Follow these posts by Email

Syracuse University announces University Lectures speakers

Maureen Dowd is an editorial journalist and the recipient of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary. She covered seven presidential campaigns and has written best-selling books on former President George W. Bush and the sexual politics of the 2016 presidential election.

Dowd has worked for The Washington Star, The New York Times and The Times Magazine. She has won a Glamour Women of the Year award and was a finalist for another Pulitzer Prize in 1992.

Attribution: Kennedy Rose,
Full Story: Maureen Dowd

Walt Swanston-NuevaEspana, Diversity Champion, Dies

Walterene Swanston-NuevaEspana, a decades-long champion of diversity in the news media as a former print and broadcast journalist and journalism association executive, died Friday at a Fairfax County, Va., hospital in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. She was 74 and suffered a massive heart attack a week ago, said friend and fellow journalist Wanda Lloyd.

“Walt was one of the sweetest, most gentle souls, and someone who was dedicated to the success of every organization for which she worked, every project she led and every young journalist who needed her help,” messaged Lloyd.

“Over the years I traveled with Walt around the country and across the ocean, attending conferences for NABJ, AAJA, NAHJ and to many other meetings where we shared our passion for journalism. Now she is gone and journalism has lost one of its most dedicated professionals.”

The references are to the National Association of Black Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

She had worked with all of them, as well as with Unity: Journalists for Diversity, the collaboration that consists of AAJA, the Native American Journalists Association and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association. She was Unity’s interim executive director from 2012 to 2014, having previously been executive director of Unity: Journalists of Color, which included AAJA, NABJ, NAHJ and NAJA, and spearheaded the Unity ‘94 and Unity ‘99 conventions. She had also been director of diversity management at NPR, a consultant for the American Society of News Editors and from 1993 to 1995, executive director of NABJ.

In addition, she worked for the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation, directing the organization’s diversity, educational and international programs; for the Newspaper Association of America Foundation, where she directed diversity programs; and for Knight-Ridder Inc., where she was a consultant.

NPR host Michel Martin remembers Swanston’s time at that network. “From the minute I set foot in the door at NPR, Walt was a source of friendship and wise counsel,” Martin said by email. “And I don’t think I’ve ever met a person with a more diverse network of friends, colleagues, and mentees. Diversity was something she did, it was what she was, a way of life. She was a walking, talking example of how it can and should be done.”

Keith Woods, who succeeded her as diversity executive at NPR, said by email Saturday, “Walt was one of the most resilient, persistent, and, above all, empathetic people I’ve known. She believed deeply in the work of diversity, and so many of us who have done this work found themselves at one time or another following in her path. Walt was a true champion, and journalism is particularly poorer with her passing.

“I knew Walt for more than 20 years. She had a rough time at NPR and struggled to make progress in the newsroom. Still, she strongly encouraged me to follow in her footsteps and offered herself as a coach because, above all, the work she did was out of love and passion. No organization or obstacle ever beat her. I’m heartbroken to have lost her.”

NuevaEspana was known mostly to fellow journalists as Walt Swanston before she remarried in 2015, after the 2006 death of her first husband, public relations executive David Swanston.

She was hospitalized on Jan. 12 and died in the early hours of Jan. 19, according to her daughter, Rachel Swanston Breegle.

The former Walterene Jackson was born in Clinton, La., and attended segregated schools there before she, her sister Bettye Jackson and brothers Raphael “Ray” Jackson and Ruffin Lane “Buzz” Jackson were put on trains for Oakland, Calif., where they lived with an aunt and uncle so they could attend integrated schools.

When presented with the Ida B. Wells Award from NABJ in 2011, she thanked her parents for enabling her and her siblings to leave Louisiana. “None of the children ever went home to live there again,” she told the NABJ audience. Still, she regretted that the move broke up her family,

At her alma mater, San Francisco State University, she met David Swanston, and as a young journalist, worked at the San Francisco Examiner and the old Washington Star. Later she was a copy editor and contributor to the Washington Post’s Style, weeklies and real estate sections; a reporter and producer at Washington public television station WETA and executive editor at WUSA-TV, the Gannett-owned CBS affiliate.

Attribution: Richard Prince -
Full story: Diversity Champion

Jack of all trades: McGrory's back, leading SDSU's Mission Valley campaign

John R. McGrory Jr. grew up in a working-class Boston suburb, on a street that had been home to McGrorys since the 1850s. His parents urged all five of their children to attend college, and all five did.

Jack, the eldest, attended Colgate in upstate New York. A classics major, he was schooled in government and politics by his second cousin — Mary McGrory, then a columnist for The Washington Star and later for The Washington Post.

An internship on Sen. Ted Kennedy’s staff ended in 1971, the year he graduated, when he received his draft notice and enlisted in the Marine Corps. Too tall to squeeze into a cockpit — aviation was his first choice — McGrory went to Quantico, Va., to train as an infantry officer.

Attribution: Peter Rowe -
Full Story: Jack McGrory

Sports Writer Charles "Charlie" J. Rayman 1933—2018

Charles "Charlie" J. Rayman, 84, of Rockford passed away Saturday, January 13, 2018, at Presence St. Anne Center. Born April 16, 1933,  Charlie attended the University of Maryland, where he earned his bachelor's degree in Journalism. He was a sports reporter, starting his career for the Baltimore Sun and writing later for the Rockford Register Star, retiring in 1998.

Rayman covered the Orioles for the Baltimore Sun before behind hired as the baseball writer at the Washington Star shortly before the Star folded. That's when he was hired by the Register Star. Rayman's main sports beats over the years at the Register Star included Rock Valley College, bowling and softball.

Charlie Rayman wasn't so much a sports writer at the Rockford Register Star as he was a sports "character."

"He was a real character both inside and outside the office," Randy Ruef, former longtime sports editor of the Register Star, said of Rayman.

He'd wear plaid shorts, knee-high black socks and sandals. You could always see him chewing on his pen, walking around carrying 10 pounds of newspapers with information for his fantasy baseball leagues. He was a fast talker. You add the look, the talk, the newspapers, the black socks, all those things combined  made him so unique.

Attribution: Matt Trowbridge
Full Story: Charlie Rayman

At Christmas, I don’t think of frankincense. I ponder ‘Frankenstein’

If Mary Shelley’s powerful legend offers any thoughts for a holy season, they lie in the rituals associated with Advent and Epiphany, not the frantic intervening season of Christmas, which is rarely conducive to reflection. The Frankenstein parable casts its light on the two seasons of renewal – Advent, with its messianic prophecy, and Epiphany, the last of the days of Christmas and a customary time of renewal and resolve.


Attribution> Edwin Yoder,
Full Story> Yoder

Mystery artist solved? Maybe

Brady's art looks a lot like the Schenectady and Saratoga images, but so does Berryman's, and we have Berryman's signature on one of the Saratoga drawings. Might there have been different artists using similar styles to produce these images?

I don't know. I'd like to suggest that Berryman did all of them, but could one artist, who worked for the Washington Post from 1891 to 1907 and the Washington Star from 1907-1949, have done them all? It doesn't seem likely that he would have also done work for the Gazette, the Saratogian and the Post Star?

Attribution> Bill Buell,
Full story> Berryman