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 Newseum featured my work

In 2014, I was in the strange position of working at a newspaper covering racial unrest that was erupting in the little suburb where I happened to live. As I wrote that year, “That weekend was intense and surreal: I designed the front page of the Post-Dispatch each night, while watching on TV as my town convulsed with anger.”

The final front page for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s  Monday, Aug. 11, 2014 edition.


I designed numerous Ferguson-related Sunday and Monday A1s for the Post-Dispatch in the subsequent weeks, months and years (See some here). I remain proud of all that work. But it was the one from the second night that will forever be ingrained in my memory.

Continue reading “The Newseum featured my work”

Remembering Benjamin Israel

Higher education had a term for folks like Benjamin Israel: “nontraditional student.” That applied to him in so many ways.

Benjamin died Monday morning. I wanted to share a little bit about his impact.

I first met Benjamin when I worked at UMSL’s student newspaper, The Current. Unlike the rest of us, he was older, with many years of journalism experience under his belt.

Continue reading “Remembering Benjamin Israel”

Cub reporter

From the vaults of the Renaud Empire, I bring you a recently-unearthed journalistic gem.

What is it? It’s Josh Renaud interviewing his father, Joe Renaud, sometime in the early 1990s for a school project. You’ve GOT to give it a listen. Josh is a pretty smooth interviewer, I have to say. And Joe was a pretty good interview. His anecdotes are top-notch!

I think it lasts roughly 20 minutes, which may be a little long for some of you. But the first 5-10 minutes are definitely worth it.

When news happens

Working at a newspaper is still an exciting thing to do, even if the future of the industry looks dim.

In the last week, I have had to work during two big breaking news stories. The first was the horrible shooting at ABB in St. Louis. The second was McGwire’s admission yesterday that he took steroids.

My job each time was to design informative, compelling pages. In such situations, there is a lot of collaborative work with my bosses and other designers. Also, important editors are frequently looking over your shoulder. Deadline looms.

It’s an environment I still enjoy and still thrive in. Here’s to hoping that newspapers survive their current morass so they can continue informing the public and serving as a check against abuses by governments or businesses.

Also, check out the Post-Dispatch’s work on the McGwire confession on the SportsDesigner blog