Archive for August 4th, 2020

Happy Birthday President Obama!

The H-Town Mayor says citations will be issued if you are not wearing a face mask when you are supposed to.  I don’t have a problem with that since I wear one.

Commentary has mentioned before that I grew up right across the creek from Baytown’s Robert E. Lee High School.  You can see the school from my Dad’s front yard right across Goose Creek.  I didn’t attend because when I was ready to begin high school, the Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District opened Ross Sterling High School and allowed non-Sterling zoned student to attend if they could secure their own transportation.

My brother and I and a few friends decided to go to Sterling in part because it was an opportunity to attend a brand-new high school and different experience.  My older and younger sisters went to Lee.

Baytown is now having a discussion on whether or not to ditch the Robert E. Lee name.  Midland and Tyler recently decided to change their Robert E. Lee school names.  I suspect Baytown will follow suit.

Lee High School’s mascot is the Gander.  Not because a Gander gallantly fought in the Civil War.  It is a Goose Creek thing.  A gander is a male goose.

Back in my day, the our high school yearbook or annual was called the “Governor” because Ross Sterling was once Governor of Texas.  Lee’s yearbook was called the “Traveler.”  Care to guess why it was called “Traveler?” Traveller with two ls was the name of General Robert E. Lee’s horse during the Civil War.

Now you know.

I have no idea what both high schools call their yearbooks these days.  Heck, I don’t even know if they still do yearbooks.

The Chron had this on Page A-3 in Sunday’s hard copy:

To our readers,

Within our newsroom, the death of former Houston resident George Floyd and the resulting protest movement for racial justice has been a big story. But it is also more.

The calls for action revived discussions among Chronicle staffers, including many journalists of color who told us they felt disconnected from the processes of hiring, promotion and story discussions. That’s not the type of climate we want in our newsroom, so we’ve set out to do better.

First, a little background: In journalism, as in some other industries, workplaces have struggled to hire and retain journalists of color. At the Chronicle, we generally have fared better than the industry average; roughly 34 percent of our journalists are Black, Hispanic, Asian or identify with more than one race, compared to 22 percent in the most recent national survey we could find.

About 24 percent of our supervisors are people of color, again slightly better than average.

Our newsroom is less than half female, 44 percent. Among supervisors, 37 percent are women. Clearly, that’s not a proper representation of women.

And in Houston, a majority-minority community, we do not have enough journalists of color on our staff. We strive to look like the communities we cover, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it would improve our journalism.

When we have a newsroom that looks like Houston, our coverage is more likely to look like Houston. The discussions about stories will be more lively – and more likely to produce journalism that is relevant to as many readers as possible.

So, you might ask, what will we do?

We will work on hiring and retaining the best journalists we can find, with a new emphasis on finding more people of color and more women. When we find them, we will work to put them into positions where they can succeed and advance. And we will review our pay structure to make certain they are compensated fairly.

We will institute policies to ensure that our reporters, photographers and editors are looking for – and finding – sources that represent the rich mix of diversity in our city and region. And we will audit how we’re doing at that.

This is typical of discussions that have been occurring within newsrooms around the country this summer. Many of them have been more highly publicized, but we wanted you to know what we’re trying to accomplish at the Chronicle.

It’s your newspaper, and you have a stake in the staff — and how that staff assembles our news report, both in print and online at houstonchronicle.com. We’ll have more to say about that in coming weeks.

As always, I thank you for subscribing, and for reading.

Steve Riley

Executive Editor

Commentary forgot to mention that we won Sunday despite an Albert Pujols grand salami off of our Josh James.

We are in Phoenix this evening.

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