TPA President

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. 

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.

Enemies of the people

As journalists, we are typically reluctant to write about ourselves, or to inject ourselves into a story we are reporting. We have reached this moment in history, though, in which the news we report, and the newspapers we publish, have become the story—a story with dire implications for journalism’s future, the First Amendment that protects it, and the life of our democracy which relies on it.

Public information law under siege in Texas

It has been clear for some time that public information law is under siege in the state of Texas.
Texas attorney general spokesman Marc Rylander’s swaggering performance at an open government seminar held by the AG’s office earlier this year — during which he encouraged public officials to slow-walk public information requests — offered ample evidence of its endangered status. 
Further verification followed this week, when the Texas Supreme Court denied a motion for re-hearing, filed by the Fort Bend Herald in a 2014 case against Fort Bend County officials.