News

Defense saves notices, derails libel measure while transparency reform fails in tough session

AUSTIN — Newspaper public notice survived serious attacks in the 85th Texas Legislature, and press interests fended off dangerous bills that would have made newsrooms more susceptible to libel suits.
Transparency legislation championed by the Texas Press Association and its allies did not fare as well, however. Most pro-transparency bills fell victim to a deeply divided legislature that fought bitterly over everything from sanctuary cities to tax reform to transgender bathroom access.

Analysis by Donnis Baggett, TPA executive vice president

Sigma Delta Chi awards announced

The Society of Professional Journalists has announced the recipients of the 2016 Sigma Delta Chi Awards for excellence in journalism. Two Texas newspapers are among the honorees.
Judges chose the winners from entries in categories covering print, radio, television and online. The awards recognize outstanding work published or broadcast in 2016.
The SPJ awards web page, click here, features links to the award-winning works.

FOI Foundation of Texas announces call for entries for Spirit of FOI Award

AUSTIN – The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas is accepting entries for the 2017 Nancy Monson Spirit of FOI Award recognizing outstanding journalism exploring open government and the public’s right to know. The deadline for submission of entries is Thursday, May 18. The contest is open to newspapers, broadcast news organizations and online news media. Nominations must have been published or broadcast in calendar year 2016 and can be a single news story or series, an editorial or series of editorials, a column, an editorial cartoon or a community FOI project.

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Donna Burton
GROOM – Donna Burton, publisher of the Groom-McLean-Lefors News, died April 9. She was 61.
She was a member of the Texas Press Association and served as editor of the Groom News from 1990 to 2009, when she became the publisher and owner of the paper. 
A native of the area, she was active with the Girl Scouts as a local troop leader and council president. She also worked with youth as part of the Catholic Christian Mothers group.
She is survived by two daughters, three grandchildren, and other relatives.

Newsmakers

Miles Smith
NEW BRAUNFELS – Miles Smith is the new managing editor at the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. 
Smith joins the newspaper after serving as assistant team lead for the commercial dayside division of Gatehouse’s Center for News and Design in Austin.
A 2001 graduate of Texas A&M, Smith began his career in 2002 at the Palestine Herald-Press, where he worked as a sportswriter. After stops in Florida, Louisiana and Indiana, he returned to Texas, taking over as managing editor of Highland Lakes Newspapers in 2010 before joining Gatehouse. 

Retirements

Knox

Writer Dan Wallach retires after 33 years at Beaumont Enterprise 
BEAUMONT – Veteran journalist Dan Wallach, who wrote about Beaumont’s movers and everyman with equal passion and flair, is retiring after more than 33 years at The Enterprise.