"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Vista moves

I want to salute UCO’s student newspaper, The Vista. The first week of July concluded 40 years in the same location, room 107 of the communications building. Generations of young journalists, many of them now working throughout the state, trained in that room, under a multitude of advisers and conditions.

The paper has moved across the building into a merged newsroom with the broadcast facilities. It will continue to maintain its editorial independence, but we’re trying to change with the times, and a shared web page will be getting more emphasis.

This is a natural follow-up of the merger of the journalism and communications departments exactly four years ago. We knew we had to try to keep abreast of changing technologies and “convergence” in the media industry. Then, as now, we can’t know exactly where we’re going, but that we’ve got to try to better prepare our students for the crazy media world they’re going to seek jobs in.

I’ll stop short of calling it a converged newsroom, however. The broadcast students don’t want to be print journalists any more than the print students want to go into broadcast, but it’s our job to help prepare them for the increasing lap over of technology. As a matter of fact, our Vista students emphasize the word “shared” newsroom, not converged.

As you know, in this last summer of me being chair of the mass communication department (after 19 years), I’m also serving as interim Vista adviser. That means I’m back in the newspaper business until Aug. 1, and I am incredibly impressed with the dedication, talent, determination, independence and humor of our small staff. They’re even teaching me some of the new technology.

At any rate, I recommend you look at two articles from the July 1 issue. “Vista moves newsroom after historic 40 years,” and “A conversation with Dennie Hall.” Dennie was the adviser during the tumultuous 70s, and helped establish the strong tradition we have of student press freedom.

You can find those articles on The Vista website: http://www.thevistaonline.com/.

This is the part of the second half of my Oklahoma Publisher column this month, for OPA.

By the way, we got the first issue of The Vista out only 10 minutes past deadline in the historic new "merged" newsroom. You should have seen the excitement, the banter, the cussing, as we worked on deadline and so did the broadcast students for their 5 pm broadcast. We helped them out with facts for a story and they helped us get a mug shot of a deceased student.

It works...with problems of course, but you could feel the combined energy of two groups who don't quite know what to do with each other.

I was giving some of my staff a hard time for not updating their blogs, and they countered back, asking me where my video and cell phone interviews were! Damn journalists!

My UCO journalism students--print and broadcast--rock!

That's what's brewing in my coffee pot.


  1. Congratulations! When is the first Pizza party? :-)

    Mark Z

  2. Amen to deadline. Amen to the excitement, the banter, and the cussing.


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