Tarleton State University is hosting a reception to celebrate the opening of the Texas Center for Community Journalism at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20, in the O.A. Grant Building, room 396 in the Texan News newsroom.

About 20 years ago, there were two big associations in Texas for newspapers: The Texas Daily Newspaper Association, which encompassed the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle and the Austin-American Statesman and the Texas Press Association, which encompassed the Stephenville Empire-Tribune and Weatherford Democrat.

Tommy Thomason at TCU proposed that they create the Texas Center for Community Journalism, which would train community journalists on media law, design and photography.

Thomason called Dan Malone, an instructor for journalism at Tarleton, to take over the center because he was retiring.

The center is now moving from TCU to Tarleton and Malone and his wife Kathryn Jones will be the co-directors of the center.

“We think it’s great,” Malone said. “It will be really good for our students because so many of them when they graduate go to work for community news organizations. They don’t want to work in Dallas or Houston; they want to go back to where their family is and work in the community. I'm hoping it’ll connect our students with employers and help them get more jobs starting out from school so they can go on with their career and maybe take over some of these papers when the owners get ready to retire or sell. If we can provide free training to help, I'm all for that.”

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the program starts at 6 p.m.

Hors d'oeuvres will also be served.

Parking will be available in lots P10 and P11 which are located at the 200 block of N. Lillian St.

“We are very excited to be in the position to help community journalists around the state,” Jones said. “Having worked in community journalism myself, I realize how important it is for local communities to stay informed and some of the issues that community journalists face in bringing news and making a difference in their communities.”