Gas Price Increases Affect the Economy

April 21, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Kimmy Ryan
kryan@smu.edu

 

SABEW’s 2011 Conference Comes to an End

April 10, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Check the Daily Mustang’s business portal for stories, live blogs, videos, and a twitter feed (#SABEW) covering many of the weekend’s events.

The Daily Mustang business news portal will be continuously updated with SABEW coverage all weekend long. Click the above image to visit the portal.

By Kimmy Ryan
kryan@smu.edu

The Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) Conference was held on SMU’s campus Thursday through Saturday. The annual SABEW Conference is the largest gathering of business journalists and featured many prominent journalism speakers.

Some of the weekend highlights included Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Texas; Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy; Mary Schapiro, SEC chairman; and Elizabeth Warren, assistant to President Obama. The CEOs of Southwest Airlines and American Airlines spoke about the future of the airline industry on Friday. And, the CEOs of the Container Store and Whole Foods spoke about “Conscious Capitalism” on Saturday.

SMU’s own Tony Pederson, Mark Vamos and Jake Batsell also spoke in breakout sessions.

It was an incredible weekend at SMU. With a plethora of great speakers, the weekend was full of interesting and, many times, helpful content. The SABEW Conference included everything from tips on how to do investigative journalism to discussions on airline safety and drug cartels in Mexico.

Journalists from across the country came pouring into SMU’s Collins Center. Many of the attendees were professionals in the journalism world, but many journalism students attended as well.

One journalist was overheard saying, “The conference is running so smoothly. It really makes you want to stay all day and enjoy the speakers.”

SMU journalism students helped work the check-in table and helped with set-up and take-down, but they also received media passes to the conference. Check out the business portal for all their SABEW coverage, including blogging, tweeting, video stories, live-blogging, and hard news stories.

VIDEO — From SMU to the Super Bowl: Emmanuel Sanders

February 1, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Video by Fernando Valdes
jvaldes@smu.edu

Emmanuel Sanders Interview from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

By Kimmy Ryan
kryan@smu.edu

Click here to seeThe Daily Mustang’s coverage of Super Bowl Media Day

Emmanuel Sanders spent his college career helping turn around the SMU football program, culminating in an incredible victory at the Hawaii Bowl. Now, almost a year later, Sanders’ rookie year in the NFL is finishing on another high note, playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl 45.

Sanders was surrounded by reporters during Media Day at the Cowboys stadium Tuesday. The press was curious about everything from June Jones’ coaching style, to practicing at TCU this next week, to what life as a Steeler is like. All in all though, Sanders said, “It’s just good to be back in Dallas.”

Although Sanders is glad to be back home, practicing at TCU’s stadium will be a change. Sanders said he just might have to “punch a horned frog or two while he’s there.”

Sanders seemed most excited about getting out there and playing hard Steeler Football on Sunday.

Steeler Football is “hard core, smash mouth football,” Sanders said. “Every play you’re trying to knock some guy’s knees out, and we actually get awarded if we do it.”

Toward the second half of the season, Sanders received sufficient amounts of playing time as a receiver and on kickoffs, and proved himself by knocking out a few knees of his own. But, the transition to the big leagues has not been without bumps.

“He came in, and he was real hard headed. He didn’t want to listen,” said fellow teammate Arnaz Battle. “But, as the season went on, he developed into a nice rookie on and off the field. We appreciate having him. He’s a great player, and his future is very bright.”

Whether adjusting to NFL life or not, Sanders’ feelings about his new profession have stayed the same.

“Sometimes I wake up and pinch myself. Am I really in the National Football League coming from a small school, Southern Methodist University? I’m just trying to make the most of it.”

He described the biggest difference between SMU and the NFL as the crowd. But instead of getting more nervous in front of huge crowds, he gets more excited and is ready to perform even more.

Sanders credits his preparedness to SMU Coach June Jones.

“It’s a blessing,” Sanders said about having Jones in his life.

With the help of Coach Jones, Sanders accomplished a lot his senior year at SMU. As captain, he led the team to a bowl game, caught over 100 balls, went over a thousand yards and was drafted to the NFL in the third round.

“Thanks to Coach Jones,” Sanders said. “If it wasn’t for him, I honestly wouldn’t have been drafted that high. He brought in a great offense and passed on a lot of knowledge to me, so kudos to him.”

Sanders will not only be the pride of the Mustangs on Super Bowl Sunday, but he is also a role model for many.

Joshua Harvey, a reporter at Media Day, said that young players are coming to SMU saying, “I’m going to be the next Emmanuel Sanders.”

It was evident that Sanders was truly touched by the reactions he has gotten from his friends and fans.

With such great support, this week Sanders will be focused on only one thing, Sunday’s game. And with all the hype, Sanders hopes to revert to what he does best.

“When I’m out there with Ben Roethlisberger, it’s like I’m a ten-year-old kid again playing throw-and-catch backyard football.”

SMU Tennis: Marta Lesniak, Success at ITA Championship

October 27, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Kimmy Ryan
kryan@smu.edu

SMU’s women’s tennis star Marta Lesniak had an outstanding showing at the ITA Regional Championship in both singles and doubles play Tuesday.

Lesniak is a junior and is from Poland. She has had an outstanding career and is currently ranked No. 22. Lesniak was defeated by Baylor in the doubles and singles finals. Seven SMU women’s tennis players made the tournament.

To read more about the tournament, visit smumustangs.com.

Blockbuster’s Bust

October 26, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Kimmy Ryan
kryan@smu.edu

Liz Armstrong enters the Blockbuster store at the corner of Hillcrest Avenue and University Boulevard. Everything looks the same, from the movies to the check-out counter and the employees. But, something is different – something that puts the fate of this store and 3,000 others like it in danger.

Blockbuster Inc. voluntarily filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 last week, meaning the company will attempt to restructure and is not required to make interest payments for the time being. Blockbuster says it will continue to operate its business as usual and emerge from bankruptcy a better and stronger company even though it has been struggling with a heavy debt and significant revenue declines.

Blockbuster is a movie-rental company that has been in business for 25 years. Blockbuster has bricks-and-mortar stores, DVD vending kiosks, and digital and mail delivery. Headquartered in Dallas, the company hit financial hardship when technology-savvy competitor Netflix and convenience-driven competitor Red Box entered the movie rental industry.

Those rivals have lured many movie fans away from blockbuster. “I came to Blockbuster
because I couldn’t find the movie I wanted on iTunes or Netflix. I wanted to watch it now and not wait for it to be mailed to me [through Netflix],” Armstrong said. “But that is the only time I come to Blockbuster. Usually I just download movies.”

Another Blockbuster customer described the business model as “outdated.”

“They need to be thinking ahead of technology,” Kaleigh Richter, a Dallas graduate student, said. “It’s pretty expensive, and I always rack up late fees, so I try not to come here.”

Fewer and fewer people are visiting Blockbuster stores, and it shows in the company’s financial statements. The quarterly report for the period ending July 4, 2010 states that revenues for Blockbuster have decreased by 19.7% compared to the same period a year ago. Operating loss has increased by 14.72%. And Blockbuster’s most recent income statement also shows a net loss of $69.3 million, an almost 75% increase in net loss compared to last year’s quarter.

Coinciding with its drop in net income, Blockbuster’s stock price has collapsed as well. Five years ago Blockbuster’s stock was around $7.30, and 10 years ago it hovered around $8.80. Today, its stock is at approximately $.06.

“After a thorough analysis… the process announced [to file for Chapter 11] provides the optimal path for recapitalizing our balance sheet and positioning Blockbuster for the future,” Jim Keyes, Blockbuster chairman and chief executive officer, said in a press-release statement.

Blockbuster has secured lenders to give the company up to $125 million to help it meet
obligations during the recapitalization process. Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 in order to strategically restructure its business model and recapitalize its balance sheet, meaning diminish some of its debt. The company’s plan would reduce its debt from approximately $1 billion currently to about $100 million or less, according to a recent press release.

This massive amount of debt began when Viacom Inc. decided
to sell off parts of the company. At Blockbuster’s peak between 1986 and 1993, the company was opening a new store every 17 hours. When the stock price began to waiver, Blockbuster was bought by Viacom. After the spinoffs and expanding too quickly, the company began to lose its value and increase its debt.

In the restructuring, senior bondholders will be asked to swap their debt for equity, while
the subordinated debt holders and owners of the preferred and common stock would get wiped out.

Blockbuster’s interest expense for the period ending July 4, 2010 was $32.1 million. This shows not only the debt burden on Blockbuster, but how much the company stands to save by swapping its debt for equity.

Once Blockbuster is in a stronger financial position, it will be able to better invest in
technologies to meet customers’ preferences, like vending kiosks and digital services. Blockbuster hopes to distinguish itself as the only operator providing access across multiple channels – by-mail, online, kiosks and stores. Analysts believe the company will continue to close many of its bricks-and-mortar stores though. Blockbuster also distinguishes itself by offering rental access to almost half of all new releases 28 days before competitors do.

Although this is the company’s plan for revamping its business model, Stefan Eishen, a Blockbuster customer service representative, believes management
needs to do a better job.

“I’ve been through the thick and thin of this company and have worked here a long time.
Corporate is out of touch with the day-to-day in-store business and needs to gain perspective.” Eishen said.

Eishen works at the Blockbuster on Hillcrest Avenue and University Boulevard. It is the top store in its 14 store district, and for a week in late August, it was the top store in the country. He believes this is because the employees do not follow corporate rules. He says the rules imposed from headquarters require store employees to hit customers with a barrage of official pitches and greetings, but long time employees know their customers and have more effective ways of selling to them.

“Employees know the neighborhood and speak to them in the most effective way possible,” Eishen said.

Unfortunately, long time employees are in short supply due to high employee turnover,
according to Eishen.

Whether it is the in-store business or the business model in general, Blockbuster is at a pivotal point in its lifetime. It is possible Blockbuster will emerge from Chapter 11 and recapitalize with a better strategic business plan, but this is a far-off goal.

Technology passed the company too quickly and left Blockbuster not only in debt, but as an industry loser.

SMU Country Club Sports: Men’s Tennis and Golf Updates

October 5, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Kimmy Ryan
kryan@smu.edu

SMU golfer Kelly Kraft tied for runner-up honors at the Cabo Collegiate golf tournament in Mexico yesterday. The SMU team finished fourth overall.

Former SMU tennis player Johan Brunstrom won his first major tennis tournament this weekend. He placed first in doubles at the Swiss Open with partner Jarkko Nieminen. SMU tennis coach Carl Neufeld remains Brunstrom’s coach and was by his side, coaching him to victory at the Swiss Open.

Texas vs. Oklahoma Football Rivalry: A Dallas Tradition

September 29, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Kimmy Ryan
Kryan@smu.edu

Texas and the University of Oklahoma have played their rivalry game in Dallas since 1912. Ticket sales for the game are equally divided between the two teams, causing high tensions in the stadium each year. ESPN Dallas takes a look at this long time Red River Rivalry game.

ESPNDallas.com made a video highlighting the tradition.

SMU Women’s Golf: Fifth at Weekend Tournament

September 28, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Kimmy Ryan
kryan@smu.edu

The SMU women’s golf team took fifth at the Badger Invitational in Wisconsin. The tournament was held Sunday and Monday and eleven teams competed. The win went to Wisconsin with the home course advantage.

Freshman Amy Ruengmateekhun tied for fifth overall and was SMU’s top finisher at the event.

To read more about the women’s golf team success, visit SMUMustangs.com.

BLOG RECAP: SMU Beats Washington State 35-21

September 18, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Daily Mustang Sports Editor Kimmy Ryan reported live from the SMU press box. Check out the live blog recap of the game.

SMU Equestrian Team: Loses First Show of Season against TCU

September 18, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Kimmy Ryan
kryan@smu.edu

The SMU Equestrian team lost their first show of the season against TCU Friday. TCU edged out the Ponies, 7-4.

TCU’s team has been very successful in the past few years. Although the Mustangs technically had more points, the Horned Frogs won more matchups.

Junior Jordyn Pettersen won the MVP award for equestrian over fences. TCU’s Milana Trimino and SMU’s Renick Townsend tied for MVP on the flat. With a lot of new freshman talent, the SMU team should have a successful season.

To read more about the SMU Equestrian Team’s first show, visit SMUMustangs.com.

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