William F. Woo, the former editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, later a journalism professor at Stanford, and through it all one of the best people in the world, died yesterday. Some of you have probably heard me talk about him - I took an opinion writing class with him, and I just loved him. We all did. The class was a delight. He made us feel talented and special and loved. It's not the stereotype of a journalist that people seem to have today - he was sweet and reflective and very, very smart. I remember someone saying once that if you mentioned his name around the P-D, even years after he'd left, a cloud of love and delight would rise up in the newsroom.
The best way to remember him is to read what he wrote. So:
Each week he wrote a letter to the students. Here's one on journalism.
I didn't know he'd gone to a Unitarian church. This is a profile of a project that takes middle-class folks to the Tenderloin.
Something else from UUWorld about the purpose of journalism.
A letter on thanks and truth.
And this beautiful piece he wrote when he was leaving the Post-Dispatch. They've put up a whole page of his columns, some of which I've read before. I can't wait to get home and read the rest.
I suppose he must have had flaws - I know he did, he wrote about them. But he was an inspiration and a pleasure to be around, and I'm sorry I missed my last chance to get in touch.