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There’s a new news aggregator in town:, brought to you by the former regional editor of Patch STL, Kurt Greenbaum. The website curates news about St. Louis based on what is trending on social media.

“We’re bringing together sources of information from all over the St. Louis area. And we’re trying to organize this in a way so that readers can really find out what people are talking about in St. Louis,” Greenbaum said.

(Courtesy Cinema St. Louis)

The systematic plagiarism and fabrication of then-New York Times reporter Jayson Blair a decade ago represents one of the most flagrant and grievous breaks in journalistic trust in modern times. It was a black mark against one of the World's flagship newspapers when his deception was revealed, prompting a detailed retraction from the Times and internal restructuring within the organization.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of a federal "shield" law on Thursday, but still refused to include Julian Assange, Edward Snowden or citizen bloggers in the group of protected journalists.

A shield law allows a journalist to protect a confidential source unless the government can present a compelling reason, such as national security, to demand the source's name. Most states have shield laws but there is no federal law.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: National security reporting exists in a legal world just as murky as the intelligence community it covers. It a world of uncertainty with conflicting constitutional interests, laws, customs and policies. 

The government has a legitimate interest in protecting intelligence secrets by prosecuting government employees who violate their legal pledge to keep classified information secret.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Contrary to conventional wisdom, the proposed federal shield law backed by the press and President Barack Obama wouldn’t help reporters protect their sources in big national security cases, such as the recent ones involving the AP and James Rosen of Fox.  In fact, the law could make it harder for the press to protect sources in those cases.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Justice Department has the authority to subpoena the telephone records of news reporters, legal experts say, but its secret subpoena of the records of 100 AP reporters is unprecedented in scope.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dear Beaconites -

Here's the back story on Back Stories, a blog that will kick off in the Beacon soon with a post from reporter Mary Delach Leonard. Through frequent updates, Beacon staff will use Back Stories to share some questions they're asking and some answers they're finding.

Editor's Weekly: Searching for answers beyond the numbers

May 3, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dear Beaconites –

Funny what sticks in your mind. This week, to celebrate the Beacon's fifth birthday, General Manager Nicole Hollway asked staff members to recall their five favorite things from the Beacon's first five years.

Editor's Weekly: The Beacon celebrates its fifth birthday

Apr 23, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dear Beaconites –

This month marks the Beacon's fifth birthday – a milestone that many startups never reach and some skeptics thought we'd never see.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Today Show reporter Bob Dotson’s new book “American Story” spins 93 separate yarns, by my count, about folks he’s encountered during what the subtitle calls his “lifetime search for ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

In the process, the Webster Groves native and 38-year veteran NBC correspondent makes a case for the power of storytelling itself. His years as heir to the late Charles Kuralt – whose “On the Road” CBS series popularized such inspirational TV features – have taught Dotson that “the shortest distance between two people, no matter how different, is a good story.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 8, 2011The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting is more than an effort to reinvigorate foreign affairs journalism, its founder said Thursday night -- it's a response to the crisis in the world of reporting itself.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 22, 2011 - The e-mail arrived the way these things typically do -- unsolicited and without prior introduction. For a virus to thrive it must spread, and this particular viral message appeared to be flourishing because the entire first page of the transmission was devoted to listing the cyberspace addresses it had visited previously. It was forwarded to me by a friend who'd received it from a mutual acquaintance. Word gets around.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 12, 2011 - I had never even imagined I would get to say these words.

"Hi, how may I help you?" an unidentified female voice asked me from a phone line in Washington D.C."Hi, I'm calling for, um, Bob Woodward," I responded, nearly choking on the last few words.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 1, 2011 - By now, nearly everyone agrees that the mainstream media have a distinctly liberal bias. Whether said bias actually exists, and if it does, the extent to which it intentionally skews coverage, are concerns that have become largely irrelevant because the charge has been leveled so often that it has entered the common wisdom as an article of faith.

Editor's Weekly: A Journalist's Thanksgiving

Nov 24, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 24, 2008 - The excerpt below is from Letters from the Editor: Reflections on Journalism and Life, a posthumous collection of William Woo's letters (University of Missouri Press, 2007.) During his 10 years as a journalism professor at Stanford University - after he left St. Louis and before his death in April 2006 - Woo sent his students a weekly letter about journalism’s enduring values. Here are his Thanksgiving thoughts: 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 6, 2008 - "There's a $5,000 college scholarship for the first one to sit in the front row," Jon Sawyer, director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, jokingly remarked as students from Rosati-Kain and Maplewood Richmond Heights high schools filtered into the auditorium on the campus of St. Louis University High School. Mr. Sawyer seems to know very well where high school students' priorities lie. This hour with reporters, however, gave us American students a unique opportunity of gaining first-hand insight into circumstances that command the attention of citizens of Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 10, 2008 - In Columbia, Mo., this week, students, journalists and alumni step into a future enclosed in the past.

Inside an 1892 Victorian building on the University of Missouri's School of Journalism's campus sits a new glass structure. That building is part of the new Reynolds Journalism Institute, which opens both as the journalism school celebrates its 100th anniversary and as newspapers around the country cut costs, staff and newsprint.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 30, 2008 - On Aug. 27, Denver police arrested Asa Eslocker of ABC news as he and his camera crew stood on a public sidewalk outside the Brown Palace hotel, trying to interview senators and vips leaving a fundraiser. He was working on a story about the influence of lobbyists on elected officials. Eslocker was charged with trespassing, failing to respond to a lawful order and interfering with a police officer.

Video of the incident shows a cigar-smoking police sergeant, backed up by other officers, grabbing Eslocker by the neck and twisting his arm behind his back.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 30, 2008 - U.S. Sen. Christopher S. Kit Bond has long opposed the shield bill on national security grounds, arguing that it would protect reporters who disclose classified information.  In 2007 he put it this way:  "Congress should be acting to make it easier to catch those who knowingly leak classified information, not make it more difficult."

Senate could pass "shield law" this week

Jul 28, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 28, 2008 - The Free Flow of Information Act seeks to enact on the federal level the same kind of protection for confidential information that 49 states have recognized either by statute or court decision.