Keith Runyon

12:43 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Forty-Five Years After His Death, Robert F. Kennedy Still Inspires

Credit Library of Congress

“In our youths, our hearts were touched with fire.”

So wrote Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., in 1884, remembering the powerful experience of going to war at the age of 20, and fighting in the first Battle of Bull Run, the beginning of the Civil War.

For the youth of 1968, the very real peril of war was not in the hills of northern Virginia, but far away in the rice paddies of Vietnam, where America’s involvement in a civil war was costly, in terms of lives as well as national confidence.

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7:15 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Tornado Threats and Warnings, From Louisville in '74 to Oklahoma City in '13

A tornado in Southern Indiana in 2012.
Credit Gary Cooper/National Weather Service

The devastation near Oklahoma City this week is the latest reminder of the tremendous damage tornadoes and other cataclysmic storms can inflict. The reminders are frequent. Last year, in our own region, we had the late-winter tornado in Henryville, which wiped out the town and united the region in relief efforts. Later in the year, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast. 

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4:58 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

UofL's Brandeis School of Law Impresses Years After Adversity

Credit Keith Runyon

Thirty-one years had passed since the last time I slipped into a graduation gown. Last Saturday afternoon, when I participated in the commencement exercises for the Brandeis School of Law’s Class of 2013, I marveled at how much things had changed since my own law class of 1982 graduated. My role was to introduce the commencement speaker, my longtime friend and colleague from The Courier-Journal, Howard Fineman. Howard is one of the nation’s leading journalists, having excelled in 30 years as a top political correspondent for Newsweek, as well as a political commentator on MSNBC. Now he is a pioneer in another field of journalism—online—as editorial director of the Huffington Post Media Group. I think he and I share an admiration for the law school where we were trained over three decades ago, and we’re not embarrassed to tell others about the advances it has made.

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7:00 am
Fri May 10, 2013

How-To Festival Preview: A Life By The Books


For more than 40  years, I’ve been reading books professionally, as a frequent critic and later as book editor of the state’s largest newspaper. In those roles, I have had a ringside seat to observe some of the best books to be published in the last half of the 20th century—as well as a lot of the less-than-great books during that period. When you comb through thousands of books every year, you have a challenge. What, if any, of these shall I read? How will I find the time?

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3:14 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

When a Young Louisville Reporter Searched for F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre

The 1925 cover of The Great Gatsby.

Thirty-nine years ago, as a very young Courier-Journal reporter, I traveled south by train to Montgomery, Ala., to connect with the world that novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, knew in the early part of the 20th Century. The “peg” for the feature stories I planned to write was the opening that spring of what was then the latest screen version of “The Great Gatsby,” a multi-million dollar adaptation starring Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, Sam Waterston and Bruce Dern.

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10:48 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Kentucky Derby Festival Blossoms from Small Celebration to Source of Pride for Louisville

Credit Dan Previte/Creative Commons

Hundreds of thousands of people will converge on Louisville this week to enjoy the dozens of events that make up the Kentucky Derby Festival. But what many of those celebrants don’t realize is that the festival is a rather recent development in the Derby’s 138-year history, and was largely the work of an ambitious racing editor at the newspaper and the public relations people who had a vision for making the first week of May something more than a couple of horse races.

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