It’s World Press Freedom Day — and National Teacher Day

Most readers of this blog are already familiar with the story.

Last year I was persecuted politically by our state executive after I reported on Missouri’s failure to protect teacher information.

So today is an interesting convergence for me: It’s both World Press Freedom Day and National Teacher Day.

I’m not alone — and other journalists have certainly suffered far worse than me. I think of the situation in Russia, or the brave reporters in Ukraine.

But we here in the U.S. can’t ignore what’s happening in our own backyard. Public officials increasingly misuse their power to intimidate or attack journalists. Across the country, we see our public discourse is infected with demonizing, dehumanizing rhetoric.

Anyway, whereever you are, please support your local journalists. Subscribe to news outlets here in St. Louis (even if it’s not the Post-Dispatch).

And when you hear about situations like mine, please speak up. Make your voice heard.

For my part, on this day I’m also thankful for the many teachers who have helped shape my four kids. And I’m proud of family members and friends who heard the calling and chose to become teachers.

The Current at 50

Back row: Jeff Kuchno, Clint Zweifel, David Baugher, Wiley Price, Judi Burch Linville, Josh Renaud and Rick Jackoway Front row: Sharon Reus, Michelle McMurray, Kathleen Riddler
Back row: Jeff Kuchno, Clint Zweifel, David Baugher, Wiley Price, Judi Burch Linville, Josh Renaud and Rick Jackoway
Front row: Sharon Reus, Michelle McMurray, Kathleen Riddler

In November 1966, UMSL’s student newspaper published its first issue under the name “Current.” That means The Current turns 50 this year!

To celebrate, this year’s editor-in-chief, Kat Riddler, put together a fantastic banquet for the current Current staff, alumni and other interested folks.

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Still thankful for the Rams

I’m definitely feeling all the outrage over the Rams leaving St. Louis to return to Los Angeles.

They were, overall, terrible for most of their years in St. Louis. They fleeced us to come here in 1995, and they fleeced us when they left, as we wasted millions hoping to keep them.

Joseph has a Rams jersey that he loves to wear. The older girls want to hate the Rams for going away. Hopefully I can get them all to embrace the Cowboys.

Still, I’d like to remember the bright spots. The “Greatest Show on Turf” years will remain amazing. For me, the Rams run to their second Super Bowl appearance is particularly meaningful.

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First Ferguson DOJ town hall meeting

Ferguson residents line up outside Wellspring Church waiting to attend the first DOJ town hall meeting.
Ferguson residents line up outside Wellspring Church waiting to attend the first DOJ town hall meeting.

Monday night, the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service held its first town hall meeting in Ferguson.

The town hall meetings were closed to everyone but Ferguson residents. The media were not allowed. Though I am employed at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I am also a Ferguson resident. I wanted to attend a town hall and I was allowed to.

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The space explorers meet the Borg

Borg and waffles

On nights when I am home from work, I tell the kids stories before bed. Because they are divided among two rooms, I usually tell two stories.

The first story is for Josie and Joseph, and usually involves me making up something about the two of them as “space explorers,” visiting new planets or meeting aliens or trying to escape from black holes.

The second story is for Jadzia and Ludi, who prefer to have an improv-style story in which they each pick a character for the story (like “a good dragon” and “a bad lamp”) and I have to make up the rest.

Occasionally, though, the older girls will overhear the younger kids’ story and ask me to repeat it for them. Tonight was one such night.

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Church signs in Ferguson

Just over a week after the Michael Brown shooting, I was struck by the idea of photographing church signs in and around Ferguson. I figured many of them would have messages related to the shooting and its aftermath.

On Sunday afternoon, I drove around for a couple hours visiting churches in Ferguson, Dellwood, Berkeley, Cool Valley and St. Louis County. I found some interesting, relevant signs, but not as many as I had hoped.

Here are some of the signs I photographed:

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Some of these photos were published in the Monday morning Post-Dispatch, and a gallery with more photos is available at STLtoday.com.

The cartooning beat

A panel drawn by Bill Watterson from the Friday installment of "Pearls Before Swine."
A panel drawn by Bill Watterson from the Friday installment of “Pearls Before Swine.”

Whenever I get together with extended family, inevitably someone will say “Oh, what do you do at the Post-Dispatch? Write stories?”

The answer, of course, is “no.” My job is to design newspaper pages and develop web projects.

But next time I can give a different answer. This week I had not one but two hard-hitting, investigative stories published in the Post-Dispatch.

So, what topic did I scrutinize with journalistic fervor?

The comics.

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