A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


By Quill

Remembering SPJ members


John E. van der Linden, an SPJ Key Club member, died Nov. 23, 2009, at age 92. Van der Linden was a member of Iowa State College’s Sigma Delta Chi chapter. While studying economics at Iowa State, he was editor of the school’s literary magazine, Sketch, and humor magazine, Gander. He became a reporter at the Mason City Globe Gazette after graduating in 1940. After World War II military service — where he was stationed in Hawaii, the Philippines and Hokkaido, Japan — he worked at the Marshall (Minn.) Messenger. Van der Linden also owned several papers including the Gazette-Tribune; founded Northwest Iowa Publishers; helped organize the Northwest Iowa Peach, a regional advertising supplement; and began the Dairyman’s Digest magazine for the Associated Milk Producers.


An SPJ member since 1947, Merle Fleming Pugh died Nov. 24, 2009, at age 85. Pugh was a member of the national Ethics Committee from 1984 to 1985 and was an officer of the Greater Oregon chapter in 1978. Born on a farm in Nebraska, he later graduated from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and stayed on the West Coast to build his career in print journalism. Publications he worked for included the Albany Democrat-Herald, Eugene Register-Guard, Roseburg News-Review and Portland’s Oregon Journal. A World War II veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps, Pugh also worked for the U.S. Forest Service.


Ralph Smith, an award-winning editorial writer who built his career in radio, television and the health care field in Peoria and Bloomington, Ill., died Nov. 2, 2009, at age 84. Smith joined SPJ in 1952 and was an active Society member in addition to being a charter member and past president of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association. In World War II, Smith served as a rifleman in the Pacific, a duty for which he received two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. His service to the public extended to many areas of his life, including being an escort at Pekin Hospital in Illinois and providing transportation for cancer patients.


Publisher C. Peter Jorgensen of Tunbridge, Vt.,

died of cancer Sept. 25, 2009, at age 68. He and his wife, Kathryn, a Boston University journalism master’s program classmate, bought The Arlington (Mass.) Advocate in 1969. When they sold Century Publications in 1986 — when the couple founded Historical Publications — the suburban Boston chain included the Winchester Star, Belmont Citizen, Belmont Herald, Watertown Sun and Newton Villager. Jorgensen received the Golden Quill Editorial Award from the International Conference of Weekly Newspaper Editors for the best editorial of 1972 and a variety of New England and national awards for editorial writing and photography. An SPJ member since 1964, he was a former director of the National Newspaper Association, New England Press Association, Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association and the Massachusetts Press Association.