Tuesday, July 2, 2013

"The Story of THE RAG!" by Ken Rossignol

This is the true story of a dying breed of newspaper, and newspaper men, who refused to be silenced by the local police force. 

The Story of THE RAG! (St. Mary's Today Newspaper), by Ken Rossignol

"To call The Story of THE RAG just an other "underdog" tale is to do this superb book a great injustice. In addition to being utterly engrossing, Ken Rossignal has perfected the art of producing a cautionary tale on freedom of the press as well as dedication to the reported word." -- Rick Friedman

In the short course of less than one year, a small-town newspaper which was run on a shoe-string was featured on the front page of two major newspapers and on network news, all due to covering the news with loud flashy headlines that 'shouted' the news rather than boring its readers to tears. In short, the news made news.

That was just the beginning, before long the newspaper would be the target of an organized effort by a county sheriff and his deputies and a candidate for states attorney to clean the paper off newsstands the night before an election and result in a landmark First Amendment case which is now the law of the land.

"The incident in this case may have taken place in America, but it belongs to a society much different and more oppressive than our own. If we were to sanction this conduct, we would point the way for other state officials to stifle public criticism of their policies and their performance. And we would leave particularly vulnerable this kind of paper in this kind of community.

Alternative weeklies such as St. Mary's Today may stir deep ire in the objects of their irreverence, but we can hardly say on that account that they play no useful part in the political dialogue. No doubt the public has formed over time its opinion of the paper's responsibility and reputation. If defendants believed its attacks to be scurrilous, their remedy was either to undertake their own response or to initiate a defamation action. It was not for law enforcement to summon the organized force of the sheriff's office to the cause of censorship and dispatch deputies on the errands of suppression in the dead of night."
---Fourth Circuit, United States Court of Appeals - Rossignol v. Voorhaar

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Meet the Author

After covering hard news for 22 years while publishing a weekly newspaper, ST. MARY'S TODAY, Rossignol sold the newspaper in 2010 and has begun devoting full time to writing and is now the author of eighteen books and four Kindle shorts. The newest books include two volumes of Pirate Trials. Pirate Trials: Dastardly Deeds & Last Words and Pirate Trials: Hung by the Neck Until Dead reveal the details of the actual trials of pirates in England, Scotland, Canada and the United States; Klan: Killing America and Bank of Crooks & Criminals and all of them deal with true crime.

As a maritime history speaker, Rossignol enjoys meeting audiences around the world and discussing the original news stories of the sinking of the RMS Titanic and other maritime history topics.

In 2012 and 2013 Rossignol has appeared on ten ships in the Pacific, Atlantic, Mediterranean and Caribbean discussing the stories of the heroes of the Titanic, the explorations of the new world voyagers, the Bermuda Triangle and the history of piracy.

Rossignol appears at the Titanic Museum Attractions in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Branson, Missouri for book signings and to talk with visitors about the RMS Titanic.

He has appeared on Good Morning America, ABC 20/20; ABC World News Tonight and in a 2012 production of Discovery Channel Investigation Motives & Murders Series, A Body in the Bay.

News coverage of Rossignol's landmark civil rights case, represented by Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz re: United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Rossignol v Voorhaar, 2003, included articles in most major news outlets, as well as a column by syndicated columnist James J. Kilpatrick. The story of the St. Mary's Today newspaper is now available in ebook and paperback: The Story of THE RAG! The book includes nearly 200 editorial cartoons that appeared over the years. A strong highway safety advocate, Rossignol also publishes the DWIHitParade.com which focuses on impaired driving and the monthly publication, The Chesapeake. News coverage of Rossignol's DWIHitParade won an Emmy in 2012 for WJLA reporter Jay Korff and coverage of the St. Mary's Today newspaper by WUSA reporter Bruce Leshan was awarded an Emmy in 2000.

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