Static: Wednesday, March 25, 2009
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Brave New Mag

As the news business languishes in this brave new world of the interweb, Twitter-heads, investigative journalism delivered by cell phone, and 24-hour news channels, it might seem foolhardy to start a new print publication. But, don’t tell that to Jerry Scott, Meda Kessler, Marilyn Bailey, and a few other Fort Worth Star-Telegram alumni. All but one person on the staff of the new glossy monthly magazine 360 West were connected to the crumbling daily in one way or another.
Kessler, the editorial director, was the luxuriator-in-chief of Indulge, the Star-T’s luxury magazine that targets only the finest zip codes. She described the new endeavor as a hybrid between a city magazine and a luxury publication. And unlike Indulge, it isn’t all caviar dreams and champagne wishes.
“I look for the interesting stuff,” said Kessler, who wasn’t bought out or laid off, but left of her own accord and never intended to go back into journalism. “I try to look at what the Star-T doesn’t do, especially now that they have a smaller staff, and what Fort Worth Magazine doesn’t do. People want it to be local, and that’s not hard to do. It takes a little legwork, but there’s a lot of stuff out there to write about.”
She said that the name came about because publisher Scott sees Hwy. 360 as a rough dividing line between the area to the west, that the magazine will cover, and the area left to Dallas publications. But she sees it a little more esoterically, as in a 360-degree view. Heavy, man.
Scott, a former vice president of marketing for the Star-T, was also the general manager of Indulge. The inaugural issue of 360 West, due out on April 9, is a hundred pages. That’s pretty impressive considering the sales reps didn’t even have a product to show potential advertisers, and the content decisions aren’t ad-driven, so there was no copy for cash. Kessler said that a lot of former Star T folks volunteered to help get the first issue out by proofreading and editing, receiving only a free meal for their services. Hmm. Looks like those “will work for food” signs are finally paying off.
Static, whose colleagues tend to hang around place like gas wells and JPS emergency rooms rather than in trust-fund land, is still glad to hear that some of the Star-T refugees have found a new home in journalism. Long may it wave.

She Led
A town turning 60 wouldn’t be big news in a historic place like Europe, where many buildings are centuries old and people often go decades between teeth cleanings. But in Tarrant County, 60 years is a relatively long time, which is why county commissioners this week issued a resolution honoring the anniversary of Sansom Park’s 1949 incorporation.
There’s nothing particularly illustrious about this one-square-mile city whose main draws are the used car lots, bars, and other retching, er, fetching architecture along Jacksboro Highway near North Loop 820. But back in 1986, the burg starred in a story for the books: the Great Mannequin Debate.
Fort Worth Weekly staff writer Jeff Prince was covering the Sansom Park City Council meeting as a Star-Telegram cub reporter back then (yes, the silver-haired guitar strummer himself, back when the locks were brown), when a small group of residents showed up to complain about a lonely, elderly woman who was dancing regularly at the National Hall. The woman didn’t have a husband or boyfriend, and her dancing partner was a life-size male mannequin she painstakingly dressed in a tuxedo. The two were inseparable, and it was common to see her tooling around town with that silent fellow. A few townsfolk were creeped out and demanded a resolution to put a stop to such aberrant behavior.
On the night of the decisive meeting, the woman showed up smartly dressed and accompanied by her equally dapper but stoic dance partner. She stood up in the meeting and said she wasn’t strange, — she just liked to dance, and since the town’s bachelors weren’t exactly the Fred Astaire types, she had to improvise.
The resolution was voted down, and the woman and her friend danced for years afterward.
“It was one of those instances early in my career that convinced me I had chosen the right career path,” Prince said.

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