MARCH 7, 1947
PORTLAND, Ore., Thursday—At a dinner I attended last evening, a newspaper owner told me about his plan for a free press. He evidently thinks that no press can be free except as its owners make it free and, on his small paper in Vancouver, he is trying an experiment of joint ownership in which the members of the unions working in the plant are his partners. At the top of the paper, this legend is printed: "Owned by the men who run it, run by the men who own it." It seems to me it will be worth watching this experiment.
Many things have been tried. For instance, for a while a New York paper took no advertising so that it could not be influenced by its advertisers. Some people feel that the tyranny of the subscriber is felt by many papers, for while a newspaper is supposed to lead in creating public opinion, it very frequently abdicates that position and molds its opinions to suit its audience, which makes it the slave of the subscriber.
A really free press is a very difficult thing to obtain, and I often wonder whether those who clamor loudly for it in this country really want a free press or a press which they are free to run in their own way.
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When we arrived in Portland yesterday morning, we found the daffodils blooming. Portland's winters are usually rather rainy, but yesterday the sky was blue and the sun was shining brightly.
The day was nice and peaceful on the whole. In the morning, I was visited by the press, who asked me many things of consequence about the United Nations, and a few such inconsequential things as when would I get my driving license back and what did I think of the spring fashions. Not having had any time to look at the spring fashions, I was woefully ignorant that they were as yet ready for consideration.
In the afternoon, my granddaughter showed us around the campus of Reed College. There is no question, from what I hear on every side, that the students here think first about their work. The library into which I glanced was filled with students. This college is run on an interesting system. No class attendance is taken, but the standard of work is so high that the youngsters do comparatively little else but work. Sunday is their only free day, and even much of that has to be devoted to study. Dr. Peter H. Odegard, the president, tells me that the trend in the choice of courses is towards preparation for a way to earn a living, with less consideration for an all-round preparation for life.
At 4 o'clock, I went into Portland for an interview on a local radio station and was presented with a lovely corsage of Portland roses and lilies-of-the-valley. I must say that the City of Roses lives up to its reputation, and the bunch I found in my room are fragrant and beautiful.