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Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Opinion Changes afoot at Business Press

Changes afoot at Business Press

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

Richard Connor 

Fort Worth Business Press

Over the past few months we have been making changes to the Business Press, some subtle and others not so subtle. First, here’s the most obvious change: We’ve hired a new president of the company, Chip Taulbee of Little Rock, Ark. For the past 10 years, Taulbee has been with Arkansas Business (arkansasbusiness.com), serving most recently as associate publisher.

Taulbee has the important distinction of having worked as a reporter and editor and also as a director of sales. The news/sales experience is a unique combination because more often than not in this business, news personnel have little or no interest in sales or the financial operation of the newspaper – even a newspaper like ours that focuses on business. Likewise, the people involved in sales and finance at newspapers often find it difficult to relate to and communicate with those in the newsroom. So Chip’s rare blend of talents will be a valuable asset internally as well as with our readers and customers.

Taulbee will run the day-to-day operation of our business. A two-day visit to Fort Worth and attendance at our recent Top 100 companies event convinced him that our city and region are growing in ways not seen in other states and cities. The vibrancy that is Fort Worth is contagious –and it didn’t hurt that Taulbee’s wife, Anne, a teacher, is a native Texan (Houston). Nick S. Karanges remains our publisher and brings to the table not only a wealth of skills but the priceless asset of lifelong residency in Fort Worth. Karanges has directed the paper through a period of dramatic change as we returned the Business Press to local ownership. He’s managed to re-establish our reputation as a strong, corporate civic leader in the business community and has directed the sales department and other areas of our business.

Karanges will help Taulbee familiarize himself with the community and the Business Press, and will introduce him to the individuals in the wide circle of business leaders in the area. He’ll also take Taulbee to Joe T’s for indoctrination in how we do things around here – and will remind him each and every day of the football season that it’s more fun to be in Fort Worth rooting for TCU than in Arkansas snoozing through another season with the Razorbacks. Taulbee’s first day at work is Monday, Sept. 23. He can be reached at ctaulbee@bizpress.net for a welcome-to-Fort Worth message. Other changes at our company have been ongoing. We live in a transformational age of media; if you are not constantly changing, you are falling behind. We adopted an every-other-week publication schedule through the summer and spent time working on changes to our product, particularly in its look, design and content. We have begun preliminary work on upgrading our website (fwbusinesspress.com). We resume weekly publication in October and readers will begin to see the effects of these changes. Often, when print and online products are redesigned, all the changes are made at one time. We’ve decided to make ours slowly, allowing them to evolve over several months.

A key to changing the look, “feel” and content of the newspaper and website is the arrival at the Business Press of Lindsey Jones, our new art director. Jones is a native Texan, from San Antonio, who was working at the San Angelo Standard Times in 2006 when I lured her to a daily and Sunday newspaper in Northeast Pennsylvania, where she led the copy editing and design staff to statewide recognition and a host of awards. She missed Texas, moved back and relocated in Arlington to attend Texas Women’s College and work on an advanced degree. She not only attended school but also continued to direct the staff in Pennsylvania for several years via long-distance telecommuting. We first met Lindsey back in the mid-2000s and offered her a job at the Business Press. It only took her seven years to get here! Some of the changes she has instituted are already noticeable; others affect how easily you read the paper but are so deft you may not be aware of them. Her expertise was already much in evidence last month when we published the biggest paper – 92 pages – in the 25-year history of the Fort Worth Business Press.

Good design is essential to easy readership and to expanding our audience and advertising base. In addition to Lindsey, we convinced another transplanted Texan to become transplanted again. Bill Thompson, a former editor at our paper and an editor and award-winning columnist at the Star-Telegram and other newspapers, moved back to Fort Worth to join our staff. Not a native Texan but a longtime resident here, Thompson loves Fort Worth and regretted leaving to help me edit some newspapers in other cities and states. Thompson has a keen eye for local and state politics because of his history as a columnist in this city and state. He is the lead writer for our editorials, a steady hand in our editing and direction of reporters, and he’ll soon begin contributing columns on a variety of subjects. Also returning to the fold this summer was Davey Joe Montgomery, the best political reporter in all of Texas. The best. You can argue about the best barbecue, chicken fried steak, college or pro football teams, or best rodeo and stock show, but you can’t argue about best political reporter. It’s Montgomery, who is based in Austin but over the years has been the lead man in the Star-Telegram’s Washington, D.C., news bureau, ran a bureau in Russia for Knight Ridder, and has been focusing on Texas politics for the past several years. He worked for us last year but had an obligation to return to the Star-Telegram during the legislative session. We missed him. His analysis in this week’s paper of State Sen. Wendy Davis’ chances of becoming governor is typical of his timely and incisive reporting. Also featured in this week’s Business Press is an outstanding story about the controversial Trinity River Vision project written by Jack Z. Smith, another reporter who used to ply his trade at the Star-Telegram and who has long been recognized as one of Texas’ top journalists. Smith has signed on as our special projects reporter and his in-depth, detailed story on funding mechanisms for the $909.9 million riverfront development project and the problems it could face if the money doesn’t materialize is surely the most informative, evenhanded piece anyone has written on the subject. It’s been a busy summer of change for us, but we head toward a new year with many improvements and changes ahead for our readers and advertisers.

Contact Connor at rconnor@bizpress.net  


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