WELH AND LATER WEIU

RADIO AND TELEVISION FOR CENTRAL ILLINOIS

PART F

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205.

EASTERN DAILY NEWS GROWS AND GETS INTO CONTROVERSIES

. . . controversies, in which the NEWS was even temporarily suspended. Both controversies would involve the Board of Governors. One even included a "blue ribbon" committee appointed by then Illinois Governor Otto Kerner. Briefly, these controversies were:

NEWS ACCUSED OF INACCURATE REPORTING

In 1959, the NEWS was accused of repeated inaccurate reporting of news items. The NEWS had become anti-administration. The student editor, Bruce Schaeffer was asked to resign. Dr. Francis Palmer, the NEWS advisor, defended the editor. Dr. Quincy Doudna, EIU President at the time took the side of ridding Schaeffer of his job. Schaeffer's removal was upheld by the governing board for the university. President Doudna won his case also. Schaeffer and Dr. Palmer were removed from NEWS. Ken Hesler was named advisor. I asked my mom what she thought of all this and she told me that her feelings about Doudna changed quite a bit. She took the side of Francis Palmer. Of course, her opinion didn't matter to anyone involved. Her connection to Dr. Doudna cooled a bit [Note the warm note in 1960 from Dr. Doudna, p. E-17 of the WLBH Mini-History].

HESLER GETS IN OWN CONTROVERSY

In 1964, Mr. Kesler would have his own controversy, when student editor, Jon Woods was fired. In December of 1963, Woods reported on a research project he had personally paid for and undertook to reveal alleged "BUILDING IRREGULARITIES" on the Eastern campus under Quincy Doudna. Hesler prevented publication in the NEWS of some of the details of Wood's story because of fear of liability. He also asked that Woods be removed from his editorial position.

BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE APPOINTED BY GOVERNOR KERNER TO INVESTIGATE WOOD'S REPORT

 

Governor Kerner took the charges of "Building Irregularities" very seriously. He appointed a committee to investigate the whole mess. In the end, some "false economies" were discovered, but there were no illegal activities proven. Doudna ended up firing Woods. Kesler would resign for a brief time. Constance Schneider would become the new student editor.

CHARLESTON/MATTOON GROCERY AND MEAT MARKETS INVESTIGATED BY THE NEWS

In 1974, the NEWS took on the most extensive investigative story of its history to that time. Complaints were being made by EIU students that local grocery stores were selling high fat ground beef. Illinois law stated that ground beef should have no more that 30% fat content. In October of 1974, the story came out; James Pinsfcer was the editor in charge of the story. Nine stores in Charleston and Mattoon were investigated. Lab reports indicated that in at least one of the two sample test days, the fat content was in violation of state guidelines. The Pinsker stories received state attention. Area grocery stores were then investigated by the Illinois Food and Drug Administration. Pinsfcer would win first place in the "news writing" category of the 1973 annual newspaper judging contest of the national journalism fraternity (Pi Delta Epilson). The NEWS also won a very prestigious award with first place among 100 top newspapers in the country.

EASTERN DAILY NEWS ENTERS THE 1990ís WITH THE SAME DETERMINATION AND MOTTO:

"Tell the truth and Don't Be Afraid."  It seems that an editor for the EASTERN DAILY NEWS in the 1990's would have to be very bold and brave to be as effective as the editors of its past.


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