During his 50-plus-year career, Texas Press Association’s 126th president Willis Webb has been a syndicated columnist, a managing editor, advertising director, newspaper consultant and an award-winning editor-publisher at several locations.
In 1956 and 1957 he studied journalism at Sam Houston State in Huntsville.
He returned home for one year as news editor of the Teague Chronicle then finished his J-degree in night school at the University of Houston, working days as a copy editor for The Cougar student newspaper, and authored a syndicated column, “The Texian Editor’s Frontier News Flashes.”
On Jan. 1, 1959, he became an ad sales rep for the Galena Park Reporter and six months later was named general manager.
Webb worked as editor and then editor-publisher of the Fort Bend Mirror at Rosenberg for six years and spent the next three years as editor-publisher of the Cleveland Advocate.
Then he was associate publisher, editor and publisher of the Conroe Courier. From 1976 to 1982 he was sales manager for Southwest Creative Graphics and worked as a consultant to Attaway Newspapers.
He was editor-publisher of the Lockhart Post-Register 1982-84 and then went to the Fredericksburg Radio Post in 1984-85. During the next four years he worked for Hartman Newspapers Inc. He was editor/publisher of the Fort Bend Business & Legal Review at Stafford and then joined the Houston Digest as an ad sales rep.
In May 1991 he became editor-publisher of The Jasper Newsboy and retired in 2007.
Webb's wife, Julie, served as a reporter and editor for The Jasper Newsboy.
On June 7, 1998, at Jasper, the Webbs found themselves at ground-zero in a story that drew attention the world over: the murder of James Byrd Jr. at the hands of a trio of white supremacists. Willis and Julie relentlessly covered the crime through the discovery, trial and conviction phases. They continued with strong coverage of the murder's scarring effects on the community, and the community's ongoing efforts to deal with its anguish, to heal and to move forward. Willis revisited those issues in a crisis management presentation during the January 2000 Texas Press Association midwinter convention. He said it took every bit of his and Julie's journalistic training, love and concern for Jasper and faith to function resolutely through the crisis and its aftermath.
In 1997 Willis Webb became the first weekly publisher to receive the Hearst Corporation’s Eagle Award and in 2002 he received TPA’s Golden 50 Award.
He was president of Texas Gulf Coast Press Association in 1972-73.