Saturday, May 14, 2011

John Finnegan: Former Executive Editor and Assistant Publisher of St. Paul Pioneer Press

(Pictured: John and Norma Finnegan in front of a huge amount of journalism awards).

"I never wanted to be anything else but a journalist."

John Finnegan went to school in Minneapolis in the 1940s and worked at his family's hotel in Walker, Minnesota, during the summer.

Soon after he graduated from high school, Finnegan took over the editorship at a Robbinsdale community newspaper. A few months later, he was drafted into the army in World War II.

Finnegan was an early advocate for government transparency (having helped fight for the Minnesota Data Practices Act). He also was a union activist who helped publish the St. Paul Sentinel in 1957-1958 during a strike at the Pioneer Press. He later was promoted as executive editor and assistant publisher of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

"I have really enjoyed being involved at a time when newspapers were important, were important for the public and were important for me. I've been gratified at the opportunities I've had over the years to be in this business. I must say I've been well-rewarded for it.[...] I wouldn't have done anything different."

This interview was conducted at the Finnegans' home in St. Paul on March 28.

John Finnegan's account of his WWII service is also here.

Audio of the interview is available for download here:

The full transcript is available here:

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