big changes to keep up.

“The digital media revolution is a runaway rocket ship,” said the school’s director, Glenn Frankel. “The best you can do is to see the trajectory. You can’t get in front of it.”

The school held a town hall meeting Wednesday to answer questions about the new curriculum it will roll out in this fall. The purpose of event was to inform journalism students so they can take advantage of the big change, Frankel said.

“Our student advisers say that students know the change is coming, but [the students] don’t know the specifics,” Frankel said. “We’re trying to be as transparent and information oriented as we can be. We are, after all, the School of Journalism.”

The curriculum will be a huge overhaul, said Theresa Thomas, an undergraduate academic adviser in the school. The changes in the classroom reflect changes in the professional field, she said.

“With all the layoffs [in journalism], employers don’t want to hire one person to do photo, another person to do video and another person to do the write-up,” Thomas said. “They want one person that can do all those things.”

To train students to be journalistic Swiss Army Knives, multimedia will be incorporated into every course beginning this fall, Thomas said. That emphasis on using various platforms of communication will also be built into the Belo Center for New Media, she said.

“The new building will have a multimedia newsroom,” she said. “It will replicate a professional newsroom as close as possible.”

The Belo Center will house the School of Journalism and will be completed this summer at the corner of Whitis Avenue and Dean Keeton Street, according to the College of Communication’s website.

Thomas said the focus on job-related skills might attract more students to the major. Current students have gladly welcomed the upcoming changes, Thomas said.

“Overall the reaction from students has been very positive,” she said. “They hear same things that we do about the changes in the field [of journalism]. They think they new curriculum is the way forward.”

Journalism sophomore Irma Garcia said she is eager for the new curriculum to go into effect.

“Sophomores have more choice between new and old courses,” she said. “I’ll benefit because I can jump into the new curriculum for my upper division courses.”

Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of The Washington Post from 1991 to 2008, speaks about The Watergate Scandal and the state of journalism in Studio 6A following a screening of “All the President’s Men.” With Downie as executive editor, The Washington Post won 25 Pulitzer Prizes, including one for exposing the negligent conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Photo Credit: Tamir Kalifa | Daily Texan Staff

Despite technologies that have been recently introduced to journalism, basic reporting techniques have remained the same, and any one reporter can make a difference, said Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of The Washington Post.

Downie discussed his experience working at The Washington Post during the Watergate scandal after a Tuesday screening of the film “All the President’s Men,” hosted by the School of Journalism. The film, starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, is based on the novel by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward which recounts their journalistic endeavors during their investigation of the Watergate scandal.

Downie worked for the Washington Post for 44 years and served as executive editor for 17 of those years. While he was executive editor, the Post won 25 Pulitzer Prizes. Downie now serves as vice president at large for The Washington Post.

Downie said the reporting techniques used in the film are the same techniques some of the best reporters use now, which includes working sources from the bottom up, making cold phone calls to see what information can be found and knocking unexpectedly on doors of possible sources.

“The film is about how journalists do journalism,” said Glenn Frankel, director of the School of Journalism. “It is the best American film ever made about the process of journalism, how reporters make progress, make mistakes, fight and work with each other and struggle with their editor.”

The Watergate political scandal began June 17, 1972, with the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters and the attempted cover-up by the Nixon Administration, Downie said.

Frankel said the film is a prime example of what occurs when politicians abuse power and try to cover it up. He said the public must never assume people in power can be totally trusted because they can become liable to commit abuses with their influence.

Downie said if people are blinded by what’s happening during a scandal, it’s oftentimes hard to find a way out.

“History is a big river. It keeps on going and it’s hard to capture what really happens, but the film does it well,” said photojournalism professor Eli Reed. “It’s a good indication of what can happen if people in the press do something really right.”

The media always needs to be vigilant, independent, evenhanded and energetic in order to find and expose abuses of power, Frankel said.

Printed on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 as: Good reporting still works, former Post editor explains

A day to remember

In this Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, United Airlines Flight 175 approaches the south tower of the World Trade Center in New York moments before collision, seen from the Brooklyn borough of New York.

Photo Credit: William Kratzke | The Associated Press

Editor's Note: This Sunday, people across campus and the country will remember exactly what they were doing ten years ago when two planes hit the Twin Towers and killed approximately 3,000 Americans in a terrorist attack. The Texan asked several prominent campus figures where they were and how they reacted on Sept. 11.

Mack Brown | Head Football Coach

“What I remember about that day, Sept. 11, 2001, is I was sitting in my office watching practice video and [Assistant Athletics Director for Football Operations] Arthur Johnson walked in and said, ‘Coach, I just want to make you aware that a small plane has hit one of the Twin Towers in New York.’

And my first thought was, what a tragedy for some airplane to have gotten off course or somebody must have had a heart attack or something to hit the Twin Towers. And then Arthur came back in and said, ‘Coach, I think it’s more than that. Another plane hit the Twin Towers.’ And then I turned on the television and started watching, and from that point forward, we understood that we were under terrorist attack.

My first thought was — with the Bush family living in Austin and one of the daughters being at the University of Texas — what about the safety of our players? What about the safety of their families?

We stopped our meetings immediately, and we got on the phone and started calling and texting our players to make sure that they were OK, trying to get them to this building, trying to get them downstairs so that we could all put some sense into what was going on with our country.
There were some scary moments because it took some time to communicate because so much of our communication was down. It was an open date week, and I do remember we decided not to practice that afternoon and we decided to sit and talk as a team and a football family about what had happened. We talked about the potential impact on them, their children and their grandchildren.

We played Houston the next week, and every one of our players carried a flag for the National Anthem. And since that point, we have carried at least two flags out onto the field. We try to have each of the young men that are carrying the flag onto the field have some sort of affiliation with our armed forces by having a either a relative or a dear friend in the military.

And as you look back ten years ago, our incoming freshmen were eight years old at that time. So we’ll go back through some of the changes in history over that moment this afternoon with our team.”

Glenn Frankel | Director of the School of Journalism

“By the time I left the gym that morning, the second plane had struck the South Tower and everyone understood this was no accident. I rushed to the Washington Post just as the first reports were coming in of the crash at the Pentagon, and the newsroom — already dispatching more reporters up to New York — suddenly faced a massive breaking story just across the Potomac. As editor of the Sunday magazine, I started tearing up our long-scheduled issues and making plans for several 9/11 issues and stories.

At the same time, all of us volunteered for the immediate task at hand. Our half-dozen staff writers hit the streets, while I and four other editors marched over to the national news desk to help process the reams of copy that were soon pouring in.

The Post had literally hundreds of people reporting and phoning in what they were seeing. Some of our reporters and photographers camped out at the Pentagon with firefighters and rescuers for several days. The newsroom was controlled chaos — lots of people moving swiftly between desks, endless hours working and staring at computer screens, all of us with our voices lowered out of respect and awe for the enormity of what we were covering.
I edited two of the longer pieces, one of them an early attempt to put the attacks in perspective.

Many Washingtonians spent the day in panic mode, fearing more attacks; offices closed, sending workers out onto streets that suddenly seemed dangerous. My older daughter, freshly graduated from the University of Virginia and working downtown at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, called to ask if she could come to the newsroom because Metrorail had shut down and she had no way to get home. She sat in my office, watching the TV reports and waiting for the threat to pass. In the newsroom we were too busy to ponder our own safety, but seeing her there somehow helped me stay focused. Sometime in the afternoon, I learned that a woman I knew had been on the Washington flight. The Pentagon burned for days.”

Sherri Greenberg | Interim Director for the Center for Politics and Governance

“I was actually working out at the gym, and the gym has televisions set up in front of the treadmills, and when I walked in, I didn’t know what had happened. I saw on the television what had happened, and as I was watching, the second plane hit the tower.

So I watched this happening on TV and I was absolutely horrified. There were other people there and it was totally silent. We had no idea what was going on, but I’ll never forget just watching it happen. Everybody just stood still watching the tv and watching everything unfold.

It was just a terrifying event, and I had children who were young at that time. They were in school. My husband and I had discussions and the elementary school gave us information abut what they would be telling the kids and how to talk to the kids. When the kids came home, we had to talk to them about it of course, which was really difficult because you need to let them know what happened because of course they’re going to hear about it, but you have to do so in such a way that they’re not terrified.

It was absolutely horrifying. Nobody had any idea what was really happening. I think that we were able to discuss the situation with our children in a way that did not cause them undue stress. I get a pit in my stomach just thinking about it right now. As I said, watching that unfold was just a truly terrifying experience. I was with other people and everybody was just frozen and silent. We were supposed to, within a day or two of that, my husband and I were going to take a flight to New York and we did cancel that. We thought it would be too stressful for the kids.”

Kevin Hegarty | Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

“I was giving a financial presentation to Dell Financial Services. I was vice president of Dell at the time before I came to UT. I came to UT in Oct. of 2001, literally a short time after, less than a month later.

I was in the middle of making a monthly financial update, and someone came in and said to turn on the TV, that a plane had hit one of the towers in New York. Somebody started almost kind of laughing because it was so unreal. I’ve never seen a room quieter, you could’ve heard a pin drop. People were just in absolute shock.

We kept the TV on and some people watched, it seemed like for hours, but after about 15 minutes, we began to think of all the people we had in the company who might be in New York. None of us understood the ramifications, but we began thinking of who do we have in the company that might’ve been there because New York is a key financial center and Dell was a huge company.

In the days that ensued as we learned more, it was a really great example of how people came together to help others whether it was helping someone at home or helping someone grieve. It was amazing that from such a tragic event could come such unity and support, and it really showed people how human we were and how much we depended on each other.

Needless to say, I did not finish my financial presentation. I remember so many details. It was just so shocking, something we would never have thought would happen happened. You had these monumental buildings come down, one might say they were likely to be damaged but not just taken down like that, and the loss of 3,000 plus lives in one event. I think it burned into peoples minds what they were doing that day. I was the vice president at Dell and I’ll never forget that day.”

UT’s School of Journalism has hired an Austin American-Statesman social media editor and a media-and-politics researcher to start this fall as the school prepares to transition to a new curriculum.

Robert Quigley will leave the Statesman to teach multimedia courses as a senior lecturer. Between 30 and 40 people competed for Quigley’s position, said School of Journalism Director Glenn Frankel. The school will merge the five concentrations into a single program for all students in fall 2012, and Quigley’s multimedia experience will aid that transition, Frankel said.

“We are hoping and expecting that he will help our school develop more courses and more directions in multimedia, in social media, in mobile devices and apps; all in the name of creating better journalism,” Frankel said.

Quigley said he wasn’t interested in leaving the Statesman until he learned more about the position from Frankel.

“Glenn clearly has a vision of making UT a powerhouse for new media, and he said this position is a key part of that transformation,” Quigley said in an email. “I helped lead the charge at the Statesman into the new media age, and I love the challenge of doing the same at UT.”

Quigley said he hopes the skills he will teach in class will prepare students for the modern media environment.

“It’s a difficult time to be a journalist, but especially [for] one who is looking for a job for the first time,” he said. “My overriding goal will to be to make every student I teach a more attractive job candidate and a more valuable employee once hired.”

The journalism school will see other staffing changes this fall. Regina Lawrence, the senior chair of political communication at Louisiana State University, will teach graduate courses and an undergraduate course about how women are covered in the news. She will take over the Jesse H. Jones Centennial Chair in Communication from professor Max McCombs, who retired in the spring. Associate professor Mercedes de Uriarte also retired this spring. Both will continue part-time work as professors emeriti.

About 30 people vied for Lawrence’s position. Frankel said Lawrence’s media and political research will make her a great successor to McCombs.

“She has a proven track record of working well with both undergraduates and grad students,” he said. “She’s published widely. She has collaborated with some of the top people in the field.”

Lawrence said she wanted to work at UT because of its reputation in her field.

“My research and teaching expertise is in political communication, and there are very few universities with such a strong concentration of scholars in that field — particularly when you include the Department of Government as well,” she said in an email.

Lawrence said she is excited to work on research for news and politics when both face a time of immense change.

“This is such a fascinating and treacherous time for the news industry, for our political system and for citizen engagement,” she said. “All of these things are in peril, and yet there are also remarkable opportunities to reinvent news, to reinvent politics and to reinvent what it means to be a citizen.”

Printed on 06/27/2011 as: UT journalism to see changes, updates in fall with new fires