TPA President

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. 

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?

Be your community’s hero

Sometimes in our lives we’re blessed to be a part of a special event that makes you so proud it brings you to tears.
One of those events for myself, family and friends and more than 600 other proud folks occurred on Feb. 7 when my first grandchild and only grandson, Dylan Chadwick Ferguson, graduated from the 78th Season of the Corpus Christi Police Academy, received his badge and officially became an officer with the Corpus Christi Police Department.
Dylan was one of 30 new officers selected out of 800 applicants.

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.

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.

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.

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.