Title: Jack Detweiler [ FAL 7 ]
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00093152/00001
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Title: Jack Detweiler FAL 7
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Language: English
Creator: Interviewer: Julian Pleasants
Publication Date: May 6, 2003
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Bibliographic ID: UF00093152
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Interviewee: Jack Detweiler
Interviewer: Mark Ward
Date: May 6, 2003

W: This is Mark Ward. Today is May 6, 2003. I am with Jack Detweiler, and this is
for the Alligator Oral History Project. Sir, can you tell me where you are from

D: I was born in Denver, Colorado, but we moved here to Florida when I was
fourteen, and I went to high school in Jacksonville.

W: What brought you to the University of Florida?

D: I went my first two years to the University of Alabama. I went there on a partial
track scholarship as a freshman. I dropped track, and I joined a fraternity, and it
became rather expensive. Plus, I met my future wife between my sophomore
and junior year in Jacksonville, and so I wanted to be close to her, to commute to
Jacksonville. To save money for my parents and to be close to her, I chose to do
my junior and senior year here at the University of Florida.

W: What was your major at that point?

D: Journalism.

W: Had you always wanted to be a journalist?

D: Yes. I took an aptitude test when I was a senior in high school. My parents had
me spend my own money for it, which was $18.50. I had planned to be an
accountant, and the aptitude test said, you don't want to be an accountant; you
want to be a journalist or a lawyer. Because I had spent my own money on it, I
said that, well, okay, I am going to follow its advice. My dad was a chemist, and
so he had talked me into science-writing. They had a program at Alabama in
science-writing, so I thought maybe I would do that, and I went there. It was run
by the College of Engineering, and they said, your freshman year, you will take
drafting. I said, I don't want to take drafting, so I went into journalism there.

W: Did you work at the school newspaper in Alabama?

D: Yes. In fact, I was the sports editor there my sophomore year. I was on the
sports staff my freshman year because of my participation in the athletic
program. I knew track. I covered cross-country, track, and freshman basketball.

W: When you came to the University of Florida, how did you come about going to
the Alligator?

Page 2

D: Because I had two years of experience at Alabama and I wanted to continue that,
although I knew that I would probably not get into an editorial position. I became
a staff writer and then, in my senior year, a columnist.

W: Did any one individual bring you into the fold? Or how did you approach the

D: I think I just showed up.

W: What were your impressions of the Alligator compared to the paper in Alabama?

D: Well, they were both weeklies. In Alabama, the editor was elected, and it was
much more political than here, where we had a large student publications [board]
that was elected but the editor was chosen by the board, [was] appointed. I liked
the system [at UF]. It was less political.

W: You started out as a staff writer. Why didn't you pursue sports writing when you
came to the Alligator?

D: I think that I had passed that part of my life.

W: What did your parents think about your coming to the university and then working
at the Alligator?

D: I think they liked the fact that the university was rather inexpensive, and I think
they liked the idea of me practicing what I was going to ultimately [make] my
profession. I graduated with high honors at the university. My parents never
thought I was very bright, and my mother said, gosh, you graduated with high
honors; I wish we had money to send you to a good school. [Laughs.]

W: Do you feel you got a good education at the University of Florida?

D: Oh, yes, and I feel like the journalism program was strong then and got stronger
over time.

W: What were your initial impressions of the Alligator itself, the building, where it was

D: We were in the basement of what is now Dauer Hall. We had one big room for
the staff and then a smaller room for the editor and the business manager. I
worked as director of Student Publications when they were in the Union.
Certainly, when they were in the Reitz Union, the facilities were much, much
W: Were the quarters cramped when you were working for the Alligator?

Page 3

D: Yes, they were. I think we did most of our work in our own living arrangements. I
would not type my stories at the Alligator. I would type them in my room and
then just deliver them, so I was not aware of any kind of cramped conditions.

W: Did you have any particular faculty advisors while you were working at the
Alligator or faculty members you worked closely with?

D: I always said that I majored in journalism but I took John Paul Jones [UF
journalism professor, 1948-1968]. He taught, I think, six of the classes that I
took. They would be newspaper reporting and then radio/television news, and I
took one course in public relations. I think he taught all of those courses.

W: Did you ever go to him for particular advice on any story or column that you

D: No, actually, and I think this is still the experience today, I felt like that, by the
time I took class work at the college, it was what I had already done at the
Alligator. The leading edge of my education was at the Alligator. I always
thought that the college was just follow-up. I really felt like I got my education
first at the Alligator.

W: Are there any particular incidents that stand out in your mind from your first year,
your junior year as a staff writer at the Alligator, any particular stories or

D: No, I think I did a variety of stories. It was interesting compared to today, I
remember a lead story on the Engineer Fair, well, the Alligator today would never
put the Engineer Fair as a lead story. We were much more interested in what
went on in the campus. We just kind of promoted campus events to some

W: What was the reaction some of your fellow students had to your being on the
Alligator staff? Did you ever get any feedback from your stories from fellow

D: I'm not aware that I got feedback from fellow students. My senior year, as a
columnist, I sort of got on the ROTC program, which I was a part of; in fact, I was
elected as a representative on a ROTC council, because I was kind of a burr on
their saddle. The other students sort of elected me to play that role, I think. I
was more apt to get reaction from administrators than from students.

W: Did your fellow students acknowledge that you were on the Alligator in any way?
What separated people in the Journalism School who worked for the paper and

Page 4

who didn't?

D: Well, it was interesting. I was not like the editor. I was not a very visible person
in the college. The editor my junior year was John Baker [and] the editor my
senior year was Paul Horton, but they tended not to go to class. They tended to
put the Alligator first. I was more of student than they were. I was probably
closer to the faculty and closer to being a pure student than either one of those

W: How many hours a week [did you work]?

D: Well, as I say, I don't think I ever got in the role where I was an Alligator purist
that would spend sixty or seventy hours there. I think I probably wrote my
stories, which might be ten [or] fifteen hours a week at the most, and was more a
regular student.

W: You mentioned Baker, do you know anything or remember anything/recall
anything about when he was suspended toward the end of his reign here?

D: Well, I know, and this comes later in time, but I know no Alligator editor worth his
salt wanted to serve a full term. They always liked to be fired or suspended, that
was a role of distinction.

W: Why would they facilitate this firing?

D: Well, typically it was because they were at odds with the administration and they
felt like the Alligator was doing something [worthwhile despite that opposition];
this was more true for the Orange Peel, which was a campus humor magazine.
That's the way you would be thumbing your nose at the university president. It
was a way of achieving distinction.

W: You mention the Peel. While you were a senior it was, I don't want to say
banned, but it was suspended on campus. Can you tell me a little about that?

D: Well, it was a campus humor magazine. It was sort of like the Gator Growl. It
would get real raunchy and then there would be pressure to clean it up, and then
when they cleaned it up, the students would say, gosh, this is a lousy publication.
So then, they would try to spice it up a little and they were always going one way
or the other.

W: What was your opinion on that, as far as [being] a student at the time?

D: Well, I think as a student journalist and knowing some of the people on the
Orange Peel, because they had an adjoining office, you would sort of be

Page 5

sympathetic to them. In retrospect, I think again, like most campus editors, they
would get on the edge to the point where you had to do something.

W: Do you remember any specific individuals who you became close to while
working at the Alligator?

D: Well, Paul Horton was one that I got pretty close to. He was my best man at my
wedding. I got married shortly after I graduated.

W: Did the Alligator staff fraternize when the paper was put to bed?

D: Yes, we tended to be in a group. I remember that, when we graduated, the
Korean War was in full cycle and most of us felt like we would be shortly going to
Korea. There was a combination of Alligator people and some politicians that we
took a magazine-feature writing course under John Paul Jones and we [got an]
incomplete. We all hadn't done our last stories. So there, right after finals, we're
supposed to be doing those stories and we'd come around and say, well, this is
going to be the last time we're going to be together and maybe we ought to go
out and party. So, finally they would come around about eleven o'clock in the
morning, when they would be getting up, and then we'd stay up until two or three.
Finally, one morning, I got up at five and wrote my story early in the morning and
left, so that I could have all of that behind me. Yeah, we kind of tended to run
around together.

W: Co-education was also a new thing at this school. It had only been instituted a
couple of years at that point. What role did women play in the Alligator staff while
you were there?

D: There were some women, but because I was so interested in my girlfriend in
Jacksonville, I didn't pay a lot of attention to them and co-education didn't mean
a whole lot to me.

W: Did you earn any money while working at the newspaper?

D: No, I don't think I did. Some of the editors received small stipends, but I don't
think I received anything.

W: Your senior year, you were both a columnist and an associate editor. What was
your role, first, as an associate editor?

D: I think that would be a columnist. I think it was just a complementary role.

W: What were your feelings on being a columnist? Did you enjoy the work?

Page 6

D: Oh yes, I enjoyed it. It gave me a chance to comment on [events]. I think largely
I was interested in student government, which I didn't cover [because] I was not a
beat reporter for student government. Then, I was on the case of the ROTC, so
that I had some special targets that I favored.

W: How did the Alligator and student politicians get along during that period?

D: Not well. They tended, as always I think, to have a role of antagonism. The
Alligator was with student government much like it was like the university
administration; [the Alligator] felt like it had to play a role of sort of checks and

W: You were also a fraternity member at the time?

D: Not at Florida, just at Alabama. I was a stray Greek at Florida and so I really had
three college lives. My freshman year, I was a college athlete, my sophomore
year, I was a fraternity member, and then my junior and senior year, I was a

W: How do you feel the Alligator covered fraternities in the era?

D: Again, I don't think that fraternities came very high on their priority list. It was
amazing, I worked for, also, regular newspapers. I remember working for the
Orlando Sentinel. I was looking for hard news, but I found that they were
interested in the fraternity and sorority pledge-list, which I felt was a low priority,
but that was their top priority.

W: Did you work for the Sentinel or string for other papers concurrent while you were
a student?

D: I worked for the Sentinel. I think I had a very short tenure with them. Partly I
think I was disappointed in their priorities. Then I worked for the Jacksonville
Journal, which was an afternoon paper. I worked for them longer.

W: You mentioned earlier that a lot of the coverage was based on on-campus
issues. How well do you think the Alligator covered on-campus events and how
thorough was its coverage of the university during that period?

D: Well, I think that it did well. Obviously it was a weekly and so it would have some
limited space, but I feel that we did not get involved in the Korean War for
instance, or national politics or anything that [was controversial]. When I was a
faculty member with the Alligator, and this is during the war protest era, the
Vietnam War and all, the students were much more interested in larger issues
than we were.

Page 7

W: That surprises me, that even with the Korean War looming, especially you're all
college- age, that the Alligator didn't take any stance. Can you recall any other
events besides the Korean War that impacted the paper during that period?

D: We would obviously have election campaigns and I remember a photo of me
interviewing Estes Kefauver [senator from Tennessee] and he was wearing a
coon-skin cap [a trademark of Kefauver's political campaigns]. I'm there with my
tablet and my tongue out, which I do when I concentrate, and he was there
holding the tail of that coon-skin hat and it was quite an interesting photo.

W: Do you remember if the Alligator had an stance on civil rights during this period?

D: I don't recall that civil rights were a big issue at that time. It became a larger
issue later on.

W: What do you feel you've gained from your experiences at the Alligator?

D: Well as I say, I felt like that, when I went to work, that I was an experienced
journalist and I would attribute that as much to the Alligator as to my class work.

W: You graduated in 1952 [and] returned to UF in a professor position in 1965, how
had the Alligator changed in the intervening years?

D: Well, I think that, as I say, civil rights was a big issue. Right before I came, David
Lawrence was the editor, I think, in maybe 1964, and he was suspended. I'm not
sure that it wasn't over civil rights, it was over some major issue. We got into it
later in terms of abortion and things like this, but while the paper was part of the
university, it was always pushing the administration to allow it more freedom. I
think when it ultimately became private, that didn't become a major issue again.

W: In 1968, you were appointed the acting director of student publications. What did
your role entail?

D: Well, actually, I was the person in charge. While we did not in any way direct the
editors, I was there for advice and my job was sort of to look over their shoulder.
If I got word that something was amiss or they had gone too far, I was supposed
to alert the board of student publications who was their boss. Very often what
would happen is that the board would meet and decide either for or against the

W: From 1970 to 1972, you were chairman of the board of student publications. It
was an important time in the history of the Alligator.

D: Right, it was.

Page 8

W: Could you recall some information about that period? Were you, first off, on the
board of student publications during 1970 when the black students took over the
president's office and left the university in droves? Were you a member at that

D: That's a good question. Probably sometime in 1970, I went on the board. They
had to have a journalism representative and Hugh Cunningham resigned. He
had been the chair, I didn't start out as the chair, but subsequently became chair.
I was on the board during many contentious times.

W: That might have been a little early, that was early in 1970s. You were there,
however, for Ronald Sachs.

D: Yes.

W: Can you please tell me about that?

D: Well, the interesting thing is that I think probably it may have been in letters to the
editor, but I'm sure before we had published information on where to get an
abortion, but there was a law against it, and Ron Sachs called attention to it. [He
said,] I am going to publish places where you can get an abortion. By calling
attention to it, then somebody told the university president that, if you violate the
law, you are liable, you are responsible. The university president said, no, we're
not going to do this. The editor went ahead, but the president's office called the
printer, which, at that time, was in Ocala and said, you could go to jail as well.
So the printer pulled this information. Ron Sachs and some of the staffers got
that information and mimeographed it and inserted it particularly, didn't insert it in
all the issues, but all the issues that were distributed near Tigert Hall, they did.
So then, there was a question about whether he violated this law and he was
arrested and then was exonerated and the law was found unconstitutional.

W: In your position on the board of student publications, did you act as a middleman
between the Alligator and the president at that period? What was your role in
this whole argument?

D: I acted as a middleman to some degree. I would visit with the president, who
was President O'Connell, who was a former boxer. One thing I found about
O'Connell, he did not like to be trapped in a corner. He would come out fighting.
Then, we had this succession of editors that would tend to press him. It was a
very contentious time. I would try to get the full board involved, which was seven
members. I think there may have been four students and three faculty members,
I'm not sure the make-up, but my vote was, as chair, I broke ties. Usually there
wasn't a tie, so I kind of stayed out of the limelight as much as I could.

Page 9

W: Did any of the Alligator staffers in that period come to you for advice as a
journalism professor?

D: They tended to shy away from coming to me, because I was in a position of
authority. Although, again, some of the middle-range staffers would keep me
appraised of what the editor was doing, so that if the editor got out-of-line, I
tended to know about it. This is probably more as director of student
publications, that was the late [19]60s and then [was] when I was on the board.
By the time I was on the board, one of the first things that we did was hire an
editorial advisor. He was a journalist that worked in the newsroom, and again
what he would do was take the paper after it was published and mark it up. He
wouldn't tell the editor what to do, but afterwards he would tell the editor what
was good and what was bad stylistically. So he would tend to hear what was
going on, and if he felt like it was serious enough, he would contact me. So I was
kind of once- removed from the staff.

W: How did the students react to his presence?

D: Well, I think they accepted him reluctantly. When I was director of student
publications, I would be the faculty member in charge. We would have a one-
hour course in journalism where you would work on the Alligator staff. It tended
to be beginners, but because they were in that class, usually what happens with
a beginner is your first story isn't published, so you get discouraged and you go,
but because they were in that class, they had to stay and keep submitting work
and they would ultimately become the staffers. Ultimately, through my efforts at
the beginning and then through his efforts there in the early 1970s, they would
get used to working with this individual in that role and then as they went on to
become middle-range or senior staffers, they would still recognize the help that
they had gotten. So, there was some of that.

W: What was your personal opinion on what Ron Sachs did?

D: Actually, Ron Sachs, to me, the greatest thing he did was to uncover a murder in
our county jail. He got me involved in prison ministry and prison concerns. In
fact, that call we had just a minute ago was a chaplain at a prison. The abortion
thing was, to me, sort of artificial. I was amazed that it created the stir that it did,
frankly. As I say, I'm sure we had printed that information before, probably letters
to the editor from people who were in-the-know. So, I thought this was much ado
about nothing. What he did in the prison work, I felt like [it] was exceptional.
W: I've read those articles and it led to Alachua County building a new jail.

D: Yes, and I was part of Citizens for a New Jail, in fact, I was their spokesperson.
Right at this time, plus this Alligator controversy, and I was sort of the spokesman

Page 10

for the board of student publications, so I was in the news or on radio all the time.
People kept asking my wife, was I running for office? I wasn't running for office,
but just as a joke, she decided to give me a bumper sticker that said "Detweiler"
and no other comment on it. She went down to the printer and said, I want a
bumper sticker that says "Detweiler," and the printer said, well, we can do that.
He said, how many do you want? and she was thinking, well, we've got two cars
and Jack's mother has a car, how about six? He said, lady, we don't start the
presses for less than two hundred. So, she got two hundred bumper stickers, so
then I had to figure out what to do with them and I started giving them out in class
as sort of what I could call character awards, and I went through two additional
printings before I stopped giving them out.

W: As a journalism professor, what was your opinion on the First Amendment and
issues of prior restraint while you were working on the student publication
[board], did that every come up?

D: Well, I think it came up all the time. I think that was the issue that the board
would get involved in. What would happen, which gave the student editors such
power, would be that the newspapers of Florida would tend to side with the
student editor as opposed to the president. So the student editor really had more
power politically than the president. This is what made O'Connell very angry.

W: In 1972, how involved were you with the plan to move the Alligator to an
independent, off-campus organization?

D: Well, there were just a lot of things that went on before that. O'Connell's first
instincts were to get control of the newspaper and to take that position of editorial
advisor and upgrade it so that he would have prior restraint. I tended to resist
that. President O'Connell went to the Board of Regents to get the authority as
publisher, to have direct control of the paper. I accompanied the student editor,
who at that time was Randy Bellows, and we also went to the Board of Control.
We spoke against the president's idea and the board sided with us and told
O'Connell to back off. So, later, he was to appoint a governing committee that
was supposed to be in charge of the paper and be totally responsible for the
content and [the committee] met, and when it realized that these people would be
individually liable for any problems, they resigned. When it went private, that was
about the third option, while we were not necessarily against that. Then, there
was a negotiation. We recognized the Alligator, if it were private, could not
receive student fees. So, that was never an issue, but there was a considerable
amount of money in accounts receivable and the question was whether that was
Alligator money or university money. That became a major point of [that] time.
Plus, the fact the Alligator was strategically located on the third floor on the Reitz
Union, and many of the publications that went private received from the
university dollar-leases for university space, and so that was also an issue.

Page 11

Really, I would be involved in trying to pressure the university to do what I felt like
would allow the Alligator to survive. Now, one of the things that happened with
President O'Connell was he came to me one time and said that if he had an
important announcement to make to his faculty, he hated to make it through a
sophomore that worked on the Alligator. So, I suggested to him that, well, why
doesn't he publish his own pages in the Alligator, and that was the beginning of
the University Digest.

W: What year would that be, sir?

D: Oh, I would say that would probably have been 1971. So, the University Digest
started and when the Alligator went off-campus, one of the key roles, and I had
no role in this, Professor Cunningham really engineered this, but the university
pre-purchased University Digest at full advertising rates for a sufficient amount of
time to cover those accounts receivable. So, the Alligator started out with a
guaranteed cash position. That's probably what saved it.

W: On this board of student publication, you have three faculty and three to four
student members. What were their opinions on the Alligator during this period?

D: Well, they would vary. Now, the interesting [thing] was that the university
president would appoint them all. He would receive nominations from the
student president and it would essentially be [that] the student president would
give him, if he were to select four, he would give him eight potential students.
One of our roles was to make sure that the eight students that the student
president recommended were all independent thinkers. The president would
appoint people that he felt like he had the most leverage over. That's one of the
reasons that I had to walk a very fine line.

W: How were faculty members brought onto the board?

D: Well, by the president.

W: [From the] Journalism [School] specifically?

D: No, actually there could only be one journalism [faculty member], but usually
there would be one in law and one in business.
W: What do you think the general student body's reaction was towards what Ron
Sachs had done and the Alligator's independence?

D: Well, I think that at the time, the student body generally were protesters. They
were supportive of anything that was challenging the establishment.

W: When the Alligator moved off-campus, you're still a faculty member at this period,

Page 12

how do you think the paper changed from the late 1960s to the late 1970s in

D: I think the only thing was that suddenly the president was not publisher, so the
editor would not get in a nose-thumbing contest with the president just to see
who had more power and then bring in the papers of the state to support him.
Some of that adversarial role disappeared. It was still a period of time when, for
instance, the naming of the O'Connell Center was very controversial, because
the students at that time did not feel like O'Connell was a student-friendly
president. The O'Connell Center was built with largely student fees. So there
was still some contentious things. President [Robert] Marston followed O'Connell
and he was a very mild-mannered president, so he was very hard to get in a

W: How do you think the Alligator's coverage changed? When you were a student, it
was university-based, [but] now, and even back in the 1970s, the Alligator took
on more. At the very least it covered Gainesville, it covered more events in the
national scene and in the international scene, do you think they lost anything?

D: No, my feeling is that it probably became a more interesting paper. For instance,
you mention civil rights. I would imagine at the Alligator that if there were a civil
rights issue in the 1960s, let's say if Martin Luther [King Jr.] was leading a march
on Washington, the Alligator would have a staffer up there. We would have in our
day never have, and we probably didn't have the budget to do that.

W: As a faculty member, you mentioned, you talked about this early, about how hard
it was for students to get on staff initially. What do you think differentiates an
Alligator staffer from a journalist [student] who doesn't write for the newspaper?

D: Well, I'll tell you, it's much like a fraternity system. Now, when the Alligator went
daily, that meant that the Alligator staff would stay down there around-the-clock.
So, they became very close, bu it became a very closed society and for a
beginning staffer to break into, that was very difficult. Some recognized that it
was worth the effort and would continue, but I would say the Alligator staff was a
very select microcosm of the university. I can remember, and I think this was
probably when I was acting director, which would make it in the 1960s, but I was
teaching a college-age Sunday school class at First Methodist Church and I
remember that class, they did not know a soul that smoked marijuana, [whereas]
on the Alligator staff they didn't know a soul that didn't. So, it was a quite
different part of the university.

W: Do you think that tight-knit, closed society in any way has an effect on the news

Page 13

D: Well, yes, I think so. I think that you get a sense. For instance, take the issue of
abortion, on that staff, there was no controversy over abortion. It should be
allowed, they all felt that way. To feel like it should not be allowed was, to them,
a regressive type of behavior. I think that we had one editor who...

[End side Al]

D: ...Steve Vaughn was his name and [it] was, I guess, probably about 1967, when I
was acting director, that his staff quit. So, he published an appeal: "Would
freedom-loving students come to the aid of the Alligator?" They needed staffers.
We had a bunch for a period of several weeks. It was near the end of the spring
term, but we had a bunch of staffers in there that were barefooted and it was a
wild, wild group. My philosophy was at that time, they were going to push the
limits, let them do whatever they wanted. They wanted somebody to come down
on them and we weren't going to do it.

W: Do you think the Alligator serves a purpose in the training of journalists?

D: Well, as I say, the Alligator editors, many of them went on to become very
distinguished journalists. Many of them would say that the training that they got
was from the Alligator rather than from the classroom. That was my experience,
so I really do feel like this gave them training to be solid newspeople.

W: Do any specific students stand out in your mind, as a faculty member, who
worked for the Alligator?

D: I think that there were a number. I think Raul Ramirez, certainly Ron Sachs,
[and] Randy Bellows stand out.

W: Did any students come to you with any specific questions during your ten years
as a professor?

D: Well, as I say, I think that particularly during all of this controversy that, while I
tried, I was an untenured professor and sort of worried about my own future. I
tended to work very closely with the student staff during that time.

W: As a professor during the 1980s, when the Alligator was off-campus for a number
of years at that point, how do you think the paper had changed from its period in
the 1950s and the 1970s?

D: Well again, part of what happened was the development of USA Today and its
success. The Alligator chose to shorten its stories and liven its look, which it did.
Shortening its stories was a reporter's nightmare. For instance, in the 1960s
and 1970s, we used to win a lot of Hearst Awards in Journalism because of

Page 14

reporting. When they shifted to the USA Today format, we would never have a
story of enough substance to win in the Hearst [competition].

W: What do you think the Alligator's role is today on campus?

D: I think that it is to serve as a student voice. I think that it certainly keeps the
campus informed on what is going on. I have worked on theses, for instance,
[researching] where people on campus [such as] faculty, staff, students, got their
information. The Alligator has no peer. That's where people get their

W: Do you still read the paper?

D: Not so much anymore. I don't get to the university very often. Now they do have
pick-up stations around town and every now and then, I'll be somewhere where I
will pick one up, but I don't read it regularly.

W: Are there any questions that I've left unanswered, sir, that you can think of, that
you would like to talk about now?

D: One of the things that I had attempted to do at one time in my retirement was to
work with Ed Barber to help develop an alumni organization. I found that I never
quite got a handle on how to do this. I wanted one of the things that would
happen would be that we would try to get out a publication periodically, but Ed
was pretty much in charge of when that would happen and it was an expense
that he didn't always have money for. So, we didn't develop any kind of a plan
that really [worked]. At one point, I felt like that I might become a fund-raiser for
the Alligator, but that was not developing sufficiently, so I moved in a different
direction. I do feel like the Alligator alumni is still an important force. They utilize
them in ads every now and then, but these are very distinguished people and the
college recognizes them as distinguished people. You take somebody like David
Lawrence, while the college is very honored by the distinction that he has
received, he himself would say my greatest experience on the campus was the
W: What year did you try to start this?

D: I would say that was in the 1990s.

W: Do you keep in touch with any of the old...

D: Well yeah, I keep in touch with Randy Bellows, who is now a judge up in Virginia.
I think he is about the only one that I have visited. I shifted; I began to teach
public relations, and so I shifted from journalism to public relations, and I have
tended to keep in touch with public relations students probably more than I would

Page 15

with the journalism [students].

W: Did any of your public relations students find a role in the Alligator?

D: They would use some public relations people over there from time to time, but I
think it was just a job. It's not the kind of thing that you find that shapes your life
and your career.

W: I guess that's it, sir.

[End of Interview]

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