Stephenville, Texas UFO - Empire Tribune Writer Silenced!!

I'm sure that by now everyone is fully aware of the recent Stephenville UFO sightings, the reason you will know most of what you do is down to the tenacity, integrity and honesty of a reporter for the local paper (The Empire Tribune).

I'm talking about, Angelia Joiner (ex-staff writer).

Over the course of the last month, Angelia has endeared herself to all of the Texas UFO witnesses by providing them with support, acting as a confidante and giving them a much needed voice by telling their stories in her articles.

Here are a couple of emails that Angelia exchanged with the Admin (Bren Burton) of the Open Minds Forum. While Angelia didn't post the messages to the forum personally she gave Bren permission for them to be posted (7th February 2008).


"I think my readers would find a lot more of this sort of story interesting but my newspaper doesn't want any more stories. My boss feels it's time to move on. A city councilman here talked to the Star-Telegram and said the whole thing was an embarrassment to the town (or something to that effect.).

It has been a tough decision but I gave my two weeks notice last Thursday and my last day will be Feb. 14. At that time, I will be unemployed so I probably will substitute teach for a while.[...]

I joined your group because I was so impressed with how nice the men were to offer to help Ricky Sorrells. I don't know how that went yesterday but I could see they were sincerely concerned about him and his situation. That was impressive and I like people that care about others.

[...] I don't want to say anything bad about the newspaper. They are just not interested any more. But it was a record sales month in the history of the E-T for JAN. so I feel good about that.

It's funny how one day I was sitting on top of a huge global story and practically the next I'm looking for a job.'s full of surprises. And, I think that's a good thing. Here's hoping there is something better around the corner.


"I gave two weeks notice but this morning they had confiscated my computer and I was told to pack up and get out. I'm devastated and still in shock.

I was trying to direct people away from talking to me about UFOs and other information during work hours and I had forwarded emails to my home computer so I would not be dealing with that on newspaper time. But, apparently that wasn't the right thing to do either.

I've just been between a rock and a hard spot if you know what I mean.

The publisher said she didn't want me to leave with ill feelings toward the newspaper and I'm trying not to. I'm grateful for the opportunity the newspaper gave me in employing me as a writer. I have only been writing for them 18 months and I've learned a lot but I still have a lot more to learn."

Angelia Joiner - email to Admin/Bren Burton

Source – Open Minds Forum -

(Please note the diplomacy that Angelia displayed in the above, which was a private correspondence - “I don't want to say anything bad about the newspaper. They are just not interested any more. But it was a record sales month in the history of the E-T for JAN. so I feel good about that.”)


Just a glance at the headlines (and the leading paragraph/s) is enough to confirm that there is something sadly amiss. Here are some recent articles that she wrote for the Empire Tribune:

Japan interested in UFO sighting - Friday, January 25, 2008

‘Funny lightning' leads to video - Sunday, January 27, 2008

Pilots dispute military statement - Sunday, January 27, 2008

Brazilian news crew investigates sightings - Monday, January 28, 2008

Science club shirts are a hit! - Thursday, January 31, 2008

UFO witness claims harassment - Sunday, February 3, 2008

More twists in the Sorrells' saga - Monday, February 4, 2008

(And here's the only article written about the incident since her departure) Don't look, Ethel! - Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Japan interested in UFO sighting


Friday, January 25, 2008

Steve Allen is haggard. He's hardly sleeping and his mug is becoming familiar on news programs all over the world. Still, he's not given up on his quest for video or photos of what he says was an unidentified flying object he saw with friends on the evening of Jan. 8. The sighting was so odd it defies explanation, and he's been heard to say over and over, “It definitely wasn't from these parts. The military only wishes they had something like that…..Videos are starting to come out,” Allen said. “I've gotten about ten but only two are worth anything.”

‘Funny lightning' leads to video


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Stephenville resident David Caron said it was his seven-year-old grandson, Jeremiah that first alerted him to “funny lightning in the sky.” “That was on Friday evening, January 18,” Caron said. “I went out and saw the skies were clear, you know, he's just a kid. I didn't think that much about it.” It wasn't until the next night that Caron realized exactly why his grandson made the comment and what he meant when he said, “Papa come look. There's funny lightning in the sky.”

Pilots dispute military statement


Sunday, January 27, 2008

At least three pilots in Stephenville disagree with the military's press release issued Wednesday. Steve Allen, Don “Doc” Stewart and Todd Downs all say if Stephenville and the Selden area are in the Brownwood Military Operating Area, it's news to them.

Brazilian news crew investigates sightings

Monday, January 28, 2008


If anyone in the world hasn't heard of Stephenville , Texas , it could only be for one reason - they're not listening. Stephenville continues to capture national and international attention with news crews coming from all over the world. Last weekend, a Brazilian news crew came, while another is expected to come from Japan .

Science club shirts are a hit!


Thursday, January 31, 2008

The community went wild over UFO T-shirts designed by Pam Kinsel and Abby Cranford, both juniors, for the Stephenville High School Science Club. According to Kimberlea Adams, teacher and club sponsor, 1,200 shirts were pre-sold at $10 each. “We have raised more than $4,000 for scholarships,” Adams said. “We will award a $1,000 scholarship to a deserving senior this year and for the next three years.”

UFO witness claims harassment


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Ricky Sorrells is frustrated and a little angry. Since his interview with the Associated Press, Sorrells has stayed quiet regarding the daytime UFO sightings on his property near Dublin . And, there is more than one reason for his silence. Sorrells believes military officials have been harassing him by flying military aircraft over his property at low altitudes, at all hours of the day and night. Sorrells runs livestock on his place and said the cattle don't react well to the disturbances. It's also been hard to get any sleep.

More twists in the Sorrells' saga


Monday, February 4, 2008

Answers: Ricky Sorrells just wants answers. And, in light of what he's been through, it doesn't seem to be a lot to ask. Witnessing an unidentified flying object four times since the beginning of the new year, then having military aircraft whizzing over his land and disrupting his sleep and livestock, followed by a string of mysterious phone calls and in person encounters from individuals demanding he “shut up” about what he saw, and landing unexpectedly in the international spotlight, has taken a toll on the 37-year-old man accustomed to the simple life.

(And here's the only article written about the incident since her departure)

Don't look, Ethel!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 Erath County , an hour's drive southwest of Fort Worth , is known for cow-milkin' and Dr Pepper-drinkin'. Locals think that when media folks land there in numbers, they're “sniffing out” whatever the college kids at Tarleton are up to. But, times they are a changin'. Something big, fast and mysterious streaked across the night sky there recently, and some 50 people saw it. They're ruling out just one possibility-it was NOT the cow jumping over the moon. Whatever it was has perked up the economy a “right smart,” as my old mama would say....

Source – Empire Tribune -


To be fair, the last article (Don't look, Ethel!) doesn't dispute any of the earlier evidence, nor does it disagree that something was definitely witnessed in the skies over Texas, but what it does do is present the events in what is presumably thought to be from a less confrontational viewpoint. It's this diluted, trivialised style of presentation that has served only to add the, “Giggle factor” to media reports on the UFO phenomenon and further detract what from the real issues and further destroy what little credibility the subject currently has. I should also point out that NO references are made to any of the original witnesses, and perhaps more noticeably there's no reference to the plight of Ricky Sorrells.

The last two stories about the UFO incident that Angelia Joiner had published were direct witness statements relating to how Ricky Sorrels was being subjected to cowardly, underhand and despicable scare tactics in an effort to intimidate him by (one can only assume) whichever faction of the government and/or military deals with harassing innocent citizens.

The articles reported facts that included low flying military craft over his property at all hours, strange and threatening telephone calls from people who knew more that they would tell and made threats like, “Son, we have the same calibre weapons as you do but a lot more of them.” Also shadowy figures making themselves known on his property in the middle of the night. (It is thought that the shadowy figure left a little message for Ricky in the form of a bullet as it was found at the spot the stranger was lurking). If ever it sounded like someone needed reassurance and a way to voice his experiences, it was Ricky Sorrells.

I don't doubt for a second that the decision to confiscate her computer and ask her to leave the premises had nothing to do with her immediate superiors other than their compliancy with whomever applied the pressure, that still in no way absolves them of blame, neither does it justify their actions in any way, shape or form.

The decision seems particularly unjust when you consider that it's these same people who have obviously authorised the articles for publication in the first place. Angelia has said in a subsequent post at the Open Minds Forum that (8th February 2008):


“What made yesterday so shocking was the fact that I considered my bosses (publisher and editor) friends, too. I was made to feel like a criminal and I don't think I deserved that. In a small setting you get close to the people you work for and I just never expected what happened and was (and still am) completely baffled.”


If the letters section of the Empire Tribune is any reliable gauge of the feelings of the readership then they seem to not only be embracing the current situation but they are positively enthusiastic about it.

Letter To the editor,

Sunday, January 27,

Need a little good news today? Well, it has come from your very own hometown. In a world beset by an unrelenting stream of bad things from Baghdad to Wall Street, Stephenville somehow brought a smile to the world at large. With the recent UFO sightings in these parts, the average person could grin for a brief moment and then wonder about the possibilities of the universe.

Whether you believe that we are alone or not in this vast cosmos is not the point. It's how we reacted to the moment. If people all around the globe, hearing of what one little town deep in the heart of Texas experienced, looked up into their night sky and perhaps pondered, however briefly, that we are all not that much different, good for us. If one little speck on the world map could perhaps embrace something from another world, there is hope.


Evidently their soaring sales, massive spike in web activity and encouraging a greater sense of community within their readership doesn't mean a great deal. This certainly begs the question of exactly which agenda are they working from as they obviously aren't aiming for increased sales and they don't appear to be listening to or accommodating the wishes of their readership, the good people of Stephenville.

Remember Angelia Joiner was just the messenger, doing the job she was paid to do, the job she was asked to do. Because she doesn't compromise her ethics, because Angelia Joiner genuinely cares about the witnesses (and what happens to them AFTER they talk to her) because she strives for the truth so that she may share it with us all, it seems that the these traits make her an expendable asset, when it should really make her indispensable to all except the most corrupt and biased of organisations, but more than that, these traits should make people like Angela Joiner a necessity.

In fact, if these are not the character traits that the Empire Tribune actively encourages and demands from their staff, what traits exactly do they feel are becoming of a reporter? What could they be if not integrity, loyalty and honesty? And more importantly why should anyone trust anything that is printed by a media organisation whose ethics, values and morals are not only flexible but apparently negotiable?

Whether you've followed the story since the start, only read one or two articles, or if this recent debacle is your introduction to it, I urge you to contact the publisher and the editor at the Empire Tribune and voice your concerns at their decision to silence Angelia Joiner and consequently silence the Stephenville community. They need to know that this unwarranted suppression hasn't gone unnoticed, let them know that their actions are under public scrutiny as they should be, and let them know that ultimately they are accountable for their own decisions.

Their contact details are as follows:


Rochelle Stidham

254-968-2379 Ext. 225


Sara Vanden Berge

254-965-3124 Ext. 240

Further Information: Empire Tribune is owned by American Consolidated Media owns and operates around 40 local community newspapers and related print publications, primarily in small-to-medium markets in Texas and Oklahoma. The company was acquired in 2007 by Macquarie Media, an affiliate of Australian financial services giant Macquarie Bank. (

Sources: Open Minds Forum -

Empire Tribune -

A big thanks to Michael for referring me to the article...

source and references:

Archived UFO Articles and News Items, 2008

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