Editor's Letter

The Stand Up Desk |
January 20, 2013

Behind the Lines

TALK OF CHANGE AND REFORM has been in the air since the Sharpstown scandals more than perhaps at any time in our state’s history. Such talk is welcome, and, as most of us apparently felt in the last elections, mandatory. One imagines that talk of reform came as uncomfortably, but

The Stand Up Desk |
January 1, 1997

Testy Mail

IN NOVEMBER WE PUBLISHED A RANKING of 3,172 public grade schools in Texas, giving each school one of five grades, from four stars (the best) to no stars (the worst). This article provoked an unusual amount of mail. Some of the letters were barely restrained victory whoops from people connected

The Stand Up Desk |
September 30, 1996

Paul In The Family

Anyone who knows executive editor Paul Burka would have a hard time imagining him as a cowboy, so perhaps it seems farfetched that he was the one to write this month’s story about the plight of a small working ranch in Uvalde (“Home on the Range”). “I’m a native

The Stand Up Desk |
July 31, 1996

Seeing Stars

In the summer of 1992, when Jason Cohen was a relatively unknown journalist and Matthew McConaughey was an extremely unknown actor, the two met on the Austin set of Dazed and Confused. “He looked so weird,” recalls 28-year-old Cohen, who was writing about the movie for Details. “He had this

The Stand Up Desk |
June 30, 1996

Skip, a Beat

JUST AS HE WAS FINISHING up “Poisoning Daddy”, his tale of a Fort Worth teenager who killed her father, senior editor Skip Hollandsworth set out to interview the sibling models featured on this month’s Face page. As it happened, one of the sisters, Wende Parks, had been the

Energy |
February 1, 1996

Oil’s Well That Ends Well

It’s not enough to say that associate editor Helen Thorpe was a fish out of water while reporting her story on the new oil plays in the Gulf of Mexico (“Oil and Water,”). She was really a fish out of water on the water. Three different times, the 31-year-old,

The Stand Up Desk |
April 30, 1974

Behind the Lines

On a warm March morning we went looking for the grave of my great-great-grandmother Nancy Daugherty. My mother had visited the grave more than 40 years before, and remembered only that it was near the capitol and that a small iron fence encircled the plot. We found the grave amid

Politics & Policy |
March 31, 1974

Behind the Lines

We Texans have always seemed to drive more, and farther, and for perhaps stranger reasons, than just about anyone else. Young people in the bleak and monotonous landscapes of West and North Texas grew up accustomed to endless, aimless rides around the countryside and to regular trips into the cities

The Stand Up Desk |
February 28, 1974

Behind the Lines

Writing about Larry L. King is a difficult task that leaves me feeling like some sweating country jeweler stooped over a fine stone trying to fashion an appropriate setting out of tin. Some good writers have craft; others have soul and spirit. Larry has what great writers have: he has

The Stand Up Desk |
January 1, 1974

Behind the Lines

INMATES OF THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT of Corrections have made 181 new desks for about $34 a desk. Rockford Furniture Associates of Austin has fashioned matching chairs for $180 a chair. A new electronic voting board has been installed for $33,500 ($200 more than the total cost for the chairs). These

The Stand Up Desk |
December 1, 1973

Behind the Lines

GOOD REPORTING SOMETIMES INVOLVES RISKS. Most people see the world outside their immediate vision through the eyes of the media, and much of the world contains people and situations that are unpleasant, distasteful, and downright dangerous. Wars fit in this category. So do murders. Becoming intimately involved in either can

The Stand Up Desk |
November 1, 1973

Behind the Lines

SENIOR EDITOR GRIFFIN SMITH JR.’s comprehensive study of the great law firms of Houston (page 53) ranks among the most important writing ever printed by this or any other Texas publication. It goes to the heart of a group of institutions whose influence upon our state is incalculable, and whose