President's Message

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.

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.

Newspapers: A keystone species

Nearly a century ago, the gray wolves were eliminated from Yellowstone National Park – the result of the federal government’s early failure to provide for their protection from the human predators that the newly established national park attracted, and of government-subsidized predator control programs that later sped their demise. 
The last wolf kills were reported in 1926. Sporadic reports of wolf sightings followed, but their numbers were no longer sustainable. 

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.

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.