Century-old ax murders highlight News at Noon

Cover of 'The Ax Murders of Saxtown'A century-old unsolved murder and the newspaper reporter who tracked down the story are featured at the next News at Noon, sponsored by the St. Louis Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Missouri History Museum.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch crime reporter Nicholas C. J. Pistor will discuss the family massacre at the center of his book, “The Ax Murders of Saxtown: The Unsolved Crime that Terrorized at Town and Shocked a Nation.” His talk will be Thursday, April 10, in the AT&T Room on the lower level of the Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Boulevard.

SPJ’s monthly News at Noon is free of charge.

Pistor has reported on and written about some of the biggest crimes in the Midwest and has been a consultant for CBS’s “48 Hours” true-crime series. He has appeared on nearly every major television news network. He grew up a few miles from the Saxtown murder scene, where talk of the crime kept him awake as a boy. He currently lives in downtown St. Louis.

Audience members are invited to bring a sack lunch or purchase one from Bixby’s Restaurant on the museum’s upper level.

For more details, contact Janette Lonsdale at 314-223-0235, or Janette@TheRedStairs.com.

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Early registration for Region 7 Spring Conference ends today

Region 7 Spring Conference logoToday is the last day for early registration for the Society of Professional Journalists’ Region 7 Spring Conference, scheduled for April 25-26 at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan.

The student registration rate is $50 through today, while the SPJ member rate is $75 and the non-member rate is $100. After today, the rates go up to $75, $100 and $125, respectively.

Another early bird discount applies to the conference hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton at 10100 College Boulevard in Overland Park. Room rates are $89 until April 10, when they go up to $149. (Mention the Region 7 conference when making reservations.)

SPJ’s regional conferences offer the chance for Society members and prospective members to meet, greet, and share ideas. They close the gaps in distance between chapters, for at least one weekend, and foster a greater sense of community.

The conference starts with a get-together Friday evening at Hayward’s Pit Bar B Que, a Kansas City culinary landmark, at 11051 Antioch Road. Dinner will be covered in the registration fee, but bar drinks are separate.

Saturday’s sessions include advice and instruction on basic photojournalism, basic audio editing, job-searching, ethics, TV news coverage, and tips on dealing with public information officers.

So, register today, and save yourself some money.

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News at Noon explores lockdown at Kirkwood High School

Kirkwood High School lockdownWhen an undercover KSDK (Channel 5) reporter walked unchallenged into Kirkwood High School, triggering a lockdown, the media became the news story.

KSDK’s visit was one of five made by the television station to schools in the region, according to the Webster-Kirkwood Times. The station had intended to expose lapses in school security. Instead, it tested the boundaries of journalism ethics.

The St. Louis Chapter’s News at Noon panel this month will explore the Kirkwood school lockdown and whether “testing” school security systems in this manner can be justified in light of the mass shootings in U.S. schools in recent years. Among the questions that will be addressed:

  • Is the greater good being served when reporters exhibit vigilance regarding school security and student safety?
  • How important is it for journalists to consider the impact their intrusion might have on students?
  • Under what conditions is undercover journalism acceptable and what rules should reporters observe?

The speakers include:

Dale Singer, education reporter at the St. Louis Public Radio/Beacon since 2008. During 28-plus years at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he specialized in covering education.

Elizabeth Donald, a reporter at the Belleville News-Democrat for more than a decade who writes about city and county government, courts, education and the environment. Donald is a member of the national Society of Professional Journalists’ Ethics Committee.

Ginger (Fletcher) Cayce, the chief communications officer for the Kirkwood School District since 2008.

News at Noon is co-sponsored by the Missouri History Museum, which will host the presentation at noon Thursday, March 13, in the museum’s AT&T Room on the lower level. The museum is at 5700 Lindell Boulevard, on the north side of Forest Park at DeBaliviere Avenue. Food will not be provided; however, guests are invited to bring a brown-bag lunch or purchase one from Bixby’s Restaurant on the museum’s upper level.


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What is St. Louis’ impact on media history?

STL250 LogoThis year, St. Louis turns 250, and in recognition the February News at Noon panel discussion, co-sponsored by the Missouri History Museum, will examine the region’s contributions to the media industry. Panel members include:

  • Johnny Rabbitt (Ron Elz), a radio broadcaster in St. Louis since 1954.
  • Pat Gauen, assistant Metro editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and a former reporter and managing editor for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.
  • Steve DeBellis, former publisher and editor for the St. Louis Inquirer who now publishes a Globe-Democrat free paper that recounts historic events.
  • Charles Klotzer, founder of the Gateway Journalism Review, which began as the St. Louis Journalism Review more than 40 years ago.

The free event begins at noon Thursday, Feb. 13, in the AT&T Room on the lower level of the Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Boulevard, on the north edge of Forest Park at DeBaliviere Boulevard. Networking starts at 11:30 a.m. Guests are invited to bring a lunch or purchase one from Bixby’s Restaurant on the museum’s upper level.


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