Former Merc editor Jerry Ceppos (right) starts next month as the dean of the University of Nevada-Reno’s journalism dean and guess who shows up? The alt-weekly in Reno, The News and Review, did a profile of Ceppos and most of it is about the late Gary Webb, the Merc reporter who in 1996 wrote a three-part series that alleged the CIA was involved in urban America’s crack cocaine epidemic.
Ceppos originally defended the story after it had been attacked by federal officials, the Washington Post and NY Times. A few months later, Ceppos backtracked on it. Webb (left) was banished to a Merc bureau in Cupertino and later left the paper. Webb died in 2004 from two gunshot wounds to the head that a coroner ruled as a suicide. The alt-weekly’s profile overlooks Ceppos’ 24-year career at the Miami Herald, Merc and as vice president/news for Knight Ridder. The profile notes, however, that Ceppos plans to push “ethics education and critical thinking” as j-school dean. (Photo credits: Reno News and Review, book jacket for Webb’s “Dark Alliance”)