Author Lauds Achievements of Small-Town Community Newspapers

What better place for Pacific Palisades native and veteran journalist Judy Muller to discuss her book about the valiant work being done by North American community newspapers than her hometown beacon the Palisades Post? The newspaper is one of LA’s oldest such publications, dating back to 1928.

Muller, a USC prof and contributor to KCET’s SoCal Connected, has worked for NPR, ABC, and CBS. She tells Post senior editor Libby Motika that the idea for her colorfully titled tome Emus Loose in Egnar: Big Stories from Small Towns (University of Nebraska Press, July 1st) sparked three years ago, after she took part in yet another “newspapers are dying” panel:

All Muller could think about was the feelings she had at her first job at the Colonial News in Freehold, New Jersey, a free newspaper where ‘the owners didn’t care about the editorial content, but we did,’ Muller says…

Her memories rekindled a curiosity about the hundreds of small newspapers that dot small towns across the county. With the idea of writing about these mostly unknown outposts, she contacted Al Cross of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky, who at first was reluctant to give Muller his sources because he said that this is the book he should have written.

Muller has grouped the content of her book into thematic chapters and singles out as one of her personal favorites Anderson Valley Advertiser editor Bruce Anderson, filed under “Curmudgeons.” The author now makes her home in Norwood, Colorado.