Nick West, longtime publisher of the Palacios Beacon, died July 27. He was 61. Born on Dec. 14, 1952, in Rushville, Indiana, West was a career newspaperman. One of his proudest chapters in life was working at the Beacon with his father, Bert, and son, Ryan.A member of the U.S. Marine Corps and a transplant to Palacios, West took over publisher and editor duties at the Beacon on July 4, 1981. Under his management, he transformed the Beacon into one of the premier small-town newspapers in the state, winning multiple awards from Texas Press Association, South Texas Press Association and Texas Gulf Coast Press Association. West had served as the intern chairman for South Texas Press Association. The internship program has been renamed the Nick West Internship in his honor.

Veteran newsman Bobby Glen "Bob" Runyon, 62, of Omaha, Texas, died July 15, in a Mount Pleasant hospital.Runyon was born Dec. 26, 1951, in Gainesville. He was editor of the Gladewater Mirror for many years, a Promise Keeper, a member of the Associated Press, Lions Club, David Elliott Masonic Lodge and Concord Missionary Baptist Church, Omaha, and was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.Survivors include his wife, Saundra Runyon of Omaha; son and daughter-in-law, Bryan and Melissa Runyon of Omaha; daughter, Samantha Gray of Omaha; father and stepmother, Kenneth and Mildred Runyon of Plano; brothers, Michael Runyon of Vilseck, Germany, and David Runyon of North Carolina; sisters, Debbie Fellwock of Plano and Delores Anderson of Canton; and a number of other relatives.

Texas Center for Community Journalism hosts smartphone training


Dozens of journalists gathered at Texas Christian University for smart-phone journalism workshops conducted July 31 to Aug. 1 and Aug. 14-15.
The former session was geared toward iPhones, while the latter was tailored for Androids. Each attendee was provided with a smartphone tripod, a useful tool in capturing stable footage.
Andrew Chavez, former associate director/digital initiatives with TCU's Texas Center for Community Journalism, presented instruction on applications that make reporting easier, such as FiLMiC and Camera+ that capture better videos and photos than preloaded applications that come with smartphones.
Attendees received pointers on gathering video content and editing video clips to create compelling story packages.
"From learning how to take better pictures to edit videos, the class taught me skills that I can use every day to provide complete coverage of Gillespie County," said Austin Eck, reporter/photographer for the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post.
Cheyenne Bereuter, editor of The Stamford Star, said, "The small class size was perfect for interacting with other journalists, and the apps, camera tips, and the video capture and editing will help me bring new, exciting elements to our web presence."
"It was exciting to see how quickly the reporters and editors learned to put together their news packages," said Tommy Thomason, TCCJ director. "The training went beyond just the technology, too — that technology comes with a mindset — that newspapers are no longer just newsPAPERS. Instead, they are news sources for their community."
To view completed video packages, visit TCCJ's Facebook page.

Contest Committee needs volunteers

Volunteers are needed to serve on the TPA Better Newspaper Contest Committee.
The transition to online judging of the contest has been successful, but questions and concerns need to be addressed earlier than in the past so that changes can be coded into the contest website.
Decisions need to be made well before the midwinter conference in January 2015.
Contest Committee Chair Sue Brown of the Pleasanton Express is calling for TPA members to volunteer to serve on the committee, and to provide input on contest-related matters without delay. Committee members will not need to travel long distances to meet: the committee will conduct business via listserver, with an occasional conference call as necessary. To volunteer, contact TPA President Randy Mankin or Contest Committee Chair Sue Brown for more information.

Public notice ad available for your homepage

doorwaypublicnoticesFinding the massive (and growing) online clearinghouse for public notices just got easier, thanks to an attractive new "doorway" interactive graphic. Click here to view the instructions and download the graphic.
Your newspaper's website visitors need only click the doorway graphic to find the searchable database of public notices — at — that yours and hundreds of other Texas newspapers upload on a daily, weekly or semiweekly basis.
This convenient way for readers to tap into required notices that local and state governmental bodies place can boost readership while providing a powerful augmentation to the classified- and display-style notices that newspapers publish in print. Plus, it's a pleasing and effective way to draw more readers to websites, with very little effort.
Demand for this kind of feature on websites is rooted in an array of current market conditions. First, non-newspaper lobbying organizations, over the last decade, have pushed members and committees of the Texas Legislature to remove printed public notice requirements in state law in favor of placing those notices on governmental bodies' websites, or on private and even out-of-state websites.

‘Faces Never Forgotten’ ad available to your newspaper

txfacesforgottenadcolor1Newspapers are encouraged to run this advertisement in an effort to locate missing photos of Vietnam veterans. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation (VVMF) project "Faces Never Forgotten" is in need of help obtaining missing photos of fallen Vietnam veterans across Texas and the nation. Newspaper participation in this project will help VVMF locate the photos of all of the soldiers listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.
The goal is to locate all missing pictures by Nov. 11, 2014. Your support with this nationwide effort is not only impactful for the families who lost loved ones, but also for the history involved with the documentation in remembering their dedication.
Click here to download the color version.
Click here to download the gray scale version.

WTPA 2013 Convention Review

Members of the West Texas Press Association traveled to Decatur for the association’s 83rd annual convention, July 18-20, at the Hampton Inn & Suites with meetings at Decatur Civic Center. 
Marshall Day pix

One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of the Harold Hudson Memorial Award to Marshall Day, publisher of The Gatesville Messenger. The award is presented annually to an outstanding member for his or her commitment to their community and the newspaper profession in West Texas.

Day began his newspaper career as a sports reporter for the Hereford Brand and later served as publisher in Seminole and Edna before taking his current position in Gatesville. He is a past president of WTPA, the Texas Press Association and the North & East Texas Press Association.  He was honored with the WTPA Dewane Kelly Memorial “Friend of the Newspaper” Award in 2008.

New officers and directors were also elected by the membership. To serve in 2013-14 are Mark Engebretson, Lake Country Sun (Graford), Chairman of the Board; Lisa Davis, Wise County Messenger (Decatur), President; Mindi Kimbro, Olney Enterprise, First Vice President; Carlina Villalpando, Kerrville Daily Times, Second Vice President; and Mary Dudley, The Perryton Herald, Secretary-Treasurer.