Columns

Learning, loving the newspaper business

Do you remember your first real assignment? I do.
It was my first day as a summer intern at the old San Antonio Light. Up walked Bend Segal, a gruff, seasoned assistant city editor who had weaned many a cub reporter. He handed me a six-page press release. “Rewrite it,” he said. “And let me know when you’re done.”
Seems like it took me forever to rewrite that press release. But I finally managed to finish it, reducing the six-page release to three. I handed the copy to Ben, who took his red marker and quickly circled a typo and handed it back to me, saying, “Do it again.”

The horrible hurricane that was Harvey showed us a lot

Once again, Mother Nature showed us just how brutal and indiscriminate she can be. The storm raked the Texas coast in late August, devastating places like Rockport, Port Aransas and Aransas Pass. And then its leftovers tried to drown cities such as Houston, Beaumont and Port Arthur.
It turned the lives of so many upside down – literally destroyed some. People will be spending the coming months and years trying to put everything back together as best as possible.

Community journalism in the era of fake news

In a challenging environment with fewer resources, greater vulnerabilities and increasing attacks from politicians and the politically motivated, how should news organizations respond? One editor-publisher's approach — a calm, respectful but strong defense of journalism and its essential role in democracy — seems to work.

Grow circulation with mail sampling; sell extra advertising as a bonus

I continue to get calls and emails on sampling non-subscribers. This rewrite will attempt to draw a sharper line between the two confusing rules that govern non-subscriber copy mailing.
The non-subscriber rules in the Domestic Mail Manual are there to allow you to promote your newspaper to non-subscribers and increase your mail delivery. Too many papers fail to use this tactic, but more are showing interest as newspapers struggle to attract readers and advertisers.