Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Channel 9's `Mosaic' Takes on the Klan

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Channel 9's `Mosaic' Takes on the Klan

Article excerpt

LINDA GALLOWAY CONNOR was under a hair dryer at the beauty shop when she started thinking about the Ku Klux Klan.

Connor is producer and host of Channel 9's new multi-cultural public affairs program, "Mosaic," a show that she says will take on issues "that affect all the diverse communities in St. Louis."

But Connor, a TV journalist and Southwestern Bell publicist turned independent producer, didn't sign on with Channel 9 to make just another dry, talking-heads half-hour. She and executive producer Mark Buckley share a goal of creating "good television, exciting television," she says.

"Mosaic" aims to show viewers "that things that happen outside your little neighborhood still have a direct effect on you," Connor says.

Thus her thoughts about the Ku Klux Klan, which had just been granted a permit to rally in Clayton. County Executive Buzz Westfall, who granted the permit, was organizing a counter-demonstration.

Wouldn't it be good television, exciting television, to have national Klan leader Thomas Robb sit down with Westfall on "Mosaic"?

Hmmmm. Connor proceeded cautiously. "I'm from Texas, so I take these things very seriously," she says. But when she talked with Buckley and the higher-ups at Channel 9, all agreed to go forward with the idea.

So today - the same day as the Klan rally - Connor sits down with Robb and Westfall to tape an installment of "Mosaic" that will air at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Westfall's counter-rally was set for Sunday.

Connor's hope is that everything will go calmly at the taping, but if not - well, that could be good television, too. "Once the tape starts rolling, we don't stop until the show is over," she says.

Meanwhile, she's doing her homework, trying to be sure "we show as many varied sides as possible." She's insistent that "we don't become an advocate, but put all the information out."

Connor realizes some might ask why she's giving the Klan a platform. "That was one of the reservations I had, too," she notes. "Am I adding fuel to the fire by allowing them to have a forum? My feeling about it is that hiding your head in the sand leaves the rest of your body exposed."

Connor, who had worked as an independent producer since 1987, signed on with Channel 9 in August to produce 40 episodes of "Mosaic. …

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