Media Clips

byHugh Forrest

We've now settled into the dog days of summer, when a gray haze of ozone dulls our senses like a cheap narcotic. It's too sticky to come up with complete essays, complete paragraphs, or even complete ideas. But the cool of Autumn is right around the corner, right? No, not in Central Texas. Things will stay this way until at least October, a realization that makes the weather all the more burdensome. At a time like this, all there's left to do is list, list, list, list.

Things to like about the current state of Austin media:

1. Eric Blumberg, KVET-AM

2. Jim Hightower, Hightower Radio

3. The Texas Observer

4. Gibby Haynes, KROX-FM

5. Texas Monthly

Things that would make it even better:

1. A second daily newspaper

2. More small alternative publications

3. More local talk radio programs

4. Better bookstores

5. Better television news

Investigative stories local television stations could pursue to improve their credibility:

1. Politics behind sale of Austin's electric utility

2. Local lobbyists

3. Has community policing worked
elsewhere?

4. The money behind Take Back Austin

5. Real costs of building baseball stadium

Stories they will cover instead to increase their ratings:

1. Auto wrecks

2. Murders

3. Drug busts

4. Fires

5. Cute items about pets

Five things that would make local television news less annoying:

1. More reporting, less technology

2. Drop the scripted banter between anchors and reporters

3. Eliminate tie-ins to network programming

4. Fewer human interest stories

5. Restrain MTVish camera angles

Moves that would immediately improve the Austin American-Statesman's credibility:

1. Terminate "Rant & Rave"

2. Liberate the "O.J. Trial Watchers"

3. Kill the cute headlines

4. Less television coverage

5. Hire an ombudsman

Other moves that would make it a more enjoyable reading experience:

1. Tough investigative reporting

2. Crisp feature writing

3. Expanded coverage on city issues

4. More fact checking

5. Better proofreading

Stories the Statesman will never touch:

1. Cons of incentive packages for luring businesses to Austin

2. University of Texas/Freeport-McMoRan connection

3. Negative effect of overgrowth in this region

4. Media conglomeration

5. Morale problems among local high- tech workers

Statesman writers that have made the paper more readable in the last six weeks:

1. Ken Herman

2. Diane Dworkin

3. David Elliot

4. James Garcia

5. Mike Todd

Improvements to the Statesman since Richard Oppel became editor:

1. Less extracted quotes

2. Expanded scope of coverage

3. Better writing

4. Editor's weekly column

5. Fewer human interest stories

Daily newspapers I'd still rather read:

1. The New York Times

2. The Washington Post

3. The Wall Street Journal

4. The St. Petersburg Times

5. The Christian Science Monitor

Mainstream national magazines worth the subscription price:

1. The New Yorker

2. Wired

3. Vanity Fair

4. Harpers

5. The Atlantic Monthly

Publications to read for a more liberal perspective:

1. The Nation

2. Media Culture Review

3. Mother Jones

4. Extra: The Magazine of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting

5. In These Times

Local publications that you should make an effort to read:

1. The Texas Triangle

2. Nokoa

3. Fag Rag

4. The Villager

5. (sub)Tex

And when you are through with those, read these:

1. La Prensa

2. New Texas

3. West Austin News

4. Westlake Picayune

5. Music City News

Deceased local publications we still miss:

1. Third Coast

2. The Austin Comic News

3. Polemicist

4. Images

5. Steve's Inner City News

Local writers we always read:

1. Molly Ivins, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

2. Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker

3. Robert Barnstone, West Austin News

4. Daryl Janes, Austin Business Journal

5. Michael Corcoran, Austin American- Statesman

Things to do instead of watching the O.J. trial:

1. Watch C-SPAN

2. Write a letter to the editor

3. Volunteer for a charity

4. Exercise

5. Read a book

Books about Texas to read when you're not watching O.J.:

1. The Liars Club, Mary Karr

2. Goodbye to a River, John Graves

3. The Gay Place, Billy Lee Brammer

4. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry

5. Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger

Books to read instead of watching football this fall:

1. North Dallas Forty, Peter Gent

2. God's Coach, Skip Bayless

3. A Fan's Notes, Frederick Exley

4. Semi-Tough, Dan Jenkins

5. Bootlegger's Boy, Barry Switzer & Bud Shrake

Good Austin radio stations on the left end of the dial:

1. KUT-FM (90.5)

2. KAZI-FM (88.7)

3. KVRX-FM (91.7)

4. KOOP-FM (91.7)

5. KMFA (89.5)

Central Texas personalties that would be good radio talk-show hosts:

1. Ann Richards, former Governor

2. Doug English, El Arroyo

3. Shannon Sedwick, owner of Esthers Follies

4. Eddie Wilson, owner of Threadgills

5. Joe Nick Patoski, contributing editor at Texas Monthly

Five magazine articles you should have read this summer:

1. "Double Mystery" by Lawrence Wright in the August 7 New Yorker

2. Dominick Dunne's coverage of the Simpson trial in Vanity Fair

3. "Corporate Predator: Freeport-McMoRan at Home and Abroad" by Eyal Press in the July 31 The Nation

4. "A War in the Family" by Roger Cohen in the August 6 New York Times Magazine

5. "Slick Philly" by William Saletan in the July/August Mother Jones

Stories you've already read too much about this year:

1. Susan Smith

2. Dan Rather & Connie Chung

3. Hugh Grant

4. Waterworld

5. Scott O'Grady

Overcovered stories in the local media in 1995:

1. CBS/Fox switch

2. Children at Hippie Hollow

3. Lyle Lovett/Julia Roberts divorce

4. Dennis Rodman

5. Town Lake bike thief

Five things I wish I'd written more about in this column:

1. Media conglomeration

2. Whitewater

3. The Contract With America

4. The baseball strike

5. Waco

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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