President's Message

As I was saying...Dealing with postal delivery issues

It is taking 10-14 days for my Lindale News & Times newspaper to make it just 40 miles down the road. It is mailed in Smith County on Wednesdays and is supposed to be delivered to adjacent Upshur County on Thursday – the next-day Thursday, not Thursday a week or two from now. 
I am sure this is nothing new to many of you, if not all of you.
I am losing subscribers and advertisers because of the lack of timely delivery. And when we ask the post office why the service is so slow we get no answers. 

As I was saying ... Keep on keepin’ on

Well, this is one heck of a way to start out my term as TPA president.
First, we have to cancel the convention in January and I get elected via Zoom – which was okay, but different and kind of weird.
Then, in February, Texas gets hit by the worst snowstorm in a decade and for the first time in my 45-year career the presses don’t roll and I don’t get any of my three newspapers out. A printed paper, that is. We still got digital versions out, like a lot of you did.

Thank you for allowing me to serve

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow members of the Texas Press Association for allowing me to serve as your 2021 president. It is a great honor, and I am very appreciative for the opportunity to serve you and the state press association.
Normally I would be nervously saying this from the podium while standing on the stage at the annual TPA convention. But these aren’t normal times are they? 

A new and different session on horizon

As I write this, most families are readying themselves for the upcoming holiday and new year.
However, many of us in the Texas newspaper industry are readying ourselves for Jan. 12 — the beginning of the upcoming session of the Texas Legislature. 
This session will be different from any session we have seen in the past—but how different? 
Well, this remains an open question.
Initial information coming to us from lawmakers was that we’d have almost no access to the Capitol, and most lawmakers would have their offices closed to the public. 

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.