Rachel Stone, who has worked at the Advocate for 14 years, including more than a decade as editor of the Oak Cliff Advocate, has resigned to be Texas Editor at The Real Deal, starting Nov. 1.
“Oak Cliff and Advocate Media have been so good to me,” Stone says.
She credits the Advocate and the Oak Cliff neighborhood with salvaging her journalism career amid an economic recession and widespread newspaper layoffs.
It began when she answered a Craigslist ad seeking a blogger to write about Lakewood/East Dallas.
The Advocate hired Stone to write 10 blog posts a week. Her first big story for the Advocate was about a serial purse-snatcher in Lakewood.
She became editor of the Lakewood/East Dallas Advocate as well as the Oak Cliff Advocate “for some amount of time that I have blocked out of my memory,” she says.
The quota was 20 blog posts per week plus content to fill two monthly print magazines.
“I failed miserably, but the Advocate kept me on staff anyway,” she says.
Advocate founder Rick Wamre says Stone boosted the publication’s legitimacy.
“I felt like we were finally validated as a journalism operation because she knew what she was doing and still wanted to work with us,” he says.
She began covering Oak Cliff exclusively about 10 years ago, writing about everything from complicated zoning and land-use cases to people’s pet ducks.
Oak Cliff is where Stone found her home and community, and she says it was a privilege to write about our neighborhood every workday for all these years.
She will remain a resident of Oak Cliff, working remotely, so expect to keep seeing her around the neighborhood.
“The timing was right to move on,” she says. “But I wouldn’t be where I am today without Advocate Media and the Oak Cliff neighborhood. They literally made my career possible, and I am so grateful.”
Christina Hughes Babb, a longtime Advocate staffer, returned to the company as editor-at-large a little over a year ago. She lives in the Bishop Arts area and has written a lot of Oak Cliff stories since her return; she’ll be filling in while the Advocate searches for Stone’s replacement. You can reach Babb with story ideas or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Our neighborhood is in good hands with Christina,” Stone says.
The Advocate has launched a search for a new Oak Cliff editor. Please send resumes to Advocate Media president and editor-in-chief Jehadu Abshiro at email@example.com. (The Advocate is looking for a full- or part-time Oak Cliff sales account executive, too, which involves helping neighborhood businesses find economical ways to boost their visibility and sales. Reach out if you’re interested in that job, too.)
A few more parting sentiments from the Stone:
On president and editor-in-chief Jehadu Abshiro: She has expanded our offerings to include Plano Magazine, along with the Advocate’s other publications in Oak Cliff, Lake Highlands, Preston Hollow and Lakewood/East Dallas. She saw us through the conversion to nonprofit status in July 2021, has identified new revenue streams and upgraded our design in print and online. She has a vision for the organization’s future, and she has put an emphasis on diversity in hiring. It is not easy being the queen of a media mini empire, but I would encourage you to bet on the Advocate because of Jehadu and her editorial and business staff. They are going places.
On Rick Wamre: He and his wife, Sally, started this company 30 years ago to create free-to-everyone neighborhood publications that cover neighborhood news while providing an affordable place for locally owned small businesses to advertise. The Wamres have my eternal gratitude and respect.
On former Advocate managing editor Keri Mitchell: The founder of Dallas Free Press, a web-based publication for South and West Dallas, Keri was my first boss at the Advocate. I was hired as a part-time blogger and only went to full time because she went on maternity leave (shout out to Keri’s first daughter, Elliana). Keri has defended me and pumped me up and given me snacks and bought me gifts and done all the Keri things for me.
On the Advocate: The Advocate is a gift to you from your neighbors. When you pick up an Advocate magazine, click on our website or open our e-newsletters, you are reading stories about your neighborhood written by your neighbors and supported by neighborhood businesses. Everyone who writes, edits, takes photos or creates graphic designs for our publications lives in the neighborhoods we cover.
I ask you to appreciate the rarity of this. Thousands of local news publications — especially the small-time ones like ours — have closed in recent years. Against all odds, Advocate Media has found ways to thrive and grow, and the future looks extremely bright for the publications.
To the Oak Cliff neighborhood: Y’all saved me. You gave me a purpose and made me part of our community, and that is priceless. I always figured I’d know what to say when the time came to leave the Advocate, but all I can think of is to tell you that I am so grateful. Thank you so much.
Stone is a 2003 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism and previously worked as a reporter at the San Antonio Express-News and the Beaumont Enterprise. She went to Duncanville High School and attended Dallas College Mountain View Campus.