about me

 

EXPERIENCE

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch [Lee Enterprises] 900 North Tucker Blvd., St. Louis, Mo. 63101. [January 2018- ] Enterprise editor on the Metro/Business desk. [February 2013- December 2017] Business editor.

The Commercial Appeal [E W Scripps] 495 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38103 [February 2010 – February 2013]  Business editor of daily, now owned by Gannett.

Independent Writer and Editor [August 2008 – February 2010]  Wrote for various publications. Assisted authors with book projects, including the story of a family dairy farm and a memoir of Ethiopia during revolution. Relaunched magazine.

 

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Illinois Times [Central Illinois Communications] P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, Illinois 62705 [October 2003 – August 2008]  Editor of independent weekly.

The Riverfront Times [New Times] [June 1999 – September 2003]  Managing editor of newsweekly, since sold.

The Tampa Tribune [Media General]  [April 1998 – June 1999]  Assistant business editor for daily, now closed.

The Commercial Appeal [E W Scripps] 495 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38103 [October 1989 – April 1998] Reporter and editor for daily, now owned by Gannett.

Memphis Business Journal, Nashville Business Journal [February 1986 – September 1989]  Staff writer for independent weeklies, since sold.

St. Louis Journalism Review [May 1982 – January 1986]  Managing editor of monthly tabloid, now incorporated into a magazine published by the Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

FOCUS/Midwest [May 1982 – August 1983]  Assistant editor of bimonthly that closed in 1983.

Student Life [August 1980 – May 1981]  Editor-in-chief of student newspaper of Washington University. [August 1981 – May 1982]  Business manager.

 

 4 sundays

I joined the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in February 2013 as business editor, working with a staff of veteran journalists. They covered a wide range of topics, including urban development, tax policy, energy and the environment, health care reform, workplace issues, biotech and military spending. (In March 2017, the business news staff won first place for spot news in the Missouri APME for coverage of the Bayer AG takeover of Monsanto. The coverage also was recognized by SABEW in April. In September 2018, the business section won first place among large dailies in Missouri Press Association’s annual Better Newspaper Contest. The award recognized the paper’s work in 2017.)

07-01-2018 arch coverBeginning in 2018, I was asked to take on new responsibilities, overseeing enterprise stories. That’s meant taking a much bigger role in handling Sunday A1, producing special sections, and overseeing a few projects.

One of the sections I supervised in 2018, “Gateway to the Arch,” took a look at the renovation of the grounds of the Gateway Arch National Park, including the expansion of the park’s museum (published July 1). I also am overseeing a series of reports on urban issues, including property abandonment, that kicked off with a two-part report on mounting problems with the city’s trash collection program and widespread illegal dumping (Aug. 19-20). That was followed by a series of stories about property abandonment (Sept. 16-17). Each of the series spurred follow-up news coverage.

08-19-2018 tipping point08-20-2018 tipping point09-16-2018 sense of urgency09-17-2018 lra

Before resigning to head north, I was editor of the business section of The Commercial Appeal for three years, working with five staff writers, as well as several freelancers and a few columnists. I also worked with our Washington correspondent. I wrapped up my last full week at the paper with the Feb. 8, 2013 edition. Click here to see what the section looked like (including front-page stories I handled that week): Final week

My job included developing, assigning and editing enterprise. Some examples: [apparently all of these links were broken in 2014 or 2015 by the paper’s shift to a paywall->] An examination of a major economic-development prize landed by Memphis, as well as stories on a wide range of subjects: the growth of part-time work and alternatives to lift the economy; genetically engineered corn (2,4-D)persistent unemployment; net neutrality, telecoms and the tea party; how an investment bank harmed its customers; racial wage disparities; legalization of online gambling; media beneficiaries of Citizens United; alternatives to privatization of waste hauling; predictive analytics in law enforcement; food “deserts” in the inner city; development of hydropower; vulnerability of the power grid; and organic production of cotton.

I also led efforts to develop a local site focused on business startups and entrepreneurship, now discontinued.

Two projects won the investigative and explanatory categories in the Best in Business national competition sponsored by SABEW.

From the fall of 2009 until mid-2010, I also edited the newspaper’s digital-only environmental publication, now discontinued.

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During my earlier stint at The CA, as a reporter and an editor, I won awards for investigative and deadline reporting.

I’ve spent about half of my career working for metropolitan daily newspapers. The other half included nearly a decade at two alt-weeklies, as managing editor of the Riverfront Times in St. Louis and then editor of Illinois Times. Both papers, at the time, won many regional and national journalism awards.

04-111105-081805-090805-1208
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Early career stops included working as managing editor of the St. Louis Journalism Review (publication won national Lowell Mellett Award for its coverage of the sale of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat) and serving as the first state government reporter for the independent Memphis and Nashville business journals (1986-1988).

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PERSONAL

My parents are immigrants. I was born in Berwyn, Ill. (a Chicago suburb), graduated from St. Xavier in Louisville, Ky., and Washington University in St. Louis, and have worked at newspapers in five cities. I’m married to Maureen; we have two adult sons, Andrew and Joshua.

The postings on this site, including John and Mack Rust, Red Kane, Wartime Letters and other sites listed on the blogroll, are my own. They do not reflect the views of my employers, employees or colleagues, past and present.

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SELECTED CLIPS

Gateway to the Arch Editor of a special section on improvements at the national monument. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 1, 2018)

X_01_01_PD_092913_00_SS.inddNavigating Health Care Editor of a special section on the Affordable Care Act (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sept. 29, 2013)

Cotton firm accused of market manipulation Louis Dreyfus Commodities BV, and its Cordova-based cotton division, Allenberg Cotton Co., are targets of six federal lawsuits … (The Commercial Appeal, July 24, 2012)

The Armadillo in All of Us. [original link broken] It may be small-brained and shortsighted, but the armadillo has managed to take over most of the Americas. (American Way, March 1, 2012)

Growth potential. The story of how a handful of hobbyists turned a corner of southern Illinois into a blossoming wine country. (American Way, June 15, 2010)

Bourbon revival. The bourbon industry helped fuel the rebirth of a once-struggling Louisville. Now Louisville is returning the favor. (American Way, May 15, 2010)

Still singing the blues. The Mississippi Delta’s history of hard times inspired the art form of blues music. Celebrating that dark legacy may be the region’s ticket to a brighter future. (American Way, Dec. 1, 2009)

Bluer blues: Grim figures tell of region on the ropes. Rich in culture, resources, Mississippi Delta getting poorer amid illusory gains, stumbling strategies. What options remain for a region on life support? (The Commercial Appeal, Nov. 8, 2009) [original link broken or lost, available here https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-21880876.html and also at Newsbank.

Editor, Going Green, digital-only publication of The Commercial Appeal, Nov. 1, 2009-May 30, 2010.

Tunica accustomed to tough times, takes trouble in stride (The Commercial Appeal, Sept. 20, 2009) — Tunica’s casinos — once-mighty job-creation machines in the Mississippi Delta — have been wrestling with a steady drop in revenues since the beginning of 2007  [sidebar here].

Midwest grape growers note rising temperatures (FOCUS/Midwest, June 15, 2009).

Raising Kane: How curiosity about a family heirloom led to new questions about a sensational century-old crime (St. Louis magazine, April 2009).

An engineer who raised safety concerns at AmerenUE’s Callaway nuclear power station received a six-figure settlement after accusing the company of retaliation (FOCUS/midwest, Jan. 4, 2009).

Things I’ve learned: Journalism will survive the passing of some newspapers (Illinois Times on July 31, 2008).

Swimming with sharks: Calming these troubled economic waters won’t be easy (Illinois Times on Feb. 7, 2008).

Homers: Who needs a cartoon Springfield when we’ve got Mayor Quimby and Chief Wiggum? (Illinois Times on Nov. 29, 2007).

Missing Lincoln link: The jury’s still out on area church’s claims (Illinois Times on Sept. 27, 2007).

The Great Communicator: Lincoln wrote to shape and save a nation. (published by Illinois Times on Nov. 30, 2006)

Systemic failure: The biggest problem at the SPD: a lack of openness and accountability (Illinois Times on Oct. 19, 2006).

Sticks and stones: Name-calling is an occupational hazard, especially when pundits get lazy (Illinois Times on July 21, 2005).

Simon Says: Now more than ever, America needs leaders who aren’t afraid to tell the truth. This interview with the former Illinois senator was published shortly before his death (Illinois Times, Oct. 30, 2003).

Editor, Illinois Times (October 2003-August 2008).

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Backfire: Former exec’s suit could blow Enterprise’s files wide open. This was one of a series of columns known as “The Worm,” named best humor column by the Missouri Press Association (The Riverfront Times on March 12, 2003).

Sign of the Times: It’s all in the family at Engineered Support Systems (The Riverfront Times on Jan. 22, 2003).

The Terrorists Are Winning: Truth, justice and the American soap opera are under attack at the West County Y. One of a series of columns known as “The Worm.” (The Riverfront Times on Dec. 18, 2002).

Members of the Firm: Law-firm employee apparently didn’t see enough dicks at the office. One of a series of columns known as “The Worm.” (The Riverfront Times on Dec. 11, 2002).

Herky Jerk: Doe Run’s owner has done this before — and that has regulators braced for trouble (The Riverfront Times on Feb. 20, 2002)

Heavy-Metal Racket: John Chamis and other residents of lead-contaminated Herculaneum are tired of getting jerked around by regulators and by Doe Run (The Riverfront Times on Dec. 26, 2001).

Mano a Fisho: Legal or not, a-noodling they will go (The Riverfront Times on Dec. 20, 2000).

blue-light specialBlue-Light Special: When it came to guns, the Overland cops weren’t just playing around, along with Gun Club (The Riverfront Times on Aug. 2, 2000).

No-Sell Hotel: Ex-Mayor Vincent Schoemehl swings a headache ball at the city’s convention-center-hotel deal — and misses (The Riverfront Times on Feb. 2, 2000).

Connective Tissue
: Dennis Judd wants St. Louis to be linked by more than just highways between sports palaces and shopping malls (The Riverfront Times on Sept. 8, 1999).

seeing redSeeing Red: After years of taking it on the chin, Bob Goeggel struck back at his competitor. Thanks to his accusations of fraud, the state’s largest ambulance company is on the operating table and the feds are doing the cutting (The Riverfront Times on Aug. 11, 1999).

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Stories written before June 1999 are available online at Nexis, NewsBank, and similar services. During seven years as a reporter at The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, I wrote around 1,700 stories — more than 300 appeared on A1. A number of the stories were carried by the Scripps Howard News Service, and versions were published elsewhere.

The crush to act with Tom Cruise: Arnold Goldin jokes that he’s had only “”limited experience” playing a slimy lawyer. But that didn’t stop the Memphis attorney and more than 300 others who showed up Sunday at a casting call for the upcoming thriller, The Firm. (The St. Petersburg Times on Oct. 21, 1992)

Elvis, The Blues, and Now Coors: Peter Coors yesterday loaded Coors’ first shipment of Memphis-packaged beer on a truck, launching the brewer’s Tennessee operations. (The Rocky Mountain News on April 10, 1991)

Memphis Move a Test for Coors: Coors Brewing Co. faces a challenging transition in the next several months as it takes ownership of Stroh Brewery Co.`s plant in Memphis. The primary hurdles for the nation`s No. 3 brewer include modifying the 19-year-old Stroh plant and producing beer with a unionized work force trained to make a competitor`s product. (The Chicago Tribune, June 17, 1990)

Wal-Mart Gets a Vote of Confidence in Iowa: Voters have given a thumbs-up to Wal-Mart, but it came after wrangling over an all-too-familiar question: Can traditional mom-and-pop shops in small-town, rural America survive competition from big retail discount chains? (The Chicago Tribune, Nov. 20, 1989)

Illinois Times covers by Joe Copley and Dave Janes; “The Worm” logo by Tom Carlson; Riverfront Times cover designs by Tom Carlson and photography by Jennifer Silverberg.

One Response to about me

  1. bob cavanagh says:

    http://sangamoncountyhistory.org/wp/?p=9643 egan’s rats get a mention and I thought of you–bob Cavanagh hope you’re well

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