Thursday, October 13, 2011


Do you read a local newspaper? Either the kind that gets tossed onto your doorstep in the morning or the kind you access over whatever device you use?

I can't imagine not reading one; actually, I can't imagine not having an old-fashioned subscription. Yes, I know that makes me old-fashioned.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because my local paper, the San Antonio Express-News, has been (like all of them) undergoing all sorts of hard times, and lately has had a whole bunch of personnel churn, the latest of which is that their great local columnist Cary Clack is leaving (electoral politics angle: he's going to work for local state rep Joaquin Castro, who is taking on redistricted Member of Congress Lloyd Doggett in a fierce primary battle). It's a tough blow; when I started reading the E-N a decade ago it had tons of interesting local voices, and virtually all of them are now gone. Which means that it's gone from being a real newspaper to a wire service clipping operation with a bit of local reporting...sad stuff.

Anyway, in honor of Clack, who I've enjoyed reading so much, and of Sarah Palin's recent "Herb Caen" gaffe, I figured I'd ask y'all if you have any local columnists that you like (and where you find them). Doesn't have to be political, just anyone you like a lot, as long as he or she is solidly local.

And I'm very much going to miss Cary Clack, and wish him well in whatever he does in the future.


  1. Steve Lopez and George Skelton are LA Times standbys for local, state and national political reporting. Rick Orlov of the LA Daily News is a great City Hall beat reporter of the near-extinct variety and he has been recently joined by Dakota Smith, the former editor of real-estate blog Curbed LA, who has been doing some bang-up City reporting for that periodical.

  2. The only local columnist here worth reading is Fred LeBrun, who still usually has one column per week in the Albany (NY) Times-Union. Fred is nominally retired (he used to write quite a bit more often), but while I do not always agree with him, he is usually worth reading. His focus ranges from politics to the environment to hunting & fishing, and often the nexus among these interests/forces.

  3. Colin McEnroe for Hartford, CT. He's a radio guy who also blogs and writes a weekly column; I like his column better than his radio show.


  4. I live just across the Indiana state line from chicago, and read the Tribune daily. In its news coverage, it has become increasingly a wire-service clip service, but they still have some very good columnists.

    Eric Zorn writes mostley about local political and criminal justice issues and is usually a good, sometimes provocative read.

    Mary Schmich does more a "life-style" sort of thing, but I like her voice.

    Clarence Page and Steve Chapman are editorial page columnists who are consistently readable. I frequently disagree with Chapman, who's a bit to omuch of a libertarian-leaner for me.

    Greg Kot covers rock and his opinion pieces are usually pretty good. I don't know whether his concert pieces are, because I never go to concerts these days.

    The sports columnists are sports columnists...and none of them are much good...

  5. David Sirota sometimes posts in the Denver Post, and I think he's rather excellent, he's syndicated now, though.

  6. The best local political columnist in the Oregonian out of Portland, Oregon is David Sarasohn ( He writes about both Oregon and federal politics, and as a former San Antonian myself I think he's in the league of the former SA Express-News legend Rick Casey, who I guess moved to Houston after I left SA in 1993.

  7. 30+ years ago, the San Antonio Express was an outstanding newspaper. Served us down in the Valley, and broad swaths of Texas. They JOA'ed with the News, I guess, and I found it sorely lacking as of 15-20 years ago. Too bad.

    Horrible writers here in Detroit now. Almost nobody who's got a clue. A few gadflies, but anybody of substance has bailed, it appears. Their editorial pages are a scattered mess. The cartoons even worse. The sports pages a shell of their glorious past. Even the automotive coverage has dropped from relevancy. So sad.

  8. Eric Black at MinnPost.


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