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Community journalism then and now

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Community journalism then and now a comparison of community-minded broadcasters of the 1960s and 1990s
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Glover, Joseph L
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 2000.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 464-486).
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Printout.
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Vita.
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by Joseph L. Glover.

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COMMUNITY JOURNALISM THEN AND NOW: A COMPARISON OF
COMMUNITY-MINDED BROADCASTERS OF THE 1960S AND THE 1990S











By

JOSEPH L. GLOVER


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY




UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2000
















ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


I am grateful to the members of my committee--F. Leslie

Smith, Bernell E. Tripp, David H. Ostroff, John W. Wright,

and Thomas P. Auxter--for their suggestions and insights.

I am particularly grateful to my chairman, F. Leslie Smith,

for the many hours he spent critiquing this work and for

introducing me to the pleasures of the rewrite. I am

grateful to Bernell Tripp for introducing me to the

fascinating world of history and for trying to teach me how

it is done. I am also grateful to Tom Auxter for showing

me a new way to look at the ethics of communication.

















TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS...... ............................. ... ii

ABSTRACT ................................................. vii

CHAPTERS

1 INTRODUCTION ..................... ............. 1

Background ............... ...................... 2
Three Broadcast Community Journalists ..........13
Joe Brechner ........................... .......... 14
Norm Davis .................... ................ 16
Ralph Renick .................................... 19
Problem, Purpose, Research Questions,
Methodology, Significance, Scope and
Limitations ................................20
Problem ............................................. 21
Purpose .............. .... .....................22
Research Questions ..............................22
Significance ................................... .23
Methodology ....................................... 24
Scope and Limitations ...........................28

2 LITERATURE REVIEW ...............................32

Community Journalism ...........................32
Beyond a Proper Literature Review: Partisan
Viewpoints ................................... 57
Social Responsibility Theory ...................65
Works on Brechner, Davis, and Renick ...........65

3 THE HUTCHINS COMMISSION: A FOUNDATION FOR
COMMUNITY JOURNALISM ......................74

The Commission Is Formed .......................75
Press Reaction ..................................... 79
Commission Goals ................................83









Recommendations to Government ................. 84
Recommendations to the Press ................... 87
Recommendations to the Public ................. 88
Citizens' Commission ........................... 90
Effects of the Report .......................... 92

4 COMMUNITY JOURNALISM: THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE?
HUTCHINS IN THE NINETIES ................. 95

Selfless or Self-Serving? ...................... 96
The Community Journalism Projects Sponsored by
the Pew Center for Civic Journalism ....... 99
Charlotte ...................................... 104
Madison ........................ ................ 105
Tallahassee ................ .................. 107
Boston ......................................... 109
Seattle .................. ..................... 111
Columbus ....................................... 112
New Orleans .................................... 114

5 ANOTHER DILEMMA OF COMMUNITY JOURNALISM: THE
INDIVIDUAL VERSUS THE MAJORITY ............119

6 STATE OF THE TV EDITORIAL IN THE 1960S ......... 130

Impact of Regulations .......................... 131
Timid Editorialists ............................ 137
Network Guidance ............................... 143
Local Stations ................................. 145

7 THE STATE OF FLORIDA AND THE U.S. IN MID-
20TH CENTURY ............................... 155

The 1960s in America ...........................156
Civil Rights Background in Florida .............161
Imported Attitudes .............................165
The Ku Klux Klan in Florida .................... 169
A Statewide View ...............................172
St. Augustine .................................. 173
Tampa .......................................... 176
Orlando ........................................ 180
Miami ...........................................186
History of Consolidation Attempts in
Jacksonville ..............................187









8 RALPH RENICK--FLORIDA' S FIRST BROADCAST
EDITORIALIST ..............................197

The Nation's First Nightly TV Editorials ....... 198
The Renick Editorials ..........................204
The Crusades ................................... 211
The "B-Girl" Editorials .....................213
The Restaurant Crusade ......................216
The Crime Crusade ...........................223
Renick and Civil Rights ........................230
Jacksonville ................................233
St. Augustine ...............................236
New Orleans .................................243
Los Angeles .................................244
Miami .......................................246

9 NORM DAVIS AND THE EDITORIALS OF WJXT-TV .......265

The Editorials Begin ...........................267
Davis Background ...............................268
The Davis Editorial Campaign .................. 273
Other Issues Being Covered by the Press in
the Mid-Sixties ...........................277
The WJXT School Editorials .....................281
City and County Services Deteriorate ...........291
The WJXT-TV Investigations .....................294
The Grand Jury ................................. 307
The Indictments ................................308
Corn Patch Camp ................................309
What The People Involved Say About WJXT' s Role .314
What Others Have Said About WJXT' s Role ........321

10 JOE BRECHNER' S STRATEGY FOR ORLANDO, FLORIDA:
THE 1960S CIVIL RIGHTS EDITORIALS OF
WFTV-TV ...................................326

Brechner' s Motivations .........................329
The Brechner Family Moves to Orlando ........... 332
Editorial Themes ...............................337
Examples of Editorials Using Brechner' s
Four Themes ...............................341
It Could Happen Here ........................ 341
Praise ......................................342
Patriotism ..................................346
It's Good Business ..........................353
A Voice For Minorities ......................... 355









Despair ........................................ 357
Beyond Editorials ..............................358

11 CONCLUSION AND ANALYSIS ........................368

Summary ........................................... 368
Brechner ....................................371
Davis .......................................374
Renick ...................................... 375
Conclusions ....................................... 376
What is Community Journalism? ...............377
Brechner, Davis, and Renick: Real Community
Journalists? ..............................378
Worthy of Imitation? ........................ 380
Community Journalists of the 1990s ..........380
Discussion ..................................... 382
Leading the Way .............................387
Friends in the Front Office .................389
Motivation is Primary .......................391
Suggestions for Further Research ...............392

APPENDICES

A SAMPLE OF THE EDITORIALS OF JOE BRECHNER .......398

B SAMPLE OF THE EDITORIALS OF NORM DAVIS ........424

C SAMPLE OF THE EDITORIALS OF RALPH RENICK .......444

REFERENCES...............................................464

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ..................................... 487
















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy


COMMUNITY JOURNALISM THEN AND NOW: A COMPARISON OF
COMMUNITY-MINDED BROADCASTERS OF THE 1960S AND THE 1990S

By

Joseph L. Glover

August 2000

Chairman: F. Leslie Smith
Major Department: Mass Communication

This dissertation is a historical study of three

broadcast editorialists working in Florida during the

tumultuous 1960s. The three editorialists were Joe

Brechner, owner and general manager of WFTV-TV in Orlando;

Norm Davis, editorial director of WJXT-TV in Jacksonville;

and Ralph Renick, news and editorial director of WTVJ-TV in

Miami. The works of Brechner and Davis examined in this

study revolve around single editorial campaigns. In the

case of Brechner, the topic was civil rights. Davis

focused on governmental corruption and inefficiency.

Renick, who editorialized first and for the longest period

of time, conducted several editorial campaigns. His work









on governmental corruption, crime, restaurant sanitation,

and civil rights are examined herein.

The three editorialists are compared to members of the

press in the 1990s who called themselves "community

journalists." The following questions are asked: (1) What

is community journalism? (2) Were the three editorialists

who are the focus of this dissertation community

journalists? (3) Should modern journalists consider

Brechner, Davis, and Renick journalists to be emulated?

In order to avoid either present-mindedness or past-

mindedness, particular attention is paid to context. The

regulatory climate for 1960s broadcasters who chose to

editorialize is examined. The events of the decade are a

major part of the context. It was those events from which

the editorialists chose their topics. Lastly, motivation

of editorialists and journalists studied for this work is

examined. The touchstone for motivation is existential

communitarianism, defined for this study as "concerned

primarily with community, but drawing from the principles

of existentialism to include concern for individuals within

the community as well as concern for personal

responsibility." It is within that framework that the

efforts of the subjects of this research are measured.


viii
















CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION


This dissertation is a historical study of three

broadcast editorialists, working in Florida during the

tumultuous 1960s. The three editorialists were Joe Brechner,

owner and general manager of WFTV-TV in Orlando; Norm Davis,

editorial director of WJXT-TV in Jacksonville; and Ralph

Renick, news and editorial director of WTVJ-TV in Miami. The

works of Brechner and Davis examined in this study revolve

around single editorial campaigns. In the case of Brechner,

the topic was civil rights. Davis focused on governmental

corruption and inefficiency. Renick, who editorialized first

and for the longest period of time, conducted several

editorial campaigns. His work on governmental corruption,

crime, restaurant sanitation, and civil rights is examined

herein.

The three editorialists are compared to members of the

press in the 1990s who called themselves "community

journalists."









This chapter introduces the reader to the three

editorialists, to the community journalism against which they

are measured, and to the problems that motivated 1990s

members of the press to begin calling themselves "community

journalists."

Background

Since the Hutchins Commission met in the mid-1940s and

completed A Free and Responsible Press,' some members of the

United States press have been trying to prove that they can

be both free and responsible.2 According to many press

critics, the attempt has been a dismal failure. A recent

Newseum survey of public perception of the press reveals some

discouraging, although not surprising, news for journalists.3

The 1999 survey frequently referred to the results of a

similar 1997 survey and found that "the news media are in

deep trouble."4 The 1997 survey found:



1 Commission on Freedom of the Press, A Free and Responsible
Press: A General Report on Mass Communication: Newspapers,
Radio, Motion Pictures, Magazines, and Books (Chicago: The
University of Chicago Press (1947), 4.

2 James Fallows, Breaking the News (New York: Pantheon Books,
1996).

3 "State of the First Amendment: A survey of public
attitudes," a Freedom Forum survey, sponsored by the First
Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, 1999.

4 Ibid.









Although most people trust most or all of what
ministers, priests, rabbis and doctors say, only 53%
place similar trust in their local TV anchors. Even
fewer trust what network TV anchors say and just under a
third trust newspaper reporters.
Ethically, people see journalists not as the equals of
teachers, doctors and priests, but as being among those
with agendas to advance--politicians, lawyers and
corporate officials.
Special interests are pulling strings in newsrooms,
most Americans believe. They think profit motives,
politicians, media owners, big business and advertisers
influence the way news is reported and presented.
Surprisingly, what bothers people most about
journalists is not that they favor a "liberal point of
view," but that journalists are insensitive to people's
pain when covering disasters and accidents. Most people
also are more strongly concerned about journalists
spending too much time on the personal lives of public
officials, paying too little attention to issues of
concern to young people, using unidentified sources and
offering their own opinions than they are about liberal
bias.
A majority of the Americans surveyed (64%) also say a
major problem with news is that it is too sensational.5

The 1999 survey, according to the Freedom Forum,

indicated public trust in the media was diminishing even

further. Respondents expressed a 15-percent increase in the

belief that the press has too much freedom. More respondents

said newspapers should not be able to publish freely without


5 Quoted from the 1997 Newseum Survey by the Roper Center for
Public Opinion Research, The Freedom Forum Media Studies
Center and the Newseum on the Freedom Forum home page,
http://www.freedomforum.org/index.html. The Roper Center
administered the questionnaire to 1,500 American adults. The
sampling error is 2.5 percent at the 95 percent confidence
level.









government approval, that they should not be allowed to

endorse or criticize political candidates, that journalists

should not be able to use hidden cameras for newsgathering,

and should not be able to publish government secrets.6

The number of people who felt the press had too much

freedom also grew in 1999. The number who felt the press

should be able to keep sources confidential fell, and Table 1

shows that "the bad news just keeps coming."

The Freedom Forum reports went on to say:

These findings indicate that the news media are in
deep trouble with the American public. A variety of
studies, surveys, and focus groups document a real
resentment of the press and its practices among
Americans, who characterize the news media as arrogant,
inaccurate, superficial, sensational, biased and bent.
Worse, they apparently believe that the press is part of
the problem, rather than part of the solution.
In a study conducted earlier this year by the Pew
Research Center for The People & The Press, 32% of those
surveyed said they thought the media were declining in
influence, compared to 17% in 1985. The number of those
saying the media protects democracy dropped from 54% in






6 The 1999 Freedom Forum Survey by the Center for Survey
Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut, The
Freedom Forum Media Studies Center and the Newseum. Found
at: http://www.freedomforum.org/first/sofa/1999/welcome.asp.
The survey results are based on telephone interviews by the
Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University
of Connecticut with 1,001 adults, ages eighteen or older,
conducted 26 February to 24 March 1999. Margin of error is
plus or minus 3 percent with a 95 percent confidence
level.










Table 1. Results of 1999 Freedom Forum Survey.


Even though the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of the
press, government has placed some restrictions on it.
Overall, do you think the press in America has too much
freedom to do what it wants, too little freedom to do what it
wants, or is the amount of freedom the press has about right?


Too much freedom
Too little freedom
About right
DK/Ref


1997
38%
9%
50%
3%


53%
7%
37%
2%


Newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without
government approval of a story.

1997 1999
Strongly agree 56% 38%
Mildly agree 24% 27%
Mildly disagree 11% 14%
Strongly disagree 6% 18%
DK/Ref 3% 3%

Journalists should be allowed to keep a news source
confidential.

1997 1999
Strongly agree 58% 48%
Mildly agree 27% 31%
Mildly disagree 6% 10%
Strongly disagree 6% 9%
DK/Ref 2% 3%

Broadcasters should be allowed to televise courtroom trials.

1997 1999
Strongly agree 28% 34%
Mildly agree 23% 33%
Mildly disagree 19% 13%
Strongly disagree 25% 17%
DK/Ref 4% 3%

Newspapers should be allowed to endorse or criticize
political candidates.

1997 1999
Strongly agree 43% 35%
Mildly agree 26% 28%
Mildly disagree 11% 14%
Strongly disagree 18% 22%
DK/Ref 2% 2%










Table 1--Continued.


The news media should be allowed to report government secrets
that have come to journalists' attention.


1997
35%
26%


Strongly agree
Mildly agree
Mildly disagree
Strongly disagree
DK/Ref


1999
23%
25%
18%
30%
3%


Television networks should be allowed to project winners of
an election while people are still voting.

1997 1999
Strongly agree 15% 11%
Mildly agree 16% 18%
Mildly disagree 17% 19%
Strongly disagree 51% 51%
DK/Ref 1% 1%

High school students should be allowed to report
controversial issues in their student newspapers without
approval of school authorities.

1997 1999
Strongly agree 24% 19%
Mildly agree 21% 18%
Mildly disagree 23% 27%
Strongly disagree 29% 33%
DK/Ref 3% 3%

Journalists should be allowed to use hidden cameras in their
reporting.

1997 1999
Strongly agree 13% 9%
Mildly agree 18% 18%
Mildly disagree 20% 18%
Strongly disagree 45% 54%
DK/Ref 3% 3%

Broadcasters should be allowed to televise the proceedings of
the U.S. Supreme Court.

Strongly agree 44%
Mildly agree 29%
Mildly disagree 11%
Strongly disagree 12%
DK/Ref 3%










Table 1--Continued.


Journalists should be allowed to investigate the private
lives of public figures.

Strongly agree 17%
Mildly agree 21%
Mildly disagree 18%
Strongly disagree 42%
DK/Ref 1%

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: Any
group that wants should be allowed to hold a rally for a
cause or issue even if it may be offensive to others in the
community.

1997 1999
Strongly agree 38% 30%
Mildly agree 34% 32%
Mildly disagree 10% 16%
Strongly disagree 15% 20%
DK/Ref 3% 3%

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: The
government should regulate what appears on television.

Strongly agree 20%
Mildly agree 25%
Mildly disagree 21%
Strongly disagree 32%
DK/Ref 2%









1985 to 45%. Conversely, 38% said that the media hurt
democracy; only 23% said that in 1985.7

These complaints sound quite similar to the complaints

put forward by the Hutchins Commission in 1947, a fact noted

in the Freedom Forum report. The commission, albeit

unintentionally, laid the foundation for a 1990s journalism

phenomenon that was promoted as the road to salvation for an

ailing press. It is called "community journalism," "civic

journalism," "communitarian journalism," public journalism,"

"solutions journalism" and sometimes "conversations

journalism."8 The terms are frequently used interchangeably

by journalists and will be used interchangeably here,

although "community journalism" will be the preferred and

most often used term. That phenomenon, however, is a siren

song that may lead journalism in the opposite direction.

Defining the phenomenon is also difficult. There are

many definitions of community journalism. Davis Merritt, now

senior editor at the Wichita Eagle, defines it as "a

pragmatic recognition that people flooded with contextless,


7 Ibid.

8 As of May 2000 there was still a discussion underway about
drawing fine distinctions between these terms. At the 1998
conference on public journalism at the University of South
Carolina attendees agreed to use the terms interchangeably,
at least for the length of the conference, to avoid further
confusing the issue. This dissertation follows that example.









fragmentary, episodic, value-neutral information can't make

effective work of their decision-making."9 New York

University journalism professor Jay Rosen writes,

"Traditional journalism worries about remaining properly

detached. Public journalism worries about becoming properly

attached. So: public journalism becomes the undeveloped art

of attachment to the communities in which journalists do

their work."'0

Ed Lambeth, a professor of journalism at the University

of Missouri-Columbia, says there are several steps in doing

public journalism. Journalists must:

Examine alternative ways to frame stories on important
community issues.
Choose frames that stand the best chance to stimulate
citizen deliberation and build public understanding of
issues.
Listen systematically to the stories and ideas of
citizens even while protecting [press] freedom to
choose what to cover.
Take the initiative to report on major public problems
in a way that advances public knowledge of possible
solutions and the values served by alternative courses
of action.
Pay continuing and systematic attention to how well and
how credibly [the press] is communicating with the
public."

9 Edmund B. Lambeth, Philip E. Mayer, and Esther Thorsen,
Assessing Public Journalism (Columbia: University of Missouri
Press, 1998), 90.

10 Ibid., 90.

11 Ibid., 17.









Another proponent of community journalism is Jennie

Buckner. Buckner is the editor of the Charlotte Observer and

sees public journalism as utilitarian: "When writing about

public life, we try to provide readers with the information

they need to function as citizens."12 Billy Winn of the

Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer defines the practice in terms

closer to classical communitarianism13 when he says, "You must

risk some of yourself; you must get into the boat with the

people."14

This communitarian attitude leads to a definition that

grows out of the present study and becomes evident in the

work of the three broadcasters around whom this research

revolves. It is a definition that most accurately describes

what the three editorialists were presenting to 1960s

television audiences. A community journalist is, quite





12 Ibid., 225.

13 Communitarianism is described as "the thesis that the
community, rather than the individual, the state, the nation,
or any other entity, is and should be at the center of our
analysis and our value system" in Ted Honderich, ed., The
Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1995), 143.

14 Billy Winn, Lecture at University of Florida, Spring 1996.









simply, someone who is willing to put the interests of

community above one's own interests.

This definition is not what most community journalists

espouse. Normally, community journalism is an attempt to

make the journalist part of the community and, therefore, a

beneficiary of the public journalism project. That is not

what Ralph Renick, Joe Brechner, and Norm Davis intended.

They intended one thing--that their editorials would

contribute to the social health of their communities. In

each case, it was communitarianism with an important

additional factor--an element of existentialism.15 Each of

these editorialists was intent on making the most of his

talents to enrich the lives of his community and the

individuals in those communities rather than surrendering to

the "tyranny of the majority" or waiting for someone else to

right the wrongs they saw. In this way, they were unlike



15 Defined in Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary as
"A chiefly 20th Century philosophy that is centered upon the
analysis of existence specif. of individual human beings,
that regards human existence as not exhaustively describable
or understandable in idealistic or scientific terms, and that
stresses the freedom and responsibility of the individual,
the irreducible uniqueness of an ethical or religious
situation, and usu. the isolation and subjective experiences
(as of anxiety, guilt, dread, anguish) of an individual
therein." (Springfield, MA: G & C. Merriam Company, 1976),
291.









communitarians who sacrifice individualism and individual

rights for the sake of community.16 They were existential-

communitarians, a seemingly self-contradictory term, but an

accurate description. This study is concerned with

determining whether they were community journalists before

community journalism became a journalism movement.

The Hutchins Commission, which will be examined in

chapter 3 of this study, foreshadowed some of the ideas

embodied in community journalism. The commission' s findings

reveal that there were many of the same concerns about the

press in the 1940s as there were fifty years later. Chapter 4

will outline current attempts to improve public perception of

press practices and practitioners. It will also be revealed

that those attempts, through community journalism, are

misguided and sometimes disingenuous.

In addition, this study will show that what is sometimes

referred to as "old-fashioned journalism in new clothes"17 is,

in fact, the way to reverse the erosion of public trust in

journalism and, in particular, television journalism. The


16 Ralph D. Barney, "Community Journalism: Good Intentions,
Questionable Practice," Journal of Mass Media Ethics 11, 3
(1996): 140-151.

1M. Gordon, "Civic Journalism: Involving the Public," The
Seattle Times, 17 April 1996, B5.









present chapter will briefly introduce three 1960s

broadcasters who practiced community journalism long before

it had acquired the name and, most important, practiced

community journalism in a manner classical communitarians

would consider appropriate. The work of these three

broadcasters will be the primary focus of this dissertation.

Much of the background for these early chapters is based

on the work of newspaper journalists because it is the

newspapers that have most actively promoted community

journalism. As is noted below, newspaper journalists

frequently involve broadcasters in their projects, usually as

tag-alongs using, and being used by, their print partners.

Three Broadcast Community Journalists

There are many different views of community journalism

and communitarianism. Louis Hodges of Washington and Lee

University frequently writes on issues of journalism ethics.

It is Hodges' view of communitarianism as a means of

enhancing individual liberty that most closely fits the

approach taken by the three editorialists who are the subject

of this study. They were all most concerned about their

communities but did not allow themselves to be swallowed by

the communitarian tendency to allow the group to become more









important than the individuals for which it was established.'8

All three broadcasters used editorials to accomplish their

purposes. Unlike many 1990s community journalists, all three

considered ratings and income secondary to operating in the

best interests of the individuals who made up their

communities.

Because all three felt it was their duty to better their

communities, all three can be considered existential

communitarians. "Existential communitarianism" is a term

that must be defined for complete understanding of the

discussion that follows. So it will be possible to refer

back to what is meant by existential communitarianism, the

definition, which will be based upon the preceding

description of the actions of Brechner, Davis, and Renick,

will be established for the rest of this dissertation as

follows: Concerned primarily with community, but drawing from

the principles of existentialism to include concern for

individuals within the community as well as concern for

personal responsibility.

Joe Brechner

Joe Brechner was principal owner and manager of Channel

9 in Orlando, first as WLOF-TV, then as WFTV-TV from 1958 to


18 Barney, "Community Journalism," 145.









1984. When he arrived in Orlando in 1953 to acquire part

ownership in radio station WLOF-AM, he had already

established a reputation for speaking out for causes he

thought in the interests of the community.'9

Brechner had laid the groundwork for his active part in

community affairs at WGAY radio in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Brechner and John Kluge founded WGAY-AM-FM when they were

released from the U.S. Army following World War II. Money

from the sale of WGAY financed Brechner' s move into the

Orlando broadcasting market. Although Kluge owned a portion

of the Orlando operation, he was moving in other directions,

and it was Brechner who would build the Orlando television

station, using it as a platform for his brand of community

journalism. Brechner' s most frequently visited editorial

topic was civil rights. At a time when there were few

integrated facilities and when there was a strong Ku Klux

Klan presence in Orlando, a city with many of the

characteristics of other southern cities in the 1960s,

Brechner was not only hiring African-Americans to work at his




19 Joe Glover, "Joe Brechner's Castle in the Air The WGAY
Years: 1946-47," 2000. Unpublished paper presented at the
2000 Broadcast Education Association annual conference in Las
Vegas, Nevada.









station, he was campaigning for equal rights for all

Americans.20

Norm Davis

On 8 August 1967, the voters of Jacksonville and Duval

County, Florida, went to the polls to decide what form of

government they wanted. The choice was simple. Would they

continue to have what critics of the area' s political system

considered a redundant, wasteful, corrupt form of government

with one group of elected and appointed officials for

Jacksonville and another for Duval County, or would they

clean house by consolidating their governments? They had

been subjected to a vigorous, sometimes bitter, campaign with

strong arguments on both sides. Many office holders and

their cronies who had benefited under the existing system

pulled out all the stops in their attempts to maintain the

status quo. They tried to convince black voters that

consolidation was an attempt to keep power out of the hands

of the African-American community.21 They argued directly to

the African-American community that whites from the suburbs


20 Joe Glover, "Joe Brechner's Strategy for Orlando, Florida:
The 1960s Civil Rights Editorials of WFTV-TV," 1998.
Unpublished paper presented at 1998 American Journalism
Historians Association Annual Conference in Louisville, KY.

21 Richard Martin, Consolidation: Jacksonville, Duval County
(Jacksonville: Convention Press, Inc., 1968), 160.









would control the city. They claimed that consolidation was

a communist-inspired idea.22

Residents of areas outside the city had been bombarded

with warnings that they would be giving up the independence

they had always enjoyed and that they would be paying taxes

to support the workings of the City of Jacksonville. If they

voted against consolidation, citizens of the area would have

been continuing a long tradition of refusing to become part

of a massive area government.23

Why then did this vote turn out differently from earlier

referenda on Jacksonville area consolidation? Why, when the

ballots were counted, had area voters approved consolidation

by an almost 2-1 margin?24 Furthermore, why had county voters

approved consolidation by a margin of 8-5? Given the

similarities between the 1967 election and other elections

involving issues of combined governments for the Jacksonville

area, which will be described in chapter 7, what was the

difference in this one?

Several factors contributed to the outcome in this

complicated issue, such as strong leadership, willingness of


22 Ibid., 155.

23 Ibid., XI-XIII.

24 Ibid., 224.









consolidation backers to tweak the plan to accommodate

opponents, strong African-American support, teamwork between

legislators and local proponents, almost wholehearted

business support, and strong media support once backers of

the plan started their work.25 One of the major differences,

however, was the work of a group of investigative reporters

at television station WJXT.

The reporters, led by News Director Bill Grove and

Editorial Director Norm Davis, started their work in early

1964. Less than three years later, in late 1996, when the

Local Government Study Commission released its recommendation

for consolidation, eight county and city officials who had

been subjects of WJXT investigative reports and editorials

were indicted on 104 counts. The counts involved

expenditures of government funds for personal items, the use

of government vehicles for personal needs, padding payrolls,

subverting the competitive bidding system to award contracts

to favorite companies, bribery, perjury, and grand larceny.

WJXT was alone in its zeal to uncover the wrongs in area

government. It is impossible to prove, but well within the

realm of possibility that had WJXT not begun exposing


25 Ibid., 226-234.









malfeasance in government in 1964 there would not have been a

successful 1967 consolidation movement.

The editorial crusade undertaken by WJXT targeted

corrupt government in the city and county, put WJXT income in

danger, and put the lives of station personnel at risk. It

was, nonetheless, another example of genuine community

journalism.26

Ralph Renick

Ralph Renick served as news director and anchor of WTVJ-

TV in Miami for thirty-five years, commencing in 1950. The

station began doing editorials in 1957, with Renick as

editorial director and presenter. When his tenure at WTVJ was

over, he estimated that he had delivered more than 50,000

editorials.27 Many of Renick's editorials, like those of

WJXT, involved local government corruption.28

A crusade against governmental inadequacies and another

against unsanitary conditions in Miami restaurants, as well


26 Joe Glover, "Media Influence on City-County Consolidation
in Jacksonville and Duval County, Florida, 1967." Unpublished
paper, 1997, University of Florida.

27 S.L. Alexander, "May the Good News Be Yours: Ralph Renick
and Florida's First News" Mass Comm Review 19, 2 (Winter-
Spring 1992): 57-63.

28 Gerald Vincent Flannery, "Local Television Editorializing:
A Case Study of the Editorials of Ralph Renick on WTVJ-TV"
(Ph.D. diss., Ohio University, 1966).









as continuing editorials on race relations, best illustrated

the communitarianism aspects of Renick' s editorializing. In

the first case, seventy-three editorials against inadequate

law enforcement were broadcast in 1966. In the second case,

a series of twelve editorials about unsanitary conditions in

Miami restaurants aired in 1973.29 In all three crusades,

Renick was risking the station's bottom-line. The restaurant

campaign, for instance, brought "an almost daily danger of

advertising losses and lawsuits," as well as resulting in

assault and battery charges against a restaurateur who

physically attacked a WTVJ reporter and cameraman.30

Problem. Purpose. Research Ouestions. Methodoloav.
Significance. Scope and Limitations

The function of this portion of the introductory chapter

is to outline the structure of this research. It is divided

into six sections. In the first section, the problem of lack

of public trust in the press is described. In part two, the

purpose of this research, which is to illuminate possible

remedies for the problem, is outlined. Part three lists the

questions to be answered. Methodology is described in part


29 Paul Ashdown, "Television and the Editorial Crusade: A Case
Study of WTVJ-TV, 1965-1973" (Ph.D. diss., Bowling Green
State University, 1975).

30 Ibid., 130.









four. In part five, the significance of this work is set

forth. Finally, scope and limitations are specified in part

six.

Problem

The first problem to be faced in this study is

determining what it is that makes community journalism

community journalism, to determine what the qualities are

that distinguish community journalism from standard

journalism.

A second problem is distinguishing what it was that made

Joe Brechner, Norm Davis, and Ralph Renick community

journalists, distinguishing what it was that made them

different from journalists in the 1990s who claimed they were

practicing community journalism.

A third problem is determining what community journalism

is supposed to do, and if it is not doing that, why not?

This third problem is reflected in the Freedom Forum surveys

cited in this chapter. Journalists are under fire for

failing to shed light on their communities' problems, for

failing to investigate stories in depth, for favoring stories

or reporting techniques that sensationalize the news.

Readers and viewers are increasingly less inclined to grant

the press the full protections of the First Amendment.









Newspapers and broadcast news organizations are suffering

losses in readership and viewership. In order to win those

news consumers back, some members of the press are turning to

community journalism and, in so doing, may be widening the

gap between news consumers and news reporters.

Purpose

The purpose of this study will be to compare and

contrast the community journalism of today with the community

journalism practiced by Brechner, Davis, and Renick. With

that comparison as a reference point, the research attempts

to determine who the real practitioners of public journalism

are, or were. This is a topic important to today' s

journalists who are searching for ways to restore their

credibility and public trust. The present study suggests it

is possible Brechner, Renick, and Davis can light the way.

Research Ouestions

As indicated above, researchers must ask, "What is it?

What is community journalism?" This dissertation attempts

not so much to define community journalism as it was

practiced in the 1990s as to describe it. A second question

to be answered by this study is, "Were the three

editorialists who are the focus of this dissertation

community journalists?" That will become evident in









subsequent chapters and will be discussed in the appropriate

section. Also to be answered is the question of whether

today' s community journalists could consider Brechner, Davis,

and Renick journalists to be emulated.

Significance

On a philosophical level, Aristotle told those at the

agora that a virtuous deed is virtuous only if it is done for

its own sake. If the good result of an ostensibly virtuous

deed is only a by-product of the action, if the action was

performed with another end in mind, then the deed is not

virtuous.31 If community journalism falls into the second

category, it is a sham. This research attempts to determine

which practitioners of community journalism were, or are,

community journalists as defined above. On a more practical

level, one must ask if the community journalism of today' s

practitioners is the way to accomplish community journalism' s

stated goals. That is, to bring back the audiences that have

turned away from newspapers and television news in such great

numbers or, would community journalism as practiced by

Brechner, Renick, and Davis be more effective in the long

run.


31 Aristotle, The Nichomachean Ethics, D. Ross, trans.
(Oxford: Oxford Press, 1987), 53.









Additionally, the three broadcasters studied for this

work working in a state that was not fully of the South or of

the North. They were working in a state that was in

transition and, therefore, represented a middle ground of

America.

Brechner, Davis, and Renick are crucial to understanding

the shift in momentum for television editorializing in the

1960s, which would pave the way for the next stage of

community journalism. They are part of the continuum along

which journalism has developed. Broadcasters before them

avoided editorializing. In the 1960s, broadcast

editorializing increased. In a limited number of cases, it

was editorializing with a strong element of crusading. In

more recent times, editorializing and crusading journalism

have decreased, in part because of business factors.

Methodoloav

The research relies heavily on primary sources and

material. The primary material is used to lay a baseline for

further research. It is used to illustrate what the

editorialists were doing and, when possible, what they were

thinking, what their motivations were.









University of Florida journalism professor Bernell Tripp

has offered five guidelines for use in determining choice of

biographical subjects:

1. Depth of influence: profession/sphere; era;
geographical
2. Peer recognition
3. Contribution to history as a whole
4. Access to "true voice"
5. Personal interest32

All three of the subjects of this dissertation qualify

under Tripp' s standards. All were influential in their

profession, in their time, and in their community. All

received recognition from both their professional peers and

their fellow citizens. Because of the relatively short

amount of time that has passed since the three editorialists

were at work, it would be precipitous to attempt to determine

their overall place in history. However, because they are

acknowledged as having been editorial pioneers, it is not

presumptuous to expect that, in time, their importance will

be considered substantial. There is access to true voice in

all three cases. Some of the true voice is found in the

editorials written by Brechner, Davis, and Renick and some of


32 Bernell Tripp, Class lecture in "Biography as History," 26
August 1998, University of Florida.









it in other writings. In the case of Norm Davis, it is found

in personal interviews. This true voice is invaluable in

revealing motivation. Personal interest in journalists who

contribute to the communities in which they live fulfills the

final criterion.

This research uses the many writings available on

community journalism for context in the sections on current

community journalism practices. There is ample background

material, both secondary and primary, to provide context for

the period when the three Florida editorialists were writing.

Almost all of the editorials of the three Floridians are

available for review. The editorials of Joe Brechner are now

housed at the Orlando Historical Society. Norm Davis has

kept some of his editorials in a personal archive. The

Renick editorials are stored at the Wolfson Archive at the

Miami-Dade Public Library.

There are writings and transcriptions of speeches from

the three editorialists. Some of these works are direct

comment on the process of broadcast editorializing. This

information is also valuable for purposes of attempting to

determine motivation. Newspapers from Miami, Jacksonville,

and Orlando are a secondary source of information about

Brechner, Renick, and Davis. These newspapers frequently









confirm information found in the primary material, as well as

providing context.

Oral history interviews are also a major part of this

research. In several interviews, Joe Brechner' s widow,

Marion, remembered a great deal of what was happening at

WFTV-TV in the 1960s. She was in charge of public relations

at the station during the period studied. Norm Davis, an

attorney in Miami when this work was in progress, made

himself available for interviews. Ralph Renick' s brother,

his mother, his oldest daughter, and his only son were all

willing to discuss his life and motivations. There are two

doctoral dissertations available on Renick and WTVJ-TV.33

Both are described in the literature review section.

It is fortunate that there is so much information

available because what emerges from the writings of various

historians who consider methodology is an overall sense that

rigorous attention must be paid to context, to verifying that

evidence is genuine, to its true meaning, to motivation of

both the historian and his/her subjects, and that no one

factor can be considered sufficient cause for what has

happened in the past. For that reason, particular attention


33 Ashdown, "Editorial Crusade" and Flannery, "Local
Television Editorializing."









is paid to other factors present during the time period and

in the communities where the three editorialists worked.

Scope and Limitations

This study examines two time periods. The late 1950s

through the early 1970s has been chosen for illustration of

the work done by the three editorialists because it was

during this time period that all three were editorially most

effective.

In Jacksonville, WJXT-TV was a driving force behind the

push for change in governmental structure. It was the WJXT

editorials and investigative reporting that provided the

motivation to make governmental consolidation a reality after

a long history in Jacksonville of failure to win voter

approval for consolidation.

Joe Brechner had editorialized for years on his

broadcast stations. As early as the late 1940s, Brechner was

a strong editorial voice in Silver Spring, Maryland, and was

also writing magazine articles in support of broadcast

editorializing. It was, however, in Orlando that Brechner' s

editorials promoting civil rights showed that a strong

broadcast editorial voice in the community can make a strong

and positive contribution.









In Miami during this time, Ralph Renick was

editorializing on several issues. Although many of those

issues, such as taxes, city government, state government, and

roads were important, Renick' s true communitarianism was

exhibited in four editorial crusades: the first on organized

crime in Miami and its effect on local law enforcement, the

second on restaurant health standards, another on "B-Girl"

strip joints, and a fourth on civil rights.

The present research attempts to describe and analyze

the community journalism efforts of the late 1980s and 1990s.

It is in this more recent period that the community

journalism effort became a major factor in both print and TV

journalism.34 It is against this recent standard that the

research measures the community journalism efforts of the

three Florida editorialists.

Also included in this research is a limited examination

of the news programs and documentaries of the stations where

Brechner, Davis, and Renick worked. These other news-

programming facets are covered only insofar as they were

corollary to the editorial campaigns of the three

editorialists. They help to explain the crusading nature of


34 Michael Foley, "A Challenging New Dimension to Service,"
The Irish Times, 1 April 1988, 23.









the overall work of the three editorialists and their

stations.

In addition to the chapters on context, involving civil

rights in Florida and the United States during the

editorialists' time period, there is personal background on

the editorialists. This background attempts to illuminate

their motivations in practicing community journalism, but

there is no attempt to present said background as biography;

that is left for later works.

This study is limited to the work of the three

editorialists who are its focus and the 1990s community

journalists with whom the editorialists are compared and

contrasted. There is no attempt to include the work of other

editorialists who were working in Florida or in other parts

of the United States during the same time period.

The examination of community journalism is limited to

the decade of the 1990s. In a work devoted exclusively to

the origins of community journalism, it would be possible,

yea necessary, to examine some part of every era of

journalism history, from the days of the American Revolution

to the era of the muckrakers, to the Watergate era. That is

also left to later research, for to include it would take

this study far afield. Furthermore, it was in the 1990s that










media outlets began calling what they were doing "community

journalism."

Freedom Forum surveys in 1997 and 1999 carried "bad

news" for 1990s journalists. The surveys showed that

American citizens were progressively less inclined to support

full First Amendment rights for the press. News readers and

viewers were increasingly disillusioned with the way the

press had done its job. A group of journalists, in an

attempt to regain viewer and reader loyalty, began practicing

community journalism. The proclaimed purpose of community

journalism was to give American citizens more information

with which to participate in the public life of their

communities. There was in community journalism, however,

also an apparent motivation of selling newspapers and

building television ratings.

In an attempt to determine if community journalism of

the 1990s was practiced with genuine communitarian

motivations, this research compares the 1990s community

journalists to three television editorialists who were

working circa the 1960s and who appear to be genuine

community journalists.
















CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW


The literature for this research comes from two areas.

To determine the degree to which the three Florida

editorialists were practicing community journalism, a review

of the literature on community journalism is necessary. The

other area deals with the editorialists themselves.

Community Journalism

The writings on community journalism fall into two

groups. The first is academic; the second, opinion--opinions

that fall on either side of the community journalism debate.

Even the best known of the participants in the conversation

tend to offer editorials rather than research. Several of

the citations in the section below on academic works on

community journalism are from a 1998 conference at the

University of South Carolina. Some of the articles presented

at that academic conference were of no use for an academic

literature review because they, too, were no more than

opinion. That is the location community journalists now

occupy. They are part of a movement, if it can be called









such, that is still being defined, a stage in which opinion

is helping to write the definition.

Accordingly, much of the written material on community

journalism is opinion. That information will be covered

below. The majority of what does exist in the way of

academic research on community journalism deals either with

print journalism or with the philosophical underpinnings of

the movement. This material is valuable to the present

research for the light it sheds on what community journalism

claims to be and what it actually is. It is used to

illustrate that Brechner, Davis, and Renick practiced a truer

form of community journalism.

Civic Lessons: A Report on Four Civic Journalism

Projects is one of several studies funded by the Pew Center

for Civic Journalism and the Pew Charitable Trusts. Esther

Thorsen of the Center for Advanced Social Research at the

University of Missouri and Lewis A. Friedland of the

School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University

of Wisconsin-Madison studied four civic journalism projects

in 1996. Civic Lessons included civic journalism projects in

Charlotte, North Carolina; Madison, Wisconsin; San Francisco,

California; and Binghamton, New York.









Thorsen and Friedland were asked to "ascertain the

impact of the projects in their respective communities; to

determine what kinds of projects seem to work best and why;

and to see what impact the projects had on the newsrooms

involved."35 With the assistance of several colleagues,

Friedland interviewed subjects in newsrooms, in communities

where civic journalism projects were underway, and in

governmental offices in those communities. In all, 400

people were interviewed.

The foreword of Civic Lessons stated:

By far the most significant finding in the evaluators'
report is that, on the whole, civic journalism is making
progress toward its goals. It benefits both the
communities it serves and the overall democratic
process. Most people surveyed who were aware of the
four projects chosen for study reported being more
knowledgeable and concerned about their communities as a
result and indicated they had a stronger sense of their
civic responsibilities, especially as voters.36

Thorsen and Friedland assumed correctly that not all

their findings would be positive. While readers responded

warmly to the projects, there was considerable resistance

from within the newsrooms they studied. Editors and





35 Esther Thorsen and Lewis A. Friedland, Civic Lessons,
(Philadelphia: Pew Center for Civic Journalism, 1996), 1.

36 Ibid.









reporters feared civic journalism was taking the power out of

their hands and depositing it in the hands of readers.

According to Thorsen and Friedland, the success of the

four civic journalism projects they studied was due to the

focus on local issues, issues important to local readers and

viewers. "All of the projects, in very different ways,

listened to citizen concerns, took them seriously, and then

invested the time, money, and experience necessary to engage

in a type of sustained enterprise reporting that is becoming

increasingly rare in American journalism."37 It may or may

not be significant that the study was commissioned and paid

for by the Pew Center for Civic Journalism, but that fact

should be noted.

Another research study commissioned by the Pew

Center reached less positive conclusions about civic

journalism. Does Public Journalism Work? The Campaign

Central Experience, a study released by the Pew Center for

Civic Journalism and The Record newspaper of Hackensack,

New Jersey, examined the role of civic journalism in the


37 Ibid., 10.









1996 race for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Bill

Bradley.38

The Record had been an advocate of public journalism

since 1992, expanding its coverage of political issues, as

opposed to horse-race coverage, beginning with the 1992

presidential contest. More polling had been conducted on

public opinions on issues and values. More news columns and

editorials had been devoted to reader opinions and ideas.

The Record continued, and even expanded, its public

journalism approach for the 1996 races.

Blomquist and Zukin chose the "Campaign Central" project

because it

presented a unique opportunity to assess the impact of
public journalism. Because New Jersey does not have a
single dominant statewide newspaper, it was readily
possible to construct a statewide sample of adults who
experienced the same campaigns for president and U.S.
Senate but saw different daily newspapers. This allowed
us to address an issue that challenged other
researchers: the absence of a meaningful control group.39

Blomquist and Zukin reported editors who attended focus

groups organized to determine the effectiveness of their


38 David Blomquist and Cliff Zukin, Does Public Journalism
Work? The Campaign Central Experience, 1997. Available at
the web site of the Pew Center for Civic Journalism,
httD://www.oewcenter.ora/doinaci/research/rdoes.html.

39 Ibid.









public journalism left the meetings "stunned and somewhat

shaken." Most respondents remembered little of the public

journalism section in The Record. Most Record readers in the

focus groups did not even remember the public journalism

section when it was passed around the room. It was the

candidates' television commercials that most respondents

remembered.

The researchers concluded:

Record readers were no more interested in the election
or knowledgeable about the candidates and the issues
than readers of other New Jersey newspapers. They had
about the same level of trust in politics as other
newspaper readers, and were not significantly more
likely to vote or to talk about the election with people
outside their family, once demographic differences were
controlled. Their opinions of The Record and its
political coverage were roughly comparable to the
opinions of other New Jersey readers about their local
newspaper.40

Blomquist and Zukin also concluded that journalists are

limited in their ability to dictate how, or if, citizens can

be reconnected to their political systems.

As part of their study, Blomquist and Zukin took a

closer view of the public journalism project in Charlotte,

North Carolina, which is outlined elsewhere in this

dissertation. They found that, despite a more optimistic


40 Ibid.









report by the Charlotte Observer, only one in four readers

noticed anything different about the Observer's political

coverage after the newspaper had shifted to public journalism

techniques. The project involving the Observer was part of a

larger, statewide, project involving fifteen newspapers and

television stations throughout North Carolina. Blomquist and

Zukin reported that only one in four North Carolina voters

were even aware of the project.

James R. Bowers, Blair Claflin, and Gary Walker, in a

paper prepared for the 1998 Annual Meeting of the New England

Political Science Association, reported on the effects of a

five-year civic journalism project in Rochester, New York.

Bowers and his co-authors studied the work done by

Rochester' s daily newspaper, the Democrat and Chronicle;

Rochester' s public television and radio outlet, WXXI; and

commercial television station WOKR-TV. WOKR-TV did not join

the effort until 1996.41 The five-year undertaking involved





41 James R. Bowers, Blair Claflin and Gary walker, The Impact
of Civic Journalism On Voting Behavior in State-Wide
Referendums: A Case Study From Rochester, New York (Paper
prepared for presentation at the 1998 Annual Meeting of the
New England Political Science Association. Available at the
web site of the Pew Center for Civic Journalism,
http://www.pewcenter.org/doingcj.research/rdoes.html









the Rochester Mayor's race in 1993 and the 1995 election for

Monroe County Executive.

The partners in the civic journalism project made a

decision to move beyond campaign coverage when the Pew Center

for Civic Journalism awarded them $35,000 to put together a

series on the condition of the educational system in

Rochester. The first project involving all three of the

partners was the "Make Us Safe" project in 1996. Make Us

Safe was aimed at curbing youth violence in Rochester.42

The first issue faced by partners in the Rochester project

was that the New York State Constitution requires a

referendum be held every twenty years to ask voters whether

the state should hold a new constitutional convention.

"Nineteen Ninety-seven was such a year."43 The partners

attempted to recruit other news organizations in other parts

of the state to participate but were, for the most part,

unsuccessful. Bowers and the other researchers wrote that

the failure to expand the constitutional convention civic

journalism campaign provided an opportunity to determine if





42 Ibid.

43 Ibid.









the campaign would bring out voters in larger numbers than in

areas where there had been no such campaign.

Bowers, Claflin, and Walker discovered that was exactly

what had happened. Approximately 80 percent of the voters

came to the polls in the six-county Rochester area, only 71

percent in the remainder of the upstate area, and only 36

percent in New York City. The previous attempts at civic

journalism campaigns had not been nearly as successful.

Bowers and the others concluded that on issues, such as the

constitutional convention question, "where there are no

traditional cues and determinants of political behavior at

work," civic journalism is more likely to have an impact. On

issues involving more traditional political conflict, such as

general elections, there is not as likely to be a major civic

journalism influence. "Additionally," said Bowers and

associates, "it is important to emphasize that even if there

were no assessment issues surrounding its impact, the

practice of civic journalism cannot be expected in only a few

years to turn around the decline in public life that has

taken a generation to accomplish."44


44 Ibid.









Editorial page involvement in public journalism projects

and efforts was examined in the 1998 Ph.D. dissertation of

Camille Renee Kraeplin at the University of Texas at Austin.

In The Role of the Editorial Page in Newspaper-Based Public

Journalism, Kraeplin reported on the results of a mail survey

distributed to members of the National Conference of

Editorial Writers. The respondents were asked questions

designed to determine to what extent their knowledge of and

involvement in public journalism influenced their attitudes

toward the movement. They were asked how much they knew

about public journalism, if they agreed with the movement's

basic concepts, if their editorial departments had

participated in public journalism projects, what those

projects involved, and how successful the projects had been.45

Kraeplin' s data showed that most of the respondents were

supporters of public journalism, even though most of them

were skeptical of the movement. The respondents also

believed that the priorities of public journalism

corresponded with the priorities of their own editorial





45 Kraeplin, Camille Renee, "The Role of the Editorial Page in
Newspaper-Based Public Journalism" (Ph.D. diss., University
of Texas at Austin, 1998).









departments, but they were concerned that pursuing those

priorities might compromise newsroom objectivity.

Kraeplin concluded that the most significant obstacle on

the road to acceptance of public journalism by members of the

working press might be misperceptions about public journalism

philosophy. Kraeplin also reported she had found support for

a more active editorial presence in public journalism

projects. Opposition could be reduced, wrote Kraeplin, by

giving the editorial department primary control over public

journalism efforts within the newsroom. Such a move,

suggested Kraeplin, would allay the fears of those in the

newsroom who feared losing the proper reportorial distance

from the subjects of their reports while, at the same time,

lessen the fears of editorial writers who feel public

journalism projects are an intrusion into an area that is

normally reserved for the editorial department.

John R. Bender and Charlyne Berens have also attempted

to determine who within the ranks of journalists is most

likely to support public journalism. Bender and Berens

asked, "What leads some journalists to embrace and others to

abhor public journalism?" Specifically, these researchers,

in a survey sent to 268 weekly and daily newspapers, were

trying to determine if characteristics such as age,









education, and market size affect acceptance of public

journalism.46

Bender and Berens reported, "For the most part, the

respondents took positions consistent with the principles and

goals of public journalism," showing overwhelming support for

the newspapers that try to make a difference in their

communities, and try to involve citizens in public debate in

an effort to improve a community' s public life. The research

showed that journalists who start at weeklies are more likely

to agree with the precepts of public journalism than those

who start at dailies. Older journalists displayed no more

resistance to the tenets of public journalism than younger

journalists. Editors were less receptive to public

journalism than were executives and reporters. Bender and

Berens wrote:

If the majority or even a strong plurality of
journalists agrees with the tenets of public journalism
as we operationalize them in this study, what are we
arguing about? Perhaps the problem is not so much one
of differing ideologies as of simple misunderstanding.
Perhaps we are not so much working at cross-purposes as
simply speaking in different dialects.47

46 James R. Bender and Charlyne Berens, "Public Journalism' s
Incubator: Identifying Preconditions for Support," presented
at Public Journalism: A Critical Forum, conference at the
University of South Carolina, 11-13 October 1998.

47 Ibid.









In a 1998 master's thesis at the University of Western

Ontario, Delaney Lyle Turner compared the penny press and

public journalism. From Classes to Masses: A Comparative

Study of the Penny Press and Public Journalism was a work

involving literature review and telephone interviews in which

Turner researched the origins, as well as the goals, of both

periods of journalism. Political, social, economic, and

technological factors of both the penny press and public

journalism were examined with an eye toward comparison.

Delaney's stated intent was to show there are direct

parallels between the penny press and public journalism, the

most important parallel being in the journalist's

responsibility to democracy. He concluded his research

confirmed the parallels, particularly in the aforementioned

commitment to democracy.48

University of South Carolina Ph.D. student Rebecca A.

Payne contended that public journalism has evolved enough to

be considered in a second stage of development. No longer

are public journalists involved solely in generating

reporting projects that can be called "public journalism."


48 Delaney Lyle Turner, "From Classes to Masses: A Comparative
Study of the Penny Press and Public Journalism" (Master's
Thesis, University of Western Ontario, 1998).









They are now attempting to improve daily journalism and

originating projects that are intended to do what public

journalism was supposed to do all along: improve citizen

participation in public life.

Payne' s dissertation is a case study of the public

journalism efforts of the Columbia, South Carolina, State

newspaper to improve its connection with its readers.

"Project Reconnect," another venture sponsored by the Pew

Center for Civic Journalism, asked readers how daily news

coverage could be improved. The readers targeted were those

who reported that religion affected their daily decisions.

The Knight-Ridder Corporation also provided funding for

Project Reconnect. Knight-Ridder is the State's parent

company.

Payne utilized a reader focus group as well as data

collected by the State and a questionnaire filled out by

State reporters and editors to determine their opinions of

Project Reconnect and public journalism. There was also an

analysis of contents of the State to determine if the paper

was practicing public journalism.

Payne concluded that public journalism done poorly could

harm, not heal, newspaper relationships with readers; that

reporter involvement and clearly defined goals and a method









for measuring the results of public journalism projects are

critical to the success of second-stage public journalism;

and, concluded Payne, public journalists must avoid even the

appearance of pandering to their readers.49

Susan Willey acknowledged the similar aims of the

Hutchins Commission and public journalists in a series of

case studies of public journalism projects. Willey wrote:

"Civic, or public journalists at some newspapers are

attempting to bridge [ the] journalist-citizen communication

gap by using a variety of creative methods to systematically

listen to citizens--to talk with rather than talk at the

people.50 Willey examined the work of four newspapers. All

four papers made an effort to give readers more of a voice in

determining how news was covered.

It was Willey' s conclusion that journalists' efforts to

listen to their readers serve as a catalyst for both


49 Rebecca A. Payne, "Connecting in Columbia, South Carolina:
A Case Study in Public Journalism" (Ph.D. diss., University
of South Carolina, 1998). Several of the works cited in this
section were presented at this same conference. This was one
of the few sources of works by academics on community
journalism. Most writing on the subject is partisan opinion,
some of which is included later in this chapter.

5o Susan Willey, "Civic Journalism in Practice: Case Studies
in the Art of Listening," Newspaper Research Journal, 19
(Winter 1998): 16.









knowledge and discussion and that journalists are finding

ways to use reader input in the news reporting process. "In

effect, these journalists seem to be creating new paradigms

for newsgathering, using a citizen-based informational

foundation."51

In 1996, James Robert Compton, in a think piece,

reported on the theoretical foundations for public

journalism, examining the communicative theories of American

pragmatist John Dewey and German thinker Jurgen Habermas.

Compton wrote that public journalism is an attempt to put

Habermas's vision of discursive politics into practice.

However, asserted Compton, "the proponents of public

journalism fail to provide a critique of public life that is

informed by the historical, political and economic context of

the media industry." What Compton seemed to be saying is

that public journalists fail to consider real-world

conditions within the media and society as they attempt to

bring the public back into public life.52

Tanni Haas has also examined the influence of Habermas

and others who have taken similar approaches to public


51 Ibid.

52 James Robert Compton, "Communicative Politics and Public
Journalism" (Master' s thesis, Simon Fraser University, 1996).









discourse. Haas noted in 1996: "Little attention has been

focused on the kind of publicness [a word used frequently by

community journalists] that the news media ought to further."

The choice, according to Haas, using the works of Habermas

and Harvard political theory professor, Seyla Benhabib, in

particular as reference, is between public journalism and a

journalism of publics.53 Public journalism considers

individual members of society to be part of the whole;

society is considered to have come first. Therefore, the

interests of the individual are secondary to that of society.

A journalism of publics, on the other hand, considers

individuals primary, with society developing from those

individuals or groups of individuals. In approaching

journalism, a journalism of publics allows investigators, or

reporters, to explore the underlying values of individuals'

opinions.





53 See Jurgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the
Public Sphere (Cambridge: MIT Press,) 1990; Justification and
Application (Cambridge,: MIT Press,) 1993; Moral
Consciousness and Communicative Action (Cambridge: MIT
Press), 1990; and Seyla Benhabib, "Afterword: Communicative
Ethics and Contemporary Controversies in Practical
Philosophy," in S. Benhabib and F. Dallmayr (eds.), The
Communicative Ethics Controversy (Cambridge: MIT Press,) 330-
369; Selya Benhabib, Situating the Self (New York:
Routledge), 1992.









It was Haas' s conclusion that the argument over what the

press is supposed to do, as waged several decades ago by

Dewey and Lippmann, is continuing and is resulting in a

"crisis of civic communication." Civic journalism is faced

with its own argument: public journalism or a journalism of

publics.54

In a think piece drawing on theories of philosophy,

David K. Perry viewed the civic journalism debate as a

conversation between nominalists and realists.55 There are

elements of both in the civic journalism movement. It is

possible, wrote Perry, for civic journalism to adopt either a

purely nominalist approach or a purely realist approach. It

is also possible to adopt a combination of the two, which

Perry said is more realistic. In approaching the practice of

civic journalism, its practitioners should, according to

Perry, adopt not only the "I" of nominalism, but also the

"me" of realism. In this way, civic journalists can be both





54 Tanni Haas, Towards a Democratically Viable Conception of
Publicness: The Case of Public Journalism," presented at
Public Journalism: A Critical Forum, conference at the
University of South Carolina, 11-13 October 1998.

55 Nominalists theorize that universals exist only in the
mind. Realists theorize that universals exists independent
of thought or perception.









commentators on and participants in the society they write

about.

One duty of journalists to be considered is the duty to

the broader world at large, as opposed to the specific

community in which the journalist operates. Wrote Perry:

[C]ivic journalists perhaps should emphasize the welfare
of the entire human race, as well as that of their
local community. This would seem to fall closer to
the midpoint of the hypothesized nominalism-realism
scale than does one that considers the interests of only
a specified community or of only the entire human
race."56

In Local Television News and Viewer Empowerment: TV

Journlism's Role in Empowering an Informed and Active Public,

Denise Barkis Richter advanced her theory that it is newsroom

attitudes that hamstring the public journalism effort.

Richter conducted a content analysis of 194 local television

news stories and found that only four of them contained

"empowering information." She defined empowering information

as information that not only allows viewers to take steps to

correct an undesirable situation, but also gives them








56 David K. Perry, "Civic Journalism, Nominalism and Realism,"
presented at Public Journalism: A Critical Forum, conference
at the University of South Carolina, 11-13 October 1998.









information, such as phone numbers and addresses, needed to

reach those who are in position to bring about changes.

Richter conducted in-depth interviews with fifteen local

television news workers (reporters, writers, and producers)

and found there were three primary reasons empowering

information was left out of local newscasts: (1) Employers

showed no commitment to including such information in news

stories. (2) News workers themselves showed no enterprise in

gathering and disseminating such information, relying instead

on "spot news" stories. (3) News workers perceived that

viewers did not want such information, that viewers were more

interested in human-interest stories than in stories of wider

importance.58

Richter recommended that television stations devote the

same resources to developing empowering information as is now

devoted to such viewer attractive features as the weather

report, that television stations "adopt empowering

information as their overarching philosophy," that reporters


57 Denise Barkis Richter, "Local Television News and Viewer
Empowerment: TV Journalism' s Role in Empowering an Informed
and Active Public," presented at Public Journalism: A
Critical Forum, conference at the University of South
Carolina, 11-13 October 1998.

58 Ibid.









be given the time and resources to develop stories involving

empowering information, and that television stations stop

underestimating the needs of their viewers. Without these

steps, warned, Richards, "Television news will not live up to

its full potential."59

Scott Maier used content analysis to study public

journalism on television in eighteen U.S. markets during the

1996 elections. Maier asked: "In short, did television

broadcasters pledged to public journalism deliver their

promised reform?" Maier also compared his results to those

of a previous study of public journalism at newspapers in

twenty markets during the same election season. Deborah

Potter of the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida,

conducted that study. Researchers at the University of North

Carolina at Chapel Hill assisted Potter.60

Maier's reported results indicated that broadcasters were

not as intent on providing public journalism as were the

newspaper journalists studied by Potter. There was a slight


59 Ibid.

60 Scott Maier and Deborah Potter, "Public Journalism Through
the Television Lens: How Did The Broadcast Media Perform in
Campaign '96?," presented at Public Journalism: A Critical
Forum, conference at the University of South Carolina, 11-13
October 1998.









difference in coverage provided by the television public

journalists when they were compared with nonpublic journalism

television reporters, but it was statistically insignificant.

Conversely, the public journalism newspapers in Potter's

study had shown a substantial difference in content. Baier

noted the results of his study demonstrate the strong

resistance to public journalism in television newsrooms and

an apparent difficulty in adapting television to public

journalism because of the dependence on high-impact visuals

and quick sound bites.61

Two groups of young people, a group of high school

students and a group of undergraduate journalism students,

were studied by Eleanor M. Novek to determine the attitudes

of young news student/consumers and their reactions to civic

journalism. Using a survey administered to both groups,

Novek attempted to determine what the expectations of

students were and how to employ civic journalism in

delivering the news product young people want.62


61 Ibid.

62 Eleanor M. Novek, "In the Public Interest?--NOT!" Young
People Assess the Social Responsibility of the Press in Civic
Journalism," presented at Public Journalism: A Critical
Forum, conference at the University of South Carolina, 11-13
October 1998.









Novek found the high school students less accepting of

the examples of civic journalism they were shown than were

the college journalism students. The high school students,

"evaluated civic journalism and its claims of social

accountability and found them wanting." The high schoolers

believed that the news coverage they were shown was "driven

by economic concerns." The college students believed what

they were shown demonstrated journalists' attempts to be more

socially responsible.63

Novek concluded that young people are, contrary to some

reports, ready to participate in a more engaged relationship

with the media, as long as the media conduct themselves in a

socially responsive manner. Novek expressed an expectation

that young audiences will demand ethical, socially

responsible news coverage that encourages democratic

participation and, in so doing, "will be able to make their

voices heard in the public sphere."64

Working with the School of Communication at Webster

University, Don Corrigan conducted a mail survey of newspaper

editors and journalism professors in late 1996. Corrigan was


63 Ibid.

64 Ibid.









trying to determine what constitutes a public journalism

project. Six projects were outlined for the respondents, who

were asked if each project was a genuine public journalism

effort and whether they supported such projects.

With the exception of only one project, Corrigan found

little agreement on what the term "public journalism" means.

Only projects getting voters involved in discussions of the

issues in political races were thought to be true public

journalism projects by the respondents. The program used as

an example by Corrigan was the "Voice of the Voter" campaign

a 1994 San Francisco Chronicle, KRON-TV and KQED-FM

experiment.

Corrigan concluded that the differences of opinion over

what a public journalism project is has led to the so-called

"definition problem" of public journalism. That, in turn,

allows critics of public journalism to "fire at will,"

defining what form the target will take. In addition, wrote

Corrigan, public journalists are working without a blueprint,

inventing the phenomenon as they go; if they don't soon

address the definition problem, public journalism will have

no future.65


Don Corrigan. "Racial Pledges, Gang Summits, Election
Forums--What Actually Makes a Public Journalism Project?"
St. Louis Journalism Review 27 (March 1997): 1.









James Englehardt, a graduate student at the University

of Oregon' s School of Journalism and Communication, presented

a think piece based on the writings of community journalism

advocates and critics at the University of South Carolina

Community Journalism Forum. Englehardt refuted the accepted

ideas of both the public journalists and the critics of

public journalism. Both, he has said, are off-target.

Englehardt noted in 1998, as did Haas, mentioned above, that

the public journalism debate is a renewal of the

Dewey/Lippmann debate. Perhaps the greatest weakness of

public journalism, according to Englehardt, is that "it

remains ill-defined," with no consensus even on whether it

should be called public journalism, civic journalism,

communitarian journalism, or one of the other names assigned

to it at various times by various practitioners. The public

journalists, wrote Englehardt, make some false assumptions,

the foremost being that journalism is suffering because of a

loss of public trust in public life. Public journalism

critics also make false assumptions, he said, the foremost

being that public journalism sounds the death-knell for

objectivity.66



66 James Englehardt, "Public Journalism, Objectivity and
Public Life," presented at Public Journalism: A Critical









Englehardt concluded that public journalists cannot

escape the problem of lacking a true definition of what

public journalism is by simply claiming that experiments

cannot be defined. Conversely, it is unfair for critics of

public journalism to "expect a concise definition of public

journalism." One way to solve the problem, according to

Englehardt, is for public journalists to hold the kind of

forums they encourage the public to engage in, only the

conversation would not concern government and public life; it

would revolve around a definition for public journalism.

Wrote Englehardt, "These are deeper issues that journalists

need to confront before throwing more time and money into the

practical implementations of public journalism."67

Beyond a Proper Literature Review:
Partisan Viewpoints

The works cited above in the community journalism

literature review are all scholarly attempts to define,

analyze, and explain community journalism. The authors of

those works must inevitably refer to the partisans in the

community journalism debate. Therefore, at least a sampling



Forum, conference at the University of South Carolina, 11-13
October 1998.

67 Ibid.









of the works of those partisans is necessary to this section.

What follows is a sampling of the writings of not only the

proponents of community journalism but also the writings of

those who see community journalism as a threat, or at least a

nuisance, for journalism.

Ed Lambeth, Philip Meyer, and Esther Thorsen' s Assessing

Public Journalism is an attempt to analyze several aspects of

public journalism.68 Most of the chapters, written by public

journalism scholars, are pro-public journalism. Lambeth,

Meyer, and Thorsen have all written chapters. Jennie Buckner

of the Charlotte Observer has contributed her views of public

journalism in the 1996 elections. Her pro-public journalism

view is refuted by editor/owner of the Ames (Iowa) Tribune,

Michael Gartner. Gartner, onetime head of NBC News, is a

strong critic of public journalism. Davis Merritt and Jay

Rosen have co-written a chapter. Merritt, who, through the

year 2000, was spending most of his time promoting public

journalism and was no longer concerned with day-to-day

operations of the Wichita Eagle, and Rosen, a professor from

New York University, were the two most enthusiastic

supporters of "public journalism." Rick Thames, who had


68 Where possible, without causing confusion, the author uses
the terms used by the practitioners.









assumed Merritt' s old job of editor at the Wichita Eagle,

discussed the effects of public journalism on the 1992

elections. There are also chapters on how to make advocates

out of public journalism doubters and on the changes in daily

news coverage public journalism brings to a newsroom.6

The community journalism "evangelist" from the

journalism side of the discussion is Davis Merritt. In

Public Journalism and Public Life, Merritt explained why he

felt a change was needed in the way journalists do their

jobs. Journalists had become too removed from the society

they cover, according to Merritt. The old standard of

objectivity was no longer useful. The traditional

journalist, said Merritt, attempts to stay uninvolved in the

stories he or she covers. The public journalist tries to get

as involved as possible. Merritt made the point throughout

that if journalism does not do the job right, and by that he

meant getting connected with the community, journalists will

become excess baggage in society, and society will no longer

need or utilize them. A symbiotic relationship is what is

called for, in Merritt's view. Symbiosis is "two dissimilar


9 Edmund B. Lambeth, Philip E. Meyer and Esther Thorson,
Assessing Public Journalism (Columbia: University of Missouri
Press, 1998).









organisms living in a mutually beneficial relationship, each

bringing something essential to the whole."70 The "two

dissimilar organisms" are the press and politicians. When

this symbiotic relationship cannot be sustained neither can

democracy. In Merritt's view, as well as in the view of many

other public journalists, it is the loss of interest in the

democratic process that has led to a loss of interest in

reading newspapers and watching television news. Merritt

claimed the way to restore a healthy press is to restore a

healthy democracy.

The community journalism "evangelist" from academe is

Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University.

Rosen and Merritt frequently appear together at public

journalism conferences, often going their own way for a few

days or a few weeks at a time, only to meet up again at

another public journalism conference or forum. They preach

the same message from different disciplines (one is an

academic, the other a member of the working press), but in

similar thoughts and words.71 In Community Connectedness,


70 Davis Merritt, Public Journalism and Public Life (Mahwah,
NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998), 52.

71 Mike Hoyt, "Are You Now, or Will You Ever Be, A Civic
Journalist," Columbia Journalism Review (September/October
1995): 27-33.









Rosen told his readers that the job of a free press is to

enhance democracy. Rosen devoted a part of his article to

the comments of the late James K. Batten, chief executive of

Knight Ridder, Inc. A Batten article was also included in

Connectedness. Batten wrote that it is incumbent upon the

press to be connected to the society it covers; it is

incumbent upon society to be an "active, engaged citizenry,

willing to join in public debate and participate in public

affairs."72 In Batten' s opinion, it is the job of the press to

convince the citizenry that being "active" and "engaged" is

necessary. If citizens do not feel they are part of a

community, and many of them do not, said Batten, they feel no

connectedness; they feel no reason to read about the factors

affecting the community. That is where public journalism

must be employed to make citizens care, to make them feel

connected, and, therefore, to make them want to read about

their community and see it reflected on the nightly TV

newscast. Batten wrote that press executives, reporters, and

editors were coming to agreement that there was a need for

newspapers to be more involved in their communities. Batten

summed up his views this way: "You can audit your


72 Jay Rosen, Community Connectedness: Passwords for Public
Journalism, The Poynter Papers: No. 3 (St. Petersburg, FL:
The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, 1993) 3.









communities, but it needs to be done in sort of a motherly

fashion. A newspaper should not be afraid to put its arms

around a community and say, I love you.'"73

Mixed News: The Public/Civic/Communitarianism Debate,74

edited by Jay Black, holder of the Poynter-Jamison chair

of mass media ethics at the University of South Florida-St.

Petersburg, is a consideration of community journalism from

the point of view of several ethicists, as well as from the

point of view of a trio of journalism' s veterans. There are

both pro and con views in Mixed News, some of them the

product of presentations made by the book' s contributors at a

1994 gathering at the University of South Florida's St.

Petersburg campus; some of them articles submitted for this

publication. Ralph Barney, a professor of communications at

Brigham Young University, and John Merrill, professor

emeritus at the University of Missouri-Columbia journalism

school, two of journalism' s most respected ethical thinkers,

have both been critical of community journalism, as have the

University of Montana' s Deni Elliot and the Freedom Forum' s


73 Ibid., 16.

74 Jay Black (ed.) Mixed News: The Public/Civic/
Communitarianism Debate (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
Associates, 1997).









Paul McMasters. McMasters has offered eight cautions for

practitioners of public journalism. Among them is the

warning: "There will be opportunists who hijack it for a joy

ride, publishers who use it as a marketing tool, editors who

cite it to justify neglect of more traditional reporting, and

reporters who go along with it to get ahead."75 There has

also been enthusiastic support for community journalism. J.

Herbert Altschull, professor in The Writing Seminars at Johns

Hopkins University, told his readers that journalism is going

through a crisis of conscience. Noting that he had

previously written of community journalism, but called it

"participatory journalism," Altschull wrote in 1997 that he

saw a critical role in community journalism for the

electronic media. Particularly important in the community

journalism movement, in Altschull's view, was talk-radio.76

A 1995 joint publication of the Pew Center for Civic

Journalism and the Poynter Institute limns six of the public

journalism efforts that are considered seminal. Civic

Journalism: Six Case Studies, outlines partnerships between

newspapers, television stations, radio stations and, in one


75 Ibid., 191.

76 Ibid., 141.









case, a public relations firm.77 Among the six cases was the

partnership in Charlotte, North Carolina, in which WPEG-AM,

WBAV-FM, WSOC-TV, and the Charlotte Observer combined for a

project called "Taking Back Our Neighborhoods."

The ambush killing of two Charlotte police officers had

inspired "Neighborhoods." It was an attempt to get citizens

involved in cleaning up crime in their own neighborhoods, an

effort led by the media organizations. A six-month project

stretched into two years. The Observer and WSOC-TV won

awards. Assessments of the effect on crime in Charlotte were

inconclusive. In Wisconsin, a joint community journalism

effort, which included a public relations firm, attempted to

arouse citizen interest in the political process in the

Madison area. In Tallahassee, Florida, "The Public Agenda"

was also an attempt to increase community involvement in

community issues. There were descriptions of similar efforts

in Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle. Six Case Studies

concluded:

Our nation's civic life is in disrepair and the
implications for journalism are ominous: Citizens who
don' t participate in the life of their community have
little need for news. Civic journalism seeks to address


77 Jan Schaffer and Edward D. Miller (eds.) Civic Journalism:
Six Case Studies Washington, DC: Pew Center for Civic
Journalism, 1995).









some of this detachment and improve journalism in a way
that may help stimulate civic discourse.78

Social Responsibility Theory

Many community journalists are either ostensibly or

genuinely motivated in part by belief in the social

responsibility of the press. For this reason, Four Theories

of the Press is a mandatory inclusion in a literature review

of community journalism. The social responsibility theory is

one of the four theories explored in Four Theories and the

Hutchins Commission is referred to several times. Generally,

social responsibility theory holds that the press has not

made responsible use of its favored position in United States

society. Social responsibility theory calls for the press to

service the political system, safeguard the liberties of the

individual, and enlighten the public.79

Works on Brechner. Davis. and Renick

Very little has been written on Joe Brechner; the only

writing about Norm Davis is contained in cursory mention

about the work of WJXT-TV. More work has been done on Ralph

Renick. The Wolfson Archive at the Miami-Dade Public Library

contains a wealth of material on Renick, much of it primary


78 Ibid., 1.









information, but also an appreciable amount of secondary

information.

Ralph Renick has been the subject of two doctoral

dissertations. Gerald Flannery' s 1966 dissertation at Ohio

University was a study of the content of Renick' s editorials,

an attempt to go beyond national studies that had counted the

number of stations doing editorials and local studies that

had dealt only with specific editorial campaigns. 8 Flannery

worked with Renick as a news editor from 1958-1961 and was

familiar with newsroom procedures at WTVJ. He used his

contacts at the station to gain access to the files of

editorials for the period involved in his study, 2 September

1957 through 2 September 1965. Each of 1,735 editorials "was

read, coded, and recorded in terms of subject matter, use of

verbal supporting material, type of editorials, visual

materials used, individual position of the editorialist, and

effect of the editorial."81



79 Theodore Peterson, "The Social Responsibility Theory of the
Press," in Four Theories of the Press, ed. Fred S. Siebert
(Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1956), 74.
80 Gerald Vincent Flannery, "Local Television Editorializing:
A Case Study of the Editorials of Ralph Renick on WTVJ-TV"
(Ph.D. diss., Ohio University, 1966), 6.

81 Ibid., 9.









Flannery found that the majority of Renick editorials

were offshoots of news stories, that Renick tried to persuade

his viewers on the issues of the time and that the newscaster

believed editorials were more effective if delivered by

someone involved in the news, such as the news anchor.82

Flannery used his research to formulate guidelines for

television editorializing, concluding that the Renick method

was effective and should be emulated by other broadcasters.83

Editorial crusades by television stations, specifically

WTVJ, was the subject of Paul Ashdown's 1975 doctoral

dissertation at Bowling Green State University.84 Ashdown

also used content analysis but was interested primarily in

the editorials that fell into the crusade category. Two

crusades were identified. During 1966, WTVJ broadcast

seventy-three editorials, sixty-five of them consecutively,

decrying the lack of adequate law enforcement in the Miami

area.85 The crusade was picked up by Miami newspaper and


82 Ibid., 75-77.

83 Ibid., 96-99.

84 Paul Ashdown, "Television and the Editorial Crusade: A Case
Study of WTVJ-TV, 1965-1973" (Ph.D. diss., Bowling Green
State University, 1975).

85 Ibid., 106.









radio outlets and drew national attention. Public officials

were indicted. Voters decided to change the system of

selecting the sheriff.

Another crusade centered on restaurant cleanliness in

the Miami area.86 The 1973 restaurant editorials resulted in

passage of an ordinance to give government additional power

to enforce sanitation laws in Miami restaurants. The

restaurant editorials may not appear at first to fit the

pattern of editorializing on important social issues but are,

nonetheless, useful because they illustrate the communitarian

approach of the three broadcasters around which the present

study revolves. Although the issue of restaurant cleanliness

was a consumer issue, there were still elements of putting

the interest of the community first even at the risk of

economic well being and personal safety.

S.L. Alexander' s 1992 article in Mass Comm Review is

more biographical than analytical. "May the Good News Be

Yours: Ralph Renick and Florida's First News" is a

combination of source and popular biography.87 Alexander is


86 Ibid., 122.

87 S.L. Alexander, "May the Good News Be Yours: Ralph Renick
and Florida's First News" Mass Comm Review 19, 1-2 (Winter-
Spring 1992): 57-63.









clearly from the "great man" school of history, presenting

Renick as a pioneer in South Florida television, subject to

occasional criticism he did not deserve. Alexander describes

Renick' s career from the night he anchored his first newscast

on WTVJ in July 1950 to his death in July 1991. In the

intervening years he had become, in Nightline anchor Ted

Koppel's words, quoted in the Alexander article, "a national

institution in a local television market."

There is also much material on Renick and WTVJ to be

found in newspapers such as the Miami Herald, the Miami News,

the Fort Lauderdale News, the Miami Beach Daily Sun Reporter

and others. Renick was a popular topic for Miami's print

media and articles regarding his editorials appeared

frequently.

Richard Martin mentions Norm Davis briefly in two works.

Martin was the Jacksonville Times-Union reporter assigned to

cover efforts to consolidate city and county government in

the Jacksonville area.88 In The City Makers, Martin said he

not only worked for the newspaper, but also had been "brought

in" by the Consolidation Study Commission to promote


88 Richard A. Martin, The City Makers (Jacksonville:
Convention Press, Inc.1972). Richard A. Martin,
Consolidation: Jacksonville, Duval County (Jacksonville:
Convention Press, Inc., 1968).









consolidation. The retired reporter and Jacksonville

historian gave himself much of the credit for the

consolidation success, but did complement WJXT-TV' s efforts

in the consolidation movement.

Although there was frequent mention of Joe Brechner in

Orlando newspapers during the 1960s, only two researchers

have included him in their work. Kathy Amick Fuqua-Cardwell

wrote briefly of Brechner in her 1992 master' s thesis at

Rollins College.89 Fuqua-Cardwell looked at questions asked

by Plato: What is Justice? What kind of state would be most

just? As she considered Socrates' conclusion that justice

involves balancing three elements of being: the rational, the

spirited and the appetite, Fuqua-Cardwell examined Central

Florida, as a representative of American society, through

this lens. It is the inclusion of everyone at the table, as

Octavio Paz has noted, that constitutes justice. That was

something that was not being done in Central Florida,

according to Fuqua-Cardwell. She illustrated her point with

an outline of racial history in the state, beginning in the

1920s and continuing through 1970.



8Kathy Amick Fuqua-Cardwell, "Racial Justice: Orange County
1920-1970" (Master' s thesis, Rollins College, Winter Park,
FL, 1992).









The tumultuous sixties are a major part of Fuqua-

Cardwell' s thesis. The fight for civil rights is the focal

point and the part played by Joe Brechner and others who were

active in Orlando's Civil Rights Movement is explored.

Fuqua-Cardwell concluded that Brechner was particularly

successful in "making the invisible visible" at a time when

the publisher of the Orlando Sentinel had, according to one

reporter, told his staff that civil rights was a taboo

subject because "[ I] f an incident was not reported, it didn't

happen."90 Although Sentinel publisher Martin Anderson kept a

lid on civil rights news, Fuqua-Cardwell wrote that Brechner

used his television station for a full discussion of the

issues.

A Linda Perry article in the 1997 compilation of

research on television history, Television in America,

examined Brechner's contribution to the Civil Rights Movement

in Orlando and traced the history of WFTV through 1969. This

article by the assistant professor of communications at

Purdue University was the inspiration for the Brechner

segment of the present work. "A TV Pioneer' s Crusade for

Civil Rights in the Segregated South" is a broad look at


90 Ibid., 101.









WFTV-TV and Joe Brechner's stewardship of the station.91

Perry called Brechner and WFTV-TV "a voice in the wilderness"

in 1960s Orlando and "a safety valve for a simmering

conflict." When Brechner was removed from active management

of WFTV" in a legal battle with the Federal Communications

Commission, concluded Perry, "a voice of reason over the

airwaves was silenced."92 The present study attempts to

narrow the focus, to analyze the themes and strategies in the

editorials, and to determine if Joe Brechner' s editorials

contributed to the less turbulent racial atmosphere in

Orlando compared to other cities of the South.

Although there is a great deal of literature on

community journalism, most of it is opinion by either the

practitioners of this kind of journalism or their critics.

There is some academic work on the subject, however. Most of

that academic work centers on newspapers or the philosophical

underpinnings of the movement. Several of the citations in




91Linda Perry, "A TV Pioneer' s Crusade for Civil Rights in
the Segregated South: WFTV, Orlando, Florida," in Television
in America: Local Station History from Across the Nation,
eds. Michael D. Murray and Donald G, Godfrey (Ames: Iowa
State University Press, 1997).

92 Ibid., 154.






73


this section are works first presented at a 1998 community

journalism conference at the University of South Carolina.

There is little secondary source material on Joe

Brechner, although Kathy Amick Fuqua-Cardwell briefly

mentions him in her 1992 master' s thesis. He is also the

subject of a chapter in a 1997 history of broadcasting in

America. There is even less on Norm Davis, who was mentioned

only occasionally in articles on WJXT-TV. There is more on

Ralph Renick, who has been the subject of two doctoral

dissertations and many articles in magazines, newspapers, and

books.
















CHAPTER 3
THE HUTCHINS COMMISSION: A FOUNDATION FOR
COMMUNITY JOURNALISM


This chapter reviews the work and conclusions of the

Hutchins Commission, which was financed in the 1940s by Henry

Luce, chairman of Time, Inc., to look into some of the

problems that plagued the press of Luce's day.93 First, the

origin, structure, and operation of the commission are

explained. Then the commission' s recommendations are

inventoried. Finally, reaction from the press, which was the

subject of the commission' s study, is reviewed.

Examination of the work of the Hutchins Commission and

the motivations behind formation of the commission bear

direct correlation to the efforts of community journalists.

There are many similarities between complaints that were

being made against the press of the 1940s and complaints

against the 1990s press. There are also similarities in the





93 M.A. Blanchard, "The Hutchins Commission, the Press and the
Responsibility Concept," Journalism Monographs (May 1997):
11.









solutions offered by the Hutchins Commission and solutions

offered by proponents of community journalism.

There were complaints that the press was being taken

over by a few powerful owners, and, as a result, the common

citizen was being squeezed out, was being denied a voice in

the great cacophony of voices that was supposed to result in

the American melody. The complaints were important to Luce

because of his own concerns about preserving newsgathering

capabilities of the press, capabilities he thought vital to

the survival of a free society.94 There was also the

perception that the press was concentrating on the

sensational, on stories and events that would sell papers and

increase broadcast audiences.95 These are all problems voiced

by critics of the press in the year 2000. Community

journalism appears, in many ways, to echo Hutchins Commission

recommendations.

The Commission Is Formed

The commission was composed of thirteen members, all

chosen by University of Chicago president Robert M. Hutchins,


94 J.S. McIntyre, "Repositioning a Landmark: The Hutchins
Commission and Freedom of the Press," Critical Studies in
Mass Communication 4 (1987): 136-160.

95 Blanchard, Hutchins, 26.









most of them respected in the field of advanced education but

with no direct experience in the press, although several of

them had experience in dealing with the press.96 Luce had

chosen Hutchins because of Hutchins' reputation as a

thoughtful press critic. Time, Inc., contributed $200,000 in

financing. Encyclopedia Brittanica, Inc. contributed

$15,000. The money was disbursed through the University of

Chicago, giving neither Time nor Encyclopaedia Brittanica

control over or assumed responsibility for the study.

Commission members heard testimony from fifty-eight men

and women connected with the press. Robert Hutchins wrote in

a foreword to the report that becauseue of the present world

crisis," commission members had limited their study to "the

role of the agencies of mass communication in the education

of the people in public affairs." Staff members conducted

recorded interviews with more than 225 additional witnesses

from industry, government, and private agencies concerned

with the press. Staff and committee members prepared 176

documents for commission members to study. The commission

held seventeen two-day or three-day meetings.97 Their


96 McIntyre, Repositioning, 138-139.

97 The Hutchins Commission, A Free and Responsible Press
(Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1947), v-vi.









conclusions were put together by staff members, then perused

line-by-line by each member before the report was assembled

as a 137-page book and released on 26 March 1947.98

Chairman Robert Hutchins was an innovator at the

University of Chicago, where he was president. Hutchins had

a reputation for being critical of the press. He had

chastised the press for not meeting society' s needs and had

done it from the podium at a gathering of the American

Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE).99

Others on the commission included Zechariah Chafee, Jr.,

of Harvard, the leading scholar of the time on the free

speech provision of the First Amendment and the author of

Free Speech in the United States. John Clark had dealt with

the press in his several jobs in the Roosevelt

administration, including the position of consultant to the

National Recovery Administration and had also written the

final analysis on the NRA. Harold Laswell was director of

war communications research for the Library of Congress.

Several years later Laswell wrote the definition of


98 Blanchard, Hutchins, 24; Commission on Freedom of the
Press, A Free and Responsible Press: A General Report on Mass
Communication: Newspapers, Radio, Motion Pictures, Magazines,
and Books (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 1947).

99 Blanchard, Hutchins, 12.









communication that has had such staying power: "Who says what

in which channel to whom with what effect."100 Poet Archibald

MacLeish was the Librarian of Congress and felt that the

press played an important role in the international relations

of a country. Robert Niebuhr, a professor of ethics at Union

Theological Seminary, had authored several articles on ethics

and morality. Beardsley Ruml had worked for government,

devising the pay-as-you-go income tax system for President

Franklin Delano Roosevelt and had come in frequent contact

with journalists. He said he liked journalists but had

realized, "They can do amazing things even to a hand-out,

unless you sit down with them and go over what you want to

say paragraph by paragraph."101

Luce and Hutchins had considered including members of

the press on the commission. They discussed inviting

columnist Walter Lippmann, advertising executive Chester

Bowles, and Federal Communications Commission Chairman

Lawrence Fly to participate. They decided, however, that

putting media representatives on the commission might limit





100 Ibid., 13.

101 Ibid., 15.









the commission' s independence. Those same media

representatives were later asked to testify.102

Press Reaction

In advance of the commission' s work, there was mixed

reaction from members of the press to the very fact that such

a commission had been formed. Some of the press, which in

the view of the commission included movies, newspapers,

magazines and radio, claimed to welcome such an undertaking,

claimed to be eager for suggestions on how to improve, and

even thought that the commission would be an ally in

preserving First Amendment press rights. For instance, an

Editor & Publisher editorial said, "Editor & Publisher

believes that the vigilance necessary to preserve the First

Amendment as the keystone of all democratic freedoms" would

be served by the work of the commission.103 According to

Blanchard, other members of the press slipped into paranoia

in the fear that the work of such a commission could lead to

press censorship and government control.104




102 McIntyre, Repositioning, 139.

103 "Research on Freedom," Editor and Publisher, 4 March 1966.
32.

104 Blanchard, Hutchins, 4.









Even those who had lauded the idea of the commission in

the beginning changed their minds once they saw the report or

heard about it from other members of the press. For

instance, the Chicago Tribune's headline read, "A Free Press

(Hitler Style) Sought for U.S."105 Frank Hughes, who had

written the Tribune's story, in a book published three years

later attacked not only the report, but individual commission

members as well, calling Hutchins' philosophies fascist and

noting that Hutchins had held membership in groups with

Communist connections. Hughes wrote in his preface:

Early in the research, I discovered that I would have to
do what this so-called "commission," created by
Chancellor Robert M. Hutchins of the University of
Chicago and numbering some of the most prominent
professors in the higher learning in its company, did not
do--search for the truth. The study and research which
this entailed resulted in a reexamination of modern
political philosophy, as well as a gathering and
examination of the facts concerning the American
newspaper press today, which were available to the
"Commission on Freedom of the Press," but which it did
not choose to examine.106

On the other hand, a few papers did find merit in the

report. Philip Graham' s Washington Post was among them.

Graham' s newspaper said several of the commission' s


105 Frank Hughes, "The Professors and the Press," Chicago
Tribune, 27 April 1947, 22F.

106 Frank Hughes, Prejudice and the Press (New York: The
Devin-Adair Company, 1950), v.









recommendations had merit, and its premise that a responsible

press is necessary to freedom was well founded. The

Louisville Courier-Journal even said the report had not gone

far enough.107

Members of the media who had expressed fears about what

A Free and Responsible Press might contain felt they had been

vindicated when they saw the report. Statements that seemed

highly critical of the way the press was doing its job only

exacerbated press paranoia. One example:

The modern press itself is a new phenomenon. Its
typical unit is the great agency of mass communication.
These agencies can facilitate thought and discussion.
They can stifle it. They can advance the progress of
civilization or they can thwart it. They can debase and
vulgarize mankind. They can endanger the peace of the
world; they can do so accidentally, in a fit of absence
of mind. They can play up or down the news and its
significance, foster and feed emotions create
complacent fictions and blind spots, misuse the great
worlds, and uphold empty slogans. Their scope and power
are increasing every day as new instruments become
available to them. These instruments can spread lies
faster and farther than our forefathers dreamed when they
enshrined the freedom of the press in the First Amendment
to our Constitution.108

That statement is indicative of much of the tone of the

Hutchins Commission report, yet there are segments of the

report that indicate a willingness to let the press monitor


107 Blanchard, Hutchins, 45.

108 Hutchins Commission, 3.









itself. In an observation that appeared to have been taken

directly from John Stuart Mill, the report said:

It (society) must guarantee freedom of expression, to
the end that all adventitious hindrances to the flow of
ideas shall be removed. Moreover, a significant
innovation in the realm of ideas is likely to arouse
resistance. Valuable ideas may be put forth first in
forms that are crude, indefensible, or even dangerous.
They need the chance to develop through free criticism
as well as the chance to survive on the basis of their
ultimate worth. Hence the man who publishes ideas
requires special protection.109

Nonetheless, the report contained several statements

that appeared to be thinly veiled threats that government was

ready to step in to shape up the press. The commission said

it was preferable for the press to control itself. In other

words, to follow the commission' s recommendations, but if the

press wouldn't do it, the job would fall to government. The

commission report said, "It becomes an imperative question

whether the performance of the press can any longer be left

the unregulated initiative of the few who manage it."110

Some of the commission' s criticisms sound like they were

taken from the 1990s. The report said news media were trying

to attract the maximum audience by letting stories of night-

club murders, race riots, strike violence, and quarrels among


109 Ibid., 6.

110 Ibid., 16.









public officials crowd out the news of many of the activities

that had a much deeper affect on the majority of U.S. media

consumers. Newspaper columnists and radio commentators were

particularly reproachable as they supplied to the public what

amounted to "keyhole gossip, rumor, character assassination

and lies."111

The commission had an apparent particular dislike for

the trend toward ownership of more and more media outlets by

fewer and fewer individuals, saying that not only were there

economic forces at work, but personal forces. Commission

members wrote, "These forces are those exaggerated drives for

power and profit which have tended to restrict competition

and to promote monopoly through the private enterprise

system."112 The real danger, thought commission members, was

that those individuals were failing to allow opinions that

disagreed with their own to reach the public.

Commission Goals

As it laid out thirteen steps to be taken by government,

public, and press, the commission expressed the hope that its

recommendations would lead to the achievement of "five ideal



111 Ibid., 57.

112 Ibid., 48.









demands" or "requirements" that amounted to the commission's

goals for the press. Those requirements were as follows:

1. A truthful, comprehensive and intelligent account of

the day' s events in a context which gives them meaning;

2. A forum for the exchange of comment and criticism;

3. The projection of a representative picture of the

constituent groups in society;

4. The presentation and clarification of the goals and

values of the society;

5. Full access to the day's intelligence.113

The thirteen steps in achieving these five goals placed

equal responsibility on government, press, and public.

Recommendations to Government

It was to be the job of government to guide behaviors of

the press but not to dictate those behaviors. The commission

recommended the following:

1. That "constitutional guarantees of freedom of the

press be recognized as including the radio and motion

pictures."114 This would not mean, however, that the FCC

could not deny a license on the grounds that the applicant



113 Ibid., 21-29.

114 Ibid., 82.









was unprepared to serve the public interest, convenience, and

necessity, the commission said.

2. That the "government facilitate new ventures in the

communications industry, that it foster the introduction of

new techniques, that it maintain competition among large

units through the antitrust laws, but that those laws be used

sparingly to break up such units and that, where

concentration is necessary in communications, the government

endeavor to see to it that the public gets the benefit of

such concentration."115

By that last phrase commission members meant that a

network, for instance, should strive to take on affiliates

even in the smallest market, although that market might not

be large enough to be profitable. The commission stated that

these measures could be achieved either by the industry

acting responsibly, or by the government. Commission members

made it clear that industry action was preferable, but the

threat of government action was implicit. There is no

indication why this recommendation was placed in the

government section, rather than in the press section.


115 Ibid., 83.









3. That "as an alternative to existing remedies for

libel, legislation by which the injured party might obtain a

retraction or restatement of the facts by the offender or an

opportunity for the offended to reply."116

4. "[ T] he repeal of legislation prohibiting expressions

in favor of revolutionary changes in U.S. institutions where

there is no clear and present danger that violence will

result from the expressions." The commission referred to the

Alien Registration Act of 1940, the Smith Act, which made it

a crime to advocate the violent overthrow of the Government

or to belong to an organization that did.

5. "[T]hat the government, through the media of mass

communication, inform the public of the facts with respect to

its policies and of the purposes underlying those policies

and that, to the extent that private agencies of mass

communication are unable or unwilling to supply such media to

the government, the government itself may employ media of its

own."117 This media use by the government also was to extend

to disseminating information about the U.S. government in

other countries.





116 Ibid., 86.

117 Ibid., 88.









Recommendations to the Press

The commission expressed the hope that the press would

take these measures so government would not be forced to act.

It made five recommendations on self-governing measures to

the press.

1. All "agencies of mass communication should accept

the responsibilities of common carriers of information and

discussion" and should present ideas other than their own.118

2. "Agencies of mass communication should assume the

responsibility of financing new, experimental activities in

their fields."119 The commission said it was talking about

things of high literary, artistic or intellectual activity,

although commissioners did not say specifically what sorts of

activities they had in mind.

3. The commission recommended "that the members of the

press engage in vigorous mutual criticism."120

4. Commission members recommended "that the press use

every means that" could "be devised to increase competence,

independence and effectiveness of its staff."121 Better pay,


118 Ibid., 92.

119 Ibid., 93.

120 Ibid., 94.

121 Ibid., 94.









better contracts, better individual recognition were among

those means.

5. Commission members advised "that the radio industry

take control of its own industry" and treat advertising the

way "the best newspapers" were treating advertisers.122 That

is, broadcasters should not continue to interweave commercial

messages into their programs. They should clearly separate

advertising and programming, similar to the way newspapers

were separating advertising and news content. "The public

should not be forced to continue to take its radio fare from

the manufacturers of soap, cosmetics, cigarettes, soft

drinks, and packaged foods."123

Recommendations to the Public

The report warned that members of the public had failed

to realize that a communications revolution had occurred and

did not appreciate "the tremendous power which the new

instruments and the new organization place in the hands of a

few men." Nor had the public come to realize how far the

performance of the press fell short of the requirements of a

free society. It was up to the public, said the commission,


122 Ibid., 95.

123 Ibid., 95-96.








to hold the press accountable. There were three

recommendations for the public.

1. The commission recommended "that nonprofit

institutions help supply the variety, quantity and quality of

press service required by the American people."124 In other

words, religious and educational organizations could make

good documentary movies. It was necessary to do this

immediately, rather than waiting for the schools to educate

people going into the media to do it, because the world was

"on the brink of suicide" and had to be educated without

delay.

2. The commission also recommended "the creation of

academic-professional centers of advanced study, research and

publication in the field of communications," giving

journalism students the broadest of educations.125 The

commission's remarks about journalism education were not

complimentary; the commission had said journalism schools

were doing little more than vocational training, and not a

very good job of that.126



124 Ibid., 97.

125 Ibid., 99.

126 Ibid., 78.









3. The commission wanted a "new and independent agency"

to report annually on the performance of the press.127

Citizens' Commission

The commission again and again came back to the idea of

a citizens' commission to act as a watchdog on the press. It

was this idea upon which success of all the other

recommendations seemed to rest.128 So much so that Hutchins

at one point became so weary of hearing the recommendation

that he said, "Does it at all disturb the commission that we

seem to come back again and again to one recommendation only?

Our single remedy for all ills is a continuing non-

governmental commission; I cannot recall at the moment any

other recommendation that the commission is prepared to

make."129

Nonetheless, the recommendation was made and at the

final discussion of organizing a citizens' commission, Chafee

commented, "If the seed falls on fertile ground it will




127 Ibid., 100.

128 Hutchins Report, 100-102.

129 Jerilyn S. McIntyre, "The Hutchins Commission's Search for
a Moral Framework," Journalism History 6, 2 (Summer, 1979):
56.









sprout. If it doesn't, it won't sprout anyway."130 The

commission was reluctant to get involved in starting such a

group because commission members didn' t want their efforts

misinterpreted as a desire to take a continuing role in

watching over the media.131 "The seed" (the recommendation

for a citizens' commission) did not fall on fertile ground,

and many years later when newspaper editors and publishers,

educators, and public figures were polled on press

responsibility, there was still a wide gap in attitudes

toward criticism of the press.132 Although public figures and

educators expressed general approval of outside criticism of

the press, editors and publishers were still generally

against the idea.

The report came at an already stressful time for the

press: ASNE and press association chiefs were working for a

free press guarantee by the United Nations, and negative

comments about U.S. media were not expected to help the

cause; conservative publishers were trying to overturn a


130 Ibid., 56.

131 Ibid., 56.

132 B. Hartung, "Attitudes Toward the Applicability of the
Hutchins Report on Press Responsibility," Journalism
Quarterly 58(3) (Fall, 1981): 428-433.









Supreme Court decision in the Associated Press antitrust

suit; and college journalism professors were pushing for some

sort of accreditation system, but the commission's tone led

some to fear that accreditation might be a step toward

licensing.133

Effects of the Report

There were sharp criticisms from the press of the

commission' s work, criticisms that too much money had been

spent ($215,000), that the work had been done behind closed

doors, that there were no members of the press on the

commission, that there had been very little in the way of

systematic research, and that there were some factual errors

in the report.

Nonetheless, publication of A Free and Responsible Press

was followed in the next few years by several attempts at

self-criticism by the press. These attempts were apparently

direct results of the Hutchins Commission report.134 The

American Press Institute was created (actually just before

the formal report was issued) with a stated goal of the

improvement of American newspapers. The first issue of


133 Blanchard, Hutchins, 31.

134 Ibid., 47.




Full Text
COMMUNITY JOURNALISM THEN AND NOW: A COMPARISON OF
COMMUNITY-MINDED BROADCASTERS OF THE 1960S AND THE 1990S
By
JOSEPH L. GLOVER
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
2000

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I am grateful to the members of my committee--F. Leslie
Smith, Bernell E. Tripp, David H. Ostroff, John W. Wright,
and Thomas P. Auxter—for their suggestions and insights.
I am particularly grateful to my chairman, F. Leslie Smith,
for the many hours he spent critiquing this work and for
introducing me to the pleasures of the rewrite. I am
grateful to Bernell Tripp for introducing me to the
fascinating world of history and for trying to teach me how
it is done. I am also grateful to Tom Auxter for showing
me a new way to look at the ethics of communication.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Ü
ABSTRACT vii
CHAPTERS
1 INTRODUCTION 1
Background 2
Three Broadcast Community Journalists 13
Joe Brechner 14
Norm Davis 16
Ralph Renick 19
Problem, Purpose, Research Questions,
Methodology, Significance, Scope and
Limitations 20
Problem 21
Purpose 22
Research Questions 22
Significance 23
Methodology 24
Scope and Limitations 28
2 LITERATURE REVIEW 32
Community Journalism 32
Beyond a Proper Literature Review: Partisan
Viewpoints 57
Social Responsibility Theory 65
Works on Brechner, Davis, and Renick 65
3 THE HUTCHINS COMMISSION: A FOUNDATION FOR
COMMUNITY JOURNALISM 74
The Commission Is Formed
Press Reaction
Commission Goals
75
79
83

Recommendations to Government 84
Recommendations to the Press 87
Recommendations to the Public 88
Citizens' Commission 90
Effects of the Report 92
4 COMMUNITY JOURNALISM: THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE?
HUTCHINS IN THE NINETIES 95
Selfless or Self-Serving? 96
The Community Journalism Projects Sponsored by
the Pew Center for Civic Journalism 99
Charlotte 104
Madison 105
Tallahassee 107
Boston 109
Seattle Ill
Columbus 112
New Orleans 114
5 ANOTHER DILEMMA OF COMMUNITY JOURNALISM: THE
INDIVIDUAL VERSUS THE MAJORITY 119
6 STATE OF THE TV EDITORIAL IN THE 1960S 130
Impact of Regulations 131
Timid Editorialists 137
Network Guidance 143
Local Stations 145
7 THE STATE OF FLORIDA AND THE U.S. IN MID-
20th CENTURY 155
The 1960s in America 156
Civil Rights Background in Florida 161
Imported Attitudes 165
The Ku Klux Klan in Florida 169
A Statewide View 172
St. Augustine 173
Tampa 176
Orlando 180
Miami 186
History of Consolidation Attempts in
Jacksonville 187
iv

8 RALPH RENICK—FLORIDA' S FIRST BROADCAST
EDITORIALIST 197
The Nation's First Nightly TV Editorials 198
The Renick Editorials 204
The Crusades 211
The "B-Girl" Editorials 213
The Restaurant Crusade 216
The Crime Crusade 223
Renick and Civil Rights 230
Jacksonville 233
St. Augustine 236
New Orleans 243
Los Angeles 244
Miami 246
9 NORM DAVIS AND THE EDITORIALS OF WJXT-TV 265
The Editorials Begin 267
Davis Background 268
The Davis Editorial Campaign 273
Other Issues Being Covered by the Press in
the Mid-Sixties 277
The WJXT School Editorials 281
City and County Services Deteriorate 291
The WJXT-TV Investigations 294
The Grand Jury 307
The Indictments 308
Corn Patch Camp 309
What The People Involved Say About WJXT's Role . 314
What Others Have Said About WJXT's Role 321
10 JOE BRECHNER' S STRATEGY FOR ORLANDO, FLORIDA:
THE 1960S CIVIL RIGHTS EDITORIALS OF
WFTV-TV 32 6
Brechner's Motivations 32 9
The Brechner Family Moves to Orlando 332
Editorial Themes 337
Examples of Editorials Using Brechner' s
Four Themes 341
It Could Happen Here 341
Praise 342
Patriotism 346
It's Good Business 353
A Voice For Minorities 355
v

Despair 357
Beyond Editorials 358
11 CONCLUSION AND ANALYSIS 368
Summary 368
Brechner 371
Davis 374
Renick 375
Conclusions 37 6
What is Community Journalism? 377
Brechner, Davis, and Renick: Real Community
Journalists? 378
Worthy of Imitation? 38 0
Community Journalists of the 1990s 380
Discussion 382
Leading the Way 387
Friends in the Front Office 389
Motivation is Primary 391
Suggestions for Further Research 392
APPENDICES
A SAMPLE OF THE EDITORIALS OF JOE BRECHNER 398
B SAMPLE OF THE EDITORIALS OF NORM DAVIS 424
C SAMPLE OF THE EDITORIALS OF RALPH RENICK 444
REFERENCES 4 64
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 487
vi

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
COMMUNITY JOURNALISM THEN AND NOW: A COMPARISON OF
COMMUNITY-MINDED BROADCASTERS OF THE 1960S AND THE 1990S
By
Joseph L. Glover
August 2000
Chairman: F. Leslie Smith
Major Department: Mass Communication
This dissertation is a historical study of three
broadcast editorialists working in Florida during the
tumultuous 1960s. The three editorialists were Joe
Brechner, owner and general manager of WFTV-TV in Orlando;
Norm Davis, editorial director of WJXT-TV in Jacksonville;
and Ralph Renick, news and editorial director of WTVJ-TV in
Miami. The works of Brechner and Davis examined in this
study revolve around single editorial campaigns. In the
case of Brechner, the topic was civil rights. Davis
focused on governmental corruption and inefficiency.
Renick, who editorialized first and for the longest period
of time, conducted several editorial campaigns. His work
Vll

on governmental corruption, crime, restaurant sanitation,
and civil rights are examined herein.
The three editorialists are compared to members of the
press in the 1990s who called themselves "community
journalists." The following questions are asked: (1) What
is community journalism? (2) Were the three editorialists
who are the focus of this dissertation community
journalists? (3) Should modern journalists consider
Brechner, Davis, and Renick journalists to be emulated?
In order to avoid either present-mindedness or past¬
mindedness, particular attention is paid to context. The
regulatory climate for 1960s broadcasters who chose to
editorialize is examined. The events of the decade are a
major part of the context. It was those events from which
the editorialists chose their topics. Lastly, motivation
of editorialists and journalists studied for this work is
examined. The touchstone for motivation is existential
communitarianism, defined for this study as "concerned
primarily with community, but drawing from the principles
of existentialism to include concern for individuals within
the community as well as concern for personal
responsibility." It is within that framework that the
efforts of the subjects of this research are measured.
viii

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
This dissertation is a historical study of three
broadcast editorialists, working in Florida during the
tumultuous 1960s. The three editorialists were Joe Brechner,
owner and general manager of WFTV-TV in Orlando; Norm Davis,
editorial director of WJXT-TV in Jacksonville; and Ralph
Renick, news and editorial director of WTVJ-TV in Miami. The
works of Brechner and Davis examined in this study revolve
around single editorial campaigns. In the case of Brechner,
the topic was civil rights. Davis focused on governmental
corruption and inefficiency. Renick, who editorialized first
and for the longest period of time, conducted several
editorial campaigns. His work on governmental corruption,
crime, restaurant sanitation, and civil rights is examined
herein.
The three editorialists are compared to members of the
press in the 1990s who called themselves "community
journalists."
1

2
This chapter introduces the reader to the three
editorialists, to the community journalism against which they
are measured, and to the problems that motivated 1990s
members of the press to begin calling themselves "community
journalists
Background
Since the Hutchins Commission met in the mid-1940s and
completed A Free and Responsible Press,1 some members of the
United States press have been trying to prove that they can
be both free and responsible.2 According to many press
critics, the attempt has been a dismal failure. A recent
Newseum survey of public perception of the press reveals some
discouraging, although not surprising, news for journalists.3
The 1999 survey frequently referred to the results of a
similar 1997 survey and found that "the news media are in
deep trouble."4 The 1997 survey found:
1 Commission on Freedom of the Press, A Free and Responsible
Press: A General Report on Mass Communication: Newspapers,
Radio, Motion Pictures, Magazines, and Books (Chicago: The
University of Chicago Press (1947), 4.
2 James Fallows, Breaking the News (New York: Pantheon Books,
1996).
3 "State of the First Amendment: A survey of public
attitudes," a Freedom Forum survey, sponsored by the First
Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, 1999.
Ibid.

3
• Although most people trust most or all of what
ministers, priests, rabbis and doctors say, only 53%
place similar trust in their local TV anchors. Even
fewer trust what network TV anchors say and just under a
third trust newspaper reporters.
• Ethically, people see journalists not as the equals of
teachers, doctors and priests, but as being among those
with agendas to advance—politicians, lawyers and
corporate officials.
• Special interests are pulling strings in newsrooms,
most Americans believe. They think profit motives,
politicians, media owners, big business and advertisers
influence the way news is reported and presented.
• Surprisingly, what bothers people most about
journalists is not that they favor a "liberal point of
view," but that journalists are insensitive to people's
pain when covering disasters and accidents. Most people
also are more strongly concerned about journalists
spending too much time on the personal lives of public
officials, paying too little attention to issues of
concern to young people, using unidentified sources and
offering their own opinions than they are about liberal
bias.
• A majority of the Americans surveyed (64%) also say a
major problem with news is that it is too sensational.5
The 1999 survey, according to the Freedom Forum,
indicated public trust in the media was diminishing even
further. Respondents expressed a 15-percent increase in the
belief that the press has too much freedom. More respondents
said newspapers should not be able to publish freely without
5 Quoted from the 1997 Newseum Survey by the Roper Center for
Public Opinion Research, The Freedom Forum Media Studies
Center and the Newseum on the Freedom Forum home page,
http://www.freedomforum.org/index.html. The Roper Center
administered the questionnaire to 1,500 American adults. The
sampling error is 2.5 percent at the 95 percent confidence
level.

4
government approval, that they should not be allowed to
endorse or criticize political candidates, that journalists
should not be able to use hidden cameras for newsgathering,
and should not be able to publish government secrets.6
The number of people who felt the press had too much
freedom also grew in 1999. The number who felt the press
should be able to keep sources confidential fell, and Table 1
shows that "the bad news just keeps coming."
The Freedom Forum reports went on to say:
These findings indicate that the news media are in
deep trouble with the American public. A variety of
studies, surveys, and focus groups document a real
resentment of the press and its practices among
Americans, who characterize the news media as arrogant,
inaccurate, superficial, sensational, biased and bent.
Worse, they apparently believe that the press is part of
the problem, rather than part of the solution.
In a study conducted earlier this year by the Pew
Research Center for The People & The Press, 32% of those
surveyed said they thought the media were declining in
influence, compared to 17% in 1985. The number of those
saying the media protects democracy dropped from 54% in
6 The 1999 Freedom Forum Survey by the Center for Survey
Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut, The
Freedom Forum Media Studies Center and the Newseum. Found
at: http://www.freedomforum.org/first/sofa/1999/welcome.asp.
The survey results are based on telephone interviews by the
Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University
of Connecticut with 1,001 adults, ages eighteen or older,
conducted 26 February to 24 March 1999. Margin of error is
plus or minus 3 percent with a 95 percent confidence
level.

5
Table 1. Results of 1999 Freedom Forum Survey.
Even though the O.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of the
press, government has placed some restrictions on it.
Overall, do you think the press in America has too much
freedom to do what it wants, too little freedom to do what it
wants, or is the amount of freedom the press has about right?
1997
, 1999
Too much freedom
38%
53%
Too little freedom
9%
7%
About right
50%
37%
DK/Ref
3%
2%
Newspapers should be allowed to publish
freely
without
government approval of a story.
1997
1999
Strongly agree
56%
38%
Mildly agree
24%
27%
Mildly disagree
11%
14%
Strongly disagree
6%
18%
DK/Ref
3%
3%
Journalists should be allowed to keep a news source
confidential.
1997
1999
Strongly agree
58%
48%
Mildly agree
27%
31%
Mildly disagree
6%
10%
Strongly disagree
6%
9%
DK/Ref
2%
3%
Broadcasters should be
allowed to televise courtroom trials.
1997
1999
Strongly agree
28%
34%
Mildly agree
23%
33%
Mildly disagree
19%
13%
Strongly disagree
25%
17%
DK/Ref
4%
3%
Newspapers should be allowed to endorse
political candidates.
or criticize
1997 1999
Strongly agree
43%
35%
Mildly agree
26%
28%
Mildly disagree
11%
14%
Strongly disagree
18%
22%
DK/Ref
2%
2%

6
Table l--Continued.
The news media should be allowed to report government secrets
that have come to journalists' attention.
1997
1999
Strongly agree
35%
23%
Mildly agree
26%
25%
Mildly disagree
14%
18%
Strongly disagree
21%
30%
DK/Ref
5%
3%
Television networks should be allowed to project winners of
an election while people are still voting.
Strongly agree
Mildly agree
Mildly disagree
Strongly disagree
DK/Ref
1997
15%
16%
17%
51%
1%
1999
11%
18%
19%
51%
1%
High school students
should be allowed
to report
controversial issues
in their student
newspapers
without
approval of school authorities.
1997
1999
Strongly agree
24%
19%
Mildly agree
21%
18%
Mildly disagree
23%
27%
Strongly disagree
29%
33%
DK/Ref
3%
3%
Journalists should be allowed to use hidden cameras in their
reporting.
1997
1999
Strongly agree
13%
9%
Mildly agree
18%
18%
Mildly disagree
20%
18%
Strongly disagree
45%
54%
DK/Ref
3%
3%
Broadcasters should be allowed to
the U.S. Supreme Court.
televise the
proceedings of
Strongly agree
44%
Mildly agree
29%
Mildly disagree
11%
Strongly disagree
12%
DK/Ref
3%

7
Table 1—Continued.
Journalists should be allowed to investigate the private
lives of public figures.
Strongly agree 17%
Mildly agree 21%
Mildly disagree 18%
Strongly disagree 42%
DK/Ref 1%
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: Any
group that wants should be allowed to hold a rally for a
cause or issue even if it may be offensive to others in the
community.
1997
1999
Strongly agree
38%
30%
Mildly agree
34%
32%
Mildly disagree
10%
16%
Strongly disagree
15%
20%
DK/Ref
3%
3%
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: The
government should regulate what appears on television.
Strongly agree 20%
Mildly agree 25%
Mildly disagree 21%
Strongly disagree 32%
DK/Ref 2%

1985 to 45%. Conversely, 38% said that the media hurt
democracy; only 23% said that in 1985.1
These complaints sound quite similar to the complaints
8
put forward by the Hutchins Commission in 1947, a fact noted
in the Freedom Forum report. The commission, albeit
unintentionally, laid the foundation for a 1990s journalism
phenomenon that was promoted as the road to salvation for an
ailing press. It is called "community journalism," "civic
journalism," "communitarian journalism," public journalism,"
"solutions journalism" and sometimes "conversations
journalism."8 The terms are frequently used interchangeably
by journalists and will be used interchangeably here,
although "community journalism" will be the preferred and
most often used term. That phenomenon, however, is a siren
song that may lead journalism in the opposite direction.
Defining the phenomenon is also difficult. There are
many definitions of community journalism. Davis Merritt, now
senior editor at the Wichita Eagle, defines it as "a
pragmatic recognition that people flooded with contextless,
7 Ibid.
8 As of May 2000 there was still a discussion underway about
drawing fine distinctions between these terms. At the 1998
conference on public journalism at the University of South
Carolina attendees agreed to use the terms interchangeably,
at least for the length of the conference, to avoid further
confusing the issue. This dissertation follows that example.

9
fragmentary, episodic, value-neutral information can't make
effective work of their decision-making."9 New York
University journalism professor Jay Rosen writes,
"Traditional journalism worries about remaining properly
detached. Public journalism worries about becoming properly
attached. So: public journalism becomes the undeveloped art
of attachment to the communities in which journalists do
their work."10
Ed Lambeth, a professor of journalism at the University
of Missouri-Columbia, says there are several steps in doing
public journalism. Journalists must:
• Examine alternative ways to frame stories on important
community issues.
• Choose frames that stand the best chance to stimulate
citizen deliberation and build public understanding of
issues.
• Listen systematically to the stories and ideas of
citizens even while protecting [ press] freedom to
choose what to cover.
• Take the initiative to report on major public problems
in a way that advances public knowledge of possible
solutions and the values served by alternative courses
of action.
• Pay continuing and systematic attention to how well and
how credibly [ the press] is communicating with the
public.11
9 Edmund B. Lambeth, Philip E. Mayer, and Esther Thorsen,
Assessing Public Journalism (Columbia: University of Missouri
Press, 1998), 90.
10 Ibid., 90.
li
Ibid., 17.

10
Another proponent of community journalism is Jennie
Buckner. Buckner is the editor of the Charlotte Observer and
sees public journalism as utilitarian: "When writing about
public life, we try to provide readers with the information
they need to function as citizens."12 Billy Winn of the
Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer defines the practice in terms
closer to classical communitarianism13 when he says, "You must
risk some of yourself; you must get into the boat with the
people."14
This communitarian attitude leads to a definition that
grows out of the present study and becomes evident in the
work of the three broadcasters around whom this research
revolves. It is a definition that most accurately describes
what the three editorialists were presenting to 1960s
television audiences. A community journalist is, quite
12 Ibid., 225.
13 Communitarianism is described as "the thesis that the
community, rather than the individual, the state, the nation,
or any other entity, is and should be at the center of our
analysis and our value system" in Ted Honderich, ed., The
Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1995), 143.
14
Billy Winn, Lecture at University of Florida, Spring 1996.

11
simply, someone who is willing to put the interests of
community above one's own interests.
This definition is not what most community journalists
espouse. Normally, community journalism is an attempt to
make the journalist part of the community and, therefore, a
beneficiary of the public journalism project. That is not
what Ralph Renick, Joe Brechner, and Norm Davis intended.
They intended one thing—that their editorials would
contribute to the social health of their communities. In
each case, it was communitarianism with an important
additional factor—an element of existentialism.15 Each of
these editorialists was intent on making the most of his
talents to enrich the lives of his community and the
individuals in those communities rather than surrendering to
the "tyranny of the majority" or waiting for someone else to
right the wrongs they saw. In this way, they were unlike
15 Defined in Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary as
"A chiefly 20th Century philosophy that is centered upon the
analysis of existence specif, of individual human beings,
that regards human existence as not exhaustively describable
or understandable in idealistic or scientific terms, and that
stresses the freedom and responsibility of the individual,
the irreducible uniqueness of an ethical or religious
situation, and usu. the isolation and subjective experiences
(as of anxiety, guilt, dread, anguish) of an individual
therein." (Springfield, MA: G & C. Merriam Company, 1976),
291.

12
communitarians who sacrifice individualism and individual
rights for the sake of community.16 They were existential-
communitarians, a seemingly self-contradictory term, but an
accurate description. This study is concerned with
determining whether they were community journalists before
community journalism became a journalism movement.
The Hutchins Commission, which will be examined in
chapter 3 of this study, foreshadowed some of the ideas
embodied in community journalism. The commission' s findings
reveal that there were many of the same concerns about the
press in the 1940s as there were fifty years later. Chapter 4
will outline current attempts to improve public perception of
press practices and practitioners. It will also be revealed
that those attempts, through community journalism, are
misguided and sometimes disingenuous.
In addition, this study will show that what is sometimes
referred to as "old-fashioned journalism in new clothes"17 is,
in fact, the way to reverse the erosion of public trust in
journalism and, in particular, television journalism. The
16 Ralph D. Barney, "Community Journalism: Good Intentions,
Questionable Practice," Journal of Mass Media Ethics 11, 3
(1996): 140-151.
17 M. Gordon, "Civic Journalism: Involving the Public," The
Seattle Times, 17 April 1996, B5.

13
present chapter will briefly introduce three 1960s
broadcasters who practiced community journalism long before
it had acquired the name and, most important, practiced
community journalism in a manner classical communitarians
would consider appropriate. The work of these three
broadcasters will be the primary focus of this dissertation.
Much of the background for these early chapters is based
on the work of newspaper journalists because it is the
newspapers that have most actively promoted community
journalism. As is noted below, newspaper journalists
frequently involve broadcasters in their projects, usually as
tag-alongs using, and being used by, their print partners.
Three Broadcast Community Journalists
There are many different views of community journalism
and communitarianism. Louis Hodges of Washington and Lee
University frequently writes on issues of journalism ethics.
It is Hodges' view of communitarianism as a means of
enhancing individual liberty that most closely fits the
approach taken by the three editorialists who are the subject
of this study. They were all most concerned about their
communities but did not allow themselves to be swallowed by
the communitarian tendency to allow the group to become more

14
important than the individuals for which it was established.18
All three broadcasters used editorials to accomplish their
purposes. Unlike many 1990s community journalists, all three
considered ratings and income secondary to operating in the
best interests of the individuals who made up their
communities.
Because all three felt it was their duty to better their
communities, all three can be considered existential
communitarians. "Existential communitarianism" is a term
that must be defined for complete understanding of the
discussion that follows. So it will be possible to refer
back to what is meant by existential communitarianism, the
definition, which will be based upon the preceding
description of the actions of Brechner, Davis, and Renick,
will be established for the rest of this dissertation as
follows: Concerned primarily with community, but drawing from
the principles of existentialism to include concern for
individuals within the community as well as concern for
personal responsibility.
Joe Brechner
Joe Brechner was principal owner and manager of Channel
9 in Orlando, first as WLOF-TV, then as WFTV-TV from 1958 to
18
Barney, "Community Journalism," 145.

15
1984. When he arrived in Orlando in 1953 to acquire part
ownership in radio station WLOF-AM, he had already
established a reputation for speaking out for causes he
thought in the interests of the community.19
Brechner had laid the groundwork for his active part in
community affairs at WGAY radio in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Brechner and John Kluge founded WGAY-AM-FM when they were
released from the U.S. Army following World War II. Money
from the sale of WGAY financed Brechner' s move into the
Orlando broadcasting market. Although Kluge owned a portion
of the Orlando operation, he was moving in other directions,
and it was Brechner who would build the Orlando television
station, using it as a platform for his brand of community
journalism. Brechner' s most frequently visited editorial
topic was civil rights. At a time when there were few
integrated facilities and when there was a strong Ku Klux
Klan presence in Orlando, a city with many of the
characteristics of other southern cities in the 1960s,
Brechner was not only hiring African-Americans to work at his
19 Joe Glover, "Joe Brechner's Castle in the Air - The WGAY
Years: 1946-47," 2000. Unpublished paper presented at the
2000 Broadcast Education Association annual conference in Las
Vegas, Nevada.

16
station, he was campaigning for equal rights for all
• 20
Americans.
Norm Davis
On 8 August 1967, the voters of Jacksonville and Duval
County, Florida, went to the polls to decide what form of
government they wanted. The choice was simple. Would they
continue to have what critics of the area' s political system
considered a redundant, wasteful, corrupt form of government
with one group of elected and appointed officials for
Jacksonville and another for Duval County, or would they
clean house by consolidating their governments? They had
been subjected to a vigorous, sometimes bitter, campaign with
strong arguments on both sides. Many office holders and
their cronies who had benefited under the existing system
pulled out all the stops in their attempts to maintain the
status quo. They tried to convince black voters that
consolidation was an attempt to keep power out of the hands
of the African-American community.21 They argued directly to
the African-American community that whites from the suburbs
20 Joe Glover, "Joe Brechner's Strategy for Orlando, Florida:
The 1960s Civil Rights Editorials of WFTV-TV," 1998.
Unpublished paper presented at 1998 American Journalism
Historians Association Annual Conference in Louisville, KY.
21 Richard Martin, Consolidation: Jacksonville, Duval County
(Jacksonville: Convention Press, Inc., 1968), 160.

17
would control the city. They claimed that consolidation was
a communist-inspired idea.22
Residents of areas outside the city had been bombarded
with warnings that they would be giving up the independence
they had always enjoyed and that they would be paying taxes
to support the workings of the City of Jacksonville. If they
voted against consolidation, citizens of the area would have
been continuing a long tradition of refusing to become part
of a massive area government.23
Why then did this vote turn out differently from earlier
referenda on Jacksonville area consolidation? Why, when the
ballots were counted, had area voters approved consolidation
by an almost 2-1 margin?24 Furthermore, why had county voters
approved consolidation by a margin of 8-5? Given the
similarities between the 1967 election and other elections
involving issues of combined governments for the Jacksonville
area, which will be described in chapter 7, what was the
difference in this one?
Several factors contributed to the outcome in this
complicated issue, such as strong leadership, willingness of
22 Ibid., 155.
23 Ibid., XI-XIII.
24
Ibid., 224.

18
consolidation backers to tweak the plan to accommodate
opponents, strong African-American support, teamwork between
legislators and local proponents, almost wholehearted
business support, and strong media support once backers of
the plan started their work.25 One of the major differences,
however, was the work of a group of investigative reporters
at television station WJXT.
The reporters, led by News Director Bill Grove and
Editorial Director Norm Davis, started their work in early
1964. Less than three years later, in late 1996, when the
Local Government Study Commission released its recommendation
for consolidation, eight county and city officials who had
been subjects of WJXT investigative reports and editorials
were indicted on 104 counts. The counts involved
expenditures of government funds for personal items, the use
of government vehicles for personal needs, padding payrolls,
subverting the competitive bidding system to award contracts
to favorite companies, bribery, perjury, and grand larceny.
WJXT was alone in its zeal to uncover the wrongs in area
government. It is impossible to prove, but well within the
realm of possibility that had WJXT not begun exposing
25
Ibid., 226-234.

19
malfeasance in government in 1964 there would not have been a
successful 1967 consolidation movement.
The editorial crusade undertaken by WJXT targeted
corrupt government in the city and county, put WJXT income in
danger, and put the lives of station personnel at risk. It
was, nonetheless, another example of genuine community
journalism.26
Ralph Renick
Ralph Renick served as news director and anchor of WTVJ-
TV in Miami for thirty-five years, commencing in 1950. The
station began doing editorials in 1957, with Renick as
editorial director and presenter. When his tenure at WTVJ was
over, he estimated that he had delivered more than 50,000
editorials.27 Many of Renick's editorials, like those of
WJXT, involved local government corruption.28
A crusade against governmental inadequacies and another
against unsanitary conditions in Miami restaurants, as well
26 Joe Glover, "Media Influence on City-County Consolidation
in Jacksonville and Duval County, Florida, 1967." Unpublished
paper, 1997, University of Florida.
27 S.L. Alexander, "May the Good News Be Yours: Ralph Renick
and Florida's First News" Mass Comm Review 19, 2 (Winter-
Spring 1992): 57-63.
28 Gerald Vincent Flannery, "Local Television Editorializing:
A Case Study of the Editorials of Ralph Renick on WTVJ-TV"
(Ph.D. diss., Ohio University, 1966).

20
as continuing editorials on race relations, best illustrated
the communitarianism aspects of Renick's editorializing. In
the first case, seventy-three editorials against inadequate
law enforcement were broadcast in 1966. In the second case,
a series of twelve editorials about unsanitary conditions in
Miami restaurants aired in 1973.29 In all three crusades,
Renick was risking the station's bottom-line. The restaurant
campaign, for instance, brought "an almost daily danger of
advertising losses and lawsuits," as well as resulting in
assault and battery charges against a restaurateur who
physically attacked a WTVJ reporter and cameraman.30
Problem. Purpose. Research Questions. Methodology.
Significance. Scope and Limitations
The function of this portion of the introductory chapter
is to outline the structure of this research. It is divided
into six sections. In the first section, the problem of lack
of public trust in the press is described. In part two, the
purpose of this research, which is to illuminate possible
remedies for the problem, is outlined. Part three lists the
questions to be answered. Methodology is described in part
29 Paul Ashdown, "Television and the Editorial Crusade: A Case
Study of WTVJ-TV, 1965-1973" (Ph.D. diss., Bowling Green
State University, 1975).
30
Ibid., 130.

21
four. In part five, the significance of this work is set
forth. Finally, scope and limitations are specified in part
six.
Problem
The first problem to be faced in this study is
determining what it is that makes community journalism
community journalism, to determine what the qualities are
that distinguish community journalism from standard
journalism.
A second problem is distinguishing what it was that made
Joe Brechner, Norm Davis, and Ralph Renick community
journalists, distinguishing what it was that made them
different from journalists in the 1990s who claimed they were
practicing community journalism.
A third problem is determining what community journalism
is supposed to do, and if it is not doing that, why not?
This third problem is reflected in the Freedom Forum surveys
cited in this chapter. Journalists are under fire for
failing to shed light on their communities' problems, for
failing to investigate stories in depth, for favoring stories
or reporting techniques that sensationalize the news.
Readers and viewers are increasingly less inclined to grant
the press the full protections of the First Amendment.

22
Newspapers and broadcast news organizations are suffering
losses in readership and viewership. In order to win those
news consumers back, some members of the press are turning to
community journalism and, in so doing, may be widening the
gap between news consumers and news reporters.
Purpose
The purpose of this study will be to compare and
contrast the community journalism of today with the community
journalism practiced by Brechner, Davis, and Renick. With
that comparison as a reference point, the research attempts
to determine who the real practitioners of public journalism
are, or were. This is a topic important to today's
journalists who are searching for ways to restore their
credibility and public trust. The present study suggests it
is possible Brechner, Renick, and Davis can light the way.
Research Questions
As indicated above, researchers must ask, "What is it?
What is community journalism?" This dissertation attempts
not so much to define community journalism as it was
practiced in the 1990s as to describe it. A second question
to be answered by this study is, "Were the three
editorialists who are the focus of this dissertation
community journalists?" That will become evident in

23
subsequent chapters and will be discussed in the appropriate
section. Also to be answered is the question of whether
today's community journalists could consider Brechner, Davis,
and Renick journalists to be emulated.
Significance
On a philosophical level, Aristotle told those at the
agora that a virtuous deed is virtuous only if it is done for
its own sake. If the good result of an ostensibly virtuous
deed is only a by-product of the action, if the action was
performed with another end in mind, then the deed is not
virtuous.31 If community journalism falls into the second
category, it is a sham. This research attempts to determine
which practitioners of community journalism were, or are,
community journalists as defined above. On a more practical
level, one must ask if the community journalism of today1 s
practitioners is the way to accomplish community journalism' s
stated goals. That is, to bring back the audiences that have
turned away from newspapers and television news in such great
numbers or, would community journalism as practiced by
Brechner, Renick, and Davis be more effective in the long
run.
31 Aristotle, The Nichomachean Ethics, D. Ross, trans.
(Oxford: Oxford Press, 1987), 53.

24
Additionally, the three broadcasters studied for this
work working in a state that was not fully of the South or of
the North. They were working in a state that was in
transition and, therefore, represented a middle ground of
America.
Brechner, Davis, and Renick are crucial to understanding
the shift in momentum for television editorializing in the
1960s, which would pave the way for the next stage of
community journalism. They are part of the continuum along
which journalism has developed. Broadcasters before them
avoided editorializing. In the 1960s, broadcast
editorializing increased. In a limited number of cases, it
was editorializing with a strong element of crusading. In
more recent times, editorializing and crusading journalism
have decreased, in part because of business factors.
Methodology
The research relies heavily on primary sources and
material. The primary material is used to lay a baseline for
further research. It is used to illustrate what the
editorialists were doing and, when possible, what they were
thinking, what their motivations were.

25
University of Florida journalism professor Bernell Tripp
has offered five guidelines for use in determining choice of
biographical subjects:
1. Depth of influence: profession/sphere; era;
geographical
2. Peer recognition
3. Contribution to history as a whole
4. Access to "true voice"
5. Personal interest32
All three of the subjects of this dissertation qualify
under Tripp' s standards. All were influential in their
profession, in their time, and in their community. All
received recognition from both their professional peers and
their fellow citizens. Because of the relatively short
amount of time that has passed since the three editorialists
were at work, it would be precipitous to attempt to determine
their overall place in history. However, because they are
acknowledged as having been editorial pioneers, it is not
presumptuous to expect that, in time, their importance will
be considered substantial. There is access to true voice in
all three cases. Some of the true voice is found in the
editorials written by Brechner, Davis, and Renick and some of
32 Bernell Tripp, Class lecture in "Biography as History," 26
August 1998, University of Florida.

26
it in other writings. In the case of Norm Davis, it is found
in personal interviews. This true voice is invaluable in
revealing motivation. Personal interest in journalists who
contribute to the communities in which they live fulfills the
final criterion.
This research uses the many writings available on
community journalism for context in the sections on current
community journalism practices. There is ample background
material, both secondary and primary, to provide context for
the period when the three Florida editorialists were writing.
Almost all of the editorials of the three Floridians are
available for review. The editorials of Joe Brechner are now
housed at the Orlando Historical Society. Norm Davis has
kept some of his editorials in a personal archive. The
Renick editorials are stored at the Wolfson Archive at the
Miami-Dade Public Library.
There are writings and transcriptions of speeches from
the three editorialists. Some of these works are direct
comment on the process of broadcast editorializing. This
information is also valuable for purposes of attempting to
determine motivation. Newspapers from Miami, Jacksonville,
and Orlando are a secondary source of information about
Brechner, Renick, and Davis. These newspapers frequently

27
confirm information found in the primary material, as well as
providing context.
Oral history interviews are also a major part of this
research. In several interviews, Joe Brechner's widow,
Marion, remembered a great deal of what was happening at
WFTV-TV in the 1960s. She was in charge of public relations
at the station during the period studied. Norm Davis, an
attorney in Miami when this work was in progress, made
himself available for interviews. Ralph Renick's brother,
his mother, his oldest daughter, and his only son were all
willing to discuss his life and motivations. There are two
doctoral dissertations available on Renick and WTVJ-TV.33
Both are described in the literature review section.
It is fortunate that there is so much information
available because what emerges from the writings of various
historians who consider methodology is an overall sense that
rigorous attention must be paid to context, to verifying that
evidence is genuine, to its true meaning, to motivation of
both the historian and his/her subjects, and that no one
factor can be considered sufficient cause for what has
happened in the past. For that reason, particular attention
33 Ashdown, "Editorial Crusade" and Flannery, "Local
Television Editorializing."

28
is paid to other factors present during the time period and
in the communities where the three editorialists worked.
Scope and Limitations
This study examines two time periods. The late 1950s
through the early 1970s has been chosen for illustration of
the work done by the three editorialists because it was
during this time period that all three were editorially most
effective.
In Jacksonville, WJXT-TV was a driving force behind the
push for change in governmental structure. It was the WJXT
editorials and investigative reporting that provided the
motivation to make governmental consolidation a reality after
a long history in Jacksonville of failure to win voter
approval for consolidation.
Joe Brechner had editorialized for years on his
broadcast stations. As early as the late 1940s, Brechner was
a strong editorial voice in Silver Spring, Maryland, and was
also writing magazine articles in support of broadcast
editorializing. It was, however, in Orlando that Brechner' s
editorials promoting civil rights showed that a strong
broadcast editorial voice in the community can make a strong
and positive contribution.

29
In Miami during this time, Ralph Renick was
editorializing on several issues. Although many of those
issues, such as taxes, city government, state government, and
roads were important, Renick's true communitarianism was
exhibited in four editorial crusades: the first on organized
crime in Miami and its effect on local law enforcement, the
second on restaurant health standards, another on ”B-Girl"
strip joints, and a fourth on civil rights.
The present research attempts to describe and analyze
the community journalism efforts of the late 1980s and 1990s.
It is in this more recent period that the community
journalism effort became a major factor in both print and TV
journalism.34 It is against this recent standard that the
research measures the community journalism efforts of the
three Florida editorialists.
Also included in this research is a limited examination
of the news programs and documentaries of the stations where
Brechner, Davis, and Renick worked. These other news¬
programming facets are covered only insofar as they were
corollary to the editorial campaigns of the three
editorialists. They help to explain the crusading nature of
34 Michael Foley, "A Challenging New Dimension to Service,"
The Irish Times, 1 April 1988, 23.

30
the overall work of the three editorialists and their
stations.
In addition to the chapters on context, involving civil
rights in Florida and the United States during the
editorialists' time period, there is personal background on
the editorialists. This background attempts to illuminate
their motivations in practicing community journalism, but
there is no attempt to present said background as biography;
that is left for later works.
This study is limited to the work of the three
editorialists who are its focus and the 1990s community
journalists with whom the editorialists are compared and
contrasted. There is no attempt to include the work of other
editorialists who were working in Florida or in other parts
of the United States during the same time period.
The examination of community journalism is limited to
the decade of the 1990s. In a work devoted exclusively to
the origins of community journalism, it would be possible,
yea necessary, to examine some part of every era of
journalism history, from the days of the American Revolution
to the era of the muckrakers, to the Watergate era. That is
also left to later research, for to include it would take
this study far afield. Furthermore, it was in the 1990s that

31
media outlets began calling what they were doing "community
journalism."
Freedom Forum surveys in 1997 and 1999 carried "bad
news" for 1990s journalists. The surveys showed that
American citizens were progressively less inclined to support
full First Amendment rights for the press. News readers and
viewers were increasingly disillusioned with the way the
press had done its job. A group of journalists, in an
attempt to regain viewer and reader loyalty, began practicing
community journalism. The proclaimed purpose of community
journalism was to give American citizens more information
with which to participate in the public life of their
communities. There was in community journalism, however,
also an apparent motivation of selling newspapers and
building television ratings.
In an attempt to determine if community journalism of
the 1990s was practiced with genuine communitarian
motivations, this research compares the 1990s community
journalists to three television editorialists who were
working circa the 1960s and who appear to be genuine
community journalists.

CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
The literature for this research comes from two areas.
To determine the degree to which the three Florida
editorialists were practicing community journalism, a review
of the literature on community journalism is necessary. The
other area deals with the editorialists themselves.
Community Journalism
The writings on community journalism fall into two
groups. The first is academic; the second, opinion—opinions
that fall on either side of the community journalism debate.
Even the best known of the participants in the conversation
tend to offer editorials rather than research. Several of
the citations in the section below on academic works on
community journalism are from a 1998 conference at the
University of South Carolina. Some of the articles presented
at that academic conference were of no use for an academic
literature review because they, too, were no more than
opinion. That is the location community journalists now
occupy. They are part of a movement, if it can be called
32

33
such, that is still being defined, a stage in which opinion
is helping to write the definition.
Accordingly, much of the written material on community
journalism is opinion. That information will be covered
below. The majority of what does exist in the way of
academic research on community journalism deals either with
print journalism or with the philosophical underpinnings of
the movement. This material is valuable to the present
research for the light it sheds on what community journalism
claims to be and what it actually is. It is used to
illustrate that Brechner, Davis, and Renick practiced a truer
form of community journalism.
Civic Lessons: A Report on Four Civic Journalism
Projects is one of several studies funded by the Pew Center
for Civic Journalism and the Pew Charitable Trusts. Esther
Thorsen of the Center for Advanced Social Research at the
University of Missouri and Lewis A. Friedland of the
School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University
of Wisconsin-Madison studied four civic journalism projects
in 1996. Civic Lessons included civic journalism projects in
Charlotte, North Carolina; Madison, Wisconsin; San Francisco,
California; and Binghamton, New York.

34
Thorsen and Friedland were asked to "ascertain the
impact of the projects in their respective communities; to
determine what kinds of projects seem to work best and why;
and to see what impact the projects had on the newsrooms
involved."35 With the assistance of several colleagues,
Friedland interviewed subjects in newsrooms, in communities
where civic journalism projects were underway, and in
governmental offices in those communities. In all, 400
people were interviewed.
The foreword of Civic Lessons stated:
By far the most significant finding in the evaluators'
report is that, on the whole, civic journalism is making
progress toward its goals. It benefits both the
communities it serves and the overall democratic
process. Most people surveyed who were aware of the
four projects chosen for study reported being more
knowledgeable and concerned about their communities as a
result and indicated they had a stronger sense of their
civic responsibilities, especially as voters.36
Thorsen and Friedland assumed correctly that not all
their findings would be positive. While readers responded
warmly to the projects, there was considerable resistance
from within the newsrooms they studied. Editors and
35 Esther Thorsen and Lewis A. Friedland, Civic Lessons,
(Philadelphia: Pew Center for Civic Journalism, 1996), 1.
36
Ibid.

35
reporters feared civic journalism was taking the power out of
their hands and depositing it in the hands of readers.
According to Thorsen and Friedland, the success of the
four civic journalism projects they studied was due to the
focus on local issues, issues important to local readers and
viewers. "All of the projects, in very different ways,
listened to citizen concerns, took them seriously, and then
invested the time, money, and experience necessary to engage
in a type of sustained enterprise reporting that is becoming
increasingly rare in American journalism."37 It may or may
not be significant that the study was commissioned and paid
for by the Pew Center for Civic Journalism, but that fact
should be noted.
Another research study commissioned by the Pew
Center reached less positive conclusions about civic
journalism. Does Public Journalism Work? The Campaign
Central Experience, a study released by the Pew Center for
Civic Journalism and The Record newspaper of Hackensack,
New Jersey, examined the role of civic journalism in the
37
Ibid., 10.

36
1996 race for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Bill
Bradley.38
The Record had been an advocate of public journalism
since 1992, expanding its coverage of political issues, as
opposed to horse-race coverage, beginning with the 1992
presidential contest. More polling had been conducted on
public opinions on issues and values. More news columns and
editorials had been devoted to reader opinions and ideas.
The Record continued, and even expanded, its public
journalism approach for the 1996 races.
Blomquist and Zukin chose the "Campaign Central" project
because it
presented a unique opportunity to assess the impact of
public journalism. Because New Jersey does not have a
single dominant statewide newspaper, it was readily
possible to construct a statewide sample of adults who
experienced the same campaigns for president and U.S.
Senate but saw different daily newspapers. This allowed
us to address an issue that challenged other
researchers: the absence of a meaningful control group.39
Blomquist and Zukin reported editors who attended focus
groups organized to determine the effectiveness of their
38 David Blomquist and Cliff Zukin, Does Public Journalism
Work? The Campaign Central Experience, 1997. Available at
the web site of the Pew Center for Civic Journalism,
http;//WWW.pewcenter.org/doinaci /research/r_does.html.
39
Ibid.

37
public journalism left the meetings "stunned and somewhat
shaken." Most respondents remembered little of the public
journalism section in The Record. Most Record readers in the
focus groups did not even remember the public journalism
section when it was passed around the room. It was the
candidates' television commercials that most respondents
remembered.
The researchers concluded:
Record readers were no more interested in the election
or knowledgeable about the candidates and the issues
than readers of other New Jersey newspapers. They had
about the same level of trust in politics as other
newspaper readers, and were not significantly more
likely to vote or to talk about the election with people
outside their family, once demographic differences were
controlled. Their opinions of The Record and its
political coverage were roughly comparable to the
opinions of other New Jersey readers about their local
newspaper.40
Blomquist and Zukin also concluded that journalists are
limited in their ability to dictate how, or if, citizens can
be reconnected to their political systems.
As part of their study, Blomquist and Zukin took a
closer view of the public journalism project in Charlotte,
North Carolina, which is outlined elsewhere in this
dissertation. They found that, despite a more optimistic
40
Ibid.

38
report by the Charlotte Observer, only one in four readers
noticed anything different about the Observer's political
coverage after the newspaper had shifted to public journalism
techniques. The project involving the Observer was part of a
larger, statewide, project involving fifteen newspapers and
television stations throughout North Carolina. Blomquist and
Zukin reported that only one in four North Carolina voters
were even aware of the project.
James R. Bowers, Blair Claflin, and Gary Walker, in a
paper prepared for the 1998 Annual Meeting of the New England
Political Science Association, reported on the effects of a
five-year civic journalism project in Rochester, New York.
Bowers and his co-authors studied the work done by
Rochester's daily newspaper, the Democrat and Chronicle;
Rochester's public television and radio outlet, WXXI; and
commercial television station WOKR-TV. WOKR-TV did not join
the effort until 1996.41 The five-year undertaking involved
41 James R. Bowers, Blair Claflin and Gary walker, The Impact
of Civic Journalism On Voting Behavior in State-Wide
Referendums: A Case Study From Rochester, New York (Paper
prepared for presentation at the 1998 Annual Meeting of the
New England Political Science Association. Available at the
web site of the Pew Center for Civic Journalism,
http: //www. pewcenter. org/doingcj . research/r_does. html

39
the Rochester Mayor's race in 1993 and the 1995 election for
Monroe County Executive.
The partners in the civic journalism project made a
decision to move beyond campaign coverage when the Pew Center
for Civic Journalism awarded them $35,000 to put together a
series on the condition of the educational system in
Rochester. The first project involving all three of the
partners was the "Make Us Safe" project in 1996. Make Us
Safe was aimed at curbing youth violence in Rochester.42
The first issue faced by partners in the Rochester project
was that the New York State Constitution requires a
referendum be held every twenty years to ask voters whether
the state should hold a new constitutional convention.
"Nineteen Ninety-seven was such a year."43 The partners
attempted to recruit other news organizations in other parts
of the state to participate but were, for the most part,
unsuccessful. Bowers and the other researchers wrote that
the failure to expand the constitutional convention civic
journalism campaign provided an opportunity to determine if
42
Ibid.
43
Ibid.

40
the campaign would bring out voters in larger numbers than in
areas where there had been no such campaign.
Bowers, Claflin, and Walker discovered that was exactly
what had happened. Approximately 80 percent of the voters
came to the polls in the six-county Rochester area, only 71
percent in the remainder of the upstate area, and only 36
percent in New York City. The previous attempts at civic
journalism campaigns had not been nearly as successful.
Bowers and the others concluded that on issues, such as the
constitutional convention question, "where there are no
traditional cues and determinants of political behavior at
work," civic journalism is more likely to have an impact. On
issues involving more traditional political conflict, such as
general elections, there is not as likely to be a major civic
journalism influence. "Additionally," said Bowers and
associates, "it is important to emphasize that even if there
were no assessment issues surrounding its impact, the
practice of civic journalism cannot be expected in only a few
years to turn around the decline in public life that has
taken a generation to accomplish."44
44
Ibid.

41
Editorial page involvement in public journalism projects
and efforts was examined in the 1998 Ph.D. dissertation of
Camille Renee Kraeplin at the University of Texas at Austin.
In The Role of the Editorial Page in Newspaper-Based Public
Journalism, Kraeplin reported on the results of a mail survey
distributed to members of the National Conference of
Editorial Writers. The respondents were asked questions
designed to determine to what extent their knowledge of and
involvement in public journalism influenced their attitudes
toward the movement. They were asked how much they knew
about public journalism, if they agreed with the movement's
basic concepts, if their editorial departments had
participated in public journalism projects, what those
projects involved, and how successful the projects had been.45
Kraeplin' s data showed that most of the respondents were
supporters of public journalism, even though most of them
were skeptical of the movement. The respondents also
believed that the priorities of public journalism
corresponded with the priorities of their own editorial
45 Kraeplin, Camille Renee, "The Role of the Editorial Page in
Newspaper-Based Public Journalism" (Ph.D. diss.. University
of Texas at Austin, 1998).

42
departments, but they were concerned that pursuing those
priorities might compromise newsroom objectivity.
Kraeplin concluded that the most significant obstacle on
the road to acceptance of public journalism by members of the
working press might be misperceptions about public journalism
philosophy. Kraeplin also reported she had found support for
a more active editorial presence in public journalism
projects. Opposition could be reduced, wrote Kraeplin, by
giving the editorial department primary control over public
journalism efforts within the newsroom. Such a move,
suggested Kraeplin, would allay the fears of those in the
newsroom who feared losing the proper reportorial distance
from the subjects of their reports while, at the same time,
lessen the fears of editorial writers who feel public
journalism projects are an intrusion into an area that is
normally reserved for the editorial department.
John R. Bender and Charlyne Berens have also attempted
to determine who within the ranks of journalists is most
likely to support public journalism. Bender and Berens
asked, "What leads some journalists to embrace and others to
abhor public journalism?" Specifically, these researchers,
in a survey sent to 268 weekly and daily newspapers, were
trying to determine if characteristics such as age.

43
education, and market size affect acceptance of public
journalism.46
Bender and Berens reported, "For the most part, the
respondents took positions consistent with the principles and
goals of public journalism," showing overwhelming support for
the newspapers that try to make a difference in their
communities, and try to involve citizens in public debate in
an effort to improve a community's public life. The research
showed that journalists who start at weeklies are more likely
to agree w.ith the precepts of public journalism than those
who start at dailies. Older journalists displayed no more
resistance to the tenets of public journalism than younger
journalists. Editors were less receptive to public
journalism than were executives and reporters. Bender and
Berens wrote:
If the majority or even a strong plurality of
journalists agrees with the tenets of public journalism
as we operationalize them in this study, what are we
arguing about? Perhaps the problem is not so much one
of differing ideologies as of simple misunderstanding.
Perhaps we are not so much working at cross-purposes as
simply speaking in different dialects.47
46 James R. Bender and Charlyne Berens, "Public Journalisin' s
Incubator: Identifying Preconditions for Support," presented
at Public Journalism: A Critical Forum, conference at the
University of South Carolina, 11-13 October 1998.
47
Ibid.

44
In a 1998 master's thesis at the University of Western
Ontario, Delaney Lyle Turner compared the penny press and
public journalism. From Classes to Masses: A Comparative
Study of the Penny Press and Public Journalism was a work
involving literature review and telephone interviews in which
Turner researched the origins, as well as the goals, of both
periods of journalism. Political, social, economic, and
technological factors of both the penny press and public
journalism were examined with an eye toward comparison.
Delaney's stated intent was to show there are direct
parallels between the penny press and public journalism, the
most important parallel being in the journalist' s
responsibility to democracy. He concluded his research
confirmed the parallels, particularly in the aforementioned
commitment to democracy.48
University of South Carolina Ph.D. student Rebecca A.
Payne contended that public journalism has evolved enough to
be considered in a second stage of development. No longer
are public journalists involved solely in generating
reporting projects that can be called "public journalism."
48 Delaney Lyle Turner, "From Classes to Masses: A Comparative
Study of the Penny Press and Public Journalism" (Master's
Thesis, University of Western Ontario, 1998).

45
They are now attempting to improve daily journalism and
originating projects that are intended to do what public
journalism was supposed to do all along: improve citizen
participation in public life.
Payne's dissertation is a case study of the public
journalism efforts of the Columbia, South Carolina, State
newspaper to improve its connection with its readers.
"Project Reconnect," another venture sponsored by the Pew
Center for Civic Journalism, asked readers how daily news
coverage could be improved. The readers targeted were those
who reported that religion affected their daily decisions.
The Knight-Ridder Corporation also provided funding for
Project Reconnect. Knight-Ridder is the State's parent
company.
Payne utilized a reader focus group as well as data
collected by the State and a questionnaire filled out by
State reporters and editors to determine their opinions of
Project Reconnect and public journalism. There was also an
analysis of contents of the State to determine if the paper
was practicing public journalism.
Payne concluded that public journalism done poorly could
harm, not heal, newspaper relationships with readers; that
reporter involvement and clearly defined goals and a method

46
for measuring the results of public journalism projects are
critical to the success of second-stage public journalism;
and, concluded Payne, public journalists must avoid even the
appearance of pandering to their readers.49
Susan Willey acknowledged the similar aims of the
Hutchins Commission and public journalists in a series of
case studies of public journalism projects. Willey wrote:
"Civic, or public journalists at some newspapers are
attempting to bridge [ the] journalist-citizen communication
gap by using a variety of creative methods to systematically
listen to citizens—to talk with rather than talk at the
people.50 Willey examined the work of four newspapers. All
four papers made an effort to give readers more of a voice in
determining how news was covered.
It was Willey* s conclusion that journalists' efforts to
listen to their readers serve as a catalyst for both
49 Rebecca A. Payne, "Connecting in Columbia, South Carolina:
A Case Study in Public Journalism" (Ph.D. diss., University
of South Carolina, 1998). Several of the works cited in this
section were presented at this same conference. This was one
of the few sources of works by academics on community
journalism. Most writing on the subject is partisan opinion,
some of which is included later in this chapter.
50 Susan Willey, "Civic Journalism in Practice: Case Studies
in the Art of Listening," Newspaper Research Journal, 19
(Winter 1998): 16.

47
knowledge and discussion and that journalists are finding
ways to use reader input in the news reporting process. "In
effect, these journalists seem to be creating new paradigms
for newsgathering, using a citizen-based informational
foundation."51
In 1996, James Robert Compton, in a think piece,
reported on the theoretical foundations for public
journalism, examining the communicative theories of American
pragmatist John Dewey and German thinker Jurgen Habermas.
Compton wrote that public journalism is an attempt to put
Habermas's vision of discursive politics into practice.
However, asserted Compton, "the proponents of public
journalism fail to provide a critique of public life that is
informed by the historical, political and economic context of
the media industry." What Compton seemed to be saying is
that public journalists fail to consider real-world
conditions within the media and society as they attempt to
bring the public back into public life.52
Tanni Haas has also examined the influence of Habermas
and others who have taken similar approaches to public
52 James Robert Compton, "Communicative Politics and Public
Journalism" (Master's thesis, Simon Fraser University, 1996).

48
discourse. Haas noted in 1996: "Little attention has been
focused on the kind of publicness [ a word used frequently by
community journalists] that the news media ought to further."
The choice, according to Haas, using the works of Habermas
and Harvard political theory professor, Seyla Benhabib, in
particular as reference, is between public journalism and a
journalism of publics.53 Public journalism considers
individual members of society to be part of the whole;
society is considered to have come first. Therefore, the
interests of the individual are secondary to that of society.
A journalism of publics, on the other hand, considers
individuals primary, with society developing from those
individuals or groups of individuals. In approaching
journalism, a journalism of publics allows investigators, or
reporters, to explore the underlying values of individuals'
opinions.
53 See Jurgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the
Public Sphere (Cambridge: MIT Press,) 1990; Justification and
Application (Cambridge,: MIT Press,) 1993; Moral
Consciousness and Communicative Action (Cambridge: MIT
Press), 1990; and Seyla Benhabib, "Afterword: Communicative
Ethics and Contemporary Controversies in Practical
Philosophy," in S. Benhabib and F. Dallmayr (eds.), The
Communicative Ethics Controversy (Cambridge: MIT Press,) 330-
369; Selya Benhabib, Situating the Self (New York:
Routledge), 1992.

49
It was Haas's conclusion that the argument over what the
press is supposed to do, as waged several decades ago by
Dewey and Lippmann, is continuing and is resulting in a
"crisis of civic communication." Civic journalism is faced
with its own argument: public journalism or a journalism of
publics.54
In a think piece drawing on theories of philosophy,
David K. Perry viewed the civic journalism debate as a
conversation between nominalists and realists.55 There are
elements of both in the civic journalism movement. It is
possible, wrote Perry, for civic journalism to adopt either a
purely nominalist approach or a purely realist approach. It
is also possible to adopt a combination of the two, which
Perry said is more realistic. In approaching the practice of
civic journalism, its practitioners should, according to
Perry, adopt not only the "I" of nominalism, but also the
"me" of realism. In this way, civic journalists can be both
54 Tanni Haas, Towards a Democratically Viable Conception of
Publicness: The Case of Public Journalism," presented at
Public Journalism: A Critical Forum, conference at the
University of South Carolina, 11-13 October 1998.
55 Nominalists theorize that universals exist only in the
mind. Realists theorize that universals exists independent
of thought or perception.

50
commentators on and participants in the society they write
about.
One duty of journalists to be considered is the duty to
the broader world at large, as opposed to the specific
community in which the journalist operates. Wrote Perry:
[ C] ivic journalists perhaps should emphasize the welfare
of the entire human race, as well as that of their
local community. . . . This would seem to fall closer to
the midpoint of the hypothesized nominalism-realism
scale than does one that considers the interests of only
a specified community or of only the entire human
race."56
In Local Television News and Viewer Empowerment: TV
Journlism's Role in Empowering an Informed and Active Public,
Denise Barkis Richter advanced her theory that it is newsroom
attitudes that hamstring the public journalism effort.
Richter conducted a content analysis of 194 local television
news stories and found that only four of them contained
"empowering information." She defined empowering information
as information that not only allows viewers to take steps to
correct an undesirable situation, but also gives them
56 David K. Perry, "Civic Journalism, Nominalism and Realism,"
presented at Public Journalism: A Critical Forum, conference
at the University of South Carolina, 11-13 October 1998.

51
information, such as phone numbers and addresses, needed to
reach those who are in position to bring about changes.57
Richter conducted in-depth interviews with fifteen local
television news workers (reporters, writers, and producers)
and found there were three primary reasons empowering
information was left out of local newscasts: (1) Employers
showed no commitment to including such information in news
stories. (2) News workers themselves showed no enterprise in
gathering and disseminating such information, relying instead
on "spot news" stories. (3) News workers perceived that
viewers did not want such information, that viewers were more
interested in human-interest stories than in stories of wider
importance.58
Richter recommended that television stations devote the
same resources to developing empowering information as is now
devoted to such viewer attractive features as the weather
report, that television stations "adopt empowering
information as their overarching philosophy," that reporters
57 Denise Barkis Richter, "Local Television News and Viewer
Empowerment: TV Journalism' s Role in Empowering an Informed
and Active Public," presented at Public Journalism: A
Critical Forum, conference at the University of South
Carolina, 11-13 October 1998.
58
Ibid.

52
be given the time and resources to develop stories involving
empowering information, and that television stations stop
underestimating the needs of their viewers. Without these
steps, warned, Richards, "Television news will not live up to
its full potential."59
Scott Maier used content analysis to study public
journalism on television in eighteen U.S. markets during the
1996 elections. Maier asked: "In short, did television
broadcasters pledged to public journalism deliver their
promised reform?" Maier also compared his results to those
of a previous study of public journalism at newspapers in
twenty markets during the same election season. Deborah
Potter of the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida,
conducted that study. Researchers at the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill assisted Potter.60
Maier* s reported results indicated that broadcasters were
not as intent on providing public journalism as were the
newspaper journalists studied by Potter. There was a slight
60 Scott Maier and Deborah Potter, "Public Journalism Through
the Television Lens: How Did The Broadcast Media Perform in
Campaign '96?," presented at Public Journalism: A Critical
Forum, conference at the University of South Carolina, 11-13
October 1998.

53
difference in coverage provided by the television public
journalists when they were compared with nonpublic journalism
television reporters, but it was statistically insignificant.
Conversely, the public journalism newspapers in Potter's
study had shown a substantial difference in content. Baier
noted the results of his study demonstrate the strong
resistance to public journalism in television newsrooms and
an apparent difficulty in adapting television to public
journalism because of the dependence on high-impact visuals
and quick sound bites. 61
Two groups of young people, a group of high school
students and a group of undergraduate journalism students,
were studied by Eleanor M. Novek to determine the attitudes
of young news student/consumers and their reactions to civic
journalism. Using a survey administered to both groups,
Novek attempted to determine what the expectations of
students were and how to employ civic journalism in
delivering the news product young people want.62
62 Eleanor M. Novek, "In the Public Interest?—NOT!" Young
People Assess the Social Responsibility of the Press in Civic
Journalism," presented at Public Journalism: A Critical
Forum, conference at the University of South Carolina, 11-13
October 1998.

54
Novek found the high school students less accepting of
the examples of civic journalism they were shown than were
the college journalism students. The high school students,
"evaluated civic journalism and its claims of social
accountability and found them wanting." The high schoolers
believed that the news coverage they were shown was "driven
by economic concerns." The college students believed what
they were shown demonstrated journalists' attempts to be more
socially responsible. 63
Novek concluded that young people are, contrary to some
reports, ready to participate in a more engaged relationship
with the media, as long as the media conduct themselves in a
socially responsive manner. Novek expressed an expectation
that young audiences will demand ethical, socially
responsible news coverage that encourages democratic
participation and, in so doing, "will be able to make their
voices heard in the public sphere."64
Working with the School of Communication at Webster
University, Don Corrigan conducted a mail survey of newspaper
editors and journalism professors in late 1996. Corrigan was
64
Ibid.

55
trying to determine what constitutes a public journalism
project. Six projects were outlined for the respondents, who
were asked if each project was a genuine public journalism
effort and whether they supported such projects.
With the exception of only one project, Corrigan found
little agreement on what the term "public journalism" means.
Only projects getting voters involved in discussions of the
issues in political races were thought to be true public
journalism projects by the respondents. The program used as
an example by Corrigan was the "Voice of the Voter" campaign
a 1994 San Francisco Chronicle, KRON-TV and KQED-FM
experiment.
Corrigan concluded that the differences of opinion over
what a public journalism project is has led to the so-called
"definition problem" of public journalism. That, in turn,
allows critics of public journalism to "fire at will,"
defining what form the target will take. In addition, wrote
Corrigan, public journalists are working without a blueprint,
inventing the phenomenon as they go; if they don't soon
address the definition problem, public journalism will have
no future.65
65 Don Corrigan. "Racial Pledges, Gang Summits, Election
Forums—What Actually Makes a Public Journalism Project?"
St. Louis Journalism Review 27 (March 1997): 1.

56
James Englehardt, a graduate student at the University
of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication, presented
a think piece based on the writings of community journalism
advocates and critics at the University of South Carolina
Community Journalism Forum. Englehardt refuted the accepted
ideas of both the public journalists and the critics of
public journalism. Both, he has said, are off-target.
Englehardt noted in 1998, as did Haas, mentioned above, that
the public journalism debate is a renewal of the
Dewey/Lippmann debate. Perhaps the greatest weakness of
public journalism, according to Englehardt, is that "it
remains ill-defined," with no consensus even on whether it
should be called public journalism, civic journalism,
communitarian journalism, or one of the other names assigned
to it at various times by various practitioners. The public
journalists, wrote Englehardt, make some false assumptions,
the foremost being that journalism is suffering because of a
loss of public trust in public life. Public journalism
critics also make false assumptions, he said, the foremost
being that public journalism sounds the death-knell for
objectivity.66
66 James Englehardt, "Public Journalism, Objectivity and
Public Life," presented at Public Journalism: A Critical

57
Englehardt concluded that public journalists cannot
escape the problem of lacking a true definition of what
public journalism is by simply claiming that experiments
cannot be defined. Conversely, it is unfair for critics of
public journalism to "expect a concise definition of public
journalism." One way to solve the problem, according to
Englehardt, is for public journalists to hold the kind of
forums they encourage the public to engage in, only the
conversation would not concern government and public life; it
would revolve around a definition for public journalism.
Wrote Englehardt, "These are deeper issues that journalists
need to confront before throwing more time and money into the
practical implementations of public journalism."67
Bevond a Proper Literature Review:
Partisan Viewpoints
The works cited above in the community journalism
literature review are all scholarly attempts to define,
analyze, and explain community journalism. The authors of
those works must inevitably refer to the partisans in the
community journalism debate. Therefore, at least a sampling
Forum, conference at the University of South Carolina, 11-13
October 1998.
67
Ibid.

58
of the works of those partisans is necessary to this section.
What follows is a sampling of the writings of not only the
proponents of community journalism but also the writings of
those who see community journalism as a threat, or at least a
nuisance, for journalism.
Ed Lambeth, Philip Meyer, and Esther Thorsen's Assessing
Public Journalism is an attempt to analyze several aspects of
public journalism.68 Most of the chapters, written by public
journalism scholars, are pro-public journalism. Lambeth,
Meyer, and Thorsen have all written chapters. Jennie Buckner
of the Charlotte Observer has contributed her views of public
journalism in the 1996 elections. Her pro-public journalism
view is refuted by editor/owner of the Ames (Iowa) Tribune,
Michael Gartner. Gartner, onetime head of NBC News, is a
strong critic of public journalism. Davis Merritt and Jay
Rosen have co-written a chapter. Merritt, who, through the
year 2000, was spending most of his time promoting public
journalism and was no longer concerned with day-to-day
operations of the Wichita Eagle, and Rosen, a professor from
New York University, were the two most enthusiastic
supporters of "public journalism." Rick Thames, who had
68 Where possible, without causing confusion, the author uses
the terms used by the practitioners.

59
assumed Merritt's old job of editor at the Wichita Eagle,
discussed the effects of public journalism on the 1992
elections. There are also chapters on how to make advocates
out of public journalism doubters and on the changes in daily
news coverage public journalism brings to a newsroom.63
The community journalism "evangelist" from the
journalism side of the discussion is Davis Merritt. In
Public Journalism and Public Life, Merritt explained why he
felt a change was needed in the way journalists do their
jobs. Journalists had become too removed from the society
they cover, according to Merritt. The old standard of
objectivity was no longer useful. The traditional
journalist, said Merritt, attempts to stay uninvolved in the
stories he or she covers. The public journalist tries to get
as involved as possible. Merritt made the point throughout
that if journalism does not do the job right, and by that he
meant getting connected with the community, journalists will
become excess baggage in society, and society will no longer
need or utilize them. A symbiotic relationship is what is
called for, in Merritt's view. Symbiosis is "two dissimilar
69 Edmund B. Lambeth, Philip E. Meyer and Esther Thorson,
Assessing Public Journalism (Columbia: University of Missouri
Press, 1998).

60
organisms living in a mutually beneficial relationship, each
bringing something essential to the whole."70 The "two
dissimilar organisms" are the press and politicians. When
this symbiotic relationship cannot be sustained neither can
democracy. In Merritt's view, as well as in the view of many
other public journalists, it is the loss of interest in the
democratic process that has led to a loss of interest in
reading newspapers and watching television news. Merritt
claimed the way to restore a healthy press is to restore a
healthy democracy.
The community journalism "evangelist" from academe is
Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University.
Rosen and Merritt frequently appear together at public
journalism conferences, often going their own way for a few
days or a few weeks at a time, only to meet up again at
another public journalism conference or forum. They preach
the same message from different disciplines (one is an
academic, the other a member of the working press), but in
similar thoughts and words.71 In Community Connectedness,
70 Davis Merritt, Public Journalism and Public Life (Mahwah,
NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998), 52.
71 Mike Hoyt, "Are You Now, or Will You Ever Be, A Civic
Journalist," Columbia Journalism Review (September/October
1995): 27-33.

61
Rosen told his readers that the job of a free press is to
enhance democracy. Rosen devoted a part of his article to
the comments of the late James K. Batten, chief executive of
Knight Ridder, Inc. A Batten article was also included in
Connectedness. Batten wrote that it is incumbent upon the
press to be connected to the society it covers; it is
incumbent upon society to be an "active, engaged citizenry,
willing to join in public debate and participate in public
affairs."12 In Batten's opinion, it is the job of the press to
convince the citizenry that being "active" and "engaged" is
necessary. If citizens do not feel they are part of a
community, and many of them do not, said Batten, they feel no
connectedness; they feel no reason to read about the factors
affecting the community. That is where public journalism
must be employed to make citizens care, to make them feel
connected, and, therefore, to make them want to read about
their community and see it reflected on the nightly TV
newscast. Batten wrote that press executives, reporters, and
editors were coming to agreement that there was a need for
newspapers to be more involved in their communities. Batten
summed up his views this way: "You can audit your
Jay Rosen, Community Connectedness: Passwords for Public
Journalism, The Poynter Papers: No. 3 (St. Petersburg, FL:
The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, 1993) 3.

62
communities, but it needs to be done in sort of a motherly
fashion. A newspaper should not be afraid to put its arms
around a community and say, "'I love you.'"73
Mixed News: The Public/Civic/Communitarianism Debate,74
edited by Jay Black, holder of the Poynter-Jamison chair
of mass media ethics at the University of South Florida-St.
Petersburg, is a consideration of community journalism from
the point of view of several ethicists, as well as from the
point of view of a trio of journalism's veterans. There are
both pro and con views in Mixed News, some of them the
product of presentations made by the book' s contributors at a
1994 gathering at the University of South Florida's St.
Petersburg campus; some of them articles submitted for this
publication. Ralph Barney, a professor of communications at
Brigham Young University, and John Merrill, professor
emeritus at the University of Missouri-Colurabia journalism
school, two of journalism' s most respected ethical thinkers,
have both been critical of community journalism, as have the
University of Montana's Deni Elliot and the Freedom Forum's
73 Ibid., 16.
74 Jay Black (ed.) Mixed News: The Public/Civic/
Communitarianism Debate (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
Associates, 1997).

63
Paul McMasters. McMasters has offered eight cautions for
practitioners of public journalism. Among them is the
warning: "There will be opportunists who hijack it for a joy
ride, publishers who use it as a marketing tool, editors who
cite it to justify neglect of more traditional reporting, and
reporters who go along with it to get ahead."75 There has
also been enthusiastic support for community journalism. J.
Herbert Altschull, professor in The Writing Seminars at Johns
Hopkins University, told his readers that journalism is going
through a crisis of conscience. Noting that he had
previously written of community journalism, but called it
"participatory journalism," Altschull wrote in 1997 that he
saw a critical role in community journalism for the
electronic media. Particularly important in the community
journalism movement, in Altschull' s view, was talk-radio.76
A 1995 joint publication of the Pew Center for Civic
Journalism and the Poynter Institute limns six of the public
journalism efforts that are considered seminal. Civic
Journalism: Six Case Studies, outlines partnerships between
newspapers, television stations, radio stations and, in one
75 Ibid., 191.
76
Ibid., 141.

64
case, a public relations firm.71 Among the six cases was the
partnership in Charlotte, North Carolina, in which WPEG-AM,
WBAV-FM, WSOC-TV, and the Charlotte Observer combined for a
project called "Taking Back Our Neighborhoods."
The ambush killing of two Charlotte police officers had
inspired "Neighborhoods." It was an attempt to get citizens
involved in cleaning up crime in their own neighborhoods, an
effort led by the media organizations. A six-month project
stretched into two years. The Observer and WSOC-TV won
awards. Assessments of the effect on crime in Charlotte were
inconclusive. In Wisconsin, a joint community journalism
effort, which included a public relations firm, attempted to
arouse citizen interest in the political process in the
Madison area. In Tallahassee, Florida, "The Public Agenda"
was also an attempt to increase community involvement in
community issues. There were descriptions of similar efforts
in Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle. Six Case Studies
concluded:
Our nation's civic life is in disrepair and the
implications for journalism are ominous: Citizens who
don't participate in the life of their community have
little need for news. Civic journalism seeks to address
Jan Schaffer and Edward D. Miller (eds.) Civic Journalism:
Six Case Studies Washington, DC: Pew Center for Civic
Journalism, 1995).

65
some of this detachment and improve journalism in a way
that may help stimulate civic discourse.78
Social Responsibility Theory
Many community journalists are either ostensibly or
genuinely motivated in part by belief in the social
responsibility of the press. For this reason, Four Theories
of the Press is a mandatory inclusion in a literature review
of community journalism. The social responsibility theory is
one of the four theories explored in Four Theories and the
Hutchins Commission is referred to several times. Generally,
social responsibility theory holds that the press has not
made responsible use of its favored position in United States
society. Social responsibility theory calls for the press to
service the political system, safeguard the liberties of the
individual, and enlighten the public.79
Works on Brechner. Davis, and Renick
Very little has been written on Joe Brechner; the only
writing about Norm Davis is contained in cursory mention
about the work of WJXT-TV. More work has been done on Ralph
Renick. The Wolfson Archive at the Miami-Dade Public Library
contains a wealth of material on Renick, much of it primary
78
Ibid., 1.

66
information, but also an appreciable amount of secondary
information.
Ralph Renick has been the subject of two doctoral
dissertations. Gerald Flannery7 s 1966 dissertation at Ohio
University was a study of the content of Renick7 s editorials,
an attempt to go beyond national studies that had counted the
number of stations doing editorials and local studies that
had dealt only with specific editorial campaigns.80 Flannery
worked with Renick as a news editor from 1958-1961 and was
familiar with newsroom procedures at WTVJ. He used his
contacts at the station to gain access to the files of
editorials for the period involved in his study, 2 September
1957 through 2 September 1965. Each of 1,735 editorials "was
read, coded, and recorded in terms of subject matter, use of
verbal supporting material, type of editorials, visual
materials used, individual position of the editorialist, and
effect of the editorial.7'81
79 Theodore Peterson, "The Social Responsibility Theory of the
Press,77 in Four Theories of the Press, ed. Fred S. Siebert
(Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1956), 74.
80 Gerald Vincent Flannery, "Local Television Editorializing:
A Case Study of the Editorials of Ralph Renick on WTVJ-TV"
(Ph.D. diss., Ohio University, 1966), 6.
81
Ibid., 9.

67
Flannery found that the majority of Renick editorials
were offshoots of news stories, that Renick tried to persuade
his viewers on the issues of the time and that the newscaster
believed editorials were more effective if delivered by
someone involved in the news, such as the news anchor.82
Flannery used his research to formulate guidelines for
television editorializing, concluding that the Renick method
was effective and should be emulated by other broadcasters.83
Editorial crusades by television stations, specifically
WTVJ, was the subject of Paul Ashdown's 1975 doctoral
dissertation at Bowling Green State University.84 Ashdown
also used content analysis but was interested primarily in
the editorials that fell into the crusade category. Two
crusades were identified. During 1966, WTVJ broadcast
seventy-three editorials, sixty-five of them consecutively,
decrying the lack of adequate law enforcement in the Miami
area.85 The crusade was picked up by Miami newspaper and
82 Ibid., 75-77.
83 Ibid. , 96-99.
84 Paul Ashdown, "Television and the Editorial Crusade: A Case
Study of WTVJ-TV, 1965-1973" (Ph.D. diss., Bowling Green
State University, 1975).
85
Ibid., 106.

68
radio outlets and drew national attention. Public officials
were indicted. Voters decided to change the system of
selecting the sheriff.
Another crusade centered on restaurant cleanliness in
the Miami area.86 The 1973 restaurant editorials resulted in
passage of an ordinance to give government additional power
to enforce sanitation laws in Miami restaurants. The
restaurant editorials may not appear at first to fit the
pattern of editorializing on important social issues but are,
nonetheless, useful because they illustrate the communitarian
approach of the three broadcasters around which the present
study revolves. Although the issue of restaurant cleanliness
was a consumer issue, there were still elements of putting
the interest of the community first even at the risk of
economic well being and personal safety.
S.L. Alexander's 1992 article in Mass Comm Review is
more biographical than analytical. "May the Good News Be
Yours: Ralph Renick and Florida' s First News" is a
combination of source and popular biography.87 Alexander is
86 Ibid., 122.
87 S.L. Alexander, "May the Good News Be Yours: Ralph Renick
and Florida's First News" Mass Comm Review 19, 1-2 (Winter-
Spring 1992): 57-63.

69
clearly from the "great man" school of history, presenting
Renick as a pioneer in South Florida television, subject to
occasional criticism he did not deserve. Alexander describes
Renick's career from the night he anchored his first newscast
on WTVJ in July 1950 to his death in July 1991. In the
intervening years he had become, in Nightline anchor Ted
Koppel's words, quoted in the Alexander article, "a national
institution in a local television market."
There is also much material on Renick and WTVJ to be
found in newspapers such as the Miami Herald, the Miami News,
the Fort Lauderdale News, the Miami Beach Daily Sun Reporter
and others. Renick was a popular topic for Miami' s print
media and articles regarding his editorials appeared
frequently.
Richard Martin mentions Norm Davis briefly in two works.
Martin was the Jacksonville Times-Union reporter assigned to
cover efforts to consolidate city and county government in
the Jacksonville area.88 In The City Makers, Martin said he
not only worked for the newspaper, but also had been "brought
in" by the Consolidation Study Commission to promote
88 Richard A. Martin, The City Makers (Jacksonville:
Convention Press, Inc.1972). Richard A. Martin,
Consolidation: Jacksonville, Duval County (Jacksonville:
Convention Press, Inc., 1968).

70
consolidation. The retired reporter and Jacksonville
historian gave himself much of the credit for the
consolidation success, but did complement WJXT-TV's efforts
in the consolidation movement.
Although there was frequent mention of Joe Brechner in
Orlando newspapers during the 1960s, only two researchers
have included him in their work. Kathy Amick Fuqua-Cardwell
wrote briefly of Brechner in her 1992 master's thesis at
Rollins College.89 Fuqua-Cardwell looked at questions asked
by Plato: What is Justice? What kind of state would be most
just? As she considered Socrates' conclusion that justice
involves balancing three elements of being: the rational, the
spirited and the appetite, Fuqua-Cardwell examined Central
Florida, as a representative of American society, through
this lens. It is the inclusion of everyone at the table, as
Octavio Paz has noted, that constitutes justice. That was
something that was not being done in Central Florida,
according to Fuqua-Cardwell. She illustrated her point with
an outline of racial history in the state, beginning in the
1920s and continuing through 1970.
89 Kathy Amick Fuqua-Cardwell, "Racial Justice: Orange County
1920-1970" (Master7 s thesis, Rollins College, Winter Park,
FL, 1992) .

71
The tumultuous sixties are a major part of Fuqua-
Cardwell's thesis. The fight for civil rights is the focal
point and the part played by Joe Brechner and others who were
active in Orlando' s Civil Rights Movement is explored.
Fuqua-Cardwell concluded that Brechner was particularly
successful in "making the invisible visible" at a time when
the publisher of the Orlando Sentinel had, according to one
reporter, told his staff that civil rights was a taboo
subject because "[ I] f an incident was not reported, it didn't
happen."90 Although Sentinel publisher Martin Anderson kept a
lid on civil rights news, Fuqua-Cardwell wrote that Brechner
used his television station for a full discussion of the
issues.
A Linda Perry article in the 1997 compilation of
research on television history, Television in America,
examined Brechner's contribution to the Civil Rights Movement
in Orlando and traced the history of WFTV through 1969. This
article by the assistant professor of communications at
Purdue University was the inspiration for the Brechner
segment of the present work. "A TV Pioneer's Crusade for
Civil Rights in the Segregated South" is a broad look at
90
Ibid., 101.

72
WFTV-TV ancj joe Brechner's stewardship of the station.91
Perry called Brechner and WFTV-TV "a voice in the wilderness"
in 1960s Orlando and "a safety valve for a simmering
conflict." When Brechner was removed from active management
of WFTV" in a legal battle with the Federal Communications
Commission, concluded Perry, "a voice of reason over the
airwaves was silenced."92 The present study attempts to
narrow the focus, to analyze the themes and strategies in the
editorials, and to determine if Joe Brechner' s editorials
contributed to the less turbulent racial atmosphere in
Orlando compared to other cities of the South.
Although there is a great deal of literature on
community journalism, most of it is opinion by either the
practitioners of this kind of journalism or their critics.
There is some academic work on the subject, however. Most of
that academic work centers on newspapers or the philosophical
underpinnings of the movement. Several of the citations in
91 Linda Perry, "A TV Pioneer’s Crusade for Civil Rights in
the Segregated South: WFTV, Orlando, Florida," in Television
in America: Local Station History from Across the Nation,
eds. Michael D. Murray and Donald G, Godfrey (Ames: Iowa
State University Press, 1997).
92
Ibid., 154.

73
this section are works first presented at a 1998 community
journalism conference at the University of South Carolina.
There is little secondary source material on Joe
Brechner, although Kathy flmick Fuqua-Cardwell briefly
mentions him in her 1992 master1 s thesis. He is also the
subject of a chapter in a 1997 history of broadcasting in
America. There is even less on Norm Davis, who was mentioned
only occasionally in articles on WJXT-TV. There is more on
Ralph Renick, who has been the subject of two doctoral
dissertations and many articles in magazines, newspapers, and
books.

CHAPTER 3
THE HUTCHINS COMMISSION: A FOUNDATION FOR
COMMUNITY JOURNALISM
This chapter reviews the work and conclusions of the
Hutchins Commission, which was financed in the 1940s by Henry
Luce, chairman of Time, Inc., to look into some of the
problems that plagued the press of Luce's day.93 First, the
origin, structure, and operation of the commission are
explained. Then the commission' s recommendations are
inventoried. Finally, reaction from the press, which was the
subject of the commission's study, is reviewed.
Examination of the work of the Hutchins Commission and
the motivations behind formation of the commission bear
direct correlation to the efforts of community journalists.
There are many similarities between complaints that were
being made against the press of the 1940s and complaints
against the 1990s press. There are also similarities in the
93 M.A. Blanchard, "The Hutchins Commission, the Press and the
Responsibility Concept," Journalism Monographs (May 1997):
11.
74

75
solutions offered by the Hutchins Commission and solutions
offered by proponents of community journalism.
There were complaints that the press was being taken
over by a few powerful owners, and, as a result, the common
citizen was being squeezed out, was being denied a voice in
the great cacophony of voices that was supposed to result in
the American melody. The complaints were important to Luce
because of his own concerns about preserving newsgathering
capabilities of the press, capabilities he thought vital to
the survival of a free society.94 There was also the
perception that the press was concentrating on the
sensational, on stories and events that would sell papers and
increase broadcast audiences.95 These are all problems voiced
by critics of the press in the year 2000. Community
journalism appears, in many ways, to echo Hutchins Commission
recommendations.
The Commission Is Formed
The commission was composed of thirteen members, all
chosen by University of Chicago president Robert M. Hutchins,
94 J.S. McIntyre, "Repositioning a Landmark: The Hutchins
Commission and Freedom of the Press," Critical Studies in
Mass Communication 4 (1987): 136-160.
95
Blanchard, Hutchins, 26.

76
most of them respected in the field of advanced education but
with no direct experience in the press, although several of
them had experience in dealing with the press.96 Luce had
chosen Hutchins because of Hutchins' reputation as a
thoughtful press critic. Time, Inc., contributed $200,000 in
financing. Encyclopedia Brittanica, Inc. contributed
$15,000. The money was disbursed through the University of
Chicago, giving neither Time nor Encyclopaedia Brittanica
control over or assumed responsibility for the study.
Commission members heard testimony from fifty-eight men
and women connected with the press. Robert Hutchins wrote in
a foreword to the report that "[ b] ecause of the present world
crisis," commission members had limited their study to "the
role of the agencies of mass communication in the education
of the people in public affairs." Staff members conducted
recorded interviews with more than 225 additional witnesses
from industry, government, and private agencies concerned
with the press. Staff and committee members prepared 176
documents for commission members to study. The commission
held seventeen two-day or three-day meetings.97 Their
96 McIntyre, Repositioning, 138-139.
97 The Hutchins Commission, A Free and Responsible Press
(Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1947), v-vi.

77
conclusions were put together by staff members, then perused
line-by-line by each member before the report was assembled
as a 137-page book and released on 26 March 1947.98
Chairman Robert Hutchins was an innovator at the
University of Chicago, where he was president. Hutchins had
a reputation for being critical of the press. He had
chastised the press for not meeting society7 s needs and had
done it from the podium at a gathering of the American
Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE).99
Others on the commission included Zechariah Chafee, Jr.,
of Harvard, the leading scholar of the time on the free
speech provision of the First Amendment and the author of
Free Speech in the United States. John Clark had dealt with
the press in his several jobs in the Roosevelt
administration, including the position of consultant to the
National Recovery Administration and had also written the
final analysis on the NRA. Harold Laswell was director of
war communications research for the Library of Congress.
Several years later Laswell wrote the definition of
98 Blanchard, Hutchins, 24; Commission on Freedom of the
Press, A Free and Responsible Press: A General Report on Mass
Communication: Newspapers, Radio, Motion Pictures, Magazines,
and Books (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 1947) .
99 Blanchard, Hutchins, 12.

78
communication that has had such staying power: "Who says what
in which channel to whom with what effect."100 Poet Archibald
MacLeish was the Librarian of Congress and felt that the
press played an important role in the international relations
of a country. Robert Niebuhr, a professor of ethics at Union
Theological Seminary, had authored several articles on ethics
and morality. Beardsley Ruml had worked for government,
devising the pay-as-you-go income tax system for President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt and had come in frequent contact
with journalists. He said he liked journalists but had
realized, "They can do amazing things even to a hand-out,
unless you sit down with them and go over what you want to
say paragraph by paragraph."101
Luce and Hutchins had considered including members of
the press on the commission. They discussed inviting
columnist Walter Lippmann, advertising executive Chester
Bowles, and Federal Communications Commission Chairman
Lawrence Fly to participate. They decided, however, that
putting media representatives on the commission might limit
100
Ibid.,
13.
101
Ibid., 15.

79
the commission's independence. Those same media
representatives were later asked to testify.102
Press Reaction
In advance of the commission's work, there was mixed
reaction from members of the press to the very fact that such
a commission had been formed. Some of the press, which in
the view of the commission included movies, newspapers,
magazines and radio, claimed to welcome such an undertaking,
claimed to be eager for suggestions on how to improve, and
even thought that the commission would be an ally in
preserving First Amendment press rights. For instance, an
Editor & Publisher editorial said, "Editor & Publisher
believes that the vigilance necessary to preserve the First
Amendment as the keystone of all democratic freedoms" would
be served by the work of the commission.103 According to
Blanchard, other members of the press slipped into paranoia
in the fear that the work of such a commission could lead to
press censorship and government control.104
102 McIntyre, Repositioning, 139.
103 "Research on Freedom," Editor and Publisher, 4 March 1966.
32.
104 Blanchard, Hutchins, 4.

80
Even those who had lauded the idea of the commission in
the beginning changed their minds once they saw the report or
heard about it from other members of the press. For
instance, the Chicago Tribune's headline read, "A Free Press
(Hitler Style) Sought for Ü.S."105 Frank Hughes, who had
written the Tribune's story, in a book published three years
later attacked not only the report, but individual commission
members as well, calling Hutchins' philosophies fascist and
noting that Hutchins had held membership in groups with
Communist connections. Hughes wrote in his preface:
Early in the research, I discovered that I would have to
do what this so-called "commission," created by
Chancellor Robert M. Hutchins of the University of
Chicago and numbering some of the most prominent
professors in the higher learning in its company, did not
do—search for the truth. The study and research which
this entailed resulted in a reexamination of modern
political philosophy, as well as a gathering and
examination of the facts concerning the American
newspaper press today, which were available to the
"Commission on Freedom of the Press," but which it did
not choose to examine.106
On the other hand, a few papers did find merit in the
report. Philip Graham's Washington Post was among them.
Graham's newspaper said several of the commission's
105 Frank Hughes, "The Professors and the Press," Chicago
Tribune, 27 April 1947, 22F.
106 Frank Hughes, Prejudice and the Press (New York: The
Devin-Adair Company, 1950), v.

81
recommendations had merit, and its premise that a responsible
press is necessary to freedom was well founded. The
Louisville Courier-Journal even said the report had not gone
far enough.107
Members of the media who had expressed fears about what
A Free and Responsible Press might contain felt they had been
vindicated when they saw the report. Statements that seemed
highly critical of the way the press was doing its job only
exacerbated press paranoia. One example:
The modern press itself is a new phenomenon. Its
typical unit is the great agency of mass communication.
These agencies can facilitate thought and discussion.
They can stifle it. They can advance the progress of
civilization or they can thwart it. They can debase and
vulgarize mankind. They can endanger the peace of the
world; they can do so accidentally, in a fit of absence
of mind. They can play up or down the news and its
significance, foster and feed emotions , create
complacent fictions and blind spots, misuse the great
worlds, and uphold empty slogans. Their scope and power
are increasing every day as new instruments become
available to them. These instruments can spread lies
faster and farther than our forefathers dreamed when they
enshrined the freedom of the press in the First Amendment
to our Constitution.108
That statement is indicative of much of the tone of the
Hutchins Commission report, yet there are segments of the
report that indicate a willingness to let the press monitor
107 Blanchard, Hutchins, 45.
íoe
Hutchins Commission, 3.

82
itself. In an observation that appeared to have been taken
directly from John Stuart Mill, the report said:
It (society) must guarantee freedom of expression, to
the end that all adventitious hindrances to the flow of
ideas shall be removed. Moreover, a significant
innovation in the realm of ideas is likely to arouse
resistance. Valuable ideas may be put forth first in
forms that are crude, indefensible, or even dangerous.
They need the chance to develop through free criticism
as well as the chance to survive on the basis of their
ultimate worth. Hence the man who publishes ideas
requires special protection.109
Nonetheless, the report contained several statements
that appeared to be thinly veiled threats that government was
ready to step in to shape up the press. The commission said
it was preferable for the press to control itself. In other
words, to follow the commission' s recommendations, but if the
press wouldn't do it, the job would fall to government. The
commission report said, "It becomes an imperative question
whether the performance of the press can any longer be left
the unregulated initiative of the few who manage it.''110
Some of the commission' s criticisms sound like they were
taken from the 1990s. The report said news media were trying
to attract the maximum audience by letting stories of night¬
club murders, race riots, strike violence, and quarrels among
109
Ibid.,
6.
no
Ibid., 16.

83
public officials crowd out the news of many of the activities
that had a much deeper affect on the majority of Ü.S. media
consumers. Newspaper columnists and radio commentators were
particularly reproachable as they supplied to the public what
amounted to "keyhole gossip, rumor, character assassination
and lies/'111
The commission had an apparent particular dislike for
the trend toward ownership of more and more media outlets by
fewer and fewer individuals, saying that not only were there
economic forces at work, but personal forces. Commission
members wrote, "These forces are those exaggerated drives for
power and profit which have tended to restrict competition
and to promote monopoly through the private enterprise
system."112 The real danger, thought commission members, was
that those individuals were failing to allow opinions that
disagreed with their own to reach the public.
Commission Goals
As it laid out thirteen steps to be taken by government,
public, and press, the commission expressed the hope that its
recommendations would lead to the achievement of "five ideal
in
Ibid., 57.
112
Ibid., 48.

84
demands" or "requirements" that amounted to the commission's
goals for the press. Those requirements were as follows:
1. A truthful, comprehensive and intelligent account of
the da/ s events in a context which gives them meaning;
2. A forum for the exchange of comment and criticism;
3. The projection of a representative picture of the
constituent groups in society;
4. The presentation and clarification of the goals and
values of the society;
5. Full access to the day's intelligence.113
The thirteen steps in achieving these five goals placed
equal responsibility on government, press, and public.
Recommendations to Government
It was to be the job of government to guide behaviors of
the press but not to dictate those behaviors. The commission
recommended the following:
1. That "constitutional guarantees of freedom of the
press be recognized as including the radio and motion
pictures."114 This would not mean, however, that the FCC
could not deny a license on the grounds that the applicant
113 Ibid.,
21-29
114 Ibid.,
CNJ
CO

85
was unprepared to serve the public interest, convenience, and
necessity, the commission said.
2. That the "government facilitate new ventures in the
communications industry, that it foster the introduction of
new techniques, that it maintain competition among large
units through the antitrust laws, but that those laws be used
sparingly to break up such units and that, where
concentration is necessary in communications, the government
endeavor to see to it that the public gets the benefit of
such concentration."115
By that last phrase commission members meant that a
network, for instance, should strive to take on affiliates
even in the smallest market, although that market might not
be large enough to be profitable. The commission stated that
these measures could be achieved either by the industry
acting responsibly, or by the government. Commission members
made it clear that industry action was preferable, but the
threat of government action was implicit. There is no
indication why this recommendation was placed in the
government section, rather than in the press section.
115
Ibid., 83.

86
3. That "as an alternative to existing remedies for
libel, legislation by which the injured party might obtain a
retraction or restatement of the facts by the offender or an
opportunity for the offended to reply."116
4. ”[ T] he repeal of legislation prohibiting expressions
in favor of revolutionary changes in Ü.S. institutions where
there is no clear and present danger that violence will
result from the expressions." The commission referred to the
Alien Registration Act of 1940, the Smith Act, which made it
a crime to advocate the violent overthrow of the Government
or to belong to an organization that did.
5. "[ T]hat the government, through the media of mass
communication, inform the public of the facts with respect to
its policies and of the purposes underlying those policies
and that, to the extent that private agencies of mass
communication are unable or unwilling to supply such media to
the government, the government itself may employ media of its
own."117 This media use by the government also was to extend
to disseminating information about the O.S. government in
other countries.
116 Ibid., 86.
117
Ibid., 88.

87
Recommendations to the Press
The commission expressed the hope that the press would
take these measures so government would not be forced to act.
It made five recommendations on self-governing measures to
the press.
1. All "agencies of mass communication should accept
the responsibilities of common carriers of information and
discussion" and should present ideas other than their own.118
2. "Agencies of mass communication should assume the
responsibility of financing new, experimental activities in
their fields."119 The commission said it was talking about
things of high literary, artistic or intellectual activity,
although commissioners did not say specifically what sorts of
activities they had in mind.
3. The commission recommended "that the members of the
press engage in vigorous mutual criticism."120
4. Commission members recommended "that the press use
every means that" could "be devised to increase competence,
independence and effectiveness of its staff."121 Better pay,
118
119
120
Ibid.,
Ibid.,
Ibid.,
92.
93.
94.
121
Ibid., 94.

88
better contracts, better individual recognition were among
those means.
5. Commission members advised "that the radio industry
take control of its own industry" and treat advertising the
way "the best newspapers" were treating advertisers.122 That
is, broadcasters should not continue to interweave commercial
messages into their programs. They should clearly separate
advertising and programming, similar to the way newspapers
were separating advertising and news content. "The public
should not be forced to continue to take its radio fare from
the manufacturers of soap, cosmetics, cigarettes, soft
drinks, and packaged foods."123
Recommendations to the Public
The report warned that members of the public had failed
to realize that a communications revolution had occurred and
did not appreciate "the tremendous power which the new
instruments and the new organization place in the hands of a
few men." Nor had the public come to realize how far the
performance of the press fell short of the requirements of a
free society. It was up to the public, said the commission,
122 Ibid., 95.
123
Ibid., 95-96.

89
to hold the press accountable. There were three
recommendations for the public.
1. The commission recommended "that nonprofit
institutions help supply the variety, quantity and quality of
press service required by the American people."124 In other
words, religious and educational organizations could make
good documentary movies. It was necessary to do this
immediately, rather than waiting for the schools to educate
people going into the media to do it, because the world was
"on the brink of suicide" and had to be educated without
delay.
2. The commission also recommended "the creation of
academic-professional centers of advanced study, research and
publication in the field of communications," giving
journalism students the broadest of educations.125 The
commission's remarks about journalism education were not
complimentary; the commission had said journalism schools
were doing little more than vocational training, and not a
very good job of that.126
Ibid., 97.
Ibid., 99.
126
Ibid., 78.

90
3. The commission wanted a "new and independent agency"
to report annually on the performance of the press.127
Citizens' Commission
The commission again and again came back to the idea of
a citizens' commission to act as a watchdog on the press. It
was this idea upon which success of all the other
recommendations seemed to rest.128 So much so that Hutchins
at one point became so weary of hearing the recommendation
that he said, "Does it at all disturb the commission that we
seem to come back again and again to one recommendation only?
Our single remedy for all ills is a continuing non¬
governmental commission; I cannot recall at the moment any
other recommendation that the commission is prepared to
make."129
Nonetheless, the recommendation was made and at the
final discussion of organizing a citizens' commission, Chafee
commented, "If the seed falls on fertile ground it will
127 Ibid., 100.
128 Hutchins Report, 100-102.
129 Jerilyn S. McIntyre, "The Hutchins Commission's Search for
a Moral Framework," Journalism History 6, 2 (Summer, 1979):
56.

91
sprout. If it doesn't, it won't sprout anyway."130 The
commission was reluctant to get involved in starting such a
group because commission members didn't want their efforts
misinterpreted as a desire to take a continuing role in
watching over the media.131 "The seed" (the recommendation
for a citizens' commission) did not fall on fertile ground,
and many years later when newspaper editors and publishers,
educators, and public figures were polled on press
responsibility, there was still a wide gap in attitudes
toward criticism of the press.132 Although public figures and
educators expressed general approval of outside criticism of
the press, editors and publishers were still generally
against the idea.
The report came at an already stressful time for the
press: ASNE and press association chiefs were working for a
free press guarantee by the United Nations, and negative
comments about U.S. media were not expected to help the
cause; conservative publishers were trying to overturn a
130 Ibid., 56.
131 Ibid., 56.
132 B. Hartung, "Attitudes Toward the Applicability of the
Hutchins Report on Press Responsibility," Journalism
Quarterly 58 (3) (Fall, 1981): 428-433.

92
Supreme Court decision in the Associated Press antitrust
suit; and college journalism professors were pushing for some
sort of accreditation system, but the commission's tone led
some to fear that accreditation might be a step toward
licensing.133
Effects of the Report
There were sharp criticisms from the press of the
commission' s work, criticisms that too much money had been
spent ($215,000), that the work had been done behind closed
doors, that there were no members of the press on the
commission, that there had been very little in the way of
systematic research, and that there were some factual errors
in the report.
Nonetheless, publication of A Free and Responsible Press
was followed in the next few years by several attempts at
self-criticism by the press. These attempts were apparently
direct results of the Hutchins Commission report.134 The
American Press Institute was created (actually just before
the formal report was issued) with a stated goal of the
improvement of American newspapers. The first issue of
133 Blanchard, Hutchins, 31.
134
Ibid., 47.

93
Nieman Reports, the nation's first journalism review, was
published; the National Council of Editorial Writers was
formed and the Associated Press Managing Editors delivered a
critique of AP practices. As Margaret Blanchard put it, it
was "press criticism made respectable."135 Blanchard
concluded that A Free and Responsible Press did make a
difference, that it was the spark that ignited a widespread
effort at self-criticism and improvement. However, in her
conclusion she noted that in 1955 Dr. Hutchins appeared
before ASNE to label efforts by newspapers to improve their
responsibility nothing more than public relations
gimmickry.136
The problems that brought about formation of the
Hutchins Commission in the 1940s were similar to concerns
that were being expressed about the press in the 1990s.
Therefore, examination of the work of the Hutchins Commission
and the motivations behind formation of the commission is
appropriate in examining the efforts of community
journalists. Not only were the problems of the two time
periods similar, so were the solutions offered to mitigate
135 Ibid., 48.
136
Ibid., 51.

94
the problems. Solutions offered by community journalists in
the 1990s appeared, in many ways, to echo Hutchins Commission
recommendations.

CHAPTER 4
COMMUNITY JOURNALISM: THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE?
HUTCHINS IN THE NINETIES
The purpose of this chapter is to describe community
journalism as it was practiced in the 1990s. A secondary
purpose is to measure it against the recommendations of the
Hutchins Commission. The chapter will first discuss the
declared purpose of community journalism and then will
describe several community journalism projects.
Today7 s equivalent, or perhaps the natural result, of
the Hutchins Commission' s recommendations is community
journalism, a phenomenon that is fully as threatening to the
welfare of today7 s press as the press of the 1940s thought
the Hutchins Commission to be.137 Members of the press saw
the commission7 s report as an attempt to dictate how news was
to be covered, as another attempt to diminish press
independence. The Hutchins Commission, however, was what it
137 The work of the Hutchins Commission is frequently
mentioned in discussions of community journalism and is
frequently referred to in many of the citations in the
current research.
95

96
appeared to be from the outset. It was an attempt, financed
by an owner of a media outlet, to cure some of the ills that
had brought public criticism to the press. The present-day
reincarnation of Hutchins is disguised as a cure for the ills
of journalism when, in fact, it is something far different.138
Selfless or Self-Serving?
Just as was the case with the Hutchins Commission, the
professed purpose of community journalists is making
journalism more responsive to the public, improving society
and public life, doing journalism in a way that promotes
community rather than individualism. When one examines
community journalism practices, however, one detects another
motive, intent to increase newspaper circulation and
television viewership. Community journalism becomes a Trojan
horse.
Davis Merritt, former editor of the Wichita Eagle and
one of the champions of community journalism, has called for
a democracy to have three fundamentals: (1) shared, relevant
information; (2) a method or place for deliberation about the
application of that information to public affairs; (3) shared
138 Paul McMasters, "Merritt and McMasters Debate Public
Journalism," Journal of Mass Media Ethics 11, 3 (1996), 171-
183.

97
values on which to base decisions about that information.139
Merritt claimed that objectivity should not be the watchword
of journalism, that someone who is objective is too detached
from what is happening around him to present the kind of
journalism that an involved, communitarian journalist would
produce. He called for journalists to be connected to the
society on which they report, to attempt to do more than just
find fault. Journalists should, said Merritt, attempt to
"insure that Americans understand the true choices they have
about issues so they can see themselves, their hopes, and
their values again reflected in politics. In turn, this
would result in a more responsive politics and the recapture
of credibility by journalism."140
Critics of public journalism, such as Freedom Forum
ombudsman Paul McMasters, have said Merritt's description
sounds like nothing more than good, ethical journalism; in
other words, "old wine in new bottles."141 McMasters agreed
with Ralph Barney of Brigham Young University, who said a
major thrust, perhaps the major thrust of public journalism,
139
140
141
Merritt, Public Journalism and Public Life,
Ibid., 48.
McMasters, "Debate," 175.
7.

98
appears to be self-serving, i.e., "the recapture of
credibility by journalism."142 Responding to those
criticisms, Merritt told his readers in 1995 that the
"citizen-consumer" is alienated by tough journalism that does
not provide solutions as well as facts about what is wrong
with society.143 He also gave example heaped upon example of
what he called community journalism, such as:
Between the line of total involvement and the line of
Hearst's famous "You supply the pictures, I' 11 supply
the war" is a huge and promising middle ground. Public
journalism operates in that ground, retaining neutrality
on specifics and moving far enough beyond detachment to
care about whether resolution occurs.144
Merritt acknowledged that some journalists would hear
his description of community journalism as a description of
good conventional journalism. He said he did not care, as
long as the job is done right. Doing the job "right" is what
seems to confuse so many of the community journalists.
Merritt wrote, "What I don't like about public journalism is
people who say they are practicing it when they don't know
142 Barney, "Community Journalism," 140-151.
143 Davis Merritt, Jr., and Paul McMasters, "Merritt and
McMasters Debate Public Journalism," Journal of Mass Media
Ethics 11, 3 (1996): 171-183.
144 Merritt, Public Journalism and Public Life, 116.

99
what the hell they are doing and they haven't taken the first
philosophic step to understand what it is."145
Although Merritt does not say so, it appears that some
of the projects financed by the Pew Center for Civic
Journalism in Washington, DC, would fall into his "don't know
what the hell they are talking about" category. Those are
the projects involving participants who have no apparent
sense of a communitarian effort but are avowedly interested
mainly in building circulation or ratings. The projects
outlined below appear to be a mixture of these elements.
There is some sincere effort in each one, but each one is
diminished by bottom-line interests.
The Community Journalism Projects Sponsored bv the
Pew Center for Civic Journalism
The Pew Center for Civic Journalism brings together
newspapers, broadcast stations, and citizens' groups in an
attempt to improve life in targeted communities. The primary
idea is to get people within communities involved in the
public life of those communities, especially politics.
People at the Pew Center and other community journalism
proponents feel that journalism can thrive only if news
consumers are involved in what is happening in the community
145 Merritt and McMasters, "Merritt and Masters Debate Public
Journalism, 174.

100
and are, therefore, interested in keeping up with daily
events.146
The first three projects discussed below are Pew Center
projects.147 Those are the projects in Charlotte, Madison,
and Tallahassee. The next two, in Boston and Seattle,
indirectly involve the Center. The last two, in Columbus and
New Orleans, are independent public journalism efforts. They
are not all the same. Charlotte, Madison, Tallahassee,
Boston, and Seattle are all projects put together with the
purpose of increasing numbers of viewers and readers. They
are projects which Paul McMasters has said are generated by
"publishers and others worried about the bottom line" who are
146 The Pew Center for Civic Journalism is funded by the Pew
Charitable Trusts, a Philadelphia consortium of seven
charitable funds established between 1948 and 1979 by the
children of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph N. Pew and his
wife, Mary Anderson Pew. Pew Trusts claim assets of $4.7
billion and annual grant commitments of about $190 million.
The Pew website describes the Pew mission as, "committed to
the same fundamental values that guided the founders' lives:
encouraging individual growth and potential; improving the
quality of people's lives; maintaining and nurturing our
democratic traditions; ensuring an educated and engaged
citizenry; protecting religious freedom; and assisting and
supporting those in need." Information found at
http: //www.pewtrusts. com.
147 Jan Schaffer and Edward D. Miller (Eds.), Civic
Journalism: Six Case Studies. Pew Center for Civic Journalism
and The Poynter Institute for Media Studies. Washington, DC,
1995.

101
using public journalism as a way to "get some good vibes out
there so that maybe people will start buying the paper
again."148 New Orleans and Columbus are indeed community
journalism, with no purpose but to improve life in the
community. However, community journalism critics, such as
McMasters, have expressed fears that even doing community
journalism the way its proponents advocate robs journalists
of their autonomy because the journalists become too involved
with the people they are supposed to cover.149
The projects described below all had the apparent goals
of communitarianism at their foundation. They all appear to
be meant to improve public life in some way. Some of the
projects are meant to increase participation in the political
process, some are meant to make citizens feel better about
living in their communities, and some are meant only to
increase the amount of good or lessen the amount of evil in
their community. The word, "apparent," is useful at this
point because, although all are community journalism
projects, not all are equally unselfish.
148 Merritt and McMasters, "Debate," 181.
149
Ibid., 178.

102
In some cases, determining what kind of support and how
much support was granted by the Pew Center is difficult. The
director of the Center refers questions on specific grants to
her assistant. The assistant, Associate Director Walter
Dean, said in May 2000 that the Center does not release
specific information for civic journalism projects in which
Pew has been involved.150 For cases in which the news
organizations involved are not forthcoming with information,
it is necessary to extrapolate from general figures the
amount of aid that may have been provided by Pew for specific
projects. That is a task that becomes nearly impossible when
the myriad of projects and figures are thrown into the mix.
It has been reported that Pew contributed $40 million to
media projects between 1993 and 1998.151 Of that $40 million,
it has also been reported that $6.4 million went specifically
to civic journalism projects between 1993 and 1996. In 1993,
the Pew Center for Civic Journalism also gave $600 thousand
to the Radio-Television News Directors Foundation "to foster
partnerships between electronic and print media to do civic
150 Telephone conversation with Walter Dean, 1 May 2000.
151 Kate Shatzin, "Ways to Shake Up the News Media;
Innovation,," Baltimore Sun, 8 August 1999, 2A.

103
journalism projects."152 In the same year, NPR received $290
thousand from Pew for its Voter Project, which involved five
public radio stations. The stations were charged with
providing election coverage that "would stimulate citizen
interest."153 The project received another $250 thousand from
Pew in 1996.154 Also in 1996, the Pew Center provided $575
thousand for seventeen newspaper/radio/television
partnerships for community-oriented projects.155 If divided
evenly, that would be almost $39 thousand for each project.
The projects, however, are not all the same in scope or
duration, and it is likely that some projects get more money
than others. The Center also sponsors civic journalism
workshops and awards cash prizes for projects it considers
outstanding examples of civic journalism. Some of the news
organizations involved in Pew-backed civic journalism
projects are not as reluctant to release information as is
the Pew Center. In the following sections on specific
projects, figures provided by those involved are included in
152 Alicia Shepard, "The Pew Connection," American Journalism
Review, April, 1996, 24.
153
Ibid.
154
Ibid.
155
Ibid.

104
footnotes, if those figures were provided. If not, that is
also mentioned.
Charlotte
In Charlotte, North Carolina, the Charlotte Observer and
WSOC-TV teamed up for the "Taking Back Our Neighborhoods/
Carolina Crime Solutions" project. The killing of two police
officers in an ambush sparked the 1993 project. The
newspaper and the television station spearheaded efforts to
decrease crime in Charlotte. They conducted polls, held town
meetings, and, through data analysis, pinpointed the
neighborhoods in Charlotte most affected by crime. Two local
radio stations were taken on as partners in the anticrime
campaign. Community leaders, longtime residents, and other
members of the community with an interest in cutting crime in
Charlotte were brought together on a citizens' panel. A
community coordinator was hired, her salary underwritten by
the Pew Center. Charlene Price-Patterson, a nonjournalist,
helped organized neighborhood meetings where citizen opinion
was gathered. Price-Patterson wrote in the Pew Center' s
newsletter that she also "arranged child care, refreshments,
and transportation and spent some time 'knocking on doors to

105
publicize the event.'"156 Telephone numbers for people who
wanted to volunteer were published in the Observer as part of
a seven-page spread on the project. There were other multi¬
page stories. WSOC-TV's main anchor moderated a town
meeting. Several television programs were produced with the
project as topic. Charlotte's mayor got involved. The
project had the desired effect. Media scrutiny brought
action, such as the clearing of a neighborhood lot where a
girl had been raped, when complaints from the public had
proved futile.157
Madison
In Madison, Wisconsin, a 1991 project involving the
Wisconsin State Journal, WISC-TV, Wisconsin Public TV,
Wisconsin Public Radio, and the Wood Communications public
relations firm began as a way to get citizens involved in the
1992 presidential primary. The project, called "We The
People," continued into 2000 and was expanded to involve
people in town meetings all over the state.158 The town
156 Ibid. Several calls were placed in mid-May 2000 to the
Charlotte Observer. Messages were left requesting
information on Pew dollar contributions to the "Taking Back
Our Neighborhoods" project. Calls were not returned.
157 Shaffer and Miller, Civic Journalism, 4-11.
158 This project had no link to the 1940s radio program of the
same name. The name likeness was apparently coincidental.

106
meetings were forums on how public issues are affecting the
private lives of Wisconsin residents. The "town meetings"
were held in several locations at once, all visible and
audible to people at the other meetings via satellite hookup.
When a political campaign was underway, it was the voters who
asked the questions, bypassing "formulaic journalism and
giv[ ing] citizens creative ways to get information and
interact with each other and with politicians."159 The town
hall meetings were conducted in two steps. First, those who
were to participate met with a facilitator to focus on the
issues that were to be discussed in phase two, which was when
the participants questioned the candidates directly. Voters
were sometimes allowed to act as legislators in mock hearings
on issues in the state; they were sometimes allowed to write
mock budgets. Journal Associate Editor Tom Still saw the
project as "enlightened self-interest."160 The "enlightened"
159 Shaffer and Miller, Civic Journalism, 12.
160 Ibid., 18. On 18 May 2000, Still had difficulty recalling
exact figures for Pew contributions. He remembered that Pew
had made two grants of approximately $20,000 and another for
$25,000. There had been no grants from Pew for the other
five years the project had been in existence. The Madison
project was the longest-lived of the projects mentioned in
this dissertation. As of mid 2000, it was still in existence
with a campaign called "Growing Up . . . Growing Older."

107
aspect was the part project partners are playing in
enlightening the public. The "self-interest" part was "by
getting people in on the ground floor, getting them more
excited about this kind of process, we think they become
better, or more regular, newspaper readers."161 After the
program's inception, two more partners joined: CBS affiliate
WISC-TV and Wisconsin Public Radio. The partners organized
several civic journalism projects every year. It was
estimated that hundreds of thousands of people watched
television broadcasts, listened to radio broadcasts, or read
newspaper articles about "We the People."
Tallahassee
A similar project, called "The Public Agenda," in
Tallahassee, Florida, was not as focused as other community
journalism efforts and, therefore, apparently did not have as
much impact, but the news organizations involved said "The
Public Agenda" did generate good story ideas. In that
project, the Tallahassee Democrat, Tallahassee' s WCTV-TV,
Florida State University, and Florida A&M University gathered
300 citizens together in the chamber of the Florida House of
Representatives in November 1994. That meeting laid the
161
Ibid., 18.

108
groundwork for dozens of other, smaller meetings of
Tallahassee residents who wanted a voice in the issues
affecting their communities. The project used a free
internet service and had its own World Wide Web page. The
Public Agenda relied heavily on focus groups to determine
which issues were important in the eyes of members of the
community. WCTV-TV General Manager David Olmsted said there
was a practical side to the project: "It puts your newsroom
in touch with the issues."162 WCTV-TV pledged to air town
hall programs during the project, as well as give "The Public
Agenda" news coverage. Two Tallahassee Democrat reporters
were assigned to cover the project and began coverage with a
four-part, page-one series. Reporters said they were not
always able to develop stories from the town hall meetings
that were part of "The Public Agenda," but they did get story
ideas from those meetings. There was, however, resistance
from people taking part in the town hall meetings, afraid
that media coverage would inhibit discussion.163 The Democrat
did not cover the story as thoroughly as its editors
promised. The project was never completely accepted in the
newsroom and was never completely integrated into the paper7 s
162 Ibid., 24.
163
Ibid., 29.

109
coverage. Democrat editor Lou Heldman related that the
project "focused widespread attention on the need for
involvement, but [ fell] short of our goal of getting
thousands of citizens committed to ongoing dialogue."164
Boston
The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, has
also become involved in civic journalism efforts, teaming up
with National Public Radio, with a financial assist from the
Pew Center.165 In Boston in 1994, the Boston Globe, WBZ-TV,
and WBUR-FM joined forces with Poynter to initiate "The
People's Voice," a campaign to get people more involved in
164 Ibid., 29. The project director of this program was Mimi
Jones. In may 2000, Jones recalled that the Pew Center had
given "The Public Agenda" a three year grant of $135
thousand.
165 The Poynter Institute was created in 1975 by Nelson
Poynter, publisher of the St. Petersburg Times and
Congressional Quarterly. Prior to his death in 1978, he
willed the controlling stock in his company to the institute.
Working professionals, journalism teachers and students
attend classes at Poynter, usually for one or two weeks at a
time. The classes are designed to give students the tools to
practice ethical journalism. Poynter also promotes and
assists various journalism projects, such as the civic
journalism projects supported by the Pew Center. Information
on the Poynter Institute is found on the web at
http://www.poynter.org/connect.htm. Poynter did not offer
direct financial support for community journalism projects in
which it became involved. Any grants awarded came from the
Pew Center.

110
the election process. Journalism professor Jay Rosen of New
York University, one of the main proponents of public
journalism, spent time in Boston helping to organize The
People's Voice. To some it seemed like nothing more than
good journalism—find out what issues concern the public and
cover those issues. "The same old wine in a not very new
bottle" was the phrase used by Globe business correspondent
Bruce Gellerman to describe this civic journalism project.166
A lack of enthusiasm from the public, as evidenced by poor
public attendance at focus group meetings, changed the
project along the way. Globe political editor Bruce Mohl
admits that, although the project started as an attempt to
set an agenda around what the people wanted to talk about, it
eventually switched to finding ways to fit people into the
paper's election coverage. Business correspondent Bruce
Gellerman agrees that the people became the story.161
166 Shaffer and Miller, Civic Journalism, 32.
167 This was one of the projects for which Pew contribution
information was unavailable. Assistant Managing Editor
Walter Robinson said by telephone in mid May 2000 that was
"beyond my ability to answer" a question about Pew
contributions. Robinson deferred to Editorial Director Don
MacGillis who had been more involved with the project.
MacGillis did not call back. Robinson did report that the
People's Voice project was defunct, that it had had mixed
results and that the concept of community journalism was
redundant.

Ill
Seattle
The Seattle Times and two public radio stations combined
for the "Front Porch Forum" in 1994, another effort to
involve citizens in the political process, to get readers and
listeners more interested in the topics being covered by
journalists. The partners in this project literally built a
front porch where voters could talk to each other and to
political candidates. There were "call-in shows, question
and answer columns, roundtable discussions, and even an
unusual candidate debate with five undecided voters as the
panel."168 The project was not necessarily new ground for the
Times, which had abandoned horse-race coverage of political
races in the eighties. There were the usual concerns among
staff that this was not the kind of undertaking appropriate
for a news organization. Some worried that simply passing
along citizens' questions to candidates would produce
inaccurate information that would go unchallenged because
journalists were not as fully involved as they would have
been without the so-called public journalism aspect. As a
result of those doubts, follow-up stories had to be assigned
to give some of the questions and answers context. There
168
Ibid., 48.

112
were also follow-up stories suggested by the results of polls
conducted by the Times and the two public radio stations.
Representatives of all the media outlets involved agreed that
good journalism cannot be abandoned in a civic journalism
project. Among the stated goals of the Seattle project was
to "create good PR for our representative organizations."169
The "representative organizations" were the partners in the
Front Porch Forum. The PR aspect of the project was
apparently very important to the partners. Said one KPLU
staffer, "You can't buy exposure like that on the front page
of the Seattle Times."110
Columbus
The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer organized another civic
journalism effort in the late 1980s in Columbus, Georgia.
Employees at the Ledger determined that the town' s leadership
was doing nothing to effect change in the town where change
was needed. Schools were bad; there was racism; there was
poverty; and wages were substandard. "Columbus Beyond 2000"
was born when executives at the Ledger determined that no one
169 Ibid., 50.
170 Ibid., 55. Seattle Times Assistant National Editor Carole
Carmichael was the Pew contact for Front Porch Forum.
Carmichael would not give information on the project when
contacted, but promised to call back. She did not call back.

113
else in town was going to do anything to solve local
problems, and that included the city7 s elected leaders. A
series of questionnaires was administered to residents to
determine what was bothering the community, what the issues
were that the community needed to address. After a year of
surveys and follow-up interviews, an eight-part series ran in
the Ledger. In addition to listing the problems, the paper
printed an agenda for progress. There was not a great deal
of reaction to the series from civic leaders, so, at the
urging of people in the community, once again stepping
outside the normal boundaries of journalism, the paper' s
leaders formed a task force. William Winn, who was the
senior reporter on the project, reported that even after the
Columbus Beyond 2000 campaign there were still problems in
Columbus, but there was a new civic spirit; even business
owners, who were at first threatened by "Columbus Beyond
2000," were getting on the bandwagon. There was still
racism. There was still poverty. Not everyone had the civic
spirit. There was a tax freeze as a result of the revolt of
property-tax payers. There was still weak political
leadership. In addition, the careers of many employees at
the paper were affected; some of those employees thought that
they were doing something other than journalism and chose to

114
leave the paper. Resentment was so acute among staffers that
after a survey conducted by Knight-Ridder, which owns the
newspaper, showed executive editor Jack Swift to be the focus
of employee resentment, Swift committed suicide. No one
claims that Swift's only motive for suicide was his
unpopularity in the newsroom, but it was apparently a factor.
Nonetheless, Winn said, if given the opportunity, he would
take part again in a similar project. Winn admits that much
of what is called "public journalism" is just another way of
saying "bad journalism." Winn uses the word "corporate"
frequently when talking about the problems of public
journalism. The term "public journalism," says Winn, shows
up in all the corporate reports, even though the people using
the term don't know what it means. He also says newspapers
have lost touch with their communities, and one of the
reasons is corporate ownership. Implicit in what Winn says
is that executives of big corporations are trying to build
readership with a gimmick called "public journalism."171
New Orleans
In the 1991 Louisiana elections, David Duke was running
for governor. His opponent was former governor Edwin Edwards
171 William Winn, Lecture at University of Florida, Spring
1996.

115
known for being at the center of controversy over his own
alleged lack of ethics. Edwards had been indicted, but not
convicted, on bribery and racketeering charges.172 Staffers
at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans made the decision that
David Duke, with his Ku Klux Klan background and his views on
race, was the greater of two evils. The newspaper embarked
on an undisguised effort to bring about Duke's defeat. Keith
Woods, then city editor of the paper, wrote in an editorial
that if Duke were elected, he (Woods) would leave Louisiana
because he would not live in a state governed by a bigot.
The effort to bring about Duke's defeat was not limited to
the editorial pages. Woods said, "The passion behind our
editorial writing was also behind sending 40 people out to
produce a volume of reporting on this election and on Duke."
Woods says there was no attempt to uncover new truths about
Edwards and, "there was no distinction between the editorials
and the news coverage. It wasn't a blurring of the lines.
It was an erasing of the lines.''113
J. Yardley, "Fast Eddie Slows Down," Atlanta Constitution,
7 January 1996, 8c.
173 J. Black, B. Steele, and R. Barney, Doing Ethics in
Journalism (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1995), 73.

116
As mentioned above, the first five examples were
similar. It is admirable that the news organizations and the
public relations group involved were working to increase
public awareness of and participation in the democratic
process. It has already been noted in this dissertation that
a moral deed is only moral if it is selected for its own
sake.114 Although some may consider it arbitrary, that is the
standard to be applied throughout the present work. When the
comments of those practicing public journalism are read, it
is clear that the purpose of much community journalism is not
primarily to make the news consumer more aware of the
democratic process; it is to make her a more avid news
consumer with more of an appetite for newspapers and
broadcast news. Comments such as, "You can't buy exposure
like that on the front page of the Seattle Times," and "[ B] y
getting people in on the ground floor, getting them more
excited about this kind of process, we think they become
better, or more regular, newspaper readers," betray self-
serving motivations, rather than an intent to improve public
life.
174 Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, D. Ross, trans. (Oxford:
Oxford Press, 1987), 53.

117
The last two examples were different. The journalists
who were in support of the projects in Columbus and New
Orleans were indeed doing what they thought best for the
community, even though it violated many of their journalistic
principles. Billy Winn of the Columbus-Ledger has said that
to be an effective public journalist, you must risk some of
yourself; you "must get into the boat with the people."175
The idea was the same in New Orleans. The Times-Picayune got
"into the boat." There was obvious risk to the paper, yet no
indication that its stand would increase circulation.
Indeed, there was a risk of losing the Duke faithful as
readers. There are many similarities between the journalism
practiced in New Orleans and Columbus and the journalism of
the three 1960s broadcasters who will be profiled in this
dissertation.
The projects in Charlotte, Madison, Tallahassee, Boston,
and Seattle displayed an intent beyond contributing to public
life. All five had bottom-line considerations as at least
partial motivation. They were being used, as Paul McMasters
said, to "get some good vibes out there so that maybe people
will start buying the paper again."176
175 Winn lecture, 1996.
176 Merritt and McMasters, "Debate," 181.

118
The projects in New Orleans and Columbus were driven by
more purely altruistic intent. There was no outside support
for either the New Orleans or Columbus project. They were
conceived within the newsrooms of the organizations involved.
They were conceived out of concern for the community. In
both instances, the journalists involved were risking
something with little chance they would reap anything more
than improving public life.

CHAPTER 5
ANOTHER DILEMMA OF COMMUNITY JOURNALISM:
THE INDIVIDUAL VERSUS THE MAJORITY
In this brief chapter, the issue to be considered in
discussing community journalism is the danger that a
communitarian view is antithetical to the libertarian nature
of United States history and, in particular, the United
States press. If a news organization is concerned with being
part of the community as it promotes community values and
norms, there is danger that the rights of individuals will
become secondary. The views of community journalism
proponents, who claim communitarianism is the cure for many
of society's ills, are discussed. The opposite view, the
view that communitarianism stifles liberty, is also
considered.
Anderson, Dardenne, and Killenberg, in 1996, described
public journalism as a sort of conversational commons, the
idea being that journalism should provide a forum for all to
119

120
express opinions.117 They advocated giving more people voice
in the standard conduits of information. They lamented that
the Internet was usurping the duties of newspapers without
the involvement of journalists. One is tempted to write in
the margin, "So what?" What Anderson and his co-authors were
saying was that the press must combat loss of influence with
a marketing strategy to keep customers interested.
Two years earlier, Jay Rosen claimed that journalism was
at a dead end. The way to get rolling again was to renounce
the old ways, to find a new road-involvement in social
change. Rosen and Merritt would have the press become
activists, abandoning the old value of objectivity. They
have asked the press to become involved; let personal views
play a part in the way a story is covered instead of stepping
back, refusing to become personally involved.118 J.H.
Altschull would go a step further, would have the media
become mediators in societal disputes.119 "The mediator finds
177 R. Anderson, R. Dardenne, and G.M. Killenberg, The
American Newspaper as the Public Conversational Commons,
Journal of Mass Media Ethics 11, 3 (1996): 159-165.
178 Jay Rosen, "Public Journalism: First Principles," in
Public Journalism: Theory and Practice. Jay Rosen & Davis
Merritt eds. (Dayton: Kettering Foundation, 1994), 6-18.
119 J.H. Altschull, "A Crisis of Conscience: Is Community
Journalism the Answer? Journal of Mass Media Ethics 11-3
(1996): 166-172.

121
the places where antagonists are in agreement, no matter how
small the area."180 This agreement, according to Altschull,
will bring the public out of its well-known apathy, and
"people need to care if they are going to tune in to and read
the news."181
Louis Hodges could be described as a modern-day social
contract theorist within the journalism community, noting
that we are living in a world in which he says one's personal
rights are paramount.182 Hodges was obviously writing from a
western point of view; in some parts of the world, food is
more important than liberty, but Hodges, like social
contractarians before him, has pointed out that individual
liberties mean nothing unless others are duty-bound to honor
those liberties.183 The result, said Hodges, of such stress
180 Ibid., 171.
181 Ibid., 172.
182 L. Hodges, Ruminations About the Communitarian Debate.
Journal of Mass media Ethics 11, 3 (1996): 133-139.
183 There are two forms of social contract, one between
rulers and subjects, the other between members of society.
Hodges is referring to the latter. The social contract in
this case is an agreement between members of society to obey
the same laws everyone else has promised to obey. In this
arrangement, each member of society not only knows he is
safe from harm from other members of society, but also that
he is duty-bound not to harm others. Social contractarians
contend that without such an arrangement society falls into

122
on individual liberty is lots of rights talk and no duties
talk. We live, said Hodges, in a world where reason is out
and feeling is in, where individuals and groups follow their
own specialized interests, where there is a messiah, with all
the answers, on every street corner, or at least on every
radio station. Too much individualism. The communitarian
ideal, according to Hodges, rather than threatening personal
liberties, might save them. In Hodges' view, the fixation
on individualism is what threatened individual liberties
because it did not acknowledge the rights of others.
Communitarianism, on the other hand, said Hodges, does
acknowledge the responsibility that goes along with freedom
and, therefore, would enhance individual rights. In other
words, give up a little freedom to get a lot.
Glasser and Kraft claimed that public journalism, which
might be described as "journalism of conversation," to use
chaos. For a complete discussion of contract theory, see:
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan; in Michael L. Morgan, ed.,
Classics of Moral and Political Theory (Indianapolis/
Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, 1992), 568-733; John
Locke, Two Treatises of Government, Peter Laslett, ed.
(Cambridge, England: University Press, 1960); John Rawls, A
Theory of Justice (Cambridge, Mass., Belknap Press of Harvard
University Press, 1971); and Jean Jacques Rousseau, On The
Social Contract, in Michael L. Morgan, ed., Classics of Moral
and Political Theory (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett
Publishing Company, 1992), 913-987.

123
James Carey's term,134 is a journalism of hope, a journalism
that preaches that there is a chance for the community to be
a better place for all of us, and "us" includes the
journalist as participant, not outside observer.135 Glasser
and Kraft, however, found public journalism lacking in
openness. What they meant by "openness" is that public
journalists should open up the books, so to speak, to allow
news consumers a view of the decision-making process in the
newsroom, and open up the editorial page for more criticism
of the press from the public.
Ralph Barney acknowledged in 1996 that the news business
was a business in decline, with newspaper circulation off 35
percent since 1965 and over-the-air television viewing,
particularly news, down 20 percent in just two years. Barney
wrote that communitarianism and communitarian journalism are
only stops along the way to destruction. While admitting
that the unprincipled individualism that is the enemy of
communitarianism is also destructive, Barney said it is
184 James Carey, "The Press, Public Opinion, and Public
Discourse," in T.L. Glasser and C.T. Salmon, eds., Public
Opinion and the Communication of Consent (New York: Guilford
Press., 1995), 373-402.
185 T.L. Glasser and S. Craft, "Public Journalism and the
Prospects for Press Accountability, Journal of Mass Media
Ethics 11, 3 (1996): 152-158.

124
individualism (principled) that will save us from threats to
press independence, including community journalism. Barney' s
main complaint about community journalism was that it places
loyalty to the group or society above liberty, as well as
above truth. Barney pointed out that in a communitarian
society, liberty is secondary to the group and, therefore, to
the will of the group power elite. Truth is also secondary
to community; if the truth hurts the group, don't print it.
If a reporter is a cheerleader for the community, she/he is
powerless to bring about needed change, to point out the
factors that make change possible or desirable. According to
Barney, that is what is happening in community journalism.
Barney wrote, "Media desperation is creating unconditional
membership in professional communities. A 'we will do
whatever you want if you will read/listen' attitude that
gallops through society."186
Individualism was Barney' s antidote for community
journalism, but it was individualism without the selfishness
that has caused the press problems that now have journalists
begging to be liked by the community and offering their
independence and integrity as a white flag. Individualism
186
Barney, "Community Journalism," 143-151.

125
will tolerate community as well as pluralistic information,
said Barney but, "Communitarianism at its most effective is
intolerant of individualism and controlling of
information."187 When Barney spoke of individualism (in
journalists) with selfishness, he was speaking of the kinds
of phenomena that are mentioned in the freedom Forum polls,
of the kinds of phenomena that were mentioned by the Hutchins
Commission in 1947, phenomena such as sensationalism in
reporting and big business and advertisers pulling strings
and influencing news coverage. A journalist must be morally
developed, said Barney, ideally well along the way toward
what sociologist Lawrence Kohlberg called the Post-
Conventional stages.188 At this level of development,
Kohlberg maintained that one is no longer driven by the
desire to please others or the desire to avoid punishment but
is driven by the higher virtues, such as respect for the
liberty of all individuals. But within a communitarian
society, according to Barney, one never gets to this stage
because of the overwhelming weight of community opinion and
the need to conform to society' s norms and values. The end
187 Ibid., 144.
188 Lawrence Kohlberg, The Philosophy of Moral Development
(San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1981) .

126
result of this communitarian outlook: "Society will evolve
to fit conditions described earlier, rule-bound, predictable,
and convenient; all questions answered, no new ones needed;
all behavior prescribed, few examinations of existing rules
required or allowed."189
Paul McMasters, the past president of the Society of
Professional Journalists and First Amendment Ombudsman for
the Freedom Forum, who was quoted earlier in this study, is
not a fan of community journalism, even when it is practiced
in a way of which community journalism advocate, Davis
Merritt, also quoted earlier, would approve, that is, without
the primary aim of building ratings or readership.
McMasters has expressed the opinion that journalists should
never lose sight of the basics in reporting and pointed out
that those who say they are practicing community journalism
very seldom mention the First Amendment.190 McMasters
expressed the view that the attempt to gain public support
through community journalism is misguided, that the press is
in greater danger of losing public support if it fails to
perform its "special role."191
189 Barney, "Community Journalism," 151.
190 Paul McMasters, "Debate," 182.
191
Ibid., 177.

127
McMasters said he agreed with Thomas Jefferson's view
that an informed citizenry will want to participate in public
life. Jay Rosen and other public journalism advocates, he
said, have turned Jefferson's principle upside down.
According to McMasters, the community journalists contend
that citizens who participate will want to be informed and,
by implication, buy newspapers and listen to and watch
192
news.
In speaking of civic journalists, McMasters said:
Every one of them has a little Sally Fields in there
that wants to say, "You like me! You really like me!" And
that could be the most dangerous human impulse that a
journalist could have, because I think it deprives that
journalist of the ability to do the right thing in many
cases.
We have, when we' re on duty, a special obligation to
cover democracy's parade, not join it. We can join the
parade in all sorts of other ways when we' re not on duty.
We' re not journalists every hour of the day. We' re not
writing every hour of the day. But not only is it a
special obligation of us to cover that parade with the
unique perspective of the observer not to participate, it
is sometimes incumbent upon us as journalists to rain on
that parade. But I think that if we' re marching in it,
we' re not going to rain on it.193
Although John Stuart Mill did not mention community
journalism, the following statement by Mill has resonance
Ibid., 178.
193
Ibid., 182.

128
today when speaking of what Barney calls "democracy1 s
parade."
The chief mischief of the legal penalties is that they
strengthen the social stigma. It is that stigma which
is really effective, and so effective is it, that the
profession of opinions which are under the ban of
society is much less common in England, than is, in many
other countries, the avowal of those which incur risk of
judicial punishment.194
Mill was saying that what Alexis de Tocqueville called the
"tyranny of the majority"195 could be even more stifling than
oppressive laws. That is what communitarianism is: a
suppression of individual rights in the interest of
community, the majority.
The third fundamental (above) of Merritt' s democracy
calls for "shared values," that is values shared by
journalists and their readers or viewers. That is a valid
community press ideal, but not valid for an independent press
charged with responsibility for a Millian enlightenment of
society's participants. If journalists share the same values
194 M.L. Morgan, ed., Classics of Moral and Political Theory
(Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hacket Publishing Company, 1992),
1063.
195 J. Stone and S. Mennell, eds., Alexis de Tocqueville on
Democracy, Revolution, and Society: Selected Writings
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), 22.

129
as their public, they will not, as Merrill says, rain on
their own parade.
There is a secondary question to consider in a study
involving community journalism. The first question is
concerned with defining true community journalism, with
investigating the honesty of declared motivation. The
secondary question involves asking whether community
journalism in itself, even when done properly, is a force for
good or a force that will be detrimental to society.
Community journalists must ask if they are involved in an
activity that will diminish individual liberties as it
attempts to improve the lives of the individuals involved.
Journalists opposed to community journalism must also
question their own practices, must ask themselves if, as
community journalists claim, an individual, objective
approach to journalism is harming the community.

CHAPTER 6
STATE OF THE TV EDITORIAL IN THE 1960S
As American mass media moved into the 1960s, members of
the press and public expressed fear that the nation's great
editorial voices were diminishing, not only in number, but
also in vigor. Those voices had, for the most part, been
newspapers, but as early as 1938, Editor and Publisher told
its readers:
There are . . . about 1,200 cities in which single
newspapers or single ownerships now supply all the
printed news.... The danger remains that freedom for
minority expression will be curtailed. . . . The
American system thrives best when ideas strike sparks
and opposites rub each other into useable size and
shape.196
Ten years later, Institute of Public Administration President
Luther H. Gulick expressed similar lamentations:
While the radio has expanded the opportunity for civic
enlightenment, it is still the independent and fearless
newspaper that exercises local civic leadership. It is
tragic that as to newspapers we are worse off today than
we were forty years ago. There are fewer independent
local newspapers, and fewer crusaders running them.197
196 Editor and Publisher, 31 December 1938, 20.
197 A. Gayle Waldrop, Editor and Editorial Writer, (New York:
Rinehart and Company, Inc., 1948), 423.
130

131
In this chapter, the status of the broadcast editorial
during the period under study is examined. First, the impact
of regulatory change is explained. Then, the approaches to
editorials taken by both network and local broadcasters are
explored.
Impact of Regulations
It is important to note that this research is concerned
with broadcasters who were bold enough to editorialize or
concerned with community enough to want to. This work
examines the actions and attitudes of those who might fall
into the community journalist kind. The point is made
frequently in this study that many broadcasters cared little
for risking bottom-line in order to offer opinion. They are
not the broadcasters of interest here, except as they offer
contrast to the subjects of this research.
Radio broadcasters interested in offering opinion had
been reluctant to step into the editorial breach. They had
first been told by the Federal Communications Commission in
its 1941 Mayflower Decision that they were not to
editorialize at all because it was not in the public
interest. According to the commission:
Under the American system of broadcasting it is clear
that responsibility for the conduct of a broadcast
station must rest initially with the broadcaster. It is

132
equally clear that with the limitations in frequencies
inherent in the nature of radio, the public interest can
never be served by a dedication of any broadcast
facility to the support of his own partisan ends. . . .
A truly free radio cannot be used to advocate the causes
of the licensee. It cannot be used to support the
candidacies of his friends. It cannot be devoted to the
support of the principles he happens to regard most
favorably. In brief, the broadcaster cannot be an
advocate.198
Even when the government, after telling broadcasters for
eight years that they could not be advocates, reversed its
position in 1949, encouraging broadcasters to editorialize as
long as they aired opposing views, broadcasters were not
anxious to forfeit valuable air time to their ideological
opponents.199 Nor were they certain how to approach a
nebulous new freedom. Some observers expressed the opinion
that broadcasters had indeed been given much greater latitude
in handling broadcast opinion. Others said broadcasters were
still operating under the restrictions of the old Mayflower
Doctrine, but with slightly loosened reins.200 New York Times
columnist Jack Gould summed it up this way:
198 Federal Communications Commission The Yankee Network
(WAAB), Docket 5618 and 5640, 16 January 1941.
199 John L. Hulteng, The Opinion Function (New York: Harper
and Row, 1973), 141-142.
200 Sammy R. Danna, "Broadcast Editorializing," Freedom of
Information Center Publication No. 141, School of Journalism,
University of Missouri, 1965.

133
Its [ the Fairness Doctrine's] chief drawback is that it
is not clear and specific. . . . The broadcaster who
wants to know what he can do next had better not
dispense with legal counsel, yet. . . . What the FCC has
now adopted as a solution to the vexing problem is a
compromise. ... In short, the broadcaster as an
individual can be a partisan advocate, but his station
cannot. Certainly, it will be interesting to watch the
broadcaster play on one team and also umpire the game.201
The Times also warned on its editorial page that perhaps the
Fairness Doctrine gave the FCC even more power over
broadcasters because instead of a no-editorial policy, the
broadcasters were now subject to FCC control of whatever
editorial policy they might decide to pursue.202
As broadcasters approached and entered the 1960s, they
were uncertain how to tackle the question of whether to
editorialize at all and, if so, how to go about it? The
broadcasters' right to editorialize had been alternately
discouraged and encouraged by government. Television
Quarterly said, "The TV editorialist does not always proceed
in a high state of confidence."203 In 1964, John E. McMillin
201 Jack Gould, "The FCC Issues a Report on the Right of
Broadcasters to Air Their Views," New York Times, 12 June
1949, 9.
202 Editorial, New York Times, "Radio Editorials," 4 June
1949, 12L.
203 Television Quarterly, Summer 1964, Vol. Ill, No. 3,
Introduction to John E. McMillin, "Voices in a New
Democracy," 27.

134
wrote that broadcast editorializing was still "only in a
developmental stage. . . . [ T] he country's near-600
television stations are engaging in editorializing in a kind
of policy chaos."204 It should have been no surprise, said
McMillin, that a promising trend to editorialize had slowed
to a trickle and that there was evidence broadcasters had
become somewhat less courageous in tackling significant,
controversial subjects."205
McMillin divided the history of the editorial concept
into four phases. The first had been the early radio period
when broadcasters showed little interest in editorializing
because they were developing in different directions. The
second was the Mayflower period when FCC edict forbade
editorializing. The third phase was the reversal and
development period when the Fairness Doctrine seemed to
encourage broadcasters to speak their minds, as long as
opposing views were heard. The final phase, in McMillin's
view, writing in 1964, was the then current period of
204 John E. McMillin, "Voices in a New Democracy," Television
Quarterly, Summer 1964, Vol. Ill, No. 3, 27. McMillin was
apparently referring to those nearly 200 stations that were
actually editorializing, not saying that all 600 stations
were delivering editorials.
205
Ibid., 28.

135
executive confusion. During this time, according to
McMillin, the FCC was receiving more complaints about
editorials; FCC interpretations of the Fairness Doctrine were
becoming more involved; certain segments of the industry had
become alarmed over seeming "inconsistencies and
unreasonableness of the commission's rulings"; and even
Congress was investigating broadcast editorializing.206
McMillin noted the beginnings of a movement to
television editorializing in 1958 and a sharper interest
during the next several years. After 1962, however, McMillin
noted that the number of broadcasters rushing to editorialize
had slowed to a trickle. McMillin cited a survey by the
Television Information Office. The survey cited responses of
157 editorializing stations. Through 1957, only fourteen
stations had begun to editorialize, but in 1958 alone twenty
stations began delivering editorials. Eighteen more began in
1959, twenty-two in 1960, thirty-two in 1961, and forty-two
in 1962. In 1963, only eight television stations began
editorializing. Despite the 1963 slowdown, by 1964 McMillin
was able to cite surveys by the National Association of
Broadcasters and the Television Information Office that
206
Ibid., 29.

136
showed nearly a third of the countr/ s television stations
were delivering editorials.207 McMillin does not speculate,
but possible reasons for the increase in editorializing are
the realization by station management that they had more
freedom to editorialize, that they could better serve their
communities by editorializing, and recognition that
editorializing was paying off in increased ratings for some
station that were editorializing.
Television had taken its cue from radio. McMillin
wrote, "A handful of radio stations had clearly demonstrated
to the industry that a station could operate as a forceful
meaningful editorial voice, and the example stimulated the
adoption of editorial techniques in the more complex TV
medium."208 Furthermore, the FCC was making it clear that it
now encouraged broadcast editorializing, although confusion
about how an acceptable editorial policy was to be developed
persisted.
Ibid., 34-35.
2oe
Ibid., 33.

137
Timid Editorialists
Unlike his predecessors, FCC Chairman Newton Minnow was
a strong voice for editorializing. In 1962, Minnow told the
NAB's First Editorializing Conference in Washington:
I want to talk today about broadcasting's inescapable
duty to make its voice ring with intelligence and
leadership. The plain and unhappy fact is that our
traditional avenues of communication are contracting not
expanding. We are witnessing an odd and distressing
phenomenon. The population is increasing at an
explosive rate . . . but in the eye of this hurricane
the number of metropolitan newspapers which
traditionally have served our people is decreasing.
I believe it is a matter of urgent national
importance that radio and television reach out for their
greatest potential—for broadcasting opens up a
dimension in communications which the more traditional
processes of the printed word cannot achieve.209
It is no wonder that attempts at editorializing during
this period were halting. Nonetheless, as McMillin wrote:
This phenomenon of broadcast editorializing is still
only in a developmental stage; [ and] . . . though in its
infancy, it is providing an entirely new interest in a
wide variety of community affairs, and is providing new
voices which American democracy has not known before.210
Many of the "new voices" were still reluctant to mount
aggressive, hard-hitting editorial campaigns or crusades.
Ashdown wrote, "Television stations have made strides toward
reporting public issues, but most television stations are
209
Ibid.,
34.
210
Ibid., 50.

138
reluctant to take strong positions, perhaps in anticipation
of government censures or domination of time by opponents
seeking time for rebuttal."211
Others criticized television broadcasters for their
timidity. Ed Routt, in his work on broadcasting and
editorials, wrote that broadcasters were too afraid or too
lethargic to advance strong editorial opinion.212 Electronic
Journalism author and professor of the Graduate School of
Journalism at Columbia University, William A. Wood, asserted:
With a few notable exceptions, most stations got into
the field with some caution, and editorials championing
motherhood and demanding fearlessly that Main Street' s
name be changed to Affluent Way were more the rule than
the exception.213
Media researchers Rivers, Peterson and Jensen opined, "Radio
and television remain media that usually avoid
controversy."214 Researchers Sandman, Rubin and Sachsman
observed:
211 Ashdown, 12.
212 Ed Routt, Dimensions of Broadcast Editorializing (Blue
Ridge Summit, PA: Tab Books, 1974), 20.
213 William A. Wood, Electronic Journalism (New York: Columbia
University Press, 1967), 65.
214 William L. Rivers, Theodor Peterson, and Jay W. Hansen,
The Mass Media and Modern Society, 2nd Ed. (New York: Holt,
Rinehart and Winston, 1971), 229.

139
When broadcasters do editorialize, they usually stick to
noncontroversial topics: "Support Your Local Red Cross"
and such. . . . There are significant hindrances to a
strong editorial policy, but they are not the real
reason most broadcasters lack such a policy. The real
reason is much simpler. Strong editorials make enemies,
and broadcasters will do nearly anything to avoid making
• 215
enemies.
As the 1960s approached, Mary Ann Cusack criticized the
lack of editorializing by broadcasters, saying that in the
ten years since the Federal Communications Commission had
granted them the right to editorialize, they had failed to
use the privilege.216 Federal Communications Chairman John C.
Doerfer had told the National Association of Broadcasters two
years earlier that the unexpected shock of being allowed to
editorialize, beginning in 1948, had left broadcasters too
"dazed" to take advantage of their good fortune. Doerfer
said, "But ten years is a long time to stand in stunned
silence."217
215 Peter M. Sandman, David M. Rubin, and David B. Sachsman,
Media, An Introductory Analysis of American Mass
Communications (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1972),
243-244.
216 Mary Ann Cusack, "Editorializing in Broadcasting" (Ph.D.
diss., Wayne State University, 1960), 1.
217 John C. Doerfer, "Editorially Speaking—A Time for
Action," Address to the National Association of Broadcasters,
Los Angeles: 29 April 1958, 3, cited in Cusack, 2.

140
Furthermore, Doerfer told the broadcasters, 173 million
Americans were relying heavily on television. Eighty-three
percent of American homes were equipped with television sets,
even more with radio. Those numbers both grew during the
1960s as television continued to gain influence. Yet, a
Broadcasting magazine survey the same year showed only 14
percent of the nation' s television stations editorializing on
a regular basis.218 Doerfer had already found that only 5
percent of radio stations were editorializing.219
A brief look at contradictory attitudes within the
broadcast industry of the period serves to explain some of
the confusion over whether to editorialize and, if so, what
form the editorials should take. The television code of the
National Association of Broadcasters, published in 1959, was
an echo of the FCC' s Fairness Doctrine:
Controversial Public Issues:
1. Television provides a valuable forum for the
expression of responsible views on public issues of a
controversial nature. In keeping therewith the
television broadcaster should seek out and develop
with accountable individuals, groups and
organizations, programs relating to controversial
public issues of import to its fellow citizens; and to
218 Broadcasting, "The Status of Radio-TV News," 24 February
1958, 172-175. When the wording of the frequency category of
the question was expanded to "occasional," the same survey
showed one-third of the nation' s TV stations editorializing.
219 Doerfer, "Editorially Speaking," 3.

141
give fair representation to opposing sides of issues
which materially affect the life or welfare of a
substantial segment of the public.
2. The provision of time for this purpose should be
guided by the following principles:
(a) Requests by individuals, groups or
organizations for time to discuss their views on
controversial public issues, should be
considered on the basis of their individual
merits, and in the light of the contribution
which the use requested would make to the public
interest, and to a well-balanced program
structure.220
NAB President Harold Fellows acknowledged that, even
with an NAB policy, decisions on editorial policies were
difficult. Fellows told broadcasters, "radio and television
stations would like to editorialize just as newspapers do but
they are hindered by a lack of governmental clarification of
the thorny 'equal time' issue,"221 and, said Fellows, the FCC
220 National Association of Broadcasters, Editorializing on
the Air (Washington, DC: NAB, 1959), 40.
221 Harold Fellows, "Address to the NAB," Chicago: 1959, 1,
cited in Cusack, 193. The equal time clause of Section 315
of the Communications Act of 1934 as amended in 1959 and 1960
did not mention broadcast editorializing. The measure
provided for political candidates to have equal access to use
a broadcasting station when their opponents had such access.
Time given to candidates on a "bona fide newscast," in a
"bona fide interview," on a "bona fide news documentary," or
in "on-the-spot coverage of bona fide news events" was not
deemed to be use of a station within the meaning of the
Section 315. Section 315 did say, however, that nothing in
the ruling was to be "construed as relieving broadcasters, in
connection with the presentation of newscasts, news
interviews, news documentaries, and on-the-spot news coverage
of events, from the obligation imposed upon them by this
chapter to operate in the public interest and to afford

142
had encouraged broadcasters to editorialize without giving
them any clear guidelines for doing it.
Fellows added his voice to the critics of the editorial
practices of some stations, remarking, "so-called editorials
on some stations, however, are hardly more than public
service announcements. There is a tendency in some cases to
editorialize on matters that are free of controversy."222
Syndicated columnist John Crosby was no less critical of
the television editorial. Writing for the New York Herald
Tribune, Crosby said that until the 1949 reversal of the
Mayflower Decision broadcasters had had no right to
editorialize and since that time they had had no inclination
to editorialize.223 Crosby noted that from 1949 to 1958, CBS
had aired three editorials.
Members of the broadcast community were also critical of
their industry* s editorial record as the decade of the 1960s
was about to begin. Oregon Governor Robert D. Holmes, a
reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting
views on issues of public importance." Erik Barnouw, The
Image Empire (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970) , 353-
354.
223 John Crosby, "TV Finally Dares Editorials on News,"
Detroit Free Press, 10 March 1958, cited in Cusack, 201.

143
broadcast station management team member, assessed public
opinion of his business:
What does the public feel about our profession as
opinion makers, as compared, for example, to newspapers
—I think we have to answer that we' re considered second
rate. Perhaps it would not be too extreme to say that
we are not considered to have any opinions as station
owners and managers. ... It is true we sell time to
buyers who have editorial opinions to express, but as
people directly responsible for the operation of
broadcasting facilities we do not have opinions. . . .
In the privacy of our homes, among our fellows in
the industry, we venture opinions and defend our
judgments. We exercise choice when we register to vote
and in fact do vote; we have our religious preferences,
our social likes and dislikes. . . .
But few if any of us carry over those choices and
preferences into our business—which is the
communication business. It is as though we—among all
the other industries that make America great—led two
lives; the private one, free and in the American
tradition; the public one, bound and timid. . . .
The right to have opinions is ours. We are
permitted by law to editorialize, to promote our ideas
and to defend our judgments. But we don't do it.224
Network Guidance
There was little guidance from the networks for local
broadcasters who dared to editorialize, no published
editorial guidelines. CBS, the network of WTVJ-TV and WJXT-
TV, had said in a 1954 memo to its news staff:
In news programs, there is to be no opinion or
slanting. The news reporting must be straight and
objective.
224 Robert Holmes, "The Broadcasters’ Duty to Editorialize,
Journal of Broadcasting (Spring 1957): 141.

144
In news analysis there is to be elucidation,
illumination and explanation of the facts and situation,
but without bias or editorializing.
In both news and analysis, the goal of the news
broadcaster or the news analyst must be objectivity. I
[William S. Paley] think we all recognize that human
nature is such that no newsman is entirely free from his
own personal prejudices, experience, and opinions, and
that accordingly, 100% objectivity may not always be
possible. But the important factor is that the news
broadcaster and the news analyst must have the will and
the intent to be objective. That will and that intent,
genuinely held and deeply instilled in him, is the best
assurance of objectivity. His aim should be to make it
possible for the listener to know the facts and to weigh
them carefully so that he can better make up his own
mind.
The foregoing was expressed by Mr. Paley in a speech
at the NARTB Convention in 1954. It restates CBS policy
not to engage in editorializing—a policy that has been
in effect since the very birth of CBS News.225
ABC, the network of WFTV-TV, with an apparently more
editorial-friendly policy, advised employees:
It is our policy to employ a staff of competent
observers, representing the widest range of opinions, to
comment on news developments. We determine the
competency of each on a broad review of his education,
and experience, keeping in view our desire to have all
areas of opinion represented on our staff.
Once employed, the commentator is given the widest
latitude in analysis, interpretation and expression of
opinion. We have found, through years of experience
that this is the best way practicable to present all
sides of the complex matters that arise. We call it the
Spectrum Theory, and we think it works in the interests
of enlightening the widest segment of our audience.226
225 Quoted in Cusack, 95-96.
226 Ibid., 96. (In a letter from John Charles Daly, Vice
President: June 27, 1958.)

145
NBC Editor of News Samuel M. Sharkey was clear in
responding to an inquiry by researcher Mary Ann Cusack:
We do not have "regulations" to which commentators
"are held in regard to the discussion of controversial
news," as you put it. Our only requirement is the same
as that governing all responsible news media, including
newspapers and wire services; that he [ the commentator]
be honest and fair and that he present both sides. We
do permit him, on the basis of a solid, seasoned and
reasoned analysis of all facets of a situation, to
present a balanced and objective report and to draw
therefrom, on the basis of these assembled facts,
conclusions or to point out where these elements might
lead next. We do not permit our commentators to exhort
the public to do thus-and-so, or not to do this-and-
that; we do not tell the public what to do. We feel
that a properly and fairly informed public, apprised of
all aspects of a situation, can be counted on to make
the proper decision. We strive to present the public
with the greatest amount of information so that it can
make those decisions.
And, finally, we do not have any official stand on
controversy,' as you put it. We treat all news as
delineated above, whether it be news of Congress or
controversy or of cotton-weevils.227
Local Stations
There was also disagreement and confusion over editorial
policy among local stations across the country that
editorialized as station owners and managers attempted to
interpret FCC dictates. In 1958, Bertram Lebhar, Jr.,
executive vice president, and later owner of WEAT-TV, West
Palm Beach was not a strong backer of editorializing but did
227 Samuel M. Sharkey, Jr., Editor of News, NBC, 16 June 1958,
quoted in Cusack, 96.

146
not want to be constrained from editorializing if he were so
inclined:
In general, we agree that a station should exercise
its right to editorialize, but only when the occasion
arises. Since this pattern has been established with
the American people for more than three decades of radio
and television, I do not believe in radical changes.
There are many decent things in our life, truly
worthy of support, that a television station has the
opportunity of being counted, in an editorial way, by
the enthusiasm of its support for these causes. Where
the issue is unquestionably a controversial one, I
believe that a telecaster does better by making time
available to both sides of an issue, rather than
attempting to force his own personal opinion on the
public.228
Influencing Lebhar's philosophy was his regard for the
news as another vehicle for producing income. Any unpopular
editorial stands were likely to diminish that potential. In
addition, much of the station's business was done on a
"trade-out" basis, that is, goods or services for Lebhar and
the station in return for commercial air time. Crusading
editorials might have damaged those arrangements.229
There were other stations, however, with quite different
editorial policies. A.J. Fletcher, president of WRAL-TV in
Raleigh, North Carolina, told Television Quarterly:
228 "The Editorial: TV Finds its Voice," Television Quarterly
(Winter, 1958): 21.
229 Personal recollection—the author worked at WEAT-TV in the
1960s.

147
Not infrequently, editorializing by a television
station is the only way a community can get both sides
of questions which involve public welfare. In our
opinion, newspapers should not have exclusive right to
the opportunity to influence public thinking for the
good.230
At about the same time, Ralph Renick was making a
similarly strong statement for the television editorial in
Editor and Publisher, saying the editorial was a "natural"
function of the broadcast news operation and that it was up
to TV to fill the gap being left by newspapers. Furthermore,
said Renick, it was the news director who should do the
editorializing.231 This was a year after Renick had become
the first local anchor/news director to begin delivering
nightly editorials. Renick's views on editorials, as well as
those of Norm Davis and Joe Brechner, are more fully explored
elsewhere in this dissertation.
At the end of the 1950s, those stations around the
country that editorialized, both radio and television, were
230 Editorial: TV Finds its Voice," Television Quarterly
Winter, 1958): 21.
231 "Radio-TV Newsmen Prod Themselves," Editor and Publisher,
25 October 1958, 65. Also Ashdown, 142-143. Also interviews
with Renick family, 3 March 2000. Renick was an exception in
this regard. Most editorials were being delivered by station
management. Renick was in an unusual position in that co¬
owner Mitchell Wolfson, known at WTVJ-TV as "The Colonel,"
gave Renick complete control over the news department and the
editorial function. Renick had also stated he believed the
news anchor had more credibility.

148
getting mixed results in their editorial efforts. Following
criticism of a local movie theater, radio station WKCB in
Berlin, New Hampshire, had been so severely strained
financially by the fight against a libel suit that it could
not pay its employees.232 WKCB had begun broadcasting daily
editorials in November 1957. The station's editorials had
charged that a local theater company was allowing young
hoodlums to hang out in one of its theaters, and the youths
were playing pinball machines and jukeboxes and fornicating
on the premises. The station had suffered not only financial
hardship. Station owner Richard B. McKee reported, "The
juvenile delinquency series has brought threats of bodily
harm and of death to himself [ McKee] and other station
personnel. On one occasion the station was invaded by a gang
of hoodlums."233 Nonetheless, McKee felt his editorial
efforts were worthwhile, that the campaign had made his
station a force in the community where there was no local
newspaper and no other radio station.
The same year, a Washington, DC, radio station had a
less bumpy road when it began ten-a-day editorials after a
232 "Hectic Week for Editorializing," Broadcasting 54, 21 (26
May 1958): 84.
233
Cusack, 181.

149
mother called to complain that her six-year-old daughter had
been molested and that police had released the accused
molester back into the neighborhood the same day on a $2,000
bond. For three months WWDC broadcast editorials on the
subject of child molesters, and then sent copies of its
editorials to courts and law officers. The editorials called
attention to the lax handling of child molestation cases and
the release of accused offenders who would be free until they
stood trial, perhaps many months later. The WWDC editorials
resulted in adoption of a "get tough policy" on child
molesters in the District of Columbia and only positive
results for the station.234
Some television stations were also editorializing on
substantial issues and taking strong stands. In Detroit,
Lawrence Carino, WJBK-TV general manager, was seen regularly
on editorials of substance.235 In Springfield, Massachusetts,
WWLP-TV President William Putnam editorialized regularly "in
a crusading vein."236 There were dozens of other
editorialists taking stands on important issues as the 1950s
234 "Hectic Week for Editorializing," Broadcasting 54, 21 (26
May 1958): 84.
235 McMillin, 41.
236
Ibid., 40.

150
ended and the 1960s arrived. However, they were not "typical
of the average editorial on the average station [ that
editorialized] on the average day. In general, TV's
editorials speak more quietly, and on less controversial
matters."237
Time and again the FCC sent mixed messages about
editorializing to broadcasters. In its 1958 ruling in the
case of WBTV-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Commission
condemned a WBTV editorial campaign against subscription
television. Commissioners said WBTV had clearly stacked the
deck against subscription television, had permitted only
advocates of its own anti-subscription position to air their
views, and had not fulfilled its duties under the Fairness
Doctrine.238 The Commission built a convincing case against
WBTV, reiterated the sanctions it had threatened to use
against stations that failed to adhere to the Doctrine, then
recapitulated its standard for making final decisions on
renewing licenses:
While this Commission and its predecessor, the
Federal Radio Commission, have, from the beginning of
effective radio regulation in 1927, properly considered
that a licensee's overall program service is one of the
primary indicia of his ability to serve the public
238
Cusack, 140.

151
interest, actual consideration of such service has
always been limited to a determination as to whether the
licensee's programming, taken as a whole, demonstrates
that the licensee is aware of his listening public and
is willing and able to make an honest and reasonable
effort to live up to such obligations. The action of
the station in carrying or refusing to carry any
particular program is of relevance only as the station's
actions with respect to such programs fits into its
overall pattern of broadcast service, and must be
considered in the light of its other program
activities.239
That said, the Commission reprimanded WBTV—and granted
a license renewal. Commissioners had been lenient because of
the station's "overall operations as a broadcast licensee,"
but had made it clear they were watching broadcasters who
editorialized.
In her 1959 dissertation reviewing the state of
broadcast editorializing, Mary Ann Cusack drew several
conclusions. Cusack wrote, "It appears to this writer that
it is an assumption in the first place, which must be tested,
that the FCC is in a practical position to judge the
editorial policy of a station."240 Cusack reviewed the
commonly acknowledged problem that a broadcaster may be
239 Federal Communications Commission, Broadcast Actions
of the Federal Communications Commission (Washington, DC:
Report No. 3207, Public Notice B, 60209, 19 June 1958) 1.
240
Cusack, 236.

152
someone with a "flute-like" voice, but little background to
qualify him to offer opinion.241
Cusack found in her research that money was a source of
problems for editorialists. It cost more to hire trained
editorialists. Giving airtime to those with opposing views
was a direct hit on the bottom line for broadcasters.
Advertisers (synonymous with "income") might be offended by
editorials and withdraw advertising dollars. Advertisers
were likely to be identified with editorial opinion expressed
on the programs they sponsored. Newspaper advertisers, on
the other hand, were seldom connected, in the public view, to
opinions expressed on the editorial page. Therefore, taking
all these factors into consideration, it was "easy to do
nothing" and "very expensive to do anything."242
Cusack wrote:
This writer concludes that the handling of the so-
called controversial issues presents one of the most
perplexing problems faced by the broadcasting industry
today. . . . The handling of controversy on the air
requires courage, social responsibility and mature
241 Cusack, 239. In this observation, Cusack was repeating
the reservations of observers she had interviewed for her
dissertation. Cusack and others writing during this time
period almost always referred to broadcasters, editorialists,
and other journalists in the masculine.
242
Ibid., 240.

153
wisdom. On the whole, broadcasters have shown a
conspicuous lack of these qualities.243
Such was the atmosphere for broadcasters in the late
1950s, the 1960s, and the early 1970s. It was in a setting
of mixed signals and sometimes sheer lack of trust from the
Federal Communications Commission, from print journalists
from their own industry, from educators, and from the public
that broadcasters considering editorializing were forced to
make their judgments. Broadcasters could not be certain how
the Federal Communications Commission would view their
editorial efforts. There was criticism of broadcast
editorialists, particularly from print journalists, because
of a perceived lack of intellectual depth. The bottom line
was in jeopardy when broadcasters editorialized, not only
from giving up air time to opposing views, but also because
of the danger of offending advertisers. As Cusack stated,
"The handling of controversy on the air requires courage,
social responsibility and mature wisdom. On the whole,
broadcasters have shown a conspicuous lack of these
qualities."
In this chapter, the status of the broadcast editorial
during the period under study has been examined. The impact
243
Ibid., 252-253.

154
of regulatory change has been explained. The approaches to
editorials taken by both network and local broadcasters have
been explored. These regulatory changes and attitudes of
networks and other local stations in the country were part of
the backdrop against which Joe Brechner, Norm Davis, and
Ralph Renick delivered their own editorials. It was within a
changing and unfriendly climate for broadcasters who
expressed on-the-air opinion that the three editorialists
chose to embark upon paths that would put them in the
vanguard of their industry and their communities.

CHAPTER 7
THE STATE OF FLORIDA AND THE U.S. IN MID-20â„¢ CENTURY
Brechner, Davis, and Renick faced a number of serious
pressures and issues when making decisions about editorial
topics. Because two of the editorialists were so concerned
with civil rights, it is necessary that the reader have a
sense of civil rights background activities in Florida. To
understand why what was happening in Florida is significant,
it is also necessary to recall that racism was not limited to
the South. Racist attitudes, in many cases, were imported
from northern regions of the country. Finally, to help the
reader understand the background of Norm Davis' s work in
Jacksonville, a brief history of consolidation attempts and
governmental corruption in Jacksonville is included in this
chapter.
This chapter reviews some of the events of the 1960s
that would have been part of news coverage of each of the
editorialists' stations. There is then an examination of
civil rights activities in Florida, including activities
of the Ku Klux Klan. Events in so-called civil rights
155

156
"hot-spots" in Florida are covered. The chapter concludes
with the aforementioned review of Jacksonville area
government.
The 1960s in America
William Manchester, in The Glory and the Dream, wrote
that civil rights and the Vietnam War were the two overriding
issues in American life in the 1960s.244 In February 1965,
for instance, felony indictments against the men accused of
killing three civil rights workers the year before in
Mississippi had been dismissed; Confederate flags were being
displayed outside the federal building in Jackson; members of
the press covering the story were attacked by white
Mississippi residents. It would not be until late 1967,
following persistent legal maneuvering by federal
investigators, that the eighteen alleged conspirators in the
murders would go to trial. Seven of them would be found
guilty of conspiring to violate the civil rights of the three
murdered men.245 It would be another three years before they
244 William Raymond Manchester, The Glory and the Dream: A
Narrative History of America (Boston: Brown, Little, 1974).
245 William Bradford Huie, Three Lives for Mississippi (New
York: Signet Books, 1968), 150-160.

157
would begin serving their sentences.246 Late in February,
Malcolm X was assassinated. Three civil rights workers were
killed during the Selma-Montgomery marches. All-white juries
acquitted the accused killers of two of them. The defendant
in the third murder was killed in an auto accident before his
trial could be completed.247
During the 1960s, city after city was hit by violence
related to the Civil Rights Movement. In Detroit, in 1967, a
raid on an after-hours social club led to five days of
rioting and forty-three deaths.248 In Newark, New Jersey,
twenty-one blacks were killed in the 1967 rioting that
followed Mayor Hugh Addonizio's refusal to nominate a black
man as Secretary of the Board of Education.249
Although 1967 was not the only year of violence in the
country, or in the South, it was the worst of the decade.
Historian William Manchester estimates the number of cities
246 Seth Cagin and Philip Dray, We Are Not Afraid (New York:
MacMillan Publishing Company, 1988), 452.
248 Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil
Disorders, Otto Kerner (Chmn.) (New York: New York Times
Co., 1968), 84-108.
249
Ibid., 57.

158
hit by race riots during that year at 114.250 In Tampa,
Florida, a young black man was shot to death by a police
officer early in the summer of 1967. Two days of rioting
followed.251 In July of the same year, blacks in Riviera
Beach, Florida, rioted to protest police brutality against a
black man.252 The following year, 1968, brought rioting to
Miami.253 Trouble had come to central Florida earlier in the
decade. 1963 and 1964 were both violent years in St.
Augustine.254
Mixed with daily news of civil rights issues was news of
the war in Vietnam. Viet Cong troops overran Pleiku on 5
February 1965, killing eight U.S. soldiers, wounding 126, and
destroying sixteen helicopters and six fixed-wing aircraft.
250 Manchester, Glory and the Dream (Boston: Brown, Little,
1974), 1022-1025.
251 Kerner Commission Report (New York: New York Times Co.,
1968), 411.
252 James W. Button, Blacks and Social Change: Impact of the
Civil Rights Movement in Southern Communities (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1989), 102.
253 David R. Colburn and Jane L. Landers, eds., The African
American Heritage of Florida (Gainesville: The University
Press of Florida,1995), 354.
254 David J. Garrow (ed.), St. Augustine, Florida, 1963-1964:
Mass Protest and Racial Violence (Brooklyn: Carlson
Publishing, Inc., 1989).

159
President Johnson ordered stepped-up U.S. bombing of the
north. Three days later, Viet Cong attacked a hotel being
used as a U.S. Army barracks. This time, twenty-three
soldiers were killed, twenty-one injured. The bombing was
stepped up again, and it was to be sustained in an operation
called "Rolling Thunder." On 24 March, Vietnam War protesters
held a "teach-in" on the University of Michigan campus. On 9
June, for the first time, President Johnson authorized the
use of United States' ground troops in Vietnam. The draft
was increased. Troop commitment was increased. Because of
war expenditures, the federal deficit soared. Also in June,
Generals Ky and Thieu took control of the South Vietnamese
government.255
Many disappointments shook the United States during the
1960s, including several assassinations of American leaders.
One president' s administration was cut short by a shooter in
a book depository in Dallas. Another president's
administration ended because of a disastrous military policy.
That military policy resulted in loss of prestige on the
255
Manchester, The Glory and the Dream, 1022-1025.

160
world stage. The country also watched as its economy went
from boom to bust during the decade.256
Twenty years later, University of California at Berkeley
sociology professor Todd Gitlin wrote, "[ T] he genies that
'the Sixties' loosed are still abroad in the land."251 In The
Sixties, Years of Hope, Days of Rage, Gitlin, who had been an
early president of Students for a Democratic Society and had
helped organize the first national demonstration against the
Vietnam War, described the decade as a war between the left
and right, the establishment and the outsiders. The question
to be answered: "Who won the war?"
Gitlin saw the sixties as a series of great successes
and squandered opportunities, "unsatisfactory as this answer
may ring to those who think, in Hollywood fashion, that
history is either (choose one) a chorus of angels or a
bummer."258 Gitlin wrote that those who were part of the
television industry in the sixties covered the first
256 Robert D. Marcus, A Brief History of the United States
Since 1945 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1975), 213.
257 Todd Gitlin, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (New
York: Bantam Books, 1993,) xiv.
258
Ibid., xv.

161
presidential assassination of the television age, and,
"Thanks to the wonders of instant replay, drove the event."259
Another phenomenon of the 1960s, left over from the
1950s, was, according to Jerome Klinkowitz, the delivery,
through late-night clear-channel radio, of African-American
music from the South, "never meant for white, northern
ears."260 In addition, there were television's pictures of
war and racial strife—pictures that would challenge the
"age-old domestic notion of order."261 And as early as 1965,
pollster Lou Harris was reporting a disenchantment with
television on the part of the American public.262
Civil Rights Background in Florida
Florida's civil rights background in the years before
the 1960s was a violent one. It was not just the era
immediately before the 1960s that included violent incidents.
Violence had been a part of the racial picture in Florida for
many years. Black voting numbers had been diminished in 1889
259
Ibid.,
312.
260 Jerome Klinkowitz, The American 1960s, Imaginative Acts in
a Decade of Change (Ames: The Iowa State University Press,
1980), 90.
261 Ibid., 111.
262 Manchester, The Glory and the Dream, 1022-1025.

162
by a poll tax enacted by the legislature. Because all blacks
had registered as republicans, the adoption of a Democratic
white primary in 1897 had further diminished their voting
role. When blacks attempted to vote in the general election
in November 1920 in Ocoee, violence broke out. Black citizens
were beaten, their homes burned, several were killed, and
hundreds were forced to leave the area.263
The issue of voting rights was not the only issue to
spark racial violence in Florida. In the first seventeen
years of the twentieth century, approximately ninety black
men and women were lynched in Florida. Some black men were
falsely accused of rape. Others were lynched simply because
they had insulted a white citizen. Mob violence claimed
lives in the 1920s in places such as Perry and Rosewood.
Between 1918 and 1930, another fifty blacks were lynched by
white mobs.264
Blacks struggled financially in the early and mid part
of the century. They were kept in low-paying, mostly
agricultural jobs. Some worked as truck drivers, others in
263 Maxine D. Jones, in The New History of Florida, ed.
Michael Gannon, (Gainesville: University Press of Florida,
1996), 374.
264
Ibid., 379.

163
lumber mills or on the railroad as porters and waiters. Many
black women left agricultural jobs to find work as domestics,
personal servants, and service workers. In some parts of
Florida, this race-related division of labor continued into
the latter part of the century.265
In an apparent step forward for civil rights, the United
States Supreme Court outlawed the all-white primary in
Florida in 1944. Blacks were allowed to register as
Democrats or Republicans, and the number of black voters in
the state increased from 20,000 in 1944 to more than 100,000
in 1950. Nonetheless, there were still several
majority—black communities with few registered black voters.
Some of the credit for increased black representation at
the polls was given to Harry T. Moore of the NAACP and the
Progressive Voters League. In his home county of Brevard
more than 50 percent of eligible black voters were registered
to vote by 1950. Moore campaigned against lynching and
inhumane treatment of black prisoners and for equal salary
for black teachers. He was killed when his home was bombed on
Christmas day 1951.266
Ibid., 379-80.
266
Ibid., 375.

164
The black schoolteachers for whom Moore had campaigned
entered the 1960s with a history of low pay and teaching in
overcrowded, poorly equipped schools. Black schools closed
during harvest time so young blacks could join the farm work
force. White students continued to attend classes during the
harvest. Parents and teachers in several Florida counties,
with the help of the NAACP and the Florida Teachers
Association, challenged these so-called "Strawberry Schools,"
and in the late 1950s the practice of closing black schools
at harvest time ended.267
It was not until the late 1950s that black college
students had choices beyond all-black colleges. Florida
Agricultural and Mechanical University, Bethune-Cookman
College, Florida Memorial, and Edward Waters College educated
black students, but blacks and whites did not attend the same
colleges. Until 1958, there were no graduate programs for
black students in Florida. If a black man or woman wanted to
study law or medicine or engineering, the only choice was to
leave the state. In 1958, a nine-year legal battle by Virgil
Hawkins, who had refused to attend law school out of state,
was finally settled in Hawkins' favor when federal district
267
Ibid., 383-384.

165
court Judge Dozier De Vane ordered the University of Florida
to open its graduate schools to blacks. Hawkins, his long
fight apparently successful, did not benefit. The university
determined that he did not meet its law school admission
requirements. However, another black student, George H.
Starke, was admitted to the university s law school for the
1958 fall semester.266
Imported Attitudes
Much of Florida's racism was imported from other parts
of the United States. The history of Florida is a history of
immigration. As late as 1860, there were only 140,000 people
in the state, and there were almost as many slaves as slave¬
owners. Businessmen and landowners, aware that their
livelihoods depended upon enlarging the state's population,
began promoting Florida as a paradise. Competition developed
among Florida counties for new residents.269
Following the Civil War, Florida landowners, who had
come from other parts of the country themselves, expressed
discontent with the black work force in the state and began
268 Ibid., 386.
269 Raymond A. Mohl and George E. Pozzetta, "From Migration
to Multiculturalism: A History of Florida Immigration," in
Gannon, The New History of Florida, 391-417.

166
searching for new sources of labor. Italians and Chinese
especially were encouraged to migrate to Florida.
Unfortunately for the immigrants, landowners had expected
them to simply take the place of black slaves. When this
plan did not succeed, Italians and Chinese also became the
victims of discrimination.270
Foreign immigrants had some successes. For instance,
Greeks found success sponge-diving in Tarpon Springs; Cubans
established cigar-making industries in Key West and Tampa;
and Bahamians established a "livelihood migration" providing
labor to build a rapidly growing Miami. Even the immigrants
who flourished economically in the United States experienced
discrimination. Particularly affected by racism and dislike
for outsiders were black immigrants. They were the victims
of another immigrant to Florida—racism.271
The Ku Klux Klan is synonymous with racism. The
beginnings of the Klan have been traced to the days just
after the Civil War. The organization was disbanded in 1869
but experienced resurgence after World War I. Klan groups
were "part of the communal and political life of the nation
270 Ibid., 391-394.
271
Ibid., 391-399.

167
from Maine to California."272 The Klan's rebirth occurred
first in Georgia with its center of power in Atlanta, but
powerful Klan groups existed in Oklahoma, Colorado, Oregon,
Indiana, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts,
and Maine. In some of those states, the Klan placed people
in offices of power, such as governorships and U.S. Senate
seats. The "Invisible Empire" was not at all invisible.273
The Klan showed its strength even in the nation's
capital in 1925 when 40 thousand members paraded down
Pennsylvania Avenue, but violence within its own ranks began
to cost the Klan membership. The KKK, its numbers dwindling,
turned its attention from Catholic and alien citizens to
communism and the New Deal. Anti-semitism also became part
of the Klan program.274
As World War II approached, the Ku Klux Klan experienced
another decline in influence and membership. At the end of
the war, Georgia dentist Samuel Green took over as the Klan's
Grand Wizard, attempting to restore the group to its former
robustness. Parades, cross-burnings, and floggings of blacks
272 David M. Chalmers, Hooded Americanism, The History of the
Ku Klux Klan, (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1965), 1-2.
273 Ibid., 3-4.
274
Ibid., 5.

168
once again became common. Even Green's leadership could not
do much to revitalize the Klan, and when he died in 1949, the
movement became a disorganized conglomeration of splinter
groups with memberships consisting of malcontents looking for
scapegoats.275
After James A. Colescott was elevated to Grand Wizard of
the Klan in 1939, although he was from Atlanta, Florida
became one of his frequent stops. He appeared in Tampa,
Orlando, Daytona, Avon Park, and Live Oak. Klansmen in Miami
threatened black voters. Colescott later told congressional
probers his organization's most secure stronghold was
Florida.216
Nativism, the favoring of native-born Americans over
immigrants, was one of the favorite themes of the Klan.217
275 Ibid., 6-7. Although the topic is far too broad for
examination in this work, the phenomenon of malcontents
looking for scapegoats touches on the origins of racism.
Bennett examined the motivations of racists in 1988,
concluding that racism as well as nativism, and even
nationalism, can be the result of feelings of powerlessness.
David H. Bennett, The Party of Fear: From Nativist Movements
to the New Right in American History (Chapel Hill: University
of North Carolina Press 1988), 1-14.
276 Ibid., 317-320.
277 The Klan did not mean the original Native Americans found
on this continent by white Europeans when they arrived to
begin colonization. " Native-born Americans" was a term the
Klan used to refer to descendants of the white Europeans,
born in North America.

169
Furthermore, Klan members preached that the black was the
vehicle to be used by those who would promote the interests
of immigrants over the native-born.278
Sidney J. Catts was an example of a fervent nativist.
Catts had brought his support of nativism to Florida from
Alabama in 1916. Catts abandoned his Baptist ministry to
enter politics. A major part of his platform was nativism.279
Catts was elected governor of the state. He used his office
to widely disseminate his message of support for "the
American flag, Prohibition, and the little red schoolhouse
against the menace of the convent, parochial school, Rome,
and Africa." It was the same message the Klan would soon
preach in Florida.280
The Ku Klux Klan in Florida
The Ku Klux Klan in Florida had gained its strength as
individual Klaverns, rather than as one statewide
organization. In the 1920s, Jacksonville was home to the
strongest of those Klaverns. The Stonewall Jackson No. 1
was, for a time, the largest in the state. Klansmen met
278 Garrow, St. Augustine, 116-117.
279 Wayne Flynt, Cracker Messiah: Governor Sidney J. Catts of
Florida (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press,
1977), 31-32.
280 Chalmers, Hooded Americanism, 225.

170
openly, ran for political office, and the Jacksonville and
Levy County fairs had special Klan days. Klaverns were
growing in other areas of Florida. Chapters proliferated in
Miami, West Palm Beach, Key West, Ocala, Fort Myers, Orlando,
Ocoee, and elsewhere.281
The Klan was responsible for much violence in Florida.
In Kissimmee, during the spring of 1923 three black men were
whipped, tarred, and feathered. That same year, there was a
series of floggings of black men in Tampa. At least a dozen
blacks were beaten in Sumter County. In 1926 in
Jacksonville, there were reports of at least sixty-three
floggings. Two of the victims had died.282 Michael Gannon
wrote in his Short History of Florida, "blacks in the
interior knew that at any time, for the slightest offense,
real or imagined, they could be subject to physical violence,
including death." Gannon also reported that Florida led the
country in lynchings, with 4.5 per 10,000 blacks, at least
twice the rate of any other southern state. Gangs of whites
could wipe out entire black towns. Rosewood was obliterated
in 1923 when seventeen blacks were slain. An entire section
281 Ibid., 225-227; Michael Gannon, Florida: A Short History,
(Gainesville, University Press of Florida, 1993), 86.
282 Chalmers, Hooded Americanism, 228.

171
of Ocoee had suffered a similar end in 1920 when four blacks
were killed.283
Klan activity in Florida continued well past the 1920s.
The summer of 1951 was described as a "summer of cross
burnings from Miami and Fort Myers to Jacksonville and the
panhandle." Klan Grand Dragon Bill Hendrix campaigned for
governor of Florida in 1951 as a way to get his message
across in the face of growing resistance in Florida to the
Klan. One indication of that resistance was the introduction
and passage in the state legislature of an anti-mask bill.284
In 1960, the Klan was the organizer of "Ax-handle
Saturday" in Jacksonville. Blacks had scheduled lunch
counter sit-ins at Jacksonville department and dime stores.
Members of the Florida Klan, armed with ax handles, were
waiting for black demonstrators on the morning of 27 August.
The Klan attacked, setting off three days of rioting between
283 Gannon, Florida, 86.
284 Chalmers, 340. HB No. 130 was introduced by Mssrs. Melvin
of Santa Rosa, Darby of Escambia, Watson of Lee, and Beasley
of Walton. It was passed by the House, then by the Senate
and signed by the governor on 4 May 1951. It became Florida
Statute 876.11-876.21. Florida Statues, State of Florida
(1951), 2738-2739.

172
Jacksonville blacks and whites. During the same month, three
black-owned businesses in Jacksonville were bombed.285
The Klan was busy in Orlando the following year. 1961
was the year lunch counter sit-ins began in the Orange
County* s largest city. One Klan tactic was to leave cards at
targeted lunch counters with the message: "A Negro had that
spoon in his mouth." A similar tactic was tried in Ocala in
1963. In 1964, the Klan played a major part in the "long hot
summer" of St. Augustine. Civil rights organizer Dr. R.N.
Hayling, a black dentist, was one of four men severely beaten
when they were found to be observing a Klan meeting. An
observer called the sheriff, who intervened in the beating
and arrested four of the assailants. Juries found the
Klansmen not guilty of assault and battery, but convicted the
four blacks of attacking the Klansmen.286
A Statewide View
Occurrences in other cities in Florida were important
for at least three reasons: (1) Because events in one Florida
city could influence events in other Florida cities, there
was concern in Orlando, Jacksonville, and Miami when
disturbances were reported elsewhere; (2) because of that
285 Ibid., 353-354.
286
Ibid., 368-377.

173
concern, two of the broadcasters who are the main subjects of
this dissertation sometimes editorialized about events in
other communities; and (3) in the case of St. Augustine, that
community is considered part of the Jacksonville television
market.
St. Augustine
St. Augustine was among the most volatile of Florida
cities in the 1960s civil rights era. A large segment of the
St. Augustine business community had ties to the John Birch
Society. Many of the city* s leaders, even if they were not
members of the Society, were reported to hold the same views
as the Birchers. The business community's support of the
John Birch Society also made it difficult for others in St.
Augustine to accept compromise with civil rights forces in
the mid-1960s and was, therefore, part of the reason the city
became one of the fiercest battlegrounds of Florida' s civil
rights conflict in the 1960s.287
Although, before the civil rights movement of the sixties
heated up, it was considered by both blacks and whites to
have a generally "above average'' racial atmosphere, St.
287 David R. Colburn, "Saint Augustine and Desegregation,"
in Southern Businessmen and Desegregation, eds. Elizabeth
Jacoway s David Colburn, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State
University Press, 1982), 214-215.

174
Augustine experienced some of the worst racial strife of any
1960s Florida community. Part of the reason for this
apparent contradiction was that the above-average racial
atmosphere was built upon a strict social structure with
blacks kept "in their place."2ee
Black citizens made up 21 percent of the population of
St. Augustine in 1950, but they held a distinctly
disadvantaged position, both socially and economically.
Black families averaged $3,500 annual income in 1960. White
families averaged $5,000. Sixty percent of black women
worked in domestic or service work. White children were
averaging more than eleven years of education; black children
were averaging only about seven and one-half years.289
Following the 1954 Brown decision by the United States
Supreme Court, which outlawed so-called "separate but equal"
school facilities and required desegregated schools, St.
Augustine's black citizens increased their efforts for equal
rights. There were sporadic lunch counter sit-ins, as well
St. Augustine, FL, 1963-1964, David J. Garrow, ed.
(Brooklyn, 1989), 11-16.
289 Colburn, "St. Augustine and Desegregation," 216-218.

175
as demonstrations demanding integration at other
facilities.290
Adding to the volatility of the racial mix, a group
called the "Ancient City Hunting Club" was active in the
area. The group, according to press reports of the 1960s,
was no more than a front for the Ku Klux Klan. It was led by
"Hoss" Manucy, who also was the reputed leader of Manucy's
Raiders, a gang of racists known for violent acts against
black citizens. Although the Raiders were said to number one
thousand, there were never reliable reports of more than a
few dozen members. Even with a limited number of followers,
Mamie/ s reputation helped him organize anti-integration
demonstrations, and St. Augustine's nonviolent citizenry
feared his Raiders because of their violent acts.291
As mentioned in the previous section, one of the leaders
of the demonstrations, black dentist Robert Hayling, was
waylaid in 1963 by a group of Ku Klux Klansmen and severely
beaten. Someone, presumably the Klan, fired shots into his
home several times. His dog was killed in one of those
incidents. Teenagers who took part in demonstrations
organized by Hayling were jailed for four months when their
Ibid., 215.
Garrow, St. Augustine, 42, 97-98, 100, 103, 109, 116-117.

176
parents refused to pledge to keep the young people from
participating in future demonstrations. Some black adults
were fired from their jobs for participating in
demonstrations. The wives of men involved in demonstrations
were threatened with loss of their own jobs if their husbands
continued to demonstrate.292
Tamoa
Tampa, unlike St. Augustine, was considered a "New
South" city. While St. Augustine was proud of its heritage
as the oldest city in America, Tampa's growth was recent as
the decade of the 1960s began. In the 1950s, the population
of Tampa had doubled. By 1960, approximately 275,000 people
lived there; 47 thousand of them were black. The Chamber of
Commerce was boasting that economic development in Tampa was
"snowballing." The cit/ s business owners had a bright
future to protect.293
One way they attempted to protect that future was by
avoiding racial strife. There had been minor incidents over
292 Colburn, "St. Augustine and Desegregation," 216.
Additional instances of civil rights conflicts in St.
Augustine, as well as in other cities in Florida, are
described in the chapters on the three editorialists who are
the primary focus of this dissertation, particularly in the
chapter on Ralph Renick.
293 Steven F. Lawson, "From Sit-In to Race Riot," in Southern
Businessmen and Desegregation, 257-260.

177
lack of service for blacks at department store lunch
counters. One refusal of service in early 1950 had resulted
in a two hour demonstration that ended in a scuffle between a
black protester and a white man. That incident was enough to
alert the business community and both black and white
moderates that without steps to head off more problems
economic disaster lay ahead. A bi-racial committee that had
been formed by Tampa Mayor Julian Lane in 1959 prevailed upon
store owners with lunch counters to integrate quietly. The
store owners were made aware that any prolonged period of
racial problems would be disastrous for Tampa's booming
business climate. Black members of the committee convinced
sit-in demonstrators to conduct their protests with reserve.
In one instance, after several months planning, on a day when
the committee and civic and business leaders had agreed that
Tampa lunch counters would be integrated, fourteen pairs of
blacks were served at the lunch counters of eighteen stores.
They were careful to arrive at a time when there would be few
white patrons in the stores, and they had been advised to
"conform to norms of proper middle-class behavior."
Waitresses were told by their bosses to be extra courteous to
the black lunch counter patrons. Employees who were

178
resistant to serving blacks were given the day off. The
lunch counter integration was successful—and quiet.294
However, the same problems that existed in St. Augustine
and other American cities were present in Tampa. During the
mid-sixties, the bi-racial committee, known at first as the
Bi-Racial Committee, then as the Commission of Community
Relations (CCR), implemented a program of slow, non-
confrontational integration, called "the Tampa Technique."
By 1967, there was little segregation left in Tampa. There
was, however, still racial discrimination, enforced
economically. Blacks were admitted to movie theaters and
bowling alleys and lunch counters and "twenty-dollar hotels,"
but some black leaders charged that was no more than window-
dressing. Because of lack of employment opportunities, black
leaders charged, black citizens were denied access to the
more expensive levels of Tampa life. Civil service
examinations kept blacks from getting upper echelon jobs with
the government. Even when blacks had the education and
skills to perform better-paying jobs, there was de-facto
resistance by white employers and whites were hired
instead.295
294 Ibid., 266-267.
295
Ibid., 268-274.

Although integration appeared to be working in Tampa,
blacks were dissatisfied with the pace of building low-cost
housing, with the poor quality of police protection in black
neighborhoods, with the shortage of recreational facilities
in black areas, and with exploitation of blacks by white
business owners in black neighborhoods. The "Tampa
Technique" was also part of the reason for growing
discontent. The slow, steady approach to integration turned
out to be more slow than steady. The Commission of Community
Relations was getting warnings by 1966 that discontent was
growing and that Tampa stood on the threshold of the same
riots that took place in Cleveland, Atlanta, and other
cities. The CCR was warned in early 1967 that any gains from
advances in integration and equal treatment were accruing to
the black middle class and not to the poor who needed them
most.296
The warnings were valid. When a white policeman fatally
shot a fleeing robbery suspect in Tampa on 11 June 1967,
racial tensions exploded. Rioting broke out first in an area
of low income blacks, an area in which the unemployment rate
was twice that of the white population, an area with decaying
housing, an area where the educational level was at the Tampa
296
Ibid., 274-275.

180
norm of 7.7 years for blacks. Four nights of burning,
looting, and rock-throwing followed. No one was killed in
the rioting, but sixteen people were injured. Damage
estimates ranged as high as $1 million. Once quiet was
restored, the Commission of Community Relations began working
anew with Tampa's business community and representatives from
black neighborhoods to create more jobs for blacks. Business
people pledged financial aid for job training and
establishment of a Young Adult Council, to be made up of
young blacks. However, money collected amounted to only a
third of money pledged and by the end of the decade, the
project had been abandoned.
Orlando
The Orlando area also had a violent racial history.
When July Perry of Ocoee, fourteen miles from Orlando,
insisted on exercising his right to vote in the 1920 election
in which Warren G. Harding was elected president, Perry paid
with his life. Perry had gone to the polls despite "palpable
. . . fear and intimations of physical violence in Ocoee."297
Perry had outwitted Ku Klux Klan members in Ocoee who had set
up a system by which blacks were forced to have their voter' s
297 Kathy Amich Fuqua-Cardwell, "Racial Justice: Orange County
1920-1970" (Master's thesis, Rollins College, 1992), 21.

181
registration validated by the town's one Justice of the
Peace. When the Justice of the Peace left town early in the
day to go fishing in Orlando, Perry drove to Orlando to get
the required validation. He then drove back to Ocoee to
vote. That is one version of the story, the black version.298
The white version, reported in the Orlando Morning Sentinel,
was that Perry had showed up at the polls with a shotgun,
demanding to be allowed to vote although he had not paid a
poll tax.299
There are also conflicting stories of what happened
after that. The black version told of white vigilantes going
to Perry* s house. When a white hit Perry with the butt of a
rifle, a black woman in the house fired her rifle, hitting
the assailant in the arm. Gunfire erupted throughout the
house and Perry was seriously wounded. He was taken to jail
by the so-called "posse," while whites rampaged through the
black section of Ocoee. At 3:30 the morning of November
third, Perry was taken from his cell by a group of
approximately one hundred whites. He was tied to the back of
a car and dragged from Ocoee to Orlando. Once in Orlando, he
298 Ibid., 21-22.
299 "As Negro Houses Burned at Ocoee Great Mass of Mmunition
is Exploded," Orlando Morning Sentinel, 4 November 1920, 1.

182
was hanged. The white version left out the part of the story
that related Perr/ s torturous trip tied to the back of a
car. Both versions related that his body was riddled by
bullets as it swung from a tree near Lake Adair.300
Perry was not the only one to die in the election
violence. The Orlando Morning Sentinel headlines reported
that two whites were dead in the Ocoee race riot. The
Sentinel neglected to mention in its headline that five
blacks, including Perry, had also died, the blacks lives
apparently not important enough to merit inclusion in the
headline. The story that followed related that calmness had
settled over the "battle scarred shambles," that two white
men were dead, five whites had been wounded, an unknown
number of Negroes in addition to Perry killed, and twenty
five Negro houses, two churches and a lodge burned.301
Members of the white vigilante group who had killed Perry and
taken part in the rest of the violence were never prosecuted.
A letter written by officers who investigated said only that
Perry and another black man were troublemakers. The sheriff
and his deputies who investigated were also Klan members.
Fuqua-Cardwell,
24.
301
‘As Negro Houses Burned," 1.

183
After the November third incidents, the black section of town
ceased to exist.302
Although there were no more reported incidents of
lynchings in the Orlando area after Perr/ s death, life for
the area's black citizens remained difficult. Schooling was
inadequate. During the 1940s, there was only one high
school, Jones High School. No other schools for blacks went
beyond the fifth grade. A black child from Orange County who
lived outside the city of Orlando and wanted to attend Jones
had to room with relatives or friends in the city during the
week. Textbooks were secondhand, passed along from white
schools and always with racial slurs written in them by the
white students who knew black children would have them next.
Buses for black students did not run until 1947.303
The murder of July Perry may have been the last lynching
in the Orlando area, but it was not the last racial violence.
In 1944, a black man bold enough to take advantage of a
Supreme Court decision declaring all-white primaries unlawful
went to the polls in Orlando to cast his vote in a heretofore
all white primary. He was beaten and then jailed. In July
1949, white mobs attacked blacks and burned black-owned homes
302 Fuqua-Cardwell, 25.
303
Ibid., 31-32.

184
in Groveland, west of Orlando, after reports that four black
men had kidnapped and raped a white housewife. A vigilante
group, including members of the Ku Klux Klan, captured the
four accused men. One of the accused was shot to death on
the spot, killed by thirty shots fired into his body. The
others were found guilty by an all-white jury. One was
sentenced to fifteen years in prison but shown some leniency
because he was only fifteen years old. The other two, Samuel
Sheppard and Walter Lee Irvin, were given the death penalty.
While the manhunt and subsequent trial were going on,
Groveland whites had rampaged through town, burning
buildings owned by blacks. Klan members were marching
openly through Groveland. Two years later, the convictions
were overturned because blacks had been excluded from the
jury. As Sheriff Willis McCall took the defendants Sheppard
and Irvin from Raiford Prison to a jail in Tavares for
retrial, McCall shot and killed Sheppard and seriously
wounded Irvin. McCall claimed they had tried to escape.
Irvin said McCall fired for no apparent reason. The
surviving defendants were retried and again found guilty.
Irvin was later executed. McCall' s actions were ruled

185
justifiable because he had "acted in the line of duty and in
defense of his own life."304
There was still little interaction among the races in
Orlando in the 1950s. Black and white citizens met only long
enough for blacks to perform household chores and other jobs
during the day. Then blacks retreated to their own
neighborhoods at night. Fuqua-Cardwell wrote in her master's
thesis:
Many black households had no sewage treatment
whatsoever and used outhouses. Black teachers' salaries
were one-quarter the salary of white teachers. Blacks
would only be treated by black doctors. Black women,
choosing to deliver babies at Orange Memorial Hospital
instead of at home with midwife Mary Jan Johnson, were
confined to the basement of the hospital near the
steampipes during labor.
For blacks no motel or hotel, except those in black
neighborhoods, was open to them. Public toilets might
be available but blacks had to use the ones labeled
colored or not at all. The Albertson Public Library
might have a good collection of books in 1954, blacks
had just petitioned the city for permission to even use
the library.305
Although blacks were allowed to shop at places such as
McCrory's and Kress, they were required to stay within
certain black areas of the stores. They could spend their
304 Theodore Hemingway, "The Rise of Black Student
Consciousness in Tallahassee and the State of Florida," in
The Civil Rights Movement in Florida and the United States,
Charles U. Smith, ed. (Tallahassee: Father and Son
Publishing, Inc., 1989), 65-66; Fuqua-Cardwell, 59.
305 Fuqua-Cardwell, 76.

186
money there, but they could not buy food or drink, or even a
glass of water at the all-white lunch counter. If they
wanted water, there was a separate "colored" drinking
fountain. An indignity that convinced some black women not
to shop in the white stores was a requirement that if they
wanted to try on hats they would have to wear stocking caps
to keep the hats from touching their heads. Many chose to
shop at home, buying from door-to-door salesmen who charged
three times as much as the department stores.306 Changes were
needed if blacks were to share in Orlando's booming economy
and the 1960s would bring some of those changes.
Miami
Although considered less a bastion of racism than some
other Florida cities, Miami also was the scene of racial
violence as well as Klan -activity. As blacks attempted to
move into white neighborhoods in the mid 1940s, Klan members
conducted an ongoing campaign to intimidate them. There were
regular Klan parades during the latter half of the decade.
Klan members burned houses, as well as crosses; they
dynamited apartment complexes, hoping to frighten away black
residents. Police in Miami, like other cities, were willing
accomplices of white racists, enforcing invisible, but real,
306
Ibid., 78.

187
color lines.307 Nonetheless, the economy and the interests
of business helped keep a lid on race problems in Miami. The
desire for a positive business environment, which included an
absence of racial strife, was effective for only so long.
Although the racial violence that hit other United States
cities in the sixties did not come to Miami until late in the
decade, Miami was not to escape racial strife. The events
that brought that strife to the city are covered in the
chapter on Ralph Renick's editorials.
History of Consolidation Attempts in Jacksonville
When Norm Davis began his editorial campaign to uncover
corruption in Jacksonville area government and to consolidate
area government, he was stepping into an arena with a rich,
but checkered, background. The mid-1960s was not the first
time attempts had been made to bring more communities under
the umbrella of a single, more organized government in the
Jacksonville area. There had been earlier attempts to
consolidate as well as attempts to annex neighboring
communities to the city.308
307 Gannon, New Florida History, 442.
308 Annexation and consolidation are different forms of
governmental change. Annexation involves expanding the
jurisdiction of an already existing city government.
Consolidation is more ambitious; it involves throwing out the

188
The first attempt at consolidation was made in 1868. It
was a commercial consolidation rather than a political one.309
A group of business-minded citizens organized a Board of
Trade to consolidate not only the Jacksonville area but also
all of North Florida's agricultural and commercial interests
with Jacksonville as the hub. Divisions soon developed,
however, as old enmities flared within a business community
that was evenly divided between those who had sympathized
with the North and those who had sympathized with the South
during the recently concluded Civil War. Board members had
political party differences as well. Some backed the
Democratic Party, others the Republicans. Slowly the
Republican faction became dominant; the Democratic
sympathizers left the board. By 1874, the board had
disbanded and consolidation was abandoned.310
Even as consolidation was failing, population growth
that strained city services was taking place. Towns around
Jacksonville were enjoying the benefits of living near and
sending citizens to work within Jacksonville, yet were
old governmental structure, electing new leaders and wiping
out old geographical boundaries. Martin, Consolidation, 2.
310 Richard A. Martin, The City Makers (Jacksonville:
Convention Press, Inc., 1972), 97.

189
bearing none of the burden of supporting city services.311
In 1883, city leaders who had been floating bond issues to
pay for improvements attempted to convince voters to approve
annexation of several communities. It was an attempt to
require citizens who were benefiting from improvements to pay
for those improvements through taxes. The attempt was
rejected by voters.312
In 1884, a new Board of Trade was formed under the
leadership of Colonel J.J. Daniel. Daniel and other board
members pushed for and won legislation that, in effect,
created a consolidated municipality. Further reform in 1887
included a new state constitution that allowed for formation
of a consolidated government. In a referendum to form the
new consolidated government, incumbent politicians, who had
been involved in scandal, were defeated, but tragedy struck
the following year in the form of a yellow fever epidemic.
Colonel J.J. Daniel was among the fatalities. In a front
page obituary, the Florida Times-Union said, "Had the scourge
which has carried desolation and bereavement into so many
Florida homes found no other victim than Colonel Daniel, it
would have inflicted an incomparable disaster upon the
311 Ibid.,
5.
312 Ibid.,
6.

190
state."313 A confused citizenry, with no justification in
fact, blamed the tragedies of the plague on the new city
government, and consolidation was once again a victim of
circumstances. Legislation was passed in the Florida House
that allowed for appointment of a City Council by the
governor. The City Council was given authority to appoint
the Jacksonville mayor and all other city officials.314 The
legislation applied only to the city of Jacksonville and
would be the status quo for almost thirty years.315
In 1917 and 1919, Jacksonville's charter was amended to
allow for a council-commission form of government, with
commissioners assigned their own bailiwicks. The charter
called for a board of five elected city commissioners who
would be a group executive and responsible for actual
administration of city government policy, each with his own
department. The mayor-commissioner, for instance, controlled
the police, fire, and building departments, as well as the
313 The Florida Times Union, October 5, 1888, 1.
314 Martin, Consolidation, 14.
315 Laws of Florida, Chapter 3952—[No 106.] "An Act to
Establish the Municipality of Jacksonville, Provide for its
Government and Prescribe its Jurisdiction and Powers."
Approved 16 May 1889. Section 1 of this act, which gave the
Governor authority to appoint eighteen council members, and
the council members authority to appoint a mayor, was an
amendment to an 1887 act.

191
airports and the parking department. The elected City
Council, on the other hand, was not to have control of
specific departments but was to act as the city's legislative
body. Concurrently, a Duval County government was
established with five commissioners, but no council members.
It was, in terms of services, duplicative of the city
government. The result was two police departments, two fire
departments, and two engineers—two of almost everything.
The obvious waste of resources led to voter disenchantment
and legislative attempts in 1918 and in 1923 to consolidate.
The matter went before the voters in 1924 and was defeated.316
However, with such a system in place, the possibilities for
corruption and inefficiency were immense.
Those possibilities were realized when in 1931, in an
action similar to what would take place three and a half
decades later, the grand jury returned seventy-five
indictments against city officials. Several indictments were
also returned against county officials. Very little was done
in the wake of the indictments, except for the annexation of
South Jacksonville. However, the indictments provided the
impetus for passage of an amendment to the State
316
Ibid., 16.

192
Constitution, which would make consolidation possible.311 The
first time backers of consolidation attempted to use the
amendment was 1935. Again, voters said, "No."
The need for consolidation, nonetheless, was becoming
more urgent as Jacksonville and Duval County continued to
grow. Population increases were staggering. Between 1930
and 1950, total population of the county and city grew by
almost 170 percent, from 37,000 to 99,000 residents.318 In
the ten years leading up to 1963, as much as $330 million
went into construction. By 1965, companies based in
Jacksonville had more than $576 million in assets.319 With
the growth, came the problems of growth, problems that were
being overlooked by those who were supposed to be on watch.
During this time, the City of Jacksonville was losing
population; Duval County was gaining residents. In the years
between 1950 and 1965, Jacksonville's population dropped by
5,000 residents to 198,000. Duval County's population rose
225 percent to more than 325,000. All of those people
outside the city trying to get into town in the morning,
317 Ibid., 18.
318 Richard Martin, A Quiet Revolution, (Jacksonville: White
Publishing Co.,1993), 28.
319
Ibid., 32.

193
trying to get out at night, using Jacksonville roads, and
using Jacksonville infrastructure were putting a terrible
strain on the city's resources. In addition, they were
putting a strain on the resources of the bedroom communities
in which they lived. Those communities had not been designed
as suburbs of a major city; they had been designed to handle
the relatively few problems of rural areas.320
Annexation was attempted in 1963 and again in 1964, an
attempt to make some of the communities surrounding
Jacksonville, drawing on its resources, a tax-paying part of
the city. Annexation was voted down both times because of
opposition outside the city.
In the spring of 1965, the Florida Legislature, at the
urging of local citizens stung by obvious government
ineptitude, approved a bill creating a Study Commission to
look into consolidation.321 Legislators appointed seventeen
members to the Commission's executive committee. Committee
members elected J.J. Daniel, the grandson of the previously
mentioned Colonel J.J. Daniel, as the permanent chairman.
The Commission studied consolidation, held hearings in the
320 Ibid., 39-40.
321 Jules L. Wagman, Jacksonville and Florida's First Coast.
(Northridge, Ca.: Windsor Publications, Inc., 1988), 28.

194
communities involved, and solicited input from the greater
Jacksonville area. On 23 November 1965, the committee
offered its recommendations for a sweeping change of
Jacksonville government, a consolidation of city and county.
This history of attempts to consolidate government in the
Jacksonville area leads up to the 1967 attempt, an attempt
that would be different because of different forces at work.
One of those forces was Norm Davis of WJXT-TV. Davis
was facing not only a history of failed attempts at
consolidation but also an entrenched power structure in
Jacksonville with a strong wish to preserve the status quo.
Both Davis and WJXT news director Bill Grove recalled in
later years that some of the media in Jacksonville were part
of that status quo, owned by the Florida East Coast Railway
and the Alfred I. DuPont business structure, which was
administered by Edward Ball. In 1987, the late United States
Congressman Claude Pepper described Ball as part of a
greedy band of men who would go to any extreme to
destroy a public official who supported Social Security,
minimum wages, health care, and so on. Such people make
life unbearable for millions. But they cost a little
money and that made life unbearable for the insatiably
greedy.322
322 Claude Denson Pepper, Pepper: Eyewitness to a Century
(New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987), 206.

195
Florida, although a state considered part of the new
South, was still in many ways part of the old South. White
racist attitudes were a fact of life for blacks attempting to
survive 20th century Florida. Part of the background of the
racist attitudes of many Floridians was imported. It stood
to reason, with so many people coming from other parts of the
country where racism existed, racism would come with them.
Some Florida cities avoided racial strife for a time
because city government and business leaders recognized the
importance of presenting a peaceful facade. However, with a
violent, repressive racial background that included much Ku
Klux Klan activity, cosmetic attempts at integration would
not be enough to allow the state to escape the racial turmoil
that was typical of 1960s America. It was within this racial
climate that Brechner and Renick undertook their civil rights
editorial crusades. In so doing, they were attempting to
improve their communities through their existential form of
community journalism.
In Jacksonville, WJXT and Norm Davis were concerned with
a different history during their editorial campaign. It was
government corruption and inefficiency that required their
effort during the mid-1960s. As will be explained in Chapter
9, the chapter that examines Norm Davis, it was a more

196
concentrated campaign, spanning fewer years than the
campaigns examined in Chapters 8 and 10 on Ralph Renick and
Joe Brechner. It may have also been the most demonstrably
effective of any of the campaigns examined in this research.
Davis and his associates faced formidable odds in attempting
to change the power structure in Jacksonville, but proved
themselves equal to the task.

CHAPTER 8
RALPH RENICK—FLORIDA' S FIRST BROADCAST EDITORIALIST
It was 2 September 1957. The lanky, almost painfully
thin, young newscaster with dark, slicked-back hair, studio
lights reflected in his horn-rimmed glasses was calling for
construction of a fire station on the Miami area island
community of Key Biscayne. Ralph Renick, who had been the
first television newscaster in the Miami market, was
achieving another first. He was beginning the first
regularly scheduled daily editorials on television in the
country.323 The editorial did not inspire Miami officials to
immediate action; it would be ten years before the fire
station would be built, but it was the precursor to
editorials and editorial campaigns that would be much more
successful.
Ralph Renick's editorial policies were a result of ideas
formed during childhood in the Miami area and during his
undergraduate years at the University of Miami. They
reflected a belief that a reporter should be a contributing,
323 S.L. Alexander, "May the Good News," 57.
197

198
participatory member of his community. His editorial
crusades exemplify his dedication to community improvement,
and his communitarian approach to journalism. The most
notable editorial crusades involved crime, restaurant
sanitation, B-girl strip joints, and civil rights.
In this section, the pioneering editorials of Renick are
examined. Renick7 s background in the community and in
broadcasting is explained, with particular attention to the
editorialist's motivations. Renick's own stated views on the
role of a broadcast editorialist are also explored. Finally,
the editorial crusades are outlined individually.
The Nation's First Nightly TV Editorials
When Renick started the WTVJ editorials, he had been on
the air for eight years as the station's only anchorman. He
had been hired in 1949 by WTVJ President Mitchell Wolfson as
a new graduate of the University of Miami's Radio-TV-Film
Department. At the time he was hired, he had recently been
fired by a Miami Beach FM station because of a perceived
speech impediment. 324 The perception of Renick's boss at the
Miami Beach station seemed only to confirm what Renick had
324 Recordings of Renick7 s newscasts reveal there was no
speech impediment. Apparently what the manager of the FM
radio station heard was a tendency to mumble, a tendency
Renick soon overcame.

199
been told by Dr. Sydney Head, the chair of the Radio-TV-Film
Department at the University of Miami where Ralph attended
college. Head had told Renick that the young man would never
make it in broadcasting. 325 Wolfson heard no speech
impediment, hired Renick as an intern, and the following year
installed him as WTVJ news editor, news anchorman, news
writer, and news film editor. Renick was the station's news
department.326
Ralph Renick was well equipped for a career as a South
Florida newsman and editorialist. Although he had been born
in New York, he and his divorced mother and two brothers
moved to Hialeah when he was twelve. At the time, Hialeah
was so unsettled, Ralph and his family had to be on the
lookout for rattlesnakes in the yard.327 Nevertheless, the
Renicks stayed and became part of the growing Miami
community.
325 Interview with Rosalie Spiedell, Ralph's mother, 11 March
2000.
326 Sherry Woods, "What Keeps Renick on Top," Miami News, 19
January 1977, 7A.
327 Neil Shister, "The Renick Regime Turns 30," Miami Herald,
10 November 1982, TV Section, 5. This may have been
something of an exaggeration by Shister or by Renick.
Renick* s brothers do not now remember snakes in the yard, but
they do remember seeing snakes on the way to the store.

200
In a revealing statement of news philosophy, Renick
would say later, "I believe in growing up in a neighborhood,
getting married, and raising a family there, knowing what the
problems are in that community before you try to report
them."328 Renick was true to his philosophy. He married Betty
Jane Henry, known as "Bane," in June of 1949. Ralph and Bane
had six children in the next fifteen years. Ralph was left
to raise them alone when Bane died in 1964, only eight months
after the last of the children was born.329
By reviewing his educational pursuits, one might have
also surmised that Renick would become involved in television
editorializing. He had majored in radio-television-film at
the University of Miami and minored in journalism. After
graduation he had obtained an H.V. Kaltenborn Foundation
Fellowship. The fellowship allowed him to study "the theory
and practices of communicating ideas through broadcasting
media or the press."330 It also opened his eyes to the work
328 Bob Michaels, "Renick, Cronkite: Parallel Goes Deeper Than
Style," Palm Beach Post, 3 March 1981, 85.
329 "Wife of TV s Ralph Renick Dies After Long Illness," Miami
Herald, 14 June 1964.
330 Fran Matera, "WTVJ, Miami: Wolf son, Renick, and 'May The
Good News Be Yours,' in Television in America: Local Station
History From Across the Nation, ed. Michael D. Murray and
Donald G. Godfrey (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1997),
121.

201
of Kaltenborn, a brilliant and fiercely independent radio
editorialist.331 Kaltenborn is given credit for broadcasting
the first editorial on radio on 4 April 1922. He had moved
to television, working for NBC, in 1940. There he helped to
pioneer television news. He had frequently expressed the
view that opinion was a necessary part of delivering the news
so audience members could understand the stories that made up
the day's flow of information.332
It was an association that Renick would continue for
fifteen years. Kaltenborn even made occasional appearances
to deliver editorials on Renick' s news program until the
pioneer commentator died in 1965. The day after Kaltenborn' s
death, Renick acknowledged the influence of the old veteran
on the young broadcaster's life.
There was a time in this country—as a matter of fact—
around the entire world, when the voice was all
powerful....
These were the days of strong opinions, of vocal
vibrancy, of personalities that spoke their minds and
didn’t care whether people agreed with them or not . . .
some think it was broadcasting's finest hour. . . .
One of the men largely responsible for pioneering free
expression on radio was H.V. Kaltenborn. . . .
331 Erik Barnouw, The Golden Web (New York: Oxford University
Press, 1968), 135-36.
Michael D. Murray, ed., Encyclopedia of Television Mews
(Phoenix: The Oryx Press, 1999), 115.

202
Mr. Kaltenborn's death leaves a void in the ranks of
those few men in broadcast opinionating who have
achieved an emeritus ranking. . . .
If I may be permitted a personal note—it was Mr.
Kaltenborn who was directly responsible for my entrance
into the broadcast news profession. The year was 1949.
Mr. Kaltenborn established a foundation to enable
graduating college students to undertake a research
investigation in the communications field. The
Kaltenborn Foundation awarded me its first fellowship
and I came from the University of Miami to WTVJ—
Florida' s first television station—to pursue my
investigation of TV news. In the years since, Mr.
Kaltenborn has been a steady supporter, as well as
constructive critic, of my efforts in broadcasting.
He was an inspiration to all of us latter day toilers in
the vineyard he planted back in 1924. . . .
H.V. Kaltenborn's integrity and search for knowledge and
the truth leaves a heritage for all of us to carry on.333
By the 1960s, Renick was a news institution in Miami.
He had had a seven-year head start on other newscasters in
town, delivering his first newscast, "The Ralph Renick
Report," on 17 July 1950.334 The newscast was a report of
national and international news, meant to fill the needs of
Miamians for news about the Korean War. Film used on the
daily newscasts was at least twenty-four hours old, sent by
333 Ralph Renick "Broadcasting Loses A Pioneer," The Ralph
Renick Report, 15 June 1965. All editorials cited in this
dissertation are on file at the Louis Wolfson Media History
Center in the Miami Dade Public Library, 101 West Flagler St.
and in Special Collections, University Park Library, Florida
International University, both in Miami, Florida.
334 S.L. Alexander, "May the Good News," 57.

203
air from New York. Renick's only viewing room for the film
was a station restroom. It was not uninterrupted viewing.
Occasionally someone had to use the restroom for purposes
other than screening film.335
During the next year, "The Ralph Renick Report" expanded
to fifteen minutes and included local news. As time passed,
Miami City Commission meetings, the Florida State
Legislature, various national conventions, Senator Estes
Kefauver and his Senate Crime Investigative Committee, and
Miami's bumper-to-bumper traffic all became part of WTVJ's
news coverage. WTVJ bought a new mobile unit to expand
coverage of Miami.336
Renick became part of the news in 1956 when he mediated
fifteen meetings held in Delray Beach, just north of Miami.
The meetings had been called to resolve tensions within the
community over the use of public beaches by blacks. The
dispute was settled with Renick* s guidance, and he returned
to being merely a reporter on events in his community.
However, he had again demonstrated allegiance to a philosophy
of the newscaster as participant in community life.337
335 Ibid., 59.
337
Ashdown, 56.

204
In 1957, Renick faced competition for the first time.
NBC affiliate WCKT-TV signed on that year, followed a year
later by ABC affiliate WPLG-TV.338 Until 1957, Renick had
had the market to himself. He had learned his craft on the
air, at a time when there was no competition for viewers to
turn to if he made mistakes. Renick had established himself
as Miami's television newscaster and as his ratings dominance
continued he would become, in the words of former ABC Miami
bureau chief Ted Koppel, "a national institution in a local
television market."339 He had developed the stature to become
the nation's first local newscaster to broadcast a nightly
editorial.
The Renick Editorials
Ralph Renick's editorial philosophy was elucidated
frequently by the editorialist himself. Paul Ashdown
interviewed Renick for Ashdown's 1975 dissertation at Bowling
Green State University. Renick told Ashdown he had come to
understand that television editorials had more of an impact
on viewers than on the subjects of those editorials:
If you' re criticizing local public officials, they tend
to be more responsive to the newspaper. They clip the
articles, and get very excited and so forth. The
338 Ibid., 60.
339
Ibid., 62.

205
newspaper editorials seem to have more effect on opinion
leaders, but less effect on the public. The opinion
leaders haven't yet realized the impact of television
editorializing on the public.340
Renick thought the reason for acceptance of the TV
editorial by the public rested squarely on the shoulders of
the editorialist.
The television editorial has greater believability due
to the personal endorsement of the individual delivering
the comment. This person must have created confidence
among his audience based on his known record of
reportorial integrity. The television editorial is not
an unsigned, anonymous piece.341
Renick contended that the editorial served more than just a
public service function. It was also an image-builder for
the station.
The editorial gives the station a personality—allows it
to forcefully exhibit to its community a social
consciousness. A station with an editorial is not a
neuter gender merely hitching a ride on the network
video cable....
A broadcaster, through the editorial, can be the
watchdog of the community; can aim the spotlight on
corruption, graft and illicit actions of office holders
and public employees. The station which fearlessly
editorializes will reap great benefits in prestige,
audience attractions, advertising income gains as
well as being able to guide your community and
accomplish good through your position of editorial
leadership. . . .
340 Ashdown, "Television and the Editorial Crusade," 1975),
71.
341 Ralph Renick, Address, 13th Annual RTNDA Convention,
Chicago, 16 October 1958, p.4.; cited in Ashdown, 72.

206
Commensurate with the responsibility to provide
information is the responsibility to bring forth issues
and viewpoints to the public* s attention. It is at the
very cornerstone of a democratic system to strive for a
better informed public and television can make a
contribution beyond the flow of news by bringing forth
issues and viewpoints for public discussion and
decision.342
Renick frequently editorialized about editorializing and
was critical of government interference. In a 1963
editorial, titled "The Television Editorial," Renick told
viewers:
Editorializing on television today has become an
accepted practice in this nation.343
This station and this program were the first to present
a continuing daily editorial. That was 1,245
editorials ago on September 2, 1957. Since we started,
many, many other stations have begun airing their
opinions on the air.
The F.C.C. has encouraged this practice.
Editorializing has varied with each station—but
although the formula of "how-to-do-it" has differed, we
don't think the practice has been terribly abused. We
think it has been beneficial for the American people to
have available other avenues of opinion than just
newspapers and magazines.
Radio and television editorials have fulfilled an
important task in stimulating individual thought and
provoking action and guiding the citizenry. We believe
the constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press
342 Ibid., 73.
343 This may not have been completely true. See the section
on "State of the Editorial."

207
apply to editorials on television as much as to printed
newspaper editorials.
We do not censor the press by government control in this
country and we would fear censorship of television news
and editorials. Thus we are alarmed by the announcement
this week that a House Subcommittee in Washington will
convene hearings on July 15th to investigate broadcast
editorializing.
Many congressmen feel their political futures may be
endangered by editorials critical of their performances
or of their political party.
Many broadcasters today do not editorialize because they
fear retaliation by those in Washington which might
affect renewal of their broadcast license.
Next month's hearings will provide a further harassment
of broadcasters and will certainly not encourage the
furtherance of unfettered, courageous, controversial
editorializing which is so badly needed in this land.
Government control, even by inference, over
editorializing, is simply a form of censorship.
Censorship is not just a matter between broadcasters and
the government but it is a matter which vitally affects
you.
If we have the gag put over our mouths—we both choke
together.344
Renick was also critical of another form of governmental
control over broadcasters. Although, he frequently allotted
time on The Renick Report for opposing views, Renick was
344 Ralph Renick editorial, "The Television Editorial," 21
June 1963.

208
opposed to the Fairness Doctrine, calling it
" unconstitutional345
The role of Wometco, the owner of WTVJ, and its co¬
founder, Mitchell Wolfson, must not be overlooked in this
research. Wolfson played an important role in the editorial
successes of WTVJ-TV. As mentioned above, it was Wolfson who
hired a callow Renick, then promoted him up the ladder of
news. During the time covered by this dissertation, which is
from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, Wolfson maintained
offices for Wometco at WTVJ. He had contact with Renick on
an almost daily basis. Wolfson' s community participation
philosophy seems to have been similar to Renicld s. The Miami
News wrote of Wolfson:
[ H]is business activities pale next to his round of
civic work.
345 P. Ashdown, "Television and the Editorial Crusade, 78.
Under Section 315 of the Communications Act, the Fairness
Doctrine had been instituted by the FCC in 1949. The
Fairness Doctrine encouraged editorializing, but required
stations to provide access for opposing views on
controversial issues. Lawrence W. Lichty and Malachi C.
Topping, American Broadcasting: A Source Book on the History
of Radio and Television (New York: Hastings House, 1975),
531; Erik Barnouw, The Golden Web (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1968), 137; Edd Routt, Dimensions of
Broadcast Editorializing (Blue Ridge Summit, PA: Tab Books,
1974), 52; American Enterprise Institute Legislative
Analyses, Broadcast Deregulation (Washington, DC: American
Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1985), 15-
24; Steven J. Simmons, The Fairness Doctrine and the Media
(Berkeley: University of California Press,1978), 16-56.

209
He is active, for example, in three Chambers of
Commerce, a director of the Downtown Miami Business
Council, a member of the Dade County Citizens Planning
Board, the Budget Board, the Economic Development
Council, the Orange Bowl Committee, and Opera Guild.
And they' re only a few of the civic services that
earned him an honorary doctor of laws degree at the
University of Miami in 1955, the Greater Miami Variety
Club's Good Samaritan Award in 1954, life membership in
the Miami Jaycees in 1957, and the title of Miami
Beach's "outstanding citizen" of 1965.346
Wolfson himself best stated his views on the role of a
television station in the community and the need for TV
editorials. Wolfson appeared before a House subcommittee in
1963, six years after Renick had begun nightly editorials on
WTVJ. These are Wolfson's statements to the Commission, re¬
ordered by Flannery for contextual flow:
In every freedom there is an element of risk. We
must accept the risks if we are to achieve the benefits.
We must take the risk inherent in unrestricted broadcast
editorials. If we dare not take that risk, we dare not
let Americans think for themselves, much less, be
permitted to think. We will destroy the dialogue which
began when this nation began. Just as surely, we will
destroy our nation.
I do not believe that the American public wants
"milk and toast" editorials that just consist of
subjects dealing with motherhood, the Salvation Army's
needs and the like. In our free democratic society
surely the public is entitled to the media' s endorsement
or criticism of controversial issues, whether some
special interest group, a newspaper, another
broadcaster, a political candidate or just plain viewers
agree or disagree, provided they have an opportunity to
express an opposite view.
346 Forty Years of Service, 1925-1965" Miami News Supplement,
14 July 1965, 12.

210
Dull editorials have destroyed the usefulness of
many newspapers; they can ruin this medium as well. The
surest way to dull democracy is to dull the dialogue
which points it, sharpens it, and gives it thrust and
direction.
Editorials on banal topics are a disservice to
everyone. Banality would be the inevitable result of
further control and restriction.
The nation is seething with issues. On the national
level there are questions relating to civil rights,
labor, taxes, agriculture, public health and welfare,
education, and the role of government. Many of these
issues filter down to the local scene where, each man
sees them as issues affecting his community, his way of
life, his children's future.
This nation has a clear choice: to replace thought
with a vacuum, or to stimulate men to think about where
they have been, where they would go and how they would
get there. Free expression stimulates thought.
Censorship stifles it.
Favorable responses to our editorials, which have
now been on the air for some six years in Miami, three
and one-half years in Asheville and three years in
Jacksonville [ Wometco owned stations in all three
markets], have been overwhelming. The general comment
is "Keep up your editorials. We need them." We have
been amazed at the number of people who congratulate us
upon our editorials—even though they may differ with
the point of view expressed.
We try to be fair, impartial and reasonable, but
also positive, using good taste in our approach to
community problems. Our public acceptance determines
not only our integrity and reputation, but our major
business philosophy that "He who serves best, profits
most."347
In outlining company editorial policy to the same
committee, Wolfson sounded like a textbook community
journalist: "It is our policy to editorialize in order to
347 Mitchell Wofson, Statement before the Subcommittee on
Communications and Power of the House Interstate Foreign
Commerce Committee, 20 September 1963. Flannery, 14-15.

211
give public information and receive public support for help
to our communities in supporting or correcting particularly
local problems and to provide our viewers with researched
information which will enable them as voters and taxpayers to
make constructive decisions to improve their communities."348
The crusade?
For his 1975 dissertation, in distinguishing a
"campaign" from a "crusade," Ashdown used definitions of the
terms by A. Gayle Waldrop:
Crusades are directed against civic evils; they go
behind facades to get at foundations; they antagonize
predatory business and political interests; they
challenge the apathy, irresponsibility and cowardice of
citizens. They ask such questions as: Are the police
efficient and honest? Is there graft among public
officials? . . . Crusades attack and expose, seek to
destroy practices and conditions—and to depose bosses—
that make a mockery of democracy. Their goal is to give
the people more direct and effective control of their
own affairs.
By contrast, a "campaign" was defined as:
[ E] ducational in nature, dealing with desirable
cultural, governmental, and economic improvements. They
may be controversial—for few phases of community life,
social or economic, are not—but often they command
348 Ibid. This is strikingly similar to the quotation from
Davis Merritt in Chapter 4. Journalists should, said
Merritt, attempt to "insure that Americans understand the
true choices they have about issues so they can see
themselves, their hopes, and their values again reflected in
politics." The Wolfson statement is also similar to the
statements of other community journalists quoted in Chapter
4.

212
unanimous Rotary Club cheers. Their objectives may be
traffic safety, a new high school or city hall or
library, diversified agriculture, diversified industry,
city and county zoning, parks, an expanded recreational
program, a city-manager form of government.34
Ashdown identified only two "crusades" in his
dissertation. 350 One was a group of seventy-three editorials
that hammered at the problems of crime and governmental
corruption in Miami. Sixty-five of the seventy-three
editorials were broadcast on successive nights. The other
"crusade" involved twelve weeks, one night a week, of
editorials that focused on unsanitary conditions in
Miami restaurants. It was a limited definition of "crusade"
that narrowed the focus.
If Ashdown had not used Waldrop' s narrow definition, he
would likely have allowed editorials for civil rights and the
rights of Cuban refugees. Had he not limited his study to
the years 1965-1973, he could have included an earlier series
of editorials against "B-girl strip joints." In fact, in
laying groundwork for his study, Ashdown later refers to the
"B girl" editorials as a "crusade," when he quotes Renick:
We took off after the joints, the B-Girls, stripteasers
—pointing out that teenagers can be seen in pinball
349 A. Gayle Waldrop, Editor and Editorial Writer (New York:
Rinehart and Company, Inc. 1948), 423.
350
Ashdown, 95.

213
arcades, a violation of the law; bookmakers work openly
along the streets; minors have no difficulty in buying
liquor in stores or in being sold drinks; perverts
congregate in certain places; drunks, vagrants and
derelicts all roam at will.351
TV Guide also referred to the B-Girl Editorials as a
"crusade:"
Last September the Federal Bureau of Investigation
revealed that Miami ranked second to Los Angeles in the
national crime rate. Miami police officials shrugged
off the FBI report, blaming the cit/ s crime on the
annual influx of vacationers. But WTVJ presented two
documentaries in an attempt to prove that most of
Miami's crime could be traced directly to the city's
honky-tonk districts, specifically the striptease
joints. Renick sustained the crusade with a series of
editorials. As a direct result of WTVJ's campaign,
Miami's city commission passed three new ordinances,
including a ban on stripteasing.352
The "B-Girl" Editorials
The striptease editorials were not presented on a
nightly basis, but they were frequent for a period of several
years. Renick had not finished with the so-called "honky-
tonk" business interests in town with his 1959 success,
described above. In early 1960, after giving a strip-club
owner time for an editorial reply, Renick crticized a Miami
351 Ralph Renick statement to the FCC, Washington, DC, Docket
number 12782 (15 December 1959).
352 "Television Raises Its Voice," TV Guide, 23 April 1960, 5.

214
City Commission vote to water down a striptease ordinance.353
Renick kept up the pressure in an editorial on 29 January
1960, reporting that the WTVJ FYI special in September 1959
had brought further charges of gambling and indecent
performances at the Gaiety Club on Biscayne Boulevard.354
The heat continued in February and March. Renick
editorialized on strip club customers' use of credit cards.
The clubs, said Renick, were allowing patrons to run up big
credit card bills. Renick warned that the credit card
companies were getting so many complaints they might pull out
of business arrangements with the clubs.355 One week later,
Renick's editorial included Police Chief Walter Headley's
comments on the "hundreds" of arrests for violations of the
liquor laws in the clubs. In this editorial, Renick tied the
continuing crackdown on the clubs to WTVJ specials on honky
tonk establishments in 1959.356
353 Ralph Renick, "Striptease Ordinance Stripped," The Ralph
Renick Report, 20 January 1960.
354 Ralph Renick, "Honky Tonk Crackdown Continues, Ralph
Renick Report, 29 January 1960.
355 Ralph Renick, "B-Girl Joints Like 'Charge-It' Business,"
Ralph Renick Report, 5 February 1960.
356 Ralph Renick, "Police Chief Headley Comments on Honky-Tonk
Cleanup Campaign, Ralph Renick Report, 9 February 1960.

215
The Gaiety Club, the Suburban Club, the Club Paree, the
French Casino, Cuban Village, and others were all ordered to
appear before the city commission in March 1960 to explain
their ownership. Renick related in an editorial that profits
were being made by selling club licenses to criminals who
could not have obtained them if they had been the original
applicants. In the editorial, Mayor Robert King High
appeared on film to make the announcement of the crackdown.351
In July 1960 Renick would again turn his attention to
strip joints. Renick approvingly told his viewers forty
agents of the State Beverage Commission, working with the
Greater Miami Crime Commission, had raided several strip
joints, charging owners with liquor violations. The intent
was to use the charges to take away the clubs' liquor
* licenses.358 After this editorial, Renick moved on,
mentioning the topic only a few more times. Much of his
editorial light would now be shone on the problems of crime
in Miami, on the Cuban crisis, on civil rights, and, for
several weeks, on unsanitary restaurants.
357 Ralph Renick, "The Heat's Really On for Strip-Joint
Owners," Ralph Renick Report, 11 March 1960.
358 Ralph Renick, "Honky Tonk Crackdown Continues," 22 July
1960.

216
The Restaurant Crusade
Although the dates of this campaign fall outside the
1960s period of investigation for the other two editorialists
examined in this dissertation, it is included here, as is
some of the 1950s work of Ralph Renick, because it is
illustrative of his editorial approach. Because Renick
editorialized earlier, longer, and later than the other two
primary subjects of this work, it would be an oversight to
limit examination of his editorials to the 1960s alone.
Another crusade, "Not on the Menu," began in March 1973.
The crusade consisted of nightly news reports for twelve
weeks, five nights a week at six and eleven o' clock and
included once a week editorials. A WTVJ reporter and
cameraman accompanied Dade County Health Department
inspectors as they made routine inspections of Miami
restaurants. Not all restaurant owners were cooperative;
some refused the camera crew entry. In those instances, the
reporter interviewed health inspectors after they had
examined conditions inside the restaurants.359
The first report centered on a Lincoln Road mall
cafeteria in Miami Beach. Inspectors had found stagnant
water, filthy floors and equipment, and both dead and live
359
Ashdown, 122.

217
mice. Renick editorialized that because health officials
could issue citations, but were powerless to clean up
restaurants, public exposure (on WTVJ) was the way to force
restaurants to correct sanitation and health problems.360 Two
weeks later, Renick editorialized that much of what had been
found in Miami area restaurants was filth. He also revealed
that the Florida Restaurant Association had told its members
not to allow TV cameras into their restaurants and not to
talk to the press. Renick interpreted the reaction as an
indication his crusade was working:
The defensive response by the Restaurant Association is
one more indication that behind many restaurant kitchen
doors there is indeed something to hide. . . . The
series is producing positive results. Health inspectors
say that suddenly they have gained cooperation from
restaurants in voluntarily bringing their premises up to
standards.361
In the third week of the restaurant campaign, Renick
noted there had been some cancellations of advertising as a
result of the series of reports and editorials. Renick
devoted one editorial segment to letters from viewers. Most
of them were complimentary, but one viewer said:
There can be no argument against cleaning up kitchens of
dining places, but it' s the manner you people went about
it. If I were one of your victims, I would have broken
360 Ralph Renick, "The Reason Why," 28 March 1973.
361 Ralph Renick, "Beyond the Kitchen Door," 6 April 1973.

218
your camera even if I went to jail for it. Some of
those owners have worked hard to get where they are and
have a large investment. In football language, what you
are doing is a cheap shot. May the prosperity of your
business be just a bit in the red.362
There was additional reaction to the Renick restaurant
editorials. John D. Eckhoff of the Dade County Department of
Public Health told the Miami News it was now clear some
restaurants in Dade County were re-serving food that had been
left on diners' plates. 363 That, too, was meat for a Renick
editorial:
As we enter the fourth week of our series "Not On The
Menu," we are convinced that there "ought to be a law."
... We are told that some restaurants have repeatedly
been in violation of the same provisions of the State
Sanitary Code for years . . . they have been warned and
issued citations for violations..i>ut have simply not
responded to the Health Department inspectors. The
reason is simple. The inspectors have no club in their
closet. They cannot close a restaurant which refuses to
comply with standards. ... If the danger to public
health is pronounced and where the restaurant does not
take necessary steps to comply with regulations for the
protection of the customers' health—then the doors of
the establishment should be closed. . . . Let Dade
County government set the pace and authorize a
"Restaurant Standards Act" with penalties for non-
compliance .364
362 Ralph Renick, "Viewers Speak on Channel Four's Restaurant
Series," 12 April 1973.
363 Alex Ben Block, "Taking Notice," Miami News, 13 April
1973, 15.
364
Ralph Renick, "There Ought To Be A Law," 16 April 1973.

219
Four days later, Renick was able to report that a county
commissioner would soon introduce new standards for Miami
area restaurants, and on 24 April the Miami Beach Taxpayers'
Association passed a resolution thanking Renick for his
restaurant crusade.365
On 9 May, Restaurant Association members met in Miami
with the intent of taking steps to improve the image of the
restaurant industry. Renick noted in an editorial that night
it was about time:
We have thought all along that such a trade group would
perform a better service to its members if it emphasized
the positive ... in other words . . . tell its members
to get with it ... to clean up ... to meet health
standards. It's taken seven weeks . . . but at last the
message is getting through.366
The restaurateurs’ meeting had not been called because
the message of the editorials was getting through. It had
been called to blame the editorials for falling receipts.
Miami News reporter A1 Volker wrote that the meeting centered
mainly on criticism of WTVJ and reporter Bob Mayer, who had
been the reporter assigned to most of the restaurant
coverage. Mayer had even been invited to speak to the group,
which he did. He was not well received. The meeting was also
365 Ashdown, 125.
366 Ralph Renick "The Message Finally Gets Through," 9 May
1973.

220
covered by the Miami Herald. 367 Renick responded in an
editorial the next night:
The meeting degenerated into a name-calling session.
This reporter and correspondent Bob Mayer were accused
of "irresponsible reporting." Other derogatory remarks
were made against us and WTVJ. We choose not to respond
in kind. ... We have repeatedly made available to Mr.
Robinson the opportunity to have his say on this
program. He has refused or made impossible demands.368
The editorials were not only having an effect on
business, they were being noticed by people in a position to
force changes. As the squabbles between restaurant owners
and the WTVJ crusaders went on, a Miami city commissioner
proposed an ordinance to give the city7 s health department
powers to shut down a restaurant found to be serving food
from a dirty kitchen.369
As the restaurant crusade neared its successful end,
John D. Eckhoff of the Dade County Department of Public
Health wrote WTVJ:
Eight weeks ago when the Ralph Renick Report introduced
the news feature "Not On The Menu," we expected a flurry
of public interest that would soon vanish. However,
367 A1 Volker, "Restaurateurs: Publicity hurts," Miami News,
15 May 1973, 1A. Darrell Eiland, "Restaurant Business
Slumps," Miami Herald, 15 May 1973, 2B.
368 Ralph Renick, "The Restaurant Men Who Can't Stand the
Heat—Should Stay in Their Kitchens," 16 May 1973.
369 Sam Jacobs, "Goldberg Would Strengthen Law on Dirty
Restaurants," Miami Herald, 12 May 1973, 2B.

221
just the opposite has been true. Many citizens have
continued to write and call in support of our efforts,
as highlighted by this program, to upgrade sanitation in
restaurants failing to meet required standards. In our
opinion this series has been of outstanding value to the
community for it has not been spawned from a desire for
sensationalism but is a product of sound factual
reporting. It has taken courage and integrity to
publicly tell this story which was offensive at times to
select advertisers.
It is our pleasure to acknowledge this support that
Channel 4 has rallied from the public, government and
many in the restaurant industry, to aid us in resolving
a vital public health problem.370
There were also kudos for the WTVJ restaurant editorials
from the Florida State Senate, the Dade County Board of
Commissioners, and two Miami radio stations, but resentment
among some Miami restaurateurs continued.371 Renick
acknowledged WTVJ' s satisfaction with a new restaurant
ordinance passed by the Metro Commission but lamented that at
least one hotel had become a dangerous place for WTVJ
employees:
[ T] he sweetness of that reward [ the new restaurant
ordinance] was marred by the irrational act of a hotel
official who decided to resort to violence against our
correspondent Bob Mayer and cameraman Warren Jones.
Such an act cannot go unheeded. Charges of assault and
battery have been filed. . . . Obviously there is still
some serious misunderstanding about what we are trying
370 Correspondence from John D. Eckhoff to WTVJ, quoted in
Ashdown, 128.
371
Ashdown, 128.

222
to accomplish with this type of reporting. It has
simply been to expose a problem.372
One of the factors Mayer remembered best about the
restaurant crusade was support from WTVJ management. Mayer
told Renick in correspondence that, despite almost daily
threats from the restaurant industry of advertising losses
and lawsuits, neither the sales department nor the legal
department had wavered. Despite great pressures, the word on
restaurant reporting had never been anything but "go
ahead."373
WTVJ's advertising department seized the opportunity to
praise the station's news department when it placed an
advertisement in the August 1973 issue of Broadcasting.
It was a well-kept secret. Many Miami restaurants had
unsanitary kitchens. Some kitchens even had bugs (the
old fashioned-kind). Miami's health department was
stymied. There was no law on the books giving them the
authority to close dirty restaurants.
Then on the night of March 26 we turned on the heat. On
our 6 p.m. Ralph Renick Report, the #1 news program in
the Miami market, we ran a report called "Not on the
Menu." It was the first of a series of filmed reports
showing actual unsanitary kitchens. Other reports and
other kitchens followed. Night after night, for 3
months, on both our 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. news reports.
"There out to be a law," we said. Others joined the
fight. Others joined the fight. Local government sat
up and took notice. Civic leaders spoke out. The guy
372 Ralph Renick, "An Unfortunate Misunderstanding," 8 June
1973.
373
Ashdown, 130.

223
in the street got teed off. And we were swamped with
approving letters from the whole community.
Finally, on June 5, a tough sanitation law was passed
giving health inspectors the authority to close
restaurants having dangerous sanitary violations.
Sure, we caught some flack along the way, especially
since ours is a resort community. But we figure if
you' re the number one station in the community you
should have broad shoulders.374
A separate story in the same issue of Broadcasting noted that
WTVJ* s investigators had been given credit for cleaning up
Miami area restaurants when regular restaurant inspectors
could not do it because of a lack of "manpower."375
When it was over, the WTVJ restaurant crusade had
resulted in the closings of 180 eating places for sanitary
violations.376
The Crime Crusade
Crime filled Renick's editorial time more than any other
topic. Both Ashdown and Flannery state that, with the
exception of only two years, crime was the most often visited
subject.377 The crime crusade began in 1959. Renick was to
374 "Miami's Restaurants Were Bugged Until We Blew the
Whistle," Broadcasting, 20 August 1973, 42.
375 Ibid., 44.
376 Richard K. Doan, "When Making Ends Meet Is Such a
Problem," TV Guide, 22-28 March 1975, 6.
377 Ashdown, "Editorial Crusade," 93; Flannery, "A Case
Study," 37.

224
say in a 1966 editorial that 1959 was when he and his staff
had begun researching crime in the area in anticipation of
one day beginning an all-out editorial assault on the
problem.318 By mid 1967, the Renick crime editorials were
being noticed. As Paul Einstein wrote in Quill:
Constant editorial pounding...surveillance film taken by
hidden cameras and special crime documentaries, even
live interviews with rackets figures—every weapon in
the arsenal of television news was brought to bear in
the station's hard-hitting, no-holds-barred campaign
against organized crime.379
Renick was picking up a campaign begun by reporter Hank
Messick of the Miami Herald. Messick had reported on charges
that Sheriff Talmadge Buchanan had accepted an illegal
$25,000 campaign contribution, then lied about it under oath.
Buchanan had been acquitted on the charges, but Messick had
continued to report, using information from chief prosecution
witness in the case, Roy O' Nan. When the Herald backed off
because of fear of libel suits. Renick, with a longstanding
interest in the subject of crime in Miami, was willing to
pick up the story. Renick used information from Messick as
well as from O'Nan. 380 It was O'Nan who would provide the
378 Ralph Renick, "Act Now or Surrender,'' 13 September 1966.
379 Paul Einstein, "Camera on Corruption," The Quill, May
1967, 12.
380
Ashdown, 109.

225
bulk of Renick's information for the story.381 Messick would
write later:
The campaign entered a new phase. . . . Ralph Renick
. . . took up the slack. A tall, handsome television
pioneer, Renick had taken a few swings at conditions
over the years and was ready to try again. . . . Waiting
and eager to help was that nationally known bagman, Roy
0' Nan.
Apparently a little unsure of how far to trust Roy,
Renick asked my aid. The Herald's attorneys had just
rejected a news series I had prepared. I was annoyed.
Television would give me a chance to bring the material
to the public and, at the same time, prove how baseless
were the attorney s fears. I agreed to appear in person
with my new evidence.
The thirty-minute special starring Messick and 0' Nan
had tremendous impact. It also had unexpected
consequences. Suddenly I was a celebrity. After
writing scores of articles for months, it was rather
humbling to become famous after one TV exposure.382
Messick was reluctant to take advantage of his
celebrity status. He was getting requests to appear on
radio, as well as TV, and had little time to dig up new
information. The Herald, however, was showing no enthusiasm
for Messick's investigation. He decided, "Things needed
saying. If I couldn't write them, I would speak them." He
would speak them with Renicld s help. "Renick, meanwhile,
kept up the pressure. Waving the banner the Herald had
381 Ironically, 21 years earlier, 0' Nan had hired Renick to
work in his drugstore.
382 Hank Messick, Syndicate in the Sun (New York: McMillan,
1968), 219.

226
dropped, he nightly presented shocking facts topped with
lucid hard-hitting editorials."383
With Renick's help, Messick and O' Nan revealed a web of
crime in Miami involving city and county officials. Messick
complained he had written "perhaps a hundred stories in the
Miami Herald" spotlighting crime in the area, yet no one had
become indignant, no one had done anything about it. He
called the crime situation in the area a "swamp" and a
"morass." He charged there was an attempt to intentionally
block reform, to maintain the status quo.384
As the program concluded, Renick commented:
People who hold honest jobs . . . and who worry about
things like paying the mortgage and buying shoes for the
children . . . are easily fooled by corrupt officials.
The unsophisticated average citizen thinks of a criminal
as a hoodlum character with a gun who hides in the
shadows.
He finds it impossible to believe that the man wearing a
badge or holding a high public office can be just as
dishonest as a racketeer. This naive attitude on the
part of many serves to protect the lawbreaker who hides
behind the shield of decency. In Dade County ... as
in other areas across the nation...the bribe is fast
replacing the bullet as the ultimate criminal weapon.
. . . There are those . . . even in the local news media
who are gullible enough to believe that corruption in
Dade County is not as widespread as 0'Nan says it is.385
383 Ibid., 220.
384 WTVJ-TV, "The Price of Corruption," 6 September 1966.
385
Ibid.

227
The Renick crime crusades drew criticism, even from
within the ranks of local broadcasters. WCKT-TV's main
anchor, Wayne Farris, accused Renick of paying 0' Nan for
0'Nan's participation in the Renick programs. Renick denied
it. 386 Jack Roberts wrote in the Miami News:
The electronic boys are madder than the dickens because
Channel Four's Ralph Renick has scooped them by putting
0' Nan on TV. Channel Seven's Wayne Farris responded
with a slashing attack on 0' Nan, the implication being
that his competitor, Renick, had performed a public
disservice by putting the bagman on the air. Channel
Ten [ WPLG] keeps coming up with little editorials which
attack "a local television station" using words such as
"ludicrous" and calling for a blue ribbon grand jury,
whatever that might be.387
In Syndicate in the Sun, Messick recalled that both he
and Renick had come under fire from other broadcasters who
attempted to denigrate the Renick effort by taking Buchanan's
side:
Rival TV commentators began to scream—and to fire back
with pro-Buchanan editorials. Even the late night radio
"talk" shows got into the battle. Most were anti-
Messick, anti-Renick. Buchanan was live on one or the
other almost every night. . . . [ A] nti-Renick television
announcers gave him free space. In public speeches he
assailed Messick first and Renick second. It was all a
communist conspiracy, he repeated, designed to deprive
the little man of his right to vote.388
386 Ashdown, 112.
387 Jack Roberts, "The Carpers," Miami News, 16 September
1966, 3A.
388
Messick, Syndicate, 220-224.

228
In November 1966, Renick included in his nightly
editorial the contents of an article in a police publication
by Executive Assistant to the Dade Sheriff L.M. McNutt.
McNutt was clearly unhappy with the Renick anticrime crusade:
For the past twenty years an illegitimate group has
grown up in our midst. Many of these people speak
sedition with every word. They appear bent on
usurpation of power and control of all our government
offices. The power is in the hands of a ruthless group
with ambitious desires, who are vindictive in nature and
through their evil genius they have managed the press,
which in its blind obedience has slanted its news to
satisfy the group' s interests. They have prefabricated
a corrupt police situation that does not exist. The
police are constantly being held up to scorn by those
who would like to see this nation fall. Those who wish
the police ill—many of whom are native Dade Countians—
have polished editors and television orators who
constantly attack the honor and integrity of the police.
The problem of enlightening the public is great—not
because the people are unable to understand, but because
of the difficulty of reaching them in time with the true
story because of the thought controlling machine of this
force, TV, Radio, press.389
Renick then commented that McNutt did a disservice to other
police officers who had a more reasoned approach to WTVJ* s
comments on crime in Miami.390
Perhaps unintentionally, Renick had an effect on the
1966 governor's race in Florida. Miami Mayor Robert King
High was the Democratic candidate, running against Republican
389 Ralph Renick, "What Are You Saying, Chief McNutt?," 17
November 1966.
390
Ibid.

229
Claude Kirk. By association, the Miami mayor had taken much
of the heat of the WTVJ anticrime crusade. Kirk commented
during the campaign that he would, as governor, call High to
Tallahassee to order him to clean up the state's largest
city. Four days before the election, indictments were handed
down against Sheriff Buchanan and an alleged bagman on
charges of conspiring to commit bribery, burglary, and grand
larceny charges against the head of the police division,
prostitution charges against two police sergeants, and
perjury charges against a Miami constable. The grand jury
reported it had found even more corruption than was indicated
in the reports that brought about the investigation. Claude
Kirk won the election. His first official meeting was with
Renick to talk about crime.391
There was no clear indication that the Renick anticrime
crusade had contributed to a diminution of crime in the Miami
area. Hank Messick, who was subsequently hired to head a
private agency to act against the "criminal element" as part
of Governor Kirk's "War on Crime," quit, saying a "cruel hoax
[ the Kirk anticrime war] is being perpetrated on the people
of Florida."392 A review in the New York Times of Messick's
391 Ashdown,
117-118.
392 Renick,
"What Is the Hoax?,'
' 16 February 1967

230
book on Miami crime painted a picture of continuing troubles
in Miami, even after the Renick editorial crusade:
Perhaps the most significant thing in the new work is
the concise delineation of how entrenched racketeering
has flourished because of public indifference to
official corruption and how, after the public became
aroused at last, reform became a political football that
seems, even today, to be missing what should be the
legitimate goal posts of genuine reform.393
Renick and Civil Rights
There has been little written on the Renick civil rights
editorials, but examination of the files at the Wolfson Media
Center in the Miami Dade Public Library shows the subject was
visited frequently. It has already been noted above that
Renick helped settle a civil rights dispute in Delray Beach
in 1956, and when the WTVJ anchorman started editorializing,
civil rights was among his early topics, a fact noted in the
Miami News:
Two weeks ago we noted that Ralph Renick . . . had
instituted a brief editorial at the tail end of his
nightly news show. We commended Ralph' s motives, but
doubted his courage to speak out on controversial
issues. But we were stunned—and delighted—last Monday
when Ralph came face to face with the segregation issue
and decided not to duck.394
393 Charles Gruzner, "End Papers," New York Times, 13 April
1968, 23.
394 The Television Editorial, booklet published by WTVJ-TV,
March 1958.

231
The decision "not to duck" came despite Renick* s own
reluctance to declare himself a civil rights campaigner.
Writing in the Miami News less than two weeks before the News
lauded Renick for his stand on the segregation issue, Arthur
Grace noted that Renick had begun delivering editorials
somewhat cautiously:
While personal comment on television may not be
unique, it is rare. The industry lives in unholy terror
that it might one day offend a viewer. . . . Renick is
very much aware of the influence he can wield in this
community. He did not take this step lightly. The
management of the station wanted him to start a daily
editorial two months ago; he insisted on waiting until
he was absolutely certain of his ground.395
Renick, quoted in the same article, did not appear to be so
"sure of his ground." He was still formulating his editorial
policies:
"When it comes to controversy, I just don't know,"
he said. "That's an unanswerable question right now. I
do know that I'm not going to back political candidates.
I'm certainly not going to jeopardize everything we've
built up over the past eight years by going off half-
cocked. . . .I'm not going to start putting Renick on
the screen as a controversial figure," he continued.
"I've been at this job for eight years and I feel I have
certain qualifications for editorializing. . . . Many
people live in a vacuum when it comes to forming
opinions. I have the chance to jump in and help them
make up their minds. It is not a responsibility to be
taken lightly."396
395 Arthur Grace, "Renick Takes A big Step Without Any
Controversy," Miami News, 9 September 1957, 12A.
396
Ibid.

232
Grace finished his article, commenting, "It will be
interesting to see how Ralph bears up under this great
burden."391
It took several months, but Renick's civil rights
editorializing was also commended in the New York Herald
Tribune:
I saw a kinescope of one such editorial severely
criticizing a southern judge for meting out a life
sentence to a Negro who had choked and robbed a white
woman. "Dark Ages of the South," declared Mr. Renick in
his editorial. "Frontier Justice"—again strong words
for the South.398
Just as another of the journalists featured in this work
was doing in the 1960s, Renick frequently aimed his editorial
ire at hate groups.399 After swastikas were painted on
synagogues in Jacksonville, Tampa, and Miami, Renick said:
Who committed these outrages is not known. Most
likely their identities will never be known, for people
of this stripe are sneaks and cowards—they do their
filthy deeds fitfully and under the protective cloak of
darkness.
Governor Collins today reflected the sentiments of
the people of this state when he called the incidents
"despicable." But even this description does not do
justice to the kind of demented hatred and twisted
sickness which would desecrate houses of worship and
391 Ibid.
398 John Crosby, "TV Stations with Opinions," New York Herald
Tribune, 9 March 1958, Sec.4, 1, cited in Ashdown, 66.
399 Joe Brechner's editorials on Orlando television station
WFTV-TV will be examined in later pages.

233
smear the most contemptible hatred imaginable with a
paintbrush. Law enforcement agencies should show no
quarter in flushing out and bringing to justice those
responsible. In these cases it is the whole of society
which is threatened and disgraced—not just one race or
religion.400
Jacksonville
Although usually concerned with Miami matters, Renick
occasionally turned his attention to other Florida cities.
When racial violence hit Jacksonville in 1960, Renick called
for action to create a bi-racial committee similar to
Miami's:
In many southern cities, including Miami, the threat
of violence was diminished when leaders made up their
minds to face the problem realistically and in good
faith.
Bi-racial committees have helped. . . .
Mayor Burns of Jacksonville, despite the pleas of
business interests and the city" s Ministerial Alliance,
persistently refuses to form a bi-racial committee. He
says such committees "invariably result in decisions to
integrate."
The mayor, in a way, is abdicating decision making
to angry mobs.
Unless the political and community leaders of any
city open the way for communication between responsible
members of both races, the problem will continue to
simmer like a volcano, ready to erupt in violence with
little provocation.401
400 Ralph Renick, "No Encouragement for Swastika Crackpots," 7
January 1960.
401 Ralph Renick, "Bi-Racial Committees Can Help Prevent Mob
Warfare," 30 August 1960. Renick's motivation for
editorializing about Jacksonville and other cities outside
the Miami area was apparently similar to the motivation of
Joe Brechner (discussed further in a later chapter), who used
reports of racial strife in other cities as a means to warn

234
The incident that had motivated Renick to editorialize
on another Florida city occurred on 27 August 1960 when
clashes broke out between blacks and whites after ten days of
sit-ins at two downtown Jacksonville stores. A hair-pulling
scuffle between a black woman and a white woman on the 26
August was the apparent spark that touched off the escalated
violence of the twenty-seventh. Bands of blacks and whites
roamed the streets of the city, looking for trouble. A crowd
of three thousand had to be broken up by police armed with
shotguns. Fifty people were reported injured and more than
one hundred arrested.402
Renick's warning that, without attempts at a bi-racial
solution, "the problem will continue to simmer like a
volcano, ready to erupt in violence with little provocation"
was valid. On 23 March 1964, racial trouble broke out again
in Jacksonville, this time with more tragic result. There
had been two weeks of restaurant and hotel sit-ins. Police
moved in to break up a demonstration of blacks in a
that, unless steps were taken to improve race relations, the
same kind of trouble hitting other cities could develop close
to home. Renick was also accustomed to commenting on topics
outside the Miami area, even including some editorials on
international affairs.
402 Lester A. Sobel, ed., Civil Rights 1960-66 (New York:
Facts on File, Inc., 1967), 18.

235
Jacksonville park. A black housewife was killed by shots
fired from a passing car. Two days of violence followed,
during which at least 465 people were arrested.403 Renick was
ready to comment again as an observer from South Florida:
Jacksonville and its elected officials have been
anything but enthusiastic over recognizing the need for
any improvement in the field of race relations.
Finally, the bi-racial committee, frustrated in its
efforts to achieve meaningful communication between city
officials and the Negro community disbanded a month ago.
Meanwhile the Ku Klux Klan has remained active—
holding weekly meetings; the home of a Negro child
attending an all—white school was dynamited.404
Renick then noted that Jacksonville Mayor Haydon Burns had
deputized almost five hundred firemen, raising to nearly one
thousand the number of officers ready to enforce the racial
status quo.
Florida has made some progress in race relations.
But in Miami lines of communications have remained open
between Negro and White leadership. Miami has had no
violence—Miami is moving peacefully ahead at the
moment—the Negro's main complaint is the slowness of
the pace.
But in Jacksonville, the Negro has been told, in
effect, "Stay in your place."405
The trouble was quieted only when Mayor Burns formed the bi-
racial committee Renick had called for four years earlier.406
403 Ibid., 252-253.
404 Ralph Renick, "Jacksonville Race Riots Gives Florida
Black-Eye," 24 March 1964.
405
Ibid.

236
The following night, in another editorial, Renick
attempted to use the Jacksonville troubles as an illustration
of how civil rights difficulties should not be approached in
Miami.
We haven't regarded the actions of Jacksonville city
officials as commendable, nor do we see any excuse for
the violence committed by Negroes in that city. What we
are saying is that both sides have erred.
If the Negro thinks his progress is too slow, then
he must work harder to bring it about—but in peace.
And, if the Whites think they can ignore or put off
the Negro's demands for equality, then we are headed for
more trouble.407
St. Augustine
"Three-hundred miles up the coast" from Miami, St.
Augustine was also the scene of racial troubles in the 1960s.
The problems were more severe in St. Augustine than in some
Florida cities for several reasons. Among the reasons: local
officials refused to negotiate with black representatives;
the activities of local black dentist and civil rights
activist Dr. Robert Hayling; the refusal of local authorities
to interfere with Klan elements and other segregationist
groups; and Dr. Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian
406 Sobel, 252-253. An earlier bi-racial committee had
disbanded because of frustration over its inability to
establish a dialogue between blacks and whites.
407 Ralph Renick, "A Lesson to be Learned from Jacksonville,"
25 March 1964.

237
Leaderships Conference's campaign in St. Augustine that drew
national press coverage.408
One of the reasons the national press was interested in
what was happening in St. Augustine was the participation of
Mary Peabody, the mother of Massachusetts Governor Endicott
Peabody, Jr. Mrs. Peabody and a racially mixed group
employed a common Southern Christian Leadership Conference
strategy when they asked to be served lunch at a whites-only
restaurant, knowing they would be arrested. Mary Peabody was
taken to the Duval County Jail, where she held a news
conference before spending the night. More than one hundred
other civil rights protesters had also been arrested in
similar and simultaneous restaurant sit-ins. The tactic had
worked. Mrs. Peabody was on the nightly network news
programs, as well as the local newscasts. Robert Hartley
wrote, "The curtain was now ready to open on one of the
longest and bloodiest civil rights campaigns of the early
1960s.409
Mary Peabody flew home to Massachusetts on 3 April,
ending the St. Augustine Easter campaign, but the St.
408 Robert W. Hartley "Don't Tread on Grandmother Peabody," in
St. Augustine, FI., 1963-1964, David J. Garrow, ed.
(Brooklyn, 1989), 27-39.
409
Ibid., 39.

238
Augustine civil rights story was far from over. Plans were
already underway for the summer's activities in St.
Augustine. The SCLC and other civil rights workers would
soon be met with violence in St. Augustine again—and the
rest of the state would be watching as events unfolded in St.
Augustine's "long, hot summer." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
opened the summer campaign officially on 26 May. King
acknowledged that a long, hot summer was on the way, but he
vowed it would be a nonviolent one.410 The power structure in
St. Augustine was not willing to negotiate.
Civil rights activity and racial conflict increased in
the old city. Demonstrators were arrested in lunch counter
sit-ins. A march on 27 May, involving hundreds of
demonstrators and organized by the SCLC, ended at St.
Augustine's Slave Market when whites, armed with ax handles,
chains, clubs, and bricks waded into the marchers and members
of the press covering the event.411 Battle lines drawn
earlier were becoming more distinct. Police officers stepped
up the number of arrests of demonstrators. Jail conditions
became deplorable because of overcrowding. The SCLC called in
410 "Race Protest Start Vowed in St. Johns," Florida Times-
Union, 27 May 1964, 29.
411
Garrow, 44.

239
lawyers William Kunstler and Tobias Simon to help fight
injunctions against marches. The northern press sent more
reporters and cameras, drawn by the presence of Dr. King.
Civil rights groups sent more demonstrators to join the
locals.
Martin Luther King, Jr., was in and out of town during
late May and early June. On one visit, he renewed his call
for "enough accord to make further street demonstrations
unnecessary." He asked that hotel and restaurant facilities
be desegregated within thirty days; that the city hire Negro
employees, including police officers and firefighters; that a
bi-racial committee be set up to settle civil rights
problems; that charges be dropped against the demonstrators;
and that job applications from Negroes be judged, not on
race, but on merit.412 St. Augustine's white power structure
ignored King.
Events began to unfold with increasing frequency. On 10
June 1964, violence broke out again as armed whites attacked
marchers in Constitution Plaza. The white thugs singled out
white marchers for particularly vicious beatings. On 11
June, Dr. King was arrested for refusing to leave the
412 "Dr. King* s Plea Moves Seventeen Rabbis to Join St.
Augustine Protest," The New York Times, 18 June 1964, 5.

240
restaurant at the Monson Motor Lodge.413 The St. Augustine
sit-ins moved to the city" s churches, where more
demonstrators were arrested. On 17 June, the action moved to
St. Augustine Beach. Although public facilities were
integrated by law, there was no such integration in fact.
There was no violence, but about a dozen whites left the
beach. Civil rights demonstrators moved back to the Monson
Motor Lodge the next day, diving into the swimming pool
there. Motor lodge owner Jimmy Brock poured two gallons of
muriatic acid into the pool and an off-duty police officer
beat the demonstrators until they left.414
Ralph Renick, concerned about the racial climate in his
own city during the summer of 1964, had not mentioned the
civil rights problems of the state's oldest city, but on 19
June, Renick broke his silence, saying:
What happens in St. Augustine is reflective on the
entire state of Florida. . . . Miami and other sections
have had an enlightened attitude toward improving race
relations. Despite this, however, these cities may very
well suffer because of the troubles in one city 300
miles up the coast.
The unfortunate part of St. Augustine' s problem is
the reluctance to reach any sort of compromise. Martin
Luther King and his demonstrators have adamantly
continued their publicity-inspired efforts to put the
413 William Robert Miller, Martin Luther King, Jr. (New York:
Avon Books, 1968), 201, cited in Garrow, 53.
414
Garrow, 59.

241
spotlight on St. Augustine. King* s success has been due
to the unbending attitude of the city s leadership to
communicate with the Negro community.
A crack in the dike appeared earlier in the week
when the Grand Jury of St. John's County recommended a
30-day cooling off period, after which a bi-racial
committee would be set up. King today came back with a
counter-peace proposal to call off demonstrations for
one week if the Grand Jury, which went into recess
yesterday, would reconvene and to work immediately a bi-
racial committee.
The Jury foreman responded by saying the Jury would
not be intimidated nor would it negotiate nor would it
change its mind.
Responsibility would appear the key word in the
dispute.
The lack of leadership in the past has provoked the
present crisis which can only be solved by an awakened
leadership which recognizes the rights of all—black and
white.415
The crisis in St. Augustine continued, with nightly
marches to the Slave Market, continued attempts by blacks to
integrate beaches with so-called "swim-ins," and frequent and
severe beatings of the nonviolent demonstrators. On the
night of 25 June, a crowd of several hundred whites attacked
black and white civil rights marchers in the Slave Market. A
contingent of two hundred police made a futile attempt to
protect the marchers but gave up in the face of overwhelming
numbers and raw, racist hatred. Demonstrators and reporters
were beaten. Nineteen demonstrators were hospitalized, and
many more injured less seriously. Anti-integrationists,
415 Ralph Renick, Florida's Oldest City Bucking Oldest
Problem," 19 June 1964.

242
particularly angered by attempts by blacks to use St.
Augustine beaches, promised more confrontations.416
The 25 June incidents exhausted both sides. As an
apparent result, although swim-ins continued, there was an
undeclared moratorium in extreme, massive violence. The
Civil Rights Act passed the U.S. Senate on 17 June. It was a
foregone conclusion that President Johnson would sign the
measure.417 Renick was ready to comment again on events in
northern Florida:
All of the good works and the sincere efforts of
painstaking negotiations that have made Florida a leader
in responsible progress in race relations are dashed
with every report of violence and new beatings coming
out of St. Augustine. The overtones are all the more
serious because our Governor has personally taken charge
and created a combined state and local police force
under one command - yet violence goes on. . . . This
state is made to look ridiculous when couple of middle-
aged women, incensed over the wade-ins, can easily break
through lines of highway patrolmen and deputies to beat
on a demonstrator.
We cannot believe that police cannot preserve law
and order and must wonder just how sincere are their
efforts to prevent violence.
Newsmen covering the city call St. Augustine the
most explosive, violence-prone city the/ ve ever covered
in the south and that takes in a lot of violence and a
lot of territory.
Are all of Florida's good works and hopes of years
to be forgotten because of a collection of hooligans who
attack people they know will not fight back? Is this
416 "St. Augustine Mob Attacks Negroes," New York Times, 26
June 1964, 1.
417
Garrow, 70.

243
Florida's answer to the Civil Rights Movement. Must we
be lumped with Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama?418
New Orleans
Renick's civil rights opinions stretched not only to
other parts of the state of Florida, but also to other parts
of the United States. When Louisiana Governor Jimmie Davis
shut down the schools in his state to prevent court-ordered
integration, Renick called for Louisiana to adopt "a more
realistic viewpoint to the law of the land."419 When rioting
broke out in New Orleans because of attempts to integrate
schools. Renick castigated the leadership as well as the
citizenry of the city of New Orleans and the state of
Louisiana. He was particularly critical of Governor Davis
and state legislators, whom he called "demagogues" for their
attempts to circumvent federal integration orders. Some of
his most severe criticism was reserved for New Orleans
parents who had demonstrated against school integration:
It's admittedly easy to criticize another state from a
somewhat distant vantage point in Miami, but we feel
418 Ralph Renick, "St. Augustine Casting Shadow on Entire
State," 29 June 1964.
419 Ralph Renick, "Louisiana, Not Another Little Rock," 14
November 1960. The first part of this quote is Renick's on-
camera introduction to the film and audio from New Orleans.
The film is indicated by "FILM-SOUND" and "AUDIO." The final
three paragraphs of the quote are Renicld s on-camera
editorial tag.

244
particularly bad about the bitter seeds sown by
demagogues in and out of the Louisiana Legislature which
have spawned a bumper-crop of hate and violence. The
following action, this week, by a group of mothers
outside a New Orleans school points this up:
AUDIO
"We don't want no niggers in our
neighborhood. Why don't you move
in a colored quarter? They got
places for you (CROWD JEERS—
SHOUTS)
Why should our children have to
suffer for one little nigger? Now
you answer that. One little nigger
and 400 children's got to leave."
(THEN A WOMAN HOLDING A LITTLE BOY
IN HER ARMS TELLS BOY TO SAY, "Tell
the man we don't want to integrate,
tell him we don't want no niggers."
(BOY SAYS NO).
It is generally accepted that mothers the world
over—even in Louisiana hold a responsibility to teach
their young the ways of morality, justice and respect
for law.
We feel the howling matriarchs of White supremacy in
New Orleans hardly rate for any Mother of the Year
awards.
They have not only shamed themselves before a world
audience, but there is no telling what scars they have
left on the minds of their own children. Such are the
tragic results when the law is flounted (sic) and
morality is abandoned to emotion.420
Los Angeles
The violence in summer 1965 in Los Angeles was the most
destructive the country had seen in decades. Thirty-four
people were killed; more than one thousand were injured;
FIIM-SOUND
WHITE MOTHERS 7 LITTLE
CHILDREN - ONE WOMAN
WITH REPORTER
420 Ralph Renick, "Tragedy in the Streets of New Orleans," 1
December 1960.

245
losses were estimated at $40 million; almost four thousand
people were arrested.421
The trouble had started when police in the Watts section
of the city tried to arrest a young black man after a stop on
suspicion of drunk driving, ñ crowd had gathered; the
officers had come under attack and had called for backup.
The crowd grew into the hundreds, then into the thousands.
It was estimated that eventually as many as 7,000 to 10,000
black citizens had taken part in the rioting before it ended
six days later, A 150-square-block area of Los Angeles was
devastated. The greater toll had been the "revival or
creation of mutual hate and fear between Negroes and
whites."422
There were similarities between Los Angeles and other
cities in the country and in Florida in which racial trouble
had erupted. The police chief in Los Angeles had a
reputation for treating blacks unfairly. Chief William H.
Parker III had little respect for civil rights leaders, on
whose doorstep he laid some of the blame for the Los Angeles
violence. Parker said, "When you keep telling people they
421
Sobel,
306.
422
Ibid.

246
are unfairly treated and teach them disrespect for the law,
you must expect this kind of thing sooner or later."423
Community leaders also cited poverty, unemployment, and
de facto school segregation as reasons for the explosion of
violence in Watts. From the other side of the country,
Renick warned his Miami viewers that what had happened in Los
Angeles was the result of "years of lack of opportunity for
the Negro," an implied message that lack of opportunity for
Miami blacks could also mean trouble.424
Miami
Even as Renick was commenting on civil rights problems
in other cities, he was keeping an editorial eye on civil
rights developments in Miami. Renick warned in February 1964
that there were danger signs in Miami, that without changes,
Miami, too, could be facing civil rights problems. Renicld s
editorial quoted the farewell remarks of Seymour Samet, who
had headed the area's Community Relations Board on an interim
basis during its first nine months of existence. Samet had
said, "Miami, long noted for its superficial attendance to
the major problems of our times, has muddled through on
423 Ibid., 308.
424 Ralph Renick, "Violence Sometimes Teaches A Lesson/' 16
August 1965.

247
economic planning, urban growth and social welfare." Samet
warned that in the absence of real civil rights progress,
those factors were not enough.425
Plans were being considered for sit-ins at one of Dade
County7 s major industries, there was resistance to blacks
moving into previously all-white neighborhoods, only a few of
the community7 s black children were attending integrated
schools, and touted improvements in employment opportunity
and public accommodation in hotels and restaurants was, in
fact, only tokenism. Renick quoted Samet: "[ W] e are enmeshed
in a revolution—not an evolution."426
Two and a half months later, Renick praised formation of
the Metro Community Relations Board, a bi-racial group of
fifteen citizens. He warned, "The work of the Community
Relations Board can come to nothing if we citizens of Dade
425 Renick, "Racial Danger Signs Appear in Miami," 25 February
1964.
426 Ibid. This editorial was broadcast one month before
trouble flared in Jacksonville. In this editorial, Renick
included Cuban refugees in the groups that were treated
unfairly in Miami, calling them "scapegoats of our many
ills." This was a theme he was to visit frequently in the
years after Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba and Cuban
refugees flooded into the Miami area.

248
turn a deaf ear to the rights of all citizens." 427 Later the
same month, Renick called for the keeping of voting lists by
race to be abolished.428
On the day President Johnson signed the new Civil Rights
Act, Renick cautioned his viewers that the job of attaining
equal rights for all Americans was not over: "Today the
Congress made it official. But tonight and tomorrow, it is
up to all of us to make come to pass what we all believe—
that this nation is what we claim it to be—the home of
equality for all."429
Renick addressed the issue of equal treatment in the
justice system long before many newsmen when he editorialized
in early 1965. In speaking of capital punishment in Florida,
Renick emphasized that, although a roughly equal number of
blacks and whites had been convicted of rape between 1940 and
1964, thirty-five of the thirty-six men who had been
electrocuted for the crime were black. Renick said, "Equal
punishment for Negroes and Whites would seem a minimum
427 Ralph Renick, "Racial Harmony Is Everyone's Business," 7
May 1964. Once again. Renick included Cubans among those
whose rights and needs were important.
428 Ralph Renick, "Voting in Florida Should Not Be a Black and
White Issue," 29 May 1964.
429 Ralph Renick, "Civil Rights Is Everybody7 s Job," 2 July
1964.

249
requirement, particularly when a man sits in the electric
chair."430
The next month Renick praised the Miami area's record of
avoiding racial trouble, although racial strife was hitting
other areas of the country. In praising the Metro Community
Relations Board, Renick said the reason for Miami's
relatively untroubled record was that the area had "avoided
trouble by not waiting for trouble to erupt."431
In July 1965, Renick offered his support to a Community
Relations Board solution for black parents dissatisfied with
plans to build a new school in a predominately black section
of town. Parents had complained that building a new school
in the black section would serve only to promote the status
quo of de facto segregation. The Board recommended that two
smaller schools be built, one in the black section of the
school district, one in the white district. Students, and
their parents, were to be allowed to choose which school they
would attend and would not be forced to attend the one
closest to their home if they found the racial mix, or lack
of it, unsatisfactory. It was the board's idea that some
430 Ralph Renick, "Capital Punishment in Florida," 2 February
1965.
431 Ralph Renick, "Miami Is Not Like Selma," 12 July 1965.

250
black children would go to school in the white neighborhood
and some white children would go to school in the black
neighborhood. In retrospect, such a plan may seem
idealistic, but Renick, writing from the perspective of the
1960s, approved, saying:
Observe any first grader in today's world. He neither
cares nor is overtly aware that his seatmate is black or
white. If this attitude is adopted in the first grade,
his generation is well on the way to avoiding all the
racial misery the nation is going through.432
It was another attempt by Renick to promote racial harmony in
his community.
In summer of 1967, racial harmony for Miami was still on
Renick's mind. In June, he called for increased opportunity
for recreation for young people, as well as housing and
employment opportunities. He also editorialized for a re¬
doubling of efforts "before, not after, trouble starts."
Eyes, as usual, on other parts of the country, as well as
Miami, Renick reminded viewers there had already been trouble
early in the summer in Lansing, Detroit, Cincinnati, and
Dayton.433
432 Ralph Renick, "Racial Disharmony Stirred at New School
Site," 12 July 1965.
433 Ralph Renick, "Let's Keep Miami Cool This Summer," 16 June
1967.

251
As summer progressed, the streets of cities such as
Newark, New York, Detroit, and Plainfield (NJ)erupted in
rioting and racial conflict. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
had warned in April that at least ten cities were ripe for
violence during the coming summer. King described the cities
as "powder kegs," saying conditions that had caused riots the
previous summer still existed. King had listed Cleveland,
Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland, Washington, Newark, and New
York as cities that were in danger of racial strife. He did
not name any other cities but said some of them were in the
south.434
In mid-July, the worst rioting since Watts hit Newark,
New Jersey. With the familiar problems of poverty, high
unemployment, segregated schools, and an unresponsive city
government, it was no wonder that Newark had been on King's
list. After police arrested a black taxi driver, then
scuffled with him as they took him into the Fourth Precinct
station house, rumors floated through the community that the
taxi driver had been beaten to death. A mob converged on the
station house, throwing rocks and bottles. The disturbance
spread to Newark1 s downtown section. It would be five days
434 Steven D. Price, ed., Civil Rights 1967-68 (New York:
Facts on File, Inc.,1973), 4.

252
before an uneasy calm returned to Newark. In that time,
twenty-six people would die; more than 1,500 would be
injured; almost 1,400 arrested; more than three hundred fires
would be reported; the rioting would cover almost one-half of
the city's area; and estimates of damage would range from $15
million to $30 million.435
Disturbances also hit other cities mentioned by King, A
policeman was killed in Plainfield, New Jersey. The New
Jersey violence spread to Englewood, New Brunswick,
Elizabeth, Jersey City and Passaic. Forty people were killed
in Detroit during the last week of July. Three days of
rioting in New York City* s Spanish Harlem followed the
shooting death by an off-duty police officer of a young
Puerto Rican with a knife in his hand who was spotted
standing over another man on the ground; two people died.
There was violence in Dayton, Ohio; Cambridge, Maryland; and
East Saint Louis, Illinois. The summer of 1967 saw racial
conflict in three dozen communities in all, including Tampa
and West Palm Beach, and the shadow of what was happening in
the rest of America fell over Miami.436
435 Ibid., 5. All the editorialists examined for this
dissertation were working within the same context.
436
Ibid., 6-45.

253
Rumors spread throughout the city of trouble on the way.
It seemed illogical to think that Miami could escape the rage
gripping much of the rest of the country. Renick tried to
persuade his viewers not to let rumors with no factual basis
spark disturbances in Miami. "South Florida tonight seems
inundated by rumors," he said, but he called on citizens to
get the facts in the wake of disturbances in other cities.437
When summer 1967 ended, Miami was not one of the cities on
the long list of American places torn by violence in the
struggle for equal rights.
Miami would not be so fortunate in 1968, the year Martin
Luther King, Jr., was assassinated. In the week following
King's death, rioting and other forms of violence broke out
in more than 125 U.S. cities. Forty-six people were killed;
2,600 injured; more than 21,000 arrested; property damage was
estimated at $45 million; more than 50,000 regular federal
and National Guard troops were deployed to American cities as
local law enforcement was overwhelmed by the size and
ferocity of the outbreaks.438
437 Ralph Renick, "A Time for Facts, Not Rumors," 28 July
1967.
438
Price, 1967-68, 230-232.

254
The Defense Department reported spending nearly $5.5
million to deploy troops to violence-stricken cities.
Washington, DC, was the hardest hit of American cities, with
about one-third of the property damage in the country. For
the first time since the administration of Herbert Hoover
sent Douglas MacArthur to rout World War I veterans demanding
bigger military bonuses, federal troops were deployed on the
streets of the capital. In all, 6,000 troops patrolled in
and around Washington. A machine-gun post was set up on
Capitol Hill.
In Washington and the other cities, there had been
selective looting and burning, according to the President's
adviser on community affairs, Betty Furness.439 Furness
reported it was the merchants believed by looters to have
been gouging ghetto customers who were targeted, although the
belief may have been untrue.440 Resentment had been growing
against merchants who sold television sets and other
appliances to customers at more than one and a half times
prices charged in other parts of the cities. Furness used
the Watts section of Los Angeles as an example. She also
noted that ghetto customers bought 93 percent of their
439 Ibid., 232.
440
Ibid.

255
purchases on the installment plan, a process that meant they
paid more as a group for goods because of the interest
charges involved.441 The King assassination had been the
trigger for release of some of the resentments that had been
building because of the unfairness of the economic realities
of being black and poor in America.
Pessimism increased in Miami following King7 s death.
Black leaders in cities all around Miami expressed fear that
the nonviolent civil rights movement was over. A black
police sergeant in Riviera Beach warned that the murder of
King would mean an increase in racial tension everywhere.442
A deputy director of the Broward Office of Economic
Opportunity lamented, "Now there is no hope." 443 The
organizer of the Liberty City Community Council told the
Miami Herald, "A lot of people who say nonviolence won't work
will say 'I told you so.'"444
Others in Liberty City, a black residential and business
section of Miami, agreed. A middle-aged man told reporters,
441 Ibid.
442 "Florida Negroes are Pessimistic, Miami Herald, 5 April
1968, 13A.
443 Ibid.
444
Ibid.

256
"God, here's a man that they beat and kick and slap around
and he never hit anybody and now they go and shoot him," and
a young black told a companion, "Whitey's gonna catch hell
now."445
In spite of these warnings, there was no serious racial
violence reported in Miami in the wake of the King
assassination.446 While other cities experienced riots and
looting, Miami was calm.
Renick covered the events in Miami and, at the end of
The Ralph Renick Report the night after King* s death,
editorialized, "Desecrating his memory by looting or rioting
or fighting is sheer folly that this nation and everything it
hopes for cannot afford."447
Two weeks later, as the city had cooled down
temporarily, Renick was still attempting to encourage Miami
area citizens to move toward an integrated society. Renick
warned his viewers, "Don't let schools that are integrated
become all Negro—as happened at Miami Jackson High School,"
445 "'Era of Progress, Hope Has Ended,' Miami Negro Says."
Miami Herald, 5 April 1968, 20A.
447 Ralph Renick, "The Violent End of a Man of Peace," 5 April
1968.

257
which had gone from an all-white to an all-black school in
just a few years.448
In mid-May, as the "Poor People's March" reached
Washington, DC, and construction began on "Resurrection
City," rumors of possible renewed racial violence drifted
across Miami.449 In Washington, executive vice president of
the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Andrew Young
warned that the choice for America was "massive change or
riots."450 Fuel was added to the rumors when fourteen black
students were arrested at the University of Miami as they
staged a lie-in in the office of university President Henry
King Stanford, demanding black-oriented courses.451 Renick,
as he had a year earlier, called on Miamians not to be swayed
by rumors of racial troubles in Miami, suggesting the
Community Relations Board turn its attention to the rumor
problem and recalling one day of rampant rumors the previous
summer. Renick said, "It will be only with fact and not
448 Ralph Renick, "Keeping the Racial Balance in Miami
Schools," 18 April 1968.
449 Robert H. Feldkamp, "Tattered 'Army of the Poor' reaches
D.C. Promised land," Miami Herald, 14 May 1968, 1A.
450 Saul Friedman, "Choice is Massive Change or Riots," Miami
Herald, 15 May 1968, 10A.
451 Jim Buchanan, "14 Negro Students Arrested After UM
Demonstration," Miami Herald, 15 May 1968, 1A.

258
rumor that Miami will be able to maintain its record of quiet
summers and cool heads."452
The quiet summers and cool heads of which Renick spoke
became a thing of the past the night of 7 August. The
Republican National Convention was underway on Miami Beach.
Speakers at the convention were bemoaning the violence and
lawlessness that had plagued the country for so many years.
The Reverend Ralph Abernathy had come to Miami Beach with
Martin Luther King's "Poor People's Campaign" to protest
where those attending the convention could see such a protest
first-hand. As residents in the black residential area in
northwest Miami held a black voter power rally, a white
newsman covering the event refused to show his credentials.
Violence broke out. Police cordoned off an eight-square-
block area. Miami Mayor Steve Clark, Florida Governor Claude
Kirk, and The Reverend Ralph Abernathy went to the scene to
appeal for an end to the disturbance. Later in the evening,
Abernathy appeared on Miami television, asking for calm. By
ten o' clock, calm appeared to have been restored. It was
only temporary.453
452 Ralph Renick, "Squelching the Spread of Racial Rumors," 16
May 1968.
453
Price, 270.

259
The next day, fighting broke out between police and
blacks at a meeting where Kirk and Abernathy were expected to
make an appearance. Neither man came. As disturbance turned
to riot, 1,000 National Guard troops were brought into the
area, along with Florida Highway Patrol officers and
equipment. Motorists driving through the Liberty City area
were pulled from their cars and set upon by the mob. The
pattern so familiar in 1960s America was repeated as fires
were set and stores looted. The riot was short-lived, but
deadly. Three blacks were killed by police gunfire on 8
August, one of them a passerby caught in the crossfire.454
Those attending the Republican National Convention had
almost gotten a very close look at civil strife in America.
Rioting had spread to within one mile of the convention hall.
Dade County Mayor Chuck Hall did not look within his own
community for the source of the problem. Instead, he blamed
outsiders for what had happened, charging that it was no
coincidence the first race riot in Miami area history had
broken out when so many reporters were in town.455
454 Ibid. 271.
â– 155
Ibid.

260
In his editorial that night, Renick refused to lay
direct blame for the riots but made it clear he thought
Miami's problems did not stem from without:
Miami's sense of euphoria at having an unblemished
record of racial harmony has been crushed by the
developments in Liberty City.
This is not the appropriate time to start laying
the blame for the root causes of the violent eruption—
it is a time to appeal to the rioters to "cool it" and
to appeal to city officials to respond more effectively
to the plight of those in the black area.
What Miami is facing is no different than the
racial and poverty issues gnawing at the inner core of
the nation itself. The presence of a national political
convention here may have triggered the timing of Liberty
City s uprising, but the combustible ingredients for the
fire had been warming for some time. However, the
crucial matter of the moment is to restore peace to the
city. . . .
With peace restored, the lines of communication
between races within the city need to be opened wider
and more aggressive attention be given to what's needed
to keep the embers cooled.456
Two days later, as the embers cooled, 250 of those
arrested during the riots were released from jail without
paying bond. Medical teams were sent into the riot area to
treat the injured. National Guard patrols were reduced. In
return, black leaders agreed to do their best to keep their
neighborhoods quiet, in spite of the anger that lingered over
alleged police brutality during the riots. It was anger on
top of anger. Miami's 200,000 black residents, about one-
456
Ralph Renick, "It Finally Happened Here," 8 August 1968.

261
tenth of the population, were experiencing 10 percent
unemployment. Many of those who were employed held low-
paying jobs. Although several Miami area schools were listed
as integrated, the overwhelming majority of black youngsters
attended all-black schools in the ghetto. Clifford A.
Strauss of the Urban League called Miami "the most racially
segregated city in the country no matter how much money you
have to spend."457
Strauss' s assessment was supported by Marvin Dunn of
Florida International University. Dunn wrote of a history of
strained race relations in Miami, including "the day in
February 1968, when two white police officers stripped Robert
Quentin Owens, a seventeen-year-old black youth, and dangled
him by his heels from an overpass, an event which, among
others, led to Miami's racial explosion of that year."458 It
was not just the events of 1968 that led to the troubles of
1968, wrote Dunn: "[ E] ssentially the history of blacks in
Miami and in Liberty City is a history of being ignored,
displaced, or quietly oppressed."459
457 Price, 271.
458 Marvin Dunn, "Death Watch," in Eyes on the Prize, eds.
Clayborne Carson and others (New York: Penguin Books, 1991),
670.
459
Ibid.

262
Renick had also observed that law enforcement during the
riots had been less than exemplary. In his 12 August
editorial, the day after an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew had been
lifted, Renick was strongly critical of law enforcement,
particularly Miami's police chief:
At this point, it seems apparent that despite Miami
Police Chief Walter Headle/ s widely publicized threat
that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts,"
there was a singular lack of command decision to meet
the emergency.
There was confusion of command. The policeman
under attack wanted the National Guard pulled in.
The mayor of Miami, strangely, has no direct
jurisdiction over the police chief—that job falls to
the employed City Manager. The manager refused for some
hours to call up the Guard.
Governor Kirk was also in the act, as was County
Mayor Chuck Hall. The governor finally ordered Sheriff
W. Wilson Purdy to assume command even though the action
was taking place within the city limits. Miami Chief of
Police Walter Headley was vacationing at his North
Carolina retreat and is still there. He didn't return
to supervise his forces in the tense hours which
followed. The Miami police ran short on tear gas and
ammunition. The "Monster Machine" armored truck of the
Highway Patrol was used to indiscriminately shoot
teargas into occupied housing units and other places
away from the direct scene of trouble.
Renick also criticized police for staying out of the
riot area at the height of violence, failing to protect
businesses and people. He suggested that the "matter is
serious enough for the Chief of Police to interrupt his
vacation and return to his position of command." If Headley
could not come back immediately, said Renick, he should

263
"permanently retire and turn the reins over to somebody
willing to face up to this key responsibility."460
With the end of crisis conditions in Miami, the number
of WTVJ editorials on civil rights diminished, but the
subject was apparently never far from Renick's thoughts. In
September he agreed with University of Miami President Henry
King Stanford that the song, Dixie, should not be played at
University of Miami events. Both Dixie and the Confederate
flag, said Renick, were "symbols [of] an anachronistic
expression of racial prejudice.''461 Another editorial one
month later called for blacks to share in the wealth of the
Miami area, for the addition of more black employees to city
payrolls, and for improved education for black students.462
As the turbulent 1960s drew to a close, Miami had not
completely escaped racial violence, although the degree of
violence, the number of deaths, and the dollar amounts of
damage were not as great as many other big American cities.
It is impossible to conclude that the editorial comments of
460 Ralph Renick, "A Hard Look at Miami Riot Control," 12
August 1968.
461 Ralph Renick, "Southern Heritage: Living on Without
Dixie," 27 September 1968.
462 Ralph Renick, "Tough Talk for a Tough Situation," 24
October 1968.

264
the most powerful broadcast voice in the Miami market
contributed to a lesser level of strife. As usual, direct
correlation is impossible to prove. It is possible to
imagine that he had some ameliorative effect on Miami's civil
rights tribulations. It is evident that at times Renick was
a voice of reason in his city, an existential presence who
took seriously the responsibility that came with his job, a
true community journalist.
Like the other editorialists who are subjects of this
dissertation, Ralph Renick displayed a consistent
communitarian spirit, delivering editorials that urged fellow
travelers in his society to do the right thing. Renick was
responsible for more editorials than either Brechner or
Davis, in part because he was first, in part because he
stayed longest.
The Miami broadcaster's editorials were sometimes in the
form of crusades, sometimes on the same subject for many
consecutive nights. The apparent effectiveness of his
crusades is easier to gauge when he was editorializing on
striptease establishments or unsanitary restaurants. Results
of campaigns on crime, governmental corruption, and civil
rights are not as easily measured.

CHAPTER 9
NORM DAVIS AND THE EDITORIALS OF WJXT-TV
The work of the third editorialist considered in this
dissertation is somewhat different from the previous two.
Norm Davis and WJXT-TV in Jacksonville presented a more team-
oriented effort. Editorials were combined with regular
investigative news reports more regularly than the editorials
at WTVJ-TV and WFTV-TV.
Davis had been brought into the news department in 1960
to work on the investigative reports because News Director
Bill Grove wanted more than a "rip and read" newscast. In
producing his editorials, Davis had Grove's full support, as
well as that of the rest of station management and parent
company Post-Newsweek. Davis wrote and read the editorials
because the news team felt news anchors should not be
identified with opinion. Such an association would harm
their objectivity in the delivery of news stories.463
463 Michael Hornerger, "How TV Can Move a City Into Action,"
Television Magazine, October 1966, 43.
265

266
In concert with the editorial campaign at WJXT, a three-
year investigative campaign brought about momentous change in
the Jacksonville area. Davis continued to contribute to the
investigative effort, even after two investigative reporters
were hired. He was also consulted on how news stories on the
investigative topics were to be handled. Reporters who
worked in the newsroom in the 1960s recall the frequent
closed-door meetings involving investigative reporters, the
news director, and the editorial director. Former
reporter/anchor John Thomas recalls some paranoia that word
would get out about the team's efforts. Davis has claimed
not to remember any such paranoia.464
The crusade examined in this section was much shorter
than the crusade(s) examined at the other stations. It was a
three-year campaign that consumed all the effort of some of
the broadcasters. Unlike the campaigns of Ralph Renick in
Miami and Joe Brechner in Orlando, there was no civil rights
element. It was an all-out, all-consuming attack on
corruption in local government, a crusade that was a major
factor in bringing about a change in Jacksonville area
government that had been resisted for a century, a crusade
464 Interview with John Thomas in Tallahassee on 8 November
1997. Interview with Norm Davis on 6 October 1997.

267
that directly resulted in the resignations or removals from
office of a large contingent of Jacksonville area government
officials.
This chapter describes the launch of the Davis
editorials on WJXT-TV, Davis' motivations for his strong
editorial commitment, and the situation in Jacksonville and
Duval County that led Davis and his co-workers at WJXT-TV to
pursue their brand of community journalism. It was community
journalism that involved strong editorials combined with
investigative reporting. This chapter concludes with a
recounting of the reactions of the people involved to the
changes wrought in Jacksonville in the mid-1960s.
The Editorials Begin
With no editorial history at the station, WJXT-TV had
made its start-up editorial policy clear in September 1962:
Tonight WJXT launches an editorial policy which we
hope will fill a community need, and at the outset we
feel we should elaborate a bit on what we intend to do.
Our editorial comment will follow in the tradition
of WJXT's "Project 4" series, which has established
itself as a pioneer in Jacksonville in aggressive,
candid reporting of community issues and problems. We
intend to continue this tradition on frequent occasions
as an integral part of Newsnight [ the six and eleven
p.m. newscasts] . Our comment, by and large will concern
local regional issues and problems, since these are most
in need of exploration. We do not intend to be limited
in what we will study, and this will include many vital
issues which have heretofore been by-passed altogether.

268
It was a fairly innocuous beginning, with little warning
of the disruption WTVJ editorials would raise within the
area's inefficient, corrupt back rooms of government, but
there was a foreshadowing of what was to come, when Davis
told his audience that the editorials would not be delivered
on a nightly basis; they would be on "a need basis" so there
would be no necessity to editorialize about "those safe
popular issues everyone can agree on." Grove said, ”We do
not expect that all our views will be universally popular,
but we do hope they will stimulate increased thought and
concern for the problems and issues that affect us all."465
Davis Background
In 1999, Davis had no difficulty remembering the
circumstances surrounding the WJXT-TV editorial/investigative
reports campaign that brought about major changes in
Jacksonville area government. It was more difficult for him
to recall what it was in his background that led him to
become a crusader for good government. Davis's father was a
military man, stationed in Key West until Davis was twelve
years old. Both Davis and his sister were encouraged to
pursue their education although their parents had not
advanced beyond sixth grade. There was no strong religious
465
Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 10 September 1962.

269
factor in the upbringing of the Davis children. Nonetheless,
Davis developed what he terms a "calling." He said, "It may
be the kind of thing that calls various people to a pulpit or
a ministry someplace, but it was innate somehow. . . . Part
of my inner motivations—somehow I acquired this sense that
power shouldn't be abused, and I still have it."466
One factor that led Davis and other members of the WJXT
news team to their editorial crusade was chance. Local news
media in Jacksonville were not "digging in," according to
Davis. Both Davis and his associate, News Director Bill
Grove, were to recall that some of the media were owned in
part and controlled by the Florida East Coast Railway. The
F.E.C. was part of the business power structure of the
Jacksonville area and wanted no one revealing facts that
would disturb that power structure. The government was not
responsive to its citizens; churches were "not lifting a
finger"; and the school system was in chaos. There was a
void—and WJXT moved in.467
There was not even a plan, says Davis. The WJXT news
team just began looking at individual problems. Those
problems became part of a pattern, and that pattern became
466 Interview with Norm Davis, 8 March 1999.
4 67
Ibid.

270
the subject of WJXT's campaign to get rid of not only the
corrupt government office holders in the Jacksonville area
but also the system that had allowed corruption and
inefficiency to become the norm.468
Norm Davis had developed his interest in broadcast
journalism at the University of Florida in the 1950s. He
became so involved with the college radio station, WRUF, that
he not only worked at the station for four-and-one-half
years, he sometimes lived in the station because to have left
the station to sleep elsewhere would have been a waste of
valuable time. There was, however, no broadcast journalism
program at the University of Florida, so even as he continued
to work and live at the station, he switched his course of
study to print journalism. He also "bugged" journalism
college Dean Rae Weimer to institute a broadcast journalism
curriculum. In later years, Weimer credited Davis with being
responsible for getting the broadcast journalism track
started at the university, telling people to whom he
introduced Davis, "This is the guy who kept badgering me
about doing broadcast news courses." Davis says his studies
in journalism, particularly the history of journalism, made
Ibid.

271
him think about the profession' s roles and brought out the
desire to "go scratch an itch somewhere."469
Another experience that brought out that desire to go
scratch an itch was Davis' membership in a books discussion
group in Jacksonville. Being part of the group forced him,
he said, to read books he never would have had the discipline
to read on his own. Among the books on the reading list was
Alexis de Toqueville's Democracy in America. It was
Democracy in America that introduced Davis to the idea of
"self-interest properly understood." Davis said:
[ A] nd as I read through his book and we chewed it up in
our discussion session, it dawned on me as being a
really powerful idea which was not original with de
Tocqueville. It is part of a lot of philosophies, and
that is what goes around comes around. And self-
interest properly understood is a self-interest that
understands that when you take care of somebody else,
the/ 11 take care of you. When you do something out
there that is positive, somehow that is going to benefit
you in the long run, and I think that is a working
philosophy for business, a working philosophy for
families, a working philosophy, I think, for
journalists.470
Davis also said Tocqueville's ideas may have been one of the
factors in his conviction that power should not be abused.
Even Tocqueville did not believe that all Americans were
as interested in their own self-interest as they claimed to
469
Ibid.
470
Ibid.

272
be. Referring to self-interest properly understood,
Tocqueville wrote:
In the United States there is hardly any talk of the
beauty of virtue. But they maintain that virtue is
useful and prove it every day. American moralists do
not pretend that one must sacrifice himself for his
fellow because it is a fine thing to do so. But they
boldly assert that such sacrifice is as necessary for
the man who makes it as for the beneficiaries.471
In another passage, speaking of religion in America and
the same adherence to self-interest properly understood
Tocqueville asserted, "I respect them too much to believe
them."472 Tocqueville was saying it was in the American
character to want to appear to be practical in their virtue,
when, in fact, they were driven by more benevolent
motivations. Davis also said the practical approach is most
useful when those doing good deeds are not driven by purely
altruistic persuasion, but it is more desirable to be moved
"from some kind of a moral or ethical imperative."473
Self-interest does not appear to have been the main
motivation behind Davis' editorial work. He sounded very
much like the ideal community journalist when he said in
471 Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. George
Lawrence; J.P. Mayer and Max Lerner, eds. (New York: Harper
and Row, 1966), 497.
472 Ibid., 500.
473 Davis interview, 8 March 1969.

273
1999, "I think one of the hallmarks of news and news
reporting is to give people what they need to know in order
to be good citizens and effective citizens." And there seems
to have been little concern for ratings in the Jacksonville
crusade against crooked government. Davis said:
No, because at that time neither Bill [ news director
Bill Grove] nor I understood much about ratings at all,
and even less about programming as such. We did it
because, in the news business, that's what you did.474
The Davis Editorial Campaign
On 8 August 1967, the voters of Jacksonville and Duval
County, Florida, went to the polls to decide what form of
government they wanted. The choice was simple. Would they
continue to have a government with one group of elected and
appointed officials for Jacksonville and another for Duval
County or would they consolidate their government? They had
been subjected to a vigorous, sometimes bitter, campaign with
strong arguments on both sides. They had been subjected to
racist arguments by those opposed to consolidation who tried
to convince black voters that consolidation was an attempt to
keep power out of the hands of the African-American
community's hands. 475 They had heard arguments directed at
474
Ibid.
475 Richard Martin, Consolidation: Jacksonville, Duval County
(Jacksonville: Convention Press, Inc., 1968), 160.

274
the African-American community that whites from the suburbs
would control the city. They had heard arguments from
consolidation opponents that consolidation was a communist-
inspired plot.476
Residents of areas outside the city were bombarded with
warnings that they would be giving up the independence they
had always enjoyed and that they would be paying taxes to
support the workings of the City of Jacksonville. If they
voted against consolidation, citizens of the area would
simply be continuing a long tradition of refusing to become
part of a massive area government.477
Why then did this vote turn out differently from earlier
referenda on Jacksonville area consolidation? Why when the
ballots were counted had area voters approved consolidation
by an almost 2-1 margin? 478 Furthermore, why had county
voters approved consolidation by a margin of 8-5? Given the
similarities between the 1967 election and other elections
involving combined governments for the Jacksonville area,
what was the difference in this one?
Ibid., 155.
Ibid., 1-21, 141.
478
Ibid., 224.

275
There were several factors in this complicated issue,
such as strong leadership, willingness of consolidation
backers to tweak the plan to accommodate opponents, strong
African-American support, teamwork between legislators and
local proponents, almost wholehearted business support, and
strong media support.479 One of the major differences,
however, was the work of a group of investigative reporters
at television station WJXT. The reporters, led by News
Director Bill Grove and Editorial Director Norm Davis,
increased the intensity of their work on the government
clean-up campaign in early 1965.480
Less than two years later, in late 1966, when the Local
Government Study Commission released its recommendation for
consolidation, eight county and city officials had been
indicted on 104 counts involving expenditures of government
funds for personal items, the use of government vehicles for
personal needs, padding payrolls, subverting the competitive
479 Ibid., 226-234.
480 1965 was the year WJXT began to bear down on the
corruption issue, although there had been earlier editorials
that were ancillary to the issues of corruption, governmental
inefficiency, and consolidation.

276
bidding system to award contracts to favorite companies,
bribery, perjury, and grand larceny.481
At first WJXT was alone in its zeal to uncover the
wrongs in area government. Former Florida Times-Union
reporter, and the papeid s leading consolidation writer in the
mid-'60s, Richard A. Martin in Consolidation: Jacksonville-
Duval County, minimized the effect of citizen protest against
corruption and, therefore, by implication, denigrated the
effect of the work of WJXT. He contradicted that opinion,
however, in several other sections of Consolidation. 482 For
instance, when Martin wrote of WJXT's documentaries on the
problems of city-county government and the station' s early
support of consolidation, he also said:
Yet WJXT made its most effective contribution to
government reform in Jacksonville-Duval by a series of
investigative news reports, begun early in 1965, which
revealed irregularities in a wide range of municipal
affairs. . . . These findings . . . alerted the public
to conditions that had been ignored by local news media
for years.483
Nonetheless, Martin's reluctance to credit WJXT as a
primary force behind the push for consolidation continued
into the late 1990s. He said in 1997, "I don't think
481 Martin, Consolidation, 82-92.
482 Ibid., 234.
483
Ibid., 77.

277
consolidation would have succeeded if they [ the Florida
Times-Union] hadn't hired me, or someone like me. I don't
think it would have succeeded if it didn't have the full
endorsement and support of the newspapers. I don't think
radio or television could have done it."484 However, the
evidence to be presented in this chapter shows that, had it
not been for WJXT, other local media might have continued to
ignore the area's political corruption problems. Had that
been the case, it is probable consolidation would not have
succeeded in 1967.
Other Issues Being Covered bv the Press
in the Mid-Sixties
As elsewhere in the country, two issues receiving heavy
press coverage in Jacksonville were a war in Southeast Asia
and a battle for civil rights in America. The Vietnam War
was claiming lives, both U.S. and Vietnamese lives, at an
alarming rate.485 The Civil Rights movement was being covered
daily.486 One week before the consolidation vote, front-page
stories in the Florida Times-Union included a report on
484 Interview with Richard Martin, 30 November 1997.
485 Manchester, The Glory and the Dream, 1022-1025.
486 Wm. David Sloan, James G. Stovall, eds., The Media in
America (Worthington, OH: Publishing Horizons, Inc., 1989),
375.

278
racial unrest in Chicago; Madison, Wisconsin; and Washington,
DC, 487 as well as a story on the call by Senator John McLellan
of Arkansas for a study on what was causing the
disturbances. 488 In the paper's second section on the same
day, the top story was a report on the deaths of six
Jacksonville area servicemen killed while on duty aboard the
U.S.S. Forrestal in Vietnam.489 Another story on the same
page listed the advantages the paper expected to accrue to
Jacksonville because of the new Disney theme park in
Orlando. 490 On the third page of the "B" section there was a
story on consolidation in Nashville, Tennessee.491 Nashville
had been used as a model for formulation of some parts of
Jacksonville's consolidation plan.
On 7 August 1967, the day before the consolidation vote,
the consolidation story was placed at the bottom of the front
487 "Negro Gangs Roam DC; No Shooting," Florida Times-Union,
August 1, 1967, A-l.
488 "Special Study of Riots Urged," Florida Times-Union,
August 1, 1967, A-l.
489 "Forrestal Casualty List Includes Six Local Men," Florida
Times-Union, 1 August 1967, B-l.
490 "Disneyworld to Aid Area," Florida Times-Union, 1 August
1967, B-l.
491 "Nashville—Our Metro Model; How Goes Consolidation There,"
Florida Times-Union, 1 August 1967, B-3.

279
page of the Times-Union. 492 The story included mention of
other consolidation stories inside the Times-Union. The
story at the top of page one concerned racial problems in the
North.493 There was a story on the downing of an American
fighter plane over North Vietnam.494 On 8 August, the day
voters were to go to the polls, the top story in the Times-
Union estimated that 100,000 people would vote on
consolidation. 495 It was accompanied by a front-page
editorial in favor of consolidation. 496 Other front-page
stories were about a group of black residents from Harlem
demonstrating in the public gallery of the U.S. House to
492 Richard Martin, "Consolidation Proposal Faces Final Test
at Polls Tomorrow," Florida Times-Union, 8 August 1967, A-l.
493 "Guardsmen Leaving Milwaukee as Detroit Emergency Ends,
Florida Times-Union, 8 August 1967, A-l.
494 UPI, "637th U.S. Plane Felled over North," Florida Times-
Union, 8 August 1967, A-l.
495 Maria Rasmussen, "100,000 Turnout Is Forecast Today for
Merger Vote,' Florida Times-Union, 8 August 1967, A-l.
496 Richard Martin, "We Recommend Consolidation," Florida
Times-Union, 8 August 1967, A-l.

280
protest House action killing a rat control bill,497 and a
report on the loss of five U.S. helicopters in Vietnam.498
On 9 August, the day after voters had approved
consolidation for the Jacksonville area, the page one
headline read, "Consolidation Scores Big Victory."499 The
margin of victory had been 2-1. The vote had made
Jacksonville the biggest city in Florida in terms of square
miles, the 29th largest in the country. Also on the front
page were stories about a U.S. House-approved anti-crime
bill, with a provision for $25 million to be used for anti¬
riot training,500 and a report on the shelling of North
Vietnam by the U.S. Heavy Cruiser, St. Paul, and three U.S.
destroyers.501 Another front-page story noted that employment
497 AP, "Negroes Stage Capitol Protest," Florida Times-Union,
8 August 1967, A-l.
498 UPI, "Reds Down Five Copters Near Saigon," Florida Times-
Union, 8 August 1967, A-l.
499 Joe Sigler, "Consolidation Scores Big Victory," Florida
Times-Union, 9 August 1967, A-l.
500 "House Votes $75 Million Anticrime Bill," Florida
Times-Union, 9 August 1967, A-l.
501 UPI, "Warships Shell Red Positions," Florida Times-Union,
9 August 1967, A-l.

281
in the United States was at a record high, with unemployment
down to 3.9 percent.502
Deeper inside the paper was a picture of the current
mayor of Jacksonville, Hans Tanzler, whose support of
consolidation was part of the reason he would have to run
again for his own job just a few months after his election
under the old form of government. The picture showed the
mayor having lunch with a group of Headstart students at
Brentwood Elementary School the day before, while his future
and the future of Jacksonville was being decided. While
Jacksonville voters were casting their ballots, a relaxed
Hans Tanzler was dining in the school cafeteria on spaghetti
with cheese and meat sauce, tossed green salad, green peas,
rolls and butter, frosted chocolate cake and milk.503
The WJXT School Editorials
WJXT-TV, WFGA-TV, the Florida Times-Union, and the
Jacksonville Journal had all reported on the sorry state of
Jacksonville's education system. 504 In part because the
county tax assessor had refused to assess and tax property at
502 UPI, "U.S. Employment Hits Record High in July; Decline
Erased," Florida Times-Union, 9 August 1967, A-l.
503 Allan Walker (photographer) , No story caption, Florida
Times-Union, 9 August 1967. B-10.
504 Richard Martin, Consolidation, 37.

282
its true value, in part because the citizenry liked its free¬
rider status on taxes, the county school system had steadily
declined. Schools were overcrowded; school buildings were
run-down and dangerous; the school system was run almost
independently of other governmental bodies. A study of the
Duval County school system said the schools were part of the
area's political machine. An education crusade by the media,
warning that area schools were in trouble and in danger of
being disaccredited, had little effect, and in 1964, all of
Duval Count/ s senior high schools were disaccredited.505
Although the poor school system in the Jacksonville area
was not a direct part of WJXT’s crusade on corruption and
waste in the area's form of government, it was one of several
issues that illustrated how poorly government was being run
on which the station editorialized. It was one of the issues
that would eventually result in voters showing their lack of
faith in elected officials. The first editorial on Duval
County schools came in November 1962:
The remarkable thing about Duval Count/ s school problem
is the way people are so casual about it. For years
now, responsible groups and individuals have waved a
danger flag about our sagging schools, but nobody stops
to listen. ... In the most recent case, the Community
Development Program, which spent months studying al 1 of
505
Richard Martin, Quiet Revolution, 31-44.

283
the myriad problems of Jacksonville and Duval County,
has put the public schools at the very top of a lengthy
list of problems which urgently need attention. Could
we ask for any stronger indictment than that?
The editorial went on to note that a $79 million road
program for Duval County had been "signed, sealed and
delivered." Davis told viewers it was likely that few people
had asked serious questions about the multimillion-dollar
contract. A bond sale to raise $63 million for the municipal
electric system was likely to get the same rapid approval
with only a cursory attempt to investigate the procedures
involved.
What we have in this community is a dangerously
misplaced sense of values. People are quick to scream
if they are shortchanged on trading stamps, but almost
nobody bats an eye when our youngsters are shortchanged
at school by poor teachers or a shortage of materials.
The penalty we will pay for this warped sense of what is
important will be retarded development of the most
valuable single resource our nation and our country can
have—our children.
When will Duval County grow up to meet its clear and
unmistakable duty?506
The problem was affecting Jacksonville students when it
came time to move on to post high school education, said
Davis.501 The county's school system was getting fewer
dollars from area taxpayers than any school system in the
506 Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 15 November 1962.
507
Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 19 June 1963.

284
State. It was also the only large metropolitan area in
Florida without a state-supported community or four-year
college. 508 Davis continued:
Not only does the quality of education in grades one
through twelve leave something to be desired, because of
inadequate support, but Duval County is sending less and
less of its high school graduates on to higher
education. In 1962, only thirty-two percent of this
county1 s high school graduates enrolled in a college or
university in Florida. The statewide average was fifty
percent. This is a dangerous lag, in view of the
growing demands of business and industry for more
highly-trained individuals, plus the need for
flexibility and re-training being forced on us by
technological change.509
The lack was even more irresponsible, said Davis,
because most of the cost of a higher learning facility would
have been borne by the state, with a minimal contribution
from the county. "At what point," wrote Davis, "will the
people of Duval County get tired of being last in the state
in the things that really count.510
Davis blamed some of the school problems on an
inefficient tax system. When an attempt to right inequities
in the appraisal system focused on the downtown areas of
Jacksonville, rather than attempting to equalize assessments
508
Ibid.
509
Ibid.
510
Ibid.

285
throughout the county, Davis once again warned that schools
would suffer:
School officials repeatedly have warned that all
high schools in the county will lose their accreditation
in two years unless major improvements are made. On the
financial side, this can be done only if the tax base is
broadened considerably, yet the assessor is not able to
say whether an equalization of downtown property will
broaden the base at all. Many people feel, on the
contrary, that the tax base might even be narrowed,
which would eat into school and county revenues even
more.511
The county tax assessor had claimed his plan to focus on
downtown property tax appraisals would save citizens of the
county hundreds of thousands of dollars. Davis called that a
"false economy of the worst variety if it results in
disaccredited schools and permanent damage to the children of
this county." It was not piece-meal equalization that was
needed, but a crash program to be applied county-wide, a
program that would fund improvements in the county school
system. "Without it," wrote Davis, "our sinking schools may
drop right out of sight."512
Davis was also critical of the Duval County system of
choosing a school superintendent. Duval was one of many
counties in the state in which the school superintendent was
511
Ibid.
512
Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 27 September 1963.

286
elected. Only a handful of counties used a system that
allowed members of the school board to select the
superintendent. Those counties, said Davis, were, not so
coincidentally, "ranked among the very best in the state."
The counties in which school superintendents were appointed
could choose from a pool that included candidates from all
over the country. Sticking with the outmoded system of
electing school superintendents meant that a candidate had to
have been a resident of Duval County for the past six months
and in the state for the past year. With the other
requirements, such as a graduate degree and experience in
school administration, there were very few choices. It was,
editorialized Davis, another example of outmoded, inefficient
government at work in greater Jacksonville.513
When Duval school officials attempted to shift the blame
for a deteriorating school system to state government, Davis
was having none of it:
Many of the people who want no part of a property
revaluation program insist that the state legislature is
at fault for not having provided Duval County with new
tax sources for schools. What this argument says, in
short, is that local government has met its
responsibility, that state government has not.
The facts show, however, that just the reverse is
true. In the first place, Florida's state government is
far ahead of most states in terms of direct financial
513
Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 3 October 1963.

287
support of public schools. On a nationwide basis, the
average state contributes 39% of the operating funds
used by local school systems. By contrast, the state of
Florida provides about 53% of the money spent in the
school systems of the various counties.514
Also, Davis told viewers, Duval County was the recipient
of a higher percentage of school money than any other large
county in the state. It was not the state's fault Duval
County schools were suffering:
The real vacuum, of course, is in our local support
of schools. In Duval, only 33% of the school budget is
covered by local funds. Bear that 33% figure in mind as
we compare it with other localities.
In Dade County, the local share is 61%. In Broward,
54%. In Orange County, 42% of the budget involves local
money. In Pinellas County, the figure is 55%.515
Davis was continuing to build his case that systemic changes
were needed in Jacksonville and Duval County.
Davis revisited the topic of Jacksonville schools in
March 1964, lauding the president of School Bootstrap Action,
Inc., a group attempting to promote changes in the school
system. The Bootstrap Action president had blamed business
and professional leaders in the community who had chosen not
to get involved in the school improvement effort. Davis
editorialized:
514 Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 13 December 1963.
515
Ibid.

288
One of the most disappointing aspects of the whole
school debate has been the deliberate, willful absence
of enough people who consider themselves leaders, in the
front ranks of the fight to save our deteriorating
school system. Warnings have filled the air—our
schools an in imminent danger of losing their
accreditation, responsible citizens and groups have
sounded the emergency alarm over and over—but too many
people are burying their heads in the sand and
permitting the schools to suffer without registering
even a protest.516
The editorials continued with a warning that the school
system's problems were also the problems of the community at
large, including those with businesses in the Jacksonville
area. Offices were remaining vacant; payrolls and new jobs
were declining because people in other areas who might have
moved to Jacksonville were being frightened off by the
deteriorating school system, afraid that if they brought
their children to Jacksonville, the youngsters would be
thrust into a system that encouraged school dropouts and
juvenile delinquency. In a plea to community leaders who had
stayed out of the fray, Davis implored, "It may not be easy
to stand up and be counted, but if ever we had a problem
which called for courage we have it now."517
As school conditions worsened in Jacksonville, Davis
kept the pressure on. Schools were his topic again in May
516 Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 4 March 1964.
517
Ibid.

289
1964. As he had in his last editorial comment on the
subject, Davis told the community that the result of a
substandard school system meant the los.s of jobs and income
in Duval County. What was worse, he said, was the attitude
that the system's decline should be ignored because to talk
too much about it would tarnish the count/ s image:
This is a brand of logic which may make sense for
politicians, but it is suicidal for a community. The
best possible shot-in-the-arra for our "image" would be
an excellent school system, but we will never achieve
that so long as we try to hide our problem like it was a
sick relative.518
That changes in the administration of the school system
were necessary became even clearer when on 2 December 1964,
just as Davis and others had warned, the Southern Association
of Colleges and Schools finally disaccredited Duval County
schools. SACS Chairman Dr. Herman Frick of Florida State
University said the schools had been disaccredited because
they had failed to "correct major deficiencies caused by a
lack of financial support."519 Of the eight standards used by
the SACS to judge a school system worthy of accreditation,
Duval schools had failed to meet seven, including "having
518 Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 28 May 1964.
519 Charles Cook, "Duval Schools Disaccredited as SACS Rejects
Final Appeal by Superintendent," Florida Times-Union, 3
December 1964, 1.

290
adequate hygienic conditions."520 There is no editorial
recorded for this date by Norm Davis, at least not in the
material made available for this research. Given the record
of Davis' editorials on the subject, however, it is likely
that there was a Davis editorial on this subject in early
December and that it urged improvement in the Duval County
school system.521
Almost a year later, a joint decision by the current
school superintendent, the school board, and the Duval County
legislative delegation changed the Duval County school
superintendent's position from elective to appointive, just
as Davis had recommended for two years. Davis was almost
jubilant:
When some future historian records the steps taken
by Duval County to rebound from the disastrous blow of
school disaccreditation, the story will point to March
17, 1965 as a red-letter day. Yesterday* s announcement
by school and legislative leaders that Duval will have
an appointed school superintendent was a splendid move
which will in time reap educational rewards for every
school child in the system. . . .
Henceforth, Duval County will no longer bear a
stigma as the only school system among the 20 largest in
the nation still using the antiquated method which
requires the superintendent to be a politician as much
as an educator.522
52° «-y g^Q3 standards Not Met by County," Florida Times-Union,
3 December 1964, 27.
521 Duval County schools were re-accredited by SACS in 1979.
Norm Davis, WOXT Editorial, 18 March 1965.
522

291
A small battle had been won in the effort to rid Jacksonville
and Duval County of its inefficient, corrupt form of
government.
City and County Services Deteriorate
At the same time, the city-county sewer and storm system
was deteriorating because of neglect. Some improvements
within the city had been made, but none outside city limits.
The soil and the water supply were contaminated. The problem
was so great that it endangered "the public health of the
entire county."523
Citizens of the county were complaining about inadequate
police and fire protection, the high cost of government,
soaring taxes, and a rising crime rate. County residents
were also angered by a system that forced them to pay premium
rates for electricity produced by the Jacksonville electric
department, a system that paid for approximately 75 percent
of the city* s operating expenses. 524 These were compelling
reasons for Jacksonville area residents to consider a better
form of government, but history was not on the side of
523 Blueprint for Improvement, Local Government Study
Commission of Duval County, Jacksonville, 1966, 135.
524
Ibid., 147.

292
consolidation. Annexation had been voted down in 1963 and
1964. Both referenda indicated that, although Jacksonville
residents favored some form of combination of governments,
Duval County voters were still resisting becoming city
taxpayers.
In January 1965, a group of community leaders, led by
Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce President Claude J. Yates,
drafted a manifesto asking the legislature to approve a
referendum for consolidation.525 In April, the Florida
Legislature approved a bill to authorize a study of
Jacksonville area government. The move toward consolidation
was still not in high gear, but results of the study were to
be presented to the Duval County legislative delegation on
March 1. J.J. Daniel was elected Study Commission chairman.
Daniel named Lewis Alexander (Lex) Hester executive director
of the Study Commission. The 30-year-old Hester believed, as
did Daniel, that consolidation was the area’s future.526
The legislative act that created the Study Commission
had made it mandatory that local government leaders cooperate
with the Commission by turning over details of the workings
and finances of their individual governments. Although some
525 Martin, Consolidation, 54.
526
Ibid., 58-61.

293
leaders of local governments acknowledged that reform was
necessary, there was reluctance to provide full details of
how their governments worked. There was still fear of being
swallowed up, losing autonomy, and becoming taxpayers to a
system that would use tax money for improvements in other
communities. At public hearings held in the communities of
Baldwin, Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach, and Neptune
Beach, resistance from the voting public and from local
government leaders was obvious. After one such hearing,
Times Union reporter Tom Hoey wrote, "If there are any
people in Neptune Beach who favor countywide consolidation,
they failed to show up at what was described as 'an old-
fashioned town meeting' Thursday night in City Hall."527
People already in government in both the county and the city
had mixed reactions. Some were cautiously approving of a
change of government; some were opposed because they feared
they would lose their jobs if consolidation became a
political fact.528
521 Tom Hoey, "Most Neptune Residents at Meet Oppose Merger,"
Times-Union, July 14, 1967, B-l.
528 Florida Times-Union, "Two Members of Council Endorse
Consolidation," July 12, 1997, B-l.

294
The WJXT-TV Investigations
With politics, fear of loss of autonomy, and despair
over the state of Jacksonville area services, there was
another force at work. In 1965, WJXT-TV began a series of
investigations and editorials criticizing government and
exposing illegal activity. Following one documentary on the
shortcomings of area, law enforcement, the City of
Jacksonville called in the International Association of
Chiefs of Police to study the Jacksonville Police Department.
The study corroborated the findings of WJXT.529
The station produced another documentary called
"Government by Gaslight."530 The name, "Gaslight," was chosen
to illustrate that area government was outdated and
inefficient and it was time for the area to bring its system
of government up to date. "Gaslight" illustrated the
overlapping governmental agencies within the city and county.
It showed the waste in the redundant governmental structure.
"Gaslight" demonstrated redundancies in many city and county
agencies, including police, fire, sewer, prison, insurance
529 Richard Martin, Quiet Revolution, 72.
530 Aired 10 May 10 1965 and again on 2 August 1965. Also
shown to various civic gatherings. Copy of program in
researcher's possession (provided by The Louis Wolfson Media
History Center at the Miami-Dade Public Library).

295
and vehicle maintenance. The program showed that the two tax
assessors' offices sometimes had different estimates of the
value of the same piece of property. The system, according
to "Gaslight," caused not only duplication of departments,
but also a lack of service for county residents. Although
there was a building code in the city, there was none in the
county. Although there was a library in the city, there was
none in the county. Although there was a sewage treatment
system in the city, there was none in the county. Drivers
could become very confused if they were unaware of crossing
the city line; right on red was allowed in the city, but not
in the county.531
WJXT also told viewers that a majority of city employees
lived outside the city, and, therefore, paid no city taxes,
although their paychecks came from the city. The city
airport was in the county. City sewage dumped into the St.
John's river flowed across the city boundary into the county.
The tone of the program was "if you live in the county, you
are being shortchanged." This was an important point because
it was county voters who had always been, and who were
expected to be, the voters most resistant to changing
531 "Government by Gaslight," special aired on WJXT-TV, 2
August 1965.

296
Jacksonville area government. Toward the end of "Gaslight,"
WJXT editorialized:
Perhaps the most serious symptoms of our
governmental disease are political symptoms. Take the
matter of political responsibility; within the complex
layers of government in Duval County, buck-passing has
become a way of life. The voter who wants to fix blame
is confronted by a bewildering array of officials, all
pointing their fingers at each other. The citizen who
wants a job done often has to be a detective to track
down the proper man to do it.
There's confusion between city and county on
responsibility, and confusion within each one.
Jacksonville, with its council and commission has a two-
headed government no other city on earth has seen fit to
copy.
Duval's scrambled government penalizes the
individual too. Much good political talent lives out in
the suburbs, disfranchised, unable to take part in the
governmental life of the central city.
On the other hand, a multitude of people outside the
city contribute heavily to various city budgets, through
electric revenues, airport concessions, Gator Bowl
tickets, but an accident of geography denies these
people any voice in deciding how these millions of
dollars will be spent. This is taxation without
representation, pure and simple.532
"Gaslight" was not the last time WJXT viewers heard of
the confusing city-county system of government in the area.
Several months after the program was broadcast, and after it
had made the rounds of various civic groups, Davis observed:
Much has been said of the bewildering structure of
government within the City of Jacksonville, the bizarre
Council-Mayor-Commission arrangement which causes
political scientists and ordinary citizens alike to
shake their heads in consternation. But keeping track
532
Ibid.

297
of the seats of authority and responsibility in county
government requires a scorecard which is even more
baffling.
County government, remember, was devised in the last
century when Florida's population lived in rural areas
and very small towns, but today this loosely-connected
cluster of boards, authorities, and officials is being
forced to grapple with the enormous task of providing
urban services for a huge metropolitan area.533
Davis sympathized with voters who faced ballots that
included more than sixty offices in Duval County, in addition
to state and city offices. It was impossible, he said, to
know what the duties of all of these offices were. It was
unlikely that one in ten thousand voters knew what he/she was
voting for on election day. The system worked against
informed participation in government by the citizenry.534
The editorial also charged that there would be no
willing attempts from within the system to change it:
It goes without saying that virtually every
officeholder in the court house will band with his
colleagues to resist any change that might affect him,
however ineffective the overall system may be. The
Local Government Study Commission of Duval County has
the difficult duty of cutting through whatever layers of
self-interest may prevail to get at the root causes of
confusing, costly, and ineffective local government.535
Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 25 March 1966.
534
Ibid.
535
Ibid.

298
Davis expressed hope that the Study Commission would be
able to come up with recommendations for a new form of
government in the area that would be efficient, responsive,
and understandable.536
Two weeks later, it was the city-run electric power
system under the Davis editorial gun. Davis told viewers
that the city was running one of the largest municipally
owned power systems in America, with an annual budget of $50
million—larger than all other city expenditures combined.
Although the entire City Commission, according to the city
charter, was supposed to be supervising the power company, in
truth it was run by just one person, the budget commissioner.
The system that had evolved under Jacksonville' s form of
government was "You run your departments, I' 11 run mine."537
Making matters worse, said Davis, was that under the
then current system, the city had a monopoly on electric
power for the entire area—unfair to those who lived outside
the city limits because they had no say in electing city
commissioners, including the budget commissioner. Davis
commented, "This is a thoroughly illogical state of affairs
536
Ibid.
537
Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 11 April 1966.

299
which subjects a majority of electric customers to the
dictates of a minority."538
The "illogical state of affairs" was another example of
an outmoded, inefficient form of government in Jacksonville
and Duval County, a system that needed change:
Since electric service is a countywide function it
should in some manner be responsive to voters throughout
the county. And because the provision of electric
service is a technical and highly-complex operation
involving immense sums of public money, some provision
should be made for vesting policy decisions in a board
of directors of some type which would have both the time
and the ability to effectively supervise such a huge
operation. We urge the local Government Study
Commission to give this matter a high priority in its
examination of governmental problems in Duval County.539
WJXT discovered another weakness in the Duval County
bidding system, the subject of Davis' editorial on 18 May.
Duval County had been paying 10.47 cents per gallon for
asphalt supplied by Peninsula Asphalt. Peninsula had been
the only bidder on county paving jobs for three years. Yet,
WJXT, conducting an informal bid process of its own, had
found other companies with prices as much as one-and-a-half
cents lower per gallon than Peninsula. Davis tried to
calculate the losses to taxpayers:
538
Ibid.
539
Ibid.

300
The substance of all this is that Duval count/ s
bidding procedures have produced a price which is higher
than the going rate to private business and at least one
other county. It is impossible to calculate the tax
money that has been wasted on asphalt in recent years,
but with purchases of more than four million gallons
involved, the loss must run into the thousands of
dollars.540
The Commission soon announced it was planning to re¬
advertise for bids on asphalt, but only after WJXT had
exposed a "weird set of circumstances which the commissioners
have failed to explain.''541 The weird set of circumstances to
which the editorial referred was the overpayment for asphalt
when it appeared a straightforward system of competitive
bidding would have led to substantial savings for the county.
The confusing array of governmental bodies in the city
and county gave Davis and WJXT several other targets. On 15
August 1966, Davis turned his attention again to the
Jacksonville City Commission: "If the amount of money wasted
by the City of Jacksonville over the years on automobiles,
insurance, electric utility poles, kerosene, and sundry other
items could somehow be totaled, the figure would be
astounding."542 Davis said the grand jury had confirmed that
540 Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 18 May 1966.
541 Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 15 August 1966.
542
Ibid.

301
the City Commission was responsible for "inexcusable
conditions," but the City Council also shared blame because
the Council approved the budget submitted by the
Commission.543
The editorials and documentaries were intended to educate
voters about government. WJXT's investigative reports added
punch.544 Each of the three elements was used to reinforce
the others. In February 1965, WJXT reported on mismanagement
of the cit/ s automobile fleet. The cars were being bought
without competitive bidding, were more expensive than they
should have been and were frequently used for the private
business of ranking city employees. On the evening newscasts
on Friday, 9 April 1965, editorial director Norm Davis said:
A series of special reports by WJXT News on the City
of Jacksonville's automobile fleet has delineated an
incredible picture of extravagance and poor policy,
which seems to be a casually accepted feature within the
543 Generally speaking, the City Council was responsible for
overall, city-wide issues, such as the budget; city
commissioners were responsible for specific areas of city
spending, such as highways and utilities. There were five
city commissioners, nine city council members. Additionally,
there were Duval County offices to consider. It is easy to
understand why Davis had said in an earlier editorial that
only one in 10 thousand voters was likely to understand the
ballot. This confusing governmental setup may have made it
difficult for viewers to understand Davis' editorials, but it
is also likely that very confusion served to reinforce the
perception that consolidation was needed.
544
Martin, Consolidation, 77.

302
city administration. The taxpayers of Jacksonville
literally are being taken for a million-dollar ride
which, by any reasonable standard, should cost less.
The city has enough luxury cars to accommodate a
battalion of visiting potentates. . . . These high-
priced prestige cars are parceled out like ripe plums to
department heads and lower ranking employees while the
City seemingly looks down its nose at less expensive
models. . . .
At least two Commissioners frankly concede that they
favor their friends with the City's car business. . . .
Commissioner Smith has acknowledged that a saving of
$200,000 is possible if a different system were in use,
and we believe that even greater economies are within
reach.
The central question at this point is whether the
most efficient management of the public' s business is
being realized. . . .
Or is $200,000 petty cash which is not worth getting
excited about? 545
In another editorial several days later, WJXT
highlighted some of the problems with the layers of
government in Jacksonville:
The Jacksonville City Council prides itself on being
a watchdog over the cit/ s financial affairs, but on the
matter of extravagance and poor policy concerning
Jacksonville' s automobile fleet the watchdog has put its
tail between its legs and slipped away.
WJXT News sampled the views of five Council members
on such questions as the absence of formal competitive
bidding on car purchases and the widespread use of
luxury cars and expensive accessories by department
heads and lower-ranking employees. To a man, those
Councilmen interviewed passed the buck to the City
Commission. Council President Clyde Cannon's remarks
were typical. "We have nothing to do with it," he said.
"We' re the appropriating group and they are the
administrators." . . .
545
Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 9 April 1965.

303
It is plain that the Council is afraid to tangle
with the Commission on the question of automobiles, and
the net effect is that the highly-touted check-and-
balance system is just an empty phrase. We might even
wonder, under such conditions, whether the need for
separate legislative and administrative bodies is
real.546
The next week, another Davis editorial on the city7 s
automobile purchasing practices highlighted a three-page
letter from Council Attorney Harry Fozzard to Council
President Cecil Lowe. Fozzard had written that City
Commission decisions on the purchase and use of city
automobiles were not the Council's business. Davis used that
position to continue to build his case for streamlining
government. Davis said, "[ I] f they are not the Council's
business, then we ask again whether there really is need for
a separate legislative arm in the city."547
Davis told WJXT viewers it was within the Council's
power to reduce money for budgeted items submitted by the
Commission, or to delete those items from the budget
altogether. However, said Davis, Council members were guilty
of shirking their responsibility:
This is precisely the power that makes the Council a
watchdog over the city's financial mess. It is highly
significant that disclosures of lavish spending on city
546 Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 16 April 1965.
547
Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 22 April 1965.

304
automobiles have not produced any visible concerns on
the part of the City Council. . . .
Not only has the watchdog been caught with its tail
between its legs, it seems to want to leave it there.548
Within a week, the City Council had responded to the
pressure to exercise some control over budget matters,
writing two ordinances and a resolution to produce a city car
pool, along with other changes in budget procedures. Davis
congratulated commissioners but kept the pressure on:
As far as they go, the new procedures will make
inroads on a spoils system which has prospered at
taxpayer expense for a great many years. And yet the
biggest hole in the dike through which tax dollars can
continue to flow has not yet been plugged. Neither the
Commission nor the Council has taken any overt steps to
alter a policy which has condoned the purchase of more
than a hundred high-priced luxury cars and a long list
of expensive accessories for these and other vehicles.
In spite of all the rules adopted this week, there is no
overall policy which requires the use of compact cars
and other lower-priced vehicles and no regulation of the
purchase of costly "extras" throughout the automobile
fleet.
Davis urged taxpayers to become concerned about a city
policy of providing automobile allowances to more than 200
employees, even though some of those employees did not use
cars in their work. There were also sixty-nine city
employees with gasoline credit cards, said Davis, who would
not need those cards if the city put new rules into effect.
Davis wrote that it was encouraging the Council had finally
548
Ibid.

305
taken some action and it was now time to take similar action
on other serious problems in the city.549
The WJXT editorial criticism of Jacksonville's vehicle
fleet practices was not over. The 6 May editorial said the
surface had only been scratched and then went on to deplore
the actions of some city commissioners who had arranged for
city cars to be bought from their friends without competitive
bidding.
Throughout all of this, a not unusual reaction from
the officials has been to point the finger of blame at
somebody else or to register shock that any criticism
should arise. Many unsound procedures have been
defended not only on the grounds of their having been
used for many years and not because of an inherent
value. In some cases, the law has been looked on as
something to be applied when convenient. As one
commissioner put it to the legislative delegation, "We
feel like we have not been violating the intent of the
law—except in a few instances like buying cars."550
Competitive bidding came up again when the City of
Jacksonville purchased a $55,000 crane-truck from a
Jacksonville area company. The city had not bothered to ask
vendors for bids. Once again, officials were trying to use
the system to duck blame:
Pinning down responsibility for the deal has been
like trying to catch an agitated ping-pong ball.
Commissioner Broadstreet has disclaimed any part in the
549 Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 29 April 1965.
550 Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 6 May 1965.

306
arrangement, saying it was executed while Mayor Ritter
was still Commissioner of highways and sewers. The
Mayor, meanwhile, has turned up a letter signed by
Broadstreet in January 1965 which closed the deal for
the city with the local supplier. Yet at the time the
negotiations took place, Ritter was the elected official
in charge and Broadstreet was employed as city engineer,
which seems to plant the responsibility for policy
decisions at the time at Mr. Ritter's feet.551
Furthermore, commented Davis, there was no agreement
among city officials over whether the crane had been leased
or purchased. Various offices within the city were offering
differing opinions on the transaction. If the lease
assertion was true, the city would have paid out almost the
full price of the crane-truck by the end of the first year's
lease, and would have nothing to show for it, making it "the
most unbelievably expensive lease we've ever heard of."552
By taking competitive bids for a crane-truck three
months after the deal had been closed, city officials had
made themselves look even more corrupt than they might have
if they had simply admitted making the transaction without
competitive bidding.
WJXT also produced a series of reports on the insurance
purchasing policies of Jacksonville.553 The cit/ s insurance
Norm Davis, WJXT Editorial, 11 March 1966.
552
Ibid.
553
Martin, Consolidation, 78.

307
premiums would amount to $1.3 million for 1966. That was
more than the combined insurance premiums for Miami, Tampa,
and St. Petersburg. WJXT called for a grand jury
investigation. The station criticized the grand jury's lack
of action up to that point, and there was criticism by the
station of other Jacksonville media, which had failed to
shine light into the dark recesses of local government.554
The Grand Jury
On 16 May 1966, Circuit Court Judge Marion Gooding also
called for a grand jury investigation. He asked that the
charges brought by WJXT be investigated. It is not clear if
he specifically mentioned WJXT. Florida Times-Union reporter
Richard Martin has indicated Gooding did refer to WJXT.
However, another Times-Union reporter, J.C. Green, wrote:
"Judge Gooding didn't say so, but the probe was obviously
inspired by a recent series of programs on television station
WJXT, Channel 4, mainly accusing officials of wrongdoing."555
554 Martin Waldron, "TV Station Stirs Florida Inquiry," New
York Times, July 31, 1966. News director Bill Grove was
quoted as saying of the city7 s two major newspapers, "They
simply were not doing the job in the community."
555 J.C. Green, "Grand Jury Probe Into Alleged City Waste Is
Ordered," Florida Times-Union, 28 May 1966, A-l.

308
In either case, the WJXT reports clearly helped bring about
the grand jur/ s investigation.
In its first presentment, on 30 June, the grand jury
reiterated what WJXT had said in the station's reports on
Jacksonville's insurance practices. The grand jury laid the
blame squarely at the feet of city officials, saying:
Manifestly, such excessive cost is a flagrant and
shocking waste of public funds, which unwarranted
expenditure is directly chargeable to the inexcusable
neglect and lack of concern evidenced by our city
commissioners. ... We want to make it clear we are not
criticizing a simple mistake or an error in human
judgment. We are condemning a calculated course of
conduct indulged in by the commissioners...with the
apparent full knowledge that it was contrary to the best
interest of the taxpayers and citizens.
So far, there were no indictments.556
The Indictments
The first indictments came on 22 July 1966. Thirteen
indictments were brought against two city councilmen and a
former recreation department employee. The charges were
larceny, conspiracy, and perjury. The three men had
allegedly bought television sets, watches, and other items
for their own use and charged the merchandise to the
Recreation Department. The three were also accused of lying
556 Richard Crouse, "Commission Flayed on City Insurance;
Jurors Condemn Actions," Times-Unión, 1 July 1966, A-l.

309
to the grand jury when they had appeared. 557 Other
indictments would follow.
On 12 August, jurors issued another report. There were
no indictments at this time, but the grand jury was critical
of almost the entire government of Jacksonville, accusing
city officials of wasting taxpayers' money, especially in the
purchasing and use of city cars. There was no poor judgment,
according to the grand jury; there was willful disregard of
the public interest. Many city officials had used the local
government as a personal source of income.558
Corn Patch Camp
City Commissioner Dallas Thomas resigned when the grand
jury began investigating his alleged use of city vehicles and
other property for his own use, especially his use of city
equipment at his hunting getaway, called "Corn Patch Camp."
WJXT had sent reporter John Thomas and Director Windsor
Bissell to the camp to determine if reports of Commissioner
Thomas' use of city property at his camp were true. Bissell
recalled in 1997 that he and reporter Thomas had gone to
"Corn Patch Camp," in Nassau County. They had heard that
557 Martin, Consolidation, 82.
558 J.C. Green, "Grand Jury Blasts City in Car Purchases,
Use," Times-Union, 13 August 1966, A-l.

310
city commissioner Dallas Thomas was using city equipment and
city prisoners at the camp. Bissell explained:
We stumbled into their camp saying we needed
gasoline for a vehicle or something of the sort, and he
had a big tent and a house out there and everything.
And, sure enough, there were some prisoners in there who
were cooking food for the campers. They were trustees,
I'm sure, but you could tell they were prisoners. They
still had the garb on. There was a city tractor on the
property; it still had its city tag on it. There was a
city truck pulled up there. I guess it was used for
hauling stuff. Everything we'd heard was true and we
got film of it.559
Then, several days later, Bissell and John Thomas went
to "The 'P' Farm," the city prison.
We couldn't go there and say, "We came here to look
for the tractor." We had some other excuse for being on
the "P" Farm. The guy was showing us around and showing
us how they slaughtered the pigs and made hams. He'd
even tell us they handed the hams out to the
commissioners every Christmas. And, sure enough, there
was the tractor. They* d brought it back in. We got
film of it.560
Reporter Thomas remembered it much the same way:
I' 11 never forget. We took a videographer, or
photographer at the time; it was deep in the woods. We
went up there in my car because it was not a marked news
car. I remember the fear we had going in there, some of
the looks from some of the local people who were
watching us in these back woods heading toward that
lodging camp.561
559 Interview with Windsor Bissell in Atlantic Beach on
October 10, 1997.
560
Ibid.
561 Interview with John Thomas in Tallahassee on 8 November
1997.

311
While on a dirt road on the way to the Corn Patch Camp,
Thomas saw a tractor coming toward him. Thomas recalled, "I
thought the fellow was going to ram me and push me through
the woods because he was very antagonistic and apparently he
was a caretaker for Commissioner Thomas."562
Reporter Thomas and Bissell crept up to the hunting
camp, looked inside several huge tents that had been set up,
and saw dozens of bunk beds that had "City Prison Farm"
labels on them, and there were other items of city property.
"We started looking at refrigerators and gas grills and
everything seemed to have a city label on it."563
In subsequent visits, Thomas and other investigators
spotted city prisoners doing the cooking and cleaning at the
camp. There was even heavy machinery "borrowed" from the
City Prison Farm.
The most obvious thing that caught our eye when we
first went there and let us know right away we were on
the right track, this was accurate, what we were
trailing—at least one, as I recall, city truck, a dump
truck, was there and the city logo was emblazoned boldly
on the door and we filmed that. And there was a tractor
there as I recall, maybe a front-end loader or some kind
of a back hoe. That had a city logo all over it. The
thing about it was, it was so blatant.564
562
Ibid.
563
Ibid.
564
Ibid.

312
The next time Thomas remembered seeing the machinery was when
he visited the city prison farm. He speculated that
caretakers at the farm saw him and his photographer
"snooping around."565
The John Thomas report on WJXT laid it all out for the
viewer. After setting up the background of the story and how
the reporters got to the camp, Thomas said:
WJXT reporters found on Commissioner Thomas' s camp
this [ film] dump truck bearing city license tag number
5062. According to records at the city garage, the
truck is owned by the City of Jacksonville and is
assigned to the Agriculture Department, which is also
under the direction of Commissioner Thomas. . . .
On another trip made into Nassau County, to Dallas
Thomas' s "Corn Patch Camp," WJXT reporters spotted this
[film] $5,000 Pontiac Bonneville with city license tag
number 4966.566
Commissioner Thomas told the reporters later that he
took his city-assigned car on personal (hunting) business
because it was equipped with a two-way radio, and he did not
want to be out of reach in the event of an emergency. He
also said no other equipment had been used at his hunting
camp. Yet, the reporters went to the camp on 14 December and
filmed a farm tractor. The John Thomas report said, "The
566 Script of a WJXT "Special Report" obtained from Norm
Davis. Script is undated, but obviously the story ran soon
after 14 December. The [ film] designations were in the
original script and indicated where film began and ended.

313
same tractor was filmed again today, this time back in its
shed at the city prison farm, which, incidentally, is only
twenty-odd miles from Commissioner Thomas' s hunting camp."561
Thomas also recounts that city officials used prisoners to
landscape their yards. WJXT filmed that, too, and later
broadcast the film.568
The following August, Commissioner Thomas was indicted
on forty counts of grand larceny. The indictment said he had
stolen almost $24,000 from the city in the previous five
years. Then, City Auditor John W. Hollister, Jr., was
indicted, also for grand larceny. City Council President Lem
Sharp refused to waive immunity in his testimony before the
grand jury. He complained, "It seems most peculiar that for
selfish profit or gain our news media would be a party to
costing the taxpayers of this city hundreds of thousands of
dollars in adverse publicity concerning matters that the
grand jury itself admits there is nothing wrong with."569
The statement was nonsensical because Sharp was reacting
to grand jury criticism of his refusal to waive immunity.
Less than two weeks after the statement, Sharp was indicted
567 Thomas interview.
568 Ibid.
569 Jacksonville Journal, October 6, 1966.

314
for stealing more than $8,500 from the city. The next day,
on 21 October, city commissioner Claude Smith, Jr., was
booked into county jail on bribery charges. He had allegedly
accepted more than $13 thousand to influence his actions,
particularly in city purchases of heavy equipment.570
When the grand jury term ended, two of Jacksonville's
five city commissioners had been indicted; four of nine city
councilmen had been indicted; the city auditor and the city
recreation chief had been indicted. The tax assessor had
resigned.571 It was an impressive record for the grand jury,
and for the television station generally acknowledged as
being responsible for the grand jury investigation.
Grand jury members made it clear in their final report
what they thought should happen next: "We recommend a
complete revision of the governmental structure of the City
of Jacksonville."572
What The People Involved Sav About WJXT's Role
Hans Tanzler was mayor of Jacksonville in the period
immediately preceding consolidation, as well as during the
period immediately following consolidation. He was first
570 Martin, Consolidation, 88.
572
Ibid.

315
elected on 23 June 1967 in the wake of the indictments
against Jacksonville city officials, defeating incumbent
mayor Lou Ritter by a margin of 7-2.573 He had ridden a
reputation as a tough, fair judge in Duval County Criminal
Court and a public disquietude with government into office.
He was in the unusual position of favoring a new government
plan that would mean he would have to run again for office
within a few months of his victory. Nonetheless, he made his
approval of consolidation known. Tanzler1 s imprimatur was a
factor in the eventual consolidation victory. However,
Tanzler said in 1997 that had it not been for WJXT,
consolidation would have never "gotten off the ground." The
WJXT investigations, said Tanzler, were key to the
consolidation process. Tanzler put it this way:
Without that [ the WJXT investigations] , they
probably wouldn't ever have gotten around to even
signing the petition manifesto to the legislature to
reform the government. There wasn't enough righteous
indignation to rise up and extricate themselves from the
morass. ... It started with the investigation that
ended up with the indictments and the disaccreditation
and all the rest of the business. The impetus, the
genesis would probably have never taken place. No
reason for it."574
573 Ibid., 181
574 Personal conversation with former Mayor Tanzler, 7
November 1997.

316
Richard Martin, in his book, Consolidation:
Jacksonville, Duval County, published in 1968, acknowledged
that:
[ T]hroughout 1965 and 1966 support for local
governmental reform in Jacksonville and Duval County
came most strongly and vocally from television station
WJXT (owned by Washington Post-Newsweek interests).
When Claude Yates summoned community leaders to draw up
the manifesto calling for consolidation in 1965, WJXT
gave vigorous and unqualified editorial support to the
proposal."575
WJXT News Director Bill Grove told Martin in 1968:
From our point of view, support of consolidation was
simply a continuation of something we tried to start
back around 1960. In our judgment all local media at
that time, including another television station and two
daily newspapers were under common ownership, were
glossing over the essential problems of the metropolitan
area by generally ignoring them in their editorials and
by contenting themselves with superficial reporting of
the news."576
Martin also acknowledged that WJXT was an important
force in consolidation. He wrote in Consolidation: "They
were very important. I think they got the whole ball rolling
and alerted the community to some of the problems."577
Martin stated in Consolidation that citizen reaction to
municipal scandals and corruption can be ruled out as the
575 Martin, Consolidation, 76.
576 Quoted in Ibid., 76
577 Personal conversation with Richard Martin, 15 October
1997.

317
"major element in the consolidation referendum."578 By
implication, WJXT could be ruled out as the major element in
the consolidation referendum. It is apparent he believed he
and the Times-Union were more critical, if not the most
critical, factors in the successful campaign for
consolidation. Martin said, "I was brought in the first of
January 1967. It was going along before that and I picked it
up and ran away with it, I think, but none of the other
facilities had the power or the impact that the Times Union
had back then."579 Martin said he was not only working for
the newspaper, but he had also been "brought in" by the
Consolidation Study Commission to promote consolidation.
Martin recalled that his involvement with the consolidation
campaign began this way:
I was down at Silver Springs doing PR work at the
time and I watched the papers and all of a sudden they
started printing little excerpts from "The Blueprint for
Improvement," which was the Study Commission' s plan for
consolidation and what would happen.
But Martin complained that the "little excerpts" were not
being placed properly in the paper, that they were not
effective. He then wrote a letter to J.J. Daniel, the
chairman of the study commission, saying:
578 Martin, Consolidation, 234.
579 Martin Interview.

318
'If you' re going to do it this way, you can forget it.'
I told him how it should be handled and what should be
done and they hired me away from Silver Springs on a
special contract to ramrod a more dynamic campaign and
from that minute on I was churning out copy every day
and eventually it got so hot that I was placing the copy
where I wanted in the paper. I wrote an occasional
editorial and placed it on the front page. I had
complete autonomy in running this campaign and the whole
of the media joined in, all of the TV and radio stations
and so forth.580
That is not the way former WJXT employees remember the
years and months leading up to the 1967 consolidation vote.
Editorial Director Norm Davis said in 1999 he felt "all alone
out there," and he said this about the role the Times-Union
was playing in revealing government corruption:
I don't want to malign Richard Martin. I sure as
hell will malign the Florida Times-Union. ...In those
days, it was a disgrace to the industry. In that
period, the '50s and '60s, the Florida Times-Union was
just a rag because it didn't begin to try to fill its
role as a news medium. It was beholden to too many
other interests and Channel 4 [ WJXT] was beholden to
nobody. I think it was owned by the railroad, as I
recall. Also the people who ran the paper just didn't
have the courage to get out and do the hard things. It
was not easy to get out and do what Channel 4 did. It
sounds, as you look back on it, like a lark, but it was
nothing of the kind. It was very difficult and
demanding and emotionally draining kind of work. To do
good journalism is hard work and when you' re doing
exposes like that in a community that hardly knew what
the word meant, it was doubly difficult, and you were
all alone out there. That station when it was doing
these things was all by itself, in terms of media and in
terms of community institutions. There were a lot of
good people at work who applauded us and helped a great
580
Ibid.

319
deal and sent us materials and things like that, but the
institutions of the community were not responsive to
these problems. Now, once stuff began to be laid bare
on the record then the Times-Union began to wake up and
they certainly printed all the big stories about the
grand jury and the indictments and the scandals at City
Hall and all that, but they were just reporting on stuff
that they did little or nothing to contribute to.581
Davis recalled that the other major television station
in town, WFGA, was also just a bystander in the effort to
uncover unscrupulous behavior in area government. Davis
said, "They were just reporting fires and burglaries and
drownings and fireworks displays."582
Windsor Bissell said, also in 1997, that WFGA did not do
anything investigative because the roster of its board of
directors read like the Chamber of Commerce. He told it this
way:
They weren't going to rock the boat. They were doing
lots of animal stories, and so on, but nothing
investigative. The newspaper didn't do anything. It
was owned by the railroad. Some of the City Council
members worked for the railroad.583
John Thomas remembered the same railroad connection
between Jacksonville's newspapers, the Times Union and the
581 Interview with Norm Davis, 6 October 1997.
582 Davis interview.
583 Bissell interview.

320
Jacksonville Journal, which published morning and afternoon
respectively. Thomas confirmed Bissell' s words:
As far as I'm concerned, the newspapers in the town
were owned lock, stock and barrel by the railroads, the
Atlantic Coast Line, the Seabord and the Flagler System.
They owned all the stock of the newspapers, two of them
there, the Jacksonville Journal and the Times Union and
as far as we were concerned, they were not doing the job
they should have been doing. They were glossing over
most of these things.584
Thomas also remembered that there was widespread
disapproval in the conservative Jacksonville business
community of a television station that was "stirring up all
this trouble." Thomas recalled that, at first, WJXT was on
its own in exposing illegal activities by elected and
appointed officials, that he and other reporters at the
station were sometimes afraid to turn the keys in their
automobile ignitions when they left work at night. He felt,
however, that it was the work of WJXT that made the
difference between victory and defeat for Jacksonville
consolidation. "I believe to this day," said Thomas,
that if there hadn't been such widespread corruption
exposed and publicly on the airwaves because people were
now really turning to television for their news more and
more and right into their home every night and so very
dramatic, and I really don't think that people...could
have been swayed in favor of consolidation had it not
been for the exposure. People just got fed up.585
584 Thomas interview.
585
Ibid.

321
What Others Have Said About WJXT's Role
Martin's view that the role played by WJXT was of less
import than other factors has been refuted not only by those
who were working for the station at the time but also by
newspapers and magazine reports on the issues swirling around
Jacksonville government. The Clearwater Sun reported that
WJXT's work stood out like a "lighthouse for good
government."586 Today (Cocoa) credited WJXT with triggering
the investigative mechanism of the grand jury.587 The Fort
Lauderdale Sun called WJXT's efforts "the beginning of the
end for the old government." The Sun also noted that it was
the television station, and not the other media in
Jacksonville, that climbed on the story first.588
The Radio-Television News Directors Association Bulletin
called the newspapers of Jacksonville "sleepy and timid" and
applauded WJXT's reports that by September of 1966 had led to
586 „It, s the giiiy season Again," Editorial, Clearwater Sun,
19 April 1967.
587 Walker Lundy, "An Aggressive Grand Jury Drops Political
Bombs," Cocoa (Today), 30 October, 1966.
588 Anne Kolb, "Business Led Duval, Jax Onion," Fort
Lauderdale Sun, Vol. 59, No. 145 (date unreadable on
researcher's copy) .

322
the indictments of three city officials.589 A WJXT press
release from 1967 quoted stories complimentary to the station
in The New York Times, Newsweek, The Miami Herald, The St.
Petersburg Times, Backstage and other publications. For
instance, Newsweek magazine said:
Long rife with rumors of deep municipal corruption,
Jacksonville had never seen the likes of this before.
That it saw it at all was due almost entirely to the
consistent policy of hard-hitting reporting practiced by
station WJXT.590
There were letters from viewers, noting that WJXT had
stood alone in exposing government malfeasance. John
Gaillard of Jacksonville wrote:
The public conscience of Jacksonville, Florida has at
last grown some vocal chords. While the local
newspapers continue to peddle government inspected (and
approved) pap, and the radios "bop" themselves to
oblivion, WJXT has chosen to face forthrightly the
uncomfortable facts of Jacksonville life.591
A member of the legislature, who was later to become
governor of the state, wrote to News Director Bill Grove to
589 Edward W. Barrett, "Once Opposed, Columbia Dean Okays
Editorials," RTNDA Bulletin, September 1966.
590 Press release from WJXT, 1967, made available by Mary
Grove, Mister Grove's widow.
John Gaillard to WJXT, 1 July 1960. Copy in researcher' s
possession, provided by Norman Davis.

323
praise the station for its efforts.592 State Representative
Lawton M. Chiles, Jr., said in his brief letter:
Just a note to congratulate you and Norm Davis on the
recognition that your station has received from Newsweek
and TV Guide for the series that you have been doing on
City and County Government. . . .1 wonder how long the
paper is going to sit back and let you do all of the
work.593
All three of the former WJXT journalists interviewed for
this research said Grove was the driving force behind the
station's efforts, the one who made sure the investigations
continued, even when there was pressure to back off. Norm
Davis said:
I was a young guy and none of us knew what we were
doing. We just had to go do it. When things began to
heat up, it took some real courage to stand up to the
heat and Bill stood right up and taught me what courage
was all about. He was the linchpin in all this. I was
just the guy out there firing the guns, but Bill was the
guy plotting the strategy."594
The evidence seems to refute Richard Martin's view that
WJXT' s investigative reports were not of key importance in
approval of consolidation by Jacksonville area voters.
Lawton Chiles moved on to the Florida State Senate in
1966, the U. S. Senate in 1970, and was elected governor of
Florida in 1990, serving in that post until his death in
1998.
593 State Representative, Lawton M. Chiles, Jr., to Bill
Grove, 26 September 1966. Copy provided by Norm Davis.
594 Davis interview, 6 October 1997

324
Newspaper, magazine and journal reports from the time period
give WJXT the lion's share of credit for spurring the
community and community leaders to action. Examination of
the Florida Times-Union reveals no record of other media in
Jacksonville presenting investigative reports until after
WJXT had taken a long lead. Martin said that in 1965 and
1966:
[ S] upport for local governmental reform in Jacksonville
and Duval County came most strongly and vocally from
television station WJXT (owned by Washington Post-
Newsweek interests). When Claude Yates summoned
community leaders to draw up the manifesto calling for
consolidation in 1965, WJXT gave vigorous and
unqualified editorial support to the proposal."595
Citations of Martin's newspaper articles in
Consolidation are all after 1966. He stated that he did not
start working on consolidation until January 1967. Citations
for Times-Union articles indicate that the newspaper was, as
Norm Davis said, only reporting on events in which it had
played no part. Yet Martin said, "It was going along before
that and I picked it up and ran away with it, I think, but
none of the other facilities had the power or the impact that
the Times Union had back then."596
595 Martin, Revolution, 71.
596
Martin interview.

325
To the contrary, WJXT did have great impact on the
community because it reached so many homes. Ratings for the
station's 6 p.m. newscast in late 1967 showed more than three
times as many people watching WJXT as its closest rival. The
station had a staggering 75 percent share of the television
audience.597 That meant that at least 200,000 people were
viewing WJXT’s reports on government malfeasance.
There can be little doubt that Martin and the Times-
Onion were important contributing factors to the "yes" vote
for consolidation. There can be little doubt that the
newspaper was an important force in the community. However,
the weight of the evidence points to WJXT as a much more
important factor than Martin considered it to be. It is
probable that without WJXT, Jacksonville would have continued
to struggle under the old, inefficient, redundant, and
corrupt form of government and that consolidation would have
remained a dream for community leaders who thought the city
and county deserved better.
597
A.C. Nielsen report, 1965. Information from WJXT-TV.

CHAPTER 10
JOE BRECHNER' S STRATEGY TOR ORLANDO, FLORIDA:
THE 1960S CIVIL RIGHTS EDITORIALS OF WFTV-TV
It was just before noon when three young blacks took
their seats at an F.W. Woolworth department store lunch
counter in Jackson, Mississippi. The three young blacks and
a white sympathizer were outnumbered more than a hundred to
one by a crowd of several hundred whites inside the store who
opposed lunch counter integration. Police who had been sent
to keep the peace at the sit-in stayed outside the store,
even as violence inside was beginning. The three black
youths were knocked off their stools at the lunch counter.
Anne Moody, Perlina Lewis, and Memphis Norman all crashed to
the floor. Twenty-six-year-old former Jackson police officer
Benny Oliver repeatedly kicked Norman in the face as he lay
on the floor trying to protect himself. A white professor
from Tougaloo Southern Christian College who had joined the
blacks in their lunch-counter sit-in was hit in the face by
another member of the mob. Professor John Salter's face was
cut. Other whites poured salt and pepper into the wound and
emptied catchup and mustard shakers on Salter's head. Oliver
326

327
continued his assault on Memphis Norman until blood was
spouting from Norman's mouth and nose. It was May 28,
1963.598
The next night on WFTV-TV in Orlando, Florida, the
station's news anchorman read an editorial written by
WFTV's owner, expressing outrage over what had happened in
Jackson:
What can we think of ourselves? What was said in
your home, your office, your church, your club about the
shameful incident at Jackson, Mississippi that we saw on
television—or in the photograph in our morning
newspaper? Was this America? Land of Liberty? Where a
human being was physically humiliated and molested as he
participated in a sit-in at a lunch counter, while other
Americans laughed and jeered. Was this our sweet land
of liberty, where human beings were squirted with
mustard and catsup while local police looked on
indifferently? Where is our conscience? Where are our
hearts? Where the Godliness our ministers have
preached. Whose cheek was turned: white or black?
Whose voices will rise to protest? Where the courage
to resist and overcome human injustice?
Do we dare sit by quietly, leaving law and order to
the battering fists and stomping feet of Benny Oliver, a
former Jackson lawman? We were silent before: when
Nazis and storm troopers murdered 6-million human souls,
when lynchers in pure white mocked justice. Speak up
Americans! Your silence, not Benny Oliver's fists, is
the greatest threat to our liberty. If there is any one
of you whose soul revolted at the sickening, savage
violence, send us a post card. Let us know that at
least one other American felt as we did: sick at heart—
dismayed—ashamed that this should happen here in the
land of the free.599
598 Jack Langguth, "3 In Sit-In Beaten at Jackson Store," New
York Times, 29 May 1963, p. 1.

328
The station owner was Joseph L. Brechner, and although
this plea for human rights and dignity may have been more
impassioned than usual, no one who watched the station’s
evening newscasts on a regular basis could have been
surprised that Brechner would express his outrage so
strongly. During the years Brechner owned Channel Nine,
which went on the air as WLOF-TV in 1958, then changed call
letters to WFTV in 1963, civil rights was his most frequent
editorial topic. Brechner estimated that he had been
responsible for two thousand editorials between 1960 and the
time he was forced to relinquish controlling ownership of the
station in 1969.600
This chapter examines Joe Brechner's personal part in
the civil rights struggle in Orlando, as well as his
motivations for becoming a strong proponent of equal rights.
It also reviews a set of themes, a strategy, in the Brechner
599 Joe Brechner, "The Shame of Jackson," WFTV-TV editorial, 1
July 1963. Punctuation and grammar have been left as it was
in the editorial copy.
600 Joe. Brechner, "Until We Meet Again,” Advertisement placed
by Brechner in the Orlando Sentinel, informing viewers that
he was being forced to turn over control of the station to
another group while hearings were being conducted by the
Federal Communications Commission to determine which of five
groups would be awarded the operating license for WFTV-TV.
Orlando Sentinel, March 1969.

329
editorials. Although there is no evidence to show that
Brechner had planned a day-to-day editorial strategy in
advance, his editorials reveal that he had settled on motifs
that he considered important, and from those he developed a
strategy for helping his community deal with one of the most
important issues of 1960s America. This chapter also
attempts to show that Brechner's efforts and his editorial
strategy helped keep disturbances to a minimum in Orlando at
a time when wholesale violence was hitting many other cities
in Florida and the rest of United States.
In the first section of this chapter, Joe Brechner's
motivations for editorializing are examined. Themes that ran
through his civil rights editorials, along with examples of
each theme are then included. Next, Brechner1 s work beyond
editorializing is described.
Brechner' s Motivations
Before exploring Brechner's strategy for promoting civil
rights in Orlando, it is important to examine his background,
to ask what it was in Joe Brechner's past, or upbringing, or
education that caused him to take the civil rights lead in
1960s Orlando, Florida, a town in the deep south with all the
apparent prejudices of other southern towns. Joe Brechner
was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, on 18 May 1915. His

330
parents were immigrants to the United States from Russia and
Romania. Both his father, Barney Brechner, and his wife's
father, Joseph Brody, had escaped from Russia to avoid being
shipped to the front lines in the Russo-Japanese War as
Russia attempted to expand in Eastern Asia. It was customary
for the Russians to put Jews on the front line, where they
were certain to be killed. There was little choice for the
two but to escape if they were to survive the war.601
Brechner's father died when Joe was thirteen. The
family—his mother Dora, three sisters, and two brothers—
moved to Detroit in 1928. The Brechners lived in a poor,
racially mixed neighborhood at Division and Hastings. The
neighborhood was peopled with colorful characters, such as
Sam The Trombonik, who once tried to buy Joe's two younger
brothers. It was Sam's idea to use the two boys as
protection from other mobsters on the assumption that no one
would fire at him as long as he was accompanied by two
children. Sam The Trombonik was eventually shot and killed
in a gangland-style killing in the Hastings/Division
neighborhood. 602
601 Interview with Marion Brechner, 9 March 1998.
602 Joe Brechner, What I Always Say (Orlando: By the author,
222 Pasadena Place, circa 1990), 60-62.

331
When World War II came, Brechner dropped out of
college and went to Washington, DC, to become a civilian
broadcast writer with the War Department. He later joined
the United States Army, went to Officers Candidate School,
and continued to write for the U.S. Army Air Corps, Office of
Radio Production. Much of his work there was writing and
producing programs about black servicemen.603
After the war, Brechner served as radio and television
director of the Veterans Administration, working for General
Omar Bradley. As the United States returned to peacetime
conditions, Brechner teamed with old high school friend John
Kluge to build a radio station just outside Washington in
Silver Spring, Maryland. Radio station WGAY was the
springboard for a career in broadcasting for both men. When
Brechner and Kluge sold WGAY, they had seed money for the
future.604
603 Brechner's widow, Marion, has a collection of radio
scripts written by Brechner during the war years. Many of
the scripts deal with black servicemen.
604 Interview with Marion Brechner, 9 March 1998. Kluge
bought controlling interest in Metropolitan Broadcasting in
1959. It later became Metromedia. By 1984, the company's
holdings had grown to TV stations in seven major markets, 12
radio stations, the Harlem Globetrotters and the Ice Capades.
Kluge expanded into cellular phone operations. From 1959 to
1981, the company's stock rose from 69 cents a share to $569,
when adjusted for stock splits. Eventually, Rupert Murdoch
acquired the stations for $2 billion to form the backbone of

332
The Brechner Family Moves to Orlando
There were almost no facilities that could be described
as "integrated" in Orlando when Brechner came to town in the
early fifties to buy and operate a radio station and later to
start and manage a television station. A station owner who
proposed integrating facilities and treating all people as
equals was certainly risking advertising losses. A white man
in the deep South campaigning for civil rights on his
television station was ahead of his time and out of place.
Joe Brechner's widow Marion said in a March 1998
interview that her husband's religion was the wellspring of
his civil rights stance, as well as her own. It is a creed
of Judaism to give, mitzvah, to take care of people less
fortunate. 605 Mrs. Brechner said Joe Brechner was a member of
his Fox network. Kluge sold the cellular franchises for more
than $4 billion.
By 2000, Kluge was becoming a major entrepreneur in
paging and cell phones and in constructing wireless cable
television and telephone networks throughout Russia, the
Baltic states, Eastern Europe and China. In doing so, at age
82, he was considered to be taking major risks with his $7-
billion fortune. He was the country's fourth richest
individual as the owner of Orion Pictures; the Ponderosa and
Bonanza restaurant chains; two Manhattan hotels, the Barbizon
and the Radisson Empire; and professional soccer team, the
MetroStars. "Rich, 82, and Starting Over," New York Times, 5
January 1997, 3,1; and Julia Reed, "The billionaire Who Just
Won’t Quit," Ü.S. News & World Report, 27 June 1988, 41.
605
Ibid.

333
a minority and felt the pain of all minorities. In a note to
Attorney Paul Dobin as Dobin was preparing a presentation on
Brechner for the Federal Communications Commission, Brechner
wrote of himself:
Mr. Brechner's sensitivity to the racial problems
stem [ si cl not only from his own background as a member
of a minority group, but as a result of his early youth
in Detroit where he lived in a hard-core Eastside area,
primarily Black, at Hastings and Division Streets. He
attended school with Blacks, and was aware of many
difficult problems that are involved. During World War
two, he became a specialist in problems related to the
Black, and integration within the military service. He
wrote the first network radio program about Blacks,
which was broadcast on the then NBC network. . . . WLOF
Radio, under his guidance, employed the first Negro disc
jockey, not only in Orlando and Florida, but probably
the entire South.606
As of the year 2000, Marion Brechner, in her mid¬
eighties, was president of Brechner Management in Orlando.
The Brechners' son, Berl, oversaw management of the three
radio stations and two television stations owned by Brechner
Management. When asked what she did as president of the
company, Mrs. Brechner said with a grin, "I manage." Marion
Brechner's office was in a converted home in an older section
of Orlando, north of downtown. It was a building Joe and
Marion Brechner purchased to use as an office after losing
control of WFTV. Flowers were visible from the windows year-
606 Letter from Joe Brechner to Paul Dobin of Cohn and Marks,
Washington, DC, 3 January 1974.

334
round. Marion Brechner worked at the desk that was once her
husband's in a room replete with reminders of Joe Brechner.
Pictures of Joe and Marion, one with Hubert Humphrey,
occupied the desk top, along with pictures of their son and
daughter-in-law, and pictures of their three grandchildren.
Sitting in her late husband's black leather office chair,
leaning forward on the desk, Marion said of the Brechners'
dedication to the Civil Rights Movement:
Joe came from nothing; I came from nothing, and we
had this mission to perform. We had to give, we had to
help. Joe was always so proud of America, that it gave
him a chance to be something [ she whispers the word,
"something," slowly, emotionally] . If our folks had
stayed in Russia, they and we might have died. So, I
think it was eternal gratitude that he was born here
in a democracy and that there was nothing to fear from
the soldiers, the government and whatnot, things like
that.
We could identify with the Blacks, and Joe and I
both came from the North, so we didn't have a
Southerner's temperament about Blacks and we did have a
concern that people should be treated like people [ she
pauses and stresses "people"] , no matter what. I think
this is what probably motivated him the most, that he
came from nothing, that this country gave him a chance
to be something.607
The Brechners had run into discrimination themselves.
According to Marion, they had sometimes felt uncomfortable in
situations with Gentiles. They had purchased a house in
Maryland when they were first married, although the house had
607
Interview with Marion Brechner, 9 March 1998.

335
a proviso that no Jews were allowed in the neighborhood.
Marion Brechner said recently, "We bought it anyway. We
said, 'The Hell with it. I'm going to live where I want to
live.'" As Jews, they were also excluded from membership in
the country club in Orlando when they came to town.
Instances of discrimination such as those, according to
Marion, sharpened Joe's sensitivity to cases of
discrimination against others.608
Another influence in Brechner7 s life was the death of
his father when Joe was thirteen. As the oldest of the three
boys in the family, it fell to him to take his father* s
place, to help his mother support his two brothers and three
older sisters. Marion Brechner says, "He didn't have time to
be a young man as a young man." A college professor at Wayne
State University in Detroit thought Joe was in his thirties,
until Joe mentioned his age in a letter written to the
professor. Joe was only eighteen.609
His position as a leader at such a young age, his
position of responsibility, seemed to stay with him, to carry
through to adulthood, when he and other Orlando leaders would
608 Ibid.
609 Daniel Hamilton Haines (Brechner's writing professor at
Wayne State University), note to Brechner, commenting on a
writing assignment, 27 January 1935.

336
take responsibility for making the city an exception in an
era when civil rights advocacy was often met with violence.
Brechner never forgot his family background. On the back of
printed copies of each of his editorials broadcast on Channel
Nine was a list of people to whom copies of the editorial
should be sent; his mother7 s name was always on the list.
It was not only religion, not only family, that
propelled Brechner on his way to a world beyond the
neighborhood at Hastings and Division Streets. The Boy
Scouts also played a big part in Joe Brechner7 s life. Joe
attained the rank of Eagle Scout, and the organization was
where he got his first encouragement as a writer when he won
an essay contest.
The love of writing never left him. Marion recalled in
a 1998 interview that Joe would have preferred to be Arthur
Miller rather than Joe Brechner, "writing incessantly,
interminably and always.7'610 Former WFTV-TV news director Ray
Ruester also remembered in a 1998 interview that writing was
a passion for Brechner.611 Ruester, then living in Ormond
Beach, Florida, said, "Joe Brechner was a terrific writer.
He always edited if he was there. In fact when I first
610 Interview with Marion Brechner, 9 March 1998.
Interview with Ray Ruester, 26 February 1998.
611

337
started writing editorials, I don't think he kept one word
that I wrote."612 It was Ruester who delivered the editorials
that Brechner had written. Ruester was the news director and
anchor-reporter at Channel Nine. When the topic was not of
vital importance to Brechner, Ruester wrote the editorial,
but Brechner checked and edited every one.613
Editorial Themes
Several themes run through the civil rights editorials
of Joe Brechner (Table 2). Foremost is the theme of equal
rights and equal opportunities for all. That is the
foundation one would expect to find in editorials on this
subject. But how did Brechner intend to impress upon his
audience the importance of equal rights for all? What means
of persuasion did he use in the attempt to convince viewers
of his television station, and his editorials, that all
Americans, not just the white majority, were meant to share
in the freedoms and opportunities guaranteed by the
constitution and the laws of the land? In addition to the
overriding theme of fairness, there were four other thrusts
to the Brechner strategy: (1) It could happen here; (2)
Praise; (3) Patriotism; and (4) It's good business strategy.
612 Interview with Ray Ruester, 23 April 1998.
613
Ibid.

338
Table 2. Editorial Themes
Theme
Example
It Could Happen
Here
"Orlando has been a model community. . . .
But the Committee and all citizens must
now be alert to new and changing needs of
minority groups. . . . These are the
conditions that exploded into trouble in
other cities."
Praise
"The football game last Thursday night in
Orlando between Jones High School and
Edgewater High school was an outstanding
event in Central Florida. . . . The event
reflected the maturity of our citizens,
both adults and young people. It showed
that integration not only can work here,
but it can work unusually well."
Patriotism
"We speak glibly about defending democracy
and liberty. While our youth fight
enemies of Democracy overseas, those of us
at home had better put ourselves openly on
the firing line to resist and overcome the
enemies of liberty in our own backyard."
Good Business
Strategy
"Among those restaurants and hotels,
theaters and other places of public
accommodation in the South that have begun
serving or hiring Negroes, only a few
report suffering any lasting economic
consequences. A sizable number, in fact,
declare that business has been better than
ever."
In driving
home his point of "It could happen here,"
Brechner stressed that if Orlandoans did not work for
peaceful integration, the city would experience the same

339
kinds of violence occurring in other United States cities
such as St. Augustine, Tampa, and Jacksonville.
In employing the praise strategy, Brechner repeatedly
praised Orlando and its citizens for not succumbing to the
same kind of bigotry and hatred that were wracking other
communities in the sixties. There were two prongs to the
praise strategy. Some of his praise was aimed at Orlando's
citizens; some of it was aimed at Orlando's leaders. In some
editorials, when Brechner praised the community for its
higher standard of behavior in civil rights matters, he was
careful also to praise the cit/ s leaders for being a part of
the effort to make Orlando a better place for all.
Patriotism was a theme dear to Brechner' s heart. Marion
Brechner recalled that her husband was grateful for the
opportunities he had had in America. He thought America was
a great country because it was founded on the principles of
equal opportunity for all. To violate that principle was un-
American. 614 Brechner frequently made hate and extremist
groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, targets of his editorials
in order to stress that anyone who behaved as these groups
did was not a good American.
614
Interview with Marion Brechner, 9 March 1998.

340
In promoting civil rights as good business strategy,
Brechner told his viewers that equal opportunity and equal
rights were keys to a thriving community and that to deny
civil rights to a certain segment of the population of the
Orlando area would have caused economic harm to the
community.
Brechner was employing a variation on an approach to
civil rights explored by Ruben Burney in a master's thesis
for Michigan State University.615 In Burney's study,
newspapers approached civil rights workers in one of three
ways: (1) the Neo-Gandhian approach, which saw civil rights
workers as "upright, dignified and justified"; (2) the Plague
on Both Your Houses approach, which saw both civil rights
workers and segregationists as extremists; and (3) the
Misguided Troublemakers approach, which saw civil rights
workers as causing problems where there should have been
none. Brechner viewed civil rights workers as Neo-Gandhian;
it was segregationists, such as members of the Ku Klux Klan,
that were constantly cast in the light of misguided
troublemakers.
615 Ruben Burney, 11, "Newspaper Coverage of the Early I960's
Civil Rights Movement: A Content Analysis of World Views"
(Master's thesis, Michigan State University, 1991), 8.

Examples of Editorials Using Brechne¿_s
Four Themes
341
It Could Happen Here
Brechner wrote about Ku Klux Klan troublemakers in an
editorial about one of the many tragedies of the sixties.
When bombs killed six children in Birmingham, Alabama, in
September 1963, Brechner said on September 16, "It is a
reminder to all fair and decent thinking citizens to avoid
like the plague rabble rousers and hate-mongering
organizations. Look out for the trouble makers who would
solve racial and human problems with violence."616
Two Brechner themes are incorporated into this
editorial. The word "fair" is used, as it was in so many of
the editorials. There is also a warning to Orlandoans that
the same kind of tragedy could strike central Florida:
The Alabama situation is a vivid reminder to all of
us here that the attempt to solve racial problems in our
state, in our area, is no child's game. It is a deadly
serious business. It is also a reminder to city, county
and state officials and to all law enforcement officers
that firm and fair leadership and the strict respect and
enforcement of laws is essential if race problems are to
be solved fairly and satisfactorily.617
616 Joe Brechner, "The Birmingham Tragedy," WFTV-TV editorial,
16 September 1963.
617
Ibid.

342
There are other examples of warnings that racial strife
taking place in other parts of the country could come to
Orlando. On 25 July 1966, Brechner told Orlandoans they had
been fortunate so far, but keeping their community peaceful
would require effort:
Orlando has been a model community with its
progressive efforts by the Mayor's Inter-Racial Advisory
Committee, and the full support it has received from
business, civic and religious organizations, and the
citizens of our area. But the Committee and all
citizens must now be alert to new and changing needs of
minority groups and the underprivileged and unemployed
or low income families living within slum areas—with
their needs for better housing, job opportunities,
recreational facilities and better health and education
facilities. These are the fundamental conditions that
exploded into trouble in other cities which has led to
immeasurable losses of life and property, to business,
to landlords, even to the poor themselves and innocent
bystanders.618
Praise
Within that editorial was also another example of praise
for the community and its leaders. Brechner told the
community's citizens and leaders how well they were doing:
"We know citizens of Central Florida condemn troublemakers
and extremists—colored and white—who would incite violence
or disorder and destroy the tranquillity of our area and
618 Joe Brechner, "How to Prevent Racial Unrest," WFTV-TV
editorial, 25 July 1966.

343
progress made here in race relations and community
development." 619
Brechner used this strategy again when all-black Jones
High School played mostly white Edgewater High School on the
football field in 1967:
The football game last Thursday night in Orlando
between Jones High School and Edgewater High School was
an outstanding event in Central Florida. . . . What made
this event outstanding was the goodwill it generated in
friendly inter-racial relations in Central Florida.
. . . The event reflected the maturity of all our
citizens, both adults and young people. It showed that
integration not only can work here, but it can work
unusually well.620
Brechner complimented the athletic departments of both high
schools, the City Commission, the Police Department, and the
Mayor of Orlando, an apparent attempt to make everyone feel
they had had a part in, and therefore a stake in, this
integration success.
Brechner' s strategy did not always work completely.
The following year, the same two teams met at the Tangerine
Bowl. A group of blacks known as the Ring Eye Gang sneaked
into the game and started fist fights in the stands. There
were some fights between students of the two schools. The
619 Joe Brechner, "Violence and Civil Rights," WFTV-TV
editorial, 26 July 1967.
620 Joe Brechner, "Outstanding Football Game," WFTV-TV
editorial, 18 September 1967.

344
Ring Eye Gang had no racial agenda. According to Father
Nelson Pinder, a black Episcopalian minister, gang members
were more interested in establishing their "turf."621 Father
Pinder remembered some friction both on and off the field
even before the Ring Eye Gang started trouble. The referees
were all white. Pinder said they were calling a biased game
in favor of the white players. Pinder called it "tension
football."622
However, the trouble did not go beyond the stadium that
night. There were no subsequent problems connected with the
incident. That was far different from the pattern seen in
other American cities in the sixties, when incidents similar
to the Tangerine Bowl fights led to escalated racial
disturbances. A committee was appointed by Mayor Carl
Langford to look into the causes of the stadium brawl.
Heading that committee was Joe Brechner. Brechner' s
committee turned in its report nine days later. The
committee found that members of both the black and white
communities and students and faculty at both schools "were
Interview with Father Nelson Pinder, 9 March 1998.
622
Ibid.

345
greatly upset, embarrassed and disturbed by the
outbreak."623
Students and faculty at both schools recommended that
there be no cutback in interaction between white and black
schools and even urged that there be an extension of
activities between predominately black and predominately
white schools. Those activities, according to the report,
were to include not only football, but also "other common
interests such as debating, musical events, arts
competitions, and any other events which promote and
encourage racial understandings between the races while
stimulating greater interest, diversity and higher standards
among both groups."624
The committee's report stressed that the incident at the
Tangerine Bowl could have grown into the kind of tragedy that
had hit other cities but concluded that the reason it did not
was the progress that had been made in the preceding ten
years of civil rights efforts in Orlando. The committee used
its opportunity to speak to the community by stressing again
that Orlandoans must continue to press for equal rights and
623 "Stadium Brawl Blamed on Troublemakers Seeking to Exploit
Racism, Orlando Sentinel, 29 September 1968, 10A.
624
Ibid.

346
equal opportunities and that law enforcement should enforce
laws equitably for both blacks and whites.
The committee also warned that another football game
involving all-black Jones High School and another
predominately white high school, scheduled for the following
week should be rescheduled if adequate police protection
could not be afforded. That advice was not heeded by city
officials. The game went on—and there was another, similar,
disturbance, which also ended quickly and was not followed by
more widespread violence.625
What is remarkable about the incidents at the football
games is not that they happened, but that they were over so
quickly, and that Orlando returned to normalcy so soon. Much
of the credit for a relatively benign racial atmosphere in
the city must go to Joe Brechner because of his extensive
efforts, both on and off the air, to advance the cause of
civil rights in Orlando.
Patriotism
If anyone wanted to see that benign racial atmosphere
destroyed it was the people Brechner called "extremists."
Extremists in general, the Ku Klux Klan in particular, drew
much of Brechner's attention in his daily editorials. He
625
Interview with Father Nelson Pinder, 9 March 1998.

347
repeatedly stressed that extremists, such as members of the
Klan and the John Birch Society, who cloaked themselves in
the American flag, were definitely not patriots as they
frequently claimed to be. They were, instead, "hate mongers,
dangerous anarchists, dynamitists, and human assassins.''626
In addition to praising his viewers for what he
perceived to be their reasoned, fair stand on civil rights,
Brechner attempted often to make them feel part of the team,
to establish an "us against them" mindset when speaking of
extremists and bigots:
While communities like Orlando have formed Inter¬
racial Committees and have worked out differences over a
conference table, other communities, including Ocala,627
have failed miserably because they have not even
attempted to meet the challenge of our times
intelligently and reasonably. . . . As we view
disturbances in other parts of the state and nation, one
fact becomes obvious. Local, area and state officials
must handle problems and differences on the local level.
. . . Central Florida must control rabble rousing on
either side of the racial issue. We have no room for
rabble in Marion or any other community in Florida.628
626 Joe Brechner, "How Dangerous are Crackpots," WFTV-TV
editorial, 11 May 1962.
627 The editorial noted that Ocala had formed a bi-racial
committee that had been dissolved a week later.
628 Joe Brechner, "Rabble in Marion," WFTV-TV editorial, 24
October 1963.

348
Brechner saw the Klan as a force that could, if left
unchecked, "destroy Americans and America." 629 In numerous
editorials on the KKK, Brechner called the Klan "rabble
rousing group," "a terror gang," and "cowards hiding under
hoods and robes preaching hatred and committing violence."630
Brechner editorials also reminded viewers that they could not
simply withdraw and hope the problem of the Ku Klux Klan
would go away, that action was the way to solve racial
problems.
In October, 1963, three months after Orlando had
peacefully integrated fifty-six hotels, motels, and
restaurants,631 Brechner praised Representative Charles E.
Weltner of Georgia for his stand on civil rights, while at
the same time letting Weltner's words serve as a warning:
"Weltner said that moderate white Southerners who remained
quiet [ about the KKK] must share the blame for the
Birmingham, Alabama church bombings."632 Swimming pool
629 Joe Brechner, "A Klan Warning," WFTV-TV editorial, 15 July
1963.
631 Eve Bacon, Orlando, A Centennial History (Chulota, FL,
1977), 249.
632 Joe Brechner, "Partial Civil Rights," WFTV-TV editorial,
11 October 1963.

349
integration had not gone as smoothly that same summer as full
integration had been delayed until the following year, but
there had been no violent confrontations, such as those that
would hit St. Augustine the following summer. 633 Klansmen
were a "social cancer" that rode "in the night to frighten,
beat, bomb and murder without fear of apprehension and
punishment."634 Writing about a House Un-American Activities
Committee vote to investigate the Klan, Brechner said, ”We
must rid ourselves of these shrouded examples of lawlessness
633 David J. Garrow, ed., St. Augustine, Florida, 1963-1964:
Mass Protest and Racial Violence (Brooklyn: Carlson
Publishing, Inc.), 220-221. Both the summer of 1963 and 1964
were violent in St. Augustine. Martin Luther King had
promised a "long hot summer" in 1964. Hundreds of
demonstrators were arrested; both blacks and whites were
beaten; Dr. King' s rented house at the beach was vandalized
and an attempt made to set it on fire; acid was poured into a
motel swimming pool when blacks attempted to integrate the
pool; some black demonstrators were nearly drowned when they
tried to swim at a whites-only beach; a gang of white youths
attacked six black youths who were fishing from a St.
Augustine bridge. Those were only some of the incidents that
took place during the "long, hot summer." In many of the
events, particularly swimming pool and beach integration,
there was a strong Klan presence. See also R.O. Mitchell
(Chmn.) Racial and Civil Disorders in St. Augustine, Report
of the Legislative Investigation Committee, Feb., 1965 and
David R. Colburn, Racial Change and Community Crisis: St.
Augustine, Florida, 1877-1980 (New York: Columbia University
Press, 1985) .
634 Joe Brechner, "Klan Investigation," WFTV-TV editorial, 2
April 1965.

350
from a better-to-be-forgotten past."635 Orlandoans, once
again, were not supposed to close their doors and eyes and
hope the problem would go away as long as they did not take
part in Klan activities.
A month later, in another editorial targeting the Klan,
Brechner wrote:
Such deranged minds . . . are a dangerous threat to any
community. And the problem rests with the community.
Legislation or denunciation will do no good unless the
responsible citizens of local communities are aroused
and openly resist and deplore the very existence of any
organization that thrives on hatred and violence. The
Klan will only be eliminated if Southern citizens and
civic leaders themselves, and particularly state and
local political officials and law enforcement officers,
forcefully and wholeheartedly state their revulsion and
refuse support of this society of bigots known as the Ku
Klux Klan.636
Brechner made it clear to Orlandoans that they had a
stake in what Klansmen were allowed, or not allowed, to do in
their community and that Orlando residents held the key to
their own future:
Communities throughout the nation, large or small,
have witnessed the moral and political deterioration of
communities where fear and violence have prevailed. On
the other hand, they have seen the peaceful progress
635
Ibid.
636 Joe Brechner, "Society of Bigots," WFTV-TV editorial, 11
May 1965.

351
that is possible where understanding reasonableness and
fair and sensible judgment prevail.637
The editorial attacks on the Klan did not go unnoticed
by Klan members. Employees at Channel Nine arrived one
morning to find a Klan sticker on the door. The sticker
said, "A Klansman was here." 638 In addition, there were
threats of bodily harm to members of the newsroom staff if
criticism of the Klan continued. 639 Ray Ruester, who was news
director at the station for most of the sixties, recalled in
1998 that employees were often afraid that they would be the
target of a Klan attack.640
The fears of Channel Nine employees were not unfounded.
There was Klan activity in Orlando and other cities in
Florida. The Klan was blamed for much of the violence that
hit St. Augustine in the sixties.641 Brechner and other
citizens of Orlando interested in keeping the peace must have
637 Joe Brechner, "Justice and Changing Attitudes," WFTV-TV
editorial, 8 December 1965.
636 Joe Brechner, ""Klan Investigation," WFTV-TV editorial, 2
April 1965.
639 Joe Brechner, "Clear and Present Danger," WFTV-TV
editorial, 17 November 1967.
640 Interview with Ray Ruester, 26 February 1998.
641 David Colburn, Racial Change and Community Crisis: St.
Augustine, Florida, 1877-1980 (New York: Columbia University
Press, 1985), 50.

352
shuddered in October of 1967 to see 400 Klansmen motorcade
through the city, then conclude "their meeting with a cross¬
burning in the patio area of Kemp's Coliseum." 642 Brechner
might have also shuddered but did not back down from his
anti-Klan, pro-civil rights stance when the results of a poll
Channel Nine conducted that same month showed that 52 percent
of WFTV-TV viewers approved of the Ku Klux Klan. Brechner' s
widow, Marion, recalled that even when Klan members called
Brechner at home, he refused to have his home phone number
removed from the directory, saying, "If they're out there, I
want to know who they are and I want to know if they' re
coming."643
Brechner himself was a patriot. He believed in the
guarantees of the constitution and that to deny those
guarantees to anyone was to defile what America stood for.644
When a viewer who disagreed with Brechner wrote, threatening
to telephone all of Channel Nine's advertisers to say he
would not patronize them because they advertised on the
station, Brechner said:
642 Joe Brechner, "Renewed Menace," WFTV-TV editorial, 17
October 1967.
643 Interview with Marion Brechner, 9 March 1998.
Interview with Marion Brechner, 22 April 1998.
644

353
Fortunately, most advertisers are sensible, patriotic
Americans who believe in free, responsible expression.
... An editorial is designed to stimulate thought,
discussion of an issue , and to provoke public
understanding and action, if necessary. We appreciate
comments pro and con. That's the American way.645
With United States involvement in Vietnam escalating,646
in October 1965, Brechner again used patriotism as a theme,
telling his viewers that each of them should to speak up on
issues of civil rights, and
assume personal responsibility to stand up openly, speak
his mind and strongly assert his views and principles,
based upon logic, good sense and a reasonable respect
for the positions of others. We speak glibly about
defending democracy and liberty. While our youth fight
enemies of Democracy overseas, those of us at home had
better put ourselves openly on the firing line to resist
and overcome the enemies of liberty in our own
backyard.647
It's Good Business
Another major category of editorial used by Joe Brechner
was the appeal to Orlando's business community. It was an
appeal based on self-preservation. Business and the economy
were important factors in 1960s Orlando. The city was
growing. Groundbreakings and events marking the openings of
Joe Brechner. "Letters to the Editorials," WLOF-TV
editorial, 13 September 1961
646 Robert L. Hilliard and Michael C. Kieth, The Broadcast
Century (Boston: Focal Press, 1992), 182.
647 Joe Brechner, "Freedom's Enemies at Home," WFTV-TV
editorial, 14 October 1965.

354
new Orlando businesses were held regularly. New roads
leading to Orlando were being built, including a 61-mile
stretch of the Sunshine Parkway between Orlando and Yeehaw
Junction. 648
Brechner was a businessman himself. He understood the
issues that were important to business, and he did not
hesitate to use them to promote racial fairness. What
business person could fail to see the profit message in an
August 1963 editorial:
The experience referred to by the article [ an article in
the Wall Street Journal on the effects of desegregation
in southern cities] points up a significant and perhaps
surprising fact, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Among those restaurants and hotels, theaters and other
places of public accommodation in the South that have
begun serving or hiring Negroes, only a few report
suffering any lasting economic consequences. A sizable
number, in fact, declare that business has been better
than ever.649
In September 1961, shortly after several Orlando variety
and drugstores began serving blacks at lunch counters during
prearranged hours without incident,650 Brechner pointed out
what had happened to other communities that had encountered
racial problems:
648 Bacon, Orlando.
649 Joe Brechner, "Does Desegregation Hurt Business," WFTV-TV
editorial, 9 August 1963.
650
Bacon, Orlando.

355
Little Rock, which became a symbol of educational chaos,
paid heavily for its negligence. According to a study,
one-third fewer families are moving into Little Rock now
than in 1957 when trouble started. And twice as many
families moved out in 1958 and 1959. As the average
American family increased its buying power by two per
cent, the average Little Rock family had a seven per
cent decrease in buying power. . . . And here's a report
that would send chills up and down the spine of any
industrial development board. Little Rock was adding
small and large industrial plants every year from 1950
through 1957, the year schools were closed. In 1958 and
1959—None! No new plants added at all.651
In the same editorial, "rabble-rousers" were blamed for
causing business problems in Little Rock by impeding the
progress of integration. Responsible community leaders were
praised for trying to change the direction of the city7 s
integration efforts. It would take two more years of gradual
effort, but when school integration was fully implemented in
Orlando, there were no incidents.652
A Voice For Minorities
Patriotism, as well as the other themes of Joe
Brechner's strategy, were part of another apparently
important factor in editorial policy. Brechner frequently
broadcast the views of his audience. On many evenings, the
editorial was a compilation of letters to the editor,
Joe Brechner, "The Failure of the Rabble Rousers," WLOF-TV
editorial, 7 September 1961.
652 Bacon, Orlando, 250.

356
sometimes called "Letters to Editorials," sometimes called
"Snipes and Gripes," sometimes given a subject-related title.
In one editorial, titled "Equal Justice and Protection," a
letter from a black Orlandoan was read to viewers. The
writer said:
The Negro society cannot help but be stunned and
amazed that no cry of treason or sedition went out
against the perpetrators in the bombing and killing of
four little girls in a Birmingham church. . . . As a
Negro, I don't believe that rioting is the answer, but I
know that every Negro recognizes and deplores the
conditions as they exist today. The white community
must first of all recognize that the picture of patience
and unending endurance in which they have characterized
the Negro ... is only a figment of their own
imagination653
The letter went on to say that "[ E] rom an economic point
racial prejudices are no longer tenable, are morally wrong
and are completely unacceptable to the Negro," and that a
good place to start healing would be "the personal dedication
and conviction of every citizen that from this day forth he
will treat his fellow Americans as he himself would like to
be treated."654
Joe Brechner's editorial for that evening had been
written, just as Brechner would have written it, but by a
Joe Brechner, "Equal Justice and Protection," WFTV-TV
editorial, 25 April 1968.
654
Ibid.

357
black viewer. Not all letter writers identified themselves
by race, but it would be logical to assume that other letters
written by blacks were part of these "letters to the editor"
segments. Brechner recognized that one of the frustrations
of blacks was their lack of voice in matters that so directly
concerned them. In July, 1967 he editorialized:
A main source of frustration within minority groups
is their exclusion from serving in some capacity and
having a voice, even a minority voice, in the affairs of
the state and their local communities. . . . Some
cities, such as Orlando, have advisory boards and groups
that are inter-racial by choice—or by chance. In the
past, Negroes have not been represented on many boards
and committees that decide primarily matters affecting
Negroes or Negro areas. . . . Only if disadvantaged
groups are represented in the planning and other affairs
in the community can we expect continued progress and
improvement in social and economic conditions and the
maintenance of an atmosphere of goodwill and
understanding within our area.655
Despair
Even though the editorials reflect an apparent picture
of a single-minded, ever-optimistic champion of civil rights,
Brechner occasionally showed signs of despair. Shortly after
the 4 April 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr., Brechner wrote,
How long can we endure the enemies of truth, justice
and democracy? How much longer must we tolerate
indifference? How long must we hope for a change of
655 Joe Brechner, "Who Represents the Minority." WFTV-TV
editorial, 28 July 1967.

358
spirit? When will all Americans accept and support the
promise of full freedom offered by our founding fathers
who pledged to each other their lives, their fortune and
sacred honor in signing this declaration?
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that
all men are created equal, that they are endowed by
their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that
among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of
Happiness
As we wait for the consummation of these great
truths, this American dream, too often we seem
very alone with our impatience and sense of
outrage. 656
Bevond Editorials
Brechner's editorials were important in establishing a
more racially positive climate in Orlando but were not the
only contribution he made to his community. Just as Brechner
had hired blacks at his Orlando radio station, he also hired
blacks at his television station, training the first blacks
in Florida television to be technicians and news personnel
and putting blacks on the air.651
Another factor in the racial climate of Orlando in the
sixties was the Inter-Racial Committee established by Mayor
Bob Carr. Joe Brechner was one of the initial five members
of the committee, which was eventually expanded to twenty-
656 Joe Brechner, "A Sense of Outrage," WFTV-TV editorial, 8
April 1968.
651 Bob Bilingslea, address at a Chamber of Commerce Luncheon
honoring Brechner, Radisson Hotel, Lake Ivanhoe, 8 March
1988.

359
four members, twelve black and twelve white. 658 The group's
name changed over the years, first to the Community Relations
Committee, then to the Human Relations Committee. The group
was frequently mentioned in editorials on Channel Nine. The
editorials lauded the work of the Committee659 and gave
members much of the credit for keeping the peace in
Orlando.660 Other communities, such as Ocala, were criticized
for not forming bi-racial committees or for forming
committees and then letting them go out of existence.661
Brechner was instrumental on the Commission as it grew in
persuading other members that they must support the Civil
Rights Movement in Orlando.
Bob Bilingslea later became a member of the Commission,
then its president. In later years he went to work as
director of equal opportunity programs at Walt Disney World.
During a Chamber of Commerce tribute to Brechner in 1988, he
outlined how Brechner had worked behind the scenes, as well
658 "Major Merchants Will Integrate Sales Force," Orlando
Sentinel, 11 June 1963, Al.
659 Joe Brechner, "Progress in Race Relations," WFTV-TV
editorial, 30 July 1963.
660 Joe Brechner, "Race Relations Improve," WFTV-TV editorial,
6 June 1963.
661 Joe Brechner, "Rabble in Marion," WFTV-TV editorial, 24
October 1963.

360
as on the air, to bring about peaceful integration in
Orlando.
It was newcomer Joe Brechner who brought the
problem to a head when he met privately with the Mayor.
[ Brechner said,] "Not only is the situation in the Black
community unfair and dishonest, it is going to explode
in our faces unless we do something about it, and soon."
Brechner' s plan was neat and simple. Move the
interracial problems out in the open. Point out to the
business and professional leaders the tremendous value
of the Black population as employees, customers and
consumers. Start talking and listening.662
Mayor Robert Carr agreed with Brechner and took the
message to business and community leaders. Billingslea told
those gathered to honor Brechner:
Things improved. Not overnight, but slowly and surely.
Joe Brechner asked business leaders to increase black
employment and to increase on the job training for black
employees, an unheard of request in those days, but it
happened.663
Bilingslea reminded Orlandoans of the bitter race riots
that had hit other southern cities, such as Atlanta, Tampa,
Jacksonville, Little Rock, Nashville, and Selma. "It is
important," he said, "to know that Orlando did not resort to
those kind of tactics. Brechner' s committee had done its
job. Brechner underlined these events with editorials on
WFTV and copies sent to local civic and business leaders."
662 Bob Bilingslea, Brechner Luncheon.
663
Ibid.

361
There were no ugly incidents at Orlando lunch counters, such
as the beating of Memphis Norman by Benny Oliver in Jackson,
no riots, no white protests against integration of the
counters. "The people of Orlando," said Bilingslea, "both
black and white, had quietly taken a stand. They approved of
the work of the Human Relations Committee and wanted it to
continue."664
One of the major criticisms of the media in the 1968
Kerner Commission report was media failure to include blacks
in the mirror held up to Americans. Blacks were not visible
in many communities; they were ignored by the white media,
ommission members wrote in their report, "The average black
person couldn't give less of a damn about what the media
says. The intelligent black person is resentful at what he
considers to be a totally false portrayal of what goes on in
the ghetto. Most black people see the newspapers as
mouthpieces of the power structure."665 Orlando television
viewers, black and white, got a different picture from the
editorials and the news coverage of Channel Nine.
665 Report of The National Advisory Commission on Civil
Disorders. Otto Kerner, Chairman (New York; New York Times
Co., 1968), 374.

362
Another of the complaints against the news media in the
Kerner Commission report is that media were not covering all
the events surrounding the Civil Rights Movement, a dangerous
policy:
[ W] e believe it would be imprudent to and even dangerous
to downplay coverage in the hope that censored reporting
of inflammatory incidents somehow will diminish
violence. Once a disturbance occurs, the word will
spread independently of newspapers and television. To
attempt to ignore these events or portray them as
something other than what they are, can only diminish
confidence in the media and increase the effectiveness
of those who monger rumors and the fears of those who
listen.666
According to the Kerner Commission report, that had been a
major part of the problem in Detroit's riots. Some
broadcasters had cooperated with police by not reporting the
riot in hopes that they could "avoid attracting people to the
scene."667 With no solid information about the obvious
trouble and no explanation for the large numbers of police on
the streets, rumors could spread unchecked.
In his February 1998 interview, former news director Ray
Ruester said he and Brechner were committed to broadcasting
all the news. He recalled that the publisher of the Orlando
Sentinel, Martin Anderson, chose not to publish stories on
666 Ibid.,
365
667 Ibid.,
87.

363
many of the events in the community for fear of "stirring up
trouble." 668 Kathy ñmick Fuqua-Cardwell, whose 1992 master1 s
thesis for Rollins College in Winter Park, outlined the Civil
Rights Movement in Central Florida,669 also remembers that
Anderson chose to sit on stories rather than risk
exacerbating Orlando's racial tensions by alerting the
community to problems that already existed.670
Examination of Joe Brechner's editorials is significant
for two reasons: The material left behind by Brechner is a
valuable historical record of the part played by Channel Nine
and its owner in the community served by the station. It is
unusual to find such a rich file of scripts from a local
station from as far back as the sixties. Broadcasters seldom
think of their craft as history. They think of it as an
evanescent transmission of information that is useless once
the words have been uttered and the pictures shown. There
are a few stations that do have tape and film libraries from
decades past, but there are many that do not. Some stations
668 Interview with Ray Ruester, who was Channel Nine News
Director during the sixties, 26 February 1998.
669 Fuqua-Cardwell, "Racial Justice."
670 Interview with Kathy Amick Fuqua-Cardwell, 20 February
1998.

364
save their video but do not consider scripts as important as
pictures.
It is also unusual to find a broadcaster with Brechner's
dedication to hard-hitting editorials. Examination of what
happened in Orlando during the years Brechner was writing
frequent editorials on civil rights indicates that perhaps
such dedication can change the course of a community's
history. Brechner was awarded first place in the nation in
the Community Service division by the National Conference of
Mayors in 1964. In giving Brechner the award, Honolulu Mayor
Neal S. Blaisdell cited the broadcaster's editorials on
community relations.671 Brechner commented that second place
went to "a little station known as WCBS-TV of New York
City." 672 WFTV also won the DuPont Foundation award for
service in the public interest in 1964. The award lauded
WFTV for exposing its viewers to a generous range of
viewpoints and attitudes. The foundation commended WFTV "for
appealing . . . for intelligence, moderation, and good will
in the solution of social problems that have only too
671 The Corner Cupboard, 28 May 1964.
672 In 1960, Orlando's population was only 87,000. Orange
County's population was 262,000. Eve Bacon, Orlando: A
Centennial History, vol. 2 (Chuluota, Florida: The Mickler
House, 1977), 230.

365
often, in other communities been met with mindless
violence."673
There were other stations in the sixties presenting
editorials with real meaning for the community. WTVJ-TV in
Miami and WJXT-TV in Jacksonville were among them.674 There
are few stations with regular editorials on the air in the
nineties, fewer who present editorials with any real
substance. Too often, television editorials follow the
pattern mentioned in the conclusion of this dissertation, as
well as in Chapter 7, on the state of the broadcast editorial
in the 1960s. It is a pattern of safe, public service
editorials that do not risk stepping on toes or alienating
advertisers.
Joe Brechner eschewed such fluff in favor of issues that
were more urgently important to the societal health of
Orlando. He used several themes to convince his viewers that
equality and fairness were the goals Orlando should strive
673 "DuPont Foundation Award," WFTV editorial, 22 March 1965.
674 For information on WTVJ, see Fran Materia, "WTVJ, Miami:
Wolfson, Renick, and "May the Good News be Yours," in
Television in America, Michael D. Murray and Donald G.
Godfrey, eds. (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1997.) For
information on WJXT, see Joe Glover, "Media Influence on
City-County Consolidation in Jacksonville and Duval County,
Florida, 1967." Unpublished manuscript, University of
Florida, 1997. Also see chapters in this dissertation on
Ralph Renick and Norm Davis.

366
for. Brechner stressed fairness as black and white
Orlandoans dealt with each other. He warned that a hostile
racial atmosphere in Orlando could lead to the problems being
encountered by other American cities in the 1960s, bringing
both violence and economic decline to his city. He equated
fairness and equality with patriotism. He branded members of
extremist groups unpatriotic and out of place in Orlando, or
anywhere else in America. He attempted to hold up a mirror
for the citizens and leaders of Orlando, in which they would
see a picture of what he hoped they would become. In so
doing, Brechner helped shape the Orlando of the sixties and
beyond, and contributed to the successful effort to keep
Orlando from experiencing the violent racial strife that hit
other southern cities such as St. Augustine, 675 Tampa,676
Jacksonville, 677 Miami, 678 Selma, 679 Birmingham, 680 and
Montgomery681 in the 1960s.
675 David J. Garrow, ed., St. Augustine, Florida, 1963-1964:
Mass Protest and Racial Violence (Brooklyn: Carlson
Publishing, Inc.), 220-221.
676 Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil
Disorders, Otto Kerner (Chmn.) (New York: New York Times Co.,
1968), 411.
677 Robert Weisbrot, Freedom Bound: A History of America's
Civil Rights Movement (New York: Penguin Books, 1991), 26.

367
678 David R. Colburn and Jane L. Landers, eds., The African
American Heritage of Florida (Gainesville: The University
Press of Florida,1995), 354.
679 Robert Weisbrot, Freedom Bound: A History of America's
Civil Rights Movement (New York: Penguin Books, 1991), 138-
143.
680 Ibid., 71-72.
681 Weisbrot, Freedom Bound, 39.

CHAPTER 11
CONCLUSION AND ANALYSIS
This final chapter consists of four main sections. The
first section is a summary of the evidence presented in this
work. In the second section, based on evidence, conclusions
are drawn concerning the relationship of the 1990s concept of
community journalism to the work of Brechner, Davis, and
Renick. Responses are provided for the major research
questions that drove the study. In the third section, the
conclusions are discussed in terms of what they mean, what
they explain, and what they portend. In the final section,
possibilities for continuing research are suggested
Summary
Community journalism, for this work, is defined as
journalism based on communitarianism. Communitarianism is
defined as the thesis that the community, rather than the
individual, the state, the nation, or any other entity, is
and should be at the center of our value system.
Existential communitarianism is defined as concerned
primarily with community, but drawing from the principles of
existentialism to include concern for individuals within the
368

369
community as well as concern for personal responsibility.682
The Webster definition of existentialism has been used.
Existentialism is defined as centered upon the analysis of
existence, specifically of individual human beings, that
regards human existence as not exhaustively describable or
understandable in idealistic or scientific terms, and that
stresses the freedom and responsibility of the individual,
the irreducible uniqueness of an ethical or religious
situation, and usu. the isolation and subjective experiences
(as of anxiety, guilt, dread, anguish) of an individual
therein."683
It was important to establish the definition of
community journalism for this work because community
journalists have themselves failed to define what they do.
It has been mentioned earlier that this reluctance to define
has forced those who study community journalism, as well as
those who would criticize it, to use their own observation
and experience to establish a definition. Definitions of
communitariansim and existentialism were necessary for this
6B2
See 13-14.
683 Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield,
Massachusetts: G S. C. Merriam Company, 1976), 291.

370
work to insure that the reader would be functioning within
the frame of reference of this study.
Understanding the concepts of communitarianism and
existentialism were important to this work because it is
those concepts that formed the foundation of the work of Joe
Brechner, Norm Davis, and Ralph Renick. It was those
concepts that were considered important in this research to
determine if either the group of three editorialists or the
group of 1990s community journalists were operating with the
interests of the community at the center of their actions.
In an effort to determine which of the journalists and
editorialists studied for this work were indeed community
journalists, the research has examined several community
journalism projects, supported as described earlier by the
Pew Center for Civic Journalism. Projects in Charlotte,
Madison, Tallahassee, Boston, and Seattle all showed evidence
of concern with bottom-line considerations as at least
partial motivation. They were being used to, as Freedom
Forum ombudsman Paul Mcmasters said, "get some good vibes out
there so that maybe people will start buying the paper
684
Merritt and McMasters, "Debate," 181.

371
The projects in New Orleans and Columbus, Georgia, were
somewhat different and reminiscent of the work of three 1960s
era television editorialists: Joe Brechner, Norm Davis, and
Ralph Renick. The New Orleans and Columbus projects were
conceived out of concern for the community. In both
instances, the journalists involved were risking something
with little chance they would reap anything more than
improving public life, just as Brechner, Davis, and Renick
had done.
Brechner
In practicing his version of community journalism, Joe
Brechner was answering one of the major criticisms of the
media in the 1968 Kerner Commission long before the report
was even issued. As explained in Chapter 3, the Commission
said media had failed to include blacks in the mirror held
up to Americans. Blacks were not visible in many
communities; the white media ignored them. Commission
members wrote in their report that blacks held the media in
disdain because they could not seem themselves accurately
portrayed in those media. Blacks, said the Commission, saw
newspapers as no more than mouthpieces for the white power

372
structure. 685 Orlando television viewers, black and white,
got a different picture from the editorials and the news
coverage of Channel Nine.
Another Kerner Commission complaint, cited in Chapter
10, against the news media in the Kerner Commission report
was that media were not covering all the events surrounding
the Civil Rights Movement. That had caused a problem in
Detroit, for instance, when citizens knew there was rioting
occurring, but saw no mention of it on television or in
newspapers.
In a February 1998 interview, former WFTV-TV news
director Ray Ruester said he and Brechner were committed to
broadcasting all the news. The local newspaper, on the other
hand, according to Ruester, did not publish some stories
because of the fear of stirring up trouble. Kathy Amick
Fuqua-Cardwell expressed a similar view in her 1992 master's
thesis for Rollins College. Had there been no Channel Nine
during the sixties, and no Joe Brechner at the helm, it is
possible rumors could have spread during Orlando's hot summer
nights. It is possible Orlando could have experienced more
tension, fed by lack of information.
685 Report of The National Advisory Commission on Civil
Disorders. Otto Kerner, Chairman. (New York: New York Times
Co., 1968), 374.

373
Brechner was awarded first place in the nation in the
Community Service division by the National Conference of
Mayors in 1964. In giving Brechner the award, Honolulu Mayor
Neal S. Blaisdell cited the broadcaster' s editorials on
community relations.666 WFTV also won the DuPont Foundation
award for service in the public interest in 1964. The award
lauded WFTV for exposing its viewers to a generous range of
viewpoints and attitudes. The foundation commended WFTV "for
appealing . . . for intelligence, moderation and good will in
the solution of social problems that have only too often, in
other communities been met with mindless violence."687
Brechner used several themes to convince his viewers
that equality and fairness were the goals Orlando should
strive for. He stressed fairness as black and white
Orlandoans dealt with each other. He warned that a hostile
racial atmosphere in Orlando could lead to the problems being
encountered by other American cities in the 1960s, bringing
both violence and economic decline to his city. He equated
fairness and equality with patriotism. He branded members of
extremist groups unpatriotic and out of place in Orlando, or
The Corner Cupboard, 28 May 1964.
667 "DuPont Foundation Award," WFTV editorial, 22 March
1965.

374
anywhere else in America. He attempted to hold up a mirror
for the citizens and leaders of Orlando, in which they would
see a picture of what he hoped they would become. In so
doing, Brechner helped shape the Orlando of the sixties and
beyond and contributed to the successful effort to keep
Orlando from experiencing the violent racial strife that hit
other southern cities in the 1960s.
Davis
Newspaper, magazine, and journal reports from the 1960s
give WJXT the lion's share of credit for spurring the
community and community leaders to action in voting out a
corrupt, inefficient form of government. There is no record
of other media in Jacksonville presenting investigative
reports until after WJXT had taken a long lead.
Although Richard Martin, who wrote for the Florida
Times-Union, claimed credit for being the driving media force
behind consolidation in Jacksonville and Duval County, the
evidence shows that Norm Davis and his co-workers at WJXT-TV
were at least as strong and probably a stronger factor than
Richard Martin and the Times Union in governmental change.
It was a grand jury called because of the urging of Davis and
as a result of the WJXT investigative reports, that delivered
indictments against two of the five Jacksonville city

375
commissioners, indictments against four of nine city
councilmen, and indictments of the city auditor and the city
recreation chief. Those same editorials and investigative
reports resulted in the grand jury censure and subsequent
resignation of the Jacksonville tax assessor. Grand jury
members made it clear in their final report what they thought
should happen next: "We recommend a complete revision of the
governmental structure of the City of Jacksonville."686
There can be little doubt that Martin and the Times-
Union were important contributing factors to the "yes" vote
for consolidation. There can be little doubt that the
newspaper was an important force in the community. However,
some of the evidence points to WJXT as a much more important
factor than Martin considered it to be. It is probable that
without WJXT, Jacksonville would have continued to struggle
under the old, inefficient, redundant, and corrupt form of
government and that consolidation would have remained a dream
for community leaders who thought the city and county
deserved better.
Renick
Like the other editorialist subjects of this project,
Ralph Renick displayed a consistent communitarian spirit,
688
Cited in Martin's Consolidation, 88.

376
delivering editorials that urged others in his society to do
the right thing. Renick was responsible for more editorials
than either Brechner or Davis, in part because he was first,
in part because he stayed longest.
The Miami broadcaster* s editorials were sometimes in the
form of crusades, sometimes on the same subject for many
consecutive nights. The apparent effectiveness of his
crusades is easier to gauge when he was editorializing on
striptease establishments or unsanitary restaurants. Results
of campaigns on crime, governmental corruption, and civil
rights are not as easily measured.
Like the others, Renick risked something when he voiced
strong opinions. There was risk in terms of personal safety
and of financial well-being. Perhaps he took the greatest
risk in editorializing on civil rights when he "decided not
to duck," risking the ire of advertisers and viewers in the
South of the mid-1900s. He used his nightly editorials to
make an attempt to better his community.
Conclusions
The purpose of this study has been to compare and
contrast the community journalism of the 1990s with the
community journalism practiced by Joe Brechner, Norm Davis,
and Ralph Renick. Three major guestions drove this research.

377
The first asked, What is community journalism? The second
was, Were the three editorialists who are the focus of this
research community journalists and, if so, what made them
community journalists? And the third was, Should journalists
of the year 2000 and beyond consider Brechner, Davis, and
Renick journalists to be emulated? This is a study
significant to modern-day journalists who search for ways to
restore their credibility and public trust. This research
suggests it is possible there is value for modern journalists
in studying the work of Brechner, Renick, and Davis.
What is Community Journalism?
To define community journalism, it is necessary also to
explore what it is not. This research has shown that
community journalism as practiced in the 1990s lacked the
genuine purpose of improving the communities of those who
were calling themselves community journalists. It has also
shown that 1990s community journalism lacked the element of
existentialism.
A community journalist as defined in Chapter 1 of this
work is someone who is willing to put the interests of
community above one's own interests. Joe Brechner, Norm
Davis and Ralph Renick all fit that definition, as well as
the definition of existential journalists because they were

378
willing to use their talents and their medium to enhance the
lives of those around them. This definition is not what most
community journalists espouse. Normally, community
journalism is an attempt to make the journalist part of the
community and, therefore, a beneficiary of the public
journalism project. That is not what Ralph Renick, Joe
Brechner, and Norm Davis intended. They intended one thing—
that their editorials would contribute to the social health
of their communities. It was communitarianism with an
important additional factor. In each case, there was an
element of existentialism. 689 Each of these editorialists was
intent on making the most of his talents to enrich the lives
of his community and the individuals in those communities.
Brechner, Davis and Renick: Real Community
Journalists?
The definition of community journalism as it applies to
this research has been restated in this chapter. Brechner,
689 Defined in Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary as
"A chiefly 20th Century philosophy that is centered upon the
analysis of existence specif, of individual human beings,
that regards human existence as not exhaustively describable
or understandable in idealistic or scientific terms, and that
stresses the freedom and responsibility of the individual,
the irreducible uniqueness of an ethical or religious
situation, and usu. the isolation and subjective experiences
(as of anxiety, guilt, dread, anguish) of an individual
therein." (Springfield, MA: G S C. Merriam Company, 1976),
291.

379
Davis, and Renick all placed their communities above their
own self-interest and safety. They acted as existential
communitarians, which is to say they took responsibility for
improving their communities. The three editorialists also
practiced virtuous behavior by Aristotle's standard.
Community journalism, as practiced by television
stations WJXT, WTVJ, and WFTV, although no one at the
stations is known to have called it that, involved what
William Winn of the Columbus Ledger called "getting into the
boat with the people."
Brechner et al. displayed their concern for community
above all else by regularly putting ratings and personal
safety at risk as they encouraged fair, responsible behavior
by other members of their communities. Samples of the
editorials of the three, interspersed throughout this work
and included in the appendices, display an apparent lack of
fear of negative reaction from those who were certain to
disagree with them.
The three were clearly not taking the path many of their
contemporaries were accused of following. It was far more
common for broadcast editorialists during the time period
covered in this oeuvre to take the path of least resistance,
to editorialize on safe topics: "[ E] ditorials championing

380
motherhood and demanding fearlessly that Main Street's name
be changed to Affluent Way were more the rule than the
exception."690 In all respects, Messrs. Brechner, Davis, and
Renick fit the definitions of community journalist as
established in this research.
Worthy of Imitation?
In answering the third question posed by this research,
"Should journalists of the year 2000 and beyond consider
Brechner, Davis, and Renick journalists to be emulated?" it
is necessary only to return to the principles that have
repeatedly been mentioned herein: A deed is not virtuous
unless it is done with virtuous intent, and Existential
communitarianism is the standard to be followed.
If community journalism in the 1990s had been practiced
as many of its proponents preached, it might have fallen into
the category of a virtuous deed, practiced by existential
communitarians.
Community Journalists of the 1990s
Many who practiced community journalism in the 1990s did
so with an eye on how it would look to readers and viewers,
not how it could positively affect the lives of those readers
690 William A. Wood, Electronic Journalism (New York: Columbia
University Press, 1967), 65.

381
and viewers. There was seemingly much to be gained by
becoming partners in the community. Journalists must ask,
however, if that makes this form of community journalism the
path to take as print and broadcast outlets attempt to head
off erosion of their readership and viewership. They must
ask themselves if they hamstring themselves in the effort to
offer fair assessments of the group's activities when they
become part of the group about which they report, rather than
stepping outside the group and taking risks. They must ask
if they are any more than group propagandists when they
become part of the group on which they report. Even if they
somehow manage to sustain a capacity for fairness in their
involvement, they must ask if they will appear to have lost
objectivity, thereby losing the support of even the minority
to whom they are pledged to give a fair hearing. Examination
of the evidence presented in this research makes it clear
that the answer to all of these questions is "No" and that
the path chosen by Brechner, Davis, and Renick is a more
likely path to reestablishing trust between press and public.
An important point to be reiterated in this regard is the
importance of motivation.
Journalists of the 1990s should have also found it
strange that newspapers, radio stations, and television

382
stations were all in partnership in the majority of these
projects. When supposedly independent news organizations are
involved in partnerships, even more of the diversity of the
information provided to a community has been lost, and the
Hutchins Commission complaint about too much control of the
press in the hands of too few resonates.
What of Davis Merritt's claim in the 1990s that a
journalist should not put so much stock in objectivity, that
only a journalist involved in the community can hope to cover
that community fairly and to take back the allegiance of the
news consumer? McMasters answered that with a comparison of
a physician and a journalist. It is not that a physician
does not care about her patient when she/he makes objective
decisions about treatment. It is because the physician does
care that she/he is making objective decisions based on what
she/he feels will pull the patient through.
Discussion
Joe Brechner, Norm Davis, and Ralph Renick were all
practicing community journalism quite differently than were
the self-proclaimed community journalists of the 1990s. This
research has shown that they were, in fact, community
journalists with emphasis on the communitarian aspect of
community journalism. Examination of the motives of the two

383
groups shows a clear-cut difference in the intent behind
their actions. Community journalists of the 1990s were more
interested in bringing viewers and readers back to television
sets and news stands than in contributing to the welfare of
their communities. It was the opposite with Brechner, Davis,
and Renick. In fact, the three editorialists risked driving
viewers away. It is not apparent why journalists of the
1990s had developed an approach so different from the
approach of Brechner, Davis, and Renick.
What is apparent is if the press is to repair its
image, pandering to the public is not the way. The press
must engage in the "vigorous mutual criticism" advised by the
Hutchins Commission. What such "vigorous mutual criticism"
is likely to determine is that the press has evolved into a
profession that practices relativism to the extreme, which
results, as Himmelfarb noted, in having no morality at all.691
What else was community journalism but social relativism for
the nineties? It was the "siren song," mentioned earlier.
691 G. Himmelfarb, The Demoralization of Society: From
Victorian Virtues to Modern Values (New York: A.A. Knopf,
1995), 239-241.

384
It was the road that promised salvation for journalism but
was likely to deliver something quite different.692
Even a community journalist with good intentions can go
astray. Merritt claimed what was needed was a symbiosis
between politics and journalism. Merritt did not intend to
say that this symbiosis between politics and journalism is to
be a "you scratch mine, I' 11 scratch yours" kind of
relationship, and he was careful to stress that he had the
good of democracy in mind when suggesting a journalism/
politics symbiosis. 693 Even the appearance of "you scratch
mine, V 11 scratch yours" between journalists and politicians
692 Another of the Hutchins Commission's recommendations was a
system for offering young journalists a better educational
foundation and, by implication, a better foundation in
ethics. Many journalism ethics educators agree that a
foundation in ethics in journalism school frees a journalist
from the impossible burden of having to agonize over every
ethical decision in the field because the agonizing has been
done in training. That is, after all, the point of
journalism ethics education; to apply the philosophical
models to practical problems in a classroom situation so the
young journalist will not be operating without a road map
when he/she is in the field. What is even worse for
journalism is the practitioner who sees no need for agonizing
because he has not been trained even to recognize a moral
dilemma. The topic of ethics education is a subject for
another paper. It is mentioned here only to suggest that
there is an alternative to the ill-advised communitarian
journalism effort.
693 Merritt, Public Journalism and Public Life, 52. Merritt
further explained this point in a personal conversation in
Columbia, SC, 12 October 1998.

385
is dangerous. It is not only a matter of semantics to
suggest that the real symbiosis in America has been between
citizens and the press. There was no symbiosis between the
political establishment and Brechner, Davis, or Renick. All
three worked with government leaders who also had the good of
community at heart, but all three were unabashed critics of
those whose actions harmed their communities. The symbiosis
of the three editorialists was with the citizens of their
communities. If journalism loses sight of that relationship
between press and public and allows itself to be drawn into a
symbiotic relationship with politicians who are not also
communitarians, community journalism will become not only
disingenuous but also dangerous to democracy.
Certainly there were exceptions in the 1990s, as in the
case of the Times Picayune and the Columbus Ledger. However,
even the staunchest supporters of community journalism were
saying things such as "You can't buy coverage like that on
the front page of the Seattle Times," or "[ B] y getting people
in on the ground floor, getting them more excited about this
kind of process, we think they become better, or more
regular, newspaper readers." Statements such as those betray
self-serving motivations rather than intent to improve public

386
life. They show community journalists firmly planted on an
anti-Aristotelian/Sally Fields/bottom-line driven foundation.
Brechner, Davis, and Renick fall into the category of
community journalists lauded by Davis Merritt, William Winn,
and other more modern members of the press. Because that is
the case, a logical assumption would be that 1990s community
journalists were following the Brechner, Davis, Renick model.
That was not the case. Community journalism, as practiced in
the 1990s, resembled more a model of public relations than of
existential communitarianism.
Critics of public journalism, such as Paul McMasters,
the past president of the Society of Professional Journalists
and First Amendment Ombudsman for the Freedom Forum; Ralph
Barney, a professor at Brigham Young University; and others,
have been quoted in this work. The one criticism heard most
frequently from community journalism critics of the 1990s is
that a major thrust, perhaps the major thrust of community
journalism, appears to be self-serving, i.e., "the recapture
of credibility by journalism."694
Had they examined the editorial crusades of the three
television broadcasters studied for the present research,
McMasters and the others who have criticized community
694
Barney, "Community Journalism," 140-151.

387
journalism would have found none of the reluctance to rain on
society* s parade, none of the self-serving attempts to build
readership and viewership found in latter day community
journalists.
Leading the Wav
What makes the contributions of Brechner, Davis, and
Renick more impressive is the context of their times. All
displayed courage beyond that demanded of an independent
editorialist of the 1990s. A fact most important for
Brechner and Renick—Florida, although a state considered
part of the new South, was still in many ways part of the old
South. White racist attitudes were a fact of life for blacks
attempting to survive 20th century Florida. Some Florida
cities avoided racial strife for a time because city
government and business leaders recognized the importance of
presenting a peaceful facade. However, with a violent,
repressive racial background that included much Ku Klux Klan
activity, cosmetic attempts at integration would not likely
have been enough to allow some areas of the state to escape
much of the racial turmoil that was typical of 1960s America.
Other influences were needed, among them independent
editorial voices.

388
Becoming a strong editorial voice, even a crusading
editorialist, took great courage in the late 1950s through
the decade of the 1960s and into the early 1970s. Mary Ann
Cusack695 wrote that broadcasters had shown little of the
fortitude it took to handle controversial subjects.
Examination of the regulatory climate for broadcasters in
this time period reveals that there were mixed signals for
editorialists from the Federal Communications Commission,
there was lack of trust from print journalists and other
broadcasters, there was a public impression that broadcasters
lacked intellectual depth, and there was the danger of
offending advertisers by broadcasting controversial opinions.
The combination of these factors made broadcast
editorializing a practice to be avoided by the faint-hearted.
Brechner, Davis, and Renick were firm believers in the
editorial as a force for positive change in their
communities. Davis stated in a 1999 interview that it was
during his crusade against corruption in Jacksonville area
government that he realized how much one person could do to
change his community for the better. Yet, none of the three
gave in to the Sally Fields syndrome mentioned by McMasters.
They were willing to incur the wrath of government leaders as
695
See Chapter 6.

389
well as viewers and advertisers in their attempt to
contribute to their communities.
Friends in the Front Office
In one sense Brechner et al. had an advantage over other
broadcasters of their own time as well as over many of the
community journalists of the 1990s. They had the support of
management.
Joe Brechner was management, owner, and general manager
of WFTV-TV. There was no one looking over his shoulder but
the community when he wrote his editorials. There was no
news director editing his copy. He wrote editorials for the
news director and anchor to read.
Norm Davis had the unswerving support of News Director
Bill Grove and General Manager Glenn Marshall. Davis said in
his 1999 interview that Marshall allowed editorials
criticizing some of Marshall's associates to air without
alteration. WJXT's parent company, Post-Newsweek, was also a
strong supporter of the WJXT editorial campaigns.
Ralph Renick was given free rein over newsroom affairs
at WTVJ-TV by Mitchell Wolfson. Wolfson was the Wometco
partner in charge of WTVJ. Wolfson also held strong beliefs

390
on the editorial responsibilities of a television station and
was quoted in this work.696
Managerial support was another of the converging factors
that allowed Brechner, Davis, and Renick to editorialize at
their most effective levels. Had any of the three
editorialists been working for one of the many stations
owners or managers who were generally so timid in the years
following enactment of the Fairness Doctrine, this would be a
different history. Had any one of the three been working for
one of the many station owners who considered news to be no
more than another means of bringing in station revenue, it is
not likely they could have showed the editorial courage they
did. Had the three been editorializing in the 1990s, at a
time when individual media outlets were being taken over by
multimedia conglomerates, it is unlikely they would have had
the freedom to embark upon the crusades that made them
positive forces within their communities.697
696 See Chapter 8.
697 Ben Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly, 4th ed. (Boston: Beacon
Press, 1992), 4, 5, 15, 30, 59, 205, 206. Bagdikian made the
argument that, not only was media power becoming concentrated
in fewer than a dozen big companies, but that those few
companies did not offer even limited intellectual or
editorial diversity because they were controlled by people of
one, profit-oriented, big-business view.

391
Motivation is Primary
There is both encouraging and discouraging news in this
research for television journalists. It is encouraging to
realize that a genuinely altruistic, community-minded
journalist can have such an effect on a community. Norm
Davis made note of that in his 1999 interview. What is
discouraging for television news practitioners is that later
so-called "community" efforts were driven as much by
financial motivations as by the desire to do good journalism.
Success in the effort to better community is not the
only measure of a community journalist. A more important
measure is intent. That was the foremost difference found in
comparing Brechner et al. with the 1990s community
journalists. Brechner, Davis, and Renick were motivated by
concern for their communities; they were motivated by belief
in fairness; they were motivated by a belief that their
positions carried a responsibility to use the means available
to them to improve life in their communities. A better
community life was the only reward they sought in embarking
on editorial crusades. The 1990s community journalists were
seeking a different kind of reward; they were reaching for
increased readership and viewership. It was the bottom line
that motivated them. It was not enhancement of community.

392
As Aristotle asserted, it is motivation that determines
virtuousness. Motivation is primary.
Suggestions for Further Research
Avenues of future research to be explored are many and
lead to two main roads: (1) community journalism; and (2)
expanded work on Brechner, Davis, and Renick. As the press
moves into the 21st century, community journalists will fine-
tune the way they practice their brand of reporting.
Researchers may be able to work from a clearer reference
point if community journalists can finally define what they
do and what community journalism is. As the century begins,
there is no agreed-upon definition of community journalism—
and no lines of demarcation between community journalism,
public journalism, civic journalism, and the other
appellations for this form of reporting. Once those
distinctions are made, researchers will have some perspective
from which they can begin looking back on the development of
community journalism and how it has evolved. They will also
be able to explore with more certainty the differences
between the various branches of community journalism.
Much exploration is needed to determine why there was
such a difference in the community journalism of Brechner,
Davis, and Renick and community journalists of the 1990s.

393
Researchers will have to ask why willingness to risk
alienation of audience and advertiser declined in the 1990s,
even among those who professed a desire to use their
journalism to improve society and to get more people involved
in the workings of democracy. This research has shown there
was a difference but has not attempted to determine precisely
why.
This work has not included an examination of television
editorialists of more recent times, but that, too, is an area
with possibilities for future research. Of primary
importance is the question of why there are so few who
editorialize on TV as the Second Millennium begins. In
October 1999, the Society of Professional Journalists dropped
the broadcast editorials division from its national Sigma
Delta Chi awards for excellence in journalism. A year
earlier, the winner of the best editorials award had been
chosen from a field of only three broadcasters who had
submitted entries. 698 Perhaps some of the answers will be
similar to the answers regarding the lack of courage in
general on the part of modern-day broadcasters.
One possibility in examining that apparent lack of
courage is the trend discussed earlier in this work toward
698
I Can't Hear You," Broadcasting & Cable, 14 June 2000, 1.

394
concentration of ownership. Already discussed is the
management support afforded the three editorialists.
Although Davis and Renick, and Brechner to a lesser degree,
were working for companies with multiple holdings, those
companies were small enough to be controlled by individuals.
Those individuals expressed strong commitment to using their
television stations to improve the communities in which they
were located. Bagdikian's lamentation that media outlets are
being bought up and subsumed into giant corporations at such
a rapid rate that the number of editorial voices in society
is rapidly declining has previously been cited in this work.
Future researchers should find this area fertile in
attempting to determine if true community journalism is still
possible or is a victim of concentration of control of mass
media.
A search of literature reveals no attempts to compare
1990s community journalists with the muckrakers of the early
20th century. A modern-day researcher would find material for
both comparison and contrast. The modern-day researcher will
also find ample opportunity to compare and contrast the 1990s
community journalists with journalists of other time periods
in United States history. There were clearly elements of

395
community journalism, for instance, in the Revolutionary
press and the abolitionist press of the Civil War era.
Jay Rosen, who has been cited in this work, based much
of his own examination of community journalism on the
Dewey/Lippmann argument over whether the public is capable of
assuming an active role in its own governance. Although this
is an area sometimes more comfortably examined by political
scientists, it is still an area important to anyone exploring
community journalism.
For historical researchers, it will be further
examination of the work of Brechner, Davis, and Renick that
will provide the richest possibilities. All three
editorialists were multi-faceted. Brechner and Renick in
particular are worthy of full biographies because of their
contributions to the industry and their communities. Study
of these editorialists will also be valuable for its
contribution to research regarding the continuum of
broadcasting. As previously mentioned, they illustrate a
phase of broadcasting that appears to be a touchstone for
responsible, effective editorializing that did not exist
before the period studied and disappeared as the broadcast
industry changed.

396
Brechner was active in civil rights even in the days of
World War II when he wrote radio programs for the armed
services. His early years as a professional broadcaster,
spent in Silver Spring, Maryland, were when he first began
editorializing. Brechner wrote opinion columns for the
Orlando Sentinel for a decade after he was forced by the
Federal Communications Commission to sell WFTV-TV.699 Those
columns continued many of the themes he first visited in his
television editorials. His battle with the FCC over control
of WFTV-TV became the longest-running fight of any individual
broadcaster with the FCC in the Commission's history.
A major thrust of Brechner's effort during his broadcast
career was in the area of freedom of information. He fought
for decades for press access to courtroom proceedings and for
public access to information on government activity. The
Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University
699 Brechner had operated WFTV on a temporary license since
putting the station on the air. When other prospective
operators applied for licenses to run the station, an FCC
investigation found that one of the minor partners in the
company had been involved in gambling. It was on that basis
that the FCC determined another applicant would be awarded
the license to operate WFTV and Brechner would be forced to
sell his interest. Interview with Marion Brechner, 9 March
1998. Also vital to the decision to remove Brechner from
station operation was the issue of minority ownership. Two
black shareholders owned an interest in the group that was
finally awarded the operating license for Channel 9. Linda
Perry, "A TV Pioneer's Crusade," 153-154.

397
of Florida was established with a grant from Brechner to
carry on his work. All of these factors make Brechner worthy
of further study.
Ralph Renick continued to broadcast television news for
two decades after the period covered by this research. He
was considered a national figure in television news although
working in a local market. He was a member of the National
News Council, attempting to set standards of ethics for
broadcast journalists. In addition, he retired from
broadcasting temporarily to make a brief run for governor of
the state of Florida. It was an unsuccessful attempt, and
Renick returned to broadcasting.
The surviving family members of both Brechner and Renick
have been cooperative in compiling information for this
research and have provided much information that will be
valuable in compiling biographies of both men. Those
biographies are already in progress as of this writing.

APPENDIX A
SAMPLE OF THE EDITORIALS OF JOE BRECHNER
Broadcast: November 1, 1963
1:30, 6:00 and 11:00 P.M.
This is a WFTV News Editorial in the public interest—
entitled:
EDITORIAL MAILBAG
Last Thursday, a WFTV editorial entitled "Rabble in
Mario" urged that "the silent, fair minded citizens" of
Florida recover control of their local areas which have
become trouble-ridden by racial disturbances. The Channel
9 editorial said: "Central Florida must control rabble
rousing on either side of the racial issue."
Today's Editorial Mailbag includes some of the
reaction to last week's editorial.
A Sanford man says: "I am writing to tell you what I
think of your TV editorials. They stink." The critic who
reportedly is connected with the White Citizens Council
says, "I would be ashamed a man with your intelligence to
sit and praise the nigger not negro, like you do on TV."
(UNQUOTE)
A Lake Alfred man suggested that we move North. His
letter says, "If you do not approve of the way we feel in
Note: Hundreds of the editorials of Joe Brechner were
examined during the course of this research. All of the
Brechner editorials from the 1960s were perused.
The editorials chosen for Appendix A illustrate
Brechner's strong editorial attack on the Ku Klux Klan, as
well as viewer reaction to the editorials. There is also
an editorial that illustrates his "It could happen here"
strategy. The Brechner editorials are presented in
chronological order.
398

399
the South suggest you catch a train with your 'pink'
counterparts. We have not built a fence across the Mason-
Dixon line and plenty of roads still point North."
(UNQUOTE)
Channel 9 received two postcards, unsigned, but
obviously from the same person. The cards from St. Cloud
contained illiterate scribbling, but we could make out the
vulgar phrase "nigger lover" on each card.
Most of the mail response to the WFTV editorial were
simply requests for copies of the editorial. Many of the
requests were from residents of Ocala. Some came without
comment from officials in and around Ocala, the scene of
recent racial disturbances.
A student from the University of South Florida
requested copies of the editorial for use in connection
with a course in Ethnic and Racial Relations. The student
said: "I think that your editorial is so pertinent to the
context of the course."
The varied reaction, particularly some of the violent
reaction, caused us to review and study the editorial again
very carefully. The letter from the previously quoted
Sanford man said, "I heard you praise Martin Luther King
and Roy Wilkins. I also heard you say that the KKK and the
White Citizens Council were subversive." The letter writer
claims, and we quote: "J. Edgar Hoover provided that
Martin Luther King and Roy Wilkins were communists."
Reviewing the editorial we found no praise for anyone
in the entire editorial. If J. Edgar Hoofer has proved, as
the writer declares, that Martin Luther King and Roy
Wilkins are communists, WFTV's News Department has never
received such a communication.
The editorial referred to the Ku Klux Klan as
subversive because it is listed in the U.S. Attorney
General's book of subversive organizations as "advocating
violence" in attempting to carry out the purpose of their
organization.
Today7 s Editorial Mailbag is an example of mediocre
and primitive mentalities of those who support and advocate
racial violence.
# # # # #

400
Broadcast: June 22, 1964
1:30, 6:00 and 11:00 P.M.
This is a WFTV News Editorial in the public interest—
entitled:
DANGER--COWARDS AT WORK
More and more reports crowded into the WFTV newsroom
this week-end telling of gang terrorism and the cowardice
of hiding in rioting crowds, in our neighbor city of St.
Augustine.
(PHOTO) One report told of a group of white hoodlums which
beat a white integrationist senseless and then tried to
drown him, while a gang of Ku Klux Klansmen stood by urging
them on.
This is a frighteningly sad case of advanced
cowardice. As if the gang of toughs had not shown enough
fear already when it took several of them to go after one
man, rather than daring to make it a person to person
showdown—if, indeed, that would have made sense—even more
cowardice was shown by the adult members of the melee, the
Klansmen, who stood safely out of range during the whole
episode.
It seems most interesting to note that these so-called
protectors of the South' s sovereignty were the ones who
bravely let others do their fighting for them, while they
stood by shouting the equivalent of the old "Let' s you and
him fight" theme.
(PHOTO) While police, who seemed to be conscientiously
arresting integrationist demonstrators while ignoring legal
responsibilities in dealing with segregationists, were
working on one incident our reports show another gang of
brave hoodlums decided to show how tough they were by
running at top speed into a group of young Negro girls, as
the girls waded in the surf at the already integrated St.
Augustine Beach.
One of the girls suffered a broken nose in the attack
and others received minor injuries. And the hoods
doubtless felt pleased with their strength and power,
having beaten a group of young girls.

401
The cowardice of St. Augustine's leaders does little
to lend encouragement to those hoping for the enforcement
of law in that troubled city. When police and city
officials are more afraid of the opinions of a noisy few
than they are of eroding rights and freedoms everyone
suffers.
When the toughs of St. Augustine feel there is enough
safety in animal-like packs to ignore the laws of their
communities it is time to remind them that within a few
short weeks their same actions will be not only against
local law, but the law of the land.
We hope that by then they will realize that our
freedoms are guaranteed to each person individually as an
American—not as the member of a lawless gang.
# # # # #

402
Broadcast: April 2, 1965
1:45, 5:55 and 11:15 P.M.
This is a WFTV News Editorial in the public interest—
entitled:
KLAN INVESTIGATION
As a result of recent violent deaths in the South and
at the urging of President Johnson that the Ku Klux Klan
must be stamped out, the House Un-American Activities
Committee voted unanimously this week to investigate the
Klan.
(SILENT FILM OF KKK RALLY—CROSSES BURNING)
Nationally, the Klan is not estimated to have a large
membership—nothing compared to the membership in the 20' s.
According to United Press International, Klan membership in
Florida is estimated at 1,000.
Active members still burn crosses of warning and
fright and commit crimes of violence. KKK members still
parade—in some areas unmasked as required now by local and
state laws.
We've seen them in the streets of Atlanta during a
state-wide and local election. They paraded recently in
Jacksonville. (FILM OUT)
Here in Central Florida they have had cross burnings
in the night at some outlying field. The Klan rarely
permits photographers to take pictures of their cross
burning rallies.
(PIC KKK STICKER) The KKK sticker is believed to be a
warning to those who may disagree with the Klan's bigoted
views. WFTV once had such a sticker pasted on our front
door which read: "A Ku Klux Klansman was here."
The time has come to eliminate this vicious and
dangerous organization which rides in the night to
frighten, beat, bomb and murder without fear or
apprehension and punishment. (PIC) We must rid ourselves
of these shrouded examples of lawlessness from a better-to-
be-forgotten past. The Klan's philosophies and activities
have not only delayed progress in the South—but where they
exist they have been a costly economic and social cancer.

403
The investigation to expose the Ku Klux Klan
nationally will be lengthy and tedious. Local and state
officials should begin now to put our house in order; to
expose and discharge the die-hard Klansmen in Florida who
have infiltrated into positions of public trust.
There should be no place in any public office or law
enforcement agency for members of an organization that
condones crime, including violence and murder.
Central Florida and the state have moved through these
difficult times with a minimum of disturbance. We do not
need, nor do we want, the questionable assistance of the Ku
Klux Klan or any other terroristic organization.
WFTV agrees with Congressman Edwin Edward Willis of
Louisiana, Chairman of the House Un-American Activities
Committee which will investigate the Klan. Congressman
Willis said: "Klanism is incompatible with Americanism."
# # # # #

404
Broadcast: May 11, 1965
1:45, 5:55 and 11:15 P.M.
This is a WFTV News Editorial in the public interest—
entitled:
SOCIETY OF BIGOTS
The Ku Klux Klan is currently under the watchful eyes
of the entire world. A Congressional committee is
intensifying plans for a thorough investigation of the
Klan. (PIC) It is likely that anti-Klan legislation may
be forthcoming for the so-called "Invisible Empire" which
is already on the Attorney General's list of subversive
organizations. Although such legislation may be desirable
it will not wipe out the Klan.
First, we should consider what type person belongs to
the Klan and what type person and community either condones
the existence of the KKK or closes its eyes to the Klan's
unscrupulous activities and violence.
The North Carolina CHARLOTTE OBSERVER defined Klansmen
in a series of articles. (PIC KLAN PICKETS) The report
described members as "decent, simple people who turn to the
Klan out of frustration." The report explained that KKK
members are "the backwash of white society, the low income,
the poorly educated laborer or farmer who sees in the Ku
Klux Klan . . . the only hope of preserving his station in
society1 s changing order." (UNQUOTE) The Ku Klux Klan may
also include trouble-makers, bigots and maniacs. (PIC
SHELTON) However, Robert Shelton, Imperial Wizard of the
United Klans of America, said recently that the Klan is
"trying to change its image." Shelton said: "We don't go
in for floggin' , lynchin' , and hangin' ." But when Shelton
appeared before the Alabama Legislature to oppose an anti¬
flogging bill he said: "I am glad that there are still men
somewhere who will take matters into their own hands when
the hands of the law are tied." (UNQUOTE)
(PIC MAP) The Klan is concentrated in the South, with
membership estimated at 10,000. Northeast Florida is the
only section of the state where the Klan is significantly
active. It is pitifully ironic that St. Augustine, the
oldest city in America, is considered the stronghold of
Florida's clandestine Klan.

405
Klan leaders deny that they espouse or practice
bigotry. The "native-born white Protestant only" members
prefer to consider themselves a "semi-religious, fraternal
organization."
Following the church bombing in Birmingham that took
the lives of 4 Negro children, a Klan organizer speaking in
St. Augustine said: "I don't know who bombed that church
in Birmingham but if I did, I'd pin a medal on him."
(UNQUOTE)
(PIC KKK CARTOON) Such deranged minds in control of a
secret organization, no matter how small it may be, are a
dangerous threat to any community. And the problem rests
with the community. Legislation or denunciation will do no
good unless the responsible citizens of local communities
are aroused and openly resist and deplore the very
existence of any organization that thrives on hatred and
violence.
The Klan will only be eliminated if Southern citizens
and civic leaders themselves, and particularly state and
local political officials and law enforcement officers,
forcefully and wholeheartedly state their revulsion and
refuse support to this society of bigots know as the Ku
Klux Klan.
# # # # #

406
Broadcast: November 2, 1965
12:45, 5:55 and 11:15 P.M.
This is a WFTV News Editorial in the public interest—
entitled:
SNIPES AND GRIPES
Today's snipes and gripes from viewers concern
politics, the Ku Klux Klan and the John Birch Society.
A Winter Haven student wrote saying: (PIC LETTER) "I
suspect your policies on the K.K.K. and John Birch Society.
But I don't think you should take sides in political
elections." The tenth grade student said: "Remember there
are still some Republicans." (UNQUOTE)
In answer, Channel 9 and its management are members of
the community and reserve the right of freedom of
expression and opinions on any phase of community life. We
believe in a two party system and have said so many times.
We try to balance comment on issues between the parties and
if, when the parties agree as on the road bond issue here
in Central Florida, we invite participants from both
parties. When management gives an editorial opinion, the
opinion is based on all known facts from all sides on an
issue, with admittedly whatever basic philosophy or
prejudice we may have toward public issues.
A Rockledge viewer sent for a recent Channel 9
editorial which discussed the John Birch Society. (PIC
LETTER) The letter said: "I would like to show it to the
rest of my secret Un-American group." The viewer said: "I
agree with you about the K.K.K. The are secret. We are
not." (UNQUOTE)
Channel 9 has heard this story many times. Yet the
fact remains that John Birch Society membership figures are
secret—probably because membership is so low. John Birch
group meetings are secrete and closed to the news media.
Channel 9 has been refused admittance on many occasions.
The only time the John Birch Society is open and public is
when Society public relations representatives want to issue
a statement, or their speakers want to take the speaker's
platform to propagandize their organization and sell what
we believe are radical, unsound, illogical political views.

407
A Winter Haven viewer wrote concerning the John Birch
Society. The letter was signed "R. Welch." Either the
viewer was pulling our leg, or there' s another R. Welch
besides the president of the Society. (PIC LETTER) The
letter said: "I notice since the Chicago Tribune has set
up shot in Orlando, your editorials aren't as far to the
lunatic left. Are you chicken?" (UNQUOTE)
Channel 9 has made no analysis of the editorial
pol8icies of the local newspaper. We have agreed and
disagreed with the views of the newspaper. Our editorial
decisions are based upon our own consideration, views and
position which has been consistent throughout the years—
although we are prepared to change our position based upon
new facts or our own revised convictions.
The issue isn't whether we' re chicken. We do our best
to be factually correct, direct and forthright. And we
will continue to do the best we can with only one
objective: to state an honest opinion.
That's snipes and gripes for another day. If you have
one, send it to WFTV, Channel 9, Orlando, Florida, for
consideration in the next Snipes and Gripes editorial.
# # # # #

408
Broadcast: December 8, 1965
12:45, 5:55 and 11:15 P.M.
This is a WFTV News Editorial in the public interest—
entitled:
JUSTICE AND CHANGING ATTITUDES
"The whole nation can take heart from the fact that
there are those in the south who believe in justice in
racial matters and who are determined not to stand for acts
of violence and terror." (PIC JOHNSON) This was the
statement President Lyndon Johnson released after it was
announced that an all-white jury in Montgomery, Alabama,
had convicted three Ku Klux Klansmen on federal charges
that grew out of the Selma freedom March, and the
subsequent slaying of Mrs. Viola Liuzzo.
Seven months ago one of the men convicted last week
stood trial for the murder of Mrs. Liuzzo. At that time a
Channel 9 editorial said: "The trial and the verdict is a
legal matter. But the climate of hate which led to the
murder and prevailed during the trial itself is a warning
bell to other communities."
(PIC 3 MEN) Some may feel that the 10 year sentences
imposed against the three Ku Klux Klansmen was shallow
justice. But the jury7 s verdict was an indication of the
changing times and attitudes.
Some sections of the South have been accused of
unreasonable and unjust racial practices and of maintaining
a tradition which leads to hate and violence. There have
been time in the past when the actions of some Southern
all-white juries made a mockery of justice. But we feel
confident that today, and in the future, juries will be
influenced less by tradition or prejudice. This conscience
of each citizen in each local community is becoming as it
should be—the only determining factor of behavior and
judgment in and out of the courtrooms.
(PIC RIOT) Communities throughout the nation—large or
small—have witnessed the moral and political deterioration
of communities where fear and violence have prevailed. On
the other hand, they have seen the peaceful progress that
is possible where understanding, reasonableness and fair
and sensible judgment prevail.

409
(PIC 3 MEN) It is not proper for those of us outside the
courtroom to judge the innocence or guilt of those who have
been accused of heinous crimes against their fellow man.
But each citizen, each community, and the entire nation
must bear the responsibility of justice miscarried, and an
environment that breeds and permeates hatred and violence
anywhere within our country.
Most communities in Florida have met changing times
with moderation and common sense. We see similar
intelligent progress throughout the nation. There may be
temporary set-backs and unexpected problems. But so long
as this national insistence prevails for fair play, equal
justice and common rights for all, our nation is well on
the road to solving the difficulties of human relations in
our complex society.
# # # # #

410
Broadcast: January 6, 1966
12:45/ 5:55 and 11:15 P.M.
This is a WFTV News Editorial in the public interest—
entitled:
FREEDOM' S INTRUDERS
The recent squabble over continued investigation of
the Ku Klux Klan by the House Committee on Un-American
Activities and the investigation itself may prove of some
value to the American public.
Even the small amount of information coming out of the
investigation only confirms what we've said all along--the
Ku Klux Klan is a "kooky" secret, subversive racket. When
the hoods come off and the truth is revealed, or their
leaders resort to constitutional amendments to avoid
testifying, the public has seen a dismal display of
cowardice, bigotry and deceit.
In the past few years organizations such as the Ku
Klux Klan, the pseudo-conservative groups such as the John
Birch Society, White Citizens Council, the so-called anti¬
communist and self-styled Christian Crusade societies,
alleged patriotic organizations and a variety of other
self-serving groups have been rebuffed, shunned and ignored
by the majority of the citizens of our communities.
A few years ago organization meetings and speeches by
itinerant speakers were widely publicized and created a
furor of comment and discussion. (CARTOON) In recent
months some meetings have been held; some of the same
traveling "hate-for-sale" peddlers have been in Central
Florida, but the public has generally turned a cold
shoulder to these unwelcome visitors who thrive on discord
and generalized charges, and innuendoes to slander
responsible citizens and organizations.
We can't say this is true everywhere in the country,
but Central Florida has weathered the storm of extremist
rabble-rousing and we feel confident the trend will not
change.
Public exposure and discussion may be responsible for
the current public contempt in which these irresponsible
groups and individuals are held. Many of the individuals
and organizations which have operated, (CARTOON) or

411
occasionally visited in our area, came in with high-
sounding programs and purpose. But when they were exposed
to public discussion and debate they are revealed as
intruders and hate-mongers who would upset the tranquility
of our community and walk away with the money collected
from the frightened and the gullible, with no accounting
for the use of the funds.
Central Florida has managed to escape some of the
viciousness that has penetrated other fear-ridden
communities which fell prey to extremists. We have been
able to discuss and debate conservative, moderate and
liberal views without resorting to subversion and deceit to
stifle or limit hones, open democratic discussion.
(CARTOON) National leaders in both parties have now openly
condemned and rebuked extremists who breed national
dissension and suspicion.
Extremist business has been bad business in our
communities. And now it has become less profitable in
other parts of the nation.
But we cannot let down our guard.
To maintain our freedom we must constantly protect it.
# # # # #

412
Broadcast: September 13, 1966
12:45, 5:55 and 11:15 P.M.
This is a WFTV News Editorial in the public interest—
entitled:
ATLANTA VIOLENCE
It was a thought-provoking moment we saw on television
the other evening when Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen walked
through the streets of his city alone in the quiet
aftermath of a race riot. (PIC MAYOR ALLEN) His courage
in personally attempting to prevent the riot was matched by
his philosophic observations later that night when he was
interviewed by a television newsman.
While personally distressed at his own failure to
prevent the riot. Mayor Allen deserves praise for his
personal effort to prevent what could have become a much
more serious situation. His strict and stern enforcement
of the law may well have accounted for the minimum damage
and minimum injuries that resulted from the riot. (PIC)
While placing the blame for the violence on some
irresponsible Negro leaders, the mayor also recognized and
showed a deep understanding of the conditions which made it
possible for those leaders to stir up trouble. He pointed
out the continuing problem of big cities attracting more
people from smaller towns and rural areas. Many newcomers
are unprepared for the difficulties of living in a big
city. As the Mayor said, many new city dwellers are
untrained, unqualified for other than the most menial work;
they don't know how to seek help and assistance; and they
move into already crowded areas creating conditions within
certain neighborhoods that are intolerable.
Mayor Allen emphasized that there was much work to be
done in restraining such individuals, as well as to provide
decent housing. The Mayor said: "That is why we are doing
everything possible and are seeking every available amount
of federal assistance to clear out our slums and to improve
living conditions." (UNQUOTE)
It is this recognition of the facts of life—this
understanding—which marked Mayor Allen's full
comprehension of the issues.
(PIC) These observations and the experience in Atlanta
should serve as a guide to city officials throughout the

413
country and within the state of Florida. Every responsible
official and community leader should recognize the
conditions that lead to racial disturbance within a
community.
False economies and confused philosophies which
prevent quick rehabilitation of slum areas add up to
indifference and neglect that could lead to trouble. Only
the most short-sighted and the foolish would block the
acceptance of federal funds provided from taxes paid by
local citizens and businesses which could be used to speed
up the progress of slum clearance, along with educational
and training programs and other devices of the war on
poverty programs.
(CARTOON) Economizing or philosophizing on slum clearance
and human problems instead of organized efforts to improve
living conditions can prove to be false economy and costly
neglect.
# # # # #

414
Broadcast: October 17, 1967
12:45, 6:25 and 11:20 P.M.
This is a WFTV News Editorial in the public interest—
entitled:
RENEWED MENACE
If there is anything not needed in Central Florida in
our efforts to develop growth and expansion, it is the
renewed menace of the Ku Klux Klan. (PIC CLAN POSTER)
Recent intensified efforts by Robert Shelton, the
Imperial Wizard of the United Klans of America, indicate
that he and his hooded cohorts want to make Central Florida
a major Klan concentration center.
Now appealing his conviction on Contempt of Congress,
a sentence of a year in prison, Shelton is striving to
renew the strength of the KKK by holding rallies and
membership drives here in Florida. After considerable
inside fighting among various Klan factions, Shelton has
restored his control over the United Klan. (SILENT FILM)
Last weekend the United Klan held rallies in Lake
Wales and Orlando. By our count some 400 persons,
including Klan leaders and security guards attended the
meeting at Kemp's Coliseum here in Orlando. The KKK held a
small motorcade through the city and concluded their
meeting with a cross burning in the patio area of Kemp's
Coliseum.
While the issue of freedom of speech and assembly is
basic in the land, the issue of Klan activity here
represents a renewed menace to the progress of tranquility
of Central Florida.
The very history of the Klan in the South, its
violence, its vigilantism, its use of terror and force to
impose its malicious will upon citizens, constitutes an
undesirable and repulsive intrusion in our state and
community affairs.
Those who confuse the Klan with legitimate political
organizations overlook the long history of graft, financial
exploitation of dupes and their violations of the laws and
decency involving murder, mutilation and destruction.

415
Current and past trials give some indication of
depraved philosophies upon which this secret organization
is based. Posing as defenders of Christianity and
Democracy, they debase both. Like the infamous Nazis they
use current fears and concerns of Communism to exploit
their own vicious racial and political concepts to promote
discord and violence.
The pit one American against another based upon false
and phony racial, religious and political differences.
(SILENT FILM)
The overwhelming majority of Americans reject and
oppose extremism either from the left or right, and racial
bigots.
We urge local citizens and business people to
withstand the pressure and threat of the Ku Klux Klan and
urge them to withhold support of this subversive group.
There is no good in this renewed menace wearing the
white shrouds of a better-to-be-forgotten past which in the
name of Christianity, Democracy and white supremacy
preaches evil and contempt of law and order.
# # # # #

416
Broadcast: October 30, 1967
12:45, 6:25 and 11:20 P.M.
This is a WFTV News Editorial in the public interest—
entitled:
REACTION TO BIG QUESTION RESULTS
Last week 9' s BIG QUESTION polled viewers on flying
saucers and the Ku Klux Klan.
57% of those who phoned in said they believe flying
saucers come from outer space. 52% of the callers aid they
approved of the Ku Klux Klan.
Here's the reaction of several viewers who wrote to
Channel 9. (PIC LETTER)
An Orlando viewer wrote: "I don't propose here to
state whether I do or do not believe U.F.O.'s come from
outer space. But I do submit this thought. The so-called
credibility gap between our Federal Administration and the
general public is growing so wide that we, the public,
would feel compelled to check our calendars before we would
accept the Administration's word for the fact that tomorrow
is Friday." (UNQUOTE)
There is often a great credibility gap between the
truth and what we want to believe. It's called the
gullibility gap. (PIC LETTER)
A Melbourne Beach viewer said: "We awaited with
interest to see the votes on the KKK being a good thing.
When you mentioned it (before the votes came in) I layed a
bet that that's the way it would turn out." The viewer
said, "If I was a KKK I would make sure of the vote because
what would be to prevent me from making 20-50 or a thousand
phone calls myself to turn the tide?" (UNQUOTE)
The answer, of course, is other viewers calling. The
phones were busy all night. When a viewer completes a
call, the lines are immediately tied up by other viewers
who are waiting.
The percentage may be inaccurate but, in our opinion,
the results indicated that those who support or approve of
the KKK are an active, dangerous force in this area and
can't be dismissed lightly. Citizens, business groups,

417
civic groups and area and state officials must disavow any
approval, support or sympathy for these paranoiac night-
riders who threaten the peace and tranquility of our
community.
A Lake Alfred viewer said: "Does it really matter
that over 50% of the people in Central Florida believe that
Flying Saucers come from outer space?" The viewer said,
"It surely is far more disturbing that over 50% of the
people who phoned in answers to your (Big Question) approve
of the KKK." (PIC LETTER)
The viewer added: "I have yet to see the little green
men with antennae so I don't credit their existence, but I
have seen some horrifying news releases about the
activities of the Klan, and these people are here and now."
(UNQUOTE)
That's what Channel 9 said last week. "We've got
enough down-to-earth problems without wasting time worrying
about mythical problems." The Ku Klux Klan offers
dangerous, un-American panaceas that are out of this world
when it comes to meeting our real problems of the day.
# # # # #

418
Broadcast: November 8, 1967
12:45, 6:25 and 11:20 P.M.
This is a WFTV News Editorial in the public interest—
entitled:
KKK MENACE
A viewer objected to a recent Channel 9 editorial on
the renewed menace of the Ku Klux Klan. The viewer' s
letter said: "I am a Klan member and we are not dangerous
as you said." (PIC LETTER) The letter said, "We shouldn't
be called night riders and dangerous because it isn't
true." (UNQUOTE)
The Klan has been holding frequent membership drives
and Klan rallies in the Central Florida area. Apparently
some people have been hoodwinked by Klan leaders who have
strong-armed their way to leadership in the secret
underworld of bigots and trouble makers known as the Ku
Klux Klan.
The Klan claims to represent God-fearing Christians
dedicated to a life of "chivalry, honor, industry,
patriotism and love." They say they support law
enforcement. Yet the Klan and its members, by word and
action, are a continuing menace to the peace and
tranquility of our communities. Klan leaders and Klansmen
openly preach hatred—not love. The Klan record includes
destruction of property, assault and murder. The Klan
claim of supporting law and order is contradicted by its
long history of terror and violence.
Law breakers and persons charged with vicious crimes
or of questionable personal records and backgrounds have
been honored by the Klan as worthy members or leaders.
Klansmen travel throughout the area causing trouble
and disrupting meetings designed to solve problems. (PIC
FIGHT) When they find disagreement with their own bigoted
views, Klansmen react by shoving people around.
Is the Klan and its membership dangerous? There' s no
question in our mind that the Klan and Klansmen try to rule
and attempt to take over communities by threat and fear.
Is it any wonder that respectable peace loving citizens
fear the Klan and its night riding vigilantes?

419
Decent, law abiding citizens must not compromise their
principles and beliefs in love, honor and patriotism to
support the double-talking, dangerous philosophies of these
hooded kooks who make a mockery of religion and law and
order.
The Klan must not be confused with a legitimate
political or fraternal organization. It is a secret,
dangerous gang of hoodlums. It is a menace to Southern
progress. The Klan is an outmoded form of vigilantism. It
is no good and means no good.
# # # # #

420
Broadcast: November 17, 1967
12:45, 6:25 and 11:20 P.M.
This is a WFTV News Editorial in the public interest—
entitled:
CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER
Channel 9 has disclosed recent attempts to increase Ku
Klux Klan membership in Central Florida.
This Sunday WFTV' s VIEWPOINT 9 will present a program
produced in South Florida on the KKK in that area. A
portion of the program was filmed in Orlando last month
when Robert Shelton, Imperial Wizard of United Klans of
America, held a Klan rally at Kemp's Auditorium. In
Sunday's program Mr. Shelton explains what he calls his
"ballots not bullets" theory. He also admits that some
members of the Klan are disenchanted and dissatisfied.
We have a pretty good idea what Robert Shelton is
talking about. Some Klan leaders and members in Florida
have discounted his speeches of non-violence. Klan leaders
and members in other parts of the nation and even here in
Central Florida carry and use weapons and have resorted to
violence, threats and public disturbances.
Channel 9 news has received reports from frightened
citizens who complain about threats from Klansmen. Our
newsroom has also received threats of bodily harm if we
continue to criticize the Klan.
Yet the protection of the public against these
marauding and dangerous Klansmen seems wholly inadequate.
The State of Florida grants charter for incorporation to
these disreputable groups. State and local laws are
inadequate affecting public disturbances, the making of
threats, carrying concealed weapons and the use of such
weapons in a dangerous manner.
Permits to parade and to hold public meetings are
granted as if this group were some boy scout organization.
Officials do not seriously consider that the Klan
constitutes a danger to the community and a criminal
conspiracy to violate the rights, the life and property of
other citizens.

421
Violation of laws here in Orange County are dealt with
too leniently with small fines as if these actions were
minor disturbances.
In one Central Florida community a Klan leader was
charged with disorderly conduct. Bond was set at $350.
The same Klan leader was arrested in Orange County on
charges of carrying a concealed weapon. His bond was set
at $50. His companion was charged with unlawfully
exhibiting and firing a weapon in a dangerous manner. His
bond was set at $50. This is the amount of bond you would
expect for a reckless driving charge.
Certainly it is time for a review and a crackdown on
Klan activities here. State and local laws must be
reviewed and strengthened to meet Klan challenges and
threats.
Law enforcement and our courts must use the full
extent of existing laws to punish and if possible to
eliminate the misuse of weapons and the use of threats that
endanger the citizens of our area.
It is time for a full investigation of the Klan in our
area and a clear indication by our leaders and citizens
that we don’t want them here and that we will not tolerate
their sick and vicious efforts to destroy the peace and
tranquility of our communities.
# # # # #
(Used silent film Ku Klux Klan marching in Washington)

422
Broadcast: November 24, 1967
12:45, 6:25 and 11:20 P.M.
This is a WFTV News Editorial in the public interest—
entitled:
REACTION TO THE KU KLUX KLAN
We received a number of letters from viewers
concerning last week's editorial on the Ku Klux Klan and
WFTV's VIEWPOINT 9 program last Sunday on the Klan.
An Intercession City viewer called the Klan "God's
people." She said: "All the more slander and so much lies
about God's people you' re giving the enemies of God and
country, the Communists, a rest, and they are doing
everything to take our country."
A Winter Haven viewer wrote: "If I had to choose I'd
rather be a (Klan Member) than a (Communist). That's the
way I see it."
Apparently these two viewers believe Klan propaganda
which would have us believe the Ku Klux Klan is a anti¬
communist organization instead of race-baiting bigots whose
members resort to threats and violence.
An Orlando viewer claimed the Klan protected women and
girls in the community. He said: "I don't believe in
violence or for people to take the law in their own hands
but at times I feel we need some help like the K.K.K. and
they should remain with us."
We received other letters from viewers opposed to the
Klan. An Orlando viewer said: "This secret organization,
ruling by fear and ignorance, is indeed a threat, not only
to the citizens of Central Florida but to all the citizens
in each state where it is allowed to exist."
A Tavares viewer said: "I agree that the state should
not allow secret hate organizations to operate in Florida.
And to have a boy scout troop with a leader who belongs to
such an organization is a crime against our youth.
Children should not be taught prejudice or hate of any
human beings by adults."

423
The Sunday program on the Ku Klux Klan explained that
one Klansman in South Florida was a boy scout leader and
had been passing out Klan literature to the boy scouts.
Another Tavares viewer wrote: "If I could do
something to help get rid of this vile organization, I
would do it. But, what can I do?" The viewer, who said
her grandfather was a Klan member, added: "No citizen, no
matter who he is or what his profession, will be safe till
the Klan is eliminated permanently." (UNQUOTE)
In our opinion the answer for the individual is to
express your point of view whenever you can. Don't support
the Klan in any way. Tell law enforcement officials you
disapprove of individuals who carry concealed weapons.
Urge and support investigation and prosecution of any group
or individual that threatens or uses violence. Urge your
church, business and social organizations to oppose those
who preach hatred and violence such as the Klan.
In every way possible responsible citizens should let
the Ku Klux Klan know we don't want them here and we will
not tolerate their continued efforts to disrupt our
peaceful communities.
In the ultimate support fair play, honesty and
openness in government and civic endeavors. The greatest
danger to our democracy is secrecy in government, politics
and law enforcement or private vigilante groups who want to
take the law into their own hands.
# # # # #

, APPENDIX B
SAMPLE OF THE EDITORIALS OF NORM DAVIS
TELEVISED THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 1965/6:00 P.M. AND 11:00 P.M.
This is a WJXT editorial.
After burning up considerable energy in recent weeks
arguing that it didn't have the power to crack down on the
City7 s lavish automobile practices, the City Council showed
this week that it has the power, after all, by hammering
out some overdue changes in the system. The result was two
ordinances and a resolution which will produce a city car
pool and some needed changes in budgetary practices.
As far as they go, the new procedures will make
inroads on a spoils system which has prospered at taxpayer
expense for a great many years. And yet the biggest hole
in the dike through which tax dollars can continue to flow
has not yet been plugged. Neither the Commission nor the
Council has taken any overt steps to alter a policy which
has condoned the purchase of more than a hundred high-
priced luxury cars and a long list of expensive accessories
for these and other vehicles. In spite of the rules
adopted this week, there is no overall policy which
requires the use of compact cars and other lower-priced
vehicles and no regulation of the purchase of costly
Note: There were fewer editorials available from Norm Davis
than for the other two editorialists. Mister Davis had
saved approximately 100 editorials, all of which were
examined. The period of Davis editorials studied for this
research was also much shorter than for Brechner and
Renick.
Several of the samples of Davis' work concern the
inefficiency he saw in local government are included here.
The remaining editorials were chosen to represent Davis'
editorials focused on corruption in the government of the
city of Jacksonville and the county of Duval. The
editorials are presented in chronological order.
424

425
"extras" throughout the automobile fleet. While the new
budgetary procedures will permit the Council to scrutinize
purchasing more closely, it would seem desirable for the
Council or the Commission to establish formal guidelines on
purchasing to preclude bargaining pressures at budget time.
The City code evidently contained provisions of this nature
some fifteen years ago which since have been rescinded.
Taxpayers also should have a continuing interest in
the present City policy which provides flat automobile
allowances—usually about $50 per month—to more than 200
employees. The allowances are awarded whether a car
actually is used or not, and they amount to about $135,000
per year.
Then there's the unresolved matter of gasoline credit
cards now held by 69 employees of the City. The cards
ostensibly have been provided so drivers can obtain high
octane gas for their high-compression engines, but a car
pool and a reduction in the use of large cars with high-
powered engines should obviate the need to parcel out these
permits.
The Council' s action this week is an encouraging sign
that some new vitality may be developing in the city's
legislative body. If the Council will be as attentive to
other phases of the automobile issue and to other serious
problems confronting the City it can count on growing
popular support.
This was a WJXT editorial.

426
TELEVISED MAY 6, 1965/6:00 P.M. AND 11:00 P.M.
This is a WJXT editorial.
The feeling is inescapable that the surface h as only
been scratched on questionable practices within
Jacksonville' s city government, and the feeling has been
reinforced most strongly by the actions and words of a
number of city officials.
For the first time in years, close attention is being
given to some amazing procedures on buying, bidding, and
budgeting, and the process is, we hope, only beginning.
Much of the current furor revolves around a complex game
engaged in by the Council in shifting funds among various
accounts—a practice which puts the Council in a position
to wheel-and-deal. Then, of course, there's the matter of
city automobiles, which admittedly have been bought by
Commissioners from friends without competitive bidding and
in which dozens of city employees have ridden in something
approaching splendor for years. Disclosure of the
Recreation Department's bidding habits opened up still
another chapter.
Throughout all of this, a not-unusual reaction from
the officials involved has been to point the finger of
blame at somebody else or to register shock that any
criticism should arise. Many unsound procedures have been
defended only on the grounds of their having been used for
many years and not because of any inherent value. In some
cases, the law has been looked on as something to be
applied when convenient. As one Commissioner put it to the
legislative delegation, "We feel like we have not been
violating the intent of the law—except in a few instances
like buying cars." Various city officials have detailed
quite a few other projects on which competitive bidding was
bypassed by piecemeal buying.
One of the most startling revelations was an admission
by the City Council's special auditor that he had been told
"a hundred times" he would be fired if he put criticisms in
his audit reports.
The legislative delegation has been incensed by this
panorama to the point of proposing, among other things, a
comprehensive audit of the City' s books and changes in the
budget law to prohibit fund transfers and to require more

427
competitive bidding. Some City officials seem to look on
these as drastic measures, but they really reflect good
business practice.
The City's role in all of this has been most
revealing, for there has been no outpouring of indignation
among City officials generally over the many recent
disclosures. Instead, many people in high places have
found it easy to rationalize their actions and policies.
Legislative measures will help to improve the
situation, but what is needed most of al are new attitudes
among some of the occupants of City Hall toward the conduct
of the public's business.
This was a WJXT editorial.
<

428
TELEVISED FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 1966/6:00 P.M. AND 11:00 P.M.
Mayor Ritter and Commissioner Broadstreet have reacted
to WJXT' s special report on the acquisition of a $55,000
truck-crane combination with a flurry of denials and
counterclaims, but the net result is that the City is
painted deeper than ever into a corner.
The crane was obtained by the City from a local
company early in 1965—without competitive bidding—on a
lease arrangement which gives the City the option to apply
rental money to full purchase. Pinning down responsibility
for the deal has been like trying to catch an agitated
ping-pong ball. Commissioner Broadstreet has disclaimed
any part in the arrangement, saying it was executed while
Mayor Ritter was still Commissioner of highways and sewers.
The Mayor, meanwhile, has turned up a letter signed by
Broadstreet in January 1965 which closed the deal for the
City with the local supplier. Yet at the time the
negotiations took place, Ritter was the elected official in
charge and Broadstreet was employed as City Engineer—which
seems to plant the responsibility for policy decisions at
the time at Mr. Ritter's feet.
City officials can't even agree among themselves on
whether the crane has, in fact, been purchased or only
leased. The Auditor' s office in City Hall indicates the
crane will be bought and paid for by the end of the year,
but Commissioner Broadstreet has been quoted to the effect
that the City does not own the crane and that the firm from
which the City has rented the device can haul it away at
any time.
If this incredible statement is rue, then the City has
been a party to a really fantastic lease. During 1965,
payments of about $24,000 were disbursed by the City to the
lease-holder, and the current municipal budget contains an
additional $25,000 for payment to this particular firm
during 1966. By the end of this year, therefore, the City
will have paid some $49,000 for the crane, and that happens
to be close to the full retain cost for the equipment. If
Mr. Broadstreet's assertion is correct that the dealer
could retrieve the equipment now if he wants to, the City
would be out almost $30,000 as of today. If the City of
Jacksonville doesn't wind up as the crane's owner, this
will have been the most unbelievably expensive lease we've
ever heard of.

429
One of the continuing mysteries is why the City
solicited price quotations on the crane from three local
dealers three months after the City has taken possession of
the unit.
Whether the crane has been purchased or leased—or
both—the fact remains that the City failed to call for
bids which might have saved considerable money. The
morning newspaper today quotes Mayor Ritter as saying,
"When you ask for bids, that means you intend to buy, not
rent," but the Mayor should know better than that. Over in
the court house, for instance, the Duval County Patrol
periodically executes a lease for its entire fleet of
patrol cars, and open, competitive bidding is utilized.
The case of the costly crane illustrates anew the
extent to which the City frequently goes to avoid possible
savings of taxpayers' money.
This was a WJXT editorial.

430
TELEVISED FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 1966/ 6:00 P.M. AND 11:00 P.M.
Much has been said of the bewildering structure of
government within the City of Jacksonville—the bizarre
Council-Mayor-Commission arrangement which causes political
scientists and ordinary citizens alike to shake their heads
in consternation. But keeping track of the seats of
authority and responsibility in county government requires
a scorecard which is even more baffling.
County government, remember, was devised in the last
century when Florida's population lived in rural areas and
very small towns, but today this loosely-connected cluster
of boards, authorities, and officials is being forced to
grapple with the enormous task of providing urban services
for a huge metropolitan area. Because most of the county
functions have been rigidly institutionalized by the
Constitution or by state law, overall direction,
leadership, and responsibility have been impossible.
In county government alone, more than 60 offices in
Duval are filled by election. This awesome total is bad
enough, but combined with state and municipal races it
produces an incredibly long ballot that conspires against
good government. Hardly one person in ten thousand has the
vaguest idea of the duties and qualifications of, say, the
Clerk of the Criminal Court, which is an elective office.
The same is true of the office of Tax Collector, a position
which is important for its record-keeping role but which
has little or nothing to do with the shaping of public
policy. We might well ask why it is necessary for the
occupants of these offices to be elected. Or take the post
of Constable, which also has its roots in a bygone era of
rural law enforcement. The continued existence of the
office itself is debatable, and it surely no longer
deserves a place on the ballot. It may be useful to amend
the Constitution and the statutes to get government
services like these more in tune with present-day needs.
It goes without saying that virtually every
officeholder in the court house will band with his
colleagues to resist any change that might affect him—
however ineffective the overall system may be. The Local
Government Study Commission of Duval County has the
difficult duty of cutting through whatever layers of self-
interest may prevail to get at the root causes of
confusing, costly, and ineffective local government.

431
hopefully, this Commission will have recommendations for us
by the end of this year for an improved governmental
structure that would be understandable in function,
responsive on election day, and efficient in providing
service. The Study Commission consists of local people who
are involved in a local solution to a serious problem of
local government, and it deserves our enthusiastic support.
This was a WJXT editorial.

432
TELEVISED MONDAY, APRIL 11, 1966/6:00 P.M. AND 11:00 P.M.
The time is appropriate for the community to take a
hard look at the City's mammoth electric power system and
the controls under which it operates. As one of the
largest municipally-owned power systems in the nation it
has a $50,000,000 annual budget which is larger than all
other City expenditures combined. The utility is very big
business, indeed, but there are important weaknesses in its
structure which pose dangers for the public's interest.
At the top of the utility's management structure, it
has been quite obvious that this $50,000,000 business has
been chiefly under the direction of one man—the utilities
Commissioner. The City charter makes the entire City
Commission responsible for the operation of this great
monopoly, but experience shows that this is just so much
window-dressing and that the Commissioners adhere quite
rigidly to the philosophy under which "you run your
departments and I' 11 run mine."
No other public agency in Duval County with
expenditures on the order of those within the electric
power system is left to the direction of any one man. The
hazards of depending on a single executive to make major
planning decisions involving millions of dollars of public
money have come to the fore in recent months in the
controversy over the new Northside generating plant. Other
examples could be cited.
Controls also are grossly inadequate at the level of
the consumer. Let us remember that this i£ a monopoly and
that special precautions are necessary to protect the
public. Most of the electric revenues derived by the local
utility come from outside the City, but the customers who
provide this money are totally deprived of a voice on the
operation of the utility or its rate schedule. Non-city
residents cannot vote for or against the City
Commissioners, nor have they any right of appeal to the
state Public Service Commission, which regulates other
public utilities. This is a thoroughly illogical state of
affairs which subjects a majority of electric customers to
the dictates of a minority.
Since electric service is a countywide function, it
should in some manner be responsive to voters throughout
the county. And because the provision of electric service

433
is a technical and highly complex operation involving
immense sums of public money, some provision should be made
for vesting policy decisions in a board of directors of
some type which would have both the time and the ability to
effectively supervise such a huge operation. We urge the
Local Government Study Commission to give this matter a
high priority in its examination of governmental problems
in Duval County.
This was a WJXT editorial.

434
TELEVISED WEDNESDAY, MAY 18 1966/6:00 P.M. AND 11:00 P.M.
A probe by WJXT News into the purchase and use of
asphalt by the Duval County Commission has produced an
increasingly sticky situation about which four of the
Commissioners—Harris, Morgan, Merrett, and Stockes—have
pleaded ignorance.
The case has several elements, including the fact that
one company—Peninsula Asphalt—has been the sole bidder
for the past three years. During that time the county has
paid Peninsula 10.47 cents per gallon for asphalt which was
supplied to Peninsula by the Shell Oil Company. Oddly
enough, however, Shell's posted market price for similar
asphalt—which is an over-the-counter price f.o.b.
Jacksonville—is 10 cents per gallon. At WJXT' s request,
an inquiry was directed today to the offices of two major
oil companies in Duval County on the cost of asphalt like
that used by the county. One company quoted a price of 9.5
cents per gallon. Not long ago a neighboring county—
Volusia—obtained a bid of 9 cents per gallon f.o.b.
Jacksonville.
The substance of all this is that Duval Count/ s
bidding procedures have produced a price which is higher
than the going rate to private business and at least one
other county. It is impossible to calculate the tax money
that has been wasted on asphalt in recent years, but with
purchases of more than four million gallons involved the
loss must run high into the thousands of dollars.
There are serious questions about Duval's bid
solicitations. One major oil company says it has been
frozen out of the bidding on at least part of Duval' s
asphalt needs by the language of the specifications.
Another mystery surrounds the paving of access roads
to two private firms by county crews using county asphalt.
Court House records do not show that the county submitted
bills for the work, but both firms were billed by Peninsula
Asphalt and one of these companies actually remitted
payment to Peninsula. This is a weird set of circumstances
which the Commissioners have failed to explain.
The Commissioners have indicated they plan to re¬
advertise for bids on asphalt, and this is a constructive
move. But the taxpayers are entitled to much better

435
explanations for the year-in, year-out waste of money which
has taken place. A plea of ignorance does not suffice, for
the responsibility belongs to the Commission.
This was a WJXT editorial.

436
TELEVISED AUGUST 15, 1966/6:00 P.M. AND 11:00 P.M.
If the amount of money wasted by the City of
Jacksonville over the years on automobiles, insurance,
electric utility poles, kerosene, and sundry other items
could somehow be totaled, the figure would be astounding.
The fat contained in any City budget in the last few years
surely amounted to at least half a million dollars, and
conceivably much more. City tax bills have been inflated,
as a result, by two, three, or more mills than necessary.
This is waste on a majestic scale—what the recent Grand
Jury report calls "municipal spending at its worst."
This bounty from the taxpayers has found its way into
the pockets of favored local businesses, and whether any of
these profits ever found their way back to City Hall as
campaign contributions or otherwise is something the
individual citizen will have to decide for himself. City
officials have been decidedly unenthusiastic about
proposals to adopt tighter campaign contribution rules, and
they have almost to a man been unwilling to list the names
of donors in past political campaigns.
The City Commission's responsibility for the
inexcusable conditions described in many WJXT Special
Reports and now confirmed by the Grand Jury is obvious.
This is the body which prepares the budgets and actually
spends the money. The only Commissioner who can argue his
innocence at this point is George Moseley, who assumed the
post of utilities commissioner a few short months ago. For
the record it should be noted that Governor Haydon Burns
was Mayor-Commissioner during most of the period covered by
the Grand Jury inquiry.
But accountability for the City7 s spending spree also
belongs to the nine members of the City Council, whose
annual duty it is to approve the budget submitted by the
Commission. The Council's most ambitious effort in recent
years toward curbing needless spending was a meaningless
resolution calling on all City departments to practice
economy. The Council repeatedly hides behind alleged
limits in the charter on what it can do, and never really
has exercised the powers it has. The Council could have
trimmed the total amount in various insurance or automobile
accounts, for example, but it did not. Not once did the
Council require Commissioners to justify publicly the money
they were asking for cars, insurance, or a hundred other

437
costly items. Not once did the Council raise a public
ruckus over the poor purchasing policies used by the
Commissioners. When the Legislature was in session last
year, neither the Council nor the Commission sponsored a
move to tighten the competitive bidding law.
At least some reforms in the City's purchasing habits
are on the way, but whatever penalty is to be doled out for
the disgraceful record of recent years appears to be
strictly in the hands of the very people who have been
taken to the cleaners: the voters.
This was a WJXT editorial.

438
TELEVISED FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 1966/6:00 P.M. AND 11:00 P.M.
The word "waste" is such a prominent part of the very
fabric of City government that recent disclosures about
Jacksonville's travel expense policies were in no way
surprising. Circuit Court Judge Marion Gooding included in
his list of charges to the Grand Jury last May what he
termed "the waste of public funds by certain officials of
the City of Jacksonville by granting of 'overly free'
travel expenses." His observation that some travel
resembles paid vacations instead of business trips was an
understatement.
There are few limits on what can be spent by City
employees and officials on travel, and only meager
accounting for what is spent. For meals and lodging there
is no ceiling at all, and such feasts as a $58 dinner for
two employees are not uncommon. While transportation
expense is limited to 10 cents per mile if a private car is
used, it becomes in many cases more tantalizing to go by
air or rail where first class passage is permitted. City
Hall gossip long has extolled the delights of "champagne
flights" hither and yon across the country.
But the icing on this very rich cake is what the City
calls a "per diem" payment, which is doled out to travelers
in addition to cash for transportation, meals, and lodging.
This "per diem" can amount to $12.50 per day, and its
purpose, according to the City Auditor, is to provide
pocket money for "tips, laundry, movies, and things." The
state makes no such miscellaneous payment, nor does the
federal government. As a WJXT Special Report noted this
week, the lowest ranking Jacksonville employee can travel
in a style not afforded even to the Governor of the state.
Most of the City* s travel policy is rooted in the
language of the City charter itself. But the law can be
changed, and the fact that not a single member of the City
Commission or the City Council has made an issue of the law
indicates that the city family has been quite satisfied to
bill the taxpayers for luxurious meals, lavish lodgings,
and first-class travel.
Even in the best of times, the City* s ultra-liberal
travel program could not be justified. But today, when
taxes within the City are imposing a hardship on many
people, and when the City is hard-pressed for funds for

439
legitimate needs like a new police building and road
maintenance, the outlays for travel are particularly
inexcusable.
While the legislative delegation should amend the
charter in 1967 to make travel reimbursement more
realistic, the City itself can and should move on a number
of fronts in the meantime to curb such extravagance.
This was a WJXT editorial.

440
TELEVISED WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 1966/6:00 P.M.
AND 11:00 P.M.
Among a number of things for which the City Commission
has been noted in recent years is a distinct unwillingness
to criticize or to penalize its members for violations of
the City charter. The members of this closely knit club
have tended to hid behind interpretations of the City
Attorney when convenient, or to ignore the charter
altogether. On one recent issue, for example, the Mayor
unilaterally declared a provision of the charter
unconstitutional, and that was that. On numerous
occasions, provisions of the charter relating to purchasing
have been violated, but the Commission has failed to have
penalties in the charter invoked.
Against this backdrop, the question arises whether
Commissioner Claude Smith has violated the conflict of
interest section of the charter because of his affiliation
with Southeastern Decorators, Inc., a firm which has been
paid more than $12,000 by the City over the past two years.
In addition to his post on the Commission, Mr. Smith also
serves the decorating company as legal counsel, and
presumably is on its payroll.
It may or may not be a coincidence that Southeastern—
since its incorporation two years ago—has received far
more business from the City than any other decorating
company, but there is little doubt that Southeastern has
been favored by the City over other firms in being granted
storage privileges in City facilities. It is relevant that
Commissioner Smith has direct jurisdiction over the
Auditorium and the Coliseum, where much of the decorating
and exhibiting service has been rendered.
The charter forbids a City official from having any
direct or indirect financial interest in any contract or
job performed for the City. It provides that contracts or
agreements in such cases shall be null and void, and under
certain conditions defines the conflict as a misdemeanor
punishable by a fine or jail term. The nub of the matter
is whether the Commissioner has a direct or indirect
financial interest in Southeastern. Although the
Commissioner and the City Attorney argue that the charter
provision does not apply, it is logical to presume that any
fees paid to Commissioner Smith by Southeastern have come
from revenues which consist in part of public funds paid by

441
the City of Jacksonville. If this does not constitute an
"indirect interest" then the word "indirect" is
meaningless.
If the Commission's behavior is true to form, this
question will be ignored as others have in the past. It
would appear that a final resolution depends on whether
some citizen cares to take the issue to court.
Irrespective of the charter, it is not in the public
interest for a member of the City Commission to be in the
employ of a firm receiving City funds—particularly when
those funds are not derived through competitive bidding.
Mr. Smith's minimal responsibility to the public, it seems
to us, is to sever his connection with one payroll or the
other.
This was a WJXT editorial.

442
TELEVISED FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 1966/6:00 P.M.
AND 11:00 P.M.
With seeming indifference to the intense hurricane of
citizen unrest which swirls arouhd City Hall, the City
Commission and City Council continue to be blind to the
grave moral dilemma posed by the continued participation in
the affairs of the City of officials charged with serious
crimes.
Four of the nine members of the City Council—Mattox,
Lowe, Cannon, and Sharp—have been indicted by the Grand
Jury. Three of them have resigned their committee posts
but otherwise have refused to suspend themselves from
Council activity. Council President Lem Sharp, who still
serves on the important budget committee, not only was
indicted but refused to waive his immunity before the Grand
Jury when asked to testify on matters relating to his
official duties.
While all of these officers are entitled to a
presumption of innocence of criminal activity until proven
otherwise, the public is entitled to protection from the
possibility of further exploitation in the event the
charges are sustained in court. It is wrong that these
four men should be casting votes on vital matters such as
tax assessments, zoning, and budgets. In adamantly
refusing to sideline themselves until the charges against
them can be resolved, they are guilty of perverting the
public trust to which they swore allegiance when they
assumed office.
This moral breach deserves to be repudiated publicly,
but except for Councilman Lavern Reynolds the City* s
leadership has publicly shut its eyes to the whole affair.
The other members of the Council have balked at censuring
their colleagues and urging their voluntary suspension.
Councilman Burroughs, for example, pleads that "public
embarrassment" of the indicted officials would result if he
took part in a censure move, but the fact that the very
integrity of City Government is at stake in the present
situation overrides such a sentimental consideration. The
acute embarrassment now shared by the entire community is
infinitely grater.
Presumably on the basis that it, too, has no legal
means to effect the suspension of the Councilmen, the City

443
Commission has failed to denounce in public the behavior of
the reluctant Council members. But this is a moral
question of great importance which transcends
organizational lines and which calls out for public
protest.
In its most recent report, the Grand Jury scored the
"moral climate in this community which has tolerated most
of the conditions which have been exposed." The results of
last Tuesday7 s election and the continuing recall movement
should be vivid evidence that the public has had its fill
of equivocation and compromise with sound moral principles.
We again challenge the Council and the Commission to
let themselves be heard loud and clear on this issue.
This was a WJXT editorial.

APPENDIX C
SAMPLE OF THE EDITORIALS OF RALPH RENICK
"NO ENCOURAGEMENT FOR SWASTIKA CRACKPOTS"
THURSDAY—JANUARY 7, 1960
The story of human history can be told in terms to
conquer the forces of evil and degradation—the endless
fight against such plagues of the human spirit as poverty,
ignorance, slavery and hate.
Maybe someday, men will conquer these things and
create a united world based on justice and human dignity.
But in the meantime, human nature must go through a long
period of development. We have to contend with all these
things—including hate.
On Christmas Eve—two youths painted a swastika on the
wall of a Jewish Synagogue in West Germany. An unimportant
event in itself—it has given birth to a wave of anti-
semitic incidents which has swept around the free world.
Last night, that wave of hate found its way to
Florida. Swastika symbols, sign of the infamous Nazi
movements of the war years, were found in Jacksonville,
Tampa and Miami.
Note: Hundreds of editorials the editorials of Ralph Renick
were examined for this project. All of the editorials
written by Renick in the 1960s, as well as editorials from
the late 1950s and the early 1970s were read.
Appendix C contains a sampling of the editorials by
Ralph Renick on racial problems. There is an editorial in
which Renick warned that "swastika crackpots" should be
discouraged. There are several editorials warning of the
danger of racial turmoil in Miami. There are editorials on
racial problems in other cities. Finally, there is a
tribute to H.V. Kaltenborn, who was Renick' s mentor. The
editorials are presented in chronological order.
444

445
Who committed these outrages is not known.
Most likely their identities will never be known, for
people of this stripe are sneaks and cowards—they do their
filthy deeds fitfully and under the protective cloak of
darkness.
Governor Collins today reflected the sentiments of the
people of this state when he called the incidents
"despicable." But even this description does not do
justice to the kind of demented hatred and twisted sickness
which would desecrate houses of worship and smear the most
contemptible hatred imaginable with a paintbrush. Law
enforcement agencies should show no quarter in flushing out
and bringing to justice those responsible. In these cases,
it is the whole of society which is threatened and
disgraced—not just one race or religion.
But there is something else to keep in mind. Most of
these paint-wielding crackpots desire only one thing—
publicity.
And while it is incumbent upon the newspapers and
radio and television stations to keep the community
informed of what is going on ... it is also the duty of
the media to see that these incidents are not overplayed—
which merely further encourages an outbreak of further such
incidents.
In November 1958, this community was plagued by bomb
scares. At that time, it was stated in this editorial,
quote, "In an effort to quell such outbreaks, WTVJ News
will endeavor to report such incidents only when these
occurrences result in such extreme action that they
legitimately become newsworthy. We will not overplay these
crackpot actions to give aid and comfort to the cowards
responsible." Unquote.
The same thing applies today. We will not unduly
become a party to these disgusting acts by giving these
criminals what they want—public recognition.

446
"BI-RACIAL COMMITTEES CAN HELP PREVENT MOB WARFARE"
TUESDAY—AUGUST 30, 1960
What has happened in Jacksonville the past few days
demonstrates what can occur when the "hoodlum" element is
allowed to run rampant.
In this case, Whites and Negroes have tangled in a
violent display of mob warfare.
From reports we receive, the undesirable tough guys
from each race moved themselves into combat.
Mob warfare of this kind is a matter for the police
who are charged with maintaining law and order. Thus, the
Jacksonville incidents are a reflection on the ability of
the police to prevent and break up such things.
Further than that, the Jacksonville case is an
outgrowth of a vacuum which has been created in that city.
Sit-in demonstrations had been staged—tension arose—with
the threat of violence. The possibility of disorder was
present depending on how well the leadership of the
community responded to the problem. In many southern
cities, including Miami, the threat of violence was
diminished when leaders made up their minds to face the
problem realistically and in good faith.
Bi-racial committees have helped.
But in other cities, resistance was hardened by the
sit-in demonstrations and moderate leadership was nowhere
to be found. The vacuum thus created was filled by the
mobs.
Mayor Burns of Jacksonville, despite the pleas of
business interests and the City's Ministerial Alliance,
persistently refuses to form a Bi-racial Committee. He
says such committees, "invariably result in decisions to
integrate."
The Mayor, in a way, is abdicating decision-making to
angry mobs.
Unless the political and community leaders of any City
open the way for communication between responsible members
of both races, the problem will continue to simmer like a

447
volcano, ready to erupt in violence with little
provocation.

448
"TRAGEDY IN THE STREETS OF NEW ORLEANS"
THURSDAY—DECEMBER 1, 1960
If there is one great lesson to be learned from the
civil tragedy now being played out in the streets of New
Orleans and the Legislative halls of Baton Rouge, it is the
value of moral leadership and what happens to a community
when that leadership breaks down.
In a pitiful effort to stay the hand of the
inevitable, the lawmakers and officials of Louisiana—with
a few courageous exceptions—have led the people down the
dead end path of school closing and mob rule.
Governor Jimmie Davis had tried to construct a wall
between his state and the Federal Government based on 39
laws cemented together with the specious principle of
"interposition." This wall came tumbling down with a crash
yesterday with the Federal Court ruling said, "The
conclusion is clear that interposition is not a
Constitutional doctrine.
It’s admittedly easy to criticize another State from a
somewhat distant vantage point in Miami, but we feel
particularly bad about the bitter seeds sown by demagogues
in and out of the Louisiana Legislature which have spawned
a bumper-crop of hate and violence. The following action,
this week, by a group of mothers outside a New Orleans
school points this up:
FILM-SOUND AUDIO
WHITE MOTHERS
& LITTLE
CHILDREN —
ONE WOMAN
WITH REPORTER
"We don't want no niggers in our
neighborhood. Why don't you move in a
colored guarter? They got places for
you." (CROWD JEERS—SHOUTS)
"Why should our children have to suffer
for one little nigger? Now, you answer
that. you answer that. One little
nigger and 400 children's got to
leave." (THEN A WOMAN HOLDING A
LITTLE BOY IN HER ARMS TELLS BOY TO
SAY, "Tell the man we don't want to
integrate . . . tell him we don't want
no niggers. ..." (BOY SAYS NO).

449
It is generally accepted that mothers the world over—
even in Louisiana--hold a responsibility to teach their
young the ways of morality, justice and respect for law.
We feel the howling matriarchs of White supremacy in
New Orleans hardly rate for any "Mother of the Year"
awards.
They have not only shamed themselves before a world
audience but there is no telling what scars they have left
on the minds of their own children, such are the tragic
results when the law is flounted and morality is abandoned
to emotion.

450
"THE SCANDAL OF OUR SLUMS"
THURSDAY—JANUARY 12/61
Tonight at 10:30—Channel Four will air a report on
one of the most challenging problems faced by this
community—"The Scandal of Our Slums."
Through years of political vacillation, weakness and
corruption, the Central Negro District has evolved into a
city of shacks and concrete tenements with a population of
40 thousand living in the mire of neglect which reflects
upon every citizen of this area:
AUDIO
This special FYI report will take you
across the tracks and depict the life
and sounds of the 284 acres crammed
with young and old. You' 11 see the
plight of the youngsters—the
deplorable sanitation—and the hopes of
the future. Newsman Ira Eisenberg
talked to one teenager:
(EISENBERG) What kind of problems do
teenagers in this area have? What
activities do you have?
(GIRL) Well, that seems to be our only
problem. We don't have any activities
for them—after school activities, that
is. When we come home and get cleaned
up, we don't have any place to go
unless you go downtown to the library.
And then they complain about teenagers
in the nightclubs and that's the only
kind of activities we have—the night
clubs.
(END SOUND)
Miami must make a massive assault on the problem armed
with weapons adequate to the task.
Any area of any city would look and smell like a slum
if zoning abuses were allowed—laws not enforced—garbage
and trash allowed to accumulate—public recreational
facilities neglected and the area left to drift by itself.
ROLL FILM (SIL)
SHACKS & ALLEY
KIDS
GARBAGE CANS
LITTLE GIRL
SOF:

451
So, it is not easy to write off the problem by saying,
"It's only colored town."
Next week the City of Miami begins public hearings on
a new zoning law—the first based on sound planning and
recognition of future needs.
The Apartment Owners Association is strongly opposed
to the new plan which would help future construction in the
Negro district. To us, this testifies to the potential
effectiveness of the needed changes.
January 30th, the City Commission will consider
adoption of a Minimum Housing Code setting standards for
occupancy of any unit.
The revised zoning law and minimum housing statute are
both steps in the right direction.
This community, to be progressive, cannot tolerate the
slums.
A further report on this station tonight at 10:30.

452
No. 1402
Tuesday, February 25/64
RACIAL DANGER SIGNS APPEAR IN MIAMI"
Nine months ago the Metro Commission named 18 persons
to its newly created Community Relations Board. The Board
was to work in the field of maintaining good human
relations between all human segments of the county--all
races, creeds and colors.
The Board has made a good start at defining the
problems and in meeting certain emergency situation.
But we were interested in the farewell remarks to the
Board by its interim Executive Director Seymour Samet who,
on February 15th, returned to his full-time post as Florida
Director of the American Jewish Committee. Mr. Samet
outlined some of his concerns:
He said that: "Miami, long noted for its superficial
attendance to the major problems of our times, has muddled
through on economic planning, urban growth and social
welfare."
He pointed up some danger signs of possible upcoming
trouble.
Plans are being considered for sit-in demonstrations
at one of Dade's major industries. Block-busting realtors
are already at work selling homes to Negroes in previously
all-White neighborhoods. Home builders and civic
associations are planning resistance tactics.
Only a small percentage of this community's Negro
children attend integrated schools—this may lead to
greater pressures from the Negro community to accelerate
the pace of integration.
Negro groups are also getting restless to the
"tokenism" exhibited in employment opportunity and public
accommodation in hotels and restaurants.
Mr. Samet mentions one other potential trouble area:

453
He says despite the contributions made by Cuban
refugees, antagonism toward them continues—they are
becoming the scapegoats of our many ills.
Mr. Samet's farewell address to the Community
Relations Board was a frank, honest and fearless evaluation
of what might happen here—that we are enmeshed in a
revolution—not an evolution.
The Board has a difficult task ahead, but the job can
be made easier by the understanding and support of the
community at large.

454
No. 1420
Tuesday, March 24/64
JACKSONVILLE RACE RIOTS GIVES FLORIDA BLACKE-EYE"
Florida's progress in the field of race relations is
being given a "black eye" by developments in the past 24
hours in the state's second largest city—Jacksonville.
Once before, in 1960 Jacksonville was the scene of flare-
ups over racial picketing and sit-ins. Organized bands of
young Negroes roamed the streets four years ago, striking
at one place, disappearing and striking blocks away.
The demonstrations ended with the appointment of a bi-
racial committee which managed to bring about some
improvements for the city7 s Negroes—integration of many
public buildings such as the City Auditorium, Sports
Coliseum and 'Gator Bowl. But the city swimming pools were
closed and a city park turned to other uses rather than
submit to integration.
Jacksonville and its elected officials have been
anything but enthusiastic over recognizing the need for any
improvement in the field of race relations.
Finally, the bi-racial committee, frustrated in its
efforts to achieve meaningful communication between city
officials and the Negro community disbanded a month ago.
Meanwhile, the Ku Klux Klan has remained active—
holding weekly meetings; the home of a Negro child
attending an all-white school was dynamited.
The Negroes of Jacksonville decided to conduct these
latest demonstrations after the Mayor of that City Haydon
Burns announced on a Sunday TV show that he was deputizing
496 firemen as special police to hold the Negroes in check.
This raised to nearly 1,000 the number of officers
available to hold the line.
Florida has made some progress in race relations. But
in Miami lines of communication have remained open between
Negro and White leadership. Miami has had no violence—
Miami is moving peacefully ahead at the moment—the Negro's
main complaint is the slowness of the pace.

455
But in Jacksonville, the Negro has been told, in
effect, "Stay in your place." And a thousand police and
firemen are there to make sure they do. But, as the past
24 hours have shown, it won't work. Unfortunately,
Jacksonville city officials refuse to recognize that the
entire state of Florida must suffer as a result.

456
No. 1473
Friday, June 29/64
FLORIDA' S OLDEST CITY BUCKING OLDEST PROBLEM"
The oldest city in America has one of the oldest
problems in America—racial turmoil.
But not only St. Augustine is in the glare of national
attention. What happens in St. Augustine is reflective on
the entire State of Florida.
We know of many people who have cancelled plans to
visit the New York World's Fair after learning of muggings
on the streets and subways and violence in the New York
area. Thus, the overall image of New York has affected
people's travel plans.
St. Augustine is similarly interpreted by Americans as
somehow indicative of what is going on in Florida. Miami
and other sections have had an enlightened attitude toward
improving race relations. Despite this, however, these
cities may very well suffer because of the troubles in one
city 300 miles up the coast.
The unfortunate part of St. Augustine's problem is the
reluctance to reach any sort of compromise. Martin Luther
King and his demonstrators have adamantly continued their
publicity-inspired efforts to put the spotlight on St.
Augustine. King's success has been due to the unbending
attitude of the cit/ s leadership to communicate with the
Negro community.
A crack in the dike appeared earlier in the week when
the Grand Jury of St. John's County recommended a 30-day
cooling off period, after which a bi-racial committee would
be set up. King today came back with a counter-peace
proposal to call off demonstrations for one week if the
Grand Jury, which went into recess yesterday, would
reconvene and put to work immediately a bi-racial
committee.
The Jury foreman responded by saying the Jury would
not be intimidated nor would it negotiate nor would it
change its mind.

457
Responsibility would appear to be the key word in the
dispute.
The lack of leadership in the past has provoked the
present crisis which can only be solved by an awakened
leadership which recognizes the rights of all—black and
white.

458
No. 1536
Monday, November 9/64
JACKSONVILLE SCHOOL CRISIS AFFECTS STATE"
Jacksonville tonight stands on the brink of a major
crisis in its schools.
A powerful Florida committee of the Southern
Association of Colleges and Schools will recommend at the
Association's November 30th Louisville convention that the
15 public high schools in Duval County be discredited.
This should chill the heart of every citizen of Duval
and Jacksonville—whether he be a parent or not.
The Florida Committee wants the Duval high schools
dropped from the accreditation list because of "inadequate
administrative facilities and poor financial support."
This is a drastic measure. The Southern Association
follows its branch committee's recommendations 99 per cent
of the time.
Dropping the Jacksonville high schools from the
accredited list makes them practically useless--graduates
are not recognized anywhere in the country—the diplomas
are not accepted by colleges and universities.
WFGA-TV, WOMETCO's sister station in Jacksonville,
reports tonight that the Ü.S. Navy has hinted it may pull
its facilities out of the community if the schools are
rendered useless with the loss of accreditation.
The Jacksonville School System had been warned a year
ago that it faced such a loss unless improvements were
made.
The community apparently sat on its hands and did
nothing.
It's ironic that all of this comes about on the first
day of American Education Week.
We in Dade County, with the nation's seventh largest
school system, should take a moment to reflect on what we
have and its importance.

459
With a budget of 126-million dollars a year, the
school system is the single biggest user of tax money.
Over 200,000 students are enrolled from kindergarten to
junior college. But a good school system just doesn't
happen. It takes public interest, hard work and planning.
And the people of the community are the ones that make it
work or not.
The thoughts of a child coming out with a diploma that
is not accepted in most colleges is a thought too
distressing to dismiss.
Our school system is only as good as we want it to be.

460
No. 1668
Tuesday, June 15/65
BROADCASTING LOSES A PIONEER"
There was a time in this country—as a matter of
fact —around the entire world, when the voice was all
powerful.
Before the days of television, roughly from 1920 to
1950, radio was supreme master of the airwaves and a
hundred different voices range out—some good—some bad.
These were the days of strong opinions, of vocal vibrancy,
of personalities that spoke their minds and didn't care
whether people agreed with them or not.
It was a stimulating era of thought development. Some
think it was broadcasting's finest hour.
One of the men largely responsible for pioneering free
expression on radio was H. V. Kaltenborn.
The Dean of Commentators died yesterday at the age of
86. He had just returned to his New York home Saturday
from his Palm Beach winter residence.
Mr. Kaltenborn's death leaves a void in the ranks of
those few men in broadcast opinionating who have achieved
an emeritus ranking.
Ed Murrow as another. He, too, has left us.
If I may be permitted a personal note—it was Mr.
Kaltenborn who was directly responsible for my entrance
into the broadcast news profession. The year was 1949.
Mr. Kaltenborn established a Foundation to enable
graduating college students to undertake a research
investigation in the communications field. The Kaltenborn
Foundation awarded me its first Fellowship and I came from
the University of Miami to WTVJ—Florida's first TV
station—to pursue my investigation of TV news.
In the years since, Mr. Kaltenborn has been a steady
supporter, as well as a constructive critic, of my efforts
in broadcasting.

461
He was an inspiration to all of us latter day toilers
in the vineyard he planted back in 1924. To his very end,
H. M. Kaltenborn, even at the age of 86, kept a keen
interest in all tings. His deep interest in professional
quality in radio and TV news never diminished.
His final broadcast words were recorded just three
weeks ago. On May 26th, he visited the campus of Florida
Atlantic University at Boca Raton. His interview comments
were video-tape recorded. Here is a portion of the final
public words of H. V. Kaltenborn talking about today's
radio-TV news:
VIDEOTAPE AUDIO
H.V. KALTENBORN: "There's too much commercialism. We
need to utilize everything associated
with radio a more constructive way; in
a way that makes for education; that
makes for learning; that makes for
knowledge rather than in a way that
makes for commercialism. We have let
ourselves go on commercialism to too
large an extent."
H.V. Kaltenborn' s integrity and search for knowledge
and the truth leaves a heritage for all of us to carry on.
We will miss him.

No. 1686
Monday, July 12/65
RACIAL DISHARMONY STIRRED AT NEW SCHOOL SITE"
We in Dade County like to boast that we have had no
serious racial disturbances. What we perhaps forget is
that this has come about not through any miracle, but
through sound, reasoned work by a great many people.
This is demonstrated at the moment by the intelligent
and forward thinking of the Community Relations Board which
has offered a solution to the Richmond Heights school
construction hassle.
The situation brings into focus the term: De facto
segregation.
This simply means that segregation is in existence
because of the residential patterns of certain areas. If a
given area is nearly all Negro, you end up—although
unintentionally—with a segregated school. While one can
maintain that this is nothing more than reflecting existing
residential patterns, the larger point is that through the
schools isolated segregation can be brought to an end in
the years ahead.
Observe any first grader in today's world. He neither
cares nor is overtly aware that his seatmate is black or
white.
If this attitude is adopted in the first grade, his
generation is well on the way to avoiding all the racial
misery the nation is going through.
In the Richmond Heights controversy, the Negroes do
not want just another new school that will continue the
pattern they seek to break out of.
The Community Relations Board has proposed that two
moderate-sized schools be built to serve both Richmond
Heights and Colonial Heights.
In these two areas, there are 1,058 school children—
700 Negro and 358 White.

463
By building two smaller schools; one in a
predominantly White area and one in a predominantly Negro
area, access will be afforded children of both races to
intermingle.
find the CRB also recommends that any parent not
wanting his children to attend either school will have the
option of transporting them to other schools.
Dade is faced with a true test of maturity and
progress.
We have a good record of racial harmony but this only
counts if we keep our record intact when the problems get
big.

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Brechner, Joe. The failure of the rabble rousers. WLOF-TV
editorial. 7 September 1961.
. Letters to the editorials. WLOF-TV editorial. 13
September 1961.
. How dangerous are crackpots? WFTV-TV editorial. 11
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1963.
. The shame of Jackson. WFTV-TV editorial. 1 July
1963.

473
. A Klan warning. WFTV-TV editorial. 15 July 1963.
. Progress in race relations. WFTV-TV editorial. 30
July 1963.
. Does desegregation hurt business. WFTV-TV
editorial. 9 August 1963.
. The Birmingham tragedy. WFTV-TV editorial. 16
September 1963.
. Partial civil rights. WFTV-TV editorial. 11
October 1963.
. Rabble in Marion. WFTV-TV editorial. 24 October
1963.
. DuPont Foundation award. WFTV editorial. 22 March
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. Klan investigation. WFTV-TV editorial. 2 April
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8 December 1965.
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25 July 1966.
. Violence and civil rights. WFTV-TV editorial. 26
July 1967.
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July 1967.
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1967.

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Clear and present danger. WFTV-TV editorial. 17
November 1967.
1968.
. A sense of outrage. WFTV-TV editorial. 8 April
_. Equal justice and protection. WFTV-TV editorial.
25 April 1968.
Davis, Norm, WJXT Editorial, 10 September 1962.
. WJXT Editorial, 15 November 1962.
. WJXT Editorial, 19 June 1963.
. WJXT Editorial, 27 September 1963.
. WJXT Editorial, 3 October 1963.
. WJXT Editorial, 4 March 1964.
. WJXT Editorial, 28 May 1964.
. WJXT Editorial, 18 March 1965.
. WJXT Editorial, 9 April 1965.
. WJXT Editorial, 16 April 1965.
. WJXT Editorial, 22 April 1965.
. WJXT Editorial, 29 April 1965.
. WJXT Editorial, 6 May 1965.
. WJXT Editorial 11 March 1966.
. WJXT Editorial, 25 March 1966.
. WJXT Editorial, 11 April 1966.
. WJXT Editorial, 18 May 1966.
. WJXT Editorial, 15 August 1966.

475
Renick, Ralph. No encouragement for swastika crackpots. 7
January 1960.
. Striptease ordinance stripped. 20 January 1960.
. Honky tonk crackdown continues. 29 January 1960.
. B-Girl joints like 'charge-it' business. 5
February 1960.
. Police Chief Headley comments on honky-tonk
cleanup campaign. 9 February 1960.
. The heat's really on for strip-joint owners. 11
March 1960.
. Honky tonk crackdown continues. 22 July 1960.
. Bi-racial committees can help prevent mob warfare.
30 August 1960.
. Louisiana, not another Little Rock, 14 November
1960.
. Tragedy in the streets of New Orleans. 1 December
1960.
. The television editorial. 21 June 1963.
. Racial danger signs appear in Miami. 25 February
1964.
. Jacksonville race riots give Florida black-eye. 24
March 1964.
. A lesson to be learned from Jacksonville. 25 March
1964.
. Racial harmony Is everyone's business. 7 May 1964.
. Voting in Florida should not be a black and white
issue. 29 May 1964.
. Florida's Oldest City Bucking Oldest Problem. 19
June 1964.

476
. St. Augustine casting shadow on entire state. 29
June 1964.
. Broadcasting loses a pioneer. 15 June 1965
. Civil rights Is everybody's job. 2 July 1964.
. Capital punishment in Florida. 2 February 1965.
. The message finally gets through. 9 May 1973.
. A hard look at Miami riot control. 12 August 1968.
. A time for facts, not rumors. 28 July 1967.
. Act now or surrender. 13 September 1966.
. An unfortunate misunderstanding. 8 June 1973.
. Beyond the Kitchen Door. 6 April 1973.
. It finally happened here. 8 August 1968.
. Keeping the racial balance in Miami schools. 18
April 1968.
. Let's keep Miami cool this summer. 16 June 1967.
. Miami is not like Selma. 12 July 1965.
. Racial disharmony stirred at new school site. 13
July 1965.
. Violence sometimes teaches a lesson. 16 August
1965.
. The price of corruption. 6 September 1966.
. What are you saying, Chief McNutt? 17 November
1966.
. What is the hoax? 16 February 1967.
. The violent end of a man of peace. 5 April 1968.

477
. Squelching the spread of racial rumors. 16 May
1968.
. Southern heritage: Living on without Dixie. 27
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. Tough talk for a tough situation. 24 October
1968.
. The reason why. 28 March 1973.
. Viewers speak on Channel Four's restaurant series.
12 April 1973.
. There ought to be a law. 16 April 1973.
. The restaurant men who can't stand the heat—
should stay in their kitchens. 16 May 1973.
Government Documents
U.S. Federal Communications Commission. 1941. The Yankee
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U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Broadcast Actions of
the Federal Communications Commission Washington, DC.,
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Bissell, Windsor. 1997. Interview by author, October 10,
Jacksonville Beach. Tape recording.
Brechner, Marion. 1998. Interview by author, 22 April,
Winter Park, Florida. Tape recording.
. 1998. Interview by author, 9 March, Winter Park.
Tape recording.
Davis, Norm. 1997. Interview by author, 6 October, Miami.
Tape recording.
Dean, Walter. 2000. Telephone conversation with author, 1
May. Hand-written notes.

478
Fuqua-Cardwell, Kathy Amick. 1998. Interview by author, 20
February, Orlando. Tape recording.
Garrard, Patricia, Renick's sister. 2000. Interview by
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Martin, Richard. 1997. Interview by author, 15 October,
Jacksonville. Tape recording.
Pinder, Father Nelson. 1998. Interview by author, 9 March,
Orlando. Tape recording.
Renick, Ralph, Jr.. 2000. Interview by author, 12 March,
Miami. Tape recording.
Renick, Richard, Ralph's brother. 2000. Interview by author,
11 March, Miami. Tape recording.
Ruester, Ray. 1998. Telephone interview by author, 26
February. Tape recording.
. 1998. Telephone interview by author, 23 April.
Tape recording.
Spiedell, Rosalie, Ralph Renick's mother. 2000. Interview by
author, 11 March, Miami.
Tanzler, Hans former Jacksonville mayor. 1997. Telephone
interview by author, 7 November. Tape recording.
Thomas, John. 1997. Interview by author, 8 November,
Talahassee. Tape recording.
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Alexander, S.L. 1992. May the good news be yours: Ralph
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Anderson, R., Dardenne, R., and Killenberg, G.M. 1996. The
American newspaper as the public conversational
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165.
Barney, Ralph. 1996. Community journalism: Good intentions,
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Barrett, Edward W. 1966. Once opposed, Columbia dean okays
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Carey, James. 1985. The problem of journalism history.
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Corrigan, Don. 1997. Racial pledges, gang summits, election
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Einstein, Paul. 1967. Camera on corruption. The Quill,
(May) 12.
Glasser, T.L., and Craft, S. 1996. Public journalism and the
prospects for press accountability. Journal of Mass
Media Ethics, (11,3): 152-158.
Hartung, B. 1981. Attitudes toward the applicability of the
Hutchins report on press responsibility. Journalism
Quarterly: 58 (3)(Fall): 428-433.
Hodges, L. 1996. Ruminations about the communitarian debate.
Journal of Mass media Ethics, (11, 3): 133-139.
Holmes, Robert. 1957. The broadcasters' duty to
editorialize. Journal of Broadcasting (Spring): 141.
McIntyre, J. S. 1979. The Hutchins Commission's search
for a moral framework. Journalism History 6,2,
(Summer): 56.
McIntyre, J. S. 1987. Repositioning a landmark: The Hutchins
Commission and freedom of the press. Critical Studies
in Mass Communication (4) : 136-160.

480
McMillin, John E. 1964. Voices in a new democracy.
Television Quarterly (Summer, Vol. Ill, No. 3): 27.
Merritt, Davis, Jr., and McMasters, Paul. 1996. Merritt and
McMasters debate public journalism. Journal of Mass
Media Ethics (11,3, 1996): 171-183.
Mitchell, Catherine C. 1990. The place of biography in the
history of women. American Journalism, vol. 7, no.
1, (Winter): 23-38.
Unsigned. 1958. The editorial: TV finds its voice.
Television Quarterly (Winter,): 21.
Unsigned. 1985. Radio-TV newsmen prod themselves. Editor and
Publisher. (25 October): 65.
Willey, Susan. 1998. Civic journalism in practice: Case
studies in the art of listening. Newspaper Research
Journal, 19 (Winter): 16.
Lectures
Tripp, Bernell. 1998. Class lecture in Biography as
History, 26 August, University of Florida.
Winn, Billy. Lecture in Problems and Ethics in Journalism,
University of Florida, Spring 1996.
Magazine Articles
Ho merger, Michael. 1966. How TV can move a city into
action. Television Magazine (October) : 43.
Miami's restaurants were bugged until we blew the whistle.
1973. Broadcasting (20 August) : 42.
Shepard, Alicia. 1996. The Pew connection. American
Journalism Review (April): 24.
Television raises its voice. 1958. TV Guide, (23
April): 5.

481
Miscellaneous
National Association of Broadcasters. 1959. Editorializing
on the air.
Renick, Ralph. 1959. Statement to the FCC, Washington, D.C.
(Docket number 12782, 15 December).
WTVJ-TV. 1958. The Television Editorial (March).
Monographs
Blanchard, M.A. 1997. The Hutchins Commission, the press and
the responsibility concept. Journalism Monographs
(May): 11.
Danna, Sammy R. 1965. Broadcast editorializing. Freedom of
Information Center Publication No. 141, School of
Journalism, University of Missouri.
Newspaper Articles
AP. 1967. Reds down five copters near Saigon. Florida
Times-Union, 8 August, A-l.
. 1967. Negroes stage Capitol protest. Florida Times-
Union, 8 August, A-l.
As Negro houses burned at Ocoee great mass of ammunition is
exploded. 1920. Orlando Morning Sentinel, 4 November,
1.
Block, Alex Ben. 1973. Taking notice. Miami News, 13 April,
15.
Buchanan, Jim. 1968. 14 Negro students arrested after UM
demonstration. Miami Herald, 15 May, 1A.
Crosby, John. 1958. TV finally dares editorials on news.
Detroit Free Press, 10 March, cited in Cusack, 201.
. 1958. TV stations with opinions. New York
Herald Tribune, 9 March, Sec.4, 1.
Crouse, Richard. 1966. Commission flayed on city insurance;
Jurors condemn actions. Times-Union, 1 July, A-l.

482
Disneyworld to aid area. 1967. Florida Times-Unión, 1
August, B-l.
Dr. King's plea moves seventeen Rabbis to join St. Augustine
protest. 1964. The New York Times, 5 June, 18.
Eiland, Darrell. 1973. Restaurant business slumps. Miami
Herald, 15 May, 2B.
Era of progress, hope has ended Miami Negro says. 1968.
Miami Herald, 5 April, 20A.
Feldkamp, Robert H. 1968. Tattered "army of the poor"
reaches D.C. promised land. Miami Herald, 14 May, 1A.
Florida Negroes are pessimistic. 1968. Miami Herald, 5
April, 13A.
Foley, Michael. 1988. A challenging new dimension to
service. The Irish Times, 1 April, 23.
Forrestal casualty list includes six local men. 1967.
Florida Times-Union, August 1, B-l.
Forty years of service, 1925-1965. 1965. Miami News
Supplement, 14 July, 12
Friedman, Saul, 1968. Choice is massive change or riots.
Miami Herald, 15 May, 10A.
Gordon, M. 1996. Civic journalism: Involving the public.
Seattle Times, 17 April, B5.
Gould, Jack. 1949. The FCC issues a report on the right of
broadcasters to air their views. New York Times, 12
June, 9.
Grace, Arthur. 1957. Renick takes a big step without any
controversy. Miami News, 9 September, 12A.
Green, J.C. 1966. Grand jury blasts city in car purchases,
use. Times-Union, August 13, A-l.
• 1966. Grand jury probe into alleged city waste is
ordered. Florida Times-Union, May 28, A-l.

483
Gruzner, Charles. 1968. End papers. New York Times, 13
April, 23.
Guardsmen leaving Milwaukee as Detroit emergency ends. 1967.
Florida Times-Union, August 8, A-l.
Hoey, Tom. 1967. Most Neptune residents at meet oppose
merger. Florida Times-Union, July 14, B-l.
Hughes, Frank. 1947. The professors and the press. Chicago
Tribune, 27 April, 22F.
It's the silly season again. 1967. Editorial, Clearwater
Sun, 19 April.
Jacobs, Sam. 1973. Goldberg would strengthen law on dirty
restaurants. Miami Herald, 12 May, 2B.
Langguth, Jack. 1963. 3 in sit-in beaten at Jackson store.
New York Times, 29 May, 1.
Lundy, Walker. 1966. An aggressive grand jury drops
political bombs. Cocoa Today, 30 October.
Major merchants will integrate sales force. 1963. Orlando
Sentinel, 11 June, Al.
Martin, Richard. 1967. We recommend consolidation. Florida
Times-Union, August 8, A-l.
. 1967. Consolidation proposal faces final test at
polls tomorrow. Florida Times-Union, August 8, A-l.
Michaels, Bob. 1981. Renick, Cronkite: Parallel goes deeper
than style. Palm Beach Post, 3 March, 85.
Nashville—our metro model; How goes consolidation there?
1967. Florida Times-Union, August 1, B-3.
Negro gangs roam D.C.; No shooting. 1967. Florida Times-
Union, 1 August, A-l.
Race protest start vowed in St. Johns. 1964. Florida Times-
Union, 27 May, 29.

484
Radio editorials. 1949. New York Times, 4 June, 12L.
Rasmussen, Maria. 1967. 100,000 turnout is forecast today
for merger vote. Florida Times-Union, 8 August, A-l.
Roberts, Jack. 1966. The carpers. Miami News, 16 September,
3A.
Shatzin, Kate. 1999. Ways to shake up the news media;
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Shister, Neil. 1982. The Renick regime turns 30. Miami
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Sigler, Joe. 1967. Consolidation scores big victory. Florida
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Sosin, Milt. 1967. Gunman sentenced for Renick threat. Miami
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Special study of riots urged. 1967. Florida Times-Union, 1
August, A-l
St. Augustine mob attacks Negroes. 1964. New York Times, 26
June, 1.
Stadium brawl blamed on troublemakers seeking to exploit
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Two members of council endorse consolidation. 1997. Florida
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UPI. 1967. 637th U.S. plane felled over North. Florida
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- 1967. House votes $75 million anticrime bill.
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. 1967. Warships shell Red positions. Florida Times-
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• 1967. U.S. employment hits record high in July;
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485
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Yardley, J. 1996. Fast Eddie slows down. Atlanta
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State of the First Amendment: A survey of public
Attitudes, a Freedom Forum survey, Nashville,
TN.

486
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Unpublished Manuscripts
Brechner, Joe. Circa 1990. What I always say, Orlando,
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Glover, Joe. 1997. Media influence on city-county
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Web Sites
Pew Center for Civic Journalism, Http: / /www.newr.enter.org
Poynter Institute, Http://www.poynter.org/connect.htm

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Joseph Lawrence Glover received his bachelor's degree
from the University of Miami in 1961. He spent the next
thirty-five years working in radio and television news,
stopping in markets, large and small, all over the country.
He worked in Miami, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, New
York, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Francisco, Salinas, and
Detroit. He reported from Korea, Germany, Italy, the
Caribbean, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. After
semi-retiring to scuba dive for two years, he returned to
academia, receiving his master's degree from the University
of Florida in 1997 and then stayed to pursue his doctoral
degree at UF. He will begin work as an assistant professor
of telecommunication at the University of Florida in fall
2000.
487

I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Professor of Journalism and
Communications
I certify that I have read this study and that in
my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
stroff 'hj
David H. Ostroff
Professor of Journalism and
Communications
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
c
Bernell E. Tripp /¿7
Associate Professor of Journalism
and Communications
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Communications

I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Thomas P. Auxter
Associate Professor of Philosophy
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate
Faculty of the College of Journalism and Communications and
to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of
Philosophy.
August 2000
Dean, College of Journalism and
Communications
Dean, Graduate School




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