Listening to BBC after Nelson Mandela
died left me sleep deprived. It was virtually nonstop from midnight to 5
a.m. on WVXU, and BBC demonstrated how a first-class news organization
covers a major story.
Patrick J. Sloyan reconstructed Merriman Smith’s Pulitzer-winning UPI reporting of JFK’s assassination for the May, 1997, American Journalism Review. He also retold how UPI handled the story minute by minute.
Fifty years after JFK was killed, I
still don’t get the popular fascination with him. And until someone convinces me that
it matters to our public policy today, I really don’t care who killed him or what
was behind those fatal shots in Dallas.
The student paper’s
volunteer adviser, Emily Grannis, who also is a Reporter’s Committee for
Freedom of the Press fellow, talked with student editor John Vodrey on
the phone while he was in the station. That helped Vodrey cite
appropriate state statute and legal language to ask for an incident
I still object to shield laws. They are a de facto
form of licensing reporters. You are your sources are unprotected if
you’re not included in the definition of “journalist” or your work isn’t