The Temple school board Monday recognized three local journalists, including two from the Temple Daily Telegram, for their public education reporting.
The Temple Independent School District named Telegram City Editor Eric E. Garcia, Telegram photojournalist Michael Miller and KCEN-TV morning news anchor Heidi Alagha to the 2019 Media Honor Roll — a statewide program sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards.
The district also named former Telegram education reporter Mariel Williams to the honor roll; she was recognized earlier this summer.
“The media honor roll recognizes media representatives statewide for fair and balanced reporting of news about public schools,” said Christine Parks, the district’s chief of communications and community relations.
Parks explained that journalists named to the list were selected because of their effort to get to know the superintendent, school board president and the district; reporting school news fairly and accurately; highlighting positive school news; and communicating information with the district.
“They’ve been very fair and accurate, and they have been very interested in making sure that the public has been informed when it comes to matters of education,” Superintendent Bobby Ott said of the Telegram.
Ott said Miller has become familiar with students and their families, and is at Temple ISD events rain or shine.
“At all the events I’m at, I always see Dr. Ott. We’ve got an ongoing joke that we should just carpool,” Miller said to laughs from the audience. “It’s an honor. I really do appreciate it.”
Ott highlighted Garcia’s effort to strive for accurate reporting and his continued push to post on the Telegram’s Twitter and Facebook profiles.
“We’re really glad to feature a lot of Temple school district programs and everything that y’all are doing,” Garcia said. “It’s our responsibility to let the people know what’s coming up, what’s on the school board agenda and what construction is taking place.”
Ott pointed to Alagha’s regular segment called “Hiring Heidi” in which the anchor attempts to work in another job for a day. In the past, Alagha featured what it is like to work as a teacher, trainer and food service worker in Temple ISD.
“It’s awesome being able to work so closely with the district, and show those jobs that I think a lot of people don’t give a lot of credit to and don’t see how hard they actually are,” Alagha said.