State of the Media

Meet the New Media, Same as the Old Media

The sad news out of San Antonio this fall is that Cary Clack, one of the stalwarts of that city’s journalism community— hell, one of the gems of modern Texas media—has left the San Antonio Express-News. The former columnist is now a senior adviser and campaign spokesperson for state Rep. Joaquin Castro’s congressional campaign. Since […]

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A Tale of Two Editors

In September, two Texas editors announced they were stepping down—Fred Zipp at the Austin American-Statesman and Robert Rivard at the San Antonio Express-News. Rumors began to fly: They were tired of corporate types telling them what stories to run; they quit before they were forced out; they were “ink-stained” leftovers in a digital world; they […]

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In Defense of Informed Subjectivity

Somewhere, Molly Ivins is laughing at this season’s contradictory political coverage. News stories say one thing about Texas Gov. Rick Perry; blogs such as the conservative RedState often say the opposite. What’s a concerned citizen to do? Who and what should you believe when no one can agree on the facts? I like to think […]

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Remixing Dubya

Rick Perry’s run for the White House is a stark reminder that not too long ago an identical media game plan was mapped out in Austin for then-Gov. Dubya: Tout the Texas leader as the CEO, the man who runs a state like a buck-stops-here businessman. Leverage national events against Texas themes so the candidate […]

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Muckraking 2.0

The promise of small-staff and “citizen” journalism is coming to fruition in Texas—excellent, often unheralded, investigative sites are moving well beyond the partisan blather that defines other so-called “news venues.” There are dozens around the state. Some are incredibly hard to find. Some are surviving on bank accounts flatter than a gambler’s wallet. But though […]

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Online Insiders

The Texas Tribune is wrapping up its first rodeo of legislative coverage. It now has alliances with The New York Times and several Texas publications. But is it any good? A multimillion-dollar startup instantly heralded in national outlets (including its future ally, the Times) should be the subject of a 4,000-word analysis, not a 750-word […]

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The Loss of Freedom

A major media player in Texas is up for grabs. Freedom Communications Inc. has been seeking bids on its assets. It owns 100 newspapers, including The Brownsville Herald, El Nuevo Herald, The McAllen Monitor, the Valley Morning Star in Harlingen and the Mid-Valley Town Crier in Weslaco. (By the time this column is published, new […]

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Failing Grades

State lawmakers are weighing a proposed 2012-2013 state budget that could impose draconian cuts on the state’s already piss-poor educational system. Schools, teachers, innovative programs—they are all in danger of being cut in the name of fiscal austerity. “This bill reflects the reality of the recession on Texas,” is how Rep. Jim Pitts, a Republican […]

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News for Sale

In the next few weeks, The Dallas Morning News will begin charging for online news. It’s a daring attempt to reinvent the news business. The old formula that used to drive newspapers—85 percent of a paper’s revenue was from advertising, 15 percent was from circulation—is dead. Digital advertising is not replacing the money that newspapers […]

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Leaking Credibility

A Texas journalist, someone who believes in the public’s right to know, recently told me how she perceived Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.  The journalist was so angry at Assange’s wholesale release of U.S military documents that she believed him to be worse than some dictators who prohibit a free and functioning press. We were communicating […]

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