Author Archives: Bob Stepno

About Bob Stepno

mild-mannered reporter who sank into computers and the Web during graduate school in the 1980s and '90s, then taught journalism, media studies and Web production, retiring to write and play more music.

Wild Bill still makes headlines

58-10-12_Episode36_Aces And Eights –5.7 MB Frontier Gentleman was a high-class radio Western about a London Times reporter sending home dispatches from the American Frontier… frequently about people being dispatched. In this episode, a colorful lady named Calamity Jane introduces the … Continue reading

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Abolitionist editor Jane Grey Swisshelm

The sound of a whip on a silent slave’s back opens Troublesome Jane, an original 1949 Cavalcade of America episode about editor Jane Grey Swisshelm launching an abolitionist newspaper in Minnesota before the Civil War. (“Aren’t there any hacksaws in … Continue reading

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A Cowtown Newspaper War

https://archive.org/download/OTRR_Frontier_Town_Singles/Frontier_Town_49-xx-xx_ep19_Five_Gun_Final.mp3 “Five-Gun Final,” an episode of “Frontier Town,” finds a wild west lawyer hero and his W.C. Fields sound-alike sidekick investigating a new newspaper that is trying to put the responsible competition out of business through the 19th century equivalent … Continue reading

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A brief journalism career preceded his Nobel Peace Prize

https://archive.org/download/DestinationFreedom/DF_49-02-20_ep034-Peace_Mediator.mp3 It’s not every dabbler in journalism who uncovers a murder, reports the crime despite a threat to his life, then goes on to get a doctorate from Harvard and years later win the Nobel Peace Prize, like Ralph Bunche. … Continue reading

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Black Journalists Mattered, 1944

“New World A-Coming” was a New York radio station WMCA series begun during World War II, based on a book by the same name by journalist Roi Ottley, exploring issues of patriotism and racial prejudice in the United States… including … Continue reading

Posted in 1940s, civil rights, Drama, historical figures, journalism, Race, racial justice, reporters, stereotypes, true stories, World War II | Leave a comment

The Post Office, the Press & Hoppy

https://archive.org/download/OTRR_Hopalong_Singles/Hopalong%20Cassidy%2051-05-12%20%28071%29%20The%20Bandit%20of%20Blackton%20Bend.mp3 Plenty of communication media here, as Hopalong Cassidy and his comedy sidekick California track The Bandit of Blackton Bend … The crime is a Post Office robbery and murder, while the editor of the financially-troubled local newspaper is too … Continue reading

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Newsman as canary in a coal mine?

A newspaper takes on the dangers of coal mining — and the power of the local mine owner, a banker who threatens a takeover of the newspaper, in this vintage 1940 episode of Big Town, “Deep Death.” (Click the title … Continue reading

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Maybe the stories were true

https://archive.org/download/OTRR_Lux_Radio_Theater_Singles/Lux_Radio_Theatre_45-12-10_505_Guest_Wife.mp3 “Guest Wife” was a 1945 film and corresponding Lux Radio Theater production, with foreign correspondent Don Ameche returning from India to collect something like a Pulitzer Prize. Unfortunately, as ethical as his reporting from India may have been, he … Continue reading

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Hollywood royalty meets a journalism Royall

The folks at DuPont’s Cavalcade of America made three attempts at telling the story of 19th century journalist Anne Royall, but the first one, in 1940, was something special. That’s despite her introduction as a “little old woman who lived … Continue reading

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Newspapers, charity and a nose for news

Wealthy owners have long been part of American newspapers, for better or for worse. This Green Hornet episode, Dead Man’s Topcoat, opens with a visitor asking newspaper publisher Britt Reid to write a check for $1,000 because a local charity … Continue reading

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