Editor’s note: This post was originally published on devroy2015.wordpress.com where you can read complete coverage of the 18th annual Ann Devroy Memorial Forum. The Forum is free at open to the public 7 p.m. Thursday in Schofield Auditorium.
The relationship between journalists, and the executive branch have changed, even in the time since the last president left office, a columnist for The Washington Post said last week.
Al Kamen, who writes the column, “In The Loop” for The Washington Post, will focus on those changes and journalism’s transition from print to digital in a speech Thursday at the Ann Devroy Memorial Forum at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Devroy, who graduated from the UW-Eau Claire in 1970, went on to have an esteemed career at The Washington Post. Including her final position, as chief White House correspondent to the Clinton administration.
Kamen remembers Devroy, who died of cancer in 1997, as a dogged reporter. Because of his high respect for Devroy, Kamen said he “couldn’t refuse” coming to Eau Claire as a forum speaker.
“I purposely sat next to her,” Kamen recalled of working with Devroy. “She was a fount of information and was willing to share what she couldn’t use, which was a lot. Devroy was plugged in to so many things, so many people.”
Kamen originally went to Washington to work with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on their book, “The Final Days.” From there his journalism career led him west to the Rocky Mountain News in Denver where he covered cops and the governor’s office.
When Woodward began work on his Supreme Court book, “The Brethren,” he called Kamen back to Washington to help. He’s been working at The Post since.
During his tenure at The Post, Kamen has covered the Washington Superior Court, District Court, U.S. Supreme Court, State Department and immigration. Since the early ‘90s, he has written his column, which focuses on the executive branch.
Kristina Bornholtz, managing editor of The Spectator, said she appreciates UW-Eau Claire’s efforts to bring in world-class speakers, like Kamen.
“It’s special for our department to have this night to celebrate what we do,” Bornholtz said. “This is unique to our campus. Not everyone gets to hear from a national journalist.”
Mike Dorsher, associate professor of communication and journalism at UW-Eau Claire and chair of the Devroy committee, said he hopes students take advantage of the opportunity to hear from and ask questions of Kamen.
“It’s people like Al Kamen who are really the fourth branch to scrutinize the government and hold all three branches accountable,” Dorsher said.
Dorsher said Kamen is among the last full-time Washington Post journalists who worked alongside Devroy.
Kamen is grounded in old school journalism, “He does it the way Ann Devroy taught him to do it,” Dorsher said. Even though that is Kamen’s background, today he uses social media to reach sources and promote his work. This balance of 20th and 21st century journalism makes Kamen a great Devroy Forum speaker, Dorsher said.
Steve Fruehauf, a senior journalism major, has been inspired by the last two Devroy Forums he’s attended. Fruehauf said he enjoys hearing from notable speakers and thinks the fellowship provides great possibilities for UW-Eau Claire students.
“The Devroy Fellowship gives a small own college student an opportunity in a big national market,” Fruehauf said. “It validates what we’re doing here and shows we can have success.”