Monday, December 12, 2011

Statesman's End

Sadly, I haven't been in the office as much as I'd like in the past week. But, finals are finals and their finality is unflinching.

I've learned a lot from this internship and I'm sad to see it go. Everybody's been more than welcome to accommodate and the editors, reporters, and photographers have been infinitely patient with me as I dove in out of the kiddie pool. Sure, I've worked at other news outlets, but The Statesman's different.

If I had any regret, it would be the lack of sports stories. I worked primarily in Metro, but my desk was in the sports den. Hopefully none of them resented me for it; I think they're probably too good-natured for that. Put simply: Metro was something that I wanted more. Andy was helpful in the eval process, but pointed out that I never got an A1 story. I thought of some good ideas, but didn't have the time in the last few weeks to flesh it out. I talked to Andy about my personal introversion; her response: 80% of the writers in the newsroom are introverts. Get over it. That was good advice, and I'll follow that in the future.

The Statesman may not be out of the picture, however. Drew offered me an editorial assistant job, which I'm thinking about. I've got a pretty full schedule next semester and I'm trying to graduate before I'm buried up to debt in my eyeballs. Either way, I shouldn't be complaining. The Statesman internship provided me with a lot of connections and it was the most worth-while one yet. I'm grateful for all I've been lucky enough to be apart.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Statesman so far...

In a word — productive. I was assigned to sports, I'm working currently on a story for the business section, and my main assignments have been at the metro desk. My main concern is spreading my writing thin. I love the fact that I can go up to any desk and, pretty much immediately, start working on a story.

Drew's been really great. He tentatively assigned me to sports, as they had a spare desk. At first, he pressured me into taking a sports focus, but I slowly drifted towards the metro desk and have been going to Andy (the metro editor) for all my story assignments/ideas. Drew was just happy to see me getting something out of the internship. But I'm not giving up on sports. I've never done any sports journalism. So, tomorrow I'm heading to the Pflugerville/Georgetown game tomorrow with one of the sportswriters.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Austin Historical Sites

View Austin Historical Landmarks in a larger map
Gov. Perry recently suggested cutting funds to the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Texas Historical Commission. Both serve Texans throughout the state. TCA provides funding for art education programs in public schools and provides subsidies to art-driven counties for tourism. The Texas Historical Commission provides services to sustain local historical markers, like the Governor’s Mansion, the Thompson Building and the Bremond block featured in this map.

I decided to put together the map of historical places, as well as a walking tour. The area’s not much more than a couple of square blocks, so it’s definitely an easy feat, in spite of the Texas heat.

The first stop is the old Austin Public Library, now the Austin Historical Society. It’s an incredibly ornate building that features a lot of really impressive architectural techniques. Though, you wouldn’t be able to tell from the outside. Despite the dull-looking structure, don’t judge it by its cover. They’ve got a lot going on in there. Right now, they’re featuring an exhibit on SXSW Music Festival. They’ve got archived footage, old art, and everything else you would consider in the history of SXSW-dom.

The Bremond block’s a pretty interesting place. There’s a lot of weird, unknown history. The family moved into the area after the Civil War and competing families attempted to move in throughout the late 19th century. Back then, it was essentially comparable to what Westlake is now — very wealthy, somewhat opulent housing, but for one family.

The final stop, and my personal favorite, is the O. Henry Museum. It’s a remarkable example of historical preservation. Walking in, for lack of a better description, really is like walking back in time. The house has all the original stoves from O. Henry’s tenure there, though they have upgraded to centralized heating and air. But everything seems just how he would’ve left it.

Though all these receive funds from the THC, it’s not their main source of revenue for upkeep. They get a good amount of Austin grants to supplant the already scarce funding that THC gives them. So, don’t worry, they won’t just fall into disrepair. Texas Historical Commission will, however, face budget cuts that slash their current funds in half. And many see this as an infringement upon federal standards to maintain historical markers. So, in response, Gov. Perry has said that he won’t cut half of the funding for programs he calls, “non mission-critical,” but they’ll still have to take a backseat to Medicare, education, and all that other good stuff.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Legislature Cuts TCA Funding

Recently, Gov. Rick Perry proposed funding cuts to the Texas Commission on the Arts, a state agency that promotes art, art education, and tourism throughout the state of Texas. Since this impacts countless programs across the state, I've chosen just a few of the ones based in Austin. And since the organizations are art-based, I chose to create bitmaps on each of the crayons that take you to a page with a brief synopsis of what each of them focuses on. Since there are so many of these programs that are losing funding, I think the animation does a nice job of showing the ones in our own backyard. The write-ups provide background into the organizations. The Texas flag at the bottom serves as a "home" button that takes you back to the original animation. Enjoy!

Monday, March 21, 2011

St. Edward's New Art Magazine Caters to Students and Community

St. Ed's Battle of the Bands - Rebecca Butler

The St. Edward’s Battle of the Bands is approaching, and from the 20 something options available for online voting - now only 6 remain. University Programming Board chose to use the CollegiateLink online system that provides a way of connecting students and groups alike. Becca Butler will be one of the lucky six, but says she didn’t exactly find the organization all that accessible.

Becca’s been playing in South Austin clubs for a while, usually at open mike nights, but has recently started playing more and more clubs. She and her bandmates are St. Edward’s students who have remained active in the local music scene. But while they may be experienced in the Austin music community, for Battle of the Bands, they were left scratching their heads.

In an effort to make the battle of the bands more audience friendly, University Programming Board put all voting for all bands online, but only on CollegiateLink, with each student getting at least three votes. The problem is many of the students trying out for BOTB didn’t understand the system. While, Student Life is understandably weary about the Collegiate Link website, students feel like the site doesn’t work with the ease of Facebook.

Jazz student Fred Tan plays in the St. Edward’s Jazz Band and is familiar with Student Life’s promotion of CollegiateLink, which is why he’s opted out of the BOTB. Tan says that the process needs to be on Facebook and that the voting system for CollegiateLink only complicates the voting process. He suggested even sending out an email for students to vote, saying that would be better than the “disorganized” site.

So, Tan and his group of jazz enthusiasts, the Altered Five, won’t be playing this year.

Pierce Saxon, with his group Once Per Axis, agrees with Tan, but even consorted to Facebook for voting promotion. Saxon updated his Facebook status for the voting, only to find that the link to the CollegiateLink voting site in his status didn’t work. Saxon, unaware, figured he would get at least enough votes to get in the top 6, but he didn’t.

So, Saxon woke up on March 1st, after voting concluded to find his band out of the running for BOTB.

Though Saxon and Tan will have to sit out this BOTB, Butler and her band are ready to take on the other 5 groups. The grand prizewinner will play at the Spring Concert, opening for Bright Light Social Hour, a local band that recently played at Austin City Limits last October and won the 2010 Austin Music Award for Best Indie Band.
In addition,the lucky St. Edward’s musicians will receive 12 free hours of recording courtesy of St. Edward’s.

The Battle of the Bands will be in Mabee Ballroom on March 28, starting at 8 pm. Each of the six bands will get 10 minutes to wow both the judges and the audience and the winner will be crowned at the end of the night.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Welcome to the world of NewsDood!

Have you ever woken up at 5 a.m., driven an hour out of town to report on an AIDS walk, only to find yourself three hours later covered in mud, bruised from winding up video cable?

I have. Why? Because it was newsworthy, that's why. I'm a student in Austin and a perennial intern at media outlets in the area, but for all intents and purposes, on this blog, I'm the NewsDood.

My news interests vary, so this blog will run the gamut. I’m going to try and incorporate as much content that’s as varied as you would see in any newspaper – with sections like local, national, sports, entertainment, and all that good stuff. But you may ask yourself, “how did this guy get to be so qualified?” or “what’s with the name?” The short answers to those – I’m a journalism student (so I must be qualified, right?) and I just made up the name on a whim. But if you still question my amateur credentials, I’ll elaborate.

I worked at News 8 Austin, now YNN, as a reporting intern, and my first day of coverage was the aforementioned AIDS walk. Future tip for anyone going into TV journalism – watch out for the cables. Seriously, the end of it is a mace of about 4 to 5 XLR cables, big microphone cables. When you wind it all up on the spool, it will hit you in your face.

Aside from that incident, it was a relatively painless experience. I learned principles of photography, good reporting techniques, and I perfected my Australian accent (one of the cameraman was an Aussie). But seriously, they’re a great news outlet that focuses exclusively on what’s local, which a lot of people around here appreciate, myself included.

I also got to cover the Fort Hood shootings. That general is scarier in real life.

I’ve also worked at 91.7 FM KOOP Radio Hornsby-Austin, another community based station that’s completely volunteer run. There are probably 100 to 115 people that volunteer and work at the station, with only 3 that run the front office. They have the most eclectic mix of music – you’ve never heard of any of it, in a good way.

There I learned how to work in radio – recording promos, editing audio, running a board in broadcast. It was fun, and I intend to return this summer once my current internship is up.

In short, this blog will cover all that’s newsworthy in Austin and abroad. That’s what’s great about Austin though, there’s always plenty of news.

For instance, if you like politics look at the Texas Legislature, there are some hugely controversial issues being debated right now, that could change this country: abortion, abolishing Medicaid, and a number of states’ rights issues.

If you like sports, you’ve got the Longhorns, the Spurs, and the Aztex. Okay the Aztex moved, but there's plenty of other stuff.

If you’re into music, try and live here and not go to a festival. There are at minimum 4 festivals a year, all with great bands that matter, except The Eagles last year at ACL.

The point is that I’ve got so much going on around me, I might as well be writing about it. The best part, for me, is that I’m the only editor.