Newsletter

Open government seminar set for Feb. 25 in Corpus Christi

CORPUS CHRISTI – Transparency experts will gather Tuesday, Feb. 25, in Corpus Christi for a seminar examining updates to state open government laws and offering training on the Texas Public Information Act and the Texas Open Meetings Act.
Rep. Todd Hunter of Corpus Christi is hosting the one-day open government conference, joined by the non-profit Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas in cooperation with the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

Know open government rights by remembering these basics

Whatever our political views, certainly we can agree we have the right to know how government is conducting business. How are taxpayer dollars spent? Who is influencing decisions?
Access to information allows us to speak up and hold public officials accountable, while a lack of transparency diminishes trust in government.

By Kelley Shannon, Executive Director, FOIFT

TPA members, small newspapers qualify for special rates and discounts for Key Executives Mega-Conference

Texas Press Association members and small community newspapers qualify for membership rates and discounts when Fort Worth hosts the 2020 Key Executives Mega-Conference Feb. 17-19 at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel.
The Key Executives Mega-Conference is a joint effort of America’s Newspapers (formed from the merger of Inland Press Association and Southern Newspaper Publishers Association), Local Media Association, News Media Alliance and Texas Press Association.

Candidate filings belong to public as soon as submitted

Q: The filing deadline for candidates in the March 3, 2020 primary election was Dec. 9. When were getting close to the deadline I was working on an article that included information on all candidates who filed to run.
I received word from a credible person that a sheriff’s office employee was going to file to run against the incumbent sheriff, but the candidate wanted to talk to me before I identified him in my news story, which could have been a delay tactic. Candidate filings are public records, correct?

Bread and the newspaper

When I assumed the role of Texas Press Association president nearly 18 months ago, I wondered what I could possibly bring to the table. Age and wisdom? Maybe. Age and experience? I suppose. Age? Got it.
More than anything, though, I was determined to honor the rich legacy of my predecessors.
A day or two later it dawned on me: not only would I have 18 columns to write, but I would be writing them for a fairly exclusive audience of my fellow writers and journalists.

When the well goes dry

The Commerce Journal has covered the news of its community for over 130 years — or at least it did until October 31, 2019, when the last edition of “The Official Paper of the Bois D’Arc Capital of Texas” was published.
Sad news for the 400 residents who still subscribed to the Commerce Journal. Sad news, too, for the nearly 9,000 other residents of that community, who did not subscribe but should have. They may have no idea what they missed. Yet.

Great ideas for engaging with your community

In explaining my work, I sometimes say that there are thousands of really good journalists in rural America, but all too often they are the only person in their newsroom that fits that description. They suffer from the isolation of rurality, with fewer opportunities than urbanites to rub shoulders and exchange ideas with their professional peers.