The Masthead

Symposium of articles on the big issues, solutions, events, and news associated with journalism and media.

Articles from Vol. 53, No. 4, Winter

A Journey in Surreal Times. (Sept11 the Convention That Wasn't)
If we hadn't stopped for breakfast that fateful Tuesday, we could have gone all day without knowing about the terror visited on New York City and Washington. On Monday, Sept. 10, Bonnie and I were in Greenfield, Mass., her home town, researching...
A Passionate, If Impractical, View. (NCEW Foundation Projects and Programs for Journalism Education)
Many weeks and many historic events now separate us from the 9 a.m. convening of the NCEW board of directors in Pittsburgh on Sept. 11. Those who attended will remember the wrenching hours that followed Tomi Fontaine's frightened announcement only...
A Special Recognition of Letter Writers. (Sept11 How Members Responded)
One of the ways that many people -- at least those who are newspaper readers -- have dealt with the Sept. 11 tragedy has been by writing. That includes letters to the editor, op-ed pieces, even poetry When I arrived at my office on Monday, Sept....
A Very Good Year, despite Sept. 11. (President's Letter Straight Talk from Fred Fiske)
There wasn't a chance to "make my speech" to a captive audience at our annual meeting in Pittsburgh scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 15. The horrors of Sept. 11 took care of that -- and took care of NCEW's 55th annual convention. NCEW members had much...
Columnists Fired for Criticism: Opinion Writers Roasted for Expressing. Opinions. (Symposium Terrorism and Civil Liberties)
Dan Rather cried on Letterman while talking about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Fox News Channel reporters sported American flag pins on the air. Anchors for a Baltimore TV station were ordered to read statements supporting President George W....
Commentary in 'Extras' and Then Some. (Sept11 How Members Responded)
Like many other newspapers across the country, The Arizona Republic published a number of special sections devoted to the terrorist attack on America during the week of Sept. 11. Something that set the Republic apart from many of those special sections,...
Dear Sen. Helms
Our 1990 exchange of letters showed a senator's delight in tweaking the press. Jesse Helms went to the U.S. Senate in 1973, the same year I joined the Observer as an editorial writer. I cannot say that over the years we have become close. He...
Grammar Pet Peeves and More. (Sept11 the Convention That Wasn't)
When I was asked to speak at the NCEW convention, I was about to depart for the summer into the wilds of upstate New York accessible only by boat. So, I solicited input from more than 7,000 readers of my e-mail newsletter (grammarlady.com). I received...
If Only We Had Known That We Knew: The Fight against Terrorism Is a Battle of Ideas as Well; We Cannot Disarm Ourselves with Unwise Limits on Opinion and Information. (Symposium Terrorism and Civil Liberties)
Information is the life blood of democracy. It is power. Especially in these times, information also is security. The fact that we rush to limit information -- and thus our security -- in times of national distress defies reason. In such times in...
'Just a Country Boy with Ethics'
In Tabor City, N.C., weekly newspaper editor Horace Carter is still puzzled as to why the Ku Klux Klan did not assassinate him in the early 1950s. The Klan threatened him many times. Scribbled messages were left under the windshield wipers of his...
Let's Stand Up for Liberty: The Bill of Rights Is Only Worth the Paper It's Written on Unless Those Charged with Protecting It Are Willing to Stand Up and Be Heard. (Symposium Terrorism and Civil Liberties)
American soldiers enlisted in the battle against the forces of al-Qaida and Islamic fundamental extremism may believe they are fighting for the good or USA and its abiding commitment to liberty. Yet the truth is, war has never been particularly good...
Make a Donation and Help the Foundation
Take the opportunity to support the NCEW Foundation and receive a fabulous item in return. Send in a check made out to the NCEW Foundation by December 31 and your name will be entered into the drawing. ($10 gets you one ticket, $50 gets you six...
Membernews: Milestones, Awards, Educational Opportunities
Bernard L. Stein is James Ottaway Visiting Professor at the State University of New York, New Paltz. He will teach a spring semester course titled "Writing to make a difference Stein is editor of The Riverdale Press in the Bronx, N.Y. Reid MacCluggage...
Nine/Eleven: Rebirth of a Nation: Clarence Page Was Set to Be the Saturday Dinner Speaker at NCEW's Pittsburgh Conference. Here He Writes the Speech He Might Have Given. (Symposium Terrorism and Civil Liberties)
My fellow content providers: The editorial writer's role often has been described the way Murray Kempton did, as soldiers who come down from the hills after the battle is over - and shoot the wounded. That was before the world changed. On...
On the Other Hand, It's Just My Opinion. (Sept11 the Convention That Wasn't)
Here's a little warning if you happen to be in Pittsburgh this week: A bunch of troublemakers is descending on the city. Most of them don't even have the good grace to leave you alone at the breakfast table. They are forever deploring this and condemning...
Putting the Loss into Perspective. (Sept11 the Convention That Wasn't)
Tragedy ruins lives, steals futures, haunts children. Those of us who, mercifully, are left unscathed can at least use it to gain perspective. Last week [the week of Sept. 11] was the week of the 55th annual convention of the National Conference of...
There's Much Work to Do. (Editor's Note)
Sept. 11. As NCEW's board and committee heads gathered around 9 a.m. in Pittsburgh's Marriott Hotel to finalize the conference, our nation's security blanket was being pulled out from under us. As early arrivers stirred coffee, the north tower of the...
Thinking First as a Citizen: In an Unending Struggle against Terrorism, Giving Up Rights during Wartime Means Giving Them Up Forever. (Symposium Terrorism and Civil Liberties)
In times such as these, I find it helpful to remind myself that I am an American citizen first, an editorial writer second. In exploring the issues of terrorism and civil liberties, it is not satisfying -- for me or my readers -- to merely quote Hobbes...
Viewers' Interest Up for Commentary. (Sept11 How Members Responded)
The broadcast perspective on all this begins in Pittsburgh on Sept. 11, when I found myself with your officers, board members, and other committee chairs and staff preparing to convene the annual convention. By six o'clock that day, my editorial responsibility...