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

Board Members

 

JOHN REETZ

President

John is co-owner of Media Solutions Partners, an Atlanta-based consulting firm focused on helping media companies’ transition to a successful and strong digital future. Recent clients include WebMD, The New York Times Co., Canadian Press, GateHouse Media, Gannett, Digital First Media, TapClicks, ClickFuel, Crowdynews, Digital Sherpa, Network Communications Inc., Community Newspapers Inc. and other media-focused companies. John’s career includes stints in community journalism, reporting and editing, and newsroom management for Cox Media Group, where he led a group that supported the digital efforts at 40-plus websites for Cox. Prior to working at Cox, John was the Assistant Managing Editor of News Operations at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he was responsible for copy desks, design, newsroom technology, newsroom operations. He was chairman of the AJC’s Olympics Operations Committee, coordinating a Cox-wide effort involving several thousand employees focused on Olympics publication efforts. He also was Managing Editor of the Gwinnett Daily News, a New York Times-owned paper. John also worked as a reporter and then city editor at the Savannah Morning News, ran a tri-weekly in the mountains of Western North Carolina, ran a weekly in Lyndon Johnson’s hometown of Johnson City and owned a weekly newspaper in East Texas. John is a  journalism graduate of the College of Communication at the University of Texas. While attending the University of Texas, John was a reporter, copy editor, assistant managing editor and managing editor at The Daily Texan. On his office desk he uses as a paperweight the hot-metal type box which daily proclaimed The Texan’s independent status on the editorial page all through the Texan’s fight for editorial independence in 1971.


STEVE WISCH

Vice President

Steve is a former journalist and a practicing attorney in Houston. He served as staff counsel for House Majority Leader Jim Wright in 1974-75. He has also worked in law practices on cases related to civil and criminal defense and family trial law; on issues related to access to health care; and on health, life, disability, long-term care and pension cases for individuals and medical providers under Texas and federal law, with a special interest in mental health parity issues. He has written for the Texas Jewish Post, the Texas Observer, the Austin American-Statesman and the Fort Worth Press. He has taught at UT Austin, Texas Christian University and the University of Houston Law Center.


NICOLE COBLER

Secretary

Nicole is an Austin reporter for Axios. Previously, she covered state politics and business for the Austin American-Statesman. Nicole’s work has been featured in the Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Texas Tribune and more. Nicole spent two years in The Daily Texan basement as a reporter, associate news editor and a member of the paper’s tech team. She grew up in Victoria, Texas.


KRISSAH THOMPSON

Board Member

Krissah Thompson is The Washington Post’s first Managing Editor of diversity and inclusion. She is the first Black woman to hold the Managing Editor title at the organization and oversees coverage of Features, Climate and newsroom recruiting. She began her career at The Washington Post in 2001 and has held multiple roles including intern, Business reporter, covering presidential campaigns and writing about civil rights and race. Before becoming an editor in the Style section, she covered the first lady’s office, politics and culture. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism and College of Liberal Arts Plan II honors program. She also earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.


STANLEY FARRAR

Board Member

After graduation with a philosophy degree from UT Austin, Stanley worked as a photographer and photo director for Texas Student Publications. He then went to the Associated Press Washington D.C. bureau as a picture editor and came back to Austin as Director of Photography and Graphics at the American Statesman. After seven years at the Statesman he began a 25-year stint with The Seattle Times. He began as Assistant Managing Editor for photography, design and graphics and took on representing the newsroom on company-wide technology changes. He was a member of a small team which began the first online operations at the Times. Stanley served for 10 years as managing editor and executive producer for seattletimes.com and for his last three years in Seattle was project manager for the implementation of a new newsroom publishing system. Since retiring and moving back to Austin he has served on the board of the Austin Center for Photography and done volunteer work for the Hill Country Land Trust.


WYNNE DAVIS

Board Member

Wynne Davis is a digital producer and reporter at National Public Radio in Washington D.C., where she works on All things Considered and NPR’s digital content team. Every day, she communicates with hundreds of member stations as All Things Considered gets ready to air, alerting them to stories that will be covered, breaking news situations and other key information. She also edits the day’s content and posts it on social media channels.While attending the University of Texas, she wrote for The Daily Texan’s news department, covering crime and public safety and served as news editor during Spring 2016. She earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations in 2016. After completing internships at the Austin American-Statesman, The Dallas Morning News and the Dow Jones News Fund, she interned at NPR before joining the organization full time.


GRIFF SINGER

Board Member

During the past six decades, Griff Singer been a printer, a reporter, editor, teacher and newspaper consultant. While an undergraduate student at UT, he was a reporter and day editor for The Daily Texan. Then at 6:30 p.m., five nights a week, he worked as a printer in the composing room. His first journalism job was news editor at the Arlington Citizen-Journal (1956-59).  After serving as a general assignments reporter for the Dallas Morning News, Griff covered county government and courts. In early 1961, he was named an assistant city editor. Singer returned to UT Austin in 1967 to teach in the School of Journalism. During his teaching career, Singer taught courses in reporting, copyediting, newspaper layout and design. He organized and team-taught the first offering of computer-assisted reporting and later sports writing. Singer’s resume features stints at the San Antonio Light, the Houston Chronicle,  Freedom Communications, Inc., the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Dow Jones News Fund’s Center for Editing Excellence. In 2016, he was inducted into the Texas Newspaper Foundation Hall of Fame.


JOHN POPE

Board Member

John Pope, a New Orleans reporter since 1973, was a member of The Times-Picayune’s team that won two Pulitzer Prizes in 2006 for coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Texas, where he worked on The Daily Texan, the student newspaper, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. A contributing writer for The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate, Pope is the author of “Getting Off at Elysian Fields,” an anthology of his obituaries and funeral stories, and a co-author of “Building on the Past: Saving Historic New Orleans.” He is serving his second six-year term on the Phi Beta Kappa Senate, and he is a member of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers, whose members refer to themselves as Grimmies.


JIM DAVIS

Board Member

A retired journalist, Davis spent 40 years in the business, working as a reporter for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, UPI and the Robstown Record and as the Austin bureau chief for Harte-Hanks Newspapers. Before retiring, he worked as a public information officer for the Texas Department of Insurance. When his first wife died of ovarian cancer in 2004, he established the Mary Alice Davis Lectureship at The University of Texas at Austin to bring top national journalists to campus to talk about their profession.


GAYLON FINKLEA HECKER

Board Member

Gaylon Finklea Hecker was born in Liberty County, Texas, and entered The University of Texas at Austin in 1968. She worked as a reporter and editorial page assistant on The Daily Texan and graduated with a bachelor of journalism degree. Today she is a member of the Friends of The Daily Texan and the Longhorn Alumni Band. Upon graduation she worked as a general assignments reporter for the San Antonio Light.  Later she simultaneously served as a legislative aide to four state representatives. She continued her journalism career as a feature writer for the San Antonio Express-News. In San Antonio also, she worked as associate editor of SA: The Magazine; editor of Seniors: San Antonio Style; was a contributor to Newsweek; and also edited The Jewish Journal. Along with fellow journalist Marianne Odom, she became interested in oral history. They began collaborating on oral history interviews in 1981, when the value of that research method was just beginning to be widely recognized. In 1983, they formed a partnership called Living Legacies devoted to collecting and preserving oral histories. The pair collaborated on The Businesses That Built San Antonio in 1986, a book of oral histories of business leaders. The book was co-sponsored by the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce to commemorate the Texas Sesquicentennial. Relocating to Austin in 1988, Finklea Hecker was publications editor at Research & Planning Consultants. She edited The Jewish Outlook for a decade and worked in corporate communications at the Lower Colorado River Authority for another decade. She was a technical documentation editor for Motorola. Since retirement, she continues to be a full-time author. Since 2013 she has published five books on various aspects of Texas history. Most recently Finklea Hecker and Odom collaborated on their second book, Growing Up in the Lone Star State: Notable Texans Remember Their Childhoods. It features a collection of 47 oral history interviews with some of the state’s most famous personalities. Published by the Briscoe Center for American History, under Tower Books, at UT in 2021, it is in its second printing.


DAVE McNEELY

Board Member

Dave has been reporting on Texas politics and government since 1962, when he got his start as a political reporter and later editor at The Daily Texan. McNeely has covered most legislative sessions and Texas elections for various papers, including the Houston Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, KERA and the Austin American-Statesman. He retired from the American-Statesman at the end of 2004 but continues to write a weekly column for more than two dozen other Texas newspapers. McNeely has also taught at UT, and he co-authored the book “Bob Bullock: God Bless Texas,” about the most powerful lieutenant governor in Texas history. He serves on the board of The Carole Kneeland Project for Responsible Journalism, founded in his late wife’s name, which hosts seminars in Austin and elsewhere around the country for local TV news executives, to expose them to Kneeland’s unique, respectful style of newsroom management.


MADLIN MEKELBURG

Board Member

Madlin is a state politics reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, where she writes about environmental issues and state spending. Madlin is a recipient of the Friends of The Daily Texan Rising Star award. She has previously worked for PolitiFact Texas and the El Paso Times. At the Times she worked as an Austin-based reporter for the Times and the USA Today Network, where she covered politics, border issues and all things Texas. Before joining The Times, Madlin was a fellow in the Austin bureau of the Dallas Morning News where she covered the Texas Legislature and wrote about women’s health, guns and mental health. Madlin previously held internships at the Houston Chronicle, Texas Tribune and the Austin American-Statesman. She studied journalism and French at the University of Texas and graduated in 2016. At The Daily Texan, Madlin worked as a senior reporter, associate news editor and special ventures editor. She also spent a semester co-hosting The Daily Texan podcast.


MEGAN MENCHACA

Board Member

Megan is a higher education reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, where she covers the University of Texas and other Central Texas colleges. She also regularly contributes to coverage of K-12 news in Austin and Austin ISD, one of the largest school districts in Texas. Megan previously has worked at the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, The Texas Tribune and other media organizations in Texas. Her past experience includes reporting on the Texas Legislature, audience engagement/social media work and copy editing. In her current position, she has worked with The Daily Texan and other student media outlets in Austin to establish a program providing the opportunity to have articles by student journalists republished in the Statesman with credit. She held 12 different positions during her tenure at The Daily Texan, including news editor, director of digital strategy and managing editor. Under her leadership, the Texan received honors from the College Media Association and the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association as one of the best newspapers in its category. She earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism and government from the University of Texas in 2021.


LUCERO PONCE

Editor-in-Chief

Lucero Ponce is a rising junior studying journalism and Mexican American & Latino studies. Lucero has spent most of her time at The Daily Texan’s opinion department since her freshman year. She is The Daily Texan Editor-in-Chief for the next year. She’s worked as a senior columnist and associate editor. Lucero primarily wrote columns advocating for underrepresented communities. During Spring 2023, Lucero was the first Texan en Español director, where she led a translation team that made breaking news more accessible to the Spanish-speaking community, which reached the goal of producing 100 translations.
Outside of The Daily Texan, Lucero worked as a reporting fellow for Community Impact during Spring 2023, where she wrote about nonprofits. As Editor-in-Chief, her vision for the Texan is to make it more accessible to underrepresented communities. She hopes to diversify opinion content to better represent the student body. Upon graduation, Lucero hopes to pursue a career in investigative or community journalism.


Breigh Plat

BREIGH PLAT

Spring 2024 Daily Texan Managing Editor

Breigh is majoring in Plan II Honors, African & African Diaspora Studies, and Sociology at UT Austin. Additionally, she am a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow with research interests in critical affect theory, diasporic brownness, and surveillance studies. Breigh got her start in the Diversity and Inclusion department and served as Diversity and Inclusion director and associate managing editor.