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]

Eight Daily Texan Staffers Receive Scholarship Grants from Donors, Friends Group

Eight staffers from The Daily Texan at The University of Texas at Austin have been selected to receive grants totaling $9,000 for the 2021-22 school year.

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

That dinner has been canceled this year due to safety and health concerns, and the Friends group is announcing the student scholarship grants via social media. The next annual Friends of The Daily Texan dinner has been set for Friday, April 8, 2022.

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

The $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.

The $1,500 Friends of The Daily Texan Award, plus two $1,000 grants and one additional $1,000 awards for staffers from the Sports department are sponsored by Friends of The Daily Texan. And the $1,000 Middy Randerson Life and Arts Award is sponsored by colleague John Pope.

Here are the scholarship grant winners:
Skye Seipp is the recipient of the $1,500 Friends’ Award.

A transfer student, Seipp joined the Texan in fall 2020 to write prolifically for the news department and has since taken on being an Associate News Editor. Seipp has broken news ranging from winter storm updates to the uncovering of a West Campus drug trafficking ring.

Comments from Seipp:

Since joining the Texan last fall, I have dedicated myself to ensuring the UT community is receiving accurate, balanced, and different perspectives through my stories. As a nontraditional student who transferred to UT last fall, I am only here because of the Texas Advance Commitment scholarship. This award would not only show that the countless hours I poured into reporting are appreciated, but it will also help relieve some financial stress.

Megan Fletcher is the recipient of the $1,500 Jerry and Becky Conn Award.

Fletcher, who leads as the Design Editor, joined her department almost by accident in fall 2019. In her time at the Texan, she learned that good design plays an integral role in journalism and now makes it a goal to ingrain that message into the culture of her department.

Comments from Fletcher:

The first week of college ground me to dust in ways I had not thought possible, and when I looked at the tryout for the news department — a UIL news story prompt I had done dozens of times in high school — I wanted to pass out from exhaustion. But I still wanted to work at the Texan, on the off chance I would become a reporter later. I was the copy department’s very first tryout, and I applied for design about a week later out of sheer spontaneity. Out of confusion, I accepted a position in design when I got an offer, thinking that it meant I hadn’t also gotten into copy (I had).

I kept my word, working in design and believing that eventually, I would graduate to “real journalism” in copy or news. I realized that the design department still did “real journalism,” even though it never checked a fact or interviewed a source. I quickly realized that the way I laid out a story on the page, the font I chose, and the cropping of a photograph all contributed in some way to the thesis of some reporter’s story, and that even I, the “invisible” news designer, still in some way had the ability to add or detract from the journalistic mission.

Now, as a department head, I’ve tried to instill this idea in my staff. Since I joined the paper two years ago, things have so fundamentally changed that what I do today would be barely recognizable to my freshman self. But one thing remains the same: the journalistic intent.

Jennifer Errico is the recipient of the $1,000 Middy Randerson Life and Arts Award.

Once a Life and Arts reporter, Errico worked her way up to Life and Arts Editor and then Associate Managing Editor over six semesters. She has used her platform to shine light on consequential topics such as the recent Beirut explosion and the historic Sweatt v. Painter case.

Comments from Errico:

Journalism was a foreign concept until I moved to Texas, as the U.S is the first democratic regime I lived in. In the collective societies I grew up in, I was taught not to speak out or expose the truth, especially when it went against the masses. I’ll never forget in China, I brought up the Dalai Lama in class, and my teacher told me to never bring up his name again over the fear of me being deported or thrown in jail.

When I moved to America, I experienced significant culture shock as everyone shared their opinions without consequence, it seemed, especially on social media. A weird concept. I realized having a platform to share ideas is a blessing that can be used for good or bad. Social media has exposed the negative side of journalism as livid citizens explode on Twitter, but journalism can cultivate a positive platform to showcase overlooked issues and communities while allowing citizens the opportunity to be aware of their society.

The Texan has obliged me to pursue that. As a Life and Arts reporter, I feel blessed to have called attention to international students’ challenges and connect global issues to Austin. I feel fortunate to learn about this country through my reporting since I did not grow up here and am technically not from here. I’m thankful for the opportunity to connect with people with different perspectives to broaden my thinking. I’m grateful to have the chance to read new content every day, educating myself in a non- textbook manner.

Nathan Han is the recipient of the $1,000 Friends’ Sports Award.

Now in his eighth semester at the Texan, Han runs the highly organized Sports department in the basement every Monday and Thursday night until midnight, all the while including even the sports-inept staffers in ping pong tournaments and IM sports.

Comments from Han:

The Texan has really shaped me and my time at college so far. In my time at the Texan, I’ve covered baseball, men’s basketball and now football, but I always tell people that I enjoyed my time the fall of my freshman year covering tennis the most just because that’s when I fell in love with sports reporting (and quit the news department afterwards).

Samantha Greyson is the recipient of the $1,000 McConnico-Bouju Print Award.

After starting as a General Reporter in spring 2020, Greyson was careful to take her time while rising to her current position of News Desk Editor. During her four semesters at the News department, she’s made sure to sharpen her skills while breaking news and editing drafts.

Comments from Greyson:

My biggest personal goal at The Texan is to gain as much knowledge and experience as I can in order to not only set me up for future endeavors, but to help my peers grow. Achieving this goal has included and will include holding various positions at The Texan for the amount of time I feel it takes to become proficient in that position. When I was a senior reporter, I decided I was not prepared to move onto editing after only one semester. I took two semesters as a senior reporter in order to hone in on my skills and become a better journalist. In order to reap the many experiences The Texan has to offer, I don’t want to rush myself and “move up the ladder” without properly mastering one technique, be it editing or reporting. I want to use The Texan to become the best journalist I can be.

The ability to learn from my friends at The Texan and work with them in such a dynamic way has been a dream. I am proud of the people I have come to know because of The Texan. I will never forget the hectic nights of breaking news, when we all worked together, jacked up on caffeine, to inform our community. I will always be proud of that camaraderie.

I am proud to have had my journalistic beginnings at The Texan. The Texan encapsulates everything good journalism should be: it’s fair, it’s accurate, it’s innovative and it’s in tune to the voices of the community.

Angelina Braese is the recipient of the $1,000 McConnico-Bouju Multi-Media Award.

The Double Coverage Copy Editor this fall, Braese has been a member of the Copy department since fall 2020. Although Braese has plans to stay in Copy, her time editing sports stories may have swayed her loyalties.

Comments from Braese:

Getting chosen for the Double Coverage position was an euphoric experience. I had written my application seven time zones away and in a room surrounded by my young cousins who I was supposed to be babysitting (that I successfully subdued with Netflix), so I was a little surprised when Phoebe (the Texan’s Copy Desk Chief) contacted me about setting up an interview. To add to the chaos that is my life, my phone charger had broken the night before my call with Phoebe and I woke up with no battery and almost missed it, but I didn’t and I got the job. It’s one of my prouder accomplishments of my time at UT as a whole, and not just as a staffer for the Texan.

Rather than choosing to dedicate time to a retail job, I chose to dedicate four afternoons a week to working on the Texan’s Double Coverage issue. I did this for two reasons: I love sports grammar, and I love the Texan. There’s a long-running joke in the copy department about how staffers who take sports stories are “braver than the troops.” When the copy log is ready every afternoon, there’s a reason sports stories are always left last — they take time. They’re full of scores that need to be checked, names whose spellings need to be confirmed, and sometimes, they just don’t make any sense. Ever read a golf story? They’re not easy.

Myah (the Managing Editor) texted me on a random July evening. She asked if I had any interest in editing only sports stories in the fall. My response? An ecstatic “Yes, I can most definitely see myself doing that.” Since getting that text, applying for the gig, and graciously being given it by copy desk chief Phoebe Hayes, I have learned to appreciate sports journalism in a way I hadn’t previously, finally learned the thirty million different phrases in football terminology, and grown to appreciate watching Texas football in an analytical way rather than merely seeing games as social outings like the pre- Double Coverage Angelina did.

Adeline Costello is the recipient of $1,000 and a Finalist for the Friends’ Award.

Costello is the head of the Audio department. Costello joined Audio as a General Reporter in August 2019, and has since moved up through the ranks to lead the department forward with upgraded equipment and innovative ideas.

Comments from Costello:

The Daily Texan has given me my best friends and a community since my very first weeks at college. I have stayed with the audio department every semester and watched it struggle to gain recognition or a strong staffing. After earning the department head position, I have made it my goal to help the digital departments, especially audio, become integral parts of The Daily Texan.

Within my two semesters as department head we have created more series and unique content than any semester I’ve worked before and have created a tight knit group of motivated staffers who are excited to come back the next semester. However, working for the department has created a financial burden for me. I regularly spend close to 15 hours a week editing pieces, leading meetings, reporting and being available for staffers. The time the Texan takes up prevents me from picking up shifts at higher paying jobs and I pay for many of my team’s expenses out of pocket.

Although it is a lot of work, I wouldn’t give up any of the time I get to spend in the basement and this scholarship would allow me to give even more time to our podcasts.

Fiza Kuzhiyil is the recipient of $1,000 and a Finalist for the Friends’ Award.

The current Life and Arts Editor, Kuzhiyil got her start as a General Reporter in News writing up to two stories a week. She then took on leading Life and Arts as a Senior Reporter and has also offered her unique perspective contributing to the Diversity and Inclusion Board.

Comments from Kuzhiyil:

During my time at the Texan, I’ve interviewed over a hundred people and learned so much from each interview. Through my winter storm story, I learned about housing struggles and how the storm impacted my fellow students. Through my healthcare story, I learned about how students without healthcare navigate the same things I’ve been through in a different way. Finally, through my story about hate crimes in the AAPI community, I learned how to report on my own community with empathy and care. In the process of reporting, I was inspired by the community’s resilience. The people willing to share their stories inspired me, and I kept fighting for these stories that hadn’t been told before.

So in the summer of 2021, I worked on the Diversity and Inclusion Board of The Daily Texan as an Internal Contributor. During this time, I worked closely with the D&I team to produce workshops and manage D&I issues across the newsroom. As a queer woman of color, my unique intersectional perspective helped me view stories in a whole different light. I noticed that sometimes newsrooms offload sensitive topics to D&I to make them do the brunt of the work. However, as a D&I contributor and Associate Life & Arts Editor during the summer, I ensured our reporters had the skills to handle sensitive topics in a respectful manner while still letting them know that D&I is still an available resource. This allowed our reporters to build these skills and feel comfortable approaching D&I if they needed help with anything.

Every day, I’m inspired by the people I work with and the people we work for — the University of Texas community. Our work has a real impact on our community. When I wrote a story about LGBTQ+ students coming out during the pandemic, I watched the positive Twitter discourse surrounding my story. After my AAPI story came out on the cover of the paper, I got texts from my friends saying they felt seen on campus. Seeing my work start crucial conversations within our community fills me with pride. However, this work has never been easy and it never will be. I know this scholarship will help support the work I do for the Texan and beyond.