Post Is Preaching to the Converted

Article excerpt

Be careful driving downtown on the last weekend of the month. Downtown St. Louis will be awash in wandering journalists, each about to participate in a National Writers' Workshop. The same workshops also will be taking place in Seattle, Austin, Tex. and Wilmington, Del., spreading a vast amount of knowledge from coast to coast. These events are sponsored by the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank in St. Petersburg Fla., that sings the song of modern journalism in one-hour speeches and seminars that many editors think are vital to improving their staffs.

Who puts out the newspaper while the speakers are carrying the gospel to the nation is an unanswered question. In St. Louis, at the Marriott Pavilion Hotel ($95 for up to four people in a room), 33 journalists are on the schedule. The group includes seven St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporters (Dawn Fallik, Pat Gauen, Kevin Horrigan, Jennifer LaFleur, Harry Levins, Bill McClellan and Florence Shinkle), one former reporter (Martha Shirk), a former man aging editor (Foster Davis), six Mizzou faculty members (Mary Kay Blakely, Judy Bolch, George Kennedy, Daryl Moen, Geneva Overholser and Steve Weinberg) and newspaper writ- ers Frank Ahrens of the Washington Post, Polly Basore of the Wichita Eagle, Betty Winston Baye of the Louisville Courier-Journal, Ken Fuson of the Des Moines Register, Stephanie Simon of the Los Angeles Times and Judy Thomas of the Kansas City Star.

Nancy Amons, Steve Hartman, Larry Hatteberg and David Raziq are from television; Mark Singer writes for the New Yorker; Mary Ann Hogan is a freelance writer; Walt Harrington and Leon Dash are on the faculty at the University of Illinois; Stephen Doig is a faculty member at Arizona State University, and Karen Dunlap, Jim Romanesko and Al Tompkins are on the Poynter staff.

Interestingly, the flyer announcing the event, and praising the speakers to the sky, makes no mention of Poynter. …