My great-aunt used to joke that in my family, we don’t have blood running through our veins, we have newspaper ink. She wrote a column for the local paper in a time when very few women were in journalism, my grandpa wrote columns, my mom was an editor, “page doctor” (back in the days before fully digitalized printing), reporter, and frequent columnist. I remember hearing the sounds of the printing press when I would go with my mom to pick up her check at the office of the paper, always intrigued and a little scared. AP Stylebooks can be found on just about every bookshelf in my home.
I was raised to appreciate good journalism. Though a proud Arkansan, I have Texas roots that I cannot and will not shake. One of the many benefits of my Texan background, along with impeccable taste in BBQ sauce and a superhuman tolerance for humidity, is my subscription to Texas Monthly.
I read Texas Monthly nearly religiously, and it’s where I pull a lot of my design and writing inspiration from. Pamela Colloff and Skip Hollandsworth, two seasoned TM writers, are pretty much my personal heroes. I often cite Colloff’s “The Reckoning” as my favorite piece of longform journalism. Colloff’s coverage of wrongful convictions and Hollandsworth’s powerful features are what journalism should look like.
Aside from TM, I read the New York Times fairly often and turn to them for editorial inspiration. Nicholas Kristof is one of my favorite columnists. However, Jayson Greene’s column “Children Don’t Always Live” is easily the most powerful column I have ever read. It thoroughly inspired my December editorial and made me cry at my desk in the journalism room.
When it comes to news sources, I always turn to the AP, especially their raw news. They tend to be the most unbiased and accurate.
For covering local and state politics, I tend to turn to the sources themselves. An Arkansas House member, Representative Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville) sends out legislative updates on his email list that details upcoming legislation in both the House and Senate. The House also broadcasts their sessions online, and the Senate maintains a fairly constant social media presence.