Retreat showcases strength in Texas newspaper industry

Among the past presidents joining in passing the gavel to Randy Keck to hand to new president Patrick Canty were (from left) Craig Ferguson, Russel Skiles and Randy Mankin.

RUIDOSO, NM — TPA members attending the 2017 Summer Leadership Retreat celebrated innovation and success while sharing ideas and strategies for facing challenges in the newspaper industry.
The retreat at the Inn of the Mountain Gods featured a number of round table sessions. Members brainstormed and discussed topics ranging from ideas for increasing revenue to ethics in news coverage and legislative concerns, especially in relation to publication of public notices in newspapers.
TPA Executive Vice President Donnis Baggett reported on the 85th regular session of the Texas Legislature, calling it the most difficult in recent history, and noted that the TPA legislative team will monitor the July 18 special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott.  
The retreat concluded the term of Randy Keck, publisher of The Community News, Aledo, as TPA president. Keck and past presidents in attendance passed the gavel to 2017-18 President Patrick Canty, Odessa American. Officers joining Canty in taking office July 1 are First Vice President Laurie Brown, The Canadian Record; Second Vice President Ramona Ferguson, The Banner Press, Columbus; Treasurer Jim Bardwell, Gladewater Mirror; and Keck as chairman of the board.
Speakers included entertainer and motivational speaker David Hira, who uses magic to reinforce his theme of changing “impossible” to “is possible” in team building and goal setting, and Dr. Cynthia Orozco, who gave members pause to reflect on the press of the Old West with her program on the biographer of the famous outlaw Billy the Kid.
In two sessions, Hira used slight of hand and audience participation puzzles to show how people working together can achieve goals by using individual strengths and learning from each other.
Orozco shared some of her research about Marshall (Ash) Upton, a writer and newspaperman who contributed to lawman Pat Garrett’s biography of Billy the Kid. She noted that the colorful writing of many journalists in New Mexico and throughout the west gave rise to legends about famous outlaws. Upton, one who helped construct the myth of Billy the Kid, was an early purveyor of “fake news,” Orozco said.
Activities included the annual golf tournament benefiting the Texas Newspaper Foundation, which was held on the Inn of the Mountain Gods mountainside course, where golfers reported great weather.
Awards are highlights of the annual summer meeting, including the Texas Better Newspaper Contest results as well as the Golden 50 Awards, the Mayborn Award for Outstanding Community Service and the Fred Hartman Award for Excellence in Sports Writing (see related stories.)
Sweepstakes winners in the 2017 contest were the Victoria Advocate, Division 2 dailies; Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel, Division 3 dailies; Hood County News, Division 4 semi-weeklies; Kilgore News Herald, Division 5 semi-weeklies; Rockdale Reporter, Division 6 weeklies; Azle News, Division 7 weeklies; The Canadian Record, Division 8 weeklies; Westlake Picayune, Division 9 weeklies; and Big Lake Wildcat, Division 10 weeklies.
The next TPA event is the 2018 Texas Press Midwinter Conference and Trade Show, scheduled Jan. 18-20 at Moody Gardens in Galveston.