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.

Does “Foreign correspondent” deserve quotes?

https://archive.org/download/otr_chanduthemagician/49-02-03_BLACK_STEPS.MP3 “I never thought we’d really know a foreign correspondent!” the two youngsters gush, in an early scene of this 1949 radio drama.“Oh now children,” says their mother. “Stop acting as if he’s a foreign correspondent in the movies.” The … Continue reading

Posted in 1940s, adventure, foreign correspondents, stereotypes, villains | Leave a comment

Praying for a Free Press?

“The Family Theater” was a classic old time radio show that ran from 1947 to 1957 with an unusual sponsor: Prayer. But it also found itself telling the stories of newspaper editors and reporters from time to time… So here … Continue reading

Posted in Colonial America, courtroom, editors, historical figures, History, journalism, New York City, newspapers, political corruption, publishers, true stories, women | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Editor takes on publisher’s pal: Big Town 1937

https://otrrlibrary.org/OTRRLib/Library%20Files/B%20Series/Big%20Town/Big%20Town%20371123%20006%20Fake%20Accident%20Racket.mp3 I’m finally catching up with the first year of “Big Town” with Edward G. Robinson… the long-running series that eventually adopted a “flaming sword” slogan paraphrased at the top of this blog. I have long been curious about the … Continue reading

Posted in 1930s, Big Town, crime, detectives, Drama, editors, ethics, journalism, tabloids, technology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Minnie Pearl with the news

https://archive.org/download/GrandOleOpryOtr/023-GrandOleOpry09-25-43.mp3 In a rare crossover between my personal research interests in Old Time fiddle music and Old Time Radio, I stumbled onto the Grand Ole Opry of September 25, 1943, with Cousin Minnie Pearl being introduced as “our girl reporter … Continue reading

Posted in 1940s, folklore, local news, newspapers, women | Leave a comment

A Clue in the Clouds

https://archive.org/download/OTRR_Casey_Crime_Photographer_Singles/Casey44-02-2633TheClueInTheCloudscaseyPressPhotographer.mp3 Long before the advent of Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure, “The Clue in the Clouds” was a technology-rich episode of “Casey, Press Photographer,” more often known as “Crime Photographer,” one of the longest-running old-time radio dramatic series to feature … Continue reading

Posted in 1940s, Casey, newspapers, photographer, reporters, women | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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