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Emus Loose in Egnar: Big Stories from Small Towns Hardcover – July 1, 2011
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Muller, a Peabody Award winning reporter, had become weary of hearing - and even contributing to - discussions about the demise of print journalism. She wanted to see if there was a bright spot anywhere in an otherwise dismal landscape. The author, who lives part of her time in the small town of Norwood, Colorado, is a reader of the Norwood Post. She saw that the Post filled a vital need and played an important role in the life of her tiny community. It occurred to her that there may be other papers with similar roles out there in the hinterlands. She set on a journey to find out. The result is her engaging new book, Emus Loose in Egnar: Big Stories from Small Towns.
The quirky title is explained in the course of her discovery that print journalism is, indeed, alive and well, even thriving in places like Boonville California, Huntington West Virginia, Dutch Harbor Alaska, Concrete Washington and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.
Muller spent time getting to know reporters, photographers, cartoonists, editorial writers, publishers, readers and even advertisers to uncover a rich tapestry of journalism in rural America. She focused on newspapers with circulations much smaller than the overruns of big city publications. A few of the more evocative mastheads include the Telluride Daily Planet, West Virginian Hillbilly, Canyon County Zephyr, Dutch Harbor Fisherman, Tundra Drums and my favorite, Original Briefs, from Hardin, Montana.
The lead story in Emus Loose in Egnar, is that, along with bread and butter accounts of births and deaths, marriages and high school sports, are stories as convoluted, complex and compelling as any on the nightly news.Read more ›
January 9 (2010): People caused a traffic hazard on State Route 20 near Marblemount because they were standing in the road, taking pictures of eagles. (That's right: IN the road). A deputy checked the area and also notified the Washington State Patrol and Darwin Award Officials.
It's a hundred entertaining pages more before we even get to the loose emus and where the name "Egnar" came from. This is one of the more delightful books I've read lately, a thorough accounting of the present state of weekly newspapers from Tennessee to Alabama to Colorado and California, written by someone who does and teaches, a professor at the Annenberg School as well as a correspondent for ABC, CBS, PBS and NPR. She knows whereof she writes, and she's a pretty good writer, too.
The conflict central to publishing a hometown newspaper is that you live next door to the people you're writing about.
One night in 1961, in the small town of Canadian, Texas, nine-year-old Laurie Ezzell awoke to the sound of a rock crashing through her bedroom window. It left a hole in the screen and shattered the glass. She was startled but not surprised. "Dad's written another editorial," she thought.
And he had, and Laurie, now succeeded to her father's job, is writing editorials of her own.
...while the mainstream media may have to worry about libel suits, they do not have to worry about living next door to the folks they cover. "I take some comfort," says Laurie, "that I have to live with the consequences of my stories. I have to look this person in the eye.Read more ›
Judy Muller scans the local scene, nationally really, and tells you why the local press is still alive and well, all in crisp and fun story telling.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a good look at some of the thriving small comity newspapers out there where print survives and thrives.Published 11 months ago by N. Wilstach
One newspaper owner mentioned in here is a friend, so we can now toss right out the window all hopes of this being an impartial review! Read morePublished on July 13, 2014 by Forrest S. Wood
After the first couple of chapters I wanted to run out and buy a small town paper. (Thank goodness that passed.) Great reading even if like me you aren't in the journalism biz. Read morePublished on April 13, 2014 by Wenn Schon
I wanted to give this 4 stars, really I did, but a few days of thinking about the book left me with this middle of the road rating. Read morePublished on November 18, 2011 by H. Laack