June 24, 2015's Weekly Slap:

“Beach Slapped” is what it is because from the moment I first came to the Oregon Coast, most every moment I lived here, and even my last hours here, it was always about the beach. That wasn’t always true of my life, and perhaps that’s been my problem.

Growing up in Colorado, I was a long way from the beach. I don’t care what anyone says, lounging next to a giant lake/ civic water supply is not the beach.

BartonGroverHowe.com:Where to keep up with humor writer Barton Grover Howe. Here, you'll find all of his Beach Slapped columns from The News-Times in Lincoln County, Oregon, excerpts from his latest books and the occasional random musing that would get him fired if he published it in a family newspaper.
Barton Grover Howe: Journalist & Educator
Before I wrote books and nonsense for a semi-living, I wrote for newspapers trying to examine bigger issues covering all kinds of topics beyond the headlines. Later, as a high school journalism teacher, I encouraged my students to do the same. Here are a few of my favorites.

Master's Project: Immersion Journalism

After spending three years immersed in Disney On Ice and the world of ice skaters, I went off to journalism school hoping to understand better those journalists who spend their careers immersed in the lives of others. Ten thousand miles, four cars and a whole lot of money later, I got my answers.

Legacy of a Lynching:

This is the best thing I've ever written: The forgotten story of the last man lynched in Columbia Missouri. in 1923. Digging deeper than anyone ever I had, I found a story that touched on the Kennedy Assassination, the Spanish Civil War and even a close encounter with Adolf Hitler. In the end, it won a Missouri Press Award, as well as long overdue recognition of a man who lived ahead of his time – and paid the ultimate price.

Remembering Tragedy:
When the Space Shuttle Columbia broke up over Texas, I couldn't help but notice how different the reaction was to the Challenger disaster 17 years earlier. It just wasn't as big of a deal the second time, and it made me wonder how many other disasters had fallen by the wayside of public memory simply because they were second happenings. Once again digging into the records, I found dozens of examples, and an explanation of why if you want to be remembered, you'd better go first. Based on my research and interviews, I think I was the first person ever to write about this particular facet of human memory and collective tragedy.

The Rape Solution:
Even with my obvious interest in history, I also believe the best journalism addresses current problems. That's why when a number of female friends and colleagues commented to me that Columbia, Missouri had a rape crisis, I wondered what they meant. Digging this time through hundreds of city, state and federal crime reports, I found that Columbia was not only as bad as they thought, but that in some cases it was a result of deliberate decisions by those in power. I'm proud to say the interviewing and reporting I did on this three-part story changed much of that.

Faces of Taft:
The school where I teach is on the beach, but it's no "Jimmy Buffett High" as one peer commented to me. So my students and I decided to tell the stories of the students of Taft High School. We produced a newspaper, graphic novel, a memoir book and even a short documentary film. That film is presented here. And while my students did it – and I couldn't be prouder of them – this video was the culmination of a vision I'd had for years of what high school media could be. I never get tired of watching it, because I never get tired of the stories it tells
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