Week of April 21, 2004

Unreal Estate
No quo: "Stiffed Again," Unreal's gratuitous comment on the Excellence in Journalism award given to Richard Meyers, Webster University president, bespeaks a profound ignorance of publications less profit-oriented than the New Times corporation, owner of the Riverfront Times [April 7].

After subsidizing the St. Louis Journalism Review for 25 years, we decided to search for another source to underwrite SJR. After contacting various institutions, we decided on Webster University, a progressive school with a strong media department, under the leadership of Dr. Meyers. He was eager to accept that burden fully aware that SJR would remain utterly independent as is evident when reviewing the issues in the ensuing eight years.

Without Dr. Meyers' agreement to make SJR a part of the Webster family, it is quite possible that SJR, the only local journalism review in the country, would have had to close its doors.

No, Dr. Meyers is not a journalist, but he had done more for a responsible press in St. Louis than most journalists. His decision to enable SJR to provide a journalistic forum for alternative views which offers truth in journalism (at least they try), and to maintain university policies to establish a wall of separation between SJR and the interests of Webster University, make Dr. Meyers eminently qualified for the award.

A conflict of interest implies a quid pro quo. The only quo Webster receives is the knowledge that it is keeping alive an independent media critic.

Incidentally, it was my suggestion to establish this award and I am delighted that SJR has done so.
Charles L. Klotzer, founder and editor/publisher emeritus
St. Louis Journalism Review

Bye-bye Bergie: Unreal can give Jerry Berger a hard time ["Berger Bit," April 7], but we should all remember that he devoted considerable space in his column to organizations that help others.

Long ago, he was the first St. Louis journalist to write about abusive clergy. His mentions of our group in the early 1990s helped dozens of hurting victims find comfort and solace. For that, we will always be grateful to Jerry.
David Clohessy, national director
SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)
St. Louis

He vanished without a trace: Although "Berger Bites" never really got off the ground due to his retirement, isn't it strange that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has dropped all mention of him as though he was yesterday's news? I had contacted their letters-to-the editor-desk with some critical comments immediately subsequent to his announced retirement, and I would have expected at least one other person to have contacted them with something complimentary to say about Berger. However, the P-D ignored the subject in its entirety.

Does this, perhaps, imply that P-D management was not too enchanted with Berger's contributions?
Rich Gerding
Concord Village

Ding, Ding, Ding
A win-win-win situation: I want to compliment Mike Seely on his excellent article about the possibility of reviving trolleys in St. Louis ["Trolley Follies," April 7]. His feature not only was well-researched and well-written, but it included an incredible amount of information in its compact two pages.

I hope that a downtown transportation circulator becomes a reality. I also hope that a fixed-track vintage trolley system that connects the Loop to Forest Park becomes a reality. The Loop trolley will further stabilize the neighborhood and improve the quality of life for people who live and work in this exciting, diverse urban area. By attracting more residential and commercial development, it will be a great economic stimulator that could attract ten times what it will cost to build. Not only can the trolley be an attraction for visitors, it can be a source of pride for the metropolitan area. And most importantly -- it can be used as a prototype for stabilization and development in other neighborhoods.
Joe Edwards
University City

The Lou lag: Why is it that St. Louis always seems to be on the catch-up end of things? Heaven forbid that instead of all the shortsighted individuals who seem to be governing our fair city with all their squabbling over this or that, that we would have some strong private businessmen that have some common sense take the lead and get St. Louis out of the shadow of our neighboring cities.

Take Memphis, for those who have ventured that far: They have a wonderful trolley system that takes visitors from the Pyramid to the downtown area with space for both pedestrians and motorists. Yes, the initial cost will be more expensive, but once it is in place it will last for years. No offense to all the "experts" who have undoubtedly studied the impact of rail versus rubber at a nominal cost to us taxpayers, but if you gave me a choice of a bus made out of wood with some brass and bells and the real thing, the real thing would win hands-down. My trip to Memphis sticks out in my mind because of their real trolley system. I doubt that it would have if I had been on a faux bus.

When will all the people with all the money figure out that sometimes you shouldn't skimp on the real thing? With each success, the people of St. Louis win, the city wins and the investors win.
David Horst
St. Louis

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