A friend and former newspaper colleague once told me after I left daily journalism and got my blog going full blast that my blog proved something about me he suspected from the day I began working with him at the Amarillo Globe-News.
It was that “you didn’t believe half the stuff you wrote for the newspaper,” my friend said.
Well, my friend — who’s also out of the daily journalism grind — is every bit as astute as I knew him to be when we first met in early 1995.
I make no apologies for writing editorials and for editing pages for a newspaper, the Amarillo Globe-News, with a strong conservative tradition. My friend was right, that I didn’t adhere to much of what I wrote on behalf of the publisher, to whom I reported directly.
I told my then-boss that there were some lines I could not cross. They dealt with capital punishment, gun control and abortion. The newspaper opposed gun legislation, it favored capital punishment and was anti-choice on the issue of abortion; I tilted in the opposite direction on all three issues.
He hired me anyway and for that I am grateful.
I made a brief return to daily journalism at the end of 2021. The Dallas Morning News hired me as a temporary, part-time editorial writer. To his great credit, the editorial page editor for whom I worked told me he “never would ask” me to submit an editorial with which I disagreed in principle.
I am grateful also for the leeway he extended.
This is all part of what I have known since another ex-colleague and still-friend told me years ago. “If you take the man’s money,” he said, “then you have to play by the man’s rules.”
Fair point. I now work for myself writing on High Plains Blogger, although my freelance work for the weekly Farmersville Times and for KETR-FM public radio allows to go back to what I learned how to do at the beginning of my journalism career. Which is to write straight news stories.
I learned that skill a long time ago. I also have learned that one never loses one’s touch.
And so … this gig keeps on producing more fun than I ever thought was possible.