Item SR1035_S03 - Oral history interview with Bernie Foster [Sound Recording 03]

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Oral history interview with Bernie Foster [Sound Recording 03]


  • 2017-10-12 (Creation)


WAVE (Format); 01:49:01

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Bernard "Bernie" V. Foster was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1940. He served in the U.S. Air Force and was deployed to Vietnam in 1963. In 1975, he and his wife, Bobbie Doré Foster, founded The Skanner newspaper in Portland, Oregon. The paper later opened an additional office in Seattle, Washington. In the 1990s, he founded The Skanner Foundation, which grants awards and scholarships to members of Oregon's black community. In 2013, he and Bobbie Doré Foster received the Oregon Historical Society's History Makers award.

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Session 3. This oral history interview with Bernie Foster was conducted by Jan Dilg at The Skanner Newsgroup offices in Portland, Oregon, from August 30 to October 12, 2017. Bernie Foster was nominated by Oregonians to be interviewed as part of a program by the Oregon Historical Society Research Library to enhance and expand the range of voices in the library's collections. Interviewees are selected from the pool of nominees by a staff committee appointed by the historical society's executive director. The interview was recorded over three sessions; however, the first part of the first session was not recorded. In the third and final interview session, conducted on October 12, 2017, Foster revisits topics that were discussed in the unrecorded part of the first interview session. He talks about founding The Skanner with his wife, Bobbie Doré Foster, in 1975, including getting advertisers, practicing journalism in the 1970s, and distributing the paper and finding an audience. He talks about some of the stories he published, about handling dishonest sources, and about covering local politics. He discusses some of his interactions with the community, the changes in the Portland black community since the 1970s, and some examples of his activism. He talks about his relationship with the Oregon Historical Society, including receiving the History Makers award in 2013 and donating The Skanner’s photograph archive. He shares his hopes for the future of the newspaper, talks about the importance of journalism in a democracy, and revisits the topic of his motivation in starting The Skanner. He closes the interview by discussing his involvement in the Hood to Coast Relay.

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Copyright for this interview is held by the Oregon Historical Society. Use is allowed according to the following statement: Creative Commons - BY-NC-SA,

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  • eng

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99.8 MiB


December 14, 2020 11:32 AM

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