Alan Bernstein, the longtime political reporter for the Houston Chronicle, is quitting the paper to join the staff of Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.
Bernstein ends his 29 years at the Chron Friday and starts with Garcia at the end of the month.
"I got an unsolicited job offer and I investigated it," he tells Hair Balls. "I enjoy the job I have today, but when I checked it out it seemed there could be a lot of headway to be made serving the public in this way."
He'll be "Director of Public Affairs," working with government officials, the rank and file of the department, and overseeing the spokespeople who give out the details of incidents the HCSO is involved in.
Bernstein noted that Garcia ran on a platform or transparency that he favors, although that transparency doesn't extend to Bernstein divulging his salary.
"That will be a matter of public record once I start getting paid," he says.
Local blogger Uncle Darrell seems to have gotten online with the news first, as far as we can tell, and he makes the point that Bernstein's articles on Garcia are now "fair game." We've done a cursory search and haven't discovered anything as egregious as the puff piece Chron reporter Kathy Walt did on Governor Rick Perry shortly before being hired by him (second item).
Bernstein has been a constant target of Murray Newman's Life at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center blog, although some detente eventually transpired.
The soon-to-be-former Chronster couldn't deny that the tenuous status of the print-journalism world played a part in his decision.
"I really enjoyed my job here, and I'm rooting for everyone who's here," he says.