UTSA students celebrate grand opening of The Paisano Media Arts Center

The Paisano Media Arts Center

The Paisano Media Arts Center

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(Sept. 8, 2014) -- Thirty-three years after its founding at The University of Texas at San Antonio, The Paisano, the oldest independent collegiate student newspaper in Texas, is moving into a new permanent facility. The grand opening of The Paisano Media Arts Center is 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 13 at 14526 Roadrunner Way, San Antonio. The ribbon cutting is 10:30 a.m.

The public is invited to attend the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony. The program will feature businessman Red McCombs, who calls the paper "the best college weekly in the U.S.," Texas State Representative Mike Villarreal, City Councilman Ron Nirenberg, Justice Sandee Bryan Marion, KIPP Aspire Academy teacher Kierra Jones and UTSA Professor Rick Lewis.

Owned and published by the Paisano Educational Trust (PET), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, The Paisano has covered UTSA's growth and campus life, as well as San Antonio current events, since its inception in 1981. The weekly publication is funded independent of the university through advertising sales and donations.

In 2007, the PET purchased the land where the Media Arts Center now rests. The construction of the building was made possible through a $100,000 donation from The McCombs Family Foundation and contributions from many of the newspaper's friends and alumni.

Many UTSA students have launched their careers following stints at the university paper.  Paisano alums have worked for Dow Jones, Getty Images, Yahoo! Finance News, the Laredo Morning Times, the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, the SA Current and other media outlets. Other Paisano alumni have pursued careers in political science, law, art and business.

Stefanie Arias, a reporter for the Express-News, former editor-in-chief for The Paisano and event co-chair, recalls her time at UTSA.

"When I was on staff at The Paisano, we rented office space on a month-to-month basis," she said. "Everything about that scenario screamed 'temporary.' By having its own building, The Paisano is establishing itself once and for all as a permanent fixture at UTSA."

The Paisano Media Arts Center was designed by UTSA undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Architecture with guidance from UTSA professor Rick Lewis. It is made possible by donations from McCombs; Carol Lafferty Scott, a retired San Antonio math and English teacher who died in December 2013 ($50,000); the Mays Family Foundation ($25,000); Houston attorney David Noll ($15,000); Twang Inc. owner Roger Trevino Sr. ($10,000); Lifshutz Foundation ($10,000) and other generous contributors.

In addition to reporting on UTSA, the Paisano's news team has developed a mentorship program with KIPP Aspire Middle School with assistance from the UTSA Writing Program. With The Paisano's support, KIPP students have written and produced three issues of the KIPP newspaper (the Archer) each year at no cost to their school since 2011. Before working with KIPP, Paisano students also worked with the Carver Academy. Together, they created the Cougar, then its school-wide newspaper.

The Paisano is the only independent student newspaper in the University of Texas System and one of only approximately one dozen independent student newspapers in the nation. In 33 years, it has never missed a deadline. All advisers and members of the Paisano staff are volunteers.

The Paisano was named the Best College Newspaper in San Antonio by SA Current magazine in 2005. With a weekly print circulation of 7,000, the paper provides students in a variety of majors with internships that have helped launch the careers of many journalists, attorneys and entrepreneurs in San Antonio and around the world.


Learn more at The Paisano website.

Connect with the Paisano on Facebook and Twitter (@Paisano).

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The Paisano timeline

1979: UTSA memorandum requires all student publications to be independent entities. The university policy prohibits UTSA from providing any support to student publications.

Oct. 1980: Student group forms to launch campus newspaper, The Paisano, meaning roadrunner or friend.

Jan. 1981:  First issue of The Paisano is published. The tabloid publication publishes twice monthly on Tuesday.

1983: The Paisano leases office space in an abandoned shopping center bakery across from the UTSA Main Campus.

1989: The Paisano Educational Trust is established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity.

1991: The Paisano celebrates its 10th anniversary. Former editors contribute seed money for a scholarship fund.

1992: The Paisano purchases its first Macintosh computer and begins weekly publication; first color photo runs.

1999: The Paisano Educational Trust awards $6,500 in scholarships to UTSA students.

2000: The Paisano earns Gold Medalist distinction from Columbia Scholastic Press.

2005: Paisano loses its lease when the shopping center is sold to a California investor. Tenancy is month to month.

2005: The Paisano is named Best College Newspaper by the SA Current.

2005: The Paisano establishes its online edition.

2006: The Paisano Educational Trust awards $20,000 in scholarships to UTSA students.

2007: The Paisano Educational Trust buys a 2/3-acre tract on Roadrunner Way for its permanent location and begins planning a capital campaign.

2009: The Paisano Educational Trust awards $13,000 in scholarships to UTSA students.

2011: The Paisano partners with the UTSA Writing Program to establish an outreach writing program for middle school students.

2012: The Paisano/UTSA Writing Program middle school outreach writing program collaborates with KIPP Academy to produce The Archer.

2012: Senior UTSA architecture students in Professor Rick Lewis' System Studio class submit design proposals for The Paisano Media Arts Center.

2012: Paisano staff, alumni and board members select the winning design concept.

2012: Red McCombs provides a $100,000 gift to the campaign to endow the Red and Charline McCombs newsroom, housed inside the Media Arts Center.

2012: UTSA graduate students in UTSA professor Rick Lewis' Technical Studio program refine the design.

2013: The Paisano moves from its lease space when the shopping center is sold and demolished. Paisano operations move to Silverado shopping center.

July 2013: Construction begins on The Paisano Media Arts Center at 14526 Roadrunner Way.

April 2014: The Paisano staff produces its first issue at the new Paisano Media Arts Center.

Sept. 13, 2014: The Paisano community dedicates the Paisano Media Arts Center.





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