column

Not just native Texans, hardened journalists, too

Dateline: Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Canadian, Texas.
It was just another newspaper deadline day in the Texas Panhandle. Started about 4 a.m. Another 14 or 15 hours, and it would be over. Enough joe from the coffee shop next door, and we’d be okay.
A couple of days earlier, Amarillo’s National Weather Service had begun issuing a series of increasingly dire warnings that the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles would experience extremely high winds at midweek.  That was nothing new. Been there, done that. 

Week of April 8-14, 2019

House passes key legislation to reform school finance, property taxes 
AUSTIN — The Texas House of Representatives on April 3 approved much-anticipated legislation written to revise the state's public school finance system. The vote was 148-1, and the bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Week of March 25-31, 2019

Air pollution from tank fire sparks lawsuit
AUSTIN — Images of a stream of billowing dark smoke drew the nation’s attention last week to a fire that engulfed 11 petrochemical storage tanks at the Intercontinental Terminals Company about 15 miles southeast of Houston in Deer Park.

Week of March 18-24, 2019

Supplemental funding legislation draws from ‘Rainy Day Fund’
AUSTIN — A few of the funding priorities expressed by the executive, legislative and judicial branches are not covered in Senate Bill 2, the state’s tentatively approved appropriations bill for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

Week of March 11-17, 2019

Lawmakers start rolling out high-priority legislation
AUSTIN — With the filing of legislation that would give teachers an across-the-board pay increase, Texas lawmakers showed progress toward solving the complex issues of school finance and property tax reform.

Newspapers need to explain 'How We Work'

Newspapers cover almost every imaginable topic, but when it comes to understanding and explaining their own roles in society, many community newspapers fall short.
They keep doing business and journalism pretty much like they always did, with digital media as a sideline because they can’t make much money at it. Their presence on social media is often desultory and uninspired, even though social media have become the dominant form of mass communication.

Past is prologue: Newspapers connect us

“What’s past is prologue,” Shakespeare once wrote. 
As editors and publishers of community newspapers, we should understand this better than most. We are also historians whose collective knowledge of the people and places we cover enables us not only to report the news of the moment, but to offer context and perspective to the stories we write. 
I was reminded recently of the significance of that role when attending the Valentine’s Day opening of an unusual new exhibit at The Citadelle Museum in Canadian.

Week of March 4-10, 2019

Order stops state, local authorities from purging voter rolls
AUSTIN — A San Antonio federal judge on Feb. 27 ordered Texas Secretary of State David Whitley not to purge the names of voters whose registrations he challenged as being potentially fraudulent.
The order came in a voting rights case filed by the League of United Latin American Citizens and other plaintiffs.

Week of Feb. 25 - March 3, 2019

Caucus names legislative priorities for public education
AUSTIN — The Texas House Democratic Caucus on Feb. 21 announced its “Texas Kids First” education-funding package that would include all-day pre-kindergarten, teacher raises and retirement and property tax reform.
“We hope to work with our colleagues to incorporate some of these ideas into their bills,” said Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, caucus chair.