University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


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phone: (715) 836-4741
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Lou Cannon to Speak at the
Devroy Forum April 24

 MAILED:  March 26, 2003

EAU CLAIRE - Lou Cannon, a former The Washington Post reporter and current contributing editor to the California Journal, will be the featured speaker at the sixth annual Ann Devroy Memorial Forum April 24 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Cannon's presentation, titled "Why We Write: Reflections of a Reporter and Biographer," will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Zorn Arena.

The Ann Devroy Memorial Forum and Ann Devroy Memorial Fund were established in 1997 to recognize the outstanding journalistic work of the 1970 UW-Eau Claire graduate who died of cancer in 1997.

Cannon is best known for his biographies of Ronald Reagan and his social history of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. In addition to his contributions to the California Journal, the former Post reporter is a free-lance writer who lectures and writes on the presidency, police issues, the media and California politics.

Cannon has written four Reagan biographies, including the acclaimed "President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime." An updated version of this book with new material from former Soviet diplomats, Nancy Reagan and former independent counsel Lawrence Walsh was published in April 2000 and became a best seller. The late John Chancellor called the book indispensable, saying it presented "the real Reagan, without the makeup or the handlers, seen through the eyes of the keenest Reagan-watcher of them all."

Cannon's latest book is "Ronald Reagan: The Presidential Portfolio," a history illustrated from the collection of The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. It includes a wealth of photographs, documents, artifacts and a 60-minute audio CD that contains excerpts from key Reagan speeches and a discussion by Cannon of the Reagan legacy. Cannon's other Reagan books include "Reagan" and "Ronnie & Jesse: A Political Odyssey," a dual biography of Reagan and the late Jesse Unruh. He's currently writing a book about the Reagan governorship - "Governor Reagan: His Rise to Power" - that is scheduled for publication in the fall of 2003.

Born in New York City and raised in Reno, Nev., Cannon attended the University of Nevada and San Francisco State College. After service in the U.S. Army, he became a reporter for various California newspapers and covered Reagan's first term as governor of California for the San Jose Mercury-News. He moved to Washington as a national correspondent for Ridder Publications. Beginning in 1972, he worked 26 years for The Washington Post, as political reporter, White House correspondent, columnist and Los Angeles bureau chief. During the Reagan presidency, Cannon was the senior White House correspondent for The Washington Post and wrote a weekly syndicated column.

Cannon has won many awards, beginning in 1969 with a "distinguished reporting of public affairs" award from the American Political Science Association. In 1984 he received the White House Correspondents Association's Aldo Beckman award for overall excellence in presidential coverage. The following year the Washington Journalism Review named Cannon "the best newspaper White House correspondent." In 1986 Cannon won the Merriman Smith award for excellence in presidential news coverage - a single story written under deadline pressure. He won the first Gerald R. Ford Prize for distinguished reporting on the Nixon, Ford and Reagan presidencies.

Other books written by Cannon include "The McCloskey Challenge," "Reporting: An Inside View" and "Official Negligence: How Rodney King and the Riots Changed Los Angeles and the LAPD." Garry Wills called this social history "a classic" and George Will said it was "a dazzling demonstration of the reporter's craft." The Los Angeles Times ranked "Official Negligence" among the best non-fiction books in 1998. The newspaper's Jim Newton said the book is "the definitive work of modern Los Angeles, a massive effort to see the nation's most dynamic city at its most important crossroads."

Cannon wrote the cover story, "One Bad Cop," for The New York Times Magazine, describing how the violent actions of a rogue officer had plunged the LAPD into crisis. Cannon also has written cover stories for California Journal, National Review, the Los Angeles Times book review and George.

In 1995 Cannon was a Raznick Distinguished Lecturer in the history department of the University of California at Santa Barbara. In 1996, he was a Freedom Forum journalist in residence at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California.

The Devroy fund awards a scholarship of at least $1,400 to a UW-Eau Claire student who shows exceptional promise and ability as a journalist, who has made outstanding contributions to the university's student newspaper and who demonstrates financial need. The fund also helps defray the cost of a three-week residency at The Washington Post for the Devroy winner. In addition, Devroy winners have paid internships at Wisconsin daily newspapers.

Ann Devroy, a Green Bay native, was a White House correspondent for The Washington Post for more than 15 years. She covered the Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations.

The Ann Devroy Memorial Forum is sponsored by The Washington Post Co., the UW-Eau Claire communication and journalism department, the UW-Eau Claire Foundation Inc., the Wisconsin Newspaper Association and UW-Eau Claire's The Forum lecture series.

The forum event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required for admission. Reserved seating tickets are available at the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727. Remaining tickets will be available at the door.


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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
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Updated: April 3, 2003