I was very disappointed to learn last week that The Houston Press was ending its printed editions and laying off almost all of its staff. I had not seen that coming, but apparently the business clientele that traditionally advertised with The Press was the hardest hit by Hurricane Harvey. The loss of advertising revenue caused them to shut their doors.
Ever since I arrived in Houston for law school, I loved reading The Press. It was a fun paper to read and the writing was great. As a prosecutor, I often found myself disagreeing with some of the articles, but I had to appreciate the work that all of the writers did on their stories. I also came to truly love The Press's open contempt for the Houston Chronicle.
Pound for pound, the writers for The Press always seemed to get the Criminal Justice System in Harris County, and writers like Meagan Flynn and Craig Malisow knew that the interesting issues couldn't be written up in a short article. They took the time to go in depth and research the hell out of stories, and they never accepted any one point of view as the absolute truth. Their big articles involved weeks, if not months of research before going to print. They gave everyone the opportunity to throw in their two cents before going to print.
But what I appreciated the most about The Houston Press was that the writers weren't afraid to burn bridges and they absolutely weren't afraid to call bullshit on people and institutions. They weren't afraid to take unpopular stances, either. The truth was far more important to them.
The weekly Houston Press was a tremendous asset to Harris County, especially to the Criminal Justice world. It had the luxury of lengthy articles written by outstanding journalists. Without picking on the Chronicle (at least not for the moment) or the television news stations, The Press was just so well suited to explain the stories behind the headlines and provide in depth analysis to what they meant. Losing that forum is devastating to me.
To my friends that worked and wrote for The Press, I offer you a heartfelt "thank you" for all the times you looked into a story and/or heard me out when I was complaining about something that I hoped you would care about. More often than not, you did care and your writing showed it. You provided a greater public service than the public probably deserved.
It just won't be the same without you all.