How do Advocate reporters find all these stories?

Whether it’s the pandemic or the other areas we cover, Advocate reporters rely on you to tell stories that otherwise wouldn’t see the light of day: the first draft of history.

As a business reporter, I gather updates about industries in our region and share them through news stories. I usually write about energy, new businesses or the economy, but one family with deep roots in the area allowed me to share how a business trend is more than just numbers.

In October, I received a news release about manufactured homes — a topic that, on its face, would only interest a few people in our area.

After pursuing a story about the drastic changes to the industry, I met Wardell Potts Jr. and Gayla Massey, of Lavaca County. Massey, a recently returned Texan, and her first time Texan husband Potts allowed me the opportunity to share stories I never would have otherwise found.

When the couple moved into their new manufactured home, I wrote about the couple’s new house which was part of an industry experiencing the “biggest backlog we’ve ever had.”

The backlog is part of a larger, economy-wide challenge for businesses to mitigate demand and supply during the pandemic. Thanks to the insight from Massey and Potts, I began covering a three-part series on supply chains and their macroeconomic effect on the U.S. and Victoria region.

While I visited with the couple, I noticed Potts’ home music studio in the back.

Potts then shared his story about his career as an international music producer, musician and internet radio host for SOLAR Records Radio which now takes place from his rural manufactured home.

One thing lead to another, and I realized there were more stories to tell after a long-lost cousin of decades before found Massey by recognizing Massey’s name in the music studio story.

“She was crying on the phone” after first reconnecting, Massey told me about her cousin, Cheryl Roden. The two have since visited multiple times and even used Potts’ recording abilities to cut a recording of Roden playing piano.

Through positive community engagement, these stories were made possible.

A tumultuous year reminded me of how important it is to work with our community to tell their stories — and the importance of our community working with Advocate reporters, too.

While Advocate reporters are often out and about or away from our desk, our lines are always open for suggestions, comments or questions.

Call or leave us a message at 361-574-1222, tell us about something newsy over email at or engage in a positive conversation on Facebook and Twitter. For our readers, my request to you is more timely, and timeless, than ever as the hardship of 2020 seems to have spilled into this year.

From Here. For Here. Since 1846. We’ll continue telling your stories, and I look forward to meeting you soon.

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Geoff Sloan reports on business and agriculture in the Crossroads region. Reach him at or @GeoffroSloan on Twitter.

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Business Reporter

Geoff Sloan reports on business and breaking news in the Crossroads region. He received his Bachelor's in international relations with minors in journalism and French from Texas State University. Reach him at or @GeoffroSloan on Twitter.

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