TPA President

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.

Summer meeting musings

Well, we just wrapped up what I like to call the Texas Press Association’s very first “international conference” — the TPA Summer Leadership Retreat in Ruidoso, NM. Heck, we were even in a different time zone!
As always, the gathering was a great success. It featured great programs and discussion. And it gave us the opportunity to offer a huge “Thank You!” to outgoing TPA President Randy Keck for the stellar job he did for the organization this past year.

Mr. Broadcaster has left the photo

In the spring if the stars align just right, you can cover a lot of sports in Aledo. The way our athletic complex is laid out, if all teams are at home, you can go shoot some soccer, baseball and softball without changing parking spaces.
My mind took me back to such a situation in February of 2008, when I was scurrying between soccer and softball. (I scurried, rather than plodded, back in those days.)

Who, Toto? Toto’s my dog!

Back in the “olden days” of my childhood I could never wait for “The Wizard of Oz” to come on television. It seems like it came on as a special every year or so in those days before DVR, DVD and VHS. And even on our black-and-white television, the colors of Munchkin City came to life in my childhood imagination.
The Wizard of Oz was a powerful, almost god-like manifestation when first seen in the 1939 classic. Of course, later, little Toto drew back the curtain to expose the man operating the controls.

Time for social media pushback?

A number of years ago I lived in a small town that had what most small towns have: a community newspaper. In this particular case, the owner of the paper also held political office (Justice of the Peace). He had very strong political beliefs, and they came through very clearly in the pages of his newspaper.
In fact, his beliefs were so strong, and so extreme, there was little if any tolerance in his newspaper for opinions that were not in line with his.
This period came to mind because there was, in that newspaper, what I consider to be a huge conflict of interest.

Becoming a better newspaper

It’s January, and thoughts will turn shortly to spring – but before that, many a publisher will be considering contest entries.

It will be June before those coveted plaques are handed out, but the deadlines for entries will be much sooner, and I have a few thoughts (and pet peeves) to share about newspaper contests and participation therein.