With changes underway in programming on St. Louis Public Radio and in NPR’s national news operation, you may be wondering who decides what and why. Even if you’re an NPR junkie, you may not know how it all works.
I certainly didn’t before making the transition from avid listener to St. Louis Public Radio staff member seven months ago. Here are three important organizational facts I’ve learned. They may seem arcane, but over time they shape the content you hear.
We celebrate America’s birth on July 4. But 238 years after the Declaration of Independence, our democracy, like any living thing, still needs care and feeding. Part of that responsibility falls to journalists, and this Editor's Weekly often focuses on our role. But there’s more to the news ecosystem than professional journalists.
The grant-funded project that St. Louis Public Radio recently announced is ambitious.
It’s big — more than $170,000 from the Missouri Foundation for Health for our news organization and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. And it addresses a big question — how to reach people whose voices and views are often left out of public policy discussions that directly affect them.
Gloria Ross’s obituary for radio icon Lou “Fatha” Thimes took me way, way back. Back to the hiss of static on an AM radio in a green Studebaker. Back to a time when the 1950s TV icons were Ozzie and Harriett rather than Don Draper. Back to a grade school classroom where the African-American kids had only recently won the legal right to be present.
Some of St. Louis Public Radio’s best work this week wasn’t breaking news. It was making sense of news that broke days or even months earlier.
It’s been a year since the court ruling that opened the door to student transfers from Normandy and Riverview Gardens to Francis Howell, Mehlville, Kirkwood and other districts. Reporter Dale Singer circled back this week to ask key participants to reflect on their hopes, fears and actual experiences.
Forty two years ago this week, St. Louis Public Radio began broadcasting from its home at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Coincidentally, those of us from the St. Louis Beacon, which merged with the station six months ago, are about to complete probation and become full-fledged UMSL employees.
St. Louisans may have felt some civic pride this week in noting that Maya Angelou was born here. But you have to wonder whether her brilliance and strength developed because of her St. Louis experiences or in spite of them. Perhaps both.
Obituaries recounted that the renowned author split her childhood between St. Louis and Arkansas after age 3, when her parents divorced. The rape she wrote about in "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" happened here. Segregation was an ugly fact of life in both places. Yet so were family resilience and ambition.
The Missouri legislative session’s finale played out this week with members in their usual swivet of last-minute activity and suspense. Watching the action in the closing days is like watching the cap dance at a Cardinals’ game — blink and you lose track of what’s going on.
Not THAT Nixon. Not President Richard Milhous, who resigned 40 years ago this August rather than face House votes on three articles of impeachment. This time, the Nixon under discussion is Gov. Jeremiah Wilson “Jay,” who remains very much in power as a Missouri House committee begins consideration of three articles of impeachment against him.
Beyond the jolt of déjà vu you might get from the headline, there’s little to connect the political drama of 1973-74 and the political theater playing out now.