As I write this, TPA is preparing to say goodbye to Ed Sterling after 28 faithful years of service to the Texas Press Association.
No one who has been involved in TPA any length of time doesn’t know Ed.
From his weekly legislative update column to putting the Messenger together, there isn’t much within TPA’s walls that Ed hasn’t had a hand in.
Ed is probably one of the few people in the state who reads the Texas Register, the weekly notice from the Secretary of State that includes many changes to the Texas Administrative Code, cover to cover.
In person, if you’ve ever talked to Ed for a while, you know that he has that unique, dry wit that makes him the one guy everyone wanted to be around at our conventions—especially in the hospitality suites!
Speaking of conventions, Ed is perhaps best known to TPA members for his role in planning and coordinating annual conventions, selling and organizing the Midwinter Trade Show and hiring speakers. He was always visible at the conventions, greeting and visiting with the members, and always recruiting volunteers for committees and contest judging.
During Ed’s tenure, he’s seen many changes to the newspaper business, and to our organization.
The true reality, however, is that Texas newspapers — their owners, employees and readers — owe a lot to Ed Sterling.
Ed was with us in the earliest days of the Legislature’s assault on the printed public notices that have appeared in Texas newspapers since the dawn of the Republic. As the internet gained ground — which seems weird today as I write this column and send it to TPA by email—Ed guided those of us active in lobbying the legislature as we stood firm against removing many of the printed notice requirements from various statutes.
When the Legislature looked for new revenue and looked at things to tax, newspapers and newspaper advertising (at least once in my tenure in the business) came up as a possibility. Ed led us all in that fight.
Texas newspapers, as an institution, owe Ed Sterling a tremendous debt of gratitude.
What is and is not taxed, what is and is not still required to be run in our pages, and other laws that influenced newspapers from worker’s compensation to property taxes have all been influenced by TPA largely thanks to Ed Sterling’s hard work.
If you’ve ever served on a legislative committee with Ed, you know how deep his knowledge of state government goes, and how true his passion is for Texas newspapers and for making Texas a better place.
The truth is, without Ed, many of the difficult things newspapers in Texas have had to endure in the last two decades would have been far worse. Ed, more than anyone, is responsible for saving the day for Texas newspapers on a host of little things and a lot of big ones, too. Ed could spot the worst legislation a mile away, and was fantastic at mobilizing us to defeat it.
Ed’s retirement marks the end of an era for the Texas Press Association.
Ed, thank you for your service and your dedication to Texas newspapers. Enjoy your retirement. You will be forever part of the history of the Texas Press Association.