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SJR finds a new home.

It has been, and still is, exciting, often frantic, but always deeply satisfying for Rose, my wife, and me living with the St. Louis Journalism Review (SJR) over these many years. In a way, it kept us sane, not going off the deep end in the pursuit of unobtainable goals. We were just too busy.

Some of our senior readers will remember FOCUS/Midwest that we published between 1962 and 1983, a sociopolitical journal concerned with happenings in Missouri and Illinois. An array of commentaries and battles kept the journal relevant to its time. Battles fought then are not unlike those making headlines today.

After SJR was founded, we decided to merge the two deficit publications into one, making SJR the survivor.

SJR had its ups and downs. To give it a more solid base we moved SJR, then under the editorship of Ed Bishop, to Webster University in 1995, which graciously subsidized it for the next ten years. When this association was dissolved, the rumor mill wondered how long SJR would survive.

Our readers and supporters refused to give in. For the first time in the history of SJR, a fundraising appeal was launched to which hundreds of readers responded. They kept SJR alive.


This issue introduces a new chapter in the 40-year history of the St. Louis Journalism Review (SJR). Thanks to the labors of Gary Kolb, dean of the College of Mass Communications and Media Arts. William Freivogel, professor and director of the School of Journalism, and William Babcock, professor of media ethics, all of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, SJR has found a new home at the university, which promises to add significantly to the services that SJR provides.

Babcock has assumed the editorship of SJR. Roy Malone will continue as editor covering the St. Louis region, which will remain at the core of SJR's coverage.

We could not have achieved this point assuring not only the survival, but also the expansion of SJR without the dedication for many years by the editor, cartoonists and designers, the labors of writers, columnists, the board of editorial advisors and the board of directors as well as the contributions by its readers that were cited in the last issue as the true media elite in our community.

The turnover required some adjustments about which we informed our subscribers. SJR will be published six times per year instead of ten. Since all subscriptions are entered by issue number (this one is No. 318), all subscriptions entered so far will receive ten issues as advertised. As of July 2010, subscriptions and renewals will be entered for six issues.

The idea for forming SJR was an outgrowth of the turmoil of the 1960s and what happened at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention. When the Chicago media described the unrest as a student riot, Chicago journalists knew by their own observations that it was a police riot.

They decided to publish the Chicago Journalism Review (CJR) to report on what they observed. In 1970, upon learning of CJR, a group of journalists from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch agreed that the St. Louis community deserved a similar watchdog.

The concept of journalism reviews spread throughout the country. In the early '70s, close to 30 local reviews were founded usually by journalists. These volunteer efforts gradually folded within a few years, so that today SJR is the only local journalism review being published.

Both print and broadcast journalists have been instrumental in editing and writing for SJR from the very first issue. Since its first issue, interested journalists, academics and others involved in media have met once a month to critique the past issue and plan for the next issue. For a few hours, these editorial advisors shed their professional identity and become SJR addicts. Aside from those listed in the masthead, SJR benefited from the advice from many others, who prefer not to be listed.

Over the years, SJR has been edited by a number of distinguished journalists and hundreds of writers have appeared in its pages. Since its founding, SJR has been honored with 28 major national and local awards.

The direction of SJR was established in the first issue. For the first time the public (and editors) learned about the Joint Operating Agency under which the Globe and the Post had joined their business operations.

Other ground-breaking stories revealed that a Post reporter spied for the police; years later a student reporter at the University of Missouri-Columbia committed the same ethical breach; a St. Louis African-American publisher planted stories supplied by the FBI; the lack of minority hiring by the St. Louis media was a frequent topic; media icon George Seldes, 94 years of age, revealed that Gen. Pershing once sentenced him to death for interviewing Hindenburg; coverage of the demise of the Globe, when its circulation was larger than that of the weekday Post, caused a national stir in the media; Tobacco and its collaboration with the media since the 1940s; TV backpack journalism and its mixed review; the late economist Hyman Minsky, now internationally hailed as a prophet, was a regular columnist; the growing, destructive influence on the media by conglomerates; features on those in the news business; the list goes on and on.

While the month-by-month coverage was solid, SJR's shortcomings were always obvious. Editors never had the resources to assign one of our contributing writers to follow a lead months on end. With some exceptions, SJR could not plan for more than one or two issues ahead. Lack of resources made SJR's coverage of the television industry, alternative media and the virtual world spotty with little follow-up.

With the help of resources at SIUC, SJR's Web site will become an interactive vital source of information for its readers. This and other plans for expansion in coverage, both geographically and in depth, promise to uphold SJR's primary watchdog function to become to the regular newspapers, radio and television stations and other media what those media are to government and other institutions.

Charles L. Klotzer is the editor/publisher emeritus of SJR
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Title Annotation:St. Louis Journalism Review
Author:Klotzer, Charles L.
Publication:St. Louis Journalism Review
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1U4MO
Date:Jul 1, 2010
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