Author Archives: Bob Stepno

About Bob Stepno

mild-mannered reporter who found computers & the Web in grad school in the 1980s (Wesleyan) and '90s (UNC); taught journalism, media studies, Web production; retired to write, make music, photograph sunsets & walks in the woods.

Who was that masked reporter?

A 19th century cub reporter faces an extra challenge on a big story in the “Race to the Wire” episode of The Lone Ranger. His competition is the villainous Jay Collins, so mean he is rumored to have killed another … Continue reading

Posted in 19th century, adventure, competition, ethics, historical figures, racial justice, reporters, westerns, wire services | Leave a comment

TV is news, and a risky business… Radio and newspapers say so

https://archive.org/download/OTRR_Dragnet_Singles/Dragnet_51-08-09_113_The_Big_Screen.mp3 The Los Angeles Daily News is the real hero in this August 1951 “Dragnet” episode, The Big Screen, part of an Old Time Radio Researchers group collection at the Internet Archive… A reporter on the paper’s TV-radio beat has … Continue reading

Posted in 1950s, columnists, newspapers, photographer, Police, reporters, reporting, television, true stories, undercover | Leave a comment

Military radio tells Stars & Stripes History

Back in 1947, “The Voice of the Army” used radio-drama techniques to tell the history of the U.S. armed forces newspaper, Stars & Stripes, begun during World War I. https://otrrlibrary.org/OTRRLib/Library%20Files/U-V%20Series/Voice%20Of%20The%20Army/Voice%20Of%20The%20Army%20xx-xx-xx%20(363)%20The%20Stars%20and%20Stripes-A%20Newspaper.mp3 The radio show itself was a post-World War II Army … Continue reading

Posted in 1940s, historical figures, journalism, newspapers, true stories, World War II | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Newspaper fights exploitation of immigrants

It was 1938 when the Daily Sentinel and publisher Britt Reid — as The Green Hornet — took on a Citizenship-Insurance Racket. https://otrrlibrary.org/OTRRLib/Library%20Files/G%20Series/Green%20Hornet,%20The/Green%20Hornet%2038-05-05%20(0234)%20Citizenship-Insurance%20Racket%20(aka-Political%20Racket).mp3 A corrupt ward politician, Joe Desmond, runs the scam, tricking naive immigrants into paying $100 for what … Continue reading

Posted in 1930s, crime, editors, GreenHornet, journalism, newspaper crusades, Police, political corruption | 2 Comments

The Future of News Could Be Risky

“Inside Story” by Richard Wilson, was a 1957 episode of the science fiction series “X-Minus-One.” It featured a reporter for “Galactic News Service” (GNS) investigating a mysterious epidemic on a colonized planet. (Curiously “X-Minus-One” was for part of its run … Continue reading

Posted in 1950s, adventure, journalism, reporters, science fiction, sensationalism, undercover | Leave a comment

Soaps and Circulation

An editor and “ace reporter” debated the news value and audience interest in a sensational murder case — versus coverage of the Korean War — in this December 1950 episode of “The Guiding Light” soap opera. http://otrrlibrary.org/OTRRLib/Library%20Files/G%20Series/Guiding%20Light/The%20Guiding%20Light%2050-12-19%20Newspaper%20Has%20Story%20About%20Murder.MP3 Joe Roberts of … Continue reading

Posted in 1950s, courtroom, crime, ethics, Korea, newspapers, reporters, reporting, sensationalism, soap opera | Leave a comment

A Truman-era Front Page!?

In 1948, ABC radio tried out an updated version of the Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur newsroom classic The Front Page as a 13-week summer-replacement series. Newsroom-background sounds set the opening scene, not unlike the start of the gender-shifted Front … Continue reading

Posted in 1920s, 1940s, adaptations, detectives, Drama, editors, Hildy Johnson, newspapers, radio | Leave a comment

News that depended on people

… and people depending on a newspaper On International Women’s Day in a pandemic year, I’m listening to a radio play about a woman reporter on a medical story, Dorothy Patterson of the Paterson, N.J., Morning Call. While most episodes … Continue reading

Posted in 1950s, children, Drama, local news, newspaper crusades, newspaper readers, The Big Story, true stories, women | Leave a comment

Liz Lane, not Lois….

“I haven’t got a farm; I haven’t even got a windowbox,” the magazine columnist admits, when she realizes her habit of spinning fables about country living may destroy her career — just in time for the holidays. I wrote this … Continue reading

Posted in 1940s, 1950s, adaptations, ethics, magazines, movies, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Columnist, ethics & blackmail

https://archive.org/download/OTRR_Mr_and_Mrs_North_Singles/Mr_and_Mrs_North_52-03-04_ep439_TCOT_Heavenly_Body.mp3 “Mr. & Mrs. North” was a long-running husband and wife detective series in books and radio, reminiscent of the “Thin Man” movie series. The Internet Archive holds about 80 episodes from the 12-year run of the series, but collector … Continue reading

Posted in 1940s, columnists, detectives | Leave a comment