Mommie dearest

Why I'm trading my typewriter for diapers and drool cloths

"Your stories show some style," Lacey told me over lunch at Parigi's restaurant in Oak Lawn. "But I don't know if you're aggressive enough for us."

I've thanked God for the Observer ever since--as should everybody else in this town. Not only are there no sacred cows to dodge when it comes to covering stories--an unheard-of scenario for most journalists in this country, I promise you--there are no space limitations when it comes to important stories, and no editorial intervention from saber-rattling advertisers or the various powers-that-be. Best of all, the reporters here operate in the shadow of that soporific beast across town, The Dallas Morning News, which has more money and less guts than any newspaper in America. The News thinks nothing about publishing page after page of watered-down, business-driven, publisher-blessed, knowingly disingenuous, racially and politically correct--and therefore inaccurate--articles that this newspaper is only too happy to correct.

With the Herald gone--and unfortunately, in the end that paper was no better--there are few opportunities to learn the truth about the most important issues of the day. I would argue that they are limited to this newspaper and the occasional, hard-hitting TV expose by a Robert Riggs or a Brett Shipp.

I can't tell you how many times I've been asked over the past five years, "Why do you work for that little rag? You could go do TV or go to a bigger newspaper." The answer is simple: If they bothered to read the "little rag," and if they cared at all about what really goes on in this town--at Dallas City Hall, at Dallas school board meetings, in courtrooms, and in countless closed-door meetings--they would know the answer. I'd suggest they start with today's cover story.

Yes, today I'm walking away from the best job in journalism to go mail those holiday cards--four years late. But when I'm through--when I'm real sick and tired of the Discovery Zone, and when my kids no longer look at me as though I were an apparition--I'm going to make up for the lost time away from this space.

I'll be back, with a vengeance. And you'll recognize me immediately--I'll be the one with the new briefcase.

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