Veteran journalist new TPA exec vice-president
Veteran journalist Donnis Baggett, former publisher of the Waco Tribune-Herald, joined the Texas Press Association staff as executive vice president this week. He will head up TPA’s lobbying efforts for government transparency at the Capitol and call on newspapers across the state to find out how the association can better serve its membership.
“I’ve been involved with newspapers my entire adult life, and I have a deep passion for the First Amendment and for the value of good civic journalism,” Baggett said.
A lifelong Texan, Baggett grew up in Livingston and received a communications degree with an emphasis in journalism from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1973. After college, he returned home to work for a small weekly paper, the now-defunct East Texas Eye.
It was during his time at the Livingston paper that Baggett f irst got involved with TPA. He attended his first TPA convention in the summer of 1974, when he drove to Arlington to accept the paper’s Sweepstakes Award at the Texas Better Newspaper Contest awards ceremony.
“I’ve been involved with TPA for about 38 years, in one way, shape, form or fashion.”
Bag get t worked for the Longview News-Journal before joining The Dallas Morning News, where he rose through the ranks from reporter to assistant city editor, assistant state editor and state editor.
After a decade directing the paper’s coverage of state government and other news in Texas and adjoining states, he was promoted to assistant managing editor and spent two years overseeing the Sunday edition.
When the Belo Corp., the parent company of The Morning News, purchased The Bryan College Stat ion Eagle in 1995, Baggett was appointed publisher and editor. He was named editor-in-chief in 2007 and served in that capacity until he became publisher of the Waco Tribune-Herald in 2010.
Baggett has built a reputation as a staunch advocate of open government and served on the board of directors for the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, as well as TPA. He has been an active member of TPA’s Legislative Advisory Committee for more than a decade and chaired the committee for two legislative sessions.
Baggett and wife Beverly have two grown children, David and Valerie. The couple split their time between their home in Waco and their 50-head bison ranch near Bryan.