Summer retreat wrap-up

Retreat calls for members to 

MONTGOMERY — The 2016 Newspaper Leadership Retreat, which took place June 16-18 at La Torretta Lake Resort and Spa on Lake Conroe, welcomed hundreds of members. TPA board elections, idea exchanges, inspirational speakers, a charity golf tournament and awards presentations took place during the three-day conference.

The event was TPA’s 137th summer meeting and the fifth year in the leadership retreat format. The president’s gavel, symbolizing the leadership of the association, was passed to Randy Keck, publisher of The Community News in Aledo, by Glenn Rea, TPA’s outgoing president and new chairman of board of directors.

Standing Up

The event kicked off Thursday with meetings of the daily newspaper group, legislative advisory committee and board of directors followed by a dinner presentation by speaker Chris Norton. Norton was given a 3 percent chance of ever walking again after suffering a spinal cord injury playing college football. He shared the story of how he recovered and managed to walk at his college graduation. 

Norton’s message was about perseverance, and he drew parallels to the newspaper industry. He spoke about not giving up and making the decision each day to move towards his goal of recovery. He said the first step to recovery was accepting his new reality and working within that reality to make the maximum gains. 

Norton’s book is “The Power to Stand”. For more information, visit

Clear Communication

Dr. Patty Malone’s breakfast keynote on Friday was about clear communication. Malone is a professor of organizational communication at California State University and a frequent news, talk show and radio guest, as well as a certified trainer for Dale Carnegie Training. Her interactive presentation provided examples of ways in which misunderstandings can occur. 

Members met for roundtable discussions on a variety of topics Friday and Saturday. Legislative issues, disruption opportunities, recruiting and retaining employees, advertising ideas and technology were just some of the topics discussed. 

Telling our Story

Newspaper Association of America CEO David Chavern presented “Facebook Won’t Interview the Quarterback: Why News Organizations Will Win Again” at Friday’s luncheon. Chavern became the president and CEO of NAA last year after leaving the United States Chamber of Commerce, where he was the president of the Center for Advanced Technology & Innovation. 

Chavern spoke about the necessity of local journalism to communities, noting that local newspapers understand and can serve their local areas better than anyone else. His focus was on the opportunities still available to newspapers in reaching their communities.

The Robert Burns Golf Classic was held Friday afternoon at the La Torretta Golf Course. The annual event raises money for the Texas Newspaper Foundation. 

The foundation is a non-profit organization that exists to honor the past, protect the present and build the future of journalism in general and newspapers in particular as a vibrant force in democratic society. Foundation projects include training workshops for Texas journalists and honoring the visionaries of the profession through the Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame.

Also on Friday, Cuero Record Publisher Glenn Rea was honored with the Golden 50 Award for exemplary service and selfless contributions to journalism for 50 or more years. However, after using his prerogative as outgoing president and emcee to present himself the award in an excessively modest manner, the award was presented again on Saturday by Jim Moser and Rea’s wife Carrie.

At the awards brunch on Saturday, the winners of the 2016 Texas Better Newspaper Contest were announced, as well as the winners of the Frank Mayborn Award for Community Service and Fred Hartman Excellence in Sportswriting Award.

Rea was elected TPA’s chairman of the board and passed the ceremonial gavel, along with the day-to-day administrative responsibilities of TPA president, to Keck.

Keck has served on the board since 1999. He purchased The Community News in 1995 after previously working as a database programmer. 

Other elected officers on the board of directors are: Patrick Canty, first vice president; Laurie Ezzell Brown, second vice president; and Ramona Ferguson, treasurer.

Other elected board members include: Neice Bell, Kerrville Daily Times; Sue Brown, Pleasanton Express; Ken Esten Cooke, Fredericksburg Standard Radio Post; Bill Crist, Snyder Daily News; Bill Patterson, Denton Record-Chronicle; and Mike Winter, The Bowie News.

Appointed board members are: Libby Averyt, Corpus Christi Caller-Times; Cyndy Slovak-Barton, Hays Free Press; David Compton, Del Rio Herald; Brenda Miller-Fergerson, The Pasadena Citizen; Tania French, Port Lavaca Wave; Dan Moore, Alvin Sun; Jim Moser, Jackson County Herald-Tribune; and Jessica Woodall, Kilgore News-Herald.

Regional press association officers, who are also members of the TPA board of directors, are: Suzanne Bardwell, Gladewater Mirror, NETPA; Bryan Giguere, Winnsboro News, NETPA; Larry Thornton, Muleshoe Journal, PPA; Joni Yara, Booker News, PPA; Kim Jung, Fredericksburg Standard, STPA; Ramona Ferguson, Banner Press Newspaper, TGCPA; Ashley Kontnier, Port Lavaca Wave, TGCPA; J.L. Mankin, Big Lake Wildcat, WTPA; and Kim Ware, The Azle News, WTPA.