Academic journal article Journalism History

War and Politics by Other Means: A Journalists' Memoir

Academic journal article Journalism History

War and Politics by Other Means: A Journalists' Memoir

Article excerpt

Scates, Shelby. War and Politics by Other Means: A Journalists' Memoir. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000. 224 pp. $24.95.

Columbia journalism Review not long ago trumpeted that New York rules American journalism. That may be so. But Shelby Scates' memoir, War and Politics by Other Means, is a useful reminder that capable, competent, and conscientious reporting takes place far from the big city lights.

He spent less than one year in what he called the "big leagues" of journalism-a nine-- month stint at the Associated Press in New York. The bulk of his career, which includes stops at Hearst's International News Service in Dallas and the United Press International in New Orleans, was spent at the Seattle Post Intelligencer. What emerges from his recollections is a portrait of the quintessential, crusty reporter. In fact, States comes across as the epitome of the transitional figure between the hardboiled "Front Page" reporters of an earher generation and the current Internet-savvy, Palm-pilot press corps.

Born in Depression-era western Tennessee, Scales resolved the contradiction between his conscience and Southern social practices by heading west. However, he writes, "neither my empathy for the less powerful nor my disdain for the powerful who would exploit their advantage has waned." That motivation-and innate curiosity-fueled his career as a journalist. He attended the University of Washington, filling his summers with stints on merchant ships travelling the world. After graduation, he joined the U.S. Army, but a training exercise accident in Germany led to his return to New York and his first job in journalism. …

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