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.

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

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

Posted in 1950s, 19th century, adventure, folklore, historical figures, reporters, westerns | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in 1940s, 19th century, cavalcade, civil rights, historical figures, women | Leave a comment

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

Posted in 1940s, competition, editors, publishers, westerns | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, civil rights, historical figures | Leave a comment

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