A Year in the Life of Texas Monthly
The past twelve months have been a particularly eventful time for the magazine. Here’s a look at how 2016 went down at 816 Congress Avenue.
It wouldn’t be accurate to say that there’s never a dull moment here at Texas Monthly—we’re a fairly bedraggled lot by the end of our deadline week—but it goes without saying that there’s never been a dull year. When your beat is the most interesting state in the union, there’s not a lot of opportunity to be bored or boring. And 2016 was a particularly eventful time for the magazine, most notably due to a change of ownership and leadership. Here’s a look at how the year went down at 816 Congress Avenue.
Assistant editor Paul Knight and his wife, Justine, have their first child, Emerson.
A mural painted on an Austin building for our March cover becomes a selfie magnet. Copy editor Shannon Stahl and her partner, John Clapp, have their first child, Charlie.
Associate editors David Moorman and Valerie Wright retire. Tower, a documentary based on a story written by Texas Monthly executive editor Pamela Colloff, debuts at SXSW. Christian Wallace is hired as an assistant editor.
Executive editor Skip Hollandsworth publishes the true-crime thriller The Midnight Assassin. Eric Benson joins the magazine as a writer-at-large. Colloff and her fellow executive editor Mimi Swartz are included in New York magazine’s list of “56 Women Journalists Everyone Should Read.”
TM wins nine prizes at the City and Regional Magazine Awards. Texanist illustrator Jack Unruh (pictured above, with David Courtney) passes away. Texasmonthly.com editor Andrea Valdez publishes How to Be a Texan. Baylor University fires its football coach and demotes its president following an investigation into the handling of a sexual assault case that was spurred by a TM story by Jessica Luther and Dan Solomon.
Art assistant Nicki Longoria decamps for San Antonio. Texas Country Reporter host Bob Phillips debuts his new TM column, Bob Phillips’s Texas. Staffers John Spong and David Courtney launch a short-lived Banana Happy Hour each day at 3:45 in copy chief Courtney Bond’s office, which they redub the Bananatorium.
TM launches five new mobile-friendly newsletters. Senior vice president and controller Shelly Broussard, a 31-year veteran of the magazine, departs.
An Unruh-less Texanist debuts a new column format. Claire Hogan is hired as the new art assistant. TM’s owner, Emmis Communications, puts the magazine up for sale.
Writer-at-large S. C. Gwynne publishes The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football. Executive editor Michael Hall’s story “The Outcast” wins the State Bar of Texas Gavel Award and the Dallas Bar Association’s Philbin Award.
TM’s softball team ends the season having won two games (only one of which was due to the other team’s forfeiting). Associate editor Francesca Mari leaves. Emmis announces the sale of TM to a private-equity firm headed up by Houston businessman Paul Hobby, who becomes the magazine’s chairman and CEO.
Associate editor Sonia Smith gets married. Creative director T. J. Tucker becomes co-chair of the Society of Publication Designers awards. Editor in chief Brian D. Sweany announces he is stepping down. Alcalde editor Tim Taliaferro is named his successor; Scott Brown is named as chief creative officer, Erin Beil as controller, and Laura Beckworth as general counsel. The departures of TM president John D. Lunn, vice president and general manager Mark Harris, and newsstand director Tami Long are also
announced, as is the temporary return of president emeritus Elynn J. Russell.
Tower is shortlisted for an Oscar. Taliaferro begins his tenure as Texas Monthly’s sixth editor in chief.
What We’re Looking Forward to in 2017
A possible television series (now in development) inspired by Mimi Swartz’s 1995 story “Silicone City,” about the Houston breast implant industry.