Coming into this job as managing editor of the Star, there were a few things I knew about Fort Bend County, having read the recurring stories in all the major publications.
Among them are the fact that it’s growing rapidly, it’s incredibly diverse and it’s almost incomprehensibly vast.
But there’s a huge difference between reading about details like that, and living it. In the few months that I’ve been on the job, I’ve gotten to write stories about the many cultures of the county, the innovations it’s undergoing to match the growth and the countless achievements of those living here, to name just a few.
With each story I write and every meeting and event I attend, however, I’m constantly amazed at the comparative lack of news coverage for how much news happens in Fort Bend County. I’ve been at newspapers covering a fraction of the coverage area that have considerably more publications and reporters to unearth stories.
Some of you may have noticed, but for those of you who haven’t, in recent weeks we’ve started publishing a daily newsletter that we send out each weekday morning to our subscribers, detailing the latest breaking news in Fort Bend County.
I’ll admit I’m a bit of an old-fashioned journalist. I like my physical paper, and I’m the sort of person who keeps regular tabs on my favorite reporters, writers and publications, checking in on each of them daily to see if they’ve written anything new.
So, when I was approached about the possibility of writing a daily newsletter for readers, I was somewhat surprised. I knew newsletters were popular, but I hadn’t realized just how popular.
It turns out I’ve been behind the times. Not only have our newsletters been beneficial to our many readers, but they’ve also been a saving grace to those of us tasked with compiling them.
The way I like to tell it is that, with the arrival of the Fort Bend Star Daily Newsletter, we’ve started functioning more like a daily news outlet. If you pay attention to our website (fortbendstar.com) and various social media channels (@FortBendStar), you might have noticed they’ve been a good deal more active in recent weeks than they were before.
Whenever we get news about a crime, or a popular event returning to Fort Bend County, or anything else that might be in the public interest, we try to let you know right away.
And, personally, it helps contextualize the reporting we do throughout the week when I sit down to put the newsletter together and ask myself, “What is the most noteworthy news in Fort Bend County today?”
Reporters, myself included, tend to work in stretches – what we get word of one day might take days or weeks before it materializes into a fleshed-out story that appears in the paper.
Take last week, for instance. On Tuesday, I got word that the county commissioners were contemplating giving money to the Black Cowboy Museum to move to a bigger, nicer building. As someone who dabbles in a history obsession in his free time, this felt like the perfect opportunity to explore the museum, as well as ask questions about whether there’s been a rise in interest in local history.
By Wednesday, I was hanging out with Larry Callies, taking photos and learning about the visitors who come from far and wide to learn about the history of Black cowboys. That visit gave way to more interviews and conversations, that only materialized in a story just before our Monday deadline.
Previously, I think our tendency was to keep our cards close to our chest while slowly piecing together the stories that eventually make their way to you. With the newsletter, that’s about to change. Not only do we hope to bring you the latest and greatest stories, but we also want to let you know about our reporting as it’s happening.
With trust in the media at an all-time low, it seems like including all of you in the process might help strengthen those bonds.
For those of you who are already receiving the newsletter each morning, I hope you’ve been able to glean something from it. And my pledge to you is that the newsletter you received this morning isn’t the finished product. Each day, the goal is to improve on what we did before.
So, if you’re receiving it and would like to see something more included, let me know. If you don’t like the way something appears, reach out. If something is working, we always appreciate positive feedback as well.
Here’s to serving our communities for many years to come.