Celebrating Seventy-Five Years of Service and Leadership
By John H. Murphy,
executive vice president 1952-1984
"Those who drink the water must remember those who dug
the well." - Ancient Chinese proverb
On Jan. 24, 1921, fourteen men, representing sixteen Texas
daily newspapers, met in a hotel room in Waco and planted the seed that
has grown to become the Texas Daily Newspaper Association - the largest
single-state organization of its kind in the nation.
M.E. Foster, founder of the Houston Chronicle, was named
chairman and A.E. Clarkson of the Houston Post was named secretary.
It was agreed that a permanent organization should be formed
and on March 10, 1921, at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, the Texas Newspaper
Publishers Association became a reality.
organization founders were:
Clarkson, who was named president;
Dealey of the The Dallas Morning News, named vice president;
H. Cornell, Houston Chronicle, named secretary-treasurer;
Brooks Cressey, Austin American-Statesman;
C. Gooch, Dallas Times-Herald;
Edwards, Dallas Dispatch;
Fentress, Waco Tribune Herald;
Donnell, Wichita Falls Times;
E. Gaffney, Galveston Times;
G. Huntress, San Antonio Express & Evening News;
C. Mayborn, Houston Press;
Governor W.P. Hobby, The Beaumont Enterprise;
Dealey, The Dallas Morning News
Lombardi, The Galveston Daily News
Bagley, Fort Worth Record and Wichita Falls Record-News; and
Palmer, Special Commissioner, Houston.
The motivating force for the organization was the growing
impact of the labor unions in the graphic arts industry.
To manage the work of the TNPA, G.J. Palmer, formerly general
manager of The Houston Post, was retained, with the title of special
commissioner. The primary work of Mr. Palmer and the organization was
counseling publishers on negotiating labor contracts and giving cooperative
support to newspapers facing work disruptions.
The decades that followed saw the following highlights in
the TNPA/TDNA story, a story that defines the successes and the essentiality
of the association in establishing its hallmark:
R. Ahlgren succeeded the late G.J. Palmer as special commissioner and
the first office was opened in Houston.
and Southern Newspaper Publishers Association agreed to operate a joint
office in Dallas, headed by Joseph G. Camp. The membership reached
B. Adsit, who replaced Mr. Camp, served until November 1938 and was
succeeded by C.W. Tabb.
played a major role in bringing about the construction of the Southland
Paper Mill in Lufkin.
agreed to subsidize the Southwest School of Printing in Dallas. The
school's main function was to train production personnel.
the early 40s, the association considered merging with the Texas Press
Association, but elected to maintain its separate identity.
1946 the association broadened its interest in the area of newspaper
production by establishing a printing laboratory at Dallas; increasing
the school of engraving facilities; conducting a study of the tele-typesetter;
and supporting the reforestation work of the Texas Forestry Association.
October 1949, the membership voted to change the organization's name
to the Texas Daily Newspaper Association, effective February 1950.
the resignation of Harry Adsit, Mike Murray served as acting secretary
of the association until the reorganization was completed in 1951.
canceled its agreement with the SNPA and became an autonomous association.
In 1951 a general reorganization was approved, a new constitution and
by-laws affirmed, and the headquarters moved to Houston. The membership
stood at 33 papers.
1, 1952, John H. Murphy was named secretary-manager, with offices in
the Milam Building next door to the Houston Chronicle.
1954, the membership had grown to 52 papers. A bulletin service was
started and plans were initiated for an advertising sales promotion
program began in 1955 and continuing market research was sponsored,
which produced the "Texas Markets & Media" studies - the first
data on the readership, brand preference and demographics of the Texas
led in the work of moving the Southwest School of Printing from Dallas
to Sam Houston University.
joined the Texas Circulation Managers Association in establishing the "Newspaper
in Classroom" program.
and Advertising seminars were established, and the association's college
student intern training program expanded, at one time placing 150 students
and TDNA papers.
had grown to 71 papers. Working relationships between the American
Newspaper Publishers Association, the Bureau of Advertising and other
organizations within the newspaper business and the TDNA were established.
the first time since its founding, the association had a well-rounded
program of activities: advertising sales promotion; editorial and advertising
seminars; intern program; recruiting; information services; and, for
the first time, moved into the area of legislation.
association incorporated as a non-profit organization, with 73 member
papers in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
1971, the association celebrated its 50th anniversary, meeting in its
birthplace - Dallas.
1973, the association held its first meeting on foreign soil, with
190 members attending at Guadalajara, Mexico.
and other Texas media undertook their first cooperative legislative
effort, as a result of the "Sharpstown Scandal," to get the Texas Open
Records Act enacted.
by State Controller Bob Bullock and Speaker Bill Clayton, TDNA led
the effort that resulted in the Legislature repealing the sales tax
and Texas Press Association joined in efforts that succeeded in getting
laws enacted that protect news media from evidentiary searches and
the right to take legal action against violations of the Open Meetings
Utility Commission ruled in favor of TDNA against Southwestern Bell's
application to enter electronic publishing in Austin.
1984, John Murphy announced his voluntary retirement as executive vice
president, ending 32 years of service during which the membership grew
from 33 to 93 member papers.
and TPA established a media law hotline staffed by the Austin law firm
of Clark, Thomas, Winters, and Shapiro, and attorney Mary Joe Carroll.
December 1984 Philip A. Berkebile, formerly general manager of the
Nebraska Press Association, was named executive vice president of the
March 1985, TDNA headquarters moved from Houston to Austin.
joined six other media organizations to form Texas Media, a coalition
to represent news media in Freedom of Information matters.
again enacted laws allowing sales tax on newspapers, effective January
1987, after vigorous legislative efforts by TDNA and TPA, the Legislature
repealed the sales tax on newspapers.
relocation of TDNA offices to Austin, the association made legislative
involvement a primary activity.
90s began with the most intense and controversial legislative proposals
the Texas newspaper business had faced in all of its prior years. Fortunately,
by relocating the headquarters to Austin, the association was "on the
grounds" and performed with traditional effectiveness.
first issue was a bill that proposed the imposition of severe restrictions
and fees governing the recycling of newsprint and other products used
in the production of newspapers. The same legislature considered a
bill to renew the sales tax on newspapers. Both were defeated.
1993 a Senate bill, supported by Southwestern Bell Telephone Company
and related allies, proposed the deregulation of the telephone company
and the fast-moving telecommunications industry. If it had ecome law,
the bill would have given SW Bell virtually a blank check and unlimited
freedom to enter the electronic publishing field, free of Public Utility
Commission's regulation of rates, profits or area of services.
1995, House bill 2128 - the so-called Telecommunications Bill - was
passed by the legislature, limiting SW Bell's delivery of electronic
information and keeping it under control by the PUC. During the prior
two years TDNA and TPA, at high cost in money, time and effort, battled
SW Bell and its allies, striving to protect not just the interest of
newspapers but also consumers, competitive phone companies and others
who would have been severely affected if SW Bell had achieved its goal. This
legislative session also revamped the Texas Open Records act to include "information" in
an electronic medium and established uniform costs for that information
not to exceed "actual costs." The Act's name was also changed
to the Texas Public Information Act.
1997 over 300 individual pieces of legislation sought to effect the
newspaper industry. A legislative advisory committee was created
in conjunction with the Texas Press Association to analyze and determine
a position of support or opposition to each of these bills. House
bill 951 was passed to clarify technical corrections in the Public
Information Act. The bill also established e-mail requests for
public information as valid requests.
the 1999 legislative session two major pieces of open government legislation
passed. House bill 156 revoked an often used loophole in the
Texas Open Meetings Act that allowed governmental bodies to meet behind
closed doors when receiving comments from "staff." Also, Senate
bill 1851 established a public information sign to be posted by governmental
bodies that informs requestors of their rights under the law. The
bill also shortened the time period for requests of Attorney General's
opinions. In short, the bill made the Act more user friendly.
the 77th Legislature in 2001, TDNA and TPA closely followed about 200
bills. It was a successful session, with TDNA/TPA helping defeat bills
that would move public notice to the internet and close records from
public scrutiny. TDNA/TPA also helped pass HB 371, which extends the
Open Meetings Act to community action agencies and HB 1544, which clarifies
access to motor vehicle records and helped settle litigation over these
records. During the session, TDNA also resolved a situation with the
Comptroller’s office that could have resulted in newspapers
having to charge sales tax for ads that are placed on the internet.
As a result of meetings between the Comptroller and TDNA members and
staff, a ruling was issued that clarifies all advertising is exempt
from taxation whether it is online or in the newspaper.
Since its inception TDNA has been dedicated to fulfilling
its creed - Service and Leadership - not only for newspapers, but in
the best interest of the people of Texas.