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Daily Texan reporters gather for centennial celebration

Walter Cronkite, Liz Carpenter, Willie Morris, Liz Smith, Ronnie Dugger, Bill Moyers and cartoonist Berke Breathed æ what college newspaper wouldn’t love to have just half of these celebrated journalists as alumni?

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AUSTIN, Texas—Walter Cronkite, Liz Carpenter, Willie Morris, Liz Smith, Ronnie Dugger, Bill Moyers and cartoonist Berke Breathed æ what college newspaper wouldn’t love to have just half of these celebrated journalists as alumni?

The Daily Texan at The University of Texas at Austin not only has bragging rights to all of these notables, but also to hundreds of other journalism stars who have won Pulitzer Prizes, Emmy Awards, Peabody Awards and other distinctions. More than 250 of them will gather in Austin Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 to pay homage to their student newspaper on its 100th birthday.

“The professors at UT made you see the romance of being a journalist, and I feel it more and more as I grow older,” said Carpenter, who worked on the Texan and graduated with a degree in journalism in 1942. She became Lady Bird Johnson’s press secretary after working several years as a Washington, D.C., correspondent. “Once a reporter, you always feel like a reporter.

“I think it’s important to point out that the three most credible people in the United States — in this time of media suspicion — are Walter Cronkite, Bill Moyers and Lady Bird Johnson. All of them came under the influence of the University of Texas.” Mrs. Johnson received her bachelor of journalism from UT in 1934 and will participate in the reunion activities.

Carpenter, who is co-chairman of The Daily Texan Centennial Committee with Austin American-Statesman political writer, Dave McNeely, said one of the most important journalism tools she learned at UT was how to ask a question. “You never meet a stranger, you should always have a question ready. Asking questions also leads to good conversation, which is a fallen art, and is an asset for building friendships.”

“Journalism and Democracy: Will the Marriage Last?” is the theme of the three-day celebration that is highlighted by a daylong conference on Friday (Oct. 1) followed by a Texan roundup and barbecue at Scholz Garten. An open microphone will be available that night for reminiscences of former Texan staff members.

Among the events at the conference will be a discussion between Cronkite (who attended UT in 1935) and Moyers (’56) on “Journalism and Democracy As We See It.” That afternoon, Dugger, former Texan editor and founder of the Texas Observer and Alliance for Democracy, will give a talk titled “Domination of Journalism by Large Corporations.”

Also scheduled for Friday afternoon is a panel discussion on the future of journalism with Karen Elliott House (’70), international president of Dow Jones; Alejandro Junco (’69), newspaper publisher from Mexico; Karen Tumulty (’77) of Time magazine; Mary Walsh (’77), Emmy Award-winning producer at CBS; Mark Morrison (’70), managing editor at Business Week; and syndicated columnist Liz Smith (’48). Concluding remarks will be made by Carpenter and McNeely.

The work of most of the 17 former Texan staff members, who have won the Pulitzer Prize, will be displayed at a reception on Saturday (Oct. 2).

Editors and reporters, including those who were in school in the late 1930s to those who recently graduated, are coming to the celebration, said Texas Student Publication General Manager Kathy Lawrence. “And they are coming from all over the world,” she said, noting that one of the participants is Time magazine Jerusalem bureau chief Lisa Beyer (’83).

Although Friday’s symposium will be of particular interest to journalists and students in communications, the event is open to all students. “We intentionally chose a serious theme –journalism and democracy — and we believe the dialogue will be meaningful for everyone.”

Lawrence said some of the participants who worked closely at the Texan with the late Willie Morris (’56) have been asked to speak about him during the three-day celebration. Morris, former editor of Harper’s magazine and author of North Toward Home, died earlier this summer. The first-ever endowed scholarship at the Texan has been set up to honor Scott Lind (’77), who fell ill with a brain virus while working as a reporter in Mexico and was left unable to communicate.

For more information about the reunion and celebration, contact Jerry Thompson, assistant general manager of TSP, at 471-8590 or 471-1084.