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The Journalist with the Red Socks

Author Studs Terkel turns 95.

Journalist Studs Terkel (Working)turns 95 today. Studs is a liberal in the old-fashioned populist sense: committed to labor and the working person.

Terkel's journalism was based on interviews. Listening to real people talk about their lives. As an outsider to religion, he would nevertheless pay attention to religion on occasion because it was part of the working class landscape and a vital part of people's lives. One of my favorite Studs Terkel radio shows was his classic interview with gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. Chicago's WFMT used to replay it every Good Friday. And you could hear the pained longing in Terkel's voice as he listened to her talk about Christ's sacrifice and sing "Were You There?"

Here's a snapshot of Studs and me from September 2002. Christianity Today hosted Studs for some in-service education with our editors and writers. What a storyteller!

Sorry the photo doesn't show Terkel's signature red socks. The red-and-white checked shirt is just as much a part of his trademark, though.

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