Kay and I spent a wonderful three hours Sunday with dozens of family — the family I worked side by side with and loved at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram from April 1987 to February 2000, when I moved on to The Dallas Morning News. Bob Cox, a retired S-T reporter, organized a long-overdue reunion, where hugs, laughs, cherished newsroom memories, life updates and, I’m sure, tears filled a room in the historic downtown Flatiron Building and spilled to the patio outside.
The group pic above (which I’m not in) includes mostly folks who worked at the Arlington S-T and is only a fraction of the crowd that gathered on a beautiful afternoon. I’m still kicking myself for never pulling out my phone to take photos, but Ana Barrera Waggoner was gracious enough to snap the shot below of Kay and me. We all had a glorious time, and I hope it’ll become an annual event. It’s something I think we all really needed.
For all of us, the Star-Telegram was a truly special place. For many like me, it was the first “major metro” where we worked as journalists after starting out at smaller newspapers. Some were even fortunate to begin their careers at the S-T and stay there for decades. Not only does it have a rich history, thanks in no small part to colorful longtime publisher Amon G. Carter Sr. and its stature as, at one time, the paper with the largest circulation in Texas.
There’s just always been something about the paper and the charm of the city that have made it a draw for journalists. And we all shared a bond and a commitment to the mission of what we did every day, 365 days a year.
Because of the painful difficulties that have befallen the industry in recent years, most of the S-T family that came together Sunday has moved on to other jobs — many outside newspapers, some freelancing — while others have retired. A very small handful who attended are still toiling at the S-T, which has had a dickens of a time, with round after round of layoffs, buyouts and the announcement last week that parent company McClatchy has filed for bankruptcy.
Still, the paper’s minuscule staff fights to survive and continue providing news and coverage of the Fort Worth area to the community just as it has for well over 100 years — and as papers in cities all over the country remain dedicated to doing in the digital environment.
But Sunday was about reuniting with our old colleagues — our family — after years apart. And except for missing all the folks who weren’t able to make it, it was perfect.
Just what our Star-Telegram family needed.