Editor’s Letter: Not Just for the Coffee Table

Editor's Letter: Not Just for the Coffee Table

Whatever you do, do not place this issue of the Alcalde onto your coffee table and forget about it. You should really read it all the way through. I know that the coffee table is better than the recycling bin, and if you are reading this letter you are already on your way. Keep going! Here’s why: This is one of the best, most complete issues of the Alcalde ever.

We have a few rules around the office that inform the way we put together the Alcalde. They are: Don’t bore the audience; don’t talk down to them; and, if possible, try to surprise them every now and again. Consider all of the above contained in the pages that follow.

Our cover story deals with the remarkable phenomenon of drones, or, unmanned aerial vehicles, as enthusiasts call them, opening new frontiers for entertainment, search and rescue, package delivery, and more fraught uses, like warfare and surveillance. Assistant Editor Andrew Roush’s fantastic article (“Up in the Air”) surveys not just how drones are changing our world, but the big security and safety issues that have accompanied their rise, as well as the groundbreaking work one UT professor has done to raise awareness of their vulnerabilities. The story starts at this year’s home football-game opener, when a UT student flew a drone over Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and was promptly arrested. You should read it.

Speaking of UT football, do you know the story of Freddie Steinmark? He was a Longhorn football player and a favorite of Coach Royal’s whose remarkable young life was cut short by cancer. Steinmark’s life is being turned into a movie, and Assistant Editor Chris O’Connell’s outstanding reporting (“Finding Freddie”) simultaneously retells Freddie’s story and the making of the movie. There are a lot of familiar faces involved in the production of this film, including members of the Street, Shipley, and McCoy families; dozens of former players who knew Steinmark; and actor Aaron Eckhardt as Coach Royal. The director is Angelo Pizzo, who wrote Rudy and Hoosiers—two seminal sports films. After reading Chris’ story, I think you’ll see why there’s every reason to expect this movie to be just as good as or better than those two.

Finally, do not miss Senior Editor Rose Cahalan’s latest tour de force, “Through the Unthinkable.” It follows social work professor Barbara Jones and one of her former graduate students, who are emerging as national leaders in palliative care for sick children and their families. It’s a tough story but an important one, and ultimately a tale filled with hope. If you want an occasion to be proud of your alma mater, look no further.

These are just three of the great stories you’ll find in this issue, and I’ll observe that all three are the work of staff writers. Make sure to also read the riotous story of Drew Finkel, of Chicago, (“Lego Land”), who has built incredible models of the UT Tower and DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium out of Legos; a profile of a Google Glass-wearing UT irrigation and conservation expert who has helped save UT thousands of gallons of water a year (“The Land Man”); and the story of a UT graduate student who wrote a cookbook after challenging herself to live on food stamps for a month (“The Frugal Diner”). Each of them should entertain, inform, and, I hope, surprise you.

Above: Assistant Editor Chris O’Connell interviews Aaron Eckhart, who plays Darrell K Royal in an upcoming film. 

Photo by Anna Donlan. 



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