President’s Message

Unprecedented times

This week, as we put our paper to bed, I glanced at our front page and realized how different things in our industry are than they were last year at this time. 
It is homecoming season, of course, and since we cover three counties there’s no shortage of homecoming royalty pictures. On our front page this week were a young man and young woman from an area high school sharing with the world their joy of being crowned king and queen — but from behind their masks, protecting themselves and others even at that moment. 

Amid uncertainty, be prepared for the next big story

We’ve reached the time of year when most of the news in our communities is dominated by returns — students return to the classroom, athletes return to the field and the court, and the lazy days of summer become a memory in the rear view mirror as we prepare for the return of fall. 
This year, of course, is a little different. Who is to say how long in-person learning will continue at our schools, or how many games will be played under the Friday night lights before COVID safety precautions cause a pull-back?

A fond farewell, debt of gratitude to Ed Sterling

As I write this, TPA is preparing to say goodbye to Ed Sterling after 28 faithful years of service to the Texas Press Association. 
No one who has been involved in TPA any length of time doesn’t know Ed. 
From his weekly legislative update column to putting the Messenger together, there isn’t much within TPA’s walls that Ed hasn’t had a hand in.
Ed is probably one of the few people in the state who reads the Texas Register, the weekly notice from the Secretary of State that includes many changes to the Texas Administrative Code, cover to cover. 

In these days of unrest, we must examine our relationships with our communities

None of us are blind to racial injustice in America. Currently, most of us are involved in covering protests against that injustice whether we are the smallest of weeklies or the largest of dailies, because these protests are happening everywhere in our state. 
This brings up, for newspapers, the delicate issues of race and our collective past that we must be prepared to address when our communities and our readers ask us to be accountable for such things. 

Adapting to the new normal a challenge, but one we have faced before

Everyone is talking about “the new normal” Texas and our nation face in the wake of COVID-19. 
We’re watching friends and fellow business owners grapple with issues such as whether or not they should follow CDC guidelines and wear masks to serve their customers or if that will offend their customers, whether they should reopen their businesses and more. 
These issues are of great urgency and are keeping many business owners up at night. Meanwhile, as newspaper owners, publishers, editors and journalists, we face our own set of challenges in adapting to the new normal. 

Local newspapers can shine while covering pandemic

For years, naysayers have said local and community newspapers are dying. They cite falling ad revenue, aging readership, lower subscriber rates and meager online revenue as Google and Facebook take the lion’s share.
COVID-19 has proved we are more relevant than ever, however. As tough a time as this is for our communities, our state and our nation, this is also a time for newspapers’  renaissance. It is a great opportunity to show our communities that no one covers them — and cares for them — like their local newspaper.

Bebo the Bull: Lessons from the senior citizen aisle

Right now, I’m sure the most relevant topic in all of our lives and businesses is dealing with the coronavirus, COVID-19.
But as they say, laughter is the best medicine, so I hope my column can give everyone a chuckle or at least a little smile to brighten their day.
Turning old is inevitable, we all know that! 
When we are teenagers we can’t wait to turn 18, then it’s 21, and from that point on, most of us dread getting a year older.
Another aspect when you’re young is you look forward to going to dances.

Be your community’s hero

Sometimes in our lives we’re blessed to be a part of a special event that makes you so proud it brings you to tears.
One of those events for myself, family and friends and more than 600 other proud folks occurred on Feb. 7 when my first grandchild and only grandson, Dylan Chadwick Ferguson, graduated from the 78th Season of the Corpus Christi Police Academy, received his badge and officially became an officer with the Corpus Christi Police Department.
Dylan was one of 30 new officers selected out of 800 applicants.

Why we call TPA colleagues family

First off, let me congratulate Mike Probst, publisher of the Rockport Pilot, for being honored with the 2020 Frank W. Mayborn Award for Community Leadership. Kudos also to this year’s Texas Newspaper Foundation Hall of Fame inductees and winners in the Texas Better Newspaper Contest. It’s great to be recognized for your newspaper’s hard work and for providing strong journalism for your community.

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.