The world today knows him as one of the Old West’s most famous gunslingers, fearless associate of the famous lawman, Wyatt Earp. But in 1921, the world knew Bat Masterson as a world-class sports writer for the New York Morning Telegraph and one of the foremost experts on the second most popular sport of the • Read More »
When Helen Kirkpatrick finally got a job as the London correspondent for the Chicago Daily News in 1939, she gave herself a seemingly impossible first assignment. She suggested to her editors that she try to get an interview with the duke of Windsor, the former king Edward. The assignment seemed impossible because it was well • Read More »
In 1983, David Simon had finished at the University of Maryland and was trying to make it onto the metro staff of a big city newspaper. He was stringing—writing as a freelancer—for the Baltimore Sun, covering stories around College Park and the UM campus. Simon had cut his teeth as a student journalist on The • Read More »
When Roger Angell wrote about baseball, which he did frequently but not often enough, he could put you in the seat next to him in the ballpark. It would be a good seat, not in the press box with all of the sportswriting swells and television hotshots, but right down there in the stands among • Read More »
The contrast between Walter Duranty and Gareth Jones is stark and ultimately tragic. Duranty was the correspondent for the New York Times and covered the Soviet Union and the rise of Joseph Stalin for more than a dozen years in the 1920s and 1930s. He interviewed Stalin a number of times and always wrote favorable • Read More »
The tale of journalists Duranty and Jones, the obvious alternative to eugenics, group giveaways, and decapitating the British government: newsletter, May 20, 2022May 20, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, reporters, writers, writing.
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,404) on Friday, May 20, 2022. About a century ago, eugenics was all the rage. The basic idea of eugenics was that you could identify the “better” parts of society by race, geographic origin, or social class. If we could do that, then we could • Read More »
One of my areas of continuing interest is the artwork produced in and around the theaters of war. This art has not only special characteristics but also special meaning. The people who produce it are journalists just as much as the reporters, photographers, and television camera carriers, and producers who report on battles that they • Read More »
The education of August Wilson, a current combat artist, and continuing giveaways: newsletter, April 22, 2022April 22, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, reporters, reporting, writers, writing.
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,324) on Friday, April 22, 2022. “I like someone who speaks his mind—you know, someone who says what he thinks.” Undoubtedly, you have heard this sentiment expressed in some form or another. Speaking one’s mind is thought to be an admirable quality. I’m not so • Read More »
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, April 15, 2022. One of my personal rites of April—in addition to observing Opening Day and National Poetry Month (see below)—is having to restart my beehives, which for the past several years have died out during the fall. Fortunately, this task is • Read More »
Ray Bradbury and his typewriter, Ian Rankin and William McIlvanney, nicknames for sports teams, and more: newsletter, September 3, 2021September 5, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, newsletter, reporters, writers, writing.
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,290) on Friday, September 3, 2021. During the past few weeks, I have devoted my considerable intellectual resources to solving one of the nation’s most intractable problems. I am, of course, talking about the nicknames given to sports teams. A solution to this vexing dilemma • Read More »
After four years of extensions and delays, the trial of Elizabeth Holmes is finally taking place. Holmes was once touted as the star of Silicon Valley who used technology to create a new and less intrusive way to draw blood for testing. Her company, which took in hundreds of high-roller, high-profile investors, was once valued • Read More »
The first ‘scientist,’ Forsyth’s enjoyment of silence, and the Irish gun plot: newsletter, June 11, 2021June 13, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, newsletter, podcasting, reporters, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,332) on Friday, June 11, 2021. Periodically, a few people, and a few members of the news media — and then a few government officials and agencies — will stir themselves up over an identified flying objects, UFOs. As I write this, we are awaiting • Read More »
The great movie director Billy Wilder, whose six Academy Awards rank him among the best who have ever stood behind a camera and told the people in front of it what to do – was once asked during an interview for a biographer the accomplishment for which she was most proud. The answer from Wilder, • Read More »
When Elizabeth Cochran was 16 years old, she lived with her family in Pittsburgh. The year was 1880, and Elizabeth was intelligent and precocious. The Pittsburgh Dispatch ran an article titled “What Girls are Good For,” and the author concluded the girls were good for having babies and keeping house. It was not an unpopular • Read More »
Millions of Cats, Passing notes, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, and more on Opening Day: newsletter, April 2, 2021April 4, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, journalism, newsletter, reporters, reporting, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,369) on Friday, April 2, 2021. The 2019 college admissions scandal that resulted in the indictments of more than 50 people — most of them the well-off and well-intentioned parents of college-aged children — was based on an idea that many people carry • Read More »
The first of the modern female reporters, Handel’s revival, baseball’s Opening Day: newsletter, March 26, 2021March 28, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, reporters, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,374) on Friday, March 26, 2021. Some of the best news of the week concerns one of my favorites: libraries. The recent stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed by President Joseph Biden contains $200 million to aid public libraries. That amount sounds like a lot, • Read More »
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,386) on Friday, March 5, 2021. When I got into the rhythm of writing this newsletter several years ago, one of the things that I knew early on was that I wanted to learn more about – and write about — women who had • Read More »
Maxine Cheshire was a reporter who knew how to get under people’s skin. She irritated Frank Sinatra into a drunken, expletive-ridden rant that was witnessed by dozens of people. She made Jacqueline Kennedy cry and provoked a presidential call to her publisher. She exposed the Nixon family’s greed in keeping gifts from foreign leaders. More • Read More »
The Marines that he wrote about on Guadalcanal would tell Richard Tregaskis that if the Japanese captured him, they would probably use him as an “observation post.” They weren’t far from wrong. Tregaskis, a reporter during World War II for the International News Service, was six-feet, seven-inches tall — tall enough to be an observation • Read More »
More on William Seward, another walk through the Golden Age, and writing like a rifle: newsletter, November 13, 2020November 15, 2020 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, Civil War, history, newsletter, reporters, writers, writing.
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,5xx) on Friday, November 13, 2020. Some people cook and bake. Some people collect. Some make things. Some draw and paint, some listen (to music, etc.), some watch (birds, airplanes, insects, old movies, etc.), some read. The list could go on and on, of course. • Read More »