Saying Goodbye to Smokey: Ed Bishop, longtime mentor of The Journal, dies at 71


Webster’s journalism program and – without a doubt – The Journal lost a guiding force just weeks before this new semester began. One of Webster’s great journalism professors died and left a meteor-sized hole in many of his students’ hearts.

The testy, battle-hardened journalist who so many students grew to love and hate, who ripped our hard work up week-in and week-out, left us suddenly and unexpectedly. Ed Bishop passed away at the age of 71. We knew him as “Smokey,” and we often uttered the phrase “Where there’s smoke, there’s Ed” when students came knocking for his guidance.

It cannot be put into words just how much Ed did for his students. He was a molder of minds, a vicious critiquer and a true believer in the fourth estate. He held this profession of ours as a calling, not just a job. He pushed those values onto us and reminded us of our duties and responsibilities day to day, whether it be through a moment of straight talk or through a massacre of choppy, poorly written copy at our bi-weekly critiques of The Journal.

While we as a staff are saddened to have lost our master critiquer, inquisitor and, for some, mentor, I am saddened at the loss of a much needed voice in uncertain times. Ed always pushed us to search for the truth, with “a capital T,” he’d say. In times where journalism must improve, he pushed us to do just so. The thought of so many future journalism students missing out on Ed’s words of wisdom and harsh words brings a tear to my eye. I look back at my time at Webster, in my final semester, and can’t imagine what things may have been like without old Smokey cracking the whip every time I conceived a poorly written article.

Ed molded and shaped the minds of many students who walked the halls of Sverdrup and beyond. He always spoke his mind, no matter how brutal the critique might have been or how many tears a student had already shed. He was a gritty man who believed that we could all do better — or at least stop kidding ourselves about how much we really wanted to be better.

So I implore my fellow students to do what Ed would have done, even if its just for one day out of the entire semester. Be hard on yourself, search for your truth, always leave them wanting more and try to take in some French culture.

The combined effort of Ed Bishop and a few other staff members pushed me to try to make The Journal better. That’s something we as a staff will stand by this semester. We will continue to hold Ed’s values as a top priority. The constant search for the truth, with a capital T.

Goodbye, Ed. We will miss your bloodbath critiques and love for French culture. If you’re a smoker, let me encourage you to take a moment for our fallen comrade… in Smokey’s own words…“smoke if you got ‘em.”

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