Upfront Texas Association of Journalism Educators May 2008
Stepping out of the shadow
P.O. Box 5554
Cypress Falls High senior follows in brother’s footsteps
to become National High School Journalist of the Year
972-539-1591, ext. 141
As a sophomore, Alex Benito wasn’t sure he ibly tough. You’re up against the top student
wanted to continue in his high school journalism journalists in the country. I feel Alex stood out
program. His brother, Marcelino, was named because he exemplified what we’re trying to be
National High School Journalist of the Year that at the college level, a multi-platform journalist.
year, and Alex wasn’t sure he could live up to He was probably one of the most rounded win-
his brother’s accomplishments. ners JEA had seen.”
“My statement to him was, I did not expect him Alex’s portfolio was forwarded to the national
Lisa Van Etta
to be journalist of the year but to just give 100 per- committee after he was named Texas High School
cent to the program and do his Journalist of the Year.
best,” Cy Falls adviser Lisa Van “It was during the
Etta said. “I was expecting noth- [school] announcements
ing more from him than I would The online newspaper when they announced my
any other staff member.”
was basically a one-man name Alex said. “At win-
as the [Texas]
What Van Etta got was an- ner,” first,
other award-winning editor. show, ‘The Alex Benito I couldn’t believe what I
Alex was named National Show,’ with guest was hearing. Then all my
Journalist of the Year at the classmates started cheer-
JEA/NSPA convention in Ana- appearances by the
ing and congratulating
heim April 20. me. I was ecstatic, but the
“Winning this award has
yearbook staff members feeling didn’t had to take a last too long
finally got rid of this anxiety considering I
to always be better than my contributing a few test immediately following
brother,” Alex said. “I wanted stories and photos when the announcements. As you
to win not to match the accom- can imagine, I didn’t do too
plishments of my brother but needed. well on that test.”
to prove to myself that I was Alex was the first edi-
Lisa Van Etta
capable of anything I put my tor-in-chief of the school’s
Cypress Falls adviser new online newspaper,
210-442-0300, ext. 350
Marcelino referred to Alex Wingspan Online.
as “the complete package,” “The online newspaper
someone who had the skill sets was basically a one-man
to do great journalism. show, ‘The Alex Benito Show,’ with guest ap-
210-442-0800, ext. 262
“In my mind, Alex was never in my shadow,” pearances by the newspaper and yearbook staff
Marcelino said. “What’s great about Alex is he members contributing a few stories and photos
has a wonderful, amazing, unique personality when needed,” Van Etta said. “He takes his
that’s all his own. I’m sure people made him position as editor very seriously and continu-
feel like he had to break free of my shadow, but ously strives to perfect the paper’s appeal to its
in reality, all he had to do was stand up taller readership.”
and believe.” Because his father is a journalist, Alex has been
Marcelino accompanied Alex to the awards around journalism his entire life.
ceremony in Anaheim and admitted he was “I basically grew up knowing what it takes
nervous for his brother. to be a journalist,” Alex said. “I would always
“I really wanted this so badly for him,” Mar- watch him work almost to the next day, typing
celino said. “I knew the competition was incred-
See ‘Benito’ on page 8
2 Texas Association of Journalism Educators May 2008
Ask no evil Ethical questions follow
journalists of all ages
“Your house has just burned down, me, and I was dealt a group of stu- publication staffs’ ideas and even the
dents each year whose vision forces First Amendment. The ripple effects
destroying everything you own….”
“Your team has just lost the biggest them to push the envelope, to explore are extensive.
For example, in this issue of the
those tough issues and to tell the sto-
game of the year…”
ries of people who have gone through newspaper, we are running a series of
“You have just been diagnosed with a
stories about students who have cho-
a variety of difficult events.
My newspaper staff covers the per- sen different paths when dealing with
“HOW DO YOU FEEL?”
Those scenarios and that ques- ils of random stu-
dent drug testing,
tion—along with other questions like From the President
gay bashing, the ef-
it—are the main reason I ultimately
(for lack of a
fects of divorce, just
abandoned my original noble goal of Lori Herbst
to name a few. Even
being a professional journalist. I could Marcus High School
and one who
in yearbook, my stu- TAJE President
never quite navigate the tenuous and
dents always want
blurry line between the public’s right
to tackle the “deep” issues—grief, ad- indulged. They have all willingly
to know and the individual’s right to
privacy; I always erred on the side diction, risk-taking, for example—and gone on the record.
But what about Mom and Dad? Is
I had expected yearbook to be bright
and sunshiny with only positive their privacy also being invaded by
I found it difficult—no, for me, im-
content. No such their daughter’s decision? And will
the young woman—girl, really—re-
on someone’s grief,
So I’m right gret her decision to go public? At 16,
to publicly expose
Not only are we deal- b a c k w h e r e I can she really understand the possible
something he or she
ing with students and started some 25- repercussions, no matter how clearly
found shameful, to
plus years ago, our reporter has gone over them?
question someone’s their individual rights to
Turns out, there is no one right
facing the tough
integrity in print.
privacy, we are dealing issues and try- answer. That darned gray area again.
People’s raw emo-
ing to maneuver Turns out, the answer my students
tion just felt so… with their parents and
around the idea choose emerges from the thinking, the
personal, and inter-
with other “concerned” that some stories pondering, the debating, the playing
viewing them about
community members, will hurt some of devil’s advocate.
those emotions was
The bottom line is something it
at best awkward many of whom believe
Some stories will took me a while to learn. When ap-
and at worst, well,
destructive—to me their ideas about what make some peo- proached responsibly, these stories
or to them I never should be printed trump ple angry. Some will do good in the world. Not only
“ stories will cause can they educate and inform, they can
clarified in my own
the publication staffs’ embarrassment help to create that very compassion I
ideas and even the First and even poten- was so concerned with in college.
So I decided to
If a reader can identify with one
tial damage. How
teach fledging jour- Amendment.
do I advise my of our sources, can feel empathy
nalists. Instead of
students when for someone going through a tough
succumbing to the
they broach these time, can experience what it is like to
“evils” inherent in
pay the price for a certain decision,
what I conveniently labeled a nega-
As high school publications advis- then maybe that reader will grow.
tive and sensationalistic media, I
decided to raise generations of ethical, ers, we are in a particularly delicate Maybe that reader will become a
caring, compassionate young journal- situation. Not only are we dealing better, stronger, more caring person.
ists who could restore the profession with students and their individual Maybe that reader will make a better
to the ideal I had embraced. And as rights to privacy, we are dealing with decision than he or she would have
a sideline reward, I figured I would their parents and with other “con- otherwise.
Basically, I have learned a lot about
never have to deal with those ethical cerned” community members, many
of whom believe their ideas about making ethical choices from my stu-
decisions from which I was fleeing.
How naïve. Karma caught up with what should be printed trump the See ‘Ethical’ on page 8
May 2008 Texas Association of Journalism Educators 3
Fundraisers help to stretch
budget for publications
Need more money? Aren’t we all the holidays. Every student in the
looking to keep our publications in school is welcome to participate.
Susan’s choices for most
the black? Selling just a few tubs gets money
With book sales down and ad- off-- $5 off, $10 off, $15 off, $20 off
vertising slim in many areas of the and free. The money needs to be
state, staffs must find other kinds of collected up front before the cookie interesting fundraisers:
revenue to augment their decreasing dough is ordered.
3 • Cow Patty Raffle
As anyone who knows me well Photos – Take photos with the
• Cookies for all
will tell you, I am such a pack rat, Easter Bunny, Santa Claus or your
and because of school’s mascot, or • Photos
State Director’s Report
that, I have been take pictures of kids
saving fund- dressed in Halloween
raiser ideas for costumes. You can in-
•Decals or T-Shirts
Pine Tree High School
several years. If vest in a background
TAJE State Director
you are on the so they look profes- • Sell subscriptions
JEA listserv, you sional.
may have seen some of these in the
past, but I thought a condensed list Pi Day (3.14) – Bake and deliver
might be of use as we begin plan- homemade pies for a minimum $10
ning for next year. So, here’s a list donation on March 14. • Products
of Susan’s choices for most promis-
ing/interesting fundraisers: Decals or T-shirts – Talk to the
principal of your campus or several
Cow patty raffle – Create a grid campus principals (depending on
person. Frames cost an additional $10
on a board or large piece of paper the size of your district) to get per-
each. Post a cheap copy so that stu-
to create 1,000 squares. Number the mission to sell window decals and
dents can see the photos. This would
squares and sell them for $2 each. T-shirts on their campuses. Set up an
also work for random friend photos
Get a rancher to let you use a piece order form that is distributed to all
taken around campus. Post them,
of pastureland. On a ¼ acre plot, the schools. Figure in a $5 profit on
print them and rake in the profit.
replicate your grid on the land us- all the items. It takes some organiza-
ing lime salt. The rancher then lets tion, but get a parent involved to help
Events – Talent show, air guitar
a cow into the field. Wherever the place the order. When the shirts come
show, powderpuff football game,
cow leaves a patty, that person gets in, bag them and put a copy of the
Guitar Hero competition, Battle of
a free yearbook and $250. If the patty order form on the bags, sort the bags
the Bands, chili cookoff, steak dinner
plops into more than one square, by campus and then deliver.
and silent auction.
divide the money and give each of
the students a free book. For rural Sell subscriptions – During reg-
Products – Coffee shop on cam-
areas, this would be lots of fun. Can’t istration, sell subscriptions to the
pus, sausage biscuit mornings,
you see all the kids hanging over the newspaper for $25. Even with paying
school store for school supplies.
fence with cameras waiting for the for bulk postage, you should still
winning plop? make a good profit. Don’t forget to al-
2 The possibilities are endless, and
low time for labeling and sorting the
if you can get staffs excited and
Cookies for all – This is a fund- papers by zip code before mailing.
administrators willing, fundraisers
raiser of sorts that is open to the
can even be fun. Offer a product or
entire student body. Kids can earn Buddy photos – Take photos of
service that people need, and watch
free or reduced cost yearbooks by friends. Consider charging $30 for
the bank account grow.
selling tubs of cookie dough around two people and $5 for each additional
4 Texas Association of Journalism Educators May 2008
Regional representatives plan workshops for next year
Seven regional work-
shops are planned for
members in August and
Workshops will include Amarillo
II Alief Kerr HS
lunch, and participants Wichita Falls
III 8150 Howell
will receive a certificate for Ft Worth
in-service credit. For more Lubbock Dallas
IV Houston 77083
information, contact your Waco
regional representative. Odessa/Midland
ext. 267- School
The representatives and Austin
832.379.9924 - Home
their e-mail addresses are
Laura Smith Corpus Christi
1701 23rd St. Brownsville
4001 Wildcat Dr.
Corpus Christi 78410
Lindale HS 915.780.1100
361.242.5649 - School
Region II P.O. Box 370 ext. 6203 - School
361.877.7387 - Home
Mary Beth Lee Lindale 75771 915.822.2513 - Home
SH Rider HS 903.882.6138 - School email@example.com
4611 Cypress 903.534.5495 - Home
Wichita Falls 76310 firstname.lastname@example.org Region V
will meet with the Execu-
940.720.3019 - School Christine Keyser-Fanick
tive Board in June. Mem-
940-232-1589 - Home Region IV John Paul Stevens HS
bers with questions or con-
email@example.com Pat Monroe 600 N. Ellison Dr.
cerns for the Board should
Burges HS San Antonio 78251
contact their regional repre-
Region III 7800 Edgemere 210.397.6450 - School
sentative byMay 31.
Mikyela Tedder El Paso 79925 210.681.6819 - Home
ATPI to host summer workshop for advisers July 16-19
The ATPI Summer Workshop for ceive a certificate for hours earned. 27 with a credit card. Contact the Uni-
Instructors will be held July Participants can stay versity Inn at 1-903-886-3165 to make
16-19 at Texas A&M Univer- at the University Inn in reservations.
sity in Commerce. Commerce, less than five The classes to be offered include
The $225 registration fee minutes from the campus. Adobe Photoshop Intermediate,
covers the workshop, all The hotel has free wireless Convergence Made Simple, Funtog-
lunches, dinner on Wednes- Internet access to all of raphy: Holgas, Dianas, Toy Cameras
day and Friday evenings the rooms. The rate at the and How I Found My Soul Again,
and other fun items. Teach- University Inn is $53.99/ Visual Communication, and Where
ers who have attended the night (single or double) Do I Start. For more information,
Summer Workshop in the plus 7 percent city tax. including full class descriptions, go
past who bring one new Make sure to bring a to atpi.org.
person with them this year state sales tax exemption Workshop supporters include
can register both individuals for $175 form in order not to pay the 6 percent Olympus America (John Knaur), the
each. state tax. Photo Imaging Education Association
All workshop participants will re- Rooms must be reserved by June and Stan Godwin Photography.
May 2008 Texas Association of Journalism Educators 5
The urge to converge Time to renew
New media finds ways to attract audiences
Invoices for TAJE
I’m about to wind up this year and get More and more, Americans are turning to membership for the 2008-
ready for my 34th year of teaching journal- non-traditional sources to get their infor- 09 school year have been
ism, and—call me crazy—but I am ready to mation, and the challenge is for journal- mailed.
toss out every production schedule, every ists to continue providing a professional Members should check
job description for staffers, every procedure product with accurate information when the invoice to see when
there is so much unfiltered data available
I’ve ever used and start over. Why? their membership expires.
to the public.
I’ve got the urge to converge. Those who do not need
A recent Pew Center survey says 55
Yearbook staff? Gone. Newspaper staff? to renew TAJE member-
History. Web staff? See ya later. Photo staff? percent of the American public get its ship this year may use the
news online. They may get it from other
Bye bye. Video staff? Out the door. invoice to join JEA, ATPI
sources as well, but
Yet every staffer is still or SIPA.
55 percent of them
on board and is now a vi- Members who need
turn to the Internet
tal part of the new Travis to join JEA may do so
Media Team, and each A journalist who can at least part of the through TAJE. TAJE
time. Some may be
one will learn to “do it receives a rebate from JEA
all” before they leave the handle it all is very going to sites run for each member who
by traditional me-
journalism program. joins JEA through TAJE.
valuable to the news
dia, such as CNN.
Each student will be
responsible for one or organization. Of course, com or NYTimes. Clip contest
more beats (how tradi- many, if not all, journalists com or CBSNews.
com. Some are go-
tional can we get?) and
will cover his/her beats will specialize at some ing to independent
point, but if they know the blogsto get another
from start to finish. Stu-
dents will visit their con-
Certificates for clip con-
tacts weekly, put their process, how it works and perspective. This
test winners were mailed
“ activity has caused
events in a futures book,
to schools in February.
blog about the events, what works best for which all news media to
A complete list of win-
revamp their ap-
research and write more element, they will be the
ners can be found on the
proach to telling
in-depth stories, come
TAJE Web site at taje.org.
up with sidebars, take editors of the future. the story.
pictures, write captions,
Dates set for
local news stations
record video and create
have Web sites.
yearbook spreads. They
2008 Fall Fiesta
will know their beats inside and out and Newspapers and magazines have Web
won’t be scrambling for material to fill sites. All incorporate videos, interactive
yearbook pages at the last moment. They polls and reader feedback capability.
will pull from the resources they have They make use of social networking sites The 2008 Fall Fiesta
already gathered. Hopefully this next to promote stories and events. They have convention will be held
year, but definitely within the next couple developed software to allow people to get Oct. 25-27 at the Crowne
of years, we will also incorporate a DVD their news on their cell phones, PDAs and Plaza Hotel in San Anto-
supplement into the program using their even iPods. nio.
So today’s journalist must be savvy
materials. Hotel information can
“Convergent media” is the new reality enough to recognize which venue would be found online at taje.
of American journalism. It is a marriage of be best for telling a particular story. Maybe org.
video, print and the Internet, and it makes several venues should be used. Perhaps Speaker forms are also
use of resources and technology that were one aspect of the story would best be on the Web site. Members
unheard of as recently as 10 years ago—so- shown through a visual approach, such as are urged to sign up to
cial networking sites, blogs, podcasting, a video package. Maybe another portion present a session at the
iTunes, iPods, PDAs, cell phones, DVDs. convention.
See ‘Convergence’ on page 9
6 Texas Association of Journalism Educators May 2008
Trailblazer Award Nomination Form
Purpose: To recognize individuals/staffs whose initial risk-taking efforts and
subsequent experiences (whether wholly successful or not) to expand the scope and capabil-
ity of Texas scholastic journalism benefit others who follow their lead.
Eligibility: Those who endeavor to “push the envelope” of conventional scholastic
journalism to new venues or methods.
Entries must be postmarked no later than June 15, 2008.
Mail nomination forms to:
P.O. Box 5554
Austin, TX 78763-5554
Name of Nominee:
Please explain this individual’s contributions to the field of journalism on a separate sheet of
paper. Include examples of how he/she has helped to improve scholastic
journalism in Texas and how these improvements have benefitted others. Attach this form
and send both to the TAJE address.
Signature of TAJE member nominating
May 2008 Texas Association of Journalism Educators 7
Friend of Journalism Award Nomination Form
Purpose: To note outstanding contributions to scholastic journalism by
persons/organizations not directly involved in the daily instructional process
(i.e., outside the classroom).
Eligibility: Those whose instruction, service and/or assistance, financial sponsorship or
personal dedication and advocacy toward the betterment of scholastic journalism in Texas
Entries must be postmarked no later than June 15, 2008.
Mail nomination forms to:
P.O. Box 5554
Austin, TX 78763-5554
Name of Nominee:
Please explain the contributions of this individual/organization to scholastic journalism on a
separate sheet of paper. Attach this form and send both to the TAJE address.
Signature of TAJE member nominating
8 Texas Association of Journalism Educators May 2008
Benito receives national,
state awards as top journalist
presented in April
TAJE presented the following
Alex said taking photographs is his
scholarships at the ILPC convention Continued from page 1
favorite part of journalism.
in Austin April 20: away only to make the next deadline.
“I consider myself a photographer
I guess my interest in journalism was
above all else,” he said. “My favorite
Alex Benito something that formed watching my
part of journalism is probably being
Cypress Falls HS dad work over the past years. I like
able to tell a story through both my
$1,500 Bill Taylor to think journalism is simply in my
pictures and my stories.”
Van Etta agrees photography is
Scholarship In his four years of high school,
Alex went from an inexperienced
“Alex’s personality shows in his
Lisa Winston photographer as a freshman to a pro-
photos,” she said. “When viewing his
Cypress Falls HS fessional photographer shooting for
photos, one sees the intense, serious
$1,000 a wire service.
side of Alex as he captures the pain
Bobby Hawthorne “I always thought Marcelino’s
and agony on an injured player ’s
Scholarship work to be very impressive and
face. Yet his contagious laughter and
couldn’t imagine there could be much
unique humor can clearly be seen in
Michelle Ward better out there,” said Fatima Ramon,
his candid feature shots of students
Marcus HS managing director of EFE Photo Ser-
and friends. ‘Sweet photos,’ as Alex
$1,000 Jim Davidson vices, North America and Caribbean.
refers to them.”
Memorial “I’m pleased to admit I was very
Van Etta said two years ago she
Scholarship wrong. Alejandro’s improvement
wanted to find a way to clone Mar-
over time has been extraordinary.
celino, but now she knows better.
Chris Hunt His product is selling. He provides a
“I didn’t get a clone,” she said. “I
Westlake HS keen, new eye in the execution of his
got an original Alex Benito. I have
$1,000 photography. His pictures uncannily
learned that an original is always bet-
DeWitt C. Reddick tell the story of whatever even he
ter than a copy or clone.”
Memorial happens to cover.”
Ethical questions can teach
students to have compassion
$1,000 Julia Jeffress
Scholarship thing positive to the world, they are
Continued from page 2
dents—perhaps more than they have succeeding.
Summer workshop scholarships: ever learned from me. Yes, there are It is interesting to watch them
Courtney Garza journalists out there who just want to dancing around those same lines that I
Leticia Vazquez make a name for themselves. And yes, did in college. It’s interesting to watch
Sheila Buenrostro there are publications that just want them suffering through a particularly
Alief Hastings HS sales and scoops. But those aren’t my difficult decision—to print or not to
journalists. print. And it is incredibly reward-
Amy Hillberry Mine are the ones who want to ing to watch them thinking deeply,
Flower Mound Marcus HS tell people’s stories. Mine are the contemplating consequences for their
ones who care about those people’s sources, and coming to decisions
Will Ritchie stories but don’t let that compassion based on “the greater good.” I’m so
Gregory Uribe blur their ultimate goal of keeping proud that I have had a small part in
Mansfield Legacy HS the public informed and educated. their growth in these areas.
Sometimes my students suffer from But please don’t ever let them
telling those stories, but as long as witness a disaster and ask, “How do
they have the goal of adding some- you feel?”
May 2008 Texas Association of Journalism Educators 9
Convergence media gives staffers
chance to be well-rounded journalists
I have to credit Jake Palenski of
Continued from page 5
of the story, dealing with dull, bor- NCompass Media with getting me
ing statistics, could be brought to life The students will have so fired up over this. During one staff
through an interactive infographic. development day in February, I went
many opportunities for
Still another part of the story works to a meeting of journalism teach-
best in print. ers, very down and ready to seek a
A journalist who can handle it all transfer or look for another job out of
is very valuable to the news organi- making not only on what district. I was tired from having the
zation. Of course, many, if not all, equivalent of 10 preps. I had one class
to cover, but how best to
journalists will specialize at some with newspaper, broadcast, Journal-
point, but if they know the process, ism I and photojournalism all at the
how it works and what works best same time. I was frustrated. I was
for which element, they will be the focusing on the product, and there
editors of the future. were too many products at one time
Many colleges are already produc- keep a broadcast component in the to focus on.
ing convergent journalists to meet this journalism department. Jake asked us what we’d like for
need in the industry. The students will each learn to him to talk about. I had taken his
And we in high schools can use Web resources, video and still convergent media class one summer
strengthen our programs and make cameras. They will all write and edit at the ATPI teachers’ workshop, and I
them more valuable to the students for print, Web and video. They will was interested in the concept but not
and the schools by doing the same design for newspaper and yearbook. so sure how to implement it.
thing. They will learn, practice and take He just happened to have a con-
This approach makes a great deal away with them skills that will work vergent media presentation on his
of sense to me. How many of us have in so many different fields, not just computer, and he took us through
the problem of a newspaper staffer journalism. Most importantly, they it, and by the end of the presenta-
having to be enrolled in the yearbook will have many opportunities for tion, my mind was going 90 miles a
class because there is a conflict with criticial decision-making not only on minute looking at why this approach
another class? How many of us expe- what to cover, but how best to cover would work for my school. I haven’t
rience down time on one publication’s it and what aspects of the story would looked back.
class time, and while it would be a be covered best by which specific For now, the current course names
great time to work on another publica- approach. will be used, but it doesn’t matter
tion, we don’t have the right students Down time will definitely be re- which the students enroll in. TEKS
in the room? How many students duced. Students will stay busy mak- are closely related enough that we can
enroll in one class and see what the ing sure that their beats are covered meet them all for all three production
other publication is doing and wish thoroughly. classes. We plan to keep photojour-
out loud that they could have signed The teacher’s life should be easier, nalism and Journalism I separate
up for both classes? especially if he or she has dealt with because they are basic skills classes,
With a convergent approach, it having multiple publications at the not production classes. If the concept
really doesn’t matter if they enroll in same time. Instructional time will works well and enough schools take
newspaper or yearbook. Depending be geared toward all students at the this approach, it might be worth it to
on how many things you want to con- same time. When you decide it’s time propose a convergent media class to
verge, even broadcast journalism can to teach yearbook layout, everyone TEA in the future.
be included. If the broadcast journal- will be focused on that, not on 100 Jake’s presentation is online at
ism class is producing a daily show, other things. taje.org in a new section called, aptly
it might not work as well, but other Convergent media will cause us enough, “Convergent Media.” There
students can do video projects for that to focus on the process rather than are also some other resources and
class to use. In my own situation,, the the product. If the process is done ideas for implementing new technol-
morning news team is moving to the correctly, the product will take care ogy and media into our programs,
technology department, but we will of itself. and more will be added soon.