December 08, 2005

Award-winning journalist joins institute staff


Caption follows story

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- William Freivogel (pronounced Fry-vogel), an award-winning journalist who has covered the U.S. Supreme Court and served as deputy editorial page editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, will lecture and spearhead major projects next year at Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

"Bill has had an outstanding journalism career, and we are delighted to have someone of his caliber take a lead role as the institute tackles significant public policy and media issues in 2006," institute Director Mike Lawrence said today (Dec. 8).

Freivogel, who has a bachelor's degree from Stanford University and a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis, will spend the year on campus as a university professor based at the institute. He recently took advantage of an early retirement program at the Post-Dispatch.

"The School of Law, the School of Journalism and the College of Liberal Arts all have expressed strong interest in having Bill interact with their students. We anticipate he will teach courses and serve as a guest lecturer," Lawrence said.

In his work with the institute, Freivogel will organize and lead an initiative to examine possible means of addressing conflicts that arise when prosecutors and other key players in the legal system want journalists to reveal confidential sources and seek other materials that reporters regard as private. He also will bring together local government officials and journalists to discuss and debate the implications, requirements and ramifications of Illinois' Open Meetings Law.

"Bringing Bill here is an excellent way to use endowment funds the institute has been raising since it was launched," Lawrence said. "We are keeping faith with donors who liked the idea of enriching the University and the institute's agenda by attracting accomplished professionals to the campus."

Freivogel, 56, began his journalism career with the Post-Dispatch in 1971. He was a member of the newspaper's Washington bureau for 12 years, where he served as assistant bureau chief, focused on the Supreme Court and reported on such historic events as the assassination attempt on President Reagan.

He returned to St. Louis to become the deputy editorial page editor in 1997.

Freivogel's editorials on former Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Constitution made him a finalist in the 2002 Pulitzer Prize competition. He also won Sigma Delta Chi's top award in 1991 for a series on the Bill of Rights, and he shared the Sidney Hillman award for a series on civil rights policy changes during the Reagan administration. Freivogel was the main contributor to a 1987 project that won the Benjamin Franklin award as the best newspaper series on the bicentennial of the Constitution.

In his early years in Washington, he won the Emery A. Brownell Award for stories influential in blocking the Reagan administration's attempt to kill the Legal Services Corp. He shared the Investigative Reporters and Editors award and National Press Club's Washington correspondence award for stories on defense fraud at General Dynamics Corp. He also won a Washington correspondence award for reporting on dioxin contamination in Missouri and political machinations within the Environmental Protection Agency.

Freivogel won three Connie Rosenbaum awards in the 1970s for stories that reformed the St. Louis bail bond system and cleaned up a corrupt suburban police department after a suspect was killed in police custody.

He and wife Margaret, who also served in the Post-Dispatch's Washington bureau and has served as Sunday editor at the Post-Dispatch, are the parents of four children ages 22 to 30.

Developing citizen-leaders with global perspectives is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.

(Caption: Joins institute staff – Mike Lawrence (left), director of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, listens as William Freivogel talks with reporters today (Dec. 8). Freivogel, an award-winning journalist who has covered the U.S. Supreme Court and served as deputy editorial page editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, will lecture and spearhead major projects next year at the institute.)

Photo by Jeff Garner