Communications staff, students tell the story of The Mesquite | Texas A&M University-San Antonio | Wbactive

Students, faculty and staff can view The Mesquite’s online articles, social media posts and logo throughout campus. However, has anyone ever wondered the history of the release and how it has evolved over time?

Mesquite was founded in the spring of 2009, a semester before Texas A&M University-San Antonio became a separate university.

Students and faculty felt it important to start a school newspaper as there were no student publications. There were only 16 communications majors.

“Our first goal was to set up a student publications office to do two things: First, to provide a record newspaper to chronicle all the developments that were happening on the South Side and on campus,” said Professor Jenny Moore, director of student media at A&M-San Antonio. “Second, we wanted to provide experiential learning opportunities.”

Mesquite employees in the fall of 2016.

There were about four different title options. However, following a vote within A&M-San Antonio, it was decided to give the title to The Mesquite, as a reference to the natural mesquite trees located nearby and around campus.

“I think the mesquite tree is one of the five to seven different little symbols on the class ring,” Moore said.

In 2010 there were about eight students in the new student magazine.

Tammy Busby, the first editor at The Mesquite in 2010, said she faced many challenges in her freshman semester.

“Getting the reporters to submit their stories, attend the meetings, and show up was difficult,” Busby said.

Busby described her previous duties as a cat keeper.

“Imagine trying to get a cat to learn tricks, it’s almost impossible,” Busby said. “It’s not management because nobody needs to be micromanaged. At this point we wanted to allow as much creativity as possible. It was about finding strength in the team.”

In 2010, there was no Jaguar Student Media Room like the one now in Room 320 of the Central Academic Building.

Armando Villarreal and Brigid Cooley, Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editor for Fall 2019, speak with Jaguar Student Media Director Jenny Moore at a Mesquite staff meeting in Central Academic Building Room 320 on September 30, 2019. File photo by Victoria Martinez

Instead, the newsgroup used a classroom with no computers. If a computer was required, students would have to go to a student lab or use their personal one.

Moore could also remember some of the challenges in the first semesters.

“We had no equipment and no computers, so the students produced everything with their own cameras, laptops, whatever technology existed back in 2009,” Moore said.

A lack of networking was also an issue.

“I was a new faculty member,” Moore said. “I introduce myself to community development offices, non-profit organizations, and learn about South Side politics. I had to socialize a lot with the students, most of whom weren’t from the South Side, so that was another challenge,” Moore said.

Now The Mesquite is active on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube.

With pressure in the first year, there were also positive changes in 2010.

“We finally got the site up and running this year,” Busby said. “It was very exciting to see the school reception opposite the newspaper.”

A&M-San Antonio administrators became supportive and cooperative.

“I was friends with the president’s secretary,” Busby said. “She introduced me to the President and we kind of formed a bond. The President had a lot of meetings and events that she couldn’t attend, so she sent me in her stead – it was an honor for me.”

The Mesquite staff in Fall 2019.

Busby was an editor at The Mesquite for a semester.

The Mesquite website has grown over the years.

“It wasn’t mobile, so it wasn’t really responsive,” Moore said. “It was a lot smaller. The three values ​​we focused on for the website were ‘campus, culture and community’.”

Not only was A&M-San Antonio accredited in 2009, The Mesquite had arrived around the same time to bring student media culture to campus and the Southside community.

The Mesquite is one of three student media branches at A&M-San Antonio, the others being Enlace, which launched in 2017, and El Espejo, which is entering its fourth year of production.

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