We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them because this is a journal of free voices. The Texas OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1977 Ronnie Dugger, Publisher Vol. 69, No. 9 May 6, 1977 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin ForumAdvocate. EDITOR Jim Hightower MANAGING EDITOR Lawrence Walsh EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger O ASSISTANT EDITOR: Luther Sperberg PRODUCTION MANAGER: Ray Reece STAFF ASSISTANTS: Laura Eisenhour, Susan Reid, Lois Rankin, Paul Sweeney CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Kaye Northcott, Jo Clifton, Dave McNeely, Wade Roberts, Don Gardner, Warren Burnett, Rod Davis, Steve Russell. A journal of free voices BUSINESS MANAGER Cliff Olofson OFFICE MANAGER Joe Espinosa Jr. Published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly except for a three week interval between issues twice a year, in July and January; 25 issues per year. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. additional per year. Airmail., bulk orders, and group rates on request. Microfilmed by Microfilming Corporation of America, 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rock, N.J. 07452. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer 600 West 7th Street Austin, Texas 78701 512-477-0746 74111140.711 The Observer cooperative Austin Our thanks to all who have written, called, come by or otherwise let us know you are behind our effort to kick new life into this venerable publication. Next to tightly written first drafts and cash contributions, nothing gladdens our hearts more than your expressions of support. Ours is a unique enterprise essentially a cooperative involving writers and readers in a way that isn’t even contemplated by other publications. A cooperative works if you do, and you are. A couple of examples: * We can’t afford a secretarial or research staff, yet our need for office help is overwhelming. We tried a biweekly volunteer night, with Austin-area subscribers invited to help us carry the work load. Some 75 people answered our initial letter in March, and we’re getting about 20 volunteers each session to clip newspapers, do some typing, work on mailings and help with research chores. Their work, coordinated by Susan Reid, has improved the content of each issue, and the whole thing is brought off for the price of a case of beer every two weeks. * We can cover the five big cities with relative ease, but Del Rio, Paris, Nacogdoches and other equally important datelines are tough to reach on a regular basis. To stay in touch, we’ve made stringers of subscribers who live in farflung places, asking them to send clippings, tips, reports or fully developed stories on politics and other shenanigans in their part of the world. It’s working, to the tune of 35 reports from 30 towns in less than a month, giving us a reach that even an Associated Press wire wouldn’t match. The spirit is good around here. New and generally excellent writers, photographers and artists are eager to contribute, and some of the seasoned hands are with us again people like Ralph Yarborough, John Henry Faulk, Warren Burnett, Maury Maverick Jr., Pete Gunter, Jay Naman, Bernard Rapoport, John McCully and others who have maintained the progressive base over the years are back on board. People detect life here, and they are responding. Our Investigative Reporter’s Fund has risen to $2,500 in the six weeks since we announced it, and we’ve underwritten our first assignment a report on Texas’ bankholding companies with some of the money. The Fund for Investigative Journalism in Washington, D.C. has awarded us a grant of $2,000 to finance a series on solar energy, and several of our stories thus far have been picked up nationally. Currently, the Progressive, the New Yorker and NBC’s “Weekend” show are following up on Observer reports and working with our writers. All of the staff, contributors, and volunteers have been working hard to make this an important forum a place of serious reporting, good information, fresh ideas, new energy and progressive political hope. I think the nine issues we’ve published so far speak for themselves, but they aren’t a fourth of what the Observer could be if we all throw in together. The magazine doesn’t belong to Ronnie Dugger or to the editor, but to everyone of us, and we are all responsible for it. We can make it do what we want, and we needn’t be limited by our perception of what it’s been.
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