President's Column

Learning, recharging at annual convention

I’m like the kid in that proverbial candy store this week, unable to decide which tempting morsel to sample first.
My brain receptors and neurotransmitters are completely overstimulated from three days spent with Texas Press Association friends, old and new. 
First, a disclaimer: I had very little to do with the planning or execution of TPA’s 2019 Convention & Trade Show, nor can I claim any responsibility for its success. So when I proclaim it a success—and a stunning one – I take absolutely no credit.

Father’s policy statement still serves newspaper well

The start of this new year marks the beginning of my 26th year as editor of The Canadian Record. It also...not coincidentally...marks the 26th anniversary of my father’s death. 
I remember the long, sad drive back from the Oklahoma City hospital where he had been taken by ambulance the day before, and where he died the next morning during a surgeon’s futile Hail Mary attempt to save his worn-out heart. 

Gratitude

It’s no particular secret that The Canadian Record is a barely discernible blue spot in the red political sea of the Texas Panhandle. While I have never had, nor claimed, any party affiliation, my editorial writing has indelibly branded me as a (insert your choice of expletives) liberal (insert your choice of amplifying adjectives) Democrat to some, and a wild-eyed socialist flamethrower to others. 

It's time to rally the troops

If we weren’t already convinced that the proverbial pen packs a powerful punch, the newspaper industry’s recent success in battling those Canadian newsprint tariffs ought to make all of us sit up a little straighter today. In fact, that victory offers pretty compelling testimony to what we can accomplish as an association, when enough of us take a few minutes out of our already busy days, to make a phone call, write a letter or email, and sling a little ink at an issue that threatens our livelihoods and our profession.

Enemies of the people

As journalists, we are typically reluctant to write about ourselves, or to inject ourselves into a story we are reporting. We have reached this moment in history, though, in which the news we report, and the newspapers we publish, have become the story—a story with dire implications for journalism’s future, the First Amendment that protects it, and the life of our democracy which relies on it.

Public information law under siege in Texas

It has been clear for some time that public information law is under siege in the state of Texas.
Texas attorney general spokesman Marc Rylander’s swaggering performance at an open government seminar held by the AG’s office earlier this year — during which he encouraged public officials to slow-walk public information requests — offered ample evidence of its endangered status. 
Further verification followed this week, when the Texas Supreme Court denied a motion for re-hearing, filed by the Fort Bend Herald in a 2014 case against Fort Bend County officials.

Tools of the trade: Reminders that the power of a free and independent press is greater than our challenges

TPA President Laurie Ezzell Brown

While digging through some old files the other day, I ran across a folder containing a set of index cards titled “Tools of the Trade” that I’d helped my dad – former Record publisher Ben R. Ezzell – prepare three decades earlier. They were part of an exhibit prepared for Canadian High School students – props he used for a presentation on careers in print journalism.
Whatever I had been seeking in those files was instantly forgotten, as is always the danger when the present stumbles across the past. I was transported in time. 

San Antonio newspaper war shaped many careers

Sports broadcasting legend Jack Whitaker once said, “Fate has a way of bending the twig and fashioning a man to his better instincts.”
I have always loved that saying. It has really haunted me lately (in a good way) as I get ready to attend a reunion — and a very special one at that.
It is a celebration marking the 25th anniversary of the closing of the San Antonio Light, where I began my newspaper career 36 years ago.