Whether it's the old-fashioned print media or the new digital world, no reporter likes anything better than to be first with a story. During CultureMap's first five years, we've had our share of newsbreakers and insider information that we have worked to get to you quickly and accurately online and in all of the realms of social media.
We set out to highlight our five favorite scoops, but we added an extra one because we couldn't figure out which one to omit:
Marriage Surprise: Mayor Annise Parker to wed longtime partner (Dec. 27, 2013)
Just after Christmas in 2013, CultureMap broke the news that Parker and longtime partner Kathy Hubbard planned to get married in Palm Springs, Calif., a few weeks after she would be inaugurated for her third term as Houston mayor. Parker had always said that she would wait until same sex marriage was legal in Texas before she and Hubbard would wed, but after being in a committed relationship for 23 years, the duo decided the time was right. California is among a growing number of states that recognize such marriages; Texas remains one of the big state holdouts.
Kenny Chesney is Houston bound for free Final Four concert (March 10, 2011)
With excitement growing about the NCAA basketball finals in Houston, CultureMap managing editor Chris Baldwin was the first to deduce that country star Kenny Chesney would be the headliner at a free concert in Discovery Green the Sunday of Final Four weekend as part of the Big Dance Concert Series. The NCAA confirmed our report a few days later.
Billionaire Dan Duncan dies unexpectedly at his home (March 29, 2010)
CultureMap editor at large Shelby Hodge received a tip that Dan Duncan, one of the city's richest men and most generous philanthropists, had passed away unexpectedly at his River Oaks home and immediately worked her sources to confirm his death. Duncan, 77, had rocked statewide philanthropic traditions and set records with a $100 million gift to Baylor College of Medicine in 2006.
Hodge also got the scoop that Houston Grand Opera general director and CEO Anthony Freud, whose contract was extended to 2015 only a few months earlier, planned to leave Houston early to take up the reins at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Hodge's sources also confirmed a few days later that HGO music director Patrick Summers was the front runner to succeed Freud, a month before Summers was named to the job.
CultureMap was the first to report that Andrew Fastow, one of the key figures in the Enron saga, had been released from prison in Louisiana and returned to Houston to complete his federal incarceration in a halfway house. Fastow served the remainder of his term and was released at the end of 2011.
In the 14 months since food writer Eric Sandler arrived at CultureMap, he has consistently been the first to report restaurant openings and closings as well as the latest news on Houston chefs. Sandler worked 18 months to build a relationship with Houston native and Atlanta culinary whiz Ford Fry, who plans to open a restaurant in Houston early next year. Naturally, Sandler was the first to report Fry's planned Houston homecoming and can't wait to sample the restaurant's fare when it opens.
And we can't wait to read what he has to say.