For her kindergarten graduation, our daughter drew a picture of herself holding my hand. In a sun-drenched sky, she wrote neatly, “My dream is to be an editor.”
I’ve been living that dream, in one way or another, for almost 40 years. Our little girl, Nicole, was born 26 years ago in Denton when my wife, Paula, and I were working for the Patterson family at the Record-Chronicle.
The opportunity for me to return to North Texas as the CEO/Publisher of the Fort Worth Report is a dream come true. A nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization offers a future for local journalism.
At the Fort Worth Report, we will apply the principles of community journalism – caring, connections and accountability – to a booming city that has a rich tradition of these traits. Fort Worth truly is a marvelous city.
Good journalism makes a community stronger. At the Fort Worth Report, we want you to consider us that close friend who cheers your successes, cries with you over your losses, and pushes you to be better than you ever thought possible.
Our little girl is all grown up and an amazing young woman and reporter at the Austin American-Statesman. Her younger brother, Paul, also followed in the family footsteps and is a reporter at the Baton Rouge Advocate. Their mother, Paula, pivoted from newspapers to a brilliant career in marketing and communications. She and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and couldn’t be prouder of our two biggest accomplishments.
When our children were young, I tried my best to tell Nicole and Paul they should be either a CPA like my father or a plant pathologist like Paula’s father. The journalism path is rockier than this parent wanted for his children.
But they saw my heart more than they heard my words. For Father’s Day last year, Nicole wrote a column that still brings me to tears every time I read it.
This line in her essay sums up my ambition for the Fort Worth Report: “Most of all, he showed me how powerful it can be to tell people’s stories and care so deeply about your community.”
Fort Worth Report CEO/Publisher
Chris Cobler is a longtime daily newspaper leader who started his career as a reporter in his hometown at the Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal and then worked at newspapers in Colorado, South Dakota and Texas. In Texas, he first served as managing editor of the Denton Record-Chronicle and later was editor and publisher of the Victoria Advocate.
As editor, he led two newspapers to recognition as the best in the nation for their size. His newspapers have earned hundreds of state and national honors, including the Robert G. McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership. Cobler was the first Donald W. Reynolds Nieman Fellow for community journalism at Harvard University, where he studied the digital future of news and how to promote a constructive community conversation about changing demographics.
He is a recipient of the Texas Daily Newspaper Association Editorial Achievement Award for courage and commitment to open government; the Texas Press Association Frank W. Mayborn Award for Community Leadership; and a current board member and past president of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.