Many graduate college and go on to accomplish great things, however, there are only a few that have what it takes to stand out and make an impact throughout a whole community.
Nicole Perez, graduate of Texas A&M University – Kingsville (TAMUK) was honored as Art, Communications, and Theatre (ACT) Department “Alumnus of the Year.”
Perez, a San Diego native, is president of Alice 24-7, a community newspaper in Alice, TX.
“I have been involved in newspapers since I was 13 years old. It is all I know,” Perez said.
During her time at TAMUK, she was reporter at The South Texan and went on to become editor-in-chief, before graduating in 1996.
However, her journalism career didn’t stop at The South Texan.
Perez’s extensive journalism career includes the Alice Echo-News, Corpus Christi Caller Times, Plano Star Courier & Allen American.
“My journalism career began at the Alice Echo-News before graduation from TAMUK,” Perez said.
From 2001-2003 she owned and operated The Alice Journal & Freer Press.
When The Alice Journal merged with the Alice Echo-News, Perez served as editor and advertising manager until 2011.
But Perez felt she could better serve the community in a different way.
“I determined that working for a corporate owned company did not afford me the ability to do what I felt was right for a community newspaper,” Perez said. “Operating newspapers became such a numbers game that we lost sight of newspapers’ purpose: Our readers and providing them with unbiased news, news that matters to them.”
Perez’s new venture was an online news site, which evolved into a print version within its first year.
“Alice24-7.com began as solely an online news site, but the community response was so great that we added a print component in less than four months,” Perez said.
In their first year, Alice 24-7 earned four awards through the Texas Community Newspaper Association, though they competed with only two months worth of print news. In their second year they earned 17 and this year they earned 18.
“We compete in and are members of the Texas Community Newspaper Association,” Perez said. “I also served on the TCNA board of directors.”
Perez says time at TAMUK confirmed that working for a community newspaper is where she wanted to be and it also allowed her to explore all aspects of the newspaper business.
“I began as a sports writer, moved on to campus editor and eventually editor,” Perez said.
Today, Perez is a mother of three children, Aaron and twins, Lillian Anthony Perez.
She a member of the Alice Rotary Club, served as chair for United Way campaigns and March of Dimes in Alice for numerous years.
Perez is president of the Alice Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, the chair of Camp Good Sam (which helps at-risk youth in the summer) and also a member of the Jim Wells County Historical Society.
“In addition to Alice24-7.com, we produce South Texas Properties, the Coastal Bend Traveler and are contracted with the Texas Coastal Bend Regional Tourism Council to produce its annual tourism guide,” Perez said.
They also develop, host and manage numerous web sites for customers.
Outside of Alice 24-7, Perez has earned numerous writing awards from the Associated Press of Managing Editors, Texas Press Association and a Texas Gavel Award for an investigative piece into the lack of prosecution of DWIs in Jim Wells County.
Even after her many accomplishments, Perez has not shown signs of slowing down. She is currently master’s student in History and Politics at TAMUK.
“I hope to continue to be the dominant source of news for residents of Alice and Jim Wells County,” Perez said. “I hope to continue to be a positive voice in Alice, a voice that is honest that will also keep our community leaders honest.”