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Petacque's Big Secret



Dear Editor,

To understand Art Petacque, you have to know his secret [Hot Type, July 6]. He was illiterate. And like many adults who cannot read or write, he developed his own coping mechanisms. He had terrific drive, contacts, and reporting skills. But unlike reporters who can read, he couldn't go into the Sun-Times morgue and use the clips he needed for background information. So what he would do was come up with a story idea, make some calls, ask a library clerk to pull the relevant clips, then unload everything onto a rewrite person. I did this for him in the 60s when I worked at the Sun-Times. Others did it before and after. Yes, it was bending the rules of the game a bit. But Art was an incomparable reporter and he played the cards he was dealt.

Jon Anderson

Chicago Tribune

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