CULTUREMAP NEWS

Mapping a new direction: CultureMap revamps editorial department

Arden Ward and Steven Devadanam. Gow Media

Originally appeared on CultureMap/Houston.

CultureMap has revamped its editorial department, announcing Arden Ward as statewide editorial director and Steven Devadanam as Houston editor.

“I am delighted to announce the promotion of Arden Ward to run editorial for CultureMap statewide,” said David Gow, CEO of Gow Media. “Arden has leadership qualities, strong editorial skills, and a deep understanding of the content that resonates with our audiences.”

Ward joined CultureMap in 2011, during its expansion to Austin. She served as executive editor in Austin before becoming network managing editor, where she played an integral role in the brand’s expansion to the Fort Worth and San Antonio markets.

Devadanam brings a diverse set of experiences to his new role as editor of Houston. His background includes strategic roles at Village Voice Media, Modern Luxury, NFL Network, and CNN Digital. “We are excited to welcome Steven to the CultureMap team,” Ward said. “He is a champion of the brand and brings great enthusiasm for the city and its culture — which we look forward to sharing with our readers on a daily basis.”

Devadanam replaces Clifford Pugh, who served as editor-in-chief of CultureMap Houston since the company’s inception in 2009. “Clifford has been instrumental in the development of CultureMap,” said Gow. “We are very grateful for his leadership and the mark he has made over the past eight years.”

Devadanam is just the latest in a series of strong additions to the CultureMap editorial team. In May, the company announced the hiring of Ken Hoffman, the longstanding popular columnist from the Houston Chronicle. And more recently, under Ward’s leadership, CultureMap hired Stephanie Allmon Merry as managing editor in Dallas, and Katie Friel as editor in Austin and Brandon Watson as food editor in Austin.

“We have been investing in the editorial team across the state,” said Gow. “With these additions, we are poised to extend our leadership position.”

CultureMap is owned by Gow Media, which also owns SportsMap.

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This is getting out of hand. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Allsport/Getty Images.

Dr. Rick warns his patients, young homeowners who are turning into their parents, you can expect to pay more for snacks and drinks at a movie theater. It's the same deal at a professional sports venue. Three years ago, I put a down payment on a cheeseburger at Toyota Center ... I still have three more payments to go before I get it.

But this is ridiculous. The PGA Championship, the lesser (least) of golf's majors, is charging $18 for a beer, a 25-ounce Michelob Ultra, at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. It's $19 for a Stella Artois. You can buy a six-pack for less at the supermarket. Aren't there laws against price gouging, like during a hurricane? Isn't Tulsa where the Golden Hurricanes play? Get FEMA in here. Did tournament directors get together and ponder, how can we piss off our fans? Sure, it's Tulsa and there's not much else to do, but that's no excuse.

Charging $18 for a beer makes the concession stands at Minute Maid Park look like a Sunday morning farmer's market. A 25-ounce domestic beer during an Astros game is $13.49. A 25-ounce premium beer is $14.45. Yeah, that's high for a beer, but at Minute Maid Park there are lots of hands in the till. Aramark wants to make a profit, the taxman has big mitts, and the Astros want their cut, too. Look, you want to sign Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez to an extension or not? Then drink up and don't complain. Some quiet grumbling and head-shaking is permitted, however.

You know the PGA Championship is charging too much for a beer when even the rich pampered players take notice. "18 (!!!!!) for a beer ... uhhh what," former PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas tweeted. "Good thing I don't drink a lot."

Like he will be in line for a beer at a public concession booth, anyway.

Of course there will be fans sneaking in beer in baggies strapped to their ankles, like stuffing your pockets with store-bought Snickers before going to the movies. It doesn't have to be this way. The Masters, the most prestigious golf event, charges only $5 for both domestic and imported beer. I know it's a gimmick, part of The Masters mystique along with pimento sandwiches for $1.50, but still it's a welcome gesture. You never lose when you treat the public fairly. When Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened in Atlanta, Falcons owner Arthur Blank insisted that food vendors charge the same inside the stadium as they do at their regular restaurants. Same thing when Denver International Airport opened, fast food restaurants couldn't jack up their prices to their captive customers. Here? There needs to be a loan window outside the Cinnabon booth at Bush-Intercontinental.

Except for the Masters in Augusta, golf's majors aren't tied to a city. A major comes to a city maybe every few years or in most cases never. There's no need to ride into a city like the James Gang, rob the local bank, and high tail it out of town. Golf should be the last professional sport to stick it to fans. While the game has made strides to open its arms to lower-income youths, golf remains an elitist, extremely expensive sport for regular folk. Equipment is expensive, private courses are exclusive and country clubs are exclusionary. Public courses are less expensive but still expensive and crowded. Plus there's never been a professional sport more dangerously dominated by one person than golf. I can imagine network executives on their knees praying that Tiger Woods makes the cut and plays on weekends. Otherwise, TV ratings go straight into the toilet, you know, like whatever team Mattress Mack is betting on. (I joke because I love, and frankly a little scared.)

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