TCCJ is moving, but our mission to support Texas community newspapers continues

You’d think that on my last day at TCCJ, I would be contemplating some great quotation on press freedom by Thomas Jefferson. Not even close.  Instead, I can’t get one of Dr. Seuss’ best-known lines out of my head: “Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened.” To be sure, there’s so much about

Reflections after a decade in community journalism: It isn’t supposed to be easy

I am entering my second decade at the helm of the Whitesboro News-Record. Granted, I’ve left a few brief times and come back, but all roads have led us back here.  This January will mark the 11th anniversary of my first being named the editor and a lot has changed for me in that time.

Great ideas for engaging with your community

In explaining my work, I sometimes say that there are thousands of really good journalists in rural America, but all too often they are the only person in their newsroom that fits that description. They suffer from the isolation of rurality, with fewer opportunities than urbanites to rub shoulders and exchange ideas with their professional

Is it time to remove your doorknob?

William Faulkner has often been cited as one of the greatest American novelists of the 20th century. He was born Sept. 25, 1897, in New Albany, Mississippi. Wednesday was his 122nd birthday. His publishing career began in 1919 but he was most prolific in the 1920s and 1930s, Faulkner was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize

The world isn’t as mean as the news might indicate

I know this may seem ironic coming from a newsman, but does the news make you feel good on a regular basis? Television news broadcasts can be depressing. Your social media feed can be worse. Admittedly, some news in your community newspaper can bring you down from time to time as well. More and more often,

Darrell Royal was right, and newspapers should pay attention

Darrell Royal was famous for his formula for winning football:  You gotta dance with the one what brung you.  In football, you have to keep doing what made you good in the first place. If you were undefeated by running the ball, you keep running it in the playoffs. And that concept works for newspapers,

Is community journalism the last bastion of news objectivity?

If you’re reading a community newspaper, chances are you are reading what seems to be a dying story format:  an unbiased account of the news. A president who has been overly critical of journalism has driven newspeople on the national level to disregard time-honored canons of objectivity. In years past, we would have reported what

Rethinking how we cover the opioid epidemic

Rural communities have been disproportionately affected by the opioid epidemic, but rural newspapers have been disproportionately quiet about it. They seem to cover it as a criminal-justice problem, when it is primarily a health problem. Smart law enforcers and first responders will tell you that, but many if not most rural papers seem reluctant to

For newspaper readers, advice can add a lot of spice

Former magazine editor Rix Quinn writes a weekly feature for 100-plus newspapers, and business biographies for trade magazines. What writing format has flourished in American newspapers – and magazines – for over 200 years? If you answered “advice columns,” give yourself a warm handshake. Yes, these features have been around longer than this country. Even

In today’s world, journalism really does matter

The bag that I carry gets a variety of reactions from an assortment of people. A stark black bag with a simple white font featuring the phrase, ‘Journalism Matters, #Nottheenemy’ is met by some with scoffs, others with disdain and even a few positive, ‘Hey, I like your bag!’ Those I suspect come from closet