Articles from the Texas Press Messenger monthly trade journal, the official publication of Texas Press Association. Contact us with news items or for advertising rates.

Public notice ad available for your homepage Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 13:47

doorwaypublicnoticesFinding the massive (and growing) online clearinghouse for public notices just got easier, thanks to an attractive new "doorway" interactive graphic. Click here to view the instructions and download the graphic.
Your newspaper's website visitors need only click the doorway graphic to find the searchable database of public notices — at — that yours and hundreds of other Texas newspapers upload on a daily, weekly or semiweekly basis.
This convenient way for readers to tap into required notices that local and state governmental bodies place can boost readership while providing a powerful augmentation to the classified- and display-style notices that newspapers publish in print. Plus, it's a pleasing and effective way to draw more readers to websites, with very little effort.
Demand for this kind of feature on websites is rooted in an array of current market conditions. First, non-newspaper lobbying organizations, over the last decade, have pushed members and committees of the Texas Legislature to remove printed public notice requirements in state law in favor of placing those notices on governmental bodies' websites, or on private and even out-of-state websites.

State Anti-SLAPP statutes create substantive First Amendment rights Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 13:44

Haynes and Boone secures historic Anti-SLAPP law win in Federal Court

laura pratherAs more states adopt Anti-SLAPP legislation, more federal courts must decide whether such laws create a substantive right that must be applied by a federal court in a case in which federal jurisdiction is based on diversity of citizenship. In a major boost to the effectiveness of state Anti-SLAPP laws, Haynes and Boone secured a precedent setting victory in federal court when, in the face of timely filed objections, a federal court in Texas applied the newly enacted Texas Anti-SLAPP statute, holding for the first time that the Texas statute created a substantive right.
The suit arose from reports aired by KVOA Communications, d/b/a KRIS Communications ("KRIS") in February and March, 2014 with respect to a Texas school district's investigation of a teacher accused of inappropriate behavior with a student. In the course of its reporting, KRIS uncovered information that the same teacher-coach had previously been arrested for telephone harassment, stalking and indecent exposure. In all, the station's investigation uncovered more than a decade of criminal allegations against the teacher-coach, who had been permitted to move from school district to school district, keeping his license to teach and being allowed to voluntarily resign.
In the wake of KRIS' reports, the teacher-coach filed a defamation suit seeking more than $4 million in damages from KRIS. Haynes and Boone moved to dismiss the complaint on grounds that the lawsuit had been filed out of retaliation for what KRIS broadcast and the plaintiff could not establish evidence of his claim. As such, the claim violated Texas' Anti-SLAPP law, which prohibits lawsuits brought in retaliation for an exercise of one's right to free speech, press, association or petition.

APME's NewsTrain workshop for journalists coming to Austin Aug. 22-23 Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 13:27

Learn more about video storytelling, data journalism, viral content and change management at a NewsTrain workshop for journalists in Austin on Aug. 22-23. Sponsored by Associated Press Media Editors, NewsTrain has brought affordable, high-quality training to local audiences of journalists, journalism students and journalism educators in cities across the United States and Canada for more than a decade.
Registration for the Austin workshop -- just $75 for two full days of training -- is now open at You can also get information there on a discounted hotel rate and diversity scholarships for the workshop at the University of Texas.
The data journalism session will be of special interest to community journalists, as trainer Paul Overberg, database editor of USA Today, uses the public documents and data available in Kerrville to show what public data you can access in any community to develop enterprising stories.
Your other instructors include:
• Linda Austin, project director for NewsTrain. She will help you create more time for watchdog reporting with a proven technique called beat mapping.
• Meg Downey, former managing editor of The Tennessean in Nashville. She will offer techniques for planning and coaching content across platforms and for managing and surviving change in the newsroom.
• Kathy Kieliszewski, director of photography and video at the Detroit Free Press. She will introduce you to efficient video story forms for digital platforms and provide tips to shoot more effective video on your smartphone.
• Shazna Nessa, former deputy managing editor of editorial products and innovations at The Associated Press. She will help you apply the research on what makes content go viral and also get ready for the next big disruptive changes in news.
To register for $75, go to, or for group registrations, email Teresa Cooper, NewsTrain program assistant.

Following in the footprints of Gail Borden Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 13:23

randycopyI am on a quest to find a printing press and I'm hoping that you can help me. Not just any old press will do, however. You see, I'm looking for an operable Washington press manufactured by R. Hoe & Company in New York City in the early 1830s.
One such press was used by pioneer newspaperman Gail Borden to print the Telegraph and Texas Register at San Felipe de Austin in the months leading up to the Texas Revolution. The paper not only rallied settlers to the Texian cause and called for volunteers to man the garrisons at Gonzales and San Antonio de Bexar, it also reported their bloody defeat as the army of Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna cut a swath across Texas.
Despite the ongoing setbacks, Borden continued to publish his paper and begged for additional volunteers to join Sam Houston's army, even as Santa Anna's cavalry closed in on San Felipe. He finally loaded his press and type cases onto wagons and left San Felipe just before the town's defenders burned it to the ground rather than surrender the settlement.
Borden was determined to get the news out as he and his neighbors headed east in the harried evacuation that came to be known as the Runaway Scrape. He stopped along the way, however, unloaded the heavy press and set it up in order to put out a paper before loading up and continuing the eastward trek. At one point Borden was reduced to printing on the back of wallpaper, but print he did, and the Telegraph and Texas Register continued to tell the story of the beleaguered settlers and Houston's rapidly growing Texian army.

City charter may set public notice threshold at less than $50,000 Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 13:21

ed copyQ: How much can my city spend on a police vehicle without publishing a bid notice in the newspaper?

A: Local Government Code Sec. 252.021, Competitive Requirements for Purchases, says for municipalities, the threshold for publishing a bid notice is any amount greater than $50,000. On the other hand, if your city is home-rule, the competitive bidding threshold in the city charter might be an amount less than $50,000.
When you can, spend a few minutes at the state's new purchasing portal In a casual search of the portal, I found a Ford police interceptor sedan for less than $23,000 and a Chevrolet Tahoe for less than $29,000.
For more on the subject, see Local Government Code Chapter 262.023 for details on the county bid threshold and see Education Code Chapter 44.031 for details on the bid threshold for school districts. With those thresholds in mind, you might want to assign a reporter to do a little spelunking. A school district's small, regularly stocked items may aggregate to a number larger than the bid threshold over a fiscal year.
A request for information on purchasing schedules and amounts for a random selection of items might yield results you'll want to share with readers. Local governmental bodies' checkbooks are public information. The state comptroller posts transparency ratings that, in a sense, reward local governmental bodies for posting their checkbooks online.

2014 FOIFT Annual Conference: A Road Map to Open Government Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 13:19

foift 2014 conf logo road tag web-2The 2014 Bernard and Audre Rapoport State Conference convenes on Friday, Sept. 12, at the Hilton Austin Hotel, 500 E. Fourth St.
Sessions run from 8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will address public access to courts; social media use in open government; and new laws and best practices involving the Texas Public Information Act. Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson will be the luncheon keynote speaker.
Register now for the daylong conference including the John Henry Faulk Awards Luncheon, or register for the luncheon only.
Stay tuned to the FOIFT website for more details on conference panel discussions and the James Madison Award winner.

New Media Investment Group acquires more newspapers Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 13:12

New Media Investment Group, one of the largest owners of newspapers in the country, has purchased more newspapers, some of which are in Texas, from the American Consolidated Media Southwest Group.
The newspapers include the Alice Echo News-Journal, the Ballinger Ledger, the Brownwood Bulletin, the Freer Press, the Glen Rose Reporter, the Midlothian Mirror, the Nueces County Record Star (Robstown), the Stephenville Empire-Tribune, the Waxahachie Daily Light and the Winters Enterprise.
New Media also announced it purchased two newspapers based in Virginia. Together, the two acquisitions were purchased for $15.3 million. New Media is the owner of GateHouse Media, LLC, one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media. The newspapers will be managed by GateHouse Media.
"Having been with ACM since the company's inception, I'm very thankful to ACM for the opportunities they have provided the communities we serve," Neal White, Waxahachie publisher and editor said. "We are looking forward to being part of the GateHouse Media family and its commitment to provide outstanding print and digital media products."

USPS consolidation will impact newspaper delivery Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 13:10

TPA Periodicals Consultant

USPS announced on June 30 the continuation of consolidations and closure of an additional 82 mail processing operations. This follows the 2012 and 2013 closure of 141 processing facilities nationally. The The new closures will begin in January 2015, and conclude prior to the fall mailing season. Several processing facilities in Texas are scheduled for closure. These closures will have a negative impact on a large number of TPA member newspapers. Many newspapers will experience an additional day or more in delivery time. It's virtually impossible to predict the exact impact but common sense tells you that delivery times will be longer.
The reality facing newspapers, and other mailers, nationally, is continued increases in postage rates, and continued decline in delivery service. The only newspapers you can have any expectation of next day delivery are newspapers that you are entering, or dropping by exceptional dispatch, at the delivery post office. To the extent it is practical as much local mail as possible should be dropped at the delivery post office. With increasing postage costs and deteriorating delivery service, it is vital to your future success, and in some cases your survival, to have an online product available to your non-local subscribers. The goal should be to have an online product that your subscribers are willing to pay for, and over time convert as many of your outside county print subscribers to electronic subscribers, and attempt to expand your subscriber and advertiser base.
If you have any questions relating to these closures or other postal matters, please contact TPA Periodicals Consultant Joel Allis at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or at 512-585-6239.

‘Faces Never Forgotten’ ad available to your newspaper Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 13:05

txfacesforgottenadcolor1Newspapers are encouraged to run this advertisement in an effort to locate missing photos of Vietnam veterans. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation (VVMF) project "Faces Never Forgotten" is in need of help obtaining missing photos of fallen Vietnam veterans across Texas and the nation. Newspaper participation in this project will help VVMF locate the photos of all of the soldiers listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.
The goal is to locate all missing pictures by Nov. 11, 2014. Your support with this nationwide effort is not only impactful for the families who lost loved ones, but also for the history involved with the documentation in remembering their dedication.
Click here to download the color version.
Click here to download the gray scale version.

Bodes say goodbye; sell newspapers Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 13:02


In a purchase effective July 1, Highland Lakes Publishing LP acquired the assets of Bar 30 Media LLC including The Highlander, Burnet Bulletin, Llano County Journal, The Northshore Star and Lake Country Life, from Roy and Ellen Bode, who announced their retirement from the business today.
Mark Henry, a partner of Highland Lakes Publishing LP, has assumed the post of editor and publisher for the group of publications. Other principal partners in Highland Lakes Publishing LP are Jim Moser and Charles Moser with Moser Community Media LLC of Brenham.
"Selling these newspapers was the most difficult decision I have made in over 50 years in journalism," said Roy E. Bode, president and publisher of Bar 30 Media. "Ellen and I are proud of their historic contributions to the communities they serve and proud of the people who have made them some of the best weekly newspapers in Texas.
"We wanted to be equally proud of our successors – and we are," he continued. Mark and the Moser family are capable and respected people who have been engaged in hometown Texas journalism for generations."
Henry and his wife, Karel, have already moved to the area. Henry is a veteran of Texas community newspapers with over 30 years of experience in the industry.

Newsmakers Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 12:58


Floyd County Hesperian-Beacon
Blackburn Media Group has named Kay Ellington contributing editor and business consultant for the Floyd County Hesperian-Beacon.
Ellington has been employed for more than three decades with companies such as the New York Times Regional Media Group and Gannett, the parent company of USA Today, and Morris Communications. A native of Snyder, Ellington is a graduate of the University of Texas - Permian Basin. Her experience includes writing and editing, advertising, circulation and marketing. Since the mid-1990s much of her career has focused on new product development and marketing, digital online and mobile.
"It's not often someone with Kay's pedigree comes along for a small town weekly," said Chris Blackburn, publisher. "The Hesperian-Beacon needs to lead the communities in this county and provide our readership with a unique and quality content. I believe Kay can accomplish these goals." Ellington will be playing a hands-on role in local community coverage and in advertising and audience strategies.

Clay County Leader
Yoakum native Jay Ermis has been named editor of the Clay County Leader. Ermis will oversee editorial content of the weekly publication and will handle other duties with the newspaper.
A 46-year veteran of the newspaper business, Ermis comes to the Leader after working two years as Milam County correspondent for the Temple Daily Telegram. He covered school districts and city councils in Cameron and Rockdale and county government in Milam County. Ermis got his start with the Yoakum Herald Times as a sportswriter in 1967 while attending St. Joseph High school. He graduated from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville in 1973 with a bachelor of science degree in journalism and minor in English. He went to work as a sportswriter for the Victoria Advocate in 1973, moving to the news side copy desk in 1975.

Graham hosts West Texas Press Association’s 84th annual conference Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 11:39

macharoldhudsonWest Texas Press Association held its 84th annual conference in Graham, July 17-18.
Award-winning photojournalist Ian McVea of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram presented "Visual Storytelling in Community Journalism." McVea, who covers news, sports and does environmental portrait photography, stressed on the importance of looking for "the moment."
Keynote speaker Dean Smith, a Graham native and gold medalist in track and field in the 1952 Olympic Games, appeared as a stuntman and actor in numerous movies. Smith told stories from past movies and when asked what the hardest stunt he ever had to do, he said, "the one to get the job."
Newspaper design consultant Ed Henninger of Rock Hill, South Carolina demonstrated ways to increase readability.
Tommy Thomason, director of the Texas Center for Community Journalism at Texas Christian University, presented, "Telling Stories People Want to Read," with tips on interviewing and livening up feature articles.
WTPA's annual better newspaper contest awards were presented and Dublin Citizen Publisher Mac McKinnon was this year's recipient of the prestigious Harold Hudson Award. Contest results can be found here.
The association elected the following officers: Lisa Davis, Wise County Messenger, Decatur, chairman of the board; Mindi Kimbro, Olney Enterprise, president; Carlina Villalpando, Kerrville Daily Times, first vice president; J.L. Mankin, Big Lake Wildcat, second vice president; and Mary Dudley, Perryton Herald, secretary/treasurer.
Directors were appointed as follows: Bill Crist, Snyder Daily News; Carolyn Anderson, Texas Mohair Weekly, Rocksprings; Kristen Tribe, Wise County Messenger, Decatur; Kim Ware, Azle News; Ashlee Estlack, Clarendon Enterprise; Henry Flores, CenturyLink; Brian Brisendine, Brownfield News; and Robb Krecklow, The Graham Leader

TNF Hall of Fame nominations due by October Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 11:27

TPA Past President 2007-08

It's been said that if you ever see a turtle sitting on a fence post, you know it had to have some help getting there. And thus it is with the newspaper men and women who make up the fellowship of this profession in Texas.
Each year since 2007 the Texas Press Association has gathered in January to honor a select few of them, those who raised the standards, set the bar high for others — helped the rest make it up that fence post.
And so it will be again in January 2015 in Galveston.
A handful of deserving men and women will be honored, and the rest will have a unique chance to learn a little more about them.
The Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held during the annual midwinter conference, but before that, the Texas Newspaper Foundation needs your help.
All of you know someone (or perhaps more) who are deserving of the honor of induction into the Hall of Fame.
But they can't get there without your help. Nominations for the hall are being accepted until Oct. 15. It is the most important step toward getting into the hall. The quality, and perhaps even quantity, of information provided to the selection committee can go a long way toward making sure that deserving persons join the outstanding group that already makes up the hall.
Take a few minutes. Scan through the prior honorees at, and think about those who helped you along the way, who made their communities, their profession and their state better.
Or perhaps they are historical figures you did not know, but whose inclusion will assure that the hall is truly reflective of Texas newspaper history.
And then take a few minutes (after deadline of course), and make sure that those who have earned the right to be in the hall are so justly enshrined.
You can download a nomination form here. You can also learn more about the Hall of Fame selection process.
And please send those nominations. The committee will be gathering in early November to name the Class of 2015.

NNA prepares for San Antonio Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 11:05

National Newspaper Association will stage its 128th Annual Convention & Trade Show at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Antonio, Oct. 2-5. Programs will address pressing business objectives of community newspaper owners, publishers and senior staff with educational sessions and peer-sharing activities. The keynote speaker will be Texas state Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, a U.S. Army veteran and Purple Heart and Legion of Merit recipient. Full registration includes four general sessions, four sets of concurrent sessions, an exhibit hall with more than 30 exhibitors and tickets to a welcome reception, two breakfasts, two lunches and one dinner with entertainment. Visit to register, view the program, exhibitors and sponsors.

AIM Media Texas rolls out premium digital editions Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 11:02


McALLEN — There's a new way to look at newspapers in four Texas markets.
AIM Media Texas and its online division, Digital AIM, have launched premium digital editions of their daily newspapers that allow readers to monitor breaking news while immersing themselves in a multi-media-enhanced version of that day's print edition.
The new split-screen product, developed by Digital AIM and eEdition partner Tecnavia, features a media-rich digital replica edition of AIM newspapers alongside a searchable mobile version of each newspaper's website, powered by The new editions are accessible on both desktop and mobile devices.
"This new product not only builds on our commitment to be the leading source of news and marketing solutions for our local communities, but it also underscores our drive to be a trendsetter in developing cutting-edge ways to deliver content to our customers that fit their active lifestyles," AIM Chairman and CEO Jeremy L. Halbreich said.
The premium editions are being rolled out at all of AIM's Texas daily newspapers in McAllen, Odessa, Harlingen and Brownsville. They are branded under the new web,,
The newspapers are offering free 30-day trials before restricting access to seven-day print edition subscribers or those who purchase a less-expensive digital subscription.
The public will still have free access to the newspapers' current desktop and mobile websites, where more abbreviated stories and content will be featured. But the premium sites will offer more in-depth content and other features, including:
• The ability to customize the new digital replica edition.
• Enhancements to stories and advertisements in the replica edition that feature videos, expanded photo galleries and additional URL links.
• Expanded access to newspaper archives.
• Up-to-date news and information on the mobile website feature that is searchable and offers breaking news alerts.

-30- Print E-mail
Monday, 04 August 2014 10:53

Dave Burgin, who cultivated successful writers as the top editor of the Houston Post and other newspapers, died June 16 at his Houston home from the effects of strokes. He was 75. Burgin served as editor of the Houston Post from 1988 to 1990. Colleagues at the Post and other newspapers led by Burgin recalled him as an editor with a deep dedication to excellence. He was often recruited to manage financially troubled newspapers. He was the editor-in-chief of New Jersey's Paterson News, the Peninsula Times Tribune in California, the Orlando Sentinel, the San Francisco Examiner, the Dallas Times Herald and the Houston Post. Burgin joined the Washington Star in 1971, where he was mentor to Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist Maureen Dowd and sports columnist and author Ira Berkow. In 1985 and 1986, Burgin edited the Examiner, Hearst Corp.'s first newspaper. "He was a traditional newsman with a serious respect for getting the facts right," William R. Hearst III, chairman of the board of Hearst Corp., said. "But he also believed you should attract to your paper gifted people — who could tell stories, write reviews and covers sports in a fresh and modern language. After his time in Texas, Burgin moved to the San Francisco area. He was editor and vice president of the Bay Area News Group from 1990 to 1997.

Richard Durrett, a versatile sportswriter in his nine years at The Dallas Morning News, and most recently five years with the, died June 17. He was 38. Durrett spent time in 2013 writing for ESPNDallas and co-hosting a daily sports talk show on KESN-FM alongside Ian Fitzsimmons. He opted to leave the ESPN-owned radio station in favor of the website when Cumulus, parent company of Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket, took operating control in October. At ESPN Dallas, Durrett found his niche covering the Texas Rangers baseball club. He also covered the NHL's Dallas Stars, colleges and whatever else he was asked to do. Durrett joined in September 2009 from The News. He also worked at the Denton Record-Chronicle and Grapevine Sun. He was a Texas Christian University alumnus. "He was known for creativity and an exceptional work ethic throughout his ESPN tenure, and nearly a decade at The Dallas Morning News before that," ESPN vice president Patrick Stiegman said in a statement.


Messenger Staff

Micheal Hodges

Allison Rentfro

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Diane Byram

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© Texas Press Messenger, 2014 (ISSN 1521-7523). Published monthly by Texas Press Service, a business affiliate of Texas Press Association. Periodicals postage paid at Austin, Texas, and additional mailing office, USPS 541-440. Printed by Hood County News in Granbury, Texas.