There’s an old Hoyt Axton song begins with the line, “I am less than the song I am singing.” It’s a sentiment all journalists would do well to keep in mind.
My name is Matt deGrood and I am the new managing editor of the Fort Bend Star. I come to you most recently from the Galveston County Daily News, where I spent some five years, covering everything from city government and legal matters to the maritime industry and cultural affairs. During my time in Galveston, our editorial team won awards for our coverage of the vast flooding during Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath as well as for a series about bullying in schools and the Santa Fe High School shooting in 2018. Before arriving in Galveston, I worked as a sports reporter in Nacogdoches, where I covered local high schools and Stephen F. Austin college athletics.
But I am above all, a Texan first and a journalist second. Aside from a brief stint in 2011, I have spent my life in Texas. I’ve lived everywhere from the Panhandle, where I was born, to deep behind the Pine Curtain. I went to college in the DFW metroplex. And I’ve called the Houston area my home since 2016. I bring with me the knowledge and love of Texas’ peculiarities and contradictions that only a life lived here can bestow.
But the story of my life and journalism career pales in comparison to the story of you, my dear readers and future readers. I’ve long admired Fort Bend County from afar. In many ways, the story of the county is the story of Texas and America. And each and every one of you - from elected officials and other community leaders all the way down to small business owners and county residents - play a part each day in bringing that story to life.
In coming days and weeks, I look forward to meeting and getting to know as many of you all as possible. The open secret in journalism is that a newspaper is only as good as its readers and sources. There is no higher truism, in my own opinion.
I may have read much about Fort Bend County, but I do not yet know it as intimately as you do. As a staff, we want to search out and tell all of this region’s stories that need telling. That search is never really complete. But we can only do it with your help.
So, if there’s anything we hope this column accomplishes, let it serve as the start of a long conversation. And for any conversation to work, we need to hear from you. If there’s a story out there that needs covering, if there’s a question you have that you’d like answered or even if you’d just like to shoot the breeze – my inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org) and phone (281-690-4200) are ever open and ready.
Not only do we hope to reach our existing loyal readers, but we also hope to bring in scores of new ones as well, with a diverse array of stories that touch on all aspects of life in Fort Bend County. This place is alive, dynamic and ever-changing, and we want the pages of this newspaper to reflect that each and every week.
Even if you don’t always agree with us, we want to hear from you. If you pick up a paper one day and disagree with a story, or feel it needs more context, reach out and let us know. We have tough skin, and feedback can only help us improve.
I look forward to telling the stories of Fort Bend County together.