State of the Media

The Dallas Morning Advertorial?

The Dallas Morning News, still the bellwether mainstream journalism entity in Texas, has decided to align its editorial muscle with the online-oriented, Dallas-based advertising firm Slingshot. The newspaper and the ad firm are creating and co-managing what has been described as a “social media agency.” Known as Speakeasy, it will create digital ad campaigns for […]

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Does the Picayune’s Fate Portend the Future of Dailies?

It’s the kind of thing that almost no one would notice. That, in and of itself, is part of a welling media problem. In New Orleans, the clerk of the Civil District Court, Dale Atkins, quietly released a mid-summer memo with this news tucked inside it: “The Clerk of the Civil District Court’s Office has […]

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Ominous Signs at a Port Arthur Refinery

Erwin Seba, a reporter with the Reuters bureau in Houston, has exposed one of the most alarming ongoing stories in Texas. His 2,000-word saga, published in late June, began with this: “In the end, all it took was a small chemical spill—perhaps less than a barrelful—to bring down the newest, mightiest oil refinery in the […]

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Radio Station was a Forum for Black Voices

Texas is no different from any place in America. It has always had communities that are underserved or ignored by larger local and regional media. And it has always had news outlets attempting to fill the gap—from The Texas Observer to the defunct Dallas Express, from The Forward Times in Houston to alternative weeklies across […]

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The Ethics of Moonlighting

For the last few months, the Houston Chronicle has transfixed the city with an internal fandango that seems like a mashup of La Dolce Vita, Federico Fellini’s nod to journalism, and Miss Lonelyhearts, Nathanael West’s brilliant take on the Fourth Estate. A Chronicle reporter was covering Houston high society until the feisty Houston Press revealed […]

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A Global Texas Needs Global Journalism

Other than coverage of Mexico, there is almost no original international reporting by the Texas media anymore, leaving Texans increasingly in the dark as we experience the ripple effects of events abroad. The Texas Observer’s courageous Melissa del Bosque routinely travels across the Rio Grande to cover Mexican issues. The Houston Chronicle’s Dudley Althaus has […]

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Where’s the Line between Journalist and Source?

For the next several months, plenty of eyes will turn to Texas for insider intelligence. The emails of Austin-based firm Stratfor, a private global security analysis company, have been hacked and given to WikiLeaks. In late February, WikiLeaks started publishing more than five million emails from the company; the process could go on for months, […]

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An Extraordinary Legacy for Legacy Media

I recently exchanged emails with a reader about whether one has to have some sort of socio-cultural DNA to actually get this place—to really decipher Texas. Do you have to be from here to understand here, and to do the public-service journalism that is the connective tissue between justice and truth? An easy answer is […]

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Perry’s Campaign Shed Light on Texas Environment

In September, a high-ranking Manhattan editor who worked on Scott McClellan’s bestselling takedown of the Bush administration told me she was inundated with book pitches from Texas journalists eager to write about Rick Perry, the presidential candidate. Around the same time, Politico quoted Texas Tribune editor Evan Smith saying, “I have dropped to my knees […]

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The Next Generation of Guerilla Warriors

The big term bandied about in media circles these days is impact journalism. Cause-and-effect journalism. The kind of journalism that gets people talking, uncorks indictments, passes bills, frees the unjustly incarcerated, and might convince people to pay for their news. At the same time, more and more news veterans are worrying about the thousands of […]

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