School of Communications
faculty member Michael Skube was invited by the editors of the Los
Angeles Times to write an essay on the contributions of Alistair
Cooke, the consummate professional communicator who died recently.
The article appeared in the April 4 edition of the Times.
Here's a brief
excerpt of Skube's piece:
are a writer, there was something even closer to the core of the
man, and it was the way he used words on paper. He was, after all,
a foreign correspondent long before radio, and then television,
found him, and to the end he considered himself a reporter and a
writer. Good writers try to live by the injunction 'show, don't
tell.' Ask half a dozen writers what that means, and you'll get
half a dozen answers, and yet every writer knows intuitively. It
means something like this:
saw was a small man so short in the thighs that when he stood up
he seemed smaller than when he was sitting down. He had a plum pudding
of a body and a square head stuck on it with no intervening neck.
His brown hair was parted exactly in the middle, and the two cowlicks
touched his eyebrows. He had very light blue eyes small enough to
show the whites above the irises, which gave him the earnestness
of a gas jet when he talked, an air of resigned incredulity when
he listened, and a merry acceptance of the human race and all its
foibles when he grinned.'
was Cooke writing about H.L. Mencken, unread today but in his time
the most lacerating newspaper columnist in the land."