The following were named to the print portion of the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame to be held at Gio’s Ristorante and Bar June 8 in St. Louis.
Linda Eardley showed up for her first day of work at the Post-Dispatch in 1969 to se
e row after row of white men typing, smoking and yelling. She would soon learn that she was the first woman reporter hired onto the city desk. After a few months of working general assignment, Eardley was assigned to work with other female writers for the now-defunct Women’s Page and Sunday Society Page. In 1972, she returned to the city desk where she worked for the next 24 years as a general assignment and Illinois reporter, education reporter, assistant Illinois editor and fill-in for a variety of day and night editors. Among her most memorable stories, she listed those on excessive spending by the St. Louis Schools superintendent, the murder-for-hire of the highly insured inventor Victor Null, the St. Louis schools desegregation case and being a part of the on-going coverage of major stories such as the flood of 1993. She retired from the Post-Dispatch in 2005.
Alice Belcher was a pioneer. She was the first woman to enter the College of Arts & Sciences at Washington University in 1870. She was the first woman employed by the St. Louis Democrat. She wrote a weekly column to earn book money under the pen name “N.D.,” which stood for “nikeso dynamai,” which is Greek for “I will conquer; I am able.” She later moved to New York and wrote articles for the New York Evening Post and Popular Science Monthly, including stories such as “Is Education Opposed to Motherhood?” and “Woman and the Ballot.” “She expressed her strength of will by forthright presentation in St. Louis and clever guile in New York, which persuaded newspapers to accept her work — and pioneered the way in journalism for publication of the written word and commentary by other women,” her grandson, John Tweedy, told Washington University biographer Candace O’Connor.
Selwyn Pepper, longtime Post-Dispatch reporter, editor and rewrite man, is credited with helping the newspaper win three Pulitzer Prizes for Public Service. He also was one of the co-founders of the St. Louis Jewish Light in 1963. In his first year as a full-time reporter at the Post-Dispatch in 1936, Pepper contributed to a voter-fraud investigation that resulted in a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. He also helped the paper win Pulitzers for stories on corruption in the Internal Revenue Bureau and for coverage of a Centralia, Ill., coal mine disaster that killed 111 in 1948. Pepper served as city editor, features editor, news editor and reader’s advocate. He was a mentor to several generations of journalists.
Carl Schurz was a Civil War brigadier general who founded several papers, including the Westliche Post (Western Post), one of St. Louis’ German newspapers, where he hired Joseph Pulitzer as a cub reporter. Schurz was a leading member of the Republican Party and in 1860 campaigned for Abraham Lincoln in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. After the election, Lincoln appointed Schurz as U.S. envoy to Spain. Schurz became the first German-born American elected to the U.S. Senate in 1869 and later served as Secretary of the Interior in President Rutherford Hayes’ administration. After leaving office in 1881, Schurz returned to journalism and became managing editor of the New York Evening Post. He also wrote for Harper’s Weekly, The Nation and had several books published including, “The Life of Henry Clay” (1887) and “Abraham Lincoln” (1891). Schurz is famous for saying, “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”
Elaine Viets capped a successful gig of more than two decades as a columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch by easing out of the position and into the job of writing novels. She developed a large following with appearances on St. Louis TV and radio, and many of her columns were based on the quirkiness of South St. Louis. Her first series in the world of books was based on the sleuthing of newspaper columnist Francesca Vierling, and St. Louis readers found many of the characters in those novels resembled well-known local figures, including a few high-profile media people. For her novel writing, Elaine won the Agatha, Anthony and Lefty Awards.