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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

In Market: Shootout at the O.K. Carter Corral

Early in my career, my editors told me to specialize. Being a hyper 20-something with the attention span of a dog in a park full of squirrels, I couldn’t specialize for more than 20 minutes at a time. People who knew me then have said seconds instead of minutes. Eventually I settled on specializing on news coverage of the then-growing personal computer industry. Since the industry changed every 3 months, I was able to specialize while seeing something shiny and new every few weeks.

At the time I was a reporter in Grand Prairie and as exciting as that fun little burg was, I couldn’t just focus there. Eventually, people stealing canned hams by putting them in sweat pants (true story) got a little boring.

O.K. Carter must have gotten that memo about specializing that I disregarded for so long. Carter focused and specialized on the perfect topic: Arlington.

Carter is a former editor and publisher of the Arlington Citizen-Journal, and was also Arlington publisher and columnist for the Star-Telegram. He was also founding editor of Arlington Today Magazine. As a member of the Star-Telegram editorial board he’s conducted more than a thousand political endorsement interviews. God bless him for that.

Carter retired from the Star-Telegram in 2008 after more than 10,000 columns and editorials, along with more than 100 assorted journalism awards for everything from editorials and feature writing to columns.

Add that to more than a thousand magazine articles (topics range from serial killers and lemur DNA to mini-robots) and writing the script for more than 500 TV shows (many with his long-time friend and political professor Allan Saxe), editing two books and most recently writing what reviewers describe as the definitive book of Arlington’s colorful history, Caddos, Cotton and Cowboys: Essays on Arlington.

And, starting next week, Carter will be writing about Arlington for the Fort Worth Business Press. While there can be a gulf between the business communities of Fort Worth and Arlington, there’s little doubt they’ve grown closer as both areas grow geographically and economically.

While the total number of non-residential new construction permits in Arlington decreased by 14.0 percent between 2016 and 2017, the total value of these permits increased 278.7 percent to $1.1 billion in 2017 from $283.8 million in 2016. Much of that is attributable to the Texas Live!, Rangers ballpark and Arlington Logistics Center projects.

But I doubt I have to convince our readers of the importance of Arlington. Like Fort Worth began several years back, Arlington is redeveloping its downtown area. One visit there – try Legal Draft or visit a longtime restaurant/bar like J. Gilligans for instance – and you can tell the city between Dallas and Fort Worth is gathering some serous mojo.

And who better to tell that story than the journalist who specializes in Arlington, O.K. Carter.

Robert Francis is editor of the Fort Worth Business Press.

To reach O.K. Carter: okcarter@bizpress.net

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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.

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