TPA President

Gratitude

It’s no particular secret that The Canadian Record is a barely discernible blue spot in the red political sea of the Texas Panhandle. While I have never had, nor claimed, any party affiliation, my editorial writing has indelibly branded me as a (insert your choice of expletives) liberal (insert your choice of amplifying adjectives) Democrat to some, and a wild-eyed socialist flamethrower to others. 

It's time to rally the troops

If we weren’t already convinced that the proverbial pen packs a powerful punch, the newspaper industry’s recent success in battling those Canadian newsprint tariffs ought to make all of us sit up a little straighter today. In fact, that victory offers pretty compelling testimony to what we can accomplish as an association, when enough of us take a few minutes out of our already busy days, to make a phone call, write a letter or email, and sling a little ink at an issue that threatens our livelihoods and our profession.

Enemies of the people

As journalists, we are typically reluctant to write about ourselves, or to inject ourselves into a story we are reporting. We have reached this moment in history, though, in which the news we report, and the newspapers we publish, have become the story—a story with dire implications for journalism’s future, the First Amendment that protects it, and the life of our democracy which relies on it.

Public information law under siege in Texas

It has been clear for some time that public information law is under siege in the state of Texas.
Texas attorney general spokesman Marc Rylander’s swaggering performance at an open government seminar held by the AG’s office earlier this year — during which he encouraged public officials to slow-walk public information requests — offered ample evidence of its endangered status. 
Further verification followed this week, when the Texas Supreme Court denied a motion for re-hearing, filed by the Fort Bend Herald in a 2014 case against Fort Bend County officials.

Tools of the trade: Reminders that the power of a free and independent press is greater than our challenges

TPA President Laurie Ezzell Brown

While digging through some old files the other day, I ran across a folder containing a set of index cards titled “Tools of the Trade” that I’d helped my dad – former Record publisher Ben R. Ezzell – prepare three decades earlier. They were part of an exhibit prepared for Canadian High School students – props he used for a presentation on careers in print journalism.
Whatever I had been seeking in those files was instantly forgotten, as is always the danger when the present stumbles across the past. I was transported in time. 

San Antonio newspaper war shaped many careers

Sports broadcasting legend Jack Whitaker once said, “Fate has a way of bending the twig and fashioning a man to his better instincts.”
I have always loved that saying. It has really haunted me lately (in a good way) as I get ready to attend a reunion — and a very special one at that.
It is a celebration marking the 25th anniversary of the closing of the San Antonio Light, where I began my newspaper career 36 years ago.

Small town living, neighborly concern: Priceless

I love working at community newspapers.
Most of all, small-town newspapers are true reflections of the communities they serve. Those small towns and cities are all things hyper-local.
Everyone pretty much knows everyone else. Or if they don’t, they know “his brother’s sister-in-law’s son’s cousin.”
Move into a new neighborhood and don’t be surprised if a new neighbor knocks at your door holding a chicken-and-spaghetti casserole, offering a warm welcome and politely inquiring, “Have y’all found a new church home yet?”

AG spokesman suggests public officials slow-ball FOIA requests

Well, it’s been about a month since Texas Attorney General spokesman Marc Rylander bloviated his way into the headlines.
 I find myself still seething over his remarks during an AG’s training conference, in which he slandered our profession and essentially encouraged public information officers for governmental entities to slow-ball public information requests from the news media.
Nearly every day, I find myself turning the whole episode over in my mind. His remarks have me reacting in so many ways. Let me count some of them.