September e-Newsletter is now available E-mail
Tuesday, 16 September 2014 11:44

septembere-newsletterpage1Click here or on the image to read the September e-Newsletter.

Things included in this edition:

- Ask an Attorney with Alicia Calzada, Haynes & Boone

- National Newspaper Week information

- Texas Newspaper Foundation Hall of Fame

- And more!

Cousin’s Vietnam photo puts face with name on Wall E-mail
Tuesday, 09 September 2014 15:31

randycopyKathy and I had the opportunity to visit the Vietnam War Memorial a few years ago when we spent a week of vacation time in the Washington, D.C. area. I had seen the memorial, or The Wall, as it has come to be known, many times in photos and on television. Still, nothing prepared me for actually standing there and touching the names. Each and every one of the war's 58,282 American casualties is listed, including my second cousin, Grady Ray Nelson of Coos Bay, Oregon.
An Army SP4, Grady Ray was killed in combat on Nov. 23, 1968, in the Hua Ngia Province of South Vietnam. He was 22 years old.
Grady Ray was born in Memphis, Texas, to Dude and Maggie Nelson, and it was there that he spent the first five years of his life. The entire family went west when the drought of the 1950s finally forced them away from the family farm. My uncle Dude would eventually find work in the lumber mills in the Pacific northwest. As you can imagine, the family was devastated when word arrived at the Nelson home that Grady Ray had been killed in action. It would be some time later that a few sketchy details of his death were released. He died in an aircraft, believed to be a helicopter, when it came under hostile fire from the ground.
Everything I just told you about Grady Ray would be little more than a story if it weren't for the fact that we have a photo of him in his combat fatigues taken not long before his death. But, we do have the photo and once you put a face with the name, the story somehow becomes more real.
Newspaper men and women learned that trick decades ago and that's why we continue to run as many photos as we can alongside our stories, especially photos of people. I mention all of this because I hope you will join me and the Texas Press Association in supporting the Faces Never Forgotten project sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation.
The group is attempting to locate photos of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who died in Vietnam. At last count, there were slightly more than 1,400 names from Texas for which there is no corresponding photo.
TPA is encouraging all of its member newspapers to participate in hopes that the Wall of Faces website can be completed.
Ask yourself, who in your community is better suited and has better resources for tracking down a photo than the local newspaper?
A list of the missing Texans can be found at — a spreadsheet will automatically download. From there, you may sort by county or community name. A quick check of the date of death will help narrow down a date and make it easier to check your archives. If your newspaper doesn't have a photo, perhaps you can locate family members who do.
Information about how to submit a photo to the project may be found online at
Please lend your help to the effort as the Faces Never Forgotten project seeks to honor all of those who fought and died so very far from home. A photo, even a grainy one, will add context to their story, and will help future generations understand how and why these men and women came to die in Southeast Asia.


Meet TPA Treasurer Patrick Canty, Publisher of the Odessa American E-mail
Tuesday, 09 September 2014 15:25

cantyGive us some details about yourself. Where are you from? How long have you worked in the newspaper industry? Where did you get your start?
I am a San Antonio native, who obtained my bachelor's degree from what was at the time East Texas State University. I have worked in the newspaper business for more than 32 years. I started my career fresh out of college at the San Antonio Light, in my hometown. I started out as a night police reporter and worked my way up through the ranks, covering beats at the county courthouse and City Hall. I even did a stint as a "rewrite man" before going on to serve as an assistant city editor and ultimately the newspaper's Sunday/special projects editor. The paper closed in 1993 and I was appointed editor of the Valley Morning Star in Harlingen. I went on to take on my first publisher's job in 1997 at the Porterville Recorder, a small, six days-a-week paper in California's San Joaquin Valley. After four years there I was promoted to a position at the corporate headquarters in Orange County, California, where I served as director of training and special projects for the community newspaper division. When the publisher's job opened up in Odessa back in 2003 I finally got to come "back home" to Texas. Never felt so lonesome as the time I had to surrender my Texas drivers license and obtain a California license when I moved out to the West Coast. I currently serve as publisher for the Odessa American and a regional vice president for AIM Media Texas LLC, which purchased the paper a few years back. I absolutely love it.
Tell us about your community and the life of a publisher. What's it like to work at the Odessa American?
Living and helping run a community paper in Odessa is about as fun and challenging as it gets. The region is going through its biggest oil boom ever and the hyper-growth experienced here presents incredible challenges and opportunities. It's hard to hire staff since our area has a labor deficit, but all of this growth means nothing but upside potential for us to grow this newspaper's audience and revenues. I see my role as publisher as more than just the "head bean counter." I consider myself the face of my newspaper in the community we serve and am very involved in many aspects of Odessa, ranging from serving on various boards to serving as current president of one of the local Rotary Clubs. I think it helps me in my job as publisher and helps the community see that this newspaper is engaged in Odessa life.

Read more: Meet TPA Treasurer Patrick Canty, Publisher of the Odessa American

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