Press-Republican

Local News

July 30, 2008

Time on his side

Award-winning journalist reflects on career, from Time to David Frost

PLATTSBURGH -- Wallace Westfeldt and Miriam Goulding, downsized Marylanders, found what they were looking for: a home with a splendid view of Lake Champlain.

"Last summer, we started casually looking for something," Westfeldt said. "We drove by and saw the for-sale sign. She loved the house straight away."

He told his wife to squeeze his forearm twice at the showing if she liked the place.

"She damn near broke it."

Since their January move, there are still things to be unpacked -- but not his four Emmy Awards and one Peabody Award.

GOT START AT TIME

Westfeldt majored in political science and international relations at the University of the South, where his studies were interrupted by a stint as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. He graduated in 1947.

An old-school newshound, Westfeldt started as a copyboy at Time Magazine after quitting graduate school at Columbia University.

At Time, he worked in New York and Dallas until he was called back for the Korean War. When he got out, he went back to Time in Atlanta.

"I was fired because of a story. The bureau chief was away on vacation. An assignment came down from (Time publisher) Henry Luce himself. He wanted a story on Democrats for Eisenhower. I knew many of them.

"I wrote a very good piece, but I was really stupid. Time was known to summarize its stories. I wrote, If you want to characterize the Democrats of Eisenhower, you could describe them as rednecks in Brooks Brothers suits.' I was fired and rightly so."

COVERING SEGREGATION

Westfeldt landed a job at the Nashville Tennessean, where he was a reporter, editor and editorial writer. There, he fell in love with journalism.

In October 1953, his beat changed. He was assigned to cover the buildup to and fallout from the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which ended school segregation in the United States.

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