“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”~ Tom Stoppard, playwright
I’ve been a journalist since there were manual typewriters in newsrooms, and now I practice and teach online journalism, Web publishing and design and digital storytelling.
This blog is about the news business and journalism and telling true stories. It represents my own thoughts and opinions. It’s almost always about experiencing the journey.
Newspapers I’ve worked for include the Philadelphia Bulletin, the Vineland Times Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Dallas Times Herald, the Mesa (Az.) Tribune, the Phoenix New Times, the San Francisco Examiner, the Dallas Morning News and the San Antonio Express-News. My freelance work has appeared everywhere from the New York Times to the Auckland (New Zealand) Herald.
Mostly, I’ve had a hellova good time.
I once scaled a 6-foot-tall chain link fence in high heels and a skirt to get into a locked cemetery to cover the exhumation of Lee Harvey Oswald’s body. I had such good sources inside federal agencies that it only took 15 minutes for me to find out that in a morning briefing during the GOP convention in 1984, the Secret Service Agent in Charge of the Dallas office had specifically ordered the agents not to leak any more information to me. The next year, I was privileged to be on a team of reporters at the Times Herald who were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for our coverage of plane crashes and aviation safety.
And then I did the most best thing I’ve ever done for myself: I quit my job and moved to Phoenix to marry an editor. He is the love of my life and my partner in all things.
In 1987 I was the first reporter in Arizona history to obtain and publish secret grand jury transcripts in a cocaine case involving members of the Phoenix Suns basketball team. Thanks to Arizona’s shield law, I didn’t have to go to jail to protect my sources. I went on to develop a specialty in writing investigative financial exposes on people including Michael Milken, Charles H Keating and George W. Bush. (Don’t take my word for it, read what CJR said about my work here.)
In 1999, I “went to the Web,” as they said back then, and signed up with TheStreet.com, where I eventually became a managing editor. I edited columnists on three continents, and on Sept. 11, I was on AIM with a columnist in the North Tower of the World Trade Center moments before he was killed in the attacks. For the rest of that week, I published TheStreet.com from my home office in San Antonio after everyone evacuated our offices at 14 Wall Street.
From 2003 to 2006 I ran MySanAntonio.com, the converged Website of the San Antonio Express-News and KENS 5 TV. We did a lot of wacky things, including creating a Hurricane Katrina news blog that I joked was the world’s first interdenominational, multimedia hurricane blog, because the posts were done in video, still photos and text format from newspaper reporters, photographers and television meterologists. When Hurricane Rita rolled weeks later, I organized the major Texas news Websites to share a single survivor database (courtesy of AdPay’s servers and software), so we could make it easier for people to search for each other than it had been during Katrina. For once, it was simply about helping people, and not about competition.
In 2006, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer, for which I had two major surgeries and radiation. I saw my friend Molly Ivins for the last time that summer. My cancer was gone, but hers had come back.
Molly, who was kind enough to credit my work in her book, Shrub : The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush, was one of many magnificently generous teachers I’ve had over the years.
From 2006-2008 I again had one of the best jobs in the world: I was a visiting professor at UNLV, infecting the next generation of journalists with my enthusiasm for the news business.
Now I’m home in San Antonio, where my husband and I run an online publishing and consulting business, WilCharMedia. I’m also the Managing Director and Online Instigator at a grand community journalism experiment called NOWCastSA.com, where we are inventing the future of local independent online news.
Every day, I carry with me the spirit of my Dad, Joseph Lucas, who believed there was no more noble calling than being a wordsmith with a just cause. The quote that leads this page was one of my favorites from his many email signature lines.
Proud of you, sister.
You go, CA!
Found your web site, don’t ask how, I remember your deep dish pizza and tales of FBI agents hitting on you in Dallas. Nice to read About you.
Best thing I ever did.
Your notes on journalism, technology and life are always a great read! I’ll look up your Twitter account . . .
Happy to read about your work and life!!!
(A friend from the dallas days)
Thanks for your warm welcome on Twitter.
You are very good. Do you know the members of Two Tons of Steel from SA?
How kind of you!
When I was at the San Antonio Express-News, I had the treat of working with Two Tons’ lead singer, Kevin Geil, who was a staff photographer. He is a great guy and the band is awesome!
Nice work 🙂
Dear Charlotte, It was a great joy meeting you and your husband Bill a few weeks ago when the 3 of us had our “close encounter” with Officer Manny in front of the VA parking lot. I appreciate your interest in my concerns about how San Antonio’s new parade ordinance may affect disabled citizens.I was so shook up by the way the 3 officers interupted our innocent photo shoot that I forgot to tell you why I was shook up. Officer Manny asked me for my social security number before he asked me for my address or my military ID. One of the other officers said they ask that since 911! Were you and Bill as for your social security numbers too? Since you were questioned separately from me I didn’t know.911 happened 5 years ago. Is that gonna be the excuse every time for anything paranoid law enforcement wants to do. I thought it was funny this past Christmas when a terrorist own father alerts the law that his son may be up to something that this BIG warning light got ignored by atthoroties but ordinary folks taking a photo in front of parking lot (not the building) of the VA get quetioned extensively and told they need prior clearance to take the photo. I guess I am still shook up about it but mostly by being asked to identify myself by my social security number. I didn’t give it to him by the way. I figure he can get that on his own. In the middle east I had to carry papers with me at all times identifying what I brought into their country. Being asked for more than my ID and my address took me back to those unpleasant memorys. But you and Bill really cheered me up. What website did you put my story on?
I just finished reading Ed Ward’s article about you. What a great story. Lots of connections – Woodbury grad (1978) and a San Antonio resident for 20 years. Suzanne (Otto) Horan
Wow — between you and me and Kim Hartman Carrol, we may have to start an alumni group! Looking forward to seeing you…I will email you!
Dear Charlotte-Anne Lucas,
I would be very grateful if you would be in touch with me regarding a book I am writing on a subject you have covered elegantly some years ago.