Events I would have liked to attend: The First A.J. Liebling Counter-Convention

[MORE] bannerAs I mention in an earlier post, I’m writing a dissertation about [More], a 1970’s journalism review that grew out of the journalism review movement, the alternative press movement, and the New York Review of Books. Several times during its short existence (1971–1978), [More] ran a conference counter to the American Newspaper Publishers Association convention.

I’m going through the entire print run of [More] right now, making myself a database of people who contributed to the magazine or the conventions (so that I can interview as many of them as are alive and willing to be interviewed), and today I came to the program for the first A.J. Liebling Counter-Convention.

The event ran April 23–24 at the Martin Luther King Labor Center on West 43rd Street in New York (it’s still there). Here, just for the sake of the impressive roster of people involved, is the planned program for the day:

Sunday April 23

12 noon–1:30 p.m.


    • Gay Talese
    • Gail Sheehy
    • Tom Wolfe
    • Albert Goldman
    • Calvin Trillin
    • Pauline Kael
    • Renata Adler
    • Benjamin deMott

Democracy in the Newsroom

    • Ron Dorfman
    • Edwin Diamond
    • Leo Sauvage
    • Jacques Amalric
    • James Aronson
    • Emmanuel de la Taille
    • John McCormally

2:30–4:30 p.m.

Covering the Campaign: The Wayward Pressbus

    • Jack Anderson
    • Marty Nolan
    • David Broder
    • Jeff Greenfield
    • Joe McGinniss
    • Stephen Fay

A Public Hearing on Government and the Press (co-sponsored by the Committee for Public Justice)

    • Sanford Ungar
    • Charles Goodell
    • Edwin Goodman
    • Don Singleton
    • Fred Graham
    • Peter Arnett
    • Paul Jacobs
    • (Additional participants to be announced)

4:45–6:30 p.m.

How to Challenge a TV License: The Greening of the Wasteland

    • Tracy Westen
    • Al Karmer
    • Bill Wright
    • Erwin Krasnow
    • Everett Parker
    • Dr. Barry Cole

Sports Reporting: Say it Aint’t So (sic)

    • Leonard Shecter
    • Leonard Koppett
    • Jim Bouton
    • Larry Merchant
    • Roger Angell
    • Stan Isaacs
    • J. Anthony Lukas

8 p.m.

How They Cover Me

Six newsmakers discuss their treatment by the media

Moderated by Charlotte Curtis

Panelists to be announced (Note: they included Tom Forcade, Abbie Hoffman, Gore Vidal and Jerry Rubin).


Monday April 24

10 a.m.–12 noon

Why Journalists Leave Daily Newspapers

    • David Halberstam
    • Dick Schaap
    • A. Kent MacDougall
    • Stuart Loory
    • J. Anthony Lukas
    • Sidney Zion

Can Television Cover Local News?

    • Nat Hentoff
    • Jack Willis
    • Marvin Kitman
    • Albert Primo
    • Ralph Penza
    • Tony Batten

12:30–2 p.m.

Luncheon Program

Speaker: Tom Wicker

2:30–4 p.m.

Racism, Sexism, Elitism and Journalism

    • Studs Terkel
    • Jimmy Breslin
    • Roger Wilkins
    • Susan Brownmiller
    • Ron Porambo
    • Ernest Dunbar

What Kind of P.M. Paper Should New York Have?

    • Murray Kempton
    • Pete Hamill
    • Blair Clark
    • David Gelman
    • Bill Woodward
    • Nora Ephron

4:30–6 p.m.

Should There Be a Women’s Page?

    • Gloria Steinem
    • Lynn Sherr
    • James Brady
    • Enid Nemy
    • Blair Sabol
    • Ida Lewis

Alternative Media

    • Jack Newfield
    • Mary Perot Nichols
    • Tom Forcade
    • Bob Singer
    • Thea Sklover
    • Vin McLellan

8 p.m.


Presentation of the first A.J. Liebling Award will be made by Jean Stafford Liebling. (It went to I.F. Stone)

Can the Muckraking Tradition be Revived?

    • I.F. Stone
    • Seymour Hersh
    • Morton Mintz
    • Peter Davis
    • James Ridgeway
    • Justin Kaplan

With the possible exception of the panel on evening papers and the one on women’s pages, you could hold every one of these panels today, though you might have trouble figuring out who the contemporary equivalents are of some of these gigantic names in journalism.

Here is the original program, photographed in the April, 1972 [More]:


  1. […] I’m going through the list of panelists at the first A.J. Liebling convention more closely, and it occurred to me that there may be a touch […]

  2. […] Across town, a small but influential journalism review called More had been publishing the work of an impressive slate of journalists and critics since 1971 (though the subscription list would be sold to the Columbia Journalism […]

  3. […] grew—I had begun to know her as a press critic, journalist, and the co-organizer of the first A.J. Liebling Counter-Convention, a 1972 gathering of maybe 3000 journalists who were looking for alternative ways to do good work. […]

  4. I came down from Connecticut for at least two [MORE] conventions, but I forget which years. I remember this one, when I.F. Stone was honored, and another, with an award for W. Eugene Smith, who showed his Minamata photos, which had gotten him beaten and (I think) nearly blinded. Amazing journalists and amazing gatherings. As I recall, the ANPA convention was nearby and ironically not open to “the press.”
    Hope you have the color “Hello sweetheart, get me rewrite” poster. A friend at UT Knoxville still has it on her door. I still have a fading one of Liebling.

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