Rotary Golf 2024

Editorial: I got an early Christmas present and it’s awesome

by | Dec 19, 2018 | Opinion

Does your family have a tradition of giving an early Christmas present? Maybe it’s on Christmas Eve in anticipation of Santa’s coming?

Our family does have an early gift tradition, but this year I received one even earlier than I could have imagined.

It was delivered to me about two and a half weeks ago on the TCU campus in Fort Worth. It wasn’t a traditional Christmas gift that you might expect, but nonetheless, it was priceless.

It was even delivered straight from a workshop; an educational one.

You see, on the TCU campus exists a very valuable treasure chest to those of us who work in the newspaper industry. It’s called the Texas Center for Community Journalism.

TCCJ offers learning opportunities to newspapers throughout the state. It is one of only three centers of its kind in the United States. The center is run by Tommy Thomason.

Tommy is the ‘man’ when it comes to community journalism in Texas. He’s currently a professor on staff at TCU and the former dean of the Bob Schieffer College of Communication which includes the school’s journalism program.

Tommy, like Santa, is a master of his craft, someone you look forward to visiting, always in a good mood and very reliable.

In my opinion, Tommy runs the TCCJ for you, the reader. We in the newspaper industry just happen to be the conduit, taking what we learn in workshops and shaping our products to better serve you.

The gift was a survey shared by our guest speaker, a news guru named Kevin Slimp (kevinslimp.com).

Part of the survey explained that most of the newspapers in North America are similar to the one you are reading. Independent, smaller newspapers or groups. They are not large dailies which are singular, or part of a larger corporation. However, when it comes to what you hear about the state of newspapers in North America, the message many times comes down from the larger newspapers.

According to Kevin’s survey, large newspapers represent about 12 percent of all North American papers. Papers like the one you are reading represent over 50 percent of all newspapers.

The point of this revelation is that what you hear about the challenges that large newspapers face is not necessarily what smaller newspapers face. And…. because of the sheer numbers, most people read smaller newspapers. They rely on smaller newspapers. They trust smaller newspapers.

That, to me, is the best gift I could have received this time of year.

Over the past few years, I have received empathetic nods from people when they ask about my career. “Oooooh.” “How’s that going?” “Do people still read newspapers?”

News flash. We are not circling the drain gasping for breath. More than ever readers rely on news, sports and information that we produce and distribute.

We smaller newspapers, while faced with challenges, are doing just fine. We are okay. I’ve always known this, but it’s nice to hear that my colleagues are doing fine as well.

Thank you Santa. Thank you Tommy. And Merry Christmas!

For more stories like this, see the Dec. 19 issue or subscribe online.

By Chad Engbrock • [email protected]

Subscribe RH Love

0 Comments

Order photos

Related News

On the road again and again

On the road again and again

Back in the 60s, some American college kids protested the Vietnam War, but mostly, they conducted sit-ins. Few protests were violent. Other American college kids would have contests to see how many of them they could cram into a Volkswagen. Today, some college kids...

read more
Aisle be seeing you

Aisle be seeing you

As a child growing up in Ashdown, Arkansas, we had two main grocery stores. Shur-Way and Piggly Wiggly. Or as my dad called it, “Hoggly Woggly.” A trip to the store was like each TV commercial had come to life. Advertising agencies at the time were very good at what...

read more
‘Aggressive’ hurricane forecast for Gulf Coast

‘Aggressive’ hurricane forecast for Gulf Coast

Colorado State University researchers are calling this year’s hurricane season forecast “the most aggressive” ever, the Texas Standard reported. They say there is a 54% chance a hurricane will strike the Texas coast, and a 25% chance it will be major. Justin Ballard,...

read more
Fixer Uppers

Fixer Uppers

Recently, I saw something I haven’t seen in many years. A young man driving a car he was fixing up. It was an older Mustang. By older I mean a 90’s model. The car had spots of primer, there were a few dents, and the exhaust system appeared to be loose. By John Moore...

read more
Solar eclipse means big money to Texas

Solar eclipse means big money to Texas

One economist is calling it “the most profitable 22 minutes in Texas history,” according to the Texas Standard. The total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8 is expected to draw up to a million visitors to the Lone Star State, especially in its narrow path of totality....

read more
Texas counties among nation’s fastest growing

Texas counties among nation’s fastest growing

Recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that six of the 10 fastest-growing counties in the United States from 2022 to 2023 were in Texas. According to the Texas Tribune, Kaufman County, just east of Dallas, led the list with a 7.6% increase in new...

read more
Read this. Build a stronger community.

Read this. Build a stronger community.

Saddened. Embarrassed. Determined. These three words evoke distinct feelings and emotions.  In the context of an opinion piece we ran in the paper four and a half years ago, they described the aftermath of a community that lost its newspaper. After 130 years in...

read more
Largest wildfire in state history still raging

Largest wildfire in state history still raging

A wildfire in the Texas Panhandle has consumed more than 1 million acres and as of Sunday was just 15% contained, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. It is the largest wildfire in Texas history. The Smokehouse Creek Fire is by far the most extensive of...

read more
Pet ownership: A lifetime commitment

Pet ownership: A lifetime commitment

He was crossing the road. Over and over. I was surprised someone hadn’t hit him with their car. I was also surprised the coyotes hadn’t gotten him. It was 9 o’clock at night and according to the residents of the small strip of country road, he’d been out there for a...

read more
Order photos