• I have a great idea about a newstory. How about our useless Animal Control? In addition to the rabid rabbit, there was another issue involving a horse on 3/31/09. go pick up the report from VPD. Why are taxpayers paying this department to do NOTHING???

    April 1, 2009 at 4:39 a.m.

  • Romonak,

    If you think any story is worth coverage, we want to hear from you. You may call me directly at 361-574-1271 to discuss. Another way to provide feedback is through our news meetings, which are Webcast at 10 a.m. weekdays. We know the best way to sell papers is to cover as many of the stories as possible that readers want to see. That's a big list we never fully complete on any given day.

    March 24, 2009 at 8:48 a.m.

  • I have no problem with newspapers. What I have a problem with it newspapers that consistently twist things around to serve their own purposes. Example...the fatal funnel series.
    Beleive it or not, I have a life outside of this paper being as how I only get on here for a bit each day. It's not something to even crosses my mind during the day. But I find my curiosity overwhelming at what I'm going to see here each morning. Its a good way to enjoy my coffee in the mornings...quite entertaining really. What is more interesting that what IS in the paper is what isn't in my opinion. Again...whatever sells papers. I mean hey, gotta make a buck right?

    March 24, 2009 at 5:09 a.m.

  • Romonak likes to complain about the paper that he obviously dosen't pay for, but likes to read,bet when you start charging to read paper on line he will pay like everybody else. Personaly I just think he likes to complain.

    March 20, 2009 at 10:40 a.m.

  • Romonak,

    You've posted three comments to my blog bashing the paper in some way this morning. All I can say is I hope you have a good weekend.

    March 20, 2009 at 8:36 a.m.

  • why would i pay rising costs for the paper when i can just look at it online? raise it up all you want!

    March 20, 2009 at 8:05 a.m.

  • John,

    I hope you're having fun. I'm completely in favor of fun.

    P.S.: Where do I get my half of the dollar?

    March 19, 2009 at 4:27 p.m.

  • Will do. Thanks for passing the information to her.

    If you ever want to follow up on this or any other issue, feel free to call me directly at 574-1271. A call might be more efficient and less frustrating than blog exchanges.

    March 19, 2009 at 8:07 a.m.

  • Yes, I agree we disagree. I yield to your 35 years of experience in Victoria.

    March 18, 2009 at 10:05 p.m.

  • I didn't realize you had shifted from discussing the bond election to the school name selection. Your list of complaints regarding VISD is long. Regarding the name selection, I tend to not think it was some grand conspiracy. The background before consolidation is that Victoria had two imbalanced schools. All along, the discussion has been about how to achieve balance with the two new schools. Given that goal, I see it as reasonable that the school board voted for East and West high schools.

    March 18, 2009 at 9:20 p.m.

  • LBB,

    We published a five- or six-part series -- I'd have to go back and look at it all to refresh my memory -- before the bond election. I'm not clear on what you mean by the superintendent revealing his plans for the two new high schools. He went around the community with a PowerPoint presentation detailing the plan.

    Sure, you can always say more reporting might have been possible on any subject. I'd agree with you. However, I'd disagree that people didn't know what they were voting on.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:57 p.m.

  • Roy...Yeah, the national stuff can come from other sources, but, like I told Chris, I like to read the paper over breakfast and get a little of all the news that way.  It's just a habit formed over decades.  I can't imagine not having a moring paper.  It's just more satisfying -- to me anyway -- to read the paper in print rather than some on-line source.  I do read the Houston Chronicle online and always enjoy the Drudge Report, but neither are as satisfying as reading a newspaper.

    March 18, 2009 at 11:57 a.m.

  • I know that for many, the opinion page is a big draw (although in my house some people put it after the obituaries and comics).  I look forward to being challenged with new ideas, new information on current events, and a fresh perspective with the Viewpoints section.
    When I take part in that by reading, say, Walter Williams, or some of your local editorials, I really enjoy it.  I even enjoy Leonard Pitts, as he gets the blood moving with his ideas and even his writing style.
    Whoever is writing the editorials does a great job, IMO.  I don't agree with every one of them, but I see their value.  I think that the group or person who does much of this writing could write some columns, perhaps.  I think this would make the Advocate an even "better deal."
    I also like the speak out. I know that some don't care for it, but I like seeing the differing points of view.

    March 18, 2009 at 11:40 a.m.

  • waywardwind,I disagree with you on national coverage, I can get all of that I want on TV or PC. The VA is and should remain a local newspaper. I don't care of the hearts and flowers stories either,but I understand how proud a parent or friend of someone mentioned (in a good way) in the paper can feel. This brings pride to the community, and we need to  feel proud on our own little local baillwick. We also need more stories on the riftrafe and gang activetive  in the area. howbout all the trash in the streets. Information brings results,it outs  the problems and maybe get one person so upset with the problem that they decide to do something about it. Information is power,  we would have no idea what the mayor and his gang of yes men are doing down at city hall without the paper. The DA and his chief of staff were outed and not covered up as would have been the case because of the paper. Even the commentaters on the site have thier palce,without discussion and even disagreement the paper could become rather boring and onesided. We use to write a letter to the editor and wait a month or more to see if it got printed. Now it all there for all to see and within minuets. uncensored and unedited. As I said before the paper can't be all things to all people but at least we have a paper. 

    March 18, 2009 at 11:25 a.m.

  • Pilot,

    I appreciate your love for newspapers. It's a pity you don't live here in Victoria rather than Houston so we could sell you a subscription. You'll be a great candidate for our e-edition when it becomes available.

    In terms of the size of the 1977 Advocate or any other newspaper, what you describe reflects the advent of inserts in the industry. Just about every newspaper in the country contained more newsprint pages before inserts came along as a favorite of advertisers in the 1970s. Before, advertisers put all of those ads into the paper. Starting in the 1970s, many advertisers decided they liked to insert glossy pages of their own inside the paper.

    Personally, I think the ads inside the regular edition are much more effective, but I guess that's why I'm in the newsroom.

    As for being the only game in town, I'd agree we're the only one covering local news in any depth. However, we're hardly the only information source out there. If you think we have a monopoly, you haven't been paying attention lately. Of course, I know you have, or you wouldn't be here.

    March 18, 2009 at 8:29 a.m.

  • Alton,

    You fill my heart with cheer. Thank you.

    As for weather in print, I hear you, but I think we'd have a revolt on our hands if we changed that any time soon. We have marine information and tide reports in the weather package. What else would you like to see?


    I'll start with your last point first. You raised the question about the Finleys. We addressed it. You don't like the policy, but I don't see how that warrants more reporting. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but the sports world is littered with examples of father-son relationships. One of many examples may be found up the road in Lubbock with Bobby and Pat Knight. In my opinion, these father-son teams face more scrutiny and are held to a higher standard.

    On the DA, I'd encourage you to go back and read the most recent editorial and see where it slams either side of the dispute. The editorial was one in favor of openness by both sides. In terms of timing, the first trial is scheduled for later this month. I'm confused about why you would ask for follow-up on the case and then complain about an editorial that provides some of it. Our latest news story on the motions appears today.

    On the other VISD story suggestions, we're pursuing almost all of them. I'm not sure what you mean by the truth of the school names -- the school board voted on them -- but you raise good points about the moves of Juan Linn and Crain.

    I'd close with this thought: Although you may be unhappy with the pace or execution of our follow-ups on stories, where else would you even get an attempt made to answer these questions if not for your hometown newspaper?

    March 18, 2009 at 8:19 a.m.

  • I believe people often become critical of a product/service they use over time, expecting perfection.  Once again, I will defend the Advocate,  I get a lot for my money and I pay the full price per copy. I have been critical at time of a particular story, and feel like the story could have been more complete.  But I realize today's news, is not news tomorrow.  I see the newspaper as a treasure chest, I have not opened.  It hold stories of the lives of real people, events, and history in the making.  Often it is the only source of local recorded history.  if I so desire, I can purchase a copy, read it immediately, or even a year later.  It simulates the mind, mental images of people and events are in my minds eye.
    The paper is still a lot cheaper than a 16 oz. soft drink or bottled water.  I often use my old newspapers in gift boxes, starting the grill, drop paper for small painting projects, scape paper for quick notes, and etc.
     One problem I do have with many newspapers.  I have never understood the printing of the projected weather.  Most radio and televisions cover this story with the availably of the latest data.  Now tide reports in the bays would be something more useful.

    March 18, 2009 at 12:47 a.m.

  • LBB,

    I appreciate the support both you and Wayward have given to the Advocate. I'm a bit unclear on what you mean when you write that the newspaper doesn't follow up on anything except to stir the pot online. Given the many strong opinions offered freely here, we hardly need to stir the online pot. Typically, we're responding online to suggestions from readers rather than the other way around.

    If you have stories you want to see pursued, let us know. For example, an online reader asked about VISD's nepotism policy as it relates to the athletic director and his son who is a football coach. We cover that issue in Wednesday's "Watchdog" column. You might disagree with the nepotism policy, but the newspaper isn't afraid of ruffling feathers in the school district. I doubt VISD officials think we do them any favors.

    I agree we could do more investigative journalism. Such stories take considerable time and resources. We have Public Service Editor Gabe Semenza in his position to lead these efforts. All journalists worth their salt want to do hard-hitting stories, but we also have to weigh those against handling all of the daily stories we know readers want to see, too. Journalists can spend months on investigative pieces and still end up with nothing to print.

    Metro papers across the country are slashing their investigative staffs, I'm sad to report. At the rate they're going, the only ones doing any digging will be community papers like the Advocate. I hope investigative reporting somehow continues on a national level.

    In terms of typographical and grammatical errors, you probably do see more online because we're posting news faster here. Our blogs and comments such as this one go up unedited, too. We think the printed paper is better as a result, though, because we edit the online stories again before printing and gather more information based on the feedback we get more our readers. In essence, our readers become additional reporters and editors for developing stories.

    March 17, 2009 at 9:42 p.m.

  • Wayward,

    Thank you for your comments and for your longtime support of your hometown newspaper. Like you, I love to read the paper.

    I'm glad you brought up the "Fatal Funnel" series. That represents a serious commitment by the newspaper to explore the important issue of illegal immigration. Our next installment of the series Sunday tells the story of one illegal immigrant and explores the costs and benefits of illegal immigration. I hope you'll let us know what you think of this four-page special report.

    Regarding the electronic edition, that is entirely separate from the Web site you're reading now. An e-edition is a collection of PDFs that give you an exact copy of the print edition. Yes, you'll need to be a subscriber to read this. However, you won't need to be a subscriber to continue to read our Web site, as you are now.

    In terms of our Web site, we're about to launch a redesign of it March 30. We aim to improve the design and functionality, along with providing better display of our increased video coverage of the Crossroads region.

    I hear what you're saying about wanting more national news. We try to provide the most important news from elsewhere inside the paper while focusing on the front page on news of the Crossroads region. We make exceptions, of course, for particularly big wire news, but we know our focus must be on local news. Because you and everyone else can get wire news from a variety of sources, including our Web site, we think our print edition has to focus on what makes it special.

    The digital age certainly has disrupted TV listings. For starters, many have available far more channels than can easily fit into almost any printed TV guide. Additionally, many people get their listings directly from their TV set rather than any printed guide. Because our readership survey showed far fewer people were using our  printed listings now than in the past, we made a business decision to cut expenses there by removing the movie listings.

    For the same reason, we removed the very abbreviated TV listing that we had been publishing daily. Readers can get all of the daily listings and more in our Sunday guide. We hope those readers will get used to saving the Sunday guide by their TV (which is what my wife does).

    As for typos and other errors, our only answer is to say that we should do better. We start out each day with the goal of publishing the perfect edition. No daily newspaper working under intense deadline pressures will ever be error-free, but we take this issue seriously. With every error, we require written explanations with a focus on what steps we can take to prevent the likelihood of the error occurring again.

    I hope I've answered your thoughtful post. Feel free to contact me any time at 574-1271 or here.

    March 17, 2009 at 1:50 p.m.

  • Chris...I love reading a newspaper.  It's a habit I learned from my dad so many decades ago.  I can hardly eat breakfast without the paper.  I understand the need to increase prices; I really do.  The thing I do object to is the reduction in utility going along with the price increase. 
    The Advocate is a hometown newspaper and is devoted to coverage of local events.  Okay, fine.  But, I also recognize that we live in a larger world than Victoria County.  I wish I didn't have to go to other sources to find out what is happening the other side of the Colorado River.  I cringe when I see some of the things you put on the front page.  Pro and con questions, cutie pie stories about kids, articles about entertainers and their dope or violence problems are A section news.  I'm not saying those stories shouldn't be covered, but you do have a Crossroads section that would be perfect for them.  There's a war going on that is costing us lives of our soldiers and billions of our tax dollars.  There are stories about the economy that need covering, not to mention the government bailout of the crooks at AIG.  The American auto industry is in big trouble; GM says bankruptcy could mean liquidation.  These stories aren't on the front page.  The shooting at Twin Pines is the first real news story on the front page in several days.  Is the cost of newsprint and ink so expensive that printing more than six pages in the front section to feature world and national news is prohibitive? 
    We no longer see the weekly movie list in the Sunday television section and the daily TV listings are no longer printed at all.  Are those features really so expensive that they cannot be returned? 
    I don't have a journalism degree, but even I see what should be embarassing typos and other mistakes in headlines and within the body of stories.  These are the things editors should find and correct before the paper is printed. 
    I will maintain my subscription, but, am I going to now need to subscribe to the electronic paper to read it?  The opinions of your readers are interesting and I'd hate to have to pay to now read those.
    Please understand that I'm not trying to be unduly critical, but I do miss real news on the front page and true investigations by the paper on things of importance in the area.  You had a great series on the "fatal funnel" even if it did go a little too long.  There are many news junkies in the area.  We wish we had a newspaper that paid attention to more than just what happens in the five or six county area.

    March 17, 2009 at 1:37 p.m.