Sunday, February 21, 1999

Literary Snapshot: Linfield 1957 grad Floyd McKay

The Oregonian 2/21/1999

WHO:Floyd McKay

RESIDENCE:Bellingham, Wash.

WHAT:Professor and chairman of the journalism department at Western
Washington University

PREVIOUS CAREERS:McKay reported and produced documentaries and was a news analyst at KGW [8]. He also worked for Gov. Neil Goldschmidt after leaving KGW. He started his career as a reporter for the Oregon Statesman in Salem.

DO YOU MISS TV?"Occasionally, around election time, I miss it a little bit," McKay said. "But I don't think there's a place for me in TV anymore. I don't think there's a local station anywhere in the country that has a news analyst."

WHAT, YOU CAN'T FLY A HELICOPTER?"Well, I've been in a lot of helicopters when I was doing documentares. Now, I don't know if I could fly around looking for traffic accidents."

BUT HE KNOWS HIS HISTORY:McKay is the author of "An Editor for Oregon: Charles A. Sprague and the Politics of Change" [Oregon State University Press, $19.95]. Sprague, editor of the Statesman, was elected governor of Oregon in 1938 and defeated in the Republican primary in 1942. He went back to the newspaper in 1943.

WHY A BOOK ON SPRAGUE?McKay knew Sprague as his boss at the Statesman, but the relationship was formal between the young reporter and the aloof editor. After leaving the governor's office for an academic career, McKay thought Sprague would be a fine subject for a biography because, as an editor and a politician, Sprague's career touched many sides of state

THE UNEXAMINED OREGON:McKay thinks Oregon history from the 1920s through the 1940s, a period of enormous change in the state, has not been closely examined. "There have been some good books the last few years -- Brent Walth's book on [Tom] McCall and the recent biography of Wayne Morse -- but many holes remain," McKay said. -- Jeff Baker

Info from elsewhere:

Floyd John McKay, born 1935 in North Dakota is a 1953 graduate of McMinnville, Oregon. High School. He:

--graduated from Linfield in 1957 with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and political science.
--was a Linfield adjunct professor of communications, 1969-1974.

--served as a member of the Linfield Board of Trustees, 1972-1978.