Friday, September 28, 2012

Milton Hollstein: Gentle on My Mind

Posted By on September 28, 2012, 3:54 PM

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For as many years as he studied, analyzed and lectured on the field of journalism, Milt Hollstein, longtime U of U professor and journalist in his own right, today got his own story in The Salt Lake Tribune. Sadly, for those who considered him a colleague or professor, it was his obituary. ---

While modest and even-keeled, Hollstein was a bit of a superstar. For one thing, in a pre-Google era, his beautiful mind contained a frightening amount of journalism knowledge -- and not just about Utah or U.S. institutions. He was well-versed in broadcast and print media outlets worldwide. He knew whether a newpaper or TV station in the smallest Third-World country were government-owned, church-owned, or crook-owned. Few media beyond our borders can claim to be free of outside influence. Knowing that stoked the fire in many a student to embrace a profession that actually did enjoy independence and constitutional protection.

Not only was he my professor, he was my adviser, helping me chip away at degree requirements, despite ambivalence on my part. Right out of college, I accepted a job as a report writer for a consultant and moved out of Utah. What can I say? Bills to pay? Fear? Writer's block? I always hoped Hollstein didn't find out. It would be another decade before I'd get a chance to work as a journalist (thank you, John Saltas).

So,  it was very gratifying to run into Professor Hollstein at a U of U Communications banquet a few years later. Of course, he'd forgotten who I was by then. But after filling in the blanks, I told him I was working for City Weekly, which he seemed genuinely happy to hear. Hollstein knew well of City Weekly and had written at least twice about the publication (then known as Private Eye) in his Media Monitor column in the Deseret News. (Read "See Differently With Private Eye" here.) Hollstein was keeping tabs on the paper and took some pleasure in seeing what John Saltas (also a U of U alum) was doing with the alternative-news format.

In all the right ways, Hollstein was a standout professor. The man knew too much! He pointed us all in the right direction and hoped like hell we'd find our way.

Hollstein's obituary in the Deseret News can be found here.

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