When the publisher of Local Profile, Philip Silvestri, asked if I was interested in the managing editor position, it seemed like the perfect storm of opportunity. I’d been thinking about entering the lion’s den, also known as the editor’s bullpen, for a couple of years now since leaving my staff writing job at the Dallas Observer. Talking story with writers has always been appealing to me. It’s part of the reason I’ve been teaching them for more than a decade now at various community colleges and universities. But as an editor, you not only talk story with other writers, you help them develop an idea into a work of art that hopefully resonates with readers or possibly ignites a firestorm. It’s like juggling in the eye of a tornado. The editor is doing their best to keep writers from falling into the storm.
The editor also has a mission to the reader: tell stories that matter to them, to their loved ones, to their community. It’s a mission I plan to fulfill during my tenure here.
I’m not a Native Texan, but I’ve lived here long enough to call it home. I grew up mostly in rural areas around guns, horses, the military and the Dallas Cowboys. I worked as a truck driver, got injured in the oilfield, and went back to college and finished a few degrees (a bachelor’s and a couple of master’s) nearly 10 years after dropping out. I play guitar from time to time but mostly to unwind.
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I’ve spent the last 13 years writing for newspapers and magazines. I’ve told stories about predatory towing and a sheriff who struggled with keeping his zipper up. I’ve tackled tales about people in need and killers seeking revenge. Some have appeared in the pages of the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Weekly and Rolling Stone. Others have garnered recognition from my peers and the Dallas Bar Association. As a reporter, I’ve been known to cover crime, the environment, and music. I’m also interested in corruption, politics and social and mental health issues.
In August, I took a job as a reporter at a small newspaper in Wise County. I still believe in the local reporter’s mission: focus on community, reflect it, and tell stories that affect it. I planned on staying there for a couple of years. Then Philip offered me a job.
Local Profile’s mission is not so different. We seek to represent the Collin County community and tell stories that matter to our readers.
Ross Perot Sr. once said, “The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river.” In a lot of ways, this saying also applies to journalists. As storytellers, we are the ones who say the river is dirty. As journalists, we find out why. Then we leave it up to you to do something about it.
During our meetings, Philip stressed he wanted to continue offering readers stories with depth and substance, the kind that resonate with you long after you turn the page. I accepted his job offer because I believe in this vision.