Grading the Sunday Star

Dateline: Sun 08 Mar 2015

A former editor at the Evansville Press used to say, on a day when stories were reported exceptionally well,  "The paper is very readable today."

Here's what I found readable in today's Sunday Indy Star:

*Sports reporter Zak Keefer's look at the late sports editor Bob Collins' contributions to covering black basketball in the days when Crispus Attucks High School made history. The story not only outlined the racial tension in the city and state but delved into Collins' infamous alcoholism (and, the paper's enabling). Many good anecdotes and quotes from Collins, showing his deft writing style. 

Keefer did his digging, reporting former sports editor Jep Cadou's defense of the racial status quo. Cadou believed, apparently, that black players with 'jumping jack legs' and the ability to dunk the ball were not playing the sport as it was intended. Collins saw it another way, and nothing could stop his bold writing.

This is a 60-year-old story.  It was March 1955 when "Attucks players persevered over death threats, racial bigotry and partisan referees on their way to a historic state title." 

Keefer includes meaningful insight from Milan bb star Bobby Plump, who was walking around the big city before the big game. Drivers would see the Milan team, roll down their windows, and "...shout at us, 'Go beat those (expletive) n----s!" Says Plump, "I'd never heard (that language) before."

Excellent history lesson.

*'That Ayres Look' by Leslie Bentley and Will Higgins, which highlights the Indiana Historical Society's exhibit, 'You Are There: That Ayres Look.' True, the story consists of yet another list: '10 Fun Facts from L.S. Ayres & Co. History.' But the writers pack a lot of fun punch, including the info that Fort Wayne native Bill Blass had his first fashion show at Ayres in 1958; that Ayres once boasted the city's top bookstore, but only three people showed up when author Kurt Vonnegut was there to autograph 'Slaughterhouse Five' -- and all three were relatives (many of us know this story, but we still chuckle); and the quote former fashion editor Betsy Harris pulled from then-Ayres president Daniel Evans in 1992, when the store was closing: "The problem is a lot of people are nostalgic about it, but they chose not to shop down there. Nostalgia cannot be turned into sales dollars."

*Deft handling by columnist John Ketzenberger on the 'religious freedom bill,' which, Ketz notes, will simply result in 'a litigation nightmare," says Cameron Carter, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce's vice pres of economic development. "We believe Indiana doesn't need this when there is already federal protection on the books," he adds (no kidding). In case you have any doubt about the lawsuit angle, a letter to the editor from an IU law professor argues that we do need this bill because federal protection is not enough. But then, he understandably wants "valuable guidance to Indiana courts" so everyone can have their proverbial day in court.

*Gregg Doyel's Page 1 sports column on the fights that have been breaking out at Indiana school basketball games. Doyel talks about where some of these fights have occurred, the root cause (we are filled with anger) and suggests that, if we don't get our emotions and impulses under control, games may be played in empty gyms. 

I believe it was Friday that I heard a sports show on WIBC radio address the issue, but still....good reporting.

Anyone else like other stories? 



hendy [Member] said:

With only the online drek to view, I go there no more. The local rag, the Herald Telephone, removed some popular comic strips, and an 8 year old's epithet became an Internet 'viral' sensation.

They removed Doonesbury along with Peanuts in an ostensible dispute over cost, thereby reinforcing both the publisher's conservatism, and a race to ensure that his low costs match his IQ.

2015-03-09 07:31:04

Jon [unverified] said:

Both Peanuts and Doonesbury are recycled: the Star is running Peanuts from before I was born, and Doonesbury from not that long afterwards.


2015-03-09 13:20:22

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

Comics are the canary in the coal mine. I did a promotion with King Features many years ago, featuring comics. Spent time with King people, who explained the importance of Sunday comics being the beginning of lifelong newspaper readership in young persons. Like smokers, if you can get them young you can keep them old. I fear that strategy is no longer valid.

2015-03-12 08:43:51

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