President's Column

Our job: Get it right and be present

During one of the first Little League baseball games I covered as reporter and photographer, I was confronted by a gentleman who asked me to explain the Little League rules that govern subbing in a player who is not in the batting order.
I suspected it was a test, and that he knew the answer. 
I was already familiar with the far too prevalent notion that women knew nothing about sports and really had no business participating in them. I knew, too, how to read a face, and was fairly certain my interrogator had the same attitude about female reporters.

Newspapers matter

On a long trip back from the Gulf Coast last month, I had plenty of time to think about the interesting people I’ve met and the wealth of information I’ve gleaned while traveling the regional press convention circuit.
I thought in particular of one speaker who marveled at the public attention newspapers have given to their shrinking numbers, observing wryly that we are probably the only industry that announces its own impending demise.

Community service writ large

I took a mountain of exchange newspapers home with me last night, seeking the answer to a question I’d asked of a friend during STPA’s newspaper awards presentation a couple of weeks ago. I was pondering the recent absence of community service award entries in some regional contests.
What is community service? Of course, I know the answer. We all do. The real question I was asking was this: Of all the stories we report, the events and meetings we cover, the photographs we shoot, the editorial dust we stir, what isn’t community service?

Not just native Texans, hardened journalists, too

Dateline: Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Canadian, Texas.
It was just another newspaper deadline day in the Texas Panhandle. Started about 4 a.m. Another 14 or 15 hours, and it would be over. Enough joe from the coffee shop next door, and we’d be okay.
A couple of days earlier, Amarillo’s National Weather Service had begun issuing a series of increasingly dire warnings that the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles would experience extremely high winds at midweek.  That was nothing new. Been there, done that. 

Past is prologue: Newspapers connect us

“What’s past is prologue,” Shakespeare once wrote. 
As editors and publishers of community newspapers, we should understand this better than most. We are also historians whose collective knowledge of the people and places we cover enables us not only to report the news of the moment, but to offer context and perspective to the stories we write. 
I was reminded recently of the significance of that role when attending the Valentine’s Day opening of an unusual new exhibit at The Citadelle Museum in Canadian.

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.