Bloomington Newspaper Drops Jordan After 35 Years

By Don Jordan

Posted 8/23/07

My cell phone rang while driving into Bloomington last week. It was Herald-Times editor Bob Zaltsberg.

"Don, I called to tell you we won't be using your column after the end of the month. That gives you, what, one more to do?" said Zaltsberg.

"The reason?" I asked. "We have this new, young, local outdoor writer now, and he is doing an OK job for us," he replied.

So, there it is. After writing this column for one or another Bloomington newspaper since 1972, it ends.

Inside Outdoors began at the Bloomington Courier-Tribune in 1972, about a year after I got back from Vietnam. Later, in 1974, I moved over to the Herald-Telephone, which has been publishing my outdoor column most of the years since then.

Over those years, I have known scores of other outdoor writers and find they fall into two categories: conservation-oriented reporters and public relations-oriented, don't-rock-the-boat writers.

Those of you who have read this column over the past 35 years know which school I claim. My first big conservation/outdoor story was the Westinghouse/PCB scandal, which I discovered and dug out in 1975 and 1976. The list of conservation and environmental scandals I have reported since then is too long to detail.

In the factoid department, Don Jordan has:

· Written more about Lake Monroe, Lake Griffy and the woods and waters around Bloomington than any other person, living or dead.

· Received awards from United Press International, Izaak Walton League, Audubon Society and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

· Taught journalism at Indiana University, the University of Wisconsin at Superior and the University of Florida at Gainesville, Fla. Taught anthropology at IU, IUPUI and Central Florida. Taught in the IU College For Gifted and Talented Children.

· Written for Sports Afield, Outdoor Life, Current, Environment, (where I was contributing editor), Sports Illustrated, Reader's Digest and various Game & Fish publications in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Florida and Georgia. There are well over a thousand entries in my bibliography.

· Been a thorn in the side of DNR directors in Indiana since John Hillenbrand back in the early 1970s. I have found that all DNR directors, no matter what political party they bow to, are there to arrange breaks for their patrons and set policies that generate cash for their party's supporters.

As I see it, there are two great threats to hunting and fishing and the public resources required for those traditional outdoor sports: corporate control of our resources and our lives; and an ever-increasing population. By "privatizing" our resources, we abdicate control and many rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. Our ever-increasing population means millions more boats and boaters, but no new lakes or rivers. The squeeze is on.

The deteriorating state of our recreational resources and ethics, from the toxic sediment at the bottom of Lake Monroe to the "farming" of deer and shooting pet animals as "trophies" can only get worse and needs immediate action.

"Anti-business" issues like these don't make people happy; so writers and broadcasters who report these stories have vanished. Corporations that own the media do not abide voices of dissent, not these days.

Remember the 1976 movie, Network? That's the one where actor Peter Finch's character urged Americans to lean out their windows and shout: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

Finch got his mind right when Ned Beatty, as a network big wheel, explained the nature of the corporate iron fist to Finch. Finch saw the light, and his character changed his approach, dropping the window rant from his routine. The character was subsequently murdered on-air because his ratings dropped.

No, I haven't been assassinated. But as often the only voice always speaking for the birds, fish and other animals that cannot speak for themselves, it is the same difference.

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©Copyright 2007. Donald Lee Jordan