Austin Bureau Report From 1972



Here's a Jan. 31, 1972, Austin bureau report from Roland Lindsey to Don Reed dated Jan. 31, 1972, and covering the period Jan. 16-31, 1972:


This was a couple of weeks in which he had some ups and some downs--but I believe we came out ahead overall. Most of our shortcomings can be attributed to one problem--short staff--which will be cured when AA gets back to work, hopefully March 1.

On 1/17 we continued to stay ahead on grand jury investigation in death of boy who died of overdose of methadone, and had a good story by RL on suit filed against University of Texas System for El Paso chicanos; On 1/18, the Roy Orr-Bob Bullock feud warmed up, and we kept on top of it with good quotes from Bullock. As usual, we had trouble finding Orr, who is Texas' answer to Howard Hughes. CH filed Sun ayemer 1/8 that really left rox out in the cold, and even got compliments of rox newsmen in US. We were the only wire service advancing supreme court arguments on a controversial filing fee case, and were the only ones staffing it 1/19 when arguments were heard. We chose to skip overd some rather routine court cases and send CH to a labor meeting 1/19 where Ralph Yarborough was expected to be routinely endorsed. But the laborites balked. Ralph bellyached, and CH came up with a good story from another session. Rox didn't bother to staff. On a tip from photo stringer Mike Robinson, also had a well played brief on 37 teachers booted out of Georgetown High in dispute over longhaired teacher.

Both us and rox got good play with story on Frank Erwin and John Gronouski, both LBJ cronies, being hauled into court on DWI charge. Dallas News gave ours billing.

Due to hijacking in DA, US handled fed court decision 1/20 on filing fees being tossed out, and our niter sized up situation with conclusion tt special session would probably be needed. Rox got good play with same lead on the next cycle.

A&P beat us on an insurance story--again--but this time we knew of the hearing and just didn't have the bodies to put there. CH capped the week with a good roundup on all the events sparked by court decisions.

On 1/24, we had state oil allowable in good shape on first cycle, but fumbled on oniter since story happened in afternoon sted of morning as usual, and oniter didn't get done. Rox got good play with theirs.

CH spent two days at the LBJ library for education symposium and opening of the LBJ papers. His stories again knocked rox out of the box. One of them--which even pointed out some of LBJ's congressional problems were due to a congresswoman's change of life--warranted a note from Johnson's press secretary that "the president liked this one."

On 1/26 rox got good play with a court story about an absentminded UT professor whose will was challenged after university officials talked him into leaving everything to the university. We overlooked the possibilities of the case, and kissed it off. But we did get good play on another court story involving Univ of Texas of the Permian Basin, which Westexas clients had a standing request in for. This was also the day the Dallas TV station started the Smith-Mutscher threats story. Thanks to a call from DA when the state first aired the report, we had both the report and Smith's denial on the first cycle. Rox--and all the others--didn't have the denial until the next morning. On 1/26, we had an exclusive angle tt two of Mutscher's associates had also threatened lt. Gov. Ben Barnes. We moved it late in the day so rox couldn't match it tt cycle, but they came back strong for pms the next day. Our oniter switched the onite lead back to smith's denial of the television story of two days earlier, and we got beat on the second cycle of our own exclusive. US should have picked up the ball and reled the oniter early with more quotes, but didn't.

Also on 1/26, rox beat us with coverage of air control board hearing (which we didn't staff); but CH had it alone with story on travis county grand jury completing investigation into $90,000 loans to Mutscher from Moody bank.

The 1/28 fed court decision on house redistricting caught CH alone in the buo while I was out conventioning. But he handled it well as well as a democratic party rules fight on 1/29. For Sun ayemers, we had capital chatter in both weeks, and a CH special on an Arkansas PR man coming into pep up the Briscoe campaign.

Incidentally, got several good comments on the capitol chatter column at the UPI ed's meeting. Denton is planning to make it a standard part of their Sunday editorial page.

Regards, Roland Lindsey UPI/Austin

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