Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Journalism professor's lessons live on

Journalism professor's lessons live on

It was 37 years ago when we met, a frightened student and a rumpled teacher in an awkward moment that changed a life.

It was a hot early summer day in the rural Midwest, and I was wandering the empty halls of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, a state college in a swatch of pastures and woods down the highway from my parents' home. It was the only place that would take me, the only place I could afford, a commuter school where I was initially housed in a dank church basement next to a reeking oil refinery.

After enrolling with a few strokes of a pen, I wandered to the small cubbyhole that housed the school's journalism department. At that point in my 18-year life,...

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