Erin O'Neill columns

Dispatches from Missouri's Twin City

The Missouri Photo Workshop enables students to create visual anthropology through documentary photography, this year in the twin towns of Festus and Crystal City.

Got a secret? Not on the Internet

In the era of the Internet, secrets are no longer secret. Numerous websites have emerged allowing people to submit their most private thoughts. But what is the appeal of anonymous secret-telling?

Fallen Marine's photo shows a more human war

The AP photograph that captured a Marine's last moments has stirred national controversy. But the photo is breathtaking and, unlike so many other stories and photographs in the newspaper that day, it was stunningly immediate and emotionally real.

Denying public money to fund abortion unfair

An amendment passed by Congress in 1976 prevents the federal government from funding abortions.

Reflections on last days of summer

Although the serenity and freedom of summer are coming to an end, students can still look forward to what is yet to come.

Today's 20-somethings have reason to envy the '60s

Today is just at gritty as the 1960s, but the combination of innocence, hope and optimism is something the current generation of young people lack.

A town without a newspaper

The loss of my hometown paper, the Ann Arbor News, leaves the town completely without a newspaper, and its online replacement,, has no news hierarchy and confuses readers.

The problem with Facebook photos

More and more people use excessive numbers of photographs as proof they had a good time, but the camera takes the person out of the moment.

Health care’s better Down Under

For an example of universal health care that works, Americans need only look to Australia.

There will be never be another Walter Cronkite

Cronkite was an authority on the news of the day, and he was a distinctly neutral one.

Tehran Spring

The former USSR knew that if you give oppressed people a hint of freedom, they’d take the lot if not violently run down. The current situation in Iran seems to be echoing past governmental oppression, especially that of the Prague Spring. 

A case for alien invasion

Humans are notoriously exclusive creatures, allowing the familiar into their circles and rejecting the foreign. Only an alien invasion would present a foreign entity great enough in size and type to unite us all as a people.

A life in letters is history repeated

Sometimes it's unclear just how our attitudes evolve as we grow older, but when it comes to novels, revisiting old favorites can inform the ways in which our minds have changed or matured.

Tweeting in Tehran

A little debate is a healthy thing

Even though debates with a parent might be frustrating — especially if said parent never concedes — the practice is still a valuable one.  Debate helps to shape and move society forward by encouraging an open exchange of ideas.

Show me the photos!

The president's decision to withold telling photographs of prisoner abuse "is a betrayal of America's professed cherished values."

You can't say that on television

The FCC has the power to make its own regulations regarding indecency in broadcasting, and if left unchecked, it could restrict free speech to the detriment of society.