Lots of folks love St. Louis, but is there anybody who conveys his passion for his hometown to so many people and to so many places? It's not enough that he has a column in the biggest fishwrap in town; he also hosts talking-head programs on local public radio (St. Louis on the Air
) and on public television (Mosaic
). He's headed local journalism organizations and served on the board of national journalism groups. He's an advisor to the student paper at his alma mater. Unlike some of his colleagues at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
, he dutifully tends his online chat room, offering news and views and occasionally even a rant or two. If that's not enough, Greg Freeman teaches at Washington University, and whenever an emcee is needed for a worthy event, he's there, man!
Has all that exposure stretched Freeman too thin? Not hardly. Greg campaigns to populate downtown's barren streetscapes with hotdog vendors and mimes. He gets miffed when a Chicago Sun-Times
columnist takes a shot at St. Louis, puffs Metropolis' tours of city real estate and slaps City Hall for not marketing St. Louis better. The city's "lack of self-promotion is near-criminal," he thundered in March. But seriously, Freeman -- a 20-year veteran of a newspaper that's seen amazing turnover in recent years -- is so genuinely upbeat and positive and hopeful for the human condition that when he's pissed, you know he's pissed. Just consider his angry column enumerating, one by one, allegations of racial discrimination at the Adam's Mark hotel chain. Sure, Greg was mad at the racism, but he was also mad because Fred S. Kummer & Co. let his beloved St. Louis down. We cheer for Greg because Greg cheers for us.