Dean Singleton, the last owner of the Houston Post and the Dallas Times-Herald, desires to leave a positive legacy once he exits this mortal coil.
One problem. Two problems, really.
The Houston Post and the Dallas Times-Herald, two dead newspapers that went belly up on his watch.
A media watcher tells the NY Times today that Singleton wants to make amends by, we guess, being a better steward of the Fourth Estate by spending money on new presses, airy newsrooms and top o' the line coffee machines:
"He's paving his way to heaven," said David M. Cole, editor of NewsInc., a newsletter about the industry. "He's trying to salve the wounds of Dallas and Houston, and the cuts he made in newspapers that upon reflection maybe he shouldn't have made."
We're sure Dean-O lies awake at night, and, once falling into a fitful sleep, awakens in a cold sweat and screams, "Lynn Ashby hates me. If he were still alive, Donald R. Morris would hate me! My God, my God, why did I forsake them?"
Singleton's editor in Denver scoffs at such legacy concerns, declaring his boss to be so all-fired All-American he only cares about "competition and winning."
Like a real Texan, eh.
What's done is done.
If you were so rough and tumble, you would've sucked it up and rolled with the punches up in Big D and H-Town, waited for things to improve, taken losses when necessary, made cuts when necessary, taken fewer (or no) profits when necessary, shrunk the papers to tabloid size, put half-clad babes on Page 3, in short, done anything to survive and wait for the dark clouds to part.
But you didn't do that.
You turned tail and ran!
Correction! You took the money and ran.
What's left in Dallas and Houston? Two one-town newspapers. Two of the biggest cities in Texas. Important cities. Each with one stinkin' newspaper, Dallas with a right-wing bent and Houston, now, with a lefty world view.
Excuse us if we don't get too excited about your new venture with the Hearst Corp. to scrape up the leavings of the Knight-Ridder chain. Your new partner, after all, is the company that once owned the San Antonio Light, only to buy the rival Express-News so they could close their their own paper and tell The Light's Newspaper Guild-affiliated editorial employees "thanks for the memories, suckas."
Your legacy is your legacy. At least here in Texas. To use a tiresome phrase that is heard too often today, "It is what it is."