Messenger

Texas Better Newspaper Contest changing for 2018-19

The Texas Better Newspaper Contest is changing to adapt to TPA’s new schedule of one annual meeting per year.
Contest awards will be presented at the midwinter conference, beginning with the January 2020 event.
During the transition in 2018-19, the contest will be expanded to include the calendar year of 2018 plus eight months of 2019.
For the 2018-19 contest, the entry period opens Sept. 9, 2019, and newspapers may submit entries from material published from Jan. 1, 2018 through Aug. 31, 2019. 

Midwinter Conference to stress importance of local journalism

The 2019 Texas Press Midwinter Conference and Trade Show will focus on the critical importance of community newspapers with the theme “Subscribe to Democracy: Community Journalism Matters.” 
The conference theme dovetails with a Texas Press Service campaign with promotional materials available to member newspapers free of charge.

Open government advocate Prather honored with FOIFT Madison Award

Laura Prather receives a standing ovation as she makes her way to the podium to accept the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas James Madison Award at the group's recent conference.

First Amendment attorney Laura Prather was awarded the 2018 James Madison Award by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas at the group’s annual conference in September.
The award honoring commitment to upholding the principles of the First Amendment and open government was presented during the John Henry Faulk Award Luncheon.

Texas Bar Association presents annual Gavel Awards

Texas Gavel Award winners were honored at the Freedom of Information Foundation annual conference in Austin. Shown following the presentations are (from left) State Bar of Texas President Joe K. Longley, Jason Wheeler of WFAA-TV, Eleanor Dearman of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Anita Hassan, formerly of the Houston Chronicle, Jessica Savage and Veronica Flores of KRIS-TV, and Rudy England, chair of the State Bar of Texas Public Affairs Committee.

State Bar of Texas President Joe K. Longley and SBOT Public Affairs Committee Chair Rudy England welcomed journalists from around the state as winners of Texas Gavel Awards, presented at the John Henry Faulk Award Luncheon during the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas annual conference.
The State Bar of Texas Public Affairs Committee presents the Texas Gavel Awards for journalism that deepens public understanding of the legal system.
The 2018 award winners are: 
Print, Major Metro 

Spirit of FOI awards recognize open government reporting

AUSTIN - Two Texas news organizations have won the Spirit of FOI Award for reports exposing the secrecy behind Austin’s city manager selection process and the peculiar lack of information following the resignation of the Bryan Independent School District superintendent. 
The Nancy Monson Spirit of FOI Award, presented by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, highlights journalism that upholds First Amendment principles and promotes or uses open government laws such as the Texas Public Information Act.

TPA cites Rep. Terry Canales as Champion of Transparency

EDINBURG – Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who sponsored one of the few open government and public information proposals that became law in the 2017 Texas Legislative session, has been honored as a “Champion of Transparency” by the Texas Press Association.
TPA Executive Vice President Donnis Baggett and Stephan Wingart, publisher of the McAllen Monitor, presented the award during a ceremony Sept. 20 at Edinburg City Hall.

Joel White

AUSTIN – First Amendment attorney Joel White, a former president of the Freedom Information Foundation of Texas and longtime champion of open government, died July 21 in Cartagena, Colombia, after becoming ill while on a trip. 

Evelyn Carleton Singer

Veteran elementary school teacher Evelyn Carleton Singer, 82, of Austin, died Aug. 28 after a long battle with cancer.
She was the wife of longtime University of Texas journalism professor Griff Singer.
In a career that spanned more than three decades, she had an impact on the lives of thousands of young people, their parents and colleagues. Most of her work was in the Austin Independent School District at Walnut Creek and Highland Park elementary schools. She began her teaching career in Blanco and also taught in Lone Star and Buffalo in East Texas.

Ed Todd

Ed Todd
MIDLAND – Retired Midland Reporter-Telegram writer James Edwin “Ed” Todd, 80, died Aug. 30 at his home in Midland. 
Todd attended Midwestern University in Wichita Falls and earned a master’s degree from East Texas State College in Commerce. He served in the U.S. Army in the mid-late 1950s, stationed in France as a radio technician.