That is precisely why this columnist makes a point of making sure that every year he writes about the fact that April 18, was selected because it was on that day in 1945 that Ernie Pyle, the popular journalist-columnist, was killed in action as World War II was drawing to an end.
We write and post the annual column a few days early so that other columnists might be inspired to join the effort to not let Pyle’s life and work slide into obscurity and become a curious footnote for journalism’s history.
Jim Romenesko has helped our effort to keep Ernie Pyle alive in the memories of folks who (practice) and appreciate fine news writing, by running, on his media news page , a link to our annual homage to the author of several great books about World War II and we thank him for his much appreciated effort to assist us on our annual crusade to honor one of the men who inspired us.
As a kid, the lure of becoming a columnist who would travel the world, see history being made, and meeting interesting people sounded like a heck of a great way to earn a living. We also were in awe of Walter Winchell, Earl Wilson, and later in life Herb Caen. We’ve done the best we could and we aren’t ready to call it quits yet. (With any luck we hope to celebrate Christmas on Cottesloe beach again this year.)
Earlier this month the San Francisco Chronicle ran a tribute to their former columnist Herb Caen .
One way to combat the deterioration of journalism in the United States is to promote the work of the greats and to encourage people to make the effort to learn about them, and read their work. This year we will also urge our regular readers to perhaps look up online some of the columnists honing their skills in various college newspapers.
With some public support and enthusiasm, the nations newspapers could (and should) provide encouragement at the college level by scrutinizing the work of the next generation and perhaps hold an annual college draft in the manner of those held by the pro-sports businesses that have a mad scramble to secure the services of the best college athletes?
There is an annual awards ceremony in Los Angels for college students who major in cinema. It is held by the same folks who have the annual Oscar Awards Ceremonies that garner a much larger amount of publicity for the winners.
Perhaps Fox could have an annual competition for the best college purveyor of Republican talking points and thus groom some new faces to replace the sorry lot that hawks Republican propaganda for profit on the air?
The status of Journalism today, in the United States, is pathetic in many cases, and so war weary Americans who truly appreciate a never ending fight for truth, justice, and the American way, should make an effort to acquaint themselves the writing done by people from the past who worked hard to “tell it like it is” even though at times, as in Pyle’s case, it may cost the writer his or her life. It was much better than any devious and conniving modern effort to fake “fair and balanced” reporting.
Herb Caen once wrote: “I tend to live in the past because most of my life is there.”
Now, the disk jockey, who aspires to increase his level of influence on the audience to ” that which a plug from Herb Caen used to provide for various and sundry enterprises in the San Francisco area, will play “Sweep It Under the Rug,” by Zak Daniels and the One Eyed Snakes and we will wait for the sergeant to give the “column ho!” order so we can move out of here. Have a week that won’t be forgotten.