Author archives

Avis Meyer outlasts St. Louis U. adversary

Though he has announced his retirement, Prof. Avis Meyer will still advise student journalists putting out the U. News at St. Louis University. But for a four-year stretch earlier this decade, he was barred from the newsroom by SLU President Rev. Lawrence Biondi, who apparently saw Meyer as his nemesis. After 43 years of teaching …

The Mission By Joseph Pulitzer In 1945

It was 70 years ago that Joseph Pulitzer, editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, reported from Europe that the holocaust was far worse than the American public had been told. He came back to Missouri to launch an information project to disclose the extent of the Nazi atrocities. He was stunned to view the two German …

Scandals will fade but lobbying still drives the Missouri legislature

By ROY MALONE / A series of sex scandals that revealed tawdry affairs among top officials in Missouri’s state capital made for titillating reading this summer and stirred up a controversy about journalistic ethics. Sex scandals in Jefferson City are nothing new, say veteran statehouse reporters. Bad behavior by lawmakers and lobbyists has plagued the legislature for a century. What is new is the social media technology that ensnares straying legislators and the willingness of the press to name names. The decision by the Post-Dispatch’s veteran and highly regarded statehouse reporter, Virginia Young, to name a female aide of the governor’s who was involved in a night of hard drinking, attracted national comment and criticism.

Pathologist challenges quotes in Ferguson leak

By ROY MALONE// The killing of Michael Brown Jr. in August by a white Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, has produced a stream of controversial local and national news stories that portray the unarmed black teen as either the victim of police violence or a thug who got what he deserved in a “good shoot” by the officer.

A recent story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch quotes a forensic pathologist, Dr. Judy Melinek of San Francisco, as viewing Brown’s autopsy report and saying that Brown was shot in the hand while struggling with the officer at his car and was “going for the gun.” She is also quoted as saying the several shots fired at Brown after he ran, did not show he had his hands up (as in surrendering) as several eyewitnesses have said.

St. Louis acts to address wrongful arrests

The St. Louis Police Department has instituted a new mobile fingerprint identification system in its North, South and Central Area Stations, as well as at the St. Louis City Justice Center, to help avoid wrongful arrests, according to Chief Sam Dotson. The new fingerprint technology was put into the stations after a series in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last year maintaining that about 100 people had been arrested mistakenly over a seven-year period, serving a total of 2,000 days in jail.

Student paper at Webster University faces cuts

The longtime student newspaper at Webster University, the Journal, was facing an uncertain future this spring as the administration’s budget axe was about to swing. The weekly Journal, reporting on its own chances of survival, said its 30 issues a year might be cut to four or five in the 2015 budget, and the number of student staffers receiving pay could be cut from 10 to two. Some students and faculty believe the administration is upset over controversial stories the Journal has done, and one way of putting a clamp on the upstart newspaper is through the budget. But this is disputed by Webster’s public relations spokesman, Patrick Giblin.

The Rev. Biondi: Still swinging away

BY ROY MALONE / The Rev. Lawrence Biondi, as outgoing president of St. Louis University, used his last monthly newsletter to take a final swing at a professor he’s battled for more than two decades. The two-page rant, against Avis Meyer, was near the end of Biondi’s long missive to faculty, staff, students and others. But it was longer than any of the other subjects he discussed during his 25-year tenure as head of the Jesuit university.

Media History: The Jefferson Bank — St. Louis’ Selma

BY ROY MALONE / A protest 50 years ago this summer – beginning on Aug. 30, 1963 – pitted angry St. Louis business and civic leaders against young organizers of the Committee of Racial Equality who demanded more hiring of blacks by employers, especially the Jefferson Bank.