Thursday, November 27, 2008

TBAR and the Texas Journalism Project

Texas needs world class journalism. Eventually we need a news outlet rivaling the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. It is possible to begin this project without spending billions of dollars. Using the internet for publishing will minimize cost. People are having trouble making money presenting news on the internet. Perhaps the key is to run a non-profit news organization, like ProPublica ( A profitable new organization will have to be privately held to maintain integrity. When a news organization is publicly traded, it will be purchased and silenced. So if it becomes influential, the corrupting influences in America will buy the publicly traded news organization and turn it into a propaganda organ.

Keep an eye on ProPublica. It started slowly, but it is maturing and improving. You can recommend an alternative media outlet in a comment. I am looking at Break the Matrix (, but I have not yet formed an opinion on it.

Another thought to consider for creating a new journalistic enterprise is to model it after the Open Source Software movement: highly skilled, trained, and motivated individuals contributing their efforts for free. With a sufficiently educated population, it will be possible to have many competent, informed, amateur journalists contributing work. Some organization is needed to pull together the content, but this is possible.

The Texas Journalism Project could be a topic of study and experimentation at journalism schools in Texas. We have strong journalism programs in Texas. The Mayborn Graduate School of Journalism at the University of North Texas, in Denton, is very active. They have a student produced magazine, Cover, they have a separate Mayborn magazine, and an excellent annual conference, The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Writers Conference of the Southwest. The DFW metroplex is lucky to have a program like the Mayborn.

American democracy needs good journalism, but good journalism is disappearing as big business buys the media, silences investigative reporting, and promotes corporate propaganda. For Texas to achieve greatness, it needs great journalism.

Robert Canright

remember: TBAR is the Texas Business and Arts Renaissance
Other articles that are part of the Texas Journalism Project
Dallas Morning News and Texas Publishing  Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Is the Press Our Enemy?  Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Texas Needs More Tier 1 Universities

I've mentioned before that New York City has several Tier One Universities. Let's compare universities:

Just New York City:
Columbia University: Reading SAT 660-760 Math SAT 670-780
Barnard College: Reading SAT 640-740 Math SAT 620-700
Cooper Union: Reading SAT 610-700 Math SAT 640-770

The whole state of Texas:
Texas A&M: Reading SAT 520-630 Math SAT 560-670
University of Texas, Austin: Reading SAT 540-670 Math SAT 570-700
Rice University: Reading SAT 640-750 Math SAT 670-780

So it takes the entire state of Texas to match just New York City for universities. This article from the Star-Telegram, "Public universities in North Texas should work together on Tier 1 status," by Mike Norman, says New York State has 7 Tier One universities and California has 9 Tier One universities to our 3 Tier One Universities.

US Census numbers (2006) say New York State had (2006) 19,306,183 people, California had 36,457,549 and Texas had 23,507,783, an number between California and New York State. So Texas should have 8 Tier One universities, not just 3.

Dallas / Fort Worth

We need a Tier One university in the DFW Metroplex, probably two or three. The DFW University Project plans to make this happen.

If our children are to have a future, we must wrestle control of America away from the incompetents in New York City and Wall Street. Developing our universities must be a part of the program.

U.T. Dallas: Reading SAT 540-670 Math SAT 580-690
U.T. Dallas compares well with U.T. Austin
U.T. Arlington and the University of North Texas do not compare as well to U.T. Austin.
The DFW metroplex needs to improve the quality of its schools for U.T. Arlington and U.N.T. to improve their SAT scores.

Eventually, it would be nice if all 3 became Tier One universities.
They should all move in that direction. It appears as though U.T.D. is moving in that direction.

Tier One Universities & Parents

When you listen to the university presidents speak about becoming a tier one university, you will hear them discuss research and budgets. But if you ask parents to discuss a First Tier university, they will pull out their copy of America's Best Colleges, published by U.S. News and World Report.

There you will find Columbia ranked 6th in the nation, U.T. Austin ranked 47th, and Texas A&M ranked 64th in the nation. The list lumps the top 130 universities into one list that represents 1st tier and 2nd tier universities, without drawing the line between them. Next come buckets called 3rd tier and 4th tier. U.T. Dallas and Texas Tech are both in the 3rd tier bucket even though the SAT scores of U.T. Dallas are much higher than at Texas Tech.

We can say then that U.T. Dallas has a student body comparable to 1st tier schools in Texas, but the 1st tier public universities in Texas still lag the 1st tier private universities in New York City.

Tier One Universities & Culture

A university's ranking in the U.S. News and World Report college lists is influenced by the reputation of the university. The historic and cultural contributions of a university and its graduates affect the reputation of the university.

The students at U.T. Dallas are just as accomplished as the students at U.T. Austin, so why does U.T. Austin have a better reputation? How can U.T. Dallas improve its reputation? If we doubled the budget at U.T. Dallas overnight, it's reputation would not double overnight, so what will it take to improve the reputation of U.T. Dallas? That will have to be the topic of another blog entry.

Robert Canright

PS: Here is what the President of UTD has to say about Tier One Universities.
Here is a podcast on Tier One Universities, it is the Think Program on KERA radio, hosted by Krys Boyd (October 29, 2008).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture & the NYT OpEd Page

If we started today it would be difficult to match the culture in New York City within fifty years. It is, beyond doubt, the premier city in America, yet the incompetence and corruption of its oligarchs are a threat to the liberty of all Americans and the prosperity of the entire world. The economic tremors from Wall Street during September 2008 have rocked financial markets around the world, and the subsequent looting of the U.S. Treasury by Wall Street will burden our children and grandchildren.

Intellectual insight is one area we can begin competing in now. The Op-Ed pages of the New York Times (NYT) and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) are zombies, the living dead. Unfortunately, the Op-Ed pages of the Dallas Morning News (DMN) are stone dead. We need an independent magazine providing intelligent, thoughtful commentary and cultural analysis in contrast to the mindless, repetitive, and blatant propaganda crowding the Op-Ed pages of the NYT, WSJ, and DMN.

A cultural magazine published in Texas could be done online to save money. The Mayborn is an example of an online magazine produced in Texas. The Mayborn publishes narrative non-fiction as its mission, not social analysis, not cultural critique. No one in Texas does. Google "Texas" with combinations of "social/cultural" and "commentary/critique", for example: Texas social commentary. Try these searches and you will find nothing. And when we do get a source of cultural critique in Texas, it needs to have an online presence that turns up in a Google search. The Emerson Institute for Freedom and Culture has an online magazine and it might eventually include social commentary. It is worth watching.

Seeing the need for cultural commentary in Texas, I was pleased and excited to discover the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture was sponsoring a Festival of Ideas. Then I was disappointed to learn David Brooks and Nicholas Kristof, Op-Ed writers from the NYT were featured speakers. I had hoped the sponsors of the Festival of Ideas were presenting thinking people from Texas. Brooks and Kristof are trite. Their bios sound impressive, Brooks is articulate and Kristof probably is too, but their work is worthless. They are minions of the oligarchs, paid to promote the corporate program.

Texans cannot be kowtowing to New York Times Op-Ed writers. This is exactly how to fail in developing culture in Dallas. The first step to compete against New York City is to free ourselves from this servile grovelling before employees of the New York Times.

It is great that the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture exits and that it is sponsoring a Festival of Ideas. I hope they have better luck next year in promoting culture in Texas, instead of fawning over New Yorkers.

Robert Canright