‘Startlegram’ Drops ‘Watchdog’ Columnist

Dave Lieber

Dave Lieber

The circling turkey vultures of corporate newspaper ownership landed in Fort Worth this week. Among the downsized Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, at the Star-Telegram was its consumer “watchdog” columnist, Dave Lieber.

Lieber is the 2002 recipient of the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and is secretary of the NSNC Education Foundation. He has held a number of positions on the NSNC board of directors and hosted the society’s 2005 annual conference in Grapevine, Texas. He writes the educational column “You, the Columnist” bimonthly in the society’s newsletter, The e-Columnist. Lieber has been a finalist five times in the annual NSNC Column Contest, taking first place one of those years.

Lieber told the Fort Worth Weekly in an article published Wednesday, Jan. 9, that will continue writing pieces for his Watchdog Nation website. News about him also can be found on his Facebook page. He tweets at @DaveLieber.

The reportage-based columnist left with old-fashioned manners, telling the weekly, “I thank the paper for giving me 20 of the most exciting years a guy could ever have in Texas. The Star-Telegram prepared me for the rest of my life – to help people.”

The Poynter Institute’s Latest News media news aggregator all but named Lieber and other journalists like him in its article posted Tuesday, when it quoted a memo by Publisher Gary Wortel as saying, “Some single incumbent positions will be eliminated.” In general though, the McClatchy-owned metro daily is offering severance packages to employees who leave voluntarily and will not fill some open positions, before general layoffs commence, the “least-tenured” booted first.

Earlier Wednesday, Lieber, who gives speeches across the country, told columnists.com that he “just signed papers to incorporate my newest non-profit,” the Texas Ethics League, and formed its five-member board of directors. It will be a nonpartisan group whose motto will be “the conscience of Texas.”

Now come the jokes, he wrote in an email. “Texas ethics, I know! Really?”

But you know he’s serious.

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  9 comments for “‘Startlegram’ Drops ‘Watchdog’ Columnist

  1. Roberta
    January 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Dave Leiber was an advocate for the common man. It’s a shame that he was let go. Hopefully, to bigger and better things. As an older citizen, I looked forward to his column and wonder why the Star Telegram doesn’t consider the older generation are the people who actually subscribe to the paper version of the paper. If they cut dear Abby, I will cancel the paper all together. You can get the regular news on TV or computer websites. but, human interest stories are what makes the newspaper special.

  2. Ron White
    January 11, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Now I have a good reason for going total electronic for my news. My largest reason for subscribing to the Star-Telegram was for all the great information and comments by Dave Lieber. I am a 40 year subscriber to the paper! GO BYE Star-Telegram…

  3. Roberta de Boer
    January 10, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    I’m not sure that editors today — looking to hire someone with wide experience, gifted writing, verve, commitment, and the tireless enthusiasm of a puppy — could even *find* anyone like Dave Lieber. As my mother might have put it: “Penny wise, pound foolish.”

  4. George Hesselberg
    January 10, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Too sad. The roots of “watchdog” journalism are grown from the footwork and skills of journalists such as Dave Lieber.

  5. January 10, 2013 at 9:05 am

    So sorry to hear this. What a dumb decision by the Star-Telegram. Dave Lieber worked very hard and wrote superb columns for that newspaper. Plus his presence at the S-T gave it lots of national “ink.” If the owners and publishers of daily newspapers want to save money, some of them might consider looking at their own salaries and perks.

  6. Mike Leonard
    January 9, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    When papers cut a guy like Dave Lieber it really hits hard. What more could you ask of an employee? Enthusiasm. Talent. Commitment. Perspective. Wisdom.
    They want to cut that loose to save a few bucks?

  7. Randy Leake
    January 9, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Dave is a great person who my mother in law never forgave me for trying to getting him fired 19 years ago. He is a class act and we were lucky to get him to Texas.

  8. Nancy Gilliland
    January 9, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    I will miss your column in the Startlegram! Will continue to follow you on Facebook and your website.

  9. Peter Rowe
    January 9, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Fort Worth — do not ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee. Dave Lieber is a five-tool journalist who will always succeed, wherever and whatever he does. The Star-Telegram’s readers, now deprived of Lieberian wit and wisdom, are the losers here.

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