The Society of Publication Designers takes a look at the work being done at the Observer by art director Alexander Flores, who says he does almost all of the cover work himself. The SPD highlights a collection of Flores' covers that are quite diverse; the art director says that's intentional. "I try look at the paper as a collective volume; I try to not design similar-looking covers in tone, color palette, style, etc. in consecutive weeks," he says. "I want to make sure that the readers notice the new issue on the stand and pick that one up too, instead of not, because from 10 feet away it looks like last week's issue which they already grabbed."
After a guilty verdict was handed down in Dallas' high-profile political corruption trial last month, one juror told an Observer reporter that the jurors may have discussed -- or overhead outside discussion about -- some pieces of evidence during the trial, both of which are against the rules of the court. That revelation led one of the defense attorneys to request a new trial, which led the judge to request the interview tape from the Observer. The paper said no, drawing a snippy rebuke from the judge, who wrote that the alt-weekly was citing "some vague constitutional protection unknown to this Court" in its refusal to give her the tape. "But 'round here we call that 'vague constitutional protection' the First Amendment," notes Observer managing editor Patrick Williams, adding: "We're not in the business of becoming an adjunct to the government."
The Dallas Bar Association honors the best legal news reporting in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with its annual Stephen Philbin Awards; this year the Dallas Observer's Jim Schutze and Robert Wilonsky took home an award in the new category of Electronic Media News/Feature Article for their live-blogging of a City Hall corruption trial, which the association says "gave readers a play-by-play account of each day's courtroom activities."
The Houston Press and Fort Worth Weekly were the big winners in this year's awards competition sponsored by the Houston Press Club. The Press won a total of 16 awards. In the big papers division, it finished first for Business Story and General Commentary/Criticism, while staff writer Craig Malisow was named Print Journalist of the Year (his colleague Chris Vogel was runner-up.) In the art and web divisions open to all papers, the Press took home first-place awards for Feature Story, Hard News Reporting, Photo Package and Sports Photo. The Weekly, competing in the small papers division, won a total of 11 awards, including first-place finishes in Feature Story, Investigative Reporting, Politics/Government, Sports Story and Business Story (which it swept). Also in the large division, the Dallas Observer won four awards, including firsts for Feature Story, Sports Story; in the small division, San Antonio Current took home three awards.
The alt-weekly won this year's Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism in the non-daily category for its story on the growing heroin epidemic among Long Island's youth -- a story the judges called "the epitome of public service journalism." The story -- "Long Highland" -- also won the AltWeekly Award for Public Service last week in Tucson. The Dallas Observer and New Times Broward-Palm Beach received honorable mentions in the Casey Medal competition, which recognizes "exemplary reporting on children and families in the U.S."
A Father's Day event at Addison Airport was offering flights on the vintage aircraft B-24 Liberator, and Danny Hurley was there shooting for the Observer with permission from the plane owner and pilot. But then his day was cut short. "Waiting for the plane to take off, I was surprised by the Addison police," Hurley tells the Observer. "An officer unholstered his gun, then handcuffed and held me until Homeland Security cleared my name." Hurley wasn't arrested, but an officer told him that he did break federal law by being on the tarmac, and that a report will be sent to Homeland Security. The pilot told Hurley the airport was also shut down for "a short while."
Julie Lyons, the evangelical Christian who stepped down as Observer editor in late 2007, has written a book on her religious transformation. Holy Roller was released yesterday by WaterBrook Press, a subsidiary of Random House. In an interview with Beliefnet, Lyons, who wrote a popular and at-times controversial "Bible Girl" column for the alt-weekly, talks about the book and what she's been up to since leaving the Observer. Besides writing, she says she's spent more time in ministry. "I go door to door in the streets of South Dallas with an evangelism team," she says. "We're out there to win souls for Jesus, plain and simple."
The Dallas Observer, Fort Worth Weekly, and Houston Press were all honored when the Press Club's announced its 50th annual Katie Awards Saturday night. The Press won a total of three awards in the large newspapers division, including a first-place win for Column. The Observer, which also competed in the large newspapers division, won one award. In the small and medium newspapers division, the Weekly took home a total of four awards, three of which were first-place finishes -- in Business reporting, Investigative Series or Story, and Specialty Reporting.
In the eighth installment of this year's "How I Got That Story" series, the Dallas Observer's Megan Feldman talks to St. John Barned-Smith about her award-winning feature on Central American migrants who make often-deadly 1,500-mile trips on freight trains to make it to the Mexican-American border. Feldman went to Mexico to immerse herself in the experience of these immigrants, and also was able to tell the story through one person who had made the journey and ended up in the Dallas area. She says the most challenging aspect of reporting the story was finding that source: "In Dallas, there's a particularly harsh backlash against immigrants, and on the other side of that, there's a very high level of fear among the immigrants, so it took a long time to find someone who'd be willing to tell their story."
"Starting Oct. 30, Quick will become focused exclusively on entertainment and nightlife rather than its current offering of news summaries and entertainment-related stories," the Morning News reports. "It also will become a weekly appearing Thursdays, rather than publishing five days a week."