Anyone remember Frank Jenkins, Malcolm “Mac” Epley or Edwin Davis?
Ron Bishop, a professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, is searching for information about the three men, who were all Klamath Basin newspaper people during World War II. Jenkins was the longtime publisher of the Herald and News, Epley was the H&N’s editor and Davis was the publisher of the Tule Lake Reporter.
Davis is seeking information about the three because he’s preparing a book on how community newspapers covered the construction of the Japanese American internment camps during World War II. The Tule Lake Detention-Segregation Center near present-day Newell was one of 10 camps where Japanese Americans, two-thirds of them U.S. citizens, were held during the war.
“My journey has brought me to Tule Lake, Frank Jenkins, Malcolm Epley and Edwin Davis,” Bishop said. “Along the way, I discovered Mr. Jenkins was one of the first inductees into the state’s Newspaper Hall of Fame and Mr. Epley ended his career at the Long Beach Press-Telegram, and not much else.
“As with all of the editors whose work I describe in the book, I’m trying to understand how their attitudes toward community — and journalism — influenced coverage of the camp. How did they, for example, describe the role of the journalist? How did they find his way into journalism? Did they see a conflict of interest in being so involved with local organizations, and regional promotion, and in covering those same folks?”
So far, Bishop said he’s come up with only a little bit of information on Jenkins, and very little on Epley and Davis.
“I know the paper is defunct,” he said of the Tule Lake Reporter,” but I still would like to develop a sense of its history and Davis’ role in shaping camp coverage.”
Bishop’s interest was piqued after writing a paper on how larger newspapers covered the camps.
“It made me wonder, ‘What was it like for the community newspapers closest to the camps?’ ”
Bishop is doing a chapter on each of the 10 camps and hopes to provide insight and backgrounds on newspapers and their publishers, editors and reporters. He’s learned that Ruth King, a Herald and News reporter, and Epley fought to work around government censorship restrictions in reporting on a major riot at Tule Lake.
His preliminary research has shown the Tule Lake Reporter has relatively little coverage of the camp and, overall, newspapers near the camps “took a more measured approach … the coverage was far less vitriolic and, for lack of a better word, nasty” than larger metropolitan newspapers.
“The chapter on Tule Lake is still very much in the early stage,” Bishop said. “If anyone has any information at all about either man, if there are relatives, or anyone has any advice, thoughts or sources, please feel free to contact me. I’m trying to do my best to do them justice.”