The Pan American celebrates 65 years of excellence
Contact: Lori Ann Prado, Intern 381-2741
Posted: 10/24/2008
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The University of Texas-Pan American student newspaper, The Pan American, will host a celebration Oct. 25 honoring 65 years of journalism for the University community.

"This event is significantly important. Not only is this our 65th year as a student publication, but this is our 65th year striving for journalistic achievement. The fact that current staffers and old staffers will be acknowledged at this event shows that every one person who has worked on The Pan Americanhas had an impact on the publication and this University in some way," said Editor in Chief J.R. Ortega, a 22-year-old junior from Edinburg.

According to Ortega, the publication began in 1943 as a small newspaper and has changed vastly since. The publication is distributed every Thursday at noon, and includes 20 paid student staff and numerous volunteers. The newspaper is overseen by communication Associate Professor Dr. Gregory Selber.

"They get jobs when they graduate," Selber said. "While here they build their skill set and résumé, and learn how to be part of a team. We have an intricate system that teaches editors leadership and management skills."

Ortega said requirements for paid staff are dedication and consistency. Volunteers usually work for two to three months before evaluated for a paid position.

"Working at this student publication, I have grown tremendously... There are some careers where you really need to be in the field to learn the true essence of the job, this is definitely one of them," Ortega said.

Ortega believes that print journalism students learn techniques and fundamentals within their courses at UTPA, but it is putting those skills to the test that The Pan American student staff strives for. He said that landing print journalism careers now rely on having experience as a journalist in college.

The experience these student journalists obtain here continue to help UTPA students get jobs said Selber.

"Over 40 graduates are working in the business since 2001; we have had kids at The Associated Press, Austin American-Statesman and ABC News in New York," Selber said.

For more information about The Pan American e-mail