Sunday, September 09, 2007

Harold W. Andersen Announces World-Herald Departure

by Kyle Michaelis
Under the guise of entering the "electronic telecommunications age" upon the suggestion of friends, it appears the Omaha World-Herald is finally kicking former editor and publisher Harold W. Andersen to the curb after years of filling its opinion page with increasingly insufferable inanity.
Andersen is, of course, an institution in the Nebraska press, but his ultimate legacy is one of unprincipled partisanship, protecting and projecting the World-Herald's singular position of power in Nebraska politics.  Andersen has always been keenly aware of the World-Herald's influence, and he has never been shy to use that influence to advance the paper's corporate, conservative agenda - in its reporting as well as on its opinion page.  Since retiring as publisher in 1989 (after being implicated in a series of bizarre allegations involving influence-peddling and even child sex abuse), Andersen has been been officially confined to duties as a twice-weekly columnist. But the spirit of his reign has survived pretty well intact.  One hopes the symbolism of Andersen's departure, the need for change in the face of declining readership, and a new generation of reporters and columnists untainted by past regimes might allow for a true change of course at the World-Herald, embracing an ethic of responsible reporting that actually challenges Nebraska's powers that be rather than positioning itself for pre-eminence amongst them.  But, let's face it - this is the World-Herald, folks. I wouldn't count on it.  By the way, Andersen promises that he will continue to make new columns available at after his last World-Herald column on September 30th. Thank God for that. I can't imagine what the people of Nebraska would do without Andersen telling us what to think.

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