Mic Barnette writes a very popular genealogy column in the Houston Chronicle. He has thousands of readers in the greater Houston area plus more on a Web site. Last spring the newspaper planned to "demote" the column to a smaller publication. A letter and e-mail writing effort from readers convinced the newspaper to abandon that plan.
Now the newspaper is planning to do it again. Here is an e-mail I received from Mic Barnette:
Dear Dick: Most people get upset when they see their name on the death page of a newspaper. I have been writing the genealogical column in the Houston Chronicle for over ten years and my name has been on the Houston Chronicle's Online Death Page where a link to my current online column has appeared for most of those years. It seems weird, but, as of today my name is no longer there. So, as the movie said, "Houston, we have a problem".
In June the Chronicle had their annual change-about and The Houston Section where the column has been running quite successfully for the past year and a half got a new editor. After the new editor arrived the column ran the first couple weeks then problems began occurring.
The column has not run in four weeks. The first week the editor said there was no space. The second week she said it would run. Later that week she emailed that it had not made the issue. I have not heard anything more from the editor since then.
Yesterday one of my readers spoke with the Reader Representative who told her there was talk they might switch the column to the This Week Section where the column ran the first 9 years.
Your readers have been very supportive of my column in the past. I really hate asking for your and their help again. However, I would appreciate it if they would write in their own words an e-mail or call the Houston Chronicle in support of the column. Media, such as the Chronicle, live by statistics-numbers count.
Here is the information about the column:
The column has run for over 10 years.
It has run the last year and a half quite successfully in the Saturday edition of the Houston Section. This section has the movies, comics, crossword puzzle and other items of popular interest. This is where the column really needs to continue running.
If not the Houston Section, then one that is included in the newspaper wherever it is sold, including New York City, LA or wherever a genealogist lives.
Rumor is (assuming they keep the column) they might place it back in the This Week Section. This would be bad because:The This Week is only delivered within Metro Houston.
It would not appear outside the city of Houston.
The This Week section is a zoned part of the newspaper.
There are about 16 zones within the city.
Each zone has a different editor and each zone has it's own space problems. This means the column may be published in full in one zone but only partially or not at all in another zone during the same week.
Should your readers like to write or call one or both the Reader Rep and the editor their information is:
James T. Campbell (Reader Rep)
Houston Section Editor: Jessica.Danes@chron.com
I would appreciate getting a copy or blind copy of any emails at firstname.lastname@example.org