Columns

The power of 'just the right word'

One item that distinguishes professional magicians from amateurs is the use of scripts. This is not to say that the professional will always recite – word for word – the same thing in each performance; however, the professional will always know what he or she is going to say.

The professional, whether a magician or a writer, will economize where possible and augment where necessary, and will know the appropriate time to do either.

Open Meetings Act requires citing of exception allowing closed session

Q: Our city clerk puts a boilerplate notice at the bottom of city council meeting agendas, notifying the public that the council may go into executive session under any of a number of exceptions allowing it under the Texas Open Meetings Act. The problem is, this council has a habit of going into executive session without stating exactly which TOMA exception they are using. I don’t think a reporter or anyone else should have to sit there for hours, wondering what council members are talking behind closed doors. Can you send something that fits a scenario like that?

Converting to Requester Periodicals: Part II

By Max Heath

Postal Tips

Getting and keeping  requests, Q & A

Last month, I covered the basics of Requester qualification. This month, I want to share ways to get and keep requests, and answer some questions posed by others on the recent National Newspaper Association webinar.

There are a lot of methods for getting valid requests, good up to three years. Here are some widely-used:

Don’t gild the lily

The cliché “gild the lily” is a misquotation of a line from Shakespeare: “To gild refined gold, to paint the lily … is wasteful and ridiculous excess.” Correctly quoted or not, this common phrase refers to the unnecessary practice of embellishing something which doesn’t need embellishing.

A bias toward trust

Calendars are turning to September and with it, the state religion of high school football. Here’s hoping that your favorite teams have successful seasons!

One of the things I love about being in a community newspaper is that, in a typical week, the football team is the topic of discussion – even in a presidential election year!

Maximize postage savings & improve delivery for community newspapers

By Max Heath

Postal Tips

Community newspapers have options to save money and improve delivery times under price and rule changes during the past decade, notably in 2007 with the last postal reform bill. From time to time, I like to review these for newcomers to the business or others who may have missed them. Updates to DMM citations and changes are made as well as percentage changes.

 

IN-COUNTY PRICE DISCOUNTS

Access to settlement agreements may be hard to obtain

Q: Our hospital district recently let a highly paid employee go. The employee got a sizable settlement and the local governmental body is refusing to release the terms. Aren’t local governmental bodies prohibited from entering into nondisclosure agreements?

A:  See the Texas Public Information Act, Government Code Sec. 552.022, titled Categories of Public Information, at: www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/GV/htm/GV.552.htm#552.022. 

Think carefully before posting the ‘final word’

By Jim Pumarlo

A mayor takes issue with an editorial that criticized a city council action, calling your facts into question. Irate parents challenge your decision – your right – to report their son didn’t dress for the basketball game because he was suspended for violating school policy. A pastor is critical of an ad you accepted for publication, saying it was in poor taste.