IF JOURNALISM IS A “CONTACT” SPORT—who you know counts as much as what you know—one of the best places to get in the game is the Daily Texan, the University of Texas at Austin’s student-run newspaper. In 1954, for example, Liz Carpenter (class of ‘42), a veteran reporter who would go on to become Lady Bird Johnson’s press secretary, called President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s press office on behalf of U.S. Senate intern Bill Moyers (‘56) and accompanied him to his first Washington, D.C., press conference.
In 1979 I started a local program at the NBC affiliate in Dallas–Fort Worth. I was the host, I was the researcher, and I was the editor. I loved it. By that time I had already been the executive producer of Bill Moyers’ Journal, so I had experience. What I didn’t have was on-air experience, and I wanted the chance to do my own show. [Texas Monthly senior editor] Gary Cartwright was my first guest, and he helped make my career.
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ONE MORNING IN 1972, four years after leaving Texas for what he had told himself would be a short stint in New York, Joe Armstrong woke up in his tiny ground-floor Manhattan apartment and got dressed. He put on his three-piece suit, and then he put on a pair of black lizard Justin boots—and decided that he would wear cowboy boots every single day for the rest of his life. That day was also when he realized he was staying in New York for good.
Q. WHEN DOES A LOCAL story become a national story?
A. When the New York Times says it does.
SHE WAS BEYOND MAD. SHE WAS RIGHTEOUS. “IN RESPONSE TO the Years of Brutal Abusive Reviews in your Publication,” she wrote in salutation. Then the letter began: “There has always been a certain amount of pathos within artists who leave their sacred bountiful homes of birth for the benefit of preserving their own belief in their art—especially in cases such as my own where my native soil that I have so championed around this globe has done its best to choke whatever dignity I carried within me.”
Luann Williams, the editor and publisher of Pop Culture Press, isn’t the type who waits for opportunity to knock. “In the mid-eighties I was working at a Memphis record store and loved music magazines,” says the thirtysomething Tennessee native. “I was looking at a couple, and I thought, ‘You know, there’s nothing like this published here. Let’s do one.’” Since relocating to indie-music mecca Austin in 1987, Williams has grown PCP’s circulation to three thousand, with many readers coming from outside the U.S.
JANUARY 28, 1998, 8:01 EST. Lisa McRee, co-anchor of Good Morning America, is navigating what will be the news story of the year. It is the day after the president’s State of the Union address amid the breaking Monica Lewinsky scandal and rampant impeachment talk, and the Fort Worth native is at the White House to interview a crisis-mode Hillary Rodham Clinton. McRee lobs a few polite questions before she asks if—to put it plainly—Mrs.
WHEN BILL CLINTON ASKED TOM JOYNER if he’d like to take his show on the road and accompany him on an official visit to South Africa in March, the Dallas radio personality was flattered. But he didn’t let it go to his head. “I know why he’s calling me,” says the 47-year-old Joyner. “It ain’t like I can get him on the phone and say, ‘Hey, Bill, what’s going on?’ I know why people invite me to things like that.”