Terry Ganey is one of the most respected investigative reporters and political correspondents of the past 40 years in Missouri. With the November issue, he takes over as St. Louis editor of Gateway Journalism Review.
Ganey, a former colleague
at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is taking over from Roy Malone, another valued Post-Dispatch colleague. Malone will continue to contribute but is taking a break from the many years he and Charles Klotzer kept this publication alive.
Ganey’s inaugural issue includes two pieces. One tells three previously untold stories about August A. Busch Jr., the beer baron who built Anheuser-Busch into the nation’s dominant brewery and rode in the beer wagon behind the Clydesdales as his beloved Cardinals played in the World Series.
Journalism is called “the first draft of history.” Ganey digs until he writes the second, third and final drafts.
These untold stories about Busch touch other St. Louis icons: Sen. Thomas F. Eagleton, the smart, funny, outspoken senator who once was the Democratic vice presidential candidate; Harry Caray, the colorful announcer who went on to fame with the Cubs; Al Fleishman, the public relations man extraordinaire who built his firm into an international force; and Louis Susman, a power broker in Democratic politics.
This story is history, but news about history. It reflects Ganey’s tenacity. The story is based on a Freedom of Information Act request, as well as previously unpublished information from Eagleton’s and Fleishman’s papers.
I got to witness Ganey’s tenacity when the two of us spent more than a year investigating the death of the Branch Davidians at Waco, Texas. That work taught me an important lesson: Even though most big stories are about government wrongdoing, this one was about false claims conjuring up government mendacity.
Ganey’s most famous investigation was the Second Injury Fund in Missouri. He was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. More important was that Attorney General William Webster’s bid for the governorship was upended, and Webster served prison time as a result of a related investigation.
Ganey’s other story in this issue involves the Post-Dispatch editorial page, a subject dear to my heart.
Watching the Post-Dispatch cut back in the six years since I left as deputy editorial editor has been heartbreaking. I’ve seen good friends turned out, the Washington Bureau cut from the eight reporters there 20 years ago to one, and the editorial page reduced by the loss of writers, the op-ed editor and the editorial cartoonist.
Elsewhere in this magazine, Klotzer makes the excellent point that those remaining at the paper have done a good job of preserving investigative muscle, and that the editorial page lives by the Pulitzer platform. Tony Messenger, the editor, and Kevin Horrigan, the deputy, are especially knowledgeable, savvy editorial writers.
But I can’t help but remember what once was: the Daniel Fitzpatrick cartoon of the Nazi swastika slicing through the Polish countryside, or Uncle Sam getting mired in Vietnam in 1954, a decade before American soldiers began dying there. The Bill Mauldin Pulitzer Prize cartoon showing Boris Pasternak remarking to another prisoner in the Soviet Gulag, “I won the Nobel Prize for literature. What was your crime?”
I can’t help but remember the Pulitzer Prize editorials warning of Nazism long before World War II, nor Irving Dilliard’s relentless attack of Sen. Joe McCarthy’s demagoguery, nor Robert Lasch’s Pulitzer-winning warning about the futility of the Vietnam War.
Yet now my friend R.J. Matson – the last of that long, proud line of editorial cartoonists – has been shown the door without even notice of his departure.
Like Bill McClellan, the Post-Dispatch’s columnist, I can’t help but resent the undeserved stock bonus received by Lee Enterprises CEO Mary Junck. Had she possessed the decency to turn down it down, she could have preserved jobs of men and women who devoted their lives to the paper – and she could have saved a piece of a great tradition bigger than anything Lee Enterprises ever stood for.