MARCH 8, 1947
PORTLAND, Ore., Friday—Yesterday morning, Mr. Sheldon Sackett drove me to Vancouver, Wash., to visit the plant of his newspaper, which I told you about yesterday. It certainly looks like a busy place. Mr. Sackett told me he had started setting type when he was 8 years old, so I suppose the newspaper business is in his blood. He is branching out into the radio field as well.
I have never been able to make up my mind how good this combination of newspaper and radio really is. If the right people use both mediums of communication and really let different opinions be freely expressed, there is no reason why the two mediums should not be used together for reaching the public with news and information. If, however, they were joined at any time to prevent the free flow of information, it might be very harmful to have a combination of the two.
The public is really at the mercy of those who gather and disseminate the news, and in a way this business of furnishing information is a public utility. It affects the trend of thinking and, unless it is free and impartial, it does not give people a chance to make up their own minds. In other words, the newspaper and the radio have a great responsibility to the public. As far as I can see, Mr. Sackett's experiment in joint ownership of his paper shows a recognition of the stake the public has in this business.
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On my return to Portland, I spoke to a gathering of Reed College students in the chapel. And then, at 1:30 the delegates to the Pacific Northwest College Congress met in the chapel for their opening convocation.
So many of the men in these colleges in the Northwest are returned soldiers and, in many cases, look older and more serious than the average college undergraduate. Having them in a college such as Reed has increased the understanding of the other undergraduates of how hard you work when you are in a hurry to start your career. Many of the veterans are married and have to live in a town 10 or 12 miles away from the college, which means a lot of travel both ways every day.
The League of Women Voters, one of the organizations sponsoring this Congress, gave a tea from 4 to 6 for the delegates and the members of the faculty of nearby schools and colleges. It was interesting to see there young people from Holland, Siam, Czechoslovakia, and various other countries.