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Latest in Community Journalism

Posted by Chip Stewart on April 22, 2014
Question: I asked a city councilman what he and the rest of the board discussed in closed-door session (executive session). He said he could not by law comment, that the law prevented him from disclosing what was said. I told him that he could comment and that there was no law preventing him from telling me what was discussed as per the Texas Attorney General Opinion on the matter. Am I wrong? Has something changed? Answer:  No. You’re not wrong. The city councilman was misinformed. The records of what happened may be closed, but individuals in the meeting are free to disclose what happened. There are some privacy issues to consider if the topic of the meeting was a personnel issue, but to ban a participant from...
Posted by Chuck Nau on March 14, 2014
Once again, both a National Newspaper Association study and a Newspaper Association of America study recently released reinforce the continued strength and vitality of newspapers and newspaper websites, whether community, weekly, or daily. In the newly released NNA study (conducted in September and November 2013), two - thirds of community residents in small towns and cities read their local newspaper at least once and up to seven times a week! Almost five out of ten (47 percent) residents indicated that their community’s newspaper and newspaper website were their preferred or primary source of information. About 78 percent of adults are quite attached to following local news and information, and local...
Posted by Robert M. Williams on January 20, 2014
This blog post was adapted from remarks the author made at the midwinter meeting of the Texas Press Association in Frisco in January 2014. Thank you for missing dinner two nights recently because you were attending a county commission or school board meeting. You were there so you could inform thousands of readers who didn't want to be bothered. You did. And you do. Week after week. Thank you. Or maybe you were at a Relay for Life meeting where, in addition to reporting on all those volunteers, you probably also coordinated your own volunteer team. Thank you for contributing to the fabric of your community. Thank you for making three telephone calls over several hours just to be sure the little girl who won a blue ribbon at the horse...
Posted by Tommy Thomason on January 13, 2014
The new year is a time to re-examine ourselves. And often we stop the re-examination with our waistline and our wallet. One’s typically too fat and the other’s too thin, so we decide to re-order our priorities to eat better and exercise more and control our spending. But as newspaper people, we can’t just stop there.  We have to re-examine our core mission:  telling people what’s going on in our community. When you were growing up, you had three in-home entertainment options:  the three major TV networks.  Now, your TV probably offers you hundreds of channels – not to mention the additional options on your computer or smart phone. In the days of the three TV networks, we typically had one...
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...