Hearst and H-E-B: A Beautiful Friendship

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A San Antonio blog has broken an interesting piece of news about the San Antonio Express-News, the sister paper to the Houston Chronicle (a relationship that gets closer and closer as budget cuts force consolidation).

The Plaza de Armas story is behind a subcription wall, but Jim Romenesko's journalism site was given permission to reprint it.

The SAEN killed a column about how H-E-B stores in San Antonio's poor neighborhoods were badly in need of upgrading. SAEN editor Bob Rivard said the column, by a veteran reporter, didn't meet the paper's standards; critics questioned whether the fact H-E-B is a huge advertiser played a role.

His response (we added the boldface):

You are free, of course, to campaign against us by asserting without any evidence that we are not publishing what you want us to publish because H-E-B is a major advertiser. I'd suggest instead that we approach any story about H-E-B based on its long-standing and well-deserved reputation in the city, region and state as a best-in-class business, leading corporate citizen, and a company and ownership with an unrivaled record of philanthropy and support for public education in Texas.

Well, that certainly is one way to approach any proposed story about a giant, influential, heavily advertising institution.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

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