NASHVILLE, TN – A great man died in Nashville last week.
The word “great” is often overused.
But it wasn’t overused when it came to John Siegenthaler.
Mr. Siegenthaler’s greatness was how he reached and connected with all strata of society,
Simply put, he was a journalist’s journalist.
And John Kennedy, and his brother Robert, also recognized that he was among the best and brightest this country had to offer.
John Sigenthaler’s legacy was all the journalists he guided, inspired, challenged, mentored, edited and published. He covered stories in depth, and the more difficult the story, the better the coverage he insisted upon.
In 1969, John Siegenthaler edited a 28 year old reporter named Wendell Rawls whose coverage of the Tennessee Walking Horse story was integral to the Horse Protection Act being passed.
2014 – “DUTCH” – TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE
1969 – THE TENNESSEAN – TRAINER VIC THOMPSON OF SHELBYVILLE
John Siegenthaler and Joe Tydings were the same age. Tydings lives on today to finish the work he began 46 years ago.
Wendell Rawls coverage of the Tennessee Walking Horse story was investigative in nature and it was in depth. It was written in Tennessee where the abuses were taking place in 1969, and where the abuses and torture of horses is taking place in 2014.
So far, nobody working for The Tennessean in 2014 has held a candle to the work Wendell Rawls did in 1969.
It would be a fitting tribute to the legacy of the legendary John Siegenthaler if a reporter writing for The Tennessean would, maybe – just maybe – cover The Tennessee Walking Horse story in the manner approaching the high professional standards of Reporter Wendell Rawls. This would include learning the basics of what is being done to the horses and questioning statements made by persons from both sides of the issue in order that the readers would have the information necessary to have an informed opinion on the subject.
This is not being done at the present time.
And it’s a crying shame.
Billy Go Boy
JOHN SIEGENTHALER LYING IN REPOSE AT THE JOHN SIEGENTHALER CENTER AT VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY