President's Column July 2015

A wonder to watch, an honor to serve

Early on I had a mentor that was fond of telling his “young-uns” all good things come to those that wait. But you better work like #@*% while you wait.

That just about sums it up for me. I’ve been in the business close to 50 years. 

Not sure how many of the past 137 presidents of Texas Press Association had “president” as a goal in life. Certainly wasn’t on my radar.

I always thought there was something magical about the men and women that were chosen to lead this association. Now I’m pretty sure it wasn’t magic, just a great honor.

Back how I got to this point.

Grew up in Andrews in West Texas. That town has produced eight pretty good Texas newspaper publishers. Most of them have been presidents of TPA.

When I was a kid, I threw papers for James Roberts, the owner of the Andrews County News. About age 16 he hired me to take football pictures.

Mr. Roberts liked to talk about the future while driving us to the football games. He started a newspaper group. I happened to have a pretty flexible schedule and helped him at some of those new purchases.

My first real job was in 1971 at Hood County News in Granbury. That led to a job at Snyder Daily News, followed by Azle News Advertiser and Springtown Epigraph. All of those were Roberts’ papers.

In 1987 I met Charles Moser and a group of publishers in South Texas. They selected me to run The Cuero Record and Yorktown News-View.

Charles and his son, Jim Moser, formed Moser Community Media, which today has about 20 Texas newspapers.

A lot of people have been really good to me.

So, like a lot of folks in Texas Press, I was taught to give back. You give back to your communities because they support you. You support your newspaper associations because they support you.

Over the years I was active in West Texas Press Association, North and East Texas Press Association, Gulf Coast Press Association and South Texas Press Association. I served as president of a couple of those groups.

I’ve been privileged to take my wife, kids and grandkids to a lot of those meetings. This is where I need to tell my wife, Carrie, thanks for supporting me in this wild ride.

You should know if you are a leader in a regional association, you can serve on the TPA board. I believe I’ve been on the board about 15 years since I started in the business. All together I’ve been a member of Texas Press about 40 years.

I can remember a few us young-uns traveling to Austin in the 1970’s and 80’s for newspaper training classes hosted by Texas Press. I learned a lot. Still got those notes. 

But here’s the thing. Most of what I know about newspapering, I learned at those association conventions. 

Sure, a lot of the time we were there to have fun. But most of the time we were sharing ideas or listening to someone tell us a better way to do something.

Along the way, you meet some great people. 

I honestly believe Texas has the best newspaper people in the world. Probably why this is such a great place to live.

Never really thought about getting too old to do this work. But the young people I’ve met in recent years are rapidly outpacing the “old school” way of doing things.

It’s a wonder to watch. 

Still, you either got it or you don’t. If you’ve got it, you can appreciate the sage advice from some of the old timers in Texas Press.

Put those meetings on your calendars and attend. You always learn enough to pay for your dues and conventions. 

Plus, who knows someday you may get to talk about yourself in the TPA Messenger.