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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.

Reporting from the road

For days, I had been planning my Thursday escape from the editor’s desk, determined to keep an appointment in Oklahoma City. As any native Texan should, I kept one wary eye on the weather forecast. 
Just four days earlier, I had covered our Fall Foliage Festival wearing shorts and flip-flops. But on Monday morning, the National Weather Service advised that a new weather system might bring light rain and snow to some parts of the Panhandle.

Hawkins named publisher of Brownfield News

BROWNFIELD – Christy Hawkins has become publisher of the Brownfield News, succeeding former editor and publisher Brian Brisendine, who is now executive director of the Brownfield Industrial Development Corp.
Hawkins is also publisher of the Seminole Sentinel, where she succeeded the late Lynn Brisendine two years ago. She has been with the company for 23 years. 
The announcement was made by Blake Roberts of the Roberts Publishing Group.

News-Telegram welcomes new publisher Clark Smith

SULPHUR SPRINGS – Clark Smith is the new publisher of the News-Telegram, succeeding interim publisher Don Moore.
Moore said Smith is a newspaper veteran with experience in every phase of the industry.
Smith came to Sapphire Springs from Mena, Arkansas, where he was publisher of the Mena Star. 
Previously, he was a group publisher for the Liberty Group, overseeing six newspapers in Arkansas and Louisiana. 

Keven Todd joins Lufkin Daily News as publisher

LUFKIN – Keven Todd is the new publisher of the Lufkin Daily News.
Southern Newspapers Inc. President Dolph Tillotson noted that “Todd is a very experienced newspaper man who has run newspapers that are similar in size and mission to The Lufkin News.”
Todd has more than 40 years experience in the newspaper industry. 

A homecoming tale

Kari Lynn Collins’ powerful column in the Iowa Park Leader is not only a beautiful tribute to that publication’s 50th anniversary—it is also a loving tribute to its founder and publisher, and her mother, Dolores Hamilton. 
Kari’s words struck many familiar chords with me this week, as I remembered the September 22 birthday of my mother and co-publisher, Nancy Ezzell, whose quiet wisdom and strength guided The Canadian Record for over six decades until her death in 2013. Truth be told, it still does.

Government agency minutes are public in whatever form they exist

Q: One of the city councils we cover came out of executive session after one hour behind closed doors. A member then made a motion “to discuss what was discussed” in executive session. Another member seconded the motion. The question was put to a vote. It passed unanimously. But curiously, there was no further discussion. 
And to top it off, we asked for documents related to the matter and were told no such documents existed. However, as we eventually found out, the documents we requested did exist but we got them too late to include any details in our story. 

Lawmakers warn more open government battles ahead

Open government successes of the 86th Texas Legislature were reviewed with an eye toward future battles during a legislative panel at the Freedom of information Foundation of Texas annual FOI conference.
Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, and First Amendment attorney J.T. Richards were on the panel moderated by FOIFT Vice President Arif Panju.