Posted by Tommy Thomason on December 3, 2013
At first, we thought our caller just wanted to tell us about Thanksgiving at his house, but before long we realized he really wanted to make a point about Texas newspapers.
Here’s how it went down (shared with his permission):
“I left the football game and went back to the dining room for pecan-pie seconds and a cup of coffee. The women in our family were talking in small groups, and pretty soon I realized something different this year – they weren’t just catching each other up on family news, they were talking about what they had read or posted on Facebook.
“I actually counted five iPhones or iPads in the hands of those nine women. All the conversation was Facebook-related. And not one of the nine women...
Posted by Tommy Thomason on November 27, 2013
At many Thanksgiving tables, family members take turns sharing what they are most thankful for.
The items listed are pretty typical, from the wise guy’s “I’m thankful I’m not the turkey” to appreciation directed at everyone from God to teachers to those in the armed services.
But nobody ever says they are thankful for the electric company or the gas company or the water and sewer department. Those utilities are important – indeed, necessary to the Thanksgiving experience – but their service is so integral to our lives that they go unnoticed.
Newspapers are a lot like that.
No one will say they’re thankful for the local newspaper on Thursday (unless, maybe, they are employed by that...
Posted by Tommy Thomason on November 15, 2013
For busy newspaper people, information about social media is like information about Obamacare – there’s so much, and it’s so complex, that it’s easy to ignore all of it.
Social media didn’t begin as primarily media for news – they were ways for people to connect and share what was going on in their lives. Like sharing over the back fence, a lot of the information was trivial, and Facebook and Twitter got a bad rap (“If I see one more picture of someone’s meal at a restaurant....” or “Who wants to look at that many cute cat videos?”)
So it’s understandable if some publishers and editors don’t realize that social media have become genuine news platforms – of...
Posted by Tommy Thomason on October 15, 2013
Last year’s winner of the grand prize in the Dallas Bar Association’s prestigious Philbin Awards came from the CBS affiliate in Dallas/Fort Worth. Before that, the Dallas Morning News and the Fox affiliate in Dallas were also winners. But going back to 2005, among those bastions of metro journalism, the name of another newspaper appears twice.
It’s the Hood County News in Granbury.
Kathy Cruz, a reporter for the News, has been named the grand prize winner of the Philbin Awards for her investigative series Routier Revisited and Justice for All, written for the News and for the Center. Both series ran originally in the Hood County News and were made available by the Center for use in Texas community...
Posted by Mark Horvit on August 19, 2013
Question: We need to check the immigration status of someone who has been convicted of a crime. We want to find out if he currently has a green card or if his green card has been revoked as a result of the sentence. How do we find this out?
Answer: Immigration status is not public record, even at citizenship ceremonies. The ceremonies are open to the public but the names of the new citizens are not public record. Even at ceremonies where names are announced in public, those people have probably agreed to that beforehand and they were special applicants, like a foreign-born sports star or a war veteran whose naturalization had been made a symbolic cause celebre by United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Generally...