Column: NASCAR drivers head east for a weekend in Pocono
Published 4:15 pm Monday, June 12, 2006
April 24 I wrote about the new, expanded $435 million Newseum, opening in the fall of 2007 in Washington, D.C.
I saw a drawing in American Journalism Review of what it's going to look like completed - a three-section newspaper, each a bit taller than the one before it.
Just as a reader learns more by turning the pages, each museum layer reveals another aspect of journalism, with the entire structure enclosed in glass to symbolize the transparency of the press.
At the front entrance, a 74-foot panel inscribed with the First Amendment will enshrine the Freedom Forum's mission to preserve free speech.
I mention that column again because in it I referred to Don Bolles' 1976 Datsun being on display there and it occurred to me that something that meant as much to me 30 years ago as Deep Throat and Woodward and Bernstein might draw a blank with readers today.
Journalism has been through a revolution since 1976, when I was midway through college.
Today we speak a new lingo that goes something like, “The future is to build a broad portfolio of products around the core product, the newspaper, and to connect with both general and targeted audiences. Newspapers have established presences on the Web and are developing additional online products, launching niche publications and reaching out to new audiences as part of the ongoing transformation from newspaper companies to information companies.”
Anyway, Joe Strupp's piece in the June Editor and Publisher refreshed my memory of Bolles' demise and renewed my pride at how the Fourth Estate responded.
June 2, 1976, The Arizona Republic investigative reporter was blown up in his car outside a Phoenix office building where he had been enticed with promises of inside information on a mob-related land fraud scheme.
He died 11 days later.
Bolles' tragic death sparked the fledgling Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) into action.
In a show of unity led by Bob Greene - a Newsday editor who directed two Pulitzer Prize-winning efforts, not the Chicago Tribune columnist - journalists gathered in Phoenix to finish Bolles' work.
The New York Times and The Washington Post declined to be involved.
Ben Bradlee, executive editor at the time, has been quoted as saying the Post did not want to be involved in a project of such magnitude without control, “but we didn't do anything to try to stop it.”
A controversy concerned a Detroit reporter, Mike Wendland, now of the Free Press, for publishing a book in 1977.
Between September 1976 and March 1977, some 30 reporters from New York to Denver contributed to “The Arizona Project,” a 23-part series on corruption, organized crime and land fraud.
All or part of the series eventually ran in more than 25 newspapers.
The Associated Press and United Press International also carried portions of the series.
Documents amassed by the seven-month project are stored at the University of Missouri.
Reporters forfeited vacations to work on the project.
Many newsrooms set up payday collections, where staffers cashed their checks and gave over a portion destined for project headquarters, Adams Hotel in Phoenix.
The project earned awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.
None of eight libel suits filed succeeded.
I wasn't even a journalist yet, and the Arizona Project inspired me.
Here's hoping that exploded car can inspire a new generation that sees it at the Newseum.
Quips, quotes and qulunkers: “Many Democrats continue to support the President's deficit spending.”
9.7: Percent of our income spent on food - a smaller share than any other nation.
16: Percent of our income spent on health care - a larger share than any other nation.
Our addiction to huge portions of cheap food is making us sick and fat.
Obit: Billy Preston, recruited by George Harrison in 1969 to play on the Beatles' “Let It Be” film and record project, died June 6 in Arizona. The Houston native was 59 and had been in a coma since November. He received a kidney transplant in 2002.
Preston enjoyed his own hits with “Will It Go 'Round in Circles” and “Nothing From Nothing.”
He wrote Joe Cocker's “You Are So Beautiful,” also played with the Rolling Stones and was a musical guest on “Saturday Night Live's” 1975 debut.
Preston contributed the keyboard solo to “Get Back,” including with the Beatles at their famous roof top concert - their last time playing live together.
Batwoman coming out as a lesbian in a new DC Comics serial stole all the headlines, but in Frank Miller's upcoming “Holy Terror, Batman!” the Dark Knight takes on a real-life cave dweller, Osama bin Laden.