By Kyle Peveto, Opinion Editor
Editors of next year’s student publications, the Prickly Pear and the Optimist, were chosen last month by a committee composed of Dr. Royce Money, president of the university; Dr. Cheryl Bacon, chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication; and other faculty members.
Jonathan Smith, sophomore journalism major from Tyler and current Optimist managing editor, was chosen as editor in chief for the Optimist, while Sarah Reid, junior electronic media major from Abilene, was chosen as editor of the Prickly Pear.
Reid worked as co-editor for the Pear this year-she edited the DVD portion of the book while Jennifer McMichael, senior journalism major from New Braunfels, edited the print edition.
Reid said she plans to add more “bells and whistles to the DVD” this year.
“We just want students to buy it,” she said.
The introduction of the DVD prompted Pear advisers to focus the editor search on someone experienced in the production of DVDs and experienced with the yearbook. Reid has worked on each Pear DVD, working as co-editor on this year’s disc and helping to finish the first.
“She epitomizes the kind of person we need on this staff, both print and video,” said Cade White, instructor of journalism and adviser to the Prickly Pear. “I’m thrilled it’s worked out the way it did,” he said of the hiring.
Smith, the Optimist editor for next year, has no specific plans for the newspaper yet, but he said he wants to continue to improve the publication’s quality.
“Especially with the awards we just won at TIPA (the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association), we have goals to shoot for,” Smith said. “The bar was raised.”
Interviewing for the role as editor proved nerve-wracking for Smith, who met with professors he knows extremely well and Money, who serves as publisher of the Optimist.
Through the interview process, “nothing happened that I didn’t expect or wasn’t prepared for,” he said.
Smith is completing his first full year on staff at the Optimist; his freshman year he volunteered as a writer and copy editor. Smith’s family knows what to expect from the job: his sister, Jessica, was Optimist editor before graduating in 2002.
Smith said he plans to finish hiring his staff in the next two weeks in time for announcement at Spring Fling, the department’s end-of-the-year party.