An association for alumni and supporters of The Daily Texan, student newspaper at the University of Texas at Austin

Daily Texan Alumni Profile

Liz Smith, renowned gossip columnist, Daily Texan Hall of Fame honoree, dies at 94

Liz Smith, well-known gossip columnist and former Daily Texan staffer, died at age 94 at her home in Manhattan on Sunday, Nov. 12. She was also a 2015 inductee in The Daily Texan Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Friends of The Daily Texan, Inc. Below is her obituary from The New York Times:   The New York Times Liz Smith, the longtime queen of New York’s tabloid gossip columns, who for more than three decades chronicled little triumphs and trespasses in the soap-opera lives of the rich, the famous and the merely beautiful, died on Sunday at her home in Manhattan. […]

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Alumni Spotlight: Austin Chronicle editor looks back on almost four-decade career at alternative weekly paper

Alumni Spotlight: Austin Chronicle editor looks back on almost four-decade career at alternative weekly paper

In 1981, Louis Black started a job in Austin that he thought would last only a year. He helped launch The Austin Chronicle, which became one of the most successful alternative weeklies in the country. Black recently announced that he is stepping down from his job of 36 years. Early on, it was a nightmare. The staff was tiny, the news hole huge, the budget low, the skepticism about its success high. “We ran out of money after eight months,” Black recalled. “For a very long time, it was a real struggle. We were worried all the time. It was […]

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Alumni Spotlight: Texas Monthly Food Editor Patricia Sharpe

Alumni Spotlight: Texas Monthly Food Editor Patricia Sharpe

Texas Monthly Food Editor Patricia Sharpe has worked at the magazine since 1974, when she started out editing the cultural and restaurant listings. She eventually focused exclusively on food, and her writing has won numerous awards, including a James Beard Foundation award for magazine food writing for her story “Confessions of a Skinny Bitch,” about her career as a restaurant critic. Her humorous story “War Fare,” an account of living for 48 hours on military MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), was included in the anthology Best Food Writing 2002. Many of her stories appear in the 2008 collection Texas Monthly […]

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Gaylon Finklea Hecker’s tale of persistence

Pre-Watergate-era reporter devotes life’s work to documenting ordinary detail with humanity and compassion Gaylon Finklea Hecker served as a general assignments reporter and editor during her University of Texas career. The Daily Texan proved an ample training ground for skills like deadline diligence and fact-finding, and the newsroom atmosphere honed Hecker’s natural nose for story and emotion. She continued on to award-winning tenures at the San Antonio Light and San Antonio Express-News, and after 35 years of interviews—along with a lot of diligence and faith—Gaylon is nearing the publication of “A Sense of Place: Famous Native Texans Remember Their Childhood,” […]

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New York Times reporter John Schwartz is optimistic about journalism’s future

New York Times reporter John Schwartz is optimistic about journalism’s future

John Schwartz (BA ’79, JD ’84) is a climate change writer for the New York Times, where he has worked since 2000 covering science, technology, space travel, legal affairs and more. Before that, he worked at the Washington Post and at Newsweek magazine. He is the author of two books, Oddly Normal (2012, Gotham) and Short: Walking Tall When You’re Not Tall At All (2010, Flash Point). We caught up with him recently at the New York Times offices to learn more about his career path and his unusual story of how he became editor of The Daily Texan. Did […]

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Alumna uses digital content and storytelling skills in her dream job at NASA

Alumna uses digital content and storytelling skills in her dream job at NASA

Daily Texan alumna Hayley Fick (BS ’15) says the coolest part of her job at NASA is working directly with astronauts, encouraging them to support NASA’s web campaigns, and helping them to develop media content and find a voice on social media. Fellow alumna Mona Behnaz Maali talked with Fick about her new position as a social media manager at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and how she built on the semesters of experience she gained in The Daily Texan newsroom, as well as her internships and classroom experience as a public relations major at The University of Texas […]

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Alumni Spotlight: Lisa Falkenberg, Pulitzer Prize-winning Houston Chronicle columnist, got her journalism start at The Daily Texan

Alumni Spotlight: Lisa Falkenberg, Pulitzer Prize-winning Houston Chronicle columnist, got her journalism start at The Daily Texan

The summer before her first semester at the University of Texas, Lisa Falkenberg found herself in the basement of The Daily Texan. The auburn-haired freshman already had her sights set on a career in journalism. “I had a bunch of clips and my resume,” Falkenberg said. “And I walked into the news editor’s office and thought that they would be wowed by this stuff. They barely even looked at it.” She was told not to expect to get hired. She pursued the job anyway and was hired as a general-assignment reporter during her freshman year. Later she became a senior […]

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Alumni Spotlight: Washington Post reporter recalls start of career at the Texan

Alumni Spotlight: Washington Post reporter recalls start of career at the Texan

Eighteen-year-old Krissah Williams Thompson found her way down the smoky basement stairs, through the heavy side door plastered with paper and stepped into The Daily Texan basement days before her freshman year began. Thompson, a Plan II and journalism major from the Houston area, signed up to try out as a reporter. Little did she know, it was just the beginning of her journalism career. “It was such a rush to be covering a community of 50,000 people while still learning the profession,” said Thompson, who writes features for The Washington Post. “It made me fall in love with journalism […]

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