Sunday, April 24, 2022

John Ford and T. R. Hanrahan: Another kind of journalistic courage

My admiration is unlimited for those men and women who are covering the war in Ukraine, risking their lives in pursuit of the truth.

When we think of courage in news coverage, it is natural to think of the war correspondents, but there are quieter forms of courage in journalism and two examples of such coverage were provided locally by two men who sadly are no longer with us.

John Ford guided the Neosho Daily News during one of the most difficult times in that newspaper's existence.

While the owners of the paper at that time, GateHouse Media, seemed determined to win a race to the bottom, Ford not only kept the paper afloat, but produced a quality product that the newspaper's owners did not deserve, but the paper's readers did.

During the whole time he was dealing with bosses who wanted him to do more with less and cut his staffing to the bone, Ford was also battling crippling health problems that eventually took his life.

T. R. Hanrahan had a different kind of courage, one in which truth was a guiding beacon and he would not let anyone, not even the people who determined his employment stand in the way of finding it.

When Hanrahan served as the adviser for Missouri Southern's award-winning newspaper, the Chart, he encouraged a group of young reporters as they pursued the truth, discovered it, and published it, a credit to their journalism skills and Hanrahan's guidance, but the cause of a trip to the unemployment line for Hanrahan.

Thankfully, he lived long enough to see his boss, Bruce Speck, also get the old heave ho and Hanrahan had the decency not to sing the one-hit wonder's Pink Slip Blues as the Speck area ended at Missouri Southern.

The stories of John Ford and T. R. Hanrahan are featured in my book Remembering: People Who Touched Our Lives.

Remembering is available at Always Buying Books, The Book Guy and Changing Hands Book Shoppe in Joplin and at the Lamar Democrat office in Lamar.

Signed copies can also be ordered directly from me through the PayPal buttons above or below, or by sending a check for $25 (including shipping and sales tax) to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. A, Joplin, MO 64801.

Eleven years ago today: Death, destruction hit Joplin, Missouri

(This post was originally published on the Huffington Post and the Turner Report on May 23, 2011 and is included in the 10th anniversary edi...