Anyone with business savvy can compare the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Dallas Morning News and spot the differences. The Star-T is owned by a struggling corporation in faraway California that is hip-deep in debt and slashing overhead costs every quarter in a desperate attempt to avoid bankruptcy. The Morning News is owned by a Dallas-based company that has had its own struggles but was among the industry’s forerunners in establishing higher subscription rates and a paywall for online subscribers — and has avoided a massive debt load.
So it’s no surprise that Mitchell Schnurman, the Star-T’s foremost business columnist, a guy with 24 years tenure at the paper and an intuitive sense for commerce, has joined the steady exodus from Fort Worth’s daily newspaper, landing a new gig at the Morning News. Numerous layoffs in the past four years at the Star-T have decimated staff and morale. Fewer reporters and editors lead to more mistakes, further chipping away at the paper’s credibility. Many other employees, such as longtime editorial director J.R. Labbe, have resigned to seek other opportunities.
Schnurman will miss his colleagues in Fort Worth, and he wishes his former paper the best. But he’s no dummy. “I’m not convinced it can turn things around,” he said. “I want to stay in journalism. I still love it. I like my chances here [in Dallas] a lot better.”
Schnurman spoke with Static on Tuesday. His first Morning News column will appear on Sunday. He’s thrilled to have nabbed a position at a “bigger, better, deeper paper with more stable ownership,” he said.
Longtime Star-T schools writer Eva-Marie Ayala has also bolted to the News.
Meanwhile, Tuesday’s edition of the Star-Telegram misspelled “education” on the front page.
End of the Rainbow
In June, Weekly reporter Andrew McLemore interviewed Tom Anable about the Fort Worth school district’s bullying policy, taking a few photos at the gay activist’s beautiful home. Among its decorations was a large framed poster for “Raid of the Rainbow Lounge,” the documentary about the now-infamous 2009 police raid that led to the creation of the gay-rights group Fairness Fort Worth, with Anable at the helm. Only a few such posters were made, Anable said proudly, pointing out his name among the film credits at the bottom.
Static now mourns Anable’s apparent suicide last week in Dutch Branch Park by Benbrook Lake. Anable often referred to himself as an “accidental activist,” but when McLemore spoke with him, Anable was as articulate and knowledgeable as ever as he discussed every facet of his years-long struggle for better treatment of Fort Worth’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender residents.
Fairness Fort Worth announced that Jon Nelson, another founding member, will pick up where Anable left off. Nelson is a worthy successor, but Static, like so many others, will recall fondly the man who fought –– with great success –– to make this city a safer, more tolerant place to live.