Congratulations on your fiftieth anniversary. But I was disappointed in your erroneous statement that the award-winning St. Louis Journalism Review (SJR)—among other regional reviews—“didn’t make it” (“Opening Shot,” CJR, November/December 2011), and in your refusal to publish a correction. St. Louis recently celebrated SJR’s fortieth anniversary with a gala event. Yes, in recent years, the survival of SJR was threatened many times. However, the commitment of its readers, writers, and contributors helped overcome these difficulties. We found a willing partner in the journalism school at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. SJR transferred there last year. We added the name Gateway Journalism Review to reflect its expanded focus to sixteen Midwestern states. The cover of every issue states “The St. Louis Journalism Review presents the Gateway Journalism Review.” The St. Louis operation continues under editor Roy Malone. To paraphrase another Missourian, the report of our death has been greatly exaggerated.
Founder, editor/publisher emeritus
St. Louis Journalism Review
St. Louis, MO
The editors respond: It is good news that the spirit of the St. Louis Journalism Review lives on under a different name, business model, institutional host, and mission. For those reasons, we chose not to run a correction, but are happy that we could provide our readers with more of the story.
Three Cups of Context
Alissa Quart’s “The Long Tale” (CJR, September/October 2011) says that writer Jon Krakauer came to 60 Minutes in 2010 with “his findings” about Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson, and the mismanagement of his charity that builds schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It goes on to say that “as is typical for television, the show was slow to get his story on the air…. So Krakauer decided to write about Mortenson himself.”
While it is true that Krakauer came to 60 Minutes with his concerns and suspicions about Mortenson, he had done no formal reporting on the story at that point, and had no intention of writing an article. Krakauer said his interest was personal and altruistic. He had known Mortensen for a long time, had donated a substantial amount of money to his cause, and felt strongly there was an important story here. We told Krakauer that if we were going to put anything on the air about Mortenson, we would need to report and verify every aspect of the story. We also made it clear that it could take months to dissect the finances of Mortenson’s charity, check out its schools, and find people who were willing to appear on camera. Krakauer agreed and offered to help us. The result was a seven-month investigation that proceeded on separate, but parallel tracks. In the end, Krakauer appeared as an on-camera source for our story and also decided to write his own long-form account, which appeared on Byliner.com shortly after the 60 Minutes story aired.
The reason it took so long to put this story together is because it was ground-breaking and complex, and we wanted to make sure we got it right. The segment 60 Minutes broadcast on April 17, 2011, was the product of more than 120 interviews conducted in eight languages.
We would have told CJR all of this if anybody from the magazine had contacted us.
Correspondent and Co-Editor
CBS News / 60 Minutes
New York, NY