Thursday, April 13, 2006

On the Passing of William F. Woo

On the Passing of William F. Woo

I was surprised to read today that former St. Louis Post-Dispatch editor and columnist William F. Woo passed away Wednesday in Palo Alto, California, where he had been a journalism professor at Stanford since his retirement from the Post in 1996. (The University also has an article about him.)

I met Bill Woo once, in summer 1995 as part of a speakers series during the Missouri Scholars Academy for high school students at UM-Columbia. I found him to be insightful, thoughtful and charming.

I recall reading his columns which often were thought-provoking. I even have copies, somewhere, of the special pull-out section on the construction of the Gateway Arch, from 1965-66. His byline was in there many times as a long features writer.

It's folks like Woo, who spent most of his career at the Post and was editor for about ten years, that continued to maintain its reputation for quality into the 1980s and 1990s, even as the Pulitzer family lost interest in the day-to-day operations of the source of their family fortunes.

His term as editor, of course, spanned the period when the Post-Dispatch was still a dominant force in local media, with the Globe-Democrat having folded up and the Newhouse family entering into a joint-opearating agreement with Pulitzer, and with the World Wide Web not yet a force for information distribution.

William F. Woo will be missed.

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