About the artist
About the artist
About the artist 'Bob' Price
-by Brian K. Patterson
Price is a journalist who has been recognized for honesty and balance in his writings, artwork, and photography. An exceptional 'Artist' who struggled into a writing position through hard-work and self sacrifice using his graphic arts and photography talents to back-up his work; he entered journalism in the military; where his unit motto lived by the creed: 'Vigilant Always'. And that is Price's personal motto.
Price's journalistic integrity has been his calling card; resulting in goal oriented; and a hard hitting editorial style, which elevated him toward high-achievement and awards. This 'style' and credibility brought him respect from his editors and publishers and his editorial opponents.
"I guess Bob's doing a good job," said one reader, "I've read everything he has written for two years; and I can't tell whether he is a Democrat or a Republican..."
Price's communications career efforts have spanned nearly 30 years; and his life experiences of diversity have added to a body of work reflecting thought, hard work and research. His writings have been pointed and factual, his photography artful and his illustrations detailed and entertaining. His political editorials have often been controversial.
As an editorialist; Price in the past has found himself at odds with corrupt government officials, drug dealers, organized crime, and hate groups. Bob continued his editorial efforts in the tradition of the pistol packing editors of Texas Journalism.
"I tend to see the world as a war zone between truth and evil...not good and evil...evil always hates truth," Price said. "Because evil can not exist in the light of day; it is unsupportable on all levels and like someone once said; '...Sunlight is the best disinfectant...for contaminated government...' and I believe in bringing the truth into daylight. But, it is the 'timing' of that disclosure which is important."
A conservative; Price hails himself as a Bush supporter and Republican.
"In the long-run open disclosure is always the best policy of any government. But, I also believe in the necessity of government to protect 'state secrets' which are for true National Security reasons. As a former member of Military Intelligence I saw that necessity first hand," said Price.
"Truth is not always 'Good News' or is it very pretty...and human endeavors are flawed more often than not," said Price, "we begin with imperfection and strive to do better; that is just human nature."
"Journalism has a different meaning for me," said Price, "I belong to a different period of history I think. And, my experience in life has taught me how to deal with intimidation from evil personalities."
"I don't play the itimidation game. More often than not; an attempt at intimidation is a bluff to hide something more important and get an investigative reporter to stop his research. The trail usually is the money trail," said Price.
"One of the first Cannon's of Investigative Journalism I learned was to follow the money," Price said, "that is a standard rule in today's world."
" In one particular case I had a city government send the city treasurer out of the country to keep him from talking to me. But, people who do stupid things usually will do something else stupid. All I had to do was wait them out...find where their money was going and sure enough they flubbed up and they no longer run that city government," he said. What might appear as a 'liberal' attempt at truth in government really can be a conservative agenda which protects the solidarity of American Institutions.
Price points to banner headlines of fallen government and stories of religious zealots whose belief caused them to literally try and beat the 'devil' out of their congregation.
These were 'wonderful people' Price said sarcastically.
"Beneath every rock is a story of some sort and in today's world it is not always a pretty sight, " Price Said. "They played their part and I played mine. When no one watches government or organized religion; these crooks and screw-balls corrupt our system and our communities," he said.
"I didn't find it enjoyable to write that stuff and it couldn't be fun to read either. But, it had to be done for the public good. Those officials reaped what they planted. All I did was discover their mistakes. It was a nasty business. They were eventually voted out of office or resigned after I left. The religious nuts were convicted of their crimes. Personally I found it distasteful and reprehensible," Price said.
"Journalism is not necessarily an entertainment media; anyway," said Bob.
" Journalism can be entertaining; but that is just an added bonus if it occurs. More often than not; Journalism is a way of communicating those things most of us really try to ignore. True Journalism should reflect our collective conscience and not add to more chaos. Fifty percent of the people will probably hate you for telling the truth this week; and the other fifty percent will hate you the next. It is not a business of friendship but one of mutual respect, honor and integrity. You have to be able to maintain credibility with the public and that integrity within yourself; and in the long run face the mirror at the end of the day," he said.
"When I worked as an editor," Price said. " I required that my people follow a goal of placing God, Country, and Community ahead of inflamitory articles just to boost ratings. A strong news source must be built on a solid foundation. And that is why I do not embrace today's journalism as a sole career choice. I do not believe in entertainment journalism. Entertainment has its own seperate place. The web and Cable TV are good places for entertainment; or even an 'entertainment section' of a newspaper. What I found was entertainment taking over the editorial and news sections; that alone is enough to damage our societal fabric. I simply do not see things that way and I am intolerant to that journalistic goal."
"And, I do not support an 'anything goes' society," said Price. The 'loose society' view supported by the voices of community leadership only aids in social decay (and community leadership is one of the roles a newspaper assumes; and it is one of its responsibilities like it or not) I do not want to be a part of this current wave of degeneration. When I put my name on something I stand behind it with my whole self."
"I boosted my ratings by being first, working harder, and being more aggressive and honest than my competition. News should be seperate from editorial opinion and sought with balance and fairness and multiple sources of information. I did not send reporters to find a 'hot' story...I sent them to find a story; and hopefully it would be hot...there is a marked difference," Price added, "and you can't editorialize in news sections."
"Editorials are the place for personal views and opinions and not on the front page. And those editorials; I believe ought to be pointed, direct, goal oriented and very honest and blunt. I pulled no punches and expected the same treatment in return. I believe that Government, Religion, and Organizations need the most oversight and editorial pressure since they control so many lives," said Price.
"Groups of people often become bullies. The best way to handle a bully is to punch them on the end of the nose just to get their attention. That is what I've always tried to do in my editorial comments," Price said, "if a bully goes unchallenged from the beginning; that lack of oversight almost always results in corruption and irresponsible behavior."
Besides being an award winning photographer; Bob is also an awarded illustrator and journalist; his portfolio contains awards from both the civilian community and from the military.
In the Army; Bob carried the PMOS or the Primary Job skill of 71L; Administration Specialist, 71Q; Journalist, Secondary 81E; Illustrator, and Additional MOS as a Photographer; 84B, while working in Military Intelligence for the Army Security Agency and Civilian Intelligence Services. He was stationed in Missouri, California, Okinawa, and Arizona
Price was a writer and staff artist and cartoonist for the Torii Typhoon; which won the #1 ASA Newspaper award for small papers in the Army.
The Typhoon's banner; another Price Design
Bob contributed photos to the Army Times; and as a member of the Army Security Agency he prepared classified slide briefings for the General Staff to include the Under-Secretary-of-the-Army. He worked as Clerk for the Director of FBIS on Okinawa (Foreign Broadcast Information Service) and as Communications Clerk for staff level signal intelligence
officers and tenant civilian intelligence agencies.
Graphic Arts Shop Torii Station
He attended Amarillo College and Tarelton State University at Stephenville. While in AC he won more personal awards than any single journalist in AC's history up to that time.
While at AC; Price edited The Ranger taking it to third place in the State of Texas; only bested out by Tarrant County East and West.
The Ranger placed ahead of every other major university and junior college in the state. The majority of the awards were given to Bob for his personal efforts in writing, cartooning, and illustrations.
Price received the Tommy Bryant Memorial Scholarship and a job enrichment scholarship in Investigative Journalism in 1979 to Northwestern University, Evanston Illinois at Chicago.
The Illinois courses were sponsored by The CATO INSTITUTE.
CATO is a Washington DC based Think Tank which is closely associated with the Liberatarian Political Party which stresses personal responsibility, more freedom, and limited government.
Some of Price's instructors included Ed Diamond; former editor of Newsweek and Crane of Crane's Weekly, Walter Williams of George Mason University (who fills in occassionally for Rush Limbaugh) and many other well known scholars, writers and professionals.
"CATO's course was like taking a two year course in political economics and investigative journalism all packaged into a short period of time. I can't thank them enough for the honor," said Price.
Bob under The Ranger logo; problem solving
Price used the skills he learned on his own to enter the Journalism field prior to attending any College. He used his self-taught skills in art, photography and writing to further his career. Bob said he grabbed every opportunity to learn about printing and print settup while living in Tombstone Arizona; and in-fact his first civilian activity was conducted in the offices of The Tombstone Epitaph where he learned to make plates for the printing presses.
"These were the original offices of The Tombstone Epitaph," said Price. "This was like having history poored over my head. My feelings and respect for those early newspaper days wasn't lost on the moment. I felt honored and very very humbled by the whole experience."
When Price left the military he became art director for the Randall County Reporter Newspaper and helped design the paper from the ground up.
"We even had to build our own layout tables," said Price of the bi-weekly county wide paper.
"I took several sheets of layout paper and sat down and made a 'dummy' paper. We followed that design almost to the letter from day one," said Price.
Later Bob took on some editorial assignments and eventually whole sections of the newspaper. He was photographer and Editor of Motorsports in Action in the Randall County Reporter Newspaper; Director of the Art Department, and feature writer for the Sunday Magazine.
Price also, was the Track Photographer at Amarillo Speedway. He was Director of Public Relations for the American Legion's 54th District, later a member of the VFW; and in 1979 he was appointed District Adjutant of the 54th District of the Legion where he covered more than 50 Texas counties.
He was a member of the Top-O-Texas Vietnam Veterans and President of the Veterans Fraternity at Amarillo College.
In 1980 he became Associate Editor of the National Vietnam Veterans Review; and traveled to Washington seeking to gain support for the MIA/POW's and other veteran's issues.
Unknown to him; Price had won wide support and acclaim in Washington for his pointed articles and editorials and was credited with helping to topple the director of a corrupt Veteran's Administration which had misused and misappropriated funds during the Reagan Administration to pay for office renovations, artwork and unauthorized limousine services.
Some of Bob's articles were hand carried to the Whitehouse by interested third parties; and after the matters were brought to the attention of the Attorney General; the Director of the Veterans Administration resigned within 30 days. Bob was offered an Editorship at the top national veterans paper in the United States; but he declined.
"Other people had worked on this issue before I got ahold of it," said Price.
"All I did was put it together in a form that the Reagan Administration couldn't ignore," he said. "And I relied on first-hand sources in the Whitehouse and former appointee's to include the former associate director of the Veterans Administration who resigned after less than a week at his post. I relied on first hand sources to give me the inside scoup; then double-checked my information with other people; such as 'friends' in Jack Anderson's Office. It had to be handled like a 'spy activity' because of the sensitivity of the issues. I fell out of favor rather quickly with some elements inside and outside government."
"I reported what other people had to say...people who had never brought their information forward before. I would like to think that we helped win one for all veterans. I didn't do it alone. I was just the messenger," said Price, as he displayed pictures of Washington and recounted his visit to the office of Jack Anderson; noted Washington Editorialist.
Bob at the US Capital Building waiting for a meeting with Congressional Staffer's and
(right) in the office of The National Stars and Stripes holding one of the port holes which
was recovered from Havana Harbor and the wreck of the Battleship Maine.
Price was very dedicated to the POW/MIA issues before it was popular to do so; and he had been meeting with Congressmen following his discharge in 1977.
"I am convinced that in 1977 we still had MIA/POW's alive in Vietnam. The fruststration was that no one was listening; and then any MIA/POW rescue planning was hijacked by the Iran-Contra groups and people who had a seperate agenda in Central America. It is an American tragedy that we willingly have left our POW's in the hands of our enemies in WWII, Korea and in Vietnam," Price said.
Price's family had a service member captured in Korea and declared as killed in captivity by the communists; and during World War II one of his uncle's had been a POW held by Germany.
"I had no intention of becoming a 'professional veteran' and found myself as a spokesman for veteran's issues thru chance and circumstance and not by personal choice. Veteran's and particularly MIA/POW's are soon forgotten by the countries they served. I was trying to right some of that wrong...my passion lay with the POW's we abandoned; all this other stuff just got in the way and was necessary, somehow", said Price.
In 1981 Price left Veteran's Issues behind following the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. Bob made the decision to use that moment as the time to put the past behind and move on.
"There were too many private interest groups involved in the war against Communism in Central America. I support any effort to eradicate Communism here or abroad; but, the veterans movement was used a blind and false flag recruiting method for an active war. Our MIA/POW families were used and they suffered the most from an inattentive and inactive government, " he said.
"Some groups were using Veterans issues as a recruiting medium and as a patriotic springboard. The line became so muddled; you couldn't tell the good-guys from the bad-guys. I discussed the issues with Jack Anderson's office and with other news organizations while in Washington and decided that Veteran's issues were being used to disguise questionable covert activities by private groups of individuals; this was a prelude to the Oliver North controvery," said Price.
"I actually received a letter of assignment from one of the top Washington Newspapers to investigate these covert matters," Price said, displaying the letter. "This was all a no win situation."
"It was time to move on. Intelligence operations are best conducted by the government and not by private enterprise. I just saw it as a screwed up mess," said Price.
Bob as a Journalist in Washington D.C. at the Nat'l Smithsonian
The graphic in the background is actually a painting on an elevator door.
Upon his return to Texas; Bob resumed a 10 year Disc Jockey and Bouncer career in Amarillo night clubs; working at Cheers, Texas Weekend, Bojangles, Topango, Champs and occassionally at Club 26 and last but not least Rafter J's.
Bobby as Bouncer and DJ at Cheers
He left the Club business to work as a broadcaster in small and medium market radio; and he also worked a year in the large San Antonio diverse radio market.
In 1988 Bob went back into the Club business as Bouncer and DJ; helping to make Texas Ex's of San Antonio into one of the area's hottest Country and Western nite spots; he brought to San Antonio the cowboy sounds of the West Texas Honky Tonk and the hard-driving Rock n' Roll of the South.
In 1990 Price achieved a lifetime goal of hiring out for the railroad; making him a fourth generation railroader in his family.
"Texas Southern was my chance to prove something to myself. I couldn't pass up the opportunity," said Price.
"I found that little something inside myself; that connection with my family past; I successfully ran a locomotive, worked in the yards and found an inner proof and peace I couldn't have gotten any other way. I saw it as a personal challenge. I owe alot to Mike Calvert and Walter Carter of Texas Southern for their friendship and their help," Price said.
Bob Climbing aboard lead engine TS 100
At the end of 1992; Texas Southern laid off their crews.
At the same time Price completed a series of paintings and met the publisher of the Medina Valley Times; Pat Ramatowski.
Pat pressured Bob to leave the night club business and later the railroad and edit the paper. When Texas Southern closed up shop Price called the Times for a job. Their Editor had recently quit and Bob became Senior Editor of the Medina Valley Times.
Using his investigative skills and his editorial talents; Price helped to completely purge the Devine Texas area of a city government which had been accused of misfeasance and malfeasance of office.
Price said; this was a government which had misused it's public trust by using un-bonded paving companies and sought to run rough-shod over it's citizens by forcing acceptance of city streets that did not meet minimum standards. It was also a government which did not fully staff ambulance services and tried to cover up that fact which resulted in further injury to the public. These were just to a few of the problems being experienced in Medina County and particularly Devine.
"Devine owes gratitude; not to me; or any other writer; but owes that gratitude to Pat Ramatowski...a publisher who had the guts and courage to risk everything she had to help turn that city around. My role was small compared to her giant steps, over a twenty year period I think Pat lost almost everything she had fighting a corrupt governing body," said Price,
"I am not sure those people in that area are aware of her efforts; nor do they appreciate the fact that she gave up much of her life for them. It was a thankless business; Pat was and is one of my hero's," said Price.
"The Devine area political machine at the time was run by 'bullies'; and I can't stand bullies," Price said. "They raised my ire by their callous attitudes towards some widows first, then they lied to me, and then they had people threaten to kill me. Somewhere along the line they managed to piss me off. And so I dedicated my energy to figuring out their next steps in a long line of swindles and cover-ups."
Bob covered County and City Government and wrote lead editorials and feature articles. Devine eventually received a new city manager, mayor, several new city council members and a more responsive government.
"The newspaper sold," said Price, "and my time in the saddle was up...I had my moments in the sun; 'Have Pen...Will Travel...' you know," he laughed.
In 1993 Bob became an over-the-road Truck Driver and Certified Truck Driving Instructor for Stevens Transportation of Dallas Texas; partly so he could see the country. He intended to stay at Stevens for six months and wound up staying in the business for more than 11 years now.
During this time he worked on family research and began to work seriously on other projects. In 1996 he became a trainer and has trained many successful truck drivers.
Price currently pursues his photography, art and writing projects independently.