Last night, Texas lost one of the most provocative and thoughtful journalists ever to walk the halls of the state Capitol. Sam Kinch, a veteran of the Dallas Morning News and founder of Texas Weekly, died last night after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.
I met Sam when I was a student at the University of Texas and interned for the Dallas Morning News in the mid-Seventies. No mentor has ever been so generous with his knowledge and enthusiasm. His kindness continued when I returned to the Capitol – working for his competition, the Dallas Times Herald.
Sam possessed a boundless sense of fun, but he also worked harder than any reporter I’ve ever known. I learned this firsthand when I left the Herald and began filling in for Sam on his month-long, annual vacations. (He and his wife, Lilas, were world travelers). Publishing Texas Weekly was a grueling, demanding task. Sam had exacting standards. He sweated every mistake.
I’ll remember Sam for his ridiculous ties, gutter humor and humanity. Gov. Ann Richards once stopped in her tracks when I told her I was filling in for Sam: ”Then you have to tell me a dirty joke. Sam always has a dirty joke for me.”
Finally, I’ll remember Sam as a man who lived his Christian faith (I don’t think he could keep a dollar in his pocket if he knew someone in need ) in how he treated everyone, especially elected officials. He treated everyone with the same irreverence, but underlying respect. He loved everyone and that informed his reporting.