WHEN reporters hunker down and talk about what they'd like to be
doing someday, they're liable to mention the legendary Kansas
newspaper editor William Allen White of The Emporia Weekly Gazette.
Or, if they're also film buffs, it might be Kevin Kline's dream job
in the movie "Violets are Blue," as editor of a weekly newspaper by
The myth is that on a weekly, deadlines are leisurely, big-city
pressures don't interfere with getting the story, and you have
plenty of time to polish it.
Those are the allegations. Meet Warren Rogers, brand new editor
of the 2 1/2-month-old Georgetown Courier, a weekly published in
what is not exactly Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" but one of the
most sophisticated towns in the United States.
"This is not a giant metropolitan operation, but it is a city
paper in microcosm, I guess," says Mr. Rogers. "A deadline is a
deadline, and I miss 'em just the ways I've always missed 'em. You
know, struggling and fighting and scratching, and you hope if you
can't make it you won't be miserably late. I've always found a
story is a story, and it doesn't matter whether you're covering a
foreign ministers' meeting or a Boy Scout meeting. You use the same
... 'who, what, where, when, why, and how.
Rogers should know. His work as a reporter for the Associated
Press took him from covering Louisiana politics and government to
the State Department, White House, national politics, and
international stories. He later joined the Washington bureau of the
New York Herald Tribune, covering the presidency and politics, then
went on to become the Hearst Newspapers Washington bureau chief and
Look magazine's Washington editor. Along the way he was nominated
twice for Pulitzer prizes and wrote five books, two on the Vietnam
War which he covered, and two on Robert F. Kennedy. A third Kennedy
book, "The Fun Days: Robert and Ethel Kennedy at Hickory Hill, a
Love Story," will be published next spring.
Rogers, as a former National Press Club president and Overseas
Press Club winner for overseas reporting, has attracted some
celebrated bylines to The Georgetown Courier. Since the weekly
began, it has been truffled with famous names: UPI's White House
bureau chief Helen Thomas; retired New York Times columnist Warren
Weaver Jr.; Motion Picture Association of America president Jack
Valenti; former Central Intelligence Agency director William Colby;
and columnist Karen Feld.
Rogers relaxes behind his editor's desk and talks about how his
dream materialized. He and publisher Leonard Andrews, the
businessman and art collector who recently owned the famous "Helga"
collection by Andrew Wyeth, had been friends for years. Their
friendship began when Mr. Andrews asked Rogers to write a weekly
syndicated column, "Presidential Countdown" on the 1972 election.
"The column was pretty successful, in 80 papers probably, and
some of the big papers like the New York Daily News and Chicago
Tribune carried it," says Rogers. …