Letter: Something of value lost with passing of journalist John Maginnis

Like so many of your readers, I was deeply saddened by the recent passing of John Maginnis. Now that we have all had a brief period to overcome the blow and to reflect on John’s life and his many contributions, my respect for him as a man and as a journalist has only grown.

As someone who has great fondness for the people of Louisiana and who appreciates the state’s unique political culture — most of the time, at least — I simply loved John’s journalism. He was, for those of us who have moved away, a daily pipeline back to the statehouse and city hall. His ability to describe and explain the character and characters of Louisiana politics was unequaled. Indeed, having been engaged in political processes around the nation, I know of no journalist anywhere who gives readers the level of understanding of state and local politics that John did. In a democratic society, few contributions are more important to a citizenry. Looking at the tweets and Instagram postings that are too often passed off today as journalism, we should all revel in the professionalism and integrity that John Maginnis brought to his work. Every professor of journalism should make John Maginnis required reading and his contributions should be a benchmark toward which all budding journalists should strive. Like many, I worry that the sound bite, the tweet and the snapshot are rapidly replacing the time, integrity and brainpower John brought to his work.

John was a loving husband, a great friend and so much fun to talk with. For that, John will be profoundly missed by many of us. But also, I will badly miss the wonderful written words he strung together about Louisiana, its people and its politics.

Mark Emmert

president, National Collegiate Athletic Association and former LSU chancellor

Indianapolis