With every decade since the 1950s represented, The Battalion celebrated its 125th anniversary with a gala on Saturday, and looked forward to future years of producing exemplary student journalism.
Over 200 former Battalion staffers, advisers, journalists and community members celebrated Battalion history and the influence of the publication. Speakers and advisers encouraged previous generations of journalists to support the future of The Battalion, which has undergone serious financial setbacks in recent years.
Keynote speaker Debby Krenek, Class of 1978, shared stories from her time at The Battalion and her career. Krenek became the first female editor-in-chief of the New York Daily News in 1997 and is now the publisher of Newsday.
“Many of us bonded as we worked tirelessly day and night to bring forward the stories at The Battalion that A&M students needed to know…” Krenek said. “We bonded over working long hours, sometimes as late as two in the morning, putting the paper to bed.”
During her speech, Krenek announced that she will be donating $10,000 to The Battalion. She stressed the role student newspapers play in creating strong journalists.
“I think journalism is so incredibly important because it’s important that the truth comes out, and that’s what journalists do — they find the facts and they tell the truth,” Krenek said after the event. “It’s important for journalists to get paid and I think you know this is a profession that needs to continue and needs to grow.”
In addition, Krenek said she will be reaching out to the office of the Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, John Sharp to have a conversation on the importance of student media.
“I credit the Batt for all of the success that I have had, pretty much, in my life,” Krenek said in an interview. “Going out into the journalism world can be hard, and the Batt is one of the few places that I think really prepares young journalists to report and edit and get real hands-on experience.”
Guest speaker Sonia Moghe, Class of 2007, former Battalion editor-in-chief and CNN breaking news and digital storytelling producer, shared her personal experience as a journalist. She credited The Battalion for starting her career, and praised student media for giving journalism students real experience before they graduate.
True Brown, a development officer for the Texas A&M foundation and the incoming president of the Former Journalism Student Association, introduced the 2019 Hall of Honor FJSA Inductees: Paul Barton, Class of 1980, and Kelly Brown, Class of 1989.
Brown said the gala focused on remembering the past and looking toward the future of student journalism. Funds raised from the event — including money from the silent auction, which had about 25 items donated from Aggies and former Battalion staffers — will go to The Battalion.
“This newspaper has a role on this campus and it’s important we make sure our student journalists are taken care of while they produce it,” Brown said.
Communication junior Madison Brown contributed to this report.