Meanwhile back in Houston,
KTRK-TV news director Walt
Hawver thought he did a good
thing in commending his news
staff in a memo for a one-hour
"Eyewitness Texas" program
which aired in June.
He mentioned the three segments of the magazine show:
one on beach erosion along the
Gulf (by Jan Carson and Frank
Ambrose); another on the Guatemalan earthquake tragedy (by
Elma Barrera and Phyllis Deter)
and another segment by Dave
Glodt and Dana Millikin on the
Texas longhorn trail ride.
In the memo Hawver said,
"You could have hardly not
noticed, but I will say it anyway.
Seventy percent of this program
was filmed and edited by our
two intrepid women photographers, the other 70 percent was
reported by our five women reporters. Frank and David were
in the best company."
Hawver got a memo back
from Channel 13 news reporter
Frank Agraz and someone
posted a copy of it in the newsroom.
Agraz pointed out that "it
is a recognized fact of organizational politics that to improve
product, management praises
work of people who do praiseworthy effort" and added that
"the Equal Employment Opportunity Act says there should be
no discrimination between
people of different colors, sex,
ethnic background, etc."
And, Agraz then asked his
boss, "Will I have to undergo a
sex change operation to get recognized in a memorandum that
officially goes to Kenneth Johnson, General Manager, and to all
employees of KTRK-TV? Since
women are doing such a wonderful job, will the next step be to
hire all women?" (Someone
scribbled in on the memo "good
Agraz felt Hawver violated
"the spirit of the EEO Act" because "you single out one segment of your staff, to the exclusion of the rest."
"Why should their femininity have anything to do with
their output?" Agraz concluded.
Well, this laid the ground
for some long pent-up feelings
from some of the women on the
staff who replied to Agraz:
"Heretofore, whenever any
kind of praise was given, it was
all directed toward men, because
only men were hired. (And no
man objected to that.)
"Then women were discovered and we were told by members of the staff that we were
hired because, and only because,
we were women. (And no man
objected to that insult.)
"Now comes the time for
praise. (And a man objects).
"Yes, perhaps a sex change
operation would be best...Then
some of the men would know
what it feels like."
The KTRK women had the
It is memos like the one
from Texas Monthly publisher
Michael Levy to his staff and the
one from KTRK-TV news reporter Frank Agraz to his boss that
make you lament the passing of
the Houston Journalism Review.
They would have had a ball.
In October 1973, in an HJR
story on then nine-month-old
Texas Monthly, publisher Levy
was quoted as saying, "I'm out
to make a buck and things look
Well, today things don't
look so rosy for Levy. He
dashed off a memo to his editorial staff which got into the
office of The Texas Observer.
According to the Observer's
account, the memo (dated May
24) singled out references to
Neiman-Marcus in the June issue
which Levy considered "gratuitous insults."
One was in Harry Hurt's
article on cockroaches in which
he said, "All that remains is for
Neiman-Marcus to recognize the
potential market in cockroach
Hurt was not too far off if
Houston viewers recall the five
minutes of free panhandling
Stanley Marcus did on pet rocks
on KPRC's "Scene at 5" show
Another reference made
light of a "headline-typo" competition saying "Neiman-Mara/p
Investigated On Pricing Policy."
Levy began by saying "I
continue to be stunned at the
lack of total regard and due respect on the part of the editorial
staff to the real world environment this magazine must operate
'Take a look through the
June issue. On pages 7, 32 and
53 you will see large ads from
Neiman-Marcus. These ads are
important to Texas Monthly
not just because of the revenue
they bring in. They are also critical to the advertising look...
With Neiman's in the book, the s
others (advertisers) have come
Molly Ivins (former
Observer editor now with the
New York Times) must have enjoyed reading the next part.
"If your principles cannot
tolerate such a harsh reality, I
suggest that you leave publishing
in general and join a religious
order or The Texas Observer."
Monthly's editor William
Broyles is reported to have answered Levy that the memo in
its tone was "obscene," and to
have "disappeared on a vacation
of unspecified length."
It is interesting that while
Levy is sensitive to one big advertiser, he is insensitive to the
Texas feminists, many of whom
are privately boycotting the
magazine because of the regular
appearance of its sexist covers.
In fact, it is Levy, say some
of his staff and some ad people,
privately, that likes the "tits and
ass" look of so many of the
Monthly covers. g^
Anyone for sending Levy a y