It's been 10 years since The North Texan debuted as a four-color magazine in the summer of 1997 (before that it was a newsprint tabloid). Here are some of our favorite subjects, photos and adventures from The North Texan's life as a magazine. (If you're interested in reminiscing, too, and have favorite moments from North Texans past, we'd love to hear from you. Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or The North Texan; University of North Texas; University Relations, Communications and Marketing; P.O. Box 311070; Denton, Texas 76203-1070.)
Most awarded feature/photo
"Green Warriors" (spring 2000) — Not only did the story about UNT's environmental researchers win a Council for Advancement and Support of Education award for science writing, but its lead photo of environmental grad student Anne Lee ('00 M.S.) won in the categories of digital or computer-enhanced images and visual design of a cover. Photographer Angilee Wilkerson remembers the very cold shoot: "We spent a day scouting around in Dallas looking for something desolate, industrial and not green and finally found a building being torn down. On the way to the shoot, I emptied some flowers out of a pot at my house. I liked the look of them because the dirt was clinging to the roots. It was sunny and ice cold that day. When Anne's hair started to blow, I got the shot."
Feature with the longest life
"Recycled Duds" (spring 2000) — This story covering research on textile recycling still generates e-mail from people who've searched online and want to donate their old clothing to be recycled. Jana Hawley, then on the UNT merchandising and hospitality management faculty, was the researcher featured in the article. Today she gives us her best advice for recycling your "duds": Donate your clothes to your favorite charity. The charity in turn will sell unusable goods to other organizations that will recycle them, perhaps sending them to overseas markets for clothes, turning them into rags or breaking down the fibers for other products.
Feature that generated the most feedback
"The Freshman Experience" (fall 2002) — The story followed several students through their first semester at UNT, but it was the word "freshman" that drew the onslaught of letters. The first letter criticized the word as a sexist term and the others criticized the criticism. By the way, four of the students we followed for that piece have since graduated (three with honors), and one of those is now working on a UNT master's degree.
Favorite mystery solved
The Steinhaus lattice problem — Math professors Dan Mauldin and Steve Jackson solved a problem — involving a pattern of points, a lattice and a two-dimensional plane — that had stumped math whizzes worldwide for more than 50 years. ("Mysterious Math," spring 2003)
Treasure in a trunk — Music professor Timothy Jackson uncovered a trunk full of important music theory correspondence, hidden away since the Holocaust. ("A Classical Discovery," winter 1999)
1.7 million-year-old skulls — Ancient fossils unearthed by geography professor Reid Ferring and a team of researchers in the Republic of Georgia caused scientists to rethink the migration of early humans from Africa. ("Reid Ferring and the Discovery at Dmanisi," fall 2000)
Schoolhouse Rock —Jazz musician Bob Dorough ('49) recalled his days as music director for the animated ABC TV songs that ran from 1973 to 1985 between Saturday morning cartoons. ("The Schoolhouse Rocker," summer '01)
Dragon Ball — Alumni at the North Texas company FUNimation worked to bring Japanese hits to the Cartoon Network. ("Cartoon Connection," fall 2001)
Champion of Children — Graduates teamed up to form their own business and their own ghetto manga. An extra bonus? A comic created just for The North Texan. ("Ghostwerks," summer 2003)
Favorite online journals
A Photographer's Perspective by Angilee Wilkerson, driving from Flagstaff, Ariz., to the Utah border to shoot a controlled burn — "It seems so odd to see anyone out here, but there she is, the little old jewelry maker surrounded by nothingness, wrapped in a thick woven blanket the colors of turquoise and rust. She has patiently been waiting for someone like me to drive by. Her face has so many little lines and creases it's almost mesmerizing. I buy a strand of juniper berries, ‘to keep the nightmares away,' she quietly tells me." ("Burning Issues," spring 2002)
Iditarod Diary of musher Randy Cummins ('82) — "Climbing up and over a mountain called Little McKinley was spectacular — calm and clear with beautiful northern lights. I thought, ‘How lucky am I to get perfect weather for this leg of the race?' Then the wind started to pick up once I dropped down the other side of the mountain. There was probably a 40- to 50-mph wind at my back and blowing snow, and I could barely see my dogs. They missed a curve and we went dashing down into a ravine." ("Eagles on the Go," summer 2006)
The adventure team
Writer Kelley Reese ('95) and photographer Angilee Wilkerson shared more than a few interesting stories on location over the years. Here they recall some of their favorites.
"The Rules According to English" (summer 2000)
Kelley: "Writers the world over talk about the ‘ah-ha' moment — the moment when they knew the story they had to tell, the words they had to use. My strongest ‘ah-ha' moment came while standing on a roof of a New York City apartment building with artist Ron English ('84). English is a subversive cult hero who modifies billboards for sport. While standing over a billboard he'd recently modified, he said to me with a laugh, ‘You stand near the edge, I'm afraid of heights.' And I had it — the perfect, even if a little clichéd, opening to a story that I'd spent all day wondering how I was going to write."
Angilee: "His studio was on the fourth floor of an old warehouse in New Jersey. En route I saw this red entrance, and then we got up there and I saw that funky couch he had painted. We carried that couch down four flights of stairs, and it was snowing. It was a way to take advantage of his art, rather than just take a traditional shot in his studio. You never know what someone will do until you ask. I think as an artist he appreciated the red lines of the background, too."
Kelley: "That day I had to carry a couch out of (and back into) a high-rise building. And ever since, I've been grateful to live in Denton town."
"Songs of the Shaman" (winter 2002)
Kelley: "The tools of writing most often consist of a pen, notebook, tape recorder and computer. It also may be necessary to know how to canoe. Unfortunately, when Angilee and I followed artist Bill Worrell ('74 M.F.A.) down the Llano River in a canoe (because it was a fateful canoe trip that led him to the subject of his sculptures), I learned I didn't know how to use this tool so well. Although traversing a river while rowing in circles does provide plenty of time to notice the wildflowers. And we did get our shot — and our story — as well as a couple of personal encounters with the trees on the shoreline. That weekend with Worrell, I also was reminded of the beauty in a Texas night sky, the joy in a song sung around a campfire and the strength of human kindness."
Angilee: "He had a few people come over that night and they sang and played guitar and he barbecued. It was a perfect full moon. The water was so clean and clear that while the food was cooking, Kelley and I jumped in the river. We were so content we thought, ‘This is sublime.' That cover shot happened the next morning against the wall of his studio. He wore a nice bright shirt for us with his jewelry. Seeing his hands and his jewelry and the color of the shirt and the texture of the environment he was in — it was more telling than a traditional portrait."
"A Common Treasure" (spring 2004)
Kelley:"When your job fulfills your personal dreams, you know you've got the best job on Earth. For years I have been a fan of Don Henley. His music, yes. But mostly his involvement, his dedication to the environment and fighting for what he believes in and holds sacred. The day his publicist told me I could spend an afternoon on Caddo Lake with him, I said a not-so-quiet ‘thank you' to the heavens for giving me this job. After the article was printed and his publicist called to ask if they could include it on Henley's web site, I felt like the work I'd done mattered. And that is beyond a dream come true."
Angilee: "After the shoot he took us to a gas station for barbecue. He's a superstar and he insisted on following us a good portion of the way home to make sure we didn't miss our exit."
Another trip to the wilderness
"Educator in the Wilderness" (fall 2006)
Writer Ellen Rossetti ('00): "I'd gone camping only once — as a Girl Scout in elementary school. I saw a bug on my pillow and decided that would be the end of my camping days. So my family and friends thought it was quite comical when I was assigned to visit an alumnus who teaches wilderness survival courses in New Hampshire. But interviewing Tim Smith ('99 M.Ed.) turned out to be one of my favorite adventures — not just because I got to sleep in an air-conditioned inn — but because Smith embodies the ideal teacher. He's passionate and enthusiastic about his subject, and he knows how to make his hungry, tired, rain-drenched students laugh. Maybe I'll give camping another try."
"Cat Management" (Eagle Tale, summer 2006)
Illustrator Shannon Mooney ('94, '06): "This was one of the funniest articles I had the pleasure of illustrating. I also gained a thorough education in the area of ‘cat wrangling.'"