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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.