Articles and Posts by William H. Freivogel
May 24th, 2013
The press has been breathless in its coverage of the three “scandals” that plague the first months of President Obama’s second term. It has been especially hyperbolic in covering the issue on which it has a direct interest: subpoenas of reporters. Americans are told that the scandals are another Watergate, that Obama is Nixonian, that Obama will be forced to appoint a special counsel, that the president’s entire second term could be destroyed by the IRS, Benghazi and press subpoenas episodes. It is hardly noticed that there is no evidence of criminality or presidential involvement in any of the alleged misdeeds.
May 3rd, 2013
Richard Dudman, the former chief Washington correspondent of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, turns 95 today. I don’t believe in heroes, but Richard Dudman is my hero. So many reporters and editors get tired, burned out or cynical. Not Dudman. He never has lost his love for a big story or his intrepid pursuit of the truth in the face of danger. Dudman always kept his suitcase packed so that he could make it to the airport before editors back home had second thoughts about the cost of an international trip.
May 3rd, 2013
Traditional journalists, myself included, ascribe to professional standards that emphasize fair, objective reporting and minimize deceptive practices. But stories can look a lot different from different ends of town, making it hard to arrive at one objective truth. And there are important stories that can’t be gotten without creative reporting techniques.
Apr 19th, 2013
The unprecedented events in Boston – the lockdown of a major U.S. city during a manhunt for a terrorism suspect – demonstrated the amazing power of the media to help and sometimes hinder a criminal investigation. The manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects also demonstrated the way in which the media can contribute to, and heighten the frenzy and sense of, danger in a community.
Feb 22nd, 2013
Twenty-five years ago, on Jan. 13, 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court announced a devastating blow to student speech and the student press when it validated the authority of the principal of Hazelwood East High School to remove controversial stories about teen pregnancy and divorce from the school newspaper over student objections. The court’s decision in Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier was one of the most far-reaching decisions restricting free speech in the past quarter-century.
Feb 8th, 2013
Maybe my kids are right and I’m getting more conservative as I get older. Maybe my ACLU buddies have reason to wonder if I’ve strayed from the path of founder Roger Baldwin. Or maybe it’s been too many years since I was in the White House press room. But as I listened this week to the White House press briefing, I was irritated by the press’ attitude that President Obama’s decision to kill any American citizens plotting attacks on the United States was comparable to President George W. Bush’s authorization of the torture of captured al-Qaida operatives.
Jan 18th, 2013
By happy coincidence rather than clever planning, the Winter 2013 issue of Gateway Journalism Review is filled with stories about the full range of First Amendment issues in the news. This focus on free speech is fitting, because GJR just celebrated the First Amendment at its annual fundraiser in St. Louis.
Dec 14th, 2012
The end of December is the season for newspapers to unveil big projects aimed at changing public policy – and, not incidentally, winning prizes. (I know. I’ve done it.) This year, the Kansas City Star printed an unappetizing but provocative series on meat production showing that modern industry methods may be harmful for people’s health. Across the state, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a series on pedestrians killed on railroad tracks and what it saw at the weak industry response. The reader reaction was quite different.
Latest Blog Posts
Read the Latest Issue