An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan

Friends of The Daily Texan

Contact Information
Friends of The Daily Texan, Inc.
1401 Lavaca St
Austin, TX 78701

[email protected]

Seven Daily Texan staffers receive scholarship grants from donors, Friends group

Seven staffers at The Daily Texan at the University of Texas at Austin have been selected to receive grants totaling $7,500 for the 2020-21 school year.

The grants are sponsored by Friends of The Daily Texan and two sets of donors (listed below) and are normally presented at the Friends annual Hall of Fame dinner on the University of Texas campus each fall.

That dinner has been cancelled this year due to safety and health concerns, and the Friends group is announcing the student scholarship grants via social media.

A $1,000 McConnico-Bouju Print Award is sponsored by John McConnico and Jean-Marc Bouju, former Pulitzer-Prize winning photographers for The Associated Press.

A $1,000 McConnico-Bouju Multi-Media Award is sponsored by John McConnico and Jean-Marc Bouju, former Pulitzer-Prize winning photographers for The Associated Press.

A $1,500 Jerry and Becky Conn Award for a Texan staffer is sponsored by Jerry and Becky Conn, who met as students while working on The Texan and later married.

A $1,500 Friends of The Daily Texan award, plus two $500 grants, are sponsored by Friends of The Daily Texan.

And a $1,500 Middy Randerson Life and Arts Award is sponsored by friends of Middy Randerson and Friends of The Daily Texan. Middy was an entertainment and lifestyles editor at The Texan during her college years; she passed away this year.

Here are the scholarship grant winners:

Areeba Amer is the recipient of the $1,500 Friends’ Award.

Comments from Areeba:

Ever since I first joined the Texan two years ago, I’ve used every chance I’ve gotten to help the newsroom as much as possible. My first experience at the Texan was as an issue designer in the Design department and I transitioned to the News department as a general news reporter, while still serving as an issue designer on staff. While limited by my roles my first year, I always picked up extra design shifts or extra stories when necessary.
Since then, I’ve invested my time into the News department and the Diversity and Inclusion Board. For two semesters, I was a senior reporter covering the University of Texas System in the News department. I spent countless hours printing, cutting up and highlighting higher education documents to pinpoint stories that may have been lost in the pages. I used time outside of my weekly story requirements to investigate issues such as police use of force rates systemwide, the impact of coronavirus at multiple institutions and the impact of Austin rent prices on UT’s faculty retention. I’ve also served as a news desk editor for a semester and do so currently.
I became a board member on the Diversity and Inclusion Board in summer 2020. A few pivotal moments led me to join the board-wide effort to write a list of demands that would make the Texan a more inclusive place for staff and our readers. I am now one of two internal relations directors on the board this semester. In this role, my main goal is to kickstart internal initiatives that will ultimately improve our coverage of underrepresented communities, including a system to track the diversity of our coverage and two guides that will train reporters and editors to write and edit inclusive coverage of underrepresented communities. Everyone who knows me knows I have two loves: the Texan basement and reporting. My primary focus as a reporter is to break down complex issues and humanize them so readers can fully understand how these issues impact them. I’m equally passionate about improving the Texan’s coverage internally to ensure readers see themselves and their issues accurately represented in the newspaper.
In the future, I hope to do whatever I can for the Texan, regardless of what department I’m in, until the very last second. I also hope to continue my efforts to diversify coverage in the newsroom on the D+I board and fully intend to follow through all initiatives I’m a part of. I’ve always worked to improve my work for the sake of the newsroom, regardless of the department, and will continue to do so in the future.


Ariana Arredondo is the recipient of the $1,500 Jerry and Becky Conn Award.

Comments from Ariana:

During my four semesters at the Texan I have strived to increase our coverage of diverse communities as well as encourage learning and growth among staff. As a general Life and Arts reporter in the fall of 2019 and associate Life and Arts editor in the spring and summer of 2020 I have written about gender queer people, DACA recipients and first generation college graduates. Now as Life and Arts editor and co-internal relations director for diversity and inclusion I am working to encourage diverse storytelling in Life and Arts and support the staff through a diversity and inclusion newsletter, a mentorship program and workshops.
I am a first semester sophomore and plan to stay at the Texan for the rest of my time at UT. I want to continue to be Life and Arts editor and move my way up into a management position. I’ve also heavily considered becoming a projects reporter or joining the diversity and inclusion board again. In any position I hold at the Texan in the future I plan to work to uplift staff voices and support them with their goals both inside and outside of the newsroom. I want to encourage learning and growth at the Daily Texan.
In my time in the newsroom I’ve had a few mentors that have helped push me into becoming the writer and editor I am today. For the remainder of my time at the Texan I hope to impact others in the same way my mentors have impacted me.


Trinady Joslin is the recipient of the $1,500 Middy Randerson Life and Arts Award.

Comments from Trinady:

Two weeks into my freshman year, I entered the basement with no reporting experience and little practice with journalistic writing. Over the course of my now six semesters at the Texan, I’ve demonstrated that I’m a skillful storyteller with an aptitude for telling sensitive stories. I started as a general reporter in Life and Arts in Fall 2018 and quickly moved up. As a senior reporter during Spring 2019, I wrote two stories a week, as well as a long form story on barriers disabled students face when applying for accommodations. Since then, I’ve developed a beat within disability reporting and covered a community that the Texan previously did not put much emphasis on.
As an Associate Life and Arts Editor in Fall 2019 and head Life and Arts editor in Spring and Summer 2020, I passed those values along to my reporters through regular conversations and also through weekly workshops this summer. I’ve also encouraged reporters to pursue stories within Life and Arts that went beyond the coverage the department produced prior to my leadership. We wrote fewer reviews and instead, reporters produced thoughtful, student-focused features, a few of which went on to gain hundreds of likes on Twitter.
This semester, as an Associate Managing Editor, I’ve helped create new breaking news guidelines and a guide for our leadership team on how to approach coronavirus related situations. In the coming weeks, I hope to help coordinate a guide to the leadership team that will help future department heads to enter their job with guidance from those once in their position.
I’m proud to say I’m a part of a team this semester that is working through one of the most unprecedented times to be a journalist. One of my biggest goals since my second semester at the Texan was to be in management and now, my goal moving forward is to eventually lead the team as a Managing Editor. In the position, I hope to further prioritize long form investigative content, encourage more collaboration between departments and improve upon diversity and inclusion in the newsroom.


Myah Taylor is the recipient of the $1,000 McConnico-Bouju Print Award.

Comments from Myah:

My main goal at the Texan is to build its reputation as a place where great stories are told. When I first arrived at the paper, storytelling was lacking in the sports department, and I’ve done everything I can to change that narrative. I first did this by pushing the boundaries of the content I created as a general and senior reporter. Now, in my role as sports editor, I’ve trained my staff to be on the lookout for interesting stories.

My hope is that these skills stay with the staffers and that they continue to tell great stories, not just about the games being played, but the athletes themselves. Long story short, I want to leave the Texan having made an impact on people and on the organization as a whole. If I don’t leave the Texan in better shape than it was when I first arrived, then I didn’t do my job.

I am most proud of the fact that the sports department has managed to produce content each week, despite everything going on. We’re dealing with stingy SIDs, less access and less events to cover, yet we’ve still managed to create some amazing content. I’m proud that my staff hasn’t quit on this paper and that we’ve been able to capitalize off the current circumstances to tell really important stories (with a few light ones in between).


Harper Carlton is the recipient of the $1,000 McConnico-Bouju Multi-Media Award.

Comments from Harper:

First, I want to make sure that the audio producers currently on staff feel confident in their technical and leadership abilities so that they feel empowered to take over the audio department after I leave. To do this, I have been opening office hours for several hours 2-3 days a week to offer training assistance in reporting, audio editing, and audiogram creation. I have also been attending the office hours of my senior staff to ensure they have techniques down and are ready to teach fewer senior staff members. I am also assigning our new staff members a mentor in one of our senior audio producers, so that they have the opportunity to gain leadership experience on a smaller scale.

Second, I want to continue to increase our audience engagement and build a community of listeners for our audio pieces. This semester, my goal is for us to increase our collaboration with other departments so our larger social media following gets familiar with seeing our audiograms on their newsfeeds. Furthermore, I’ve been reworking our programming so that it is more consumable for our university community. One example of this can be seen in the way I’ve collaborated with sports editor Myah Taylor to make our longtime podcast Texan Overtime more approachable to people who may not know a ton about sports. Before I took over Texan Overtime, almost every single episode had a 0 percent completion rate, but our last episode’s retention rate was around 70 percent.
Finally, I want to make sure that our audio producers get something from their experience on staff this semester other than clips. I’ve been able to have such great memories and make such great friends in my time at the Daily Texan. I know doing that is a little more difficult when we’re working remotely during a pandemic, but creating open communication, having team building events, and weekly check ins has allowed me to build relationships with our new staffers, and for them among one another.

I’ve really loved being able to take creative control on From the Archives and Texan Overtime in this last year. From the Archives has allowed me to combine my love of history, sound design, and podcasting to create a piece that breaks down important pieces of campus history in understandable and engaging audio projects.
Like I said in my goals section, I’ve also enjoyed being able to transform Texan Overtime into a very different, but more approachable program.
Finally, I’m proud of my ability to transition the audio department (and the video department over the summer) to functioning remote production. It’s difficult to train people when we’re not face-to-face, especially without access to the equipment and software we’re used to using. I’m really satisfied with the way we’re operating now, but I had to learn new software that would allow anyone to participate in the audio or video departments without having to pay for services like Otter, Adobe Creative Cloud, Headliner, or for a physical recording instrument. I think having as many perspectives as we can in the audio department is incredibly important, so it was critical for us to not have any sort of barriers to participation.


Hannah Ortega is the recipient of $500 and a Finalist for the Friends’ Award.

Comments from Hannah:

As soon as I chose to attend UT, I knew I wanted to work for The Daily Texan, and I have had the pleasure of being a reporter for this amazing paper since my freshman year. I started as a general reporter for the news department and then worked my way up to campus news reporter my second semester. From September 2019 to May 2020, I worked as a news desk editor, and I was a projects reporter for the spring 2020 semester.

Now, I am working as a videographer for the video department. My invaluable experiences at The Daily Texan have molded me into the journalist I am today. I have learned how to write quickly but cleanly on a tight deadline; I have improved my interview skills; but most of all, I have written stories about incredible people that readers need to hear. I still remember the infectious excitement of a source as she told me about her dream to enter the fashion industry, and it’s those kinds of stories, those kinds of people, that I carry with me. I would’ve never come across that source if not for The Daily Texan, and with each new story I grow more passionate about journalism, specifically feature writing.

I hope to continue working for The Daily Texan until I graduate from UT, perhaps in the role of videographer or audio reporter or projects reporter. Those three departments allow me to explore various media and tell the feature style stories that I have come to love so much.


Phoebe Hayes is the recipient of $500 and is a Finalist for the Friends’ Award.

Comments from Phoebe:

I’ve worked in the copy department for just over a year, for two semesters as an issue staffer and two as Associate Copy Desk Chief. I aspire to one day achieve the position of Assistant Managing Editor or even Managing Editor. I absolutely love working for the Texan, and I know that I have so much to contribute to it. Right now I am in the wonderful position of working in the copy department, where I regularly get to interact with the (incredible) people who work in/run other departments. Because of this, I simultaneously learn how to better do my job while being familiarized with the jobs of almost every other department at the Texan. Because of this, I think it is an attainable goal to one day not only be AME/ME but to be effective and have progressive, lasting impacts on the paper.

In addition to the scholarships, 10 recipients have been named by the Friends group as Texan Hall of Fame honorees.

Read more about the honorees here:

In addition the 10 Hall of Fame honorees and the seven scholarship winners will be featured in individual video interviews to be posted on the Friends of The Texan YouTube channel. Posting date will be announced shortly, following completion of all interviews and videos.

The dinner to honor Hall of Fame selections and scholarship winners is the Friends’ group prime fund-raiser every year.

If you’d like to help financially support the scholarships for Texan staffers, and to support purchase of equipment, journalism projects, and other needs, please go to this link: