Longevity and deeply rooted knowledge of Tarrant County

Posted Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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witt I was doing research for a series of ads we're planning that show off some of our terrific newsroom staffers, and I was amazed by the statistics. When I counted up the years of experience of our most senior columnists, reporters and photographers, the 48 men and women on that list collectively have more than 1,000 years covering Tarrant County!

They average more than 21 years at the Star-Telegram.

Even though the staffs of all news organizations have shrunk over the past few years, we still have the largest staff of anybody on our side of the Dallas-Fort Worth market. But that experience speaks to why people turn to the Star-Telegram when they want to know what's going on in our community.

We know this community because we've lived here for a long time.

Those people represent roughly a third of our newsroom staff. They create content for us, in digital and print, and have more than 10 years of experience at the Star-Telegram. They cover government and schools, businesses and sports teams, entertainment and the arts.

Many of our writers have more than 30 years here, such as sports columnist Gil LeBreton, metro/food columnist Bud Kennedy, sportswriter Jimmy Burch, business writer Jim Fuquay, editorial page editor/columnist Mike Norman, education reporter Shirley Jinkins and police reporter Domingo Ramirez.

Half our full-time photographers -- Rodger Mallison, Ron Ennis and Paul Moseley -- have been here more than 30 years, while the other three "rookies" -- Ron Jenkins, Max Faulkner and Joyce Marshall -- all have more than 28 years of service!

Another third of our staff -- the editors, our production team of copy editors and page designers, and our online producers -- have somewhat less experience than our daily content-creation team. These 40 people average 20 years on the job!

I know I'm using too many exclamation points, but I'm really just astounded by these facts. I work with these people every day, but I never really stopped to think about the vast local experience they bring to their jobs.

Many of these editors have more than 30 years at the Star-Telegram: assistant managing editor/Digital Tom Leferink, deputy managing editor for multimedia Sarah Huffstetler, design editor Michael Kerr, copy editor Darrell Goolsbee, assistant metro editor Ann Thompson and research director Cathy Belcher. With only 27 years, I don't qualify for elite status on that team yet.

The final third of our staff, about 50 journalists, have less than 10 years at the Star-Telegram, but many would rank among the very best journalists on our staff based on talent.

I would like to highlight three people: page designer Seth Schrock and reporters Yamil Berard and Andrea Ahles.

Every spring, the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors organization holds a competition to honor the best journalists in the state, and these three are among the nominees we've chosen. Winners will be announced in March.

Schrock is nominated for "Star Designer of the Year" for his work creating compelling sports pages in the daily paper and interactive content for our monthly iPad sports magazine DFW OT.

Berard is nominated for "Star Reporter of the Year" for her investigative reporting that probed our justice system in several multi-day stories during the year. She also tackled health and safety problems at the state's largest assisted-living center and developments in the state forensic science board.

And Ahles is nominated for "Specialty Reporter of the Year" for her work on one of the most important stories impacting our area, the ongoing bankruptcy of American Airlines.

I'm proud to say I work at the Star-Telegram with everyone on this fantastic staff of journalists.

Jim Witt is executive editor of the Star-Telegram



Twitter: @jimelvis

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