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Dear Reader

DEAR READER: Amid the news of Michael Sam, a titan in Columbia passes

Wynna Faye Elbert spent a lifetime giving voice to those who were otherwise voiceless. It is ironic that her life story was buried in the public conversation this week by news of Michael Sam’s coming out.

DEAR READER: Too many Americans didn't read in 2013

Even though more Americans opted for e-books than ever last year, nearly 25 percent of U.S. adults didn't read a single book — in print or on screen.

 

BEHIND THE STORY: The Michael Sam story began brewing in August

When do you out a college football player? Not when you know.

DEAR READER: Before athletics or official actions, the ESPN report is about a violent attack on a woman

ESPN's "Outside the Lines" report on an MU swimmer is a sad example of the epidemic of sexual violence on college campuses.

DEAR READER: There's work to be done in closing the poverty gap

The biggest barrier to closing the gap isn’t race or gender or geography. It’s poverty. Or, as the Missourian Readers Board put it this week, the divide between the haves and the have-nots is growing wider and with little evidence that things are changing.

DEAR READER: Words of the Year form odd collection

"Because," "selfie" and "science" were picked by three organizations as 2013's Word of the Year.

DEAR READER: Best not dispute a good thing

Young people don't read newspapers anymore, right? Missourian Sports Editor Greg Bowers finds that his son begs to differ.

DEAR READER: Columbia College displays some sunshine in search for president

MU and Columbia College search committees vetting candidates for new leaders were sworn to secrecy. Both cited the need to keep candidates confidential. But Columbia College chose to make its finalists public. In doing so, it gave everyone involved a voice.

DEAR READER: Missourian drops team's nickname

From now on, except in direct quotes where the word is used, the Missourian will not refer to the Washington, D.C., professional football team by its nickname.

DEAR READER: So much Missouri athletics, so little time

Columbia is getting a large dose of Missouri sports this weekend.

DEAR READER: Tracking coverage of crime in Columbia and on campus

Since August, the Missourian has worked to create an opportunity for dialogue about sexual assaults on campuses. It will also be releasing a special report on the Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence, including interviews with 13 people on the task force.

DEAR READER: Writing life stories is a lesson in humility

A reporter reflects on the Missourian's policy to publish life stories as a service to the community.

DEAR READERS: Lists help organize our lives

Lists abound in newsrooms and classrooms. There are work schedules, assignments, tests, projects, news budgets, how-to instructions, dos and dont's, calendars, sources and many other lists that keep production on track.

DEAR READER: Reporting the Ryan Ferguson ruling requires legal language calisthenics

If a conviction is vacated, is it also overturned? This week's announcement by the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District gave the Missourian a chance to review legal terminology.

DEAR READER: Persistence and constant questions complete good stories

Reporters and editors made impressive efforts to get the stories of Lewis Baumgartner and the case of Brandon Coleman.

DEAR READER: Missing newsroom items stir nostalgia

Newsrooms and the tools that journalists used have changed greatly in recent years, making work places for wordsmiths almost unrecognizable but much safer.

DEAR READER: When is 'they' the right pronoun for one person?

A recent Missourian article used the pronoun "they" to refer to Josie Herrera, a finalist for MU Homecoming king who identifies as gender queer.

DEAR READER: Journalist's Creed serves as reminder of values, standards

A portion of the creed, written by the founding dean of the Missouri School of Journalism, is printed each day in the Missourian's editorial page.

DEAR READER: Sorry, this letter is closed due to the federal shutdown

Shuttered offices and websites have shown some of the many ways we’re affected by our federal government. Tell me the shutdown doesn’t touch you, and I’ll suggest you aren’t looking hard enough.

DEAR READER: Sometimes, the most important stories are the hardest to get

When people angrily refuse to answer a simple question, it can be a clue — a bright green light with a “Rough Road Ahead” sign.

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