President's Message

Time to prepare for action

It’s hard to believe it is already the final quarter of 2020. This is the time of year that most of us start thinking about the coming year, and what is in store. 
For Texas newspapers the new year means it’s time for the biennial session of the Texas Legislature, and that means we need to prepare for action.
No matter which party is in control of the House in January, there will be some influx of new members in that body, and in the Senate. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.