KCEN recapped Frank Mayborn Day with 30-minute specials. Many spoke well of Frank Mayborn on that day three years ago, among them U.S. Rep. W. R. Poage of Waco, who called Mayborn \(a long-time contributor controlling influence, not only in Temple, but throughout most of the state.” Mayborn was, said Poage, “a harddriving, tireless and brilliant individual who is generally about three years ahead of everybody else in planning for development for the community.” Frank Mayborn styles himself as “just a country boy who has helped build his community up,” but he’s a country boy with big-city credentials. Born in Akron, Ohio, Mayborn attended public schools in Denver and Dallas, and in 1927 received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Colorado. He comes from a newspaper family; his father was a Scripps-Howard executive for 30 years. Matters of pedigree aside, growing numbers of Central Texans wonder whether Mayborn has earned his kudos as a community booster by sacrificing the tenets of good journalism. Area media people, including several of his former reporters, say Mayborn’s news outlets give “sacred cow” treatment to individuals and institutions predisposed toward growth in the region. No doubt the prize “cow” is Fort Hoodwith almost 50,000 Gls and a supporting population of 161,000, the base is by far the largest employer in Killeen, big enough to pour some $32 million a month into the local economy. Many a time have the Mayborn media shielded the post from bad publicity, to wit: On March 19 of this year, the Temple Daily Telegram gave full-page treatment to an archaeological study being conducted on base. The article reported that an archaeologist had been hired in October of 1977 to oversee the project and blandly acknowledged that an e a xecutive order “strengthened in the 1960s and 1970s to require stricter surveys and more inventory of the cultural resources on Army grounds” had sparked the work. The Telegram writer failed to mention, however, that Tom Nelson, his paper’s Killeen bureau chief, had filed a piece on the survey the previous June that focused on the 1973 deadline for completion of the survey imposed by the executive order. Nor did last month’s feature report that the Fort Hood brass had done next to nothing to comply with the survey requirements until four years after the deadline had passed. Nelson’s story, it turns out, had been spiked by his editors at the Telegram. On September 24 and 25, 1976, the Killeen Herald and the Telegram reported that a woman who had accused a colonel of rape had been hospitalized for “emotional stress” following the officer’s acquittal by a Fort Hood court. Neither paper’s editors felt it newsworthy that the woman had attempted suicide with a handgun when she heard the verdict, nor that she had been flown to San Antonio afterward for “hospital observation.” Three of Mayborn’s reporters acknowledged that they knew of the incident but said their editors kept them from writing about it. In the spring of 1977, U.S. Rep. Les gation into alleged equipment losses at Fort Hood. Mayborn’s Killeen bureau reporters recently won second place awards in a Texas Associated Press Managing Editors contest for their coverage of the story, but they claim their prize-winning research was discouraged by their bosses and that important follow-ups were not printed in Mayborn’s papers. \(One unpublished item revealed a $160,000 commissary loss, and another reported that the search for the missing equipment cost Norman Richardson, managing editor of the Temple Telegram, saw little news value in the story. “I can’t get all concerned about Aspin’s charges,” Richardson said. Mayborn’s ties to Fort Hood go back to 1940 when, as president of the Temple Chamber of Commerce, he helped coax the War Department into establishing what was then Camp Hood in the Temple-Killeen area. He was instrumental in the camp’s rise to its present status as a major military base, and serves on the Fort Hood Civilian Advisory Committee. In 1976, when the Fort Hood brass asked Congress for permission to absorb an additional 59,300 acres of privately owned farm and ranch land, Mayborn testified in favor of the proposal at a local hearing conducted by Sen. John Tower. \(The request for more land was eventually voted down by a conMayborn’s interest in Fort Hood also extends to the base newspaper. He founded the Fort Hood Sentinel \(formerly the in 1942 and has published it ever since. According to regulations, civilian contractors may publish GI-oriented newspapers at no expense to the army, although the command furnishes all of the editorial copy. The civilian contractor supplies the advertising and gets the profits. Sentinel advertising offices are housed in the same building as the Killeen bureau of the Temple Daily Telegram, and the same telephone number serves Mayborn’s military and civilian publications. The apparent conflict of interest in this cozy arrangement has been noted before. In 1968, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review, Jeffrey D. Alderman, a former Sentinel editor and Telegram weekend wire editor, recited various Fort Hood stories ignored or glossed over by Mayborn’s newspapers. “The Army at Fort Hood,” Alderman wrote, “has been used to having the press in its pocket. The man who controls the local media is financially tied to Fort Hood through his ownership of the post paper. If he offends the Army, he risks losing his contract. . . .” The Mayborn-Sentinel connection also affects the army paper’s coverage of civilian business news. A Telegram reporter said that “Killeen businesses are making a killing from the army, but stories are held back by phone calls and persons who have been notified not to speak.” Says Sentinel editor David Rich of his paper’s relationship with Mayborn: “We have to be very careful. Ideally, the publisher would not have any control over content, but in practice, we have had to soft-shoe around once or twice.” The soft-shoe style has been most evident in Mayborn coverage of the CTC audit. \(Mayborn serves on the college’s way, but the most most important developments took place within the first three weeks. During that time, Mayborn’s papers and stations did not shine: they reported little besides the denials by CTC officials of the charges made against the college. Only once did either the Herald or the Telegram note that the auditors were on the campus to look into the alleged misuse of $3 million. And although the attorney general’s office was supervising the audit, the Herald carried comments from the AG’s office just one time; the Telegram never did. The Herald’s coverage was typified by a squishy-soft front page interview with CTC president Morton. \(The day before the interview appeared, reporters had tried to question Morton but were told by the college that no comments would Developments in the audit not covered by the Mayborn press but reported elsewhere are: that a Legislative Budget Board official has been at the college observing the audit; THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9 Tom Wicker’s Second Law of Journalism A reporter should write and his newspaper should print what they know.
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