AUSTIN — Texas Newspaper Foundation announces the selection of four exemplary individuals — Morris Roberts, Charles Moser, Tommy Thomason and Don Richards — as inductees to the Texas Newspaper Foundation Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony will take place during the Texas Press Association 2021 Convention and Trade Show at Embassy Suites by Hilton Denton Convention Center in Denton at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22. The Hall of Fame Banquet is sponsored by Explore Branson.
The Austin-based Texas Newspaper Foundation created its Hall of Fame in 2006 to induct up to four individuals annually. Inductees have been credited with outstanding achievements and contributions to the newspaper industry and to their communities. The first four, Roy Eaton, Alfred H. Belo, James Roberts and Staley McBrayer, were inducted in January 2007.
M. Roberts Media/Victoria
M. Roberts Media is a family-owned company that traces its roots back to 1942, when Morris Roberts joined a conglomerate to acquire the Victoria Advocate.
Earlier, a 26-year-old Morris Roberts was elected to the Texas House of Representatives from Bee County in 1932. He was re-elected in 1934 and two years later moved to the Texas Senate where he served until 1941.
An interest in oil refining enticed Roberts to move to Victoria. In October 1942, 10 local businessmen, including Roberts, bought the Victoria Advocate from George French. The Advocate had begun publication in May 1846, barely six months after Texas had become a state, making it one of the oldest newspapers in Texas.
In college, Roberts had been editor and manager of the Baylor Lariat.
He later worked for the Brownsville Herald and Pampa News, and briefly owned radio station KVIC in Victoria.
With his investment in the newspaper, Roberts became editor and manager of the Advocate.
In 1948-49 he served as president of the South Texas Press Association, a role his son John would also fill in 1978-79.
When Roberts first became involved with the Advocate, it had a circulation of 2,200, averaged six to eight pages for each edition, was published six days a week and had 20 employees on the staff. In April 1961, Roberts purchased all of the stock and became sole owner. He built and expanded buildings for the newspaper and installed a new offset press (the largest in Texas at the time). At the time of his death, Roberts had established the newspaper as a major influence for progress throughout the South Texas region.
Morris Roberts passed away January 13, 1991 after laying a foundation for a newspaper ownership that would continue for three generations.
Moser Community Media
Chief Consulting Officer
Charles Moser is a graduate of La Porte High School and Sam Houston State University. He worked at The Baytown Sun and the La Porte Bayshore-Sun while attending college. He also worked as a sports editor and reporter for the Alvin Sun.
Following active duty with the U.S. Air Force reserves, Moser joined the Brenham Banner-Press as managing editor in 1966. He went on to serve as general manager of the La Porte-Bayshore Sun in 1967-68 and as assistant to the publisher of the Texas City Sun in 1968-69.
In 1970 Moser became editor and publisher of the Brenham Banner-Press (a Hartman Newspapers LC property) and served in that capacity for the next 40 years.
He garnered many awards and became known for quality journalism and editorial content. Moser also served as the group manager for the Rockport Pilot, Port Lavaca Wave, Madisonville Meteor and Cuero Record, and he mentored numerous young men and women in the newspaper business. Along the way, he served as director and president of the Texas Daily Newspaper Association and director of the Texas Press Association, and was involved in legislative activities on behalf of Texas newspapers.
In addition to being an industry leader, Moser has been a community builder, serving as a director of the Lower Colorado River Authority; director and chairman of the Brazos River Authority; president of the Economic Development Foundation of Brenham; president of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce; president of the Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park Association; president and secretary of the Trinity Medical Center board of trustees; director of Scott & White Hospital in Brenham; and director of the Barnhill Center at the Historic Simon Theater in Brenham.
Moser has been active in the Rotary Club and Brenham Chamber of Commerce. Upon retirement, he joined the Blinn College board of directors, which has essentially become a full-time job as he now serves as its chairman. He is an investor and consultant to Moser Community Newspapers, which was founded and owned by his son Jim. He continues to serve as a member of the Brenham Community Development Corporation.
Moser was a recipient of the Frank Mayborn Award for Community Leadership from the TDNA and was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement in Print Journalism honor from the Sam Houston State University Journalism Department.
He and his wife Peggy have three children and five grandchildren.
TOMMY THOMASON, Ed. D.
Department of Journalism/Bob Schieffer College of Communication
Texas Center for Community Journalism
Texas Christian University, Retired
Tommy Thomason retired in 2019 after teaching and mentoring journalism students for 35 years at the Texas Christian University Department of Journalism/Bob Schieffer College of Communication and the Texas Center for Community Journalism. While at the Schieffer College, Thomason taught many courses in communication, writing, history of mass media, reporting and media ethics.
Before his career at TCU, Thomason was a sportswriter with the Little Rock bureau of the Associated Press and director of sports information at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark. He served Dallas Baptist University as director of public relations and was a columnist, copy editor and contributing editor with magazines in the DFW metroplex.
Thomason graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ouachita Baptist in 1970. He received a master’s degree and a doctorate in journalism from Texas A&M University-Commerce in 1972 and 1984, respectively. He also attended the University of Virginia and the Dallas Theological Seminary for additional graduate work.
Not only did he teach, he also applied and received $717,847 in grants over the years to support research, training and seminars. Of that amount, $509,247 was from the Texas Newspaper Foundation to conduct seminars for working journalists. Texas publishers, editors and reporters convened on the TCU campus to tackle issues common in community newspapers — refining reporting skills, utilizing the web, mobile journalism and newspaper design.
“Without question, forming the Texas Center for Community Journalism was the single best decision our Foundation has ever made. We had an idea; Tommy Thomason took it and ran with it,” said Larry Jackson, retired publisher of The Fayette County Record and Texas Newspaper Foundation board member.
Thomason has been a guest speaker at national and regional newspaper association workshops, a moderator, judge, panelist, advisor and consultant. He is the recipient of the National Teaching Award from the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, is listed in Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, Dictionary of International Biography, Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in the World, Men of Achievement, Who’s Who in the Media and Communications, Who’s Who in Entertainment and Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. He has also been a board member and held offices in many professional organizations such as International Institute of Literacy Learning, National Network for Education Improvement Initiatives and Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.
Thomason is an author of nine books about journalism, one on music and a children’s book. He also has authored technical reports and academic papers over his career.
Richards, Elder & Green, PLLD
Don R. Richards is the senior named partner with the Lubbock law firm of Richards, Elder & Green, PLLC. An award-winning community journalist, Richards now practices primarily in the areas of public utility law, media law and administrative law. He is board certified in administrative law by the State Bar of Texas and serves as an adjunct professor at the Texas Tech University School of Law. He was named to Texas Monthly’s 2005 list of “Super Lawyers” for Texas.
A sixth-generation Texan and fourth-generation journalist, Richards was born in Stonewall County and grew up in Jayton, where his father owned the weekly newspaper. He sacrificed his pound of flesh to the publishing world at the early age of 22 months, when he thrust a piece of wood into the iron cogwheel gears of a hand-fed printing press operated by his father, and lost most of four fingers. He was undeterred.
Richards received his undergraduate degree in journalism from Texas Tech and served as editor of the student newspaper, The University Daily. He then spent several years in the newspaper business, first as editor of several West Texas community newspapers, then as publisher of The Azle News. He currently serves as publisher of The Banner of Love, one of Texas’ oldest continuing religious newspapers. He is a past president of the Panhandle Press Association.
Richards regularly represents more than 40 local exchange telephone companies and electric utility cooperatives before the Texas Legislature, the Public Utility Commission of Texas and Texas courts, including appeals and arguments before the Texas Supreme Court. He has served as general counsel to the Texas Exchange Carrier Association and has twice chaired the legal committee of the National Telephone Cooperative Association. He is a member of Electric Cooperative Bar Association and the Texas Telephone Association and is past chair of the state bar’s Public Utility Section. He serves as general counsel to the National Telephone Cooperative Association and as legal counsel to a number of West Texas media clients. He also serves as an advisory director and as a hotline attorney for the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. He is a frequent speaker on news media law, public utility issues, cooperative governance and most recently, telecommunications applications to the nation’s proposed modernized electric “smart grid.”
Richards previously worked on the Washington staff of U.S. Rep. Kent Hance, serving as press secretary and handling legislative matters involving communication, military and foreign affairs.
Richards graduated cum laude from the Texas Tech School of Law in 1964 in the top 10 percent of his class. He was an associate editor of Law Review, chairman of the Board of Barristers, and was selected to the school’s National Moot Court Team.
In 1984 Richards received the Democratic nomination for Congress from the West Texas 19th Congressional District, and in 1996 he received the Democratic nomination for District 84 of the Texas House or Representatives.
Richards and his late wife, Melba, are the parents to two adult children, Reid and Ray Marie.