Articles from the Texas Press Messenger monthly trade journal, the official publication of Texas Press Association. Contact us with news items or for advertising rates.

Mankin elected president of Texas Press Association Print E-mail
Monday, 07 July 2014 07:21


Newspaperman and publisher of the Eldorado Success and the Big Lake Wildcat, Randy Mankin, is the new president of Texas Press Association. Mankin was elected to the position during the Awards Luncheon at TPA's summer meeting in Corpus Christi on June 21.
At the conference, the following awards were given:

Larry Jackson, former Fayette County Record editor and publisher, and Mac McKinnon, publisher of the Dublin Citizen were both honored with the Golden 50 Award. The award commemorates 50 years of work in journalism.

Let me start the year with how I got here... Print E-mail
Monday, 07 July 2014 07:18

randycopyI wish I could tell you that serving as president of the Texas Press Association fulfills a life-long dream, but I cannot.
I am deeply honored by the opportunity but it was unexpected, at least before 2011 when TPA President Bob Brincefield nominated me to serve as an officer on the TPA executive board.
Some three years later I find myself sitting at a keyboard, staring at a mostly blank screen, and trying to think of something to write for my first column in the TPA Messenger.
I first met Bob through the West Texas Press Association where we each served our time on its board of directors and worked our way up through the officer chairs. It was through the WTPA that I became involved with the Texas Press Association.
My journey into the world of community journalism was roundabout to say the least. Along the way I crossed paths with many fascinating people. There were poets, priests, politicians and even a polygamist prophet -- all of them with their own unique story.

Court case lists public information in incident reports Print E-mail
Monday, 07 July 2014 07:15

ed copyQ: For decades, our crime beat reporters dropped by police headquarters to get access to incident reports. Desk personnel would allow requestors to stand at the counter and flip through the reports. Now, a new policy requires you to submit a formal request for incident report information and what you get is a digital, summarized version. So, our plan is to do what we can to convince the gatekeepers to give us a complete version. For starters, what's the court case that lists information a requestor can get from a law enforcement incident report? I plan to share that case with the people on the other side of the desk and the public servants they report to.

A: Incident report information you're getting should include what's on the list, below, found on pp. 99-100 of the Texas Attorney General's 2014 Texas Public Information Act Handbook. In the words of the handbook, "The kinds of basic information not excepted from disclosure by section 552.108 (the so-called "law enforcement exception") are those that were deemed public in Houston Chronicle Publ'g Co. v. City of Houston and catalogued in Open Records Decision No. 127 (1976). Basic information is information that ordinarily appears on the first page of an offense report." And here's the list:
(a) name, age, address, race, sex, occupation, alias, social security number, police department identification number and physical condition of the arrested person;
(b) date and time of the arrest;
(c) place of the arrest;
(d) offense charged and the court in which it is filed;
(e) details of the arrest;
(f) booking information;
(g) the notation of any release or transfer;
(h) bonding information;
(i) location of the crime;
(j) identification and description of the complainant;
(k) premises involved;
(l) time of occurrence of the crime;
(m) property involved, if any;
(n) vehicles involved, if any;
(o) description of the weather;
(p) detailed description of the offense; and
(q) names of the arresting and investigating officers.
Now I have a question for you. How much police staff time does it take to process your public information requests and write summaries for every incident report filed each day?

Amendment to TPA Bylaws Print E-mail
Monday, 07 July 2014 07:13

The TPA members voted June 21 to amend the rules that govern the association.
The change is indicated below, with a strikethrough on language that was deleted and underlined on language added.
ARTICLE XIX. Section 1. Members — active, individual, associate and participating — shall be assessed such annual dues are set by the Board of Directors. Member newspapers shall donate four (4) checking copies to the Central Office and provide a PDF copy of each edition to the Texas Press Archive. The membership year shall be from January 1 to December 31.

Public’s right to know is a worthy legislative agenda Print E-mail
Monday, 07 July 2014 06:58


CORPUS CHRISTI — Last week's Texas Press Association convention in Corpus Christi served as a reminder to elected officials that We the People own the government. The reminder didn't take the negative tone of a warning or a threat, but of positive reinforcement in recognizing four of those elected officials who defended the people's right to a free flow of their information.
The honorees are state Sens. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, and Kevin P. Eltife, R-Tyler; state Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi; and House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio. Eltife and Straus have been reliable allies and enablers of open government and information access-friendly laws. Ellis and Hunter are initiators of these laws.
Specific victories include the landmark shield law protecting a news reporter's right to protect the confidentiality of news sources; the opportunity for news media to correct mistakes and be protected from punitive damages; and protection for whistle-blowers against meritless retaliatory lawsuits.
Defending the people's right to know shouldn't put these four lawmakers at odds with their colleagues in the Legislature, or with local government officials in their home districts. But, unfortunately, often it does. And it's likely to happen again in the next regular session in 2015.

Newsmakers Print E-mail
Monday, 07 July 2014 06:53


Bay City Tribune
Brandon Cox took over as publisher of the Bay City Tribune at the beginning of June. Cox replaced Angie Pagel, who resigned to prepare for her upcoming marriage and move to Fort Stockton. Cox began his newspaper career in graphic design, working his way up to graphics center manager for Paxton Media group. He managed a 35-person graphics design team that served 47 newspapers. Cox changed direction from graphics design to advertising sales to prepare him for his ultimate goal of becoming a newspaper publisher. "I really believe great businesses are driven by customers," said Cox on his philosophy of a successful newspaper. "It's about more than just the product itself; it's about how that product works, feels and affects the daily routines and lives of those who use it."

Mineral Wells Index
David May, a veteran newspaper executive who served over a decade as editor of the Mineral Wells Index, has been appointed general manager and editor of the newspaper. May served as editor of the Weatherford Democrat for the last 16 months. In his new role at the Index, he replaces publisher Mel Rhodes, who recently retired. "I am excited about my return and my new, expanded role," said May.

Hamilton Herald-News
Long-time Hamilton Herald-News reporter Maria Rice Weaver was promoted to editor this week, according to newspaper publisher Kenneth Miller. Miller, who has been editor and publisher for many years, will continue to serve as publisher and be active in the weekly production of the newspaper. However, he said that his battle with cancer has made it more and more difficult to serve as editor. Weaver has been a reporter with the Herald-News since 2008.

-30- Print E-mail
Monday, 07 July 2014 06:50

John Taylor, TPA Past President, who bought the Seguin Gazette in 1954 and built it into a South Texas publishing powerhouse that printed more than 30 other newspapers, died June 6 at a South Austin hospital. He was 88 years old. "John Taylor was of an era when newspapers were king and he built the Seguin Gazette accordingly," Seguin Gazette Publisher and Editor, Jeff Fowler said Monday. "He left a legacy in Texas journalism and an unsurpassed example in public service — in 'giving back' — to his community that should inspire us all." John Clifton Taylor Jr. was born an only child on Aug. 8, 1925 in Gonzales, Texas to John Clifton Taylor Sr. and Eva Lincecum Kolar. He attended San Marcos Military Academy, graduated from Gonzales High School and joined the U.S. Marine Corps, in which he served from 1943-45. Taylor attended Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, graduating with a degree in journalism.Upon graduation from Southwest Texas State, Taylor joined the editorial department at The San Antonio Light. He left the Light in 1954 to purchase a then-struggling Seguin Gazette. Taylor made the Seguin Gazette the first newspaper in South Texas to convert to the photo offset printing process in 1960.He sold the paper in 1979 to become its "publisher emeritus." During his time and his tenure at the Gazette and even afterward, Taylor headed two of Texas regional press associations and worked for a time on the staff of TPA. He was president of the South Texas Press Association in 1963-64, the Texas Gulf Coast Press Association in 1973 -74 and the Texas Press Association in 1975-76. He was vice chairman of the TPA's building committee and aided in the search for the property that later became TPA's permanent home.Taylor's family asks donations be made to the Alzheimer's Association. For information, log on to the association's website at

Granite Publishing buys Daily Tribune Print E-mail
Monday, 07 July 2014 06:46

new management

For the first time in four generations, the Mount Pleasant Daily Tribune has a new owner.
Robert L. (Bob) Palmer, the Palmer family and Palmer Media sold its interest effective Wednesday, June 11, in the Tribune to Tribune Publishing LLC, a part of the Granite Publishing family of community newspapers,
"Taking over a family operated newspaper with more than 73 years of ownership in a community is a responsibility we do not take lightly," Jim Chionsini, Granite Publications founder, said.
"We've been around for more than 35 years," added Chionsini, "and we pride ourselves in operating each individual newspaper with the best interest of the community it serves as our primary focus."
Gary Borders has been named as editor-publisher for the Tribune. Borders grew up in Longview, where he began his newspaper career as a paperboy and later photographer in junior high.
He brings with him many years of newspaper experience in East Texas, including stints as publisher of the Longview News-Journal, the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel and the Lufkin Daily News. Most recently, he worked as journalism instructor at Kilgore College.

Beeville Publishing Company acquires three more papers Print E-mail
Monday, 07 July 2014 06:45

Beeville Publishing Company has purchased three more newspapers — all of which are located San Patricio County. The purchase of San Patricio Publishing Company will include the newspapers San Patricio County News, Portland News and Mathis News. This makes eight for the Beeville company which also owns the Beeville Bee-Picayune, Goliad Advance-Guard, Karnes Countywide, The Progress (covering Live Oak and McMullen counties) and the Refugio County Press.
Chip Latcham, co-publisher in Beeville, said, "We believe they fit our model of regional newspapers providing hyper local coverage of their communities." Co-publisher, Jeff Latcham said, "Good community newspapers are owned by the community itself. When readers talk about their 'hometown newspaper,' it means something."
The Latchams, fourth generation publishers, purchased San Patricio Publishing from James F. Tracy Jr. and John Henry Tracy, also brothers. The Latchams both agree that hometown papers should reflect the communities they serve — something that will continue with these three newspapers.

Krahmer to contact newspapers about archiving project Print E-mail
Monday, 07 July 2014 06:43

The Texas Digital Newspaper Program will soon begin preservation of newspapers submitted to the TPA archive. These files will not be made public without express permission of the newspaper publisher.
Ana Krahmer, coordinator of the Digital Newspaper Program at the University of North Texas libraries, will be contacting Texas publishers within the next few months to set up permissions and embargo periods.
Please feel free to write Ana at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with questions that you may have about the program.

‘Faces Never Forgotten’ Print E-mail
Friday, 30 May 2014 10:56


The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation project "Faces Never Forgotten" needs the help of newspaper publishers in obtaining missing photos of fallen Vietnam veterans across Texas and the nation.
A few months ago, the VVMF issued a news release about its efforts to locate the photos of all 58,286 soldiers listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, commonly referred to as "The Wall," in Washington, D.C.
The foundation will build a new Education Center near the existing memorial on the National Mall. Construction is planned to begin in 2016 and be completed in 2019. The Center will include an electronic "Wall of Faces" corresponding to the names on the Wall. So far, 34,000 photos of the soldiers listed on the Wall have been collected with more than 24,000 left to find.
Of the missing photos, 1,426 are from Texas. Texas Press Association has compiled a list complete with name, county, hometown, date of birth, etc. Click here to download the list.
Newspapers offer the best means for reaching out to local audiences to locate missing photos of the "Faces Never Forgotten" project.
TPA encourages all publishers to take part in this effort. All photos that are collected by newspapers should be forwarded to Micheal Hodges at the TPA office.
To view the gallery in progress or get more information, go to The goal is to locate all missing pictures by Nov. 11, 2014. Please support this worthy nationwide effort.


Messenger Staff

Micheal Hodges

Allison Rentfro

Advertising Consultant
Diane Byram

For questions or corrections please call the editor at 512-477-6755 or email

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© Texas Press Messenger, 2014 (ISSN 1521-7523). Published monthly by Texas Press Service, a business affiliate of Texas Press Association. Periodicals postage paid at Austin, Texas, and additional mailing office, USPS 541-440. Printed by Hood County News in Granbury, Texas.