Newsletter

‘The Litigation Exception:’ A strange creature of darkness in government

Section 552.103 of the Texas Public Information Act—the “litigation exception”—is a uniquely strange exception to “prompt” disclosure of public information. Generally, it permits a governmental body to withhold information “relating to litigation of a civil or criminal nature” in which the government is, or may become, a party, viewed as of the date a requestor asks for the information.

Who, Toto? Toto’s my dog!

Back in the “olden days” of my childhood I could never wait for “The Wizard of Oz” to come on television. It seems like it came on as a special every year or so in those days before DVR, DVD and VHS. And even on our black-and-white television, the colors of Munchkin City came to life in my childhood imagination.
The Wizard of Oz was a powerful, almost god-like manifestation when first seen in the 1939 classic. Of course, later, little Toto drew back the curtain to expose the man operating the controls.

Sunshine Week great time to show support for TPA legislative team

Sunshine Week, March 12-18, is the perfect time to show support for government transparency issues championed by the Texas Press Association in the 85th session of the Texas Legislature.
Members of the TPA Legislative Advisory Committee (LAC), along with TPA Executive Vice President Donnas Baggett and Member Services Director Ed Sterling, are monitoring bills and meeting with legislators promoting issues related to the three pillars of transparency: open records, open meetings and public notices in newspapers. 

OwnLocal Acquires Print2Web

AUSTIN - Combinator-backed OwnLocal announced Feb. 6 they have acquired Print2Web, a pioneering digital service provider for the newspaper industry. 
The acquisition fits into OwnLocal’s strategy to make localized digital marketing accessible to all businesses through traditional media outlets, such as newspapers. 

Leadership changes

Lee Hartman, Fort Bend Herald
ROSENBERG – Lee Hartman, a third-generation member of a Texas newspaper family, has been named editor and publisher of the Fort Bend Herald, according to Clyde C. King, Jr., president of Hartman Newspapers, L.P. 
Hartman, 50, is starting his 26th year at The Herald, having worked in the pressroom, as an assistant photographer, an advertising sales representative and as general manager before assuming the editor and publisher’s job. 

Ten steps to successful magazine development

Leonard Woolsey, president and publisher of the Galveston County Daily News, shares ten steps to successful magazine development.
1. Identify your niche: No need to be No. 3 in a three-horse race. Bring something new and interesting to the market. If lifestyle is already done with two competitors beating each other up, you might consider looking for an overlooked category. Health, parenting, even dining are easy to access entry points. 

Time for social media pushback?

A number of years ago I lived in a small town that had what most small towns have: a community newspaper. In this particular case, the owner of the paper also held political office (Justice of the Peace). He had very strong political beliefs, and they came through very clearly in the pages of his newspaper.
In fact, his beliefs were so strong, and so extreme, there was little if any tolerance in his newspaper for opinions that were not in line with his.
This period came to mind because there was, in that newspaper, what I consider to be a huge conflict of interest.