Sunshine Coalition forms to promote open government in Texas

As part of the celebration of Sunshine Month in March, several Texas organizations joined forces to promote government in the sunshine.
The Texas Sunshine Coalition includes the Texas Press Association, the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Public Citizen, the Texas Association of Broadcasters and other organizations. The new coalition’s website is and social media channels are in development.

SNI names Dennis Wade publisher of newly acquired Lawton Constitution

Southern Newspapers Inc. completed its acquisition of the Lawton Constitution, this week, as a new publisher takes charge.
Southern Newspapers, a privately-owned company headquartered in Houston, purchased the paper from local attorneys Bill Burgess Jr. and Brad Burgess, who acquired it in 2012 from longtime local owners Steve and Don Bentley.
The Lawton Constitution, with a daily circulation of 15,000 and a Sunday circulation of 17,000, is the third largest paper in Oklahoma.

TPA final Summer Leadership Retreat set June 21-23

Texas Press Association’s final Summer Leadership Retreat is set for June 21-23 at La Torretta Lake Resort and Spa on Lake Conroe in Montgomery.
Registration forms are available online at
Deadline for room reservations at La Torretta Lake Resort and Spa is 5 p.m. June 6. TPA’s special room rate is $129, single or double, per room per night. Call 936-448-3024 to make reservations.

2018 Texas BNC open for entries

AUSTIN – The Texas Better Newspaper Contest is now accepting 2018 contest entries from TPA member newspapers. 
Deadline for entries is March 22.
TPA members are invited to submit entries through the Better Newspaper Contest portal, which can be accessed at The contest page includes a link to the 2018 Call for Entries rules booklet.

Sunshine Week set March 11-17

The public’s right to know is the focus of Sunshine Week, March 11-17, a national celebration promoting openness in government.
Though spearheaded by journalists, Sunshine Week is about the public’s right to know what its government is doing, and why. Participants include print, broadcast and online news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know. 
Led by the American Society of News Editors, Sunshine Week is funded primarily by a challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation of Miami.

Mission Progress Times new owner Rendon takes over as publisher


MISSION – Denise M. Rendon, Progress Times director of sales and marketing and owner of Savy Publishing LLC, has purchased the newspaper from Jim Brunson.
Rendon began working for the Progress Times as an advertising account representative in 2012 and was named director of sales and marketing in 2016. She has now assumed the role of publisher.
Brunson, who retains ownership of the Winter Texan Times, said he is pleased to leave the Progress Times in good hands with Rendon. 

Lewter returns to Whitesboro as publisher


WHITESBORO – Austin Lewter has returned as publisher of the Whitesboro News-Record.
The appointment was announced by Scott Wood, owner of the newspaper, who noted that Lewter is “a hometown boy with a proven track record in the newspaper industry and a passion for community journalism.” 
Lewter grew up in Whitesboro and graduated from Collinsville High School. He has a degree in journalism from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and completed his graduate school work in mass communications at Stephen F. Austin State University. 

News, Mienk now publisher of four dailies


PALESTINE – Jake Mienk, publisher of the Palestine Herald-Press and Corsicana Daily Sun, has expanded his publisher responsibilities to The Huntsville Item and the Jacksonville Progress.
Mienk was promoted to the regional publisher’s position because of his leadership skills and knowledge of local markets, according to Steve McPhaul, CNHI LLC’s executive vice president of newspaper operations. 
Last year, Mienk was named by Editor & Publisher magazine as one of the country’s top young newspaper executives. 

Granfeldt named new publisher for Amarillo, Lubbock


LUBBOCK – Robert Granfeldt is the new group publisher of the Amarillo Globe-News and Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Gatehouse Media officials announced Feb. 6.
As publisher, Granfeldt is responsible for operations, readership and both publications’ relationship with their communities.
Granfeldt has worked at the Avalanche-Journal, Florida Times-Union and the Montgomery Advertiser. 


ATLANTA – Virginia Turner Brooks, 97, of Atlanta, died Jan. 28, in a Texarkana hospital. 
She was the owner of the Atlanta Times and worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation during World War II.
She attended Hockaday Junior College and graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York.
She was a member of First United Methodist Church in Atlanta, of Pi Beta Phi Sorority, the Atlanta Garden Club, The Hat and Glove Society, Board of Trustees at Saint James Day School and a board member of the Original Atlanta Public Library.