Lawmakers file bills to restore access to public information

AUSTIN – Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Keller, and Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, announced Tuesday they had filed two bills aimed at restoring public access to information essential to holding government accountable in its business dealings with private businesses and non-profit groups.

The lawmakers said the bills will restore access to financial information open to the public for decades prior to two 2015 rulings by the Texas Supreme Court that severely weakened the Texas Public Information Act.

Judgment, brains and maturity

But just as I say,

It takes judgment, brains, and maturity to score

In a baulk line game,

I say that any boob can take

And shove a ball in a pocket.

– Professor Harold Hill, 

The Music Man


By the time you read this I will have traversed my 60th birthday – or at least I hope I will have traversed it. I guess that remains to be seen.

Newsprint survey due Jan. 31

Every year, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) collects data on recycled newsprint. Texas law requires that newspaper publishers submit their report for 2016 to the TCEQ by Jan. 31, 2017. 

More information about the reporting requirement is available in the Texas Health and Safety Code, Section 361.430.

TPA members to consider membership rules change

Texas Press Association members will vote on a proposed bylaws change regarding membership rules at the Midwinter Conference in January.

After much discussion over many months, TPA Board Chairman Randy Mankin instructed the executive committee to review the association’s bylaws regarding membership and report back to the board. The executive committee subsequently proposed an amendment that would relax existing membership rules and give newspaper companies the flexibility to make business decisions that might otherwise prevent them from being members of TPA.

Federal court puts new overtime rule on hold

Judge Amos Mezzant of the US District Court of Eastern Texas has issued a preliminary injunction against new overtime rules scheduled to go into effect Dec. 1, the National Newspaper Association reports.

The judge said his order would hold until further court review, accepting the argument of a number of state governments that to allow the rule to go into effect would create harm to employers, NNA Public Policy Director Tonda Rush said in a statement released Tuesday.

Texas Press 2017 Midwinter Conference & Trade Show set

Texas Press Association members are encouraged to join the fun and informative sessions planned Jan. 19-21 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Dallas Frisco Hotel Convention Center & Spa.

Serving as one of the main draws of the midwinter conference is the 50-booth trade show in the hotel convention center’s Frisco Ballroom. Inside the trade show will be the ever-popular Texas Newspaper Foundation Silent Auction, featuring items ranging from practical to unusual to luxurious.

Survey shines spotlight on the under-studied world of local journalism

A new online survey is asking local journalists in the US to share their story as part of a wider initiative examining the health of the local newspaper industry.

Supported by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the Knight Foundation, this project, “Local News in a Digital World,” comes at a time of continued disruption for the wider newspaper industry.

The statistics speak for themselves:

• Between 2007 – when there were 55,000 people employed in newsrooms – and 2015, newspapers shed over 20,000 jobs.

Tips for making public notices noticeable

(Editor's Note: Ed henninger will be featured at the 2017 Texas Press Midwinter Conference and Trade Show Jan. 19-21 with more on this topic, including examples from a Texas newspaper.)

FRANKLIN, Tennessee — The Public Notice Resource Center’s premier public notice conference packed the room on the first day of the National Newspaper Association’s annual convention.

The nonprofit Public Notice Resource Center provides information about the civic value of public notices in local newspapers.

Indivisible is hard

Franklin, Tennessee was the site of the most recent convention of the National Newspaper Association. On the first full morning of the convention, the NNA has a long tradition of calling the roll of the states, and it was my thrill to carry in the Texas flag. Throughout the next two days, the flags of all 50 states lined the sides of the ballroom.

The roll call follows an Honor Guard, the Presentation of Colors and the Pledge of Allegiance.