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Justice for Latin-American Prisoners, in which capacity he assigned, wrote, or edited stories on human rights violations in Latin-America and assisted in layout and pasteup. As CAPS fellow, for four months in 1979 he was an instructor of a writing workshop in fiction and poetry for 20 inmates at Downstate Correctional Facility in New York. He has been coordinator of PEN’s Freedom to Write Committee since October, 1979. The committee is concerned with the imprisonment of writers and the censorship of writing in the United States and abroad. At PEN, Rips has supervised a staff assistant and interns in carrying out the committee’s work, which includes the collection and monitoring of information concerning violations of the right of expression; the organization of protest campaigns, including activities by PEN members against such violations; organizing conferences and symposia on censorship; commissioning and editing reports on the repression of writing in particular countries and regions; placing articles on human rights written by PEN members in various publications; fundraising; writing annual reports, editing a section of the PEN newsletter, and writing position papers; arranging for legal briefs and congressional testimony; maintaining communication with other human rights and First Amendment organizations; and serving in delegations that meet with government officials on matters important to PEN. During Rips’ tenure as coordinator, the Freedom to Write Committee organized a two-day conference in 1980 on the literary and political climate of Latin America in which writers from eleven Latin-American countries and the U.S. participated. Rips wrote a report for the committee on the effect on writing of the ideological exclusion clause of the McCarran-Walter Act. Rips has met, as a member of PEN delegations, with former Assistant Secretary of State Patricia Derian on human rights violations in Latin America and with Atty. Gen. William French Smith concerning the Freedom of Information Act. OLLEY, RIPS and I are agreed Hthat the Observer should continue to emphasize good writing and literary and cultural concerns, but that what is most called for now in the Observer is a vigorous return to investigative journalism by the permanent staffers. Bringing in Rips, we expect both Holley and Rips to be enabled to do investigative journalism, spelling each other in Lishowlismot . the editorial and production work of the Austin office. We solicit suggestions from our readers and our colleagues in other media concerning what most needs looking into; we of course have a number of projects ourselves. We also expect that Rips’ special experience in Latin-American affairs and his proficient Spanish will give the Observer the opening into Mexico and Latin America which has been discussed recently in these columns. Applicants were requested, in the note in the Observer concerning the opening which Rips is filling, to give us a onepage statement of their ideas on what the Observer should be doing. Here is the statement Rips provided: “In an age in which the control of information is the key to authority, the distribution of information becomes a ‘mission.’ This is the Observer’s mission. When institutions are unwilling to render themselves accountable to their constituents, customers, employees, or the general public, the publication of information about those institutions becomes a kind of advocacy, a progressive force. As I see it, this is the primary function of the Observer: to render public institutions accountable to the public and private institutions accountable to those whose lives they affect. “Beyond this, as a journal of free voices the Observer provides the opportunity for new perspectives to enter stale or knotty debates. This includes issues of national concern as they affect Texas and the Southwest and problems originating in Texas as they relate to the nation. In addition, the Observer is in a unique position by virtue of the border Texas shares with a major Third-World nation. The daily interpenetrations of the First and Third Worlds in South and West Texas may provide clues to other forces operating in the state, the nation and the world. The Observer also provides room for a consideration of the arts and the ways \(never ‘dreamt of in .. . ters of daily life. “As a journal of free voices, the Observer must also function as a journal to free voices. Not only should those in power be heard from, but also those who may only control some small portion of their own lives. The Observer provides a forum for previously unheard voices to speak. Blacks, chicanos, the poor, the unemployed and underemployed, undocumented workers, farmers and farmworkers can answer, in the journal’s pages, a Bill Clements or an Agriculture Department report. Similarly, community organizations, such as those listed in the Social Cause Calendar, with few resources beyond their manand woman power, can use the Observer to explain themselves and to develop a network of support and information. For community groups all over Texas, whose concerns may take years to reach legislative bodies but whose work affects tens or hundreds of thousands of lives, the Observer can be an organizer. Information is power. In this way, the Observer can speed up the ‘progress’ of progress in Texas, turn on a few lights, clear the air.” s HERRILL, living with his wife Mary now in Tallahassee, has recently completed more than a de cade’s work on his massive book on the oil industry. It is important to him that the Observer continue its traditional focus on the Texas region, and he will be keeping us informed, as his time allows, concerning trends and events in the South which bear on or illuminate situations in the Texas region. Last June in San Antonio, Patricia Blake of New York City and I were married. Pat is a specialist in Russian literature and Soviet affairs and an associate editor of Time. I have introduced her to many of my friends in Texas and hope to introduce her to many more. I have closed my house in San Antonio and will be working part of next year in Austin. My permanent residence continues to be in Texas, but I will be in New York City a good deal and, because of research concerning two books I am writing, in Washington, D.C., some, also. Nevertheless, I will not again be withdrawn from the current editorial operation and policy of the Observer. Before, when I was not myself editor, I stayed away from ongoing Observer editorial matters other than retaining fundamental control over the identity of the staff. The editors in the Austin office will run the daily editorial operation and have the wide latitude which that implies. Wherever I am, I will participate in planning, editing, and policy. As I have explained to Holley and Rips, I have come to the conclusion on the basis of experience that it will be better for the Observer that I actively participate in its current operation \(now as publisher and withdrawn as a matter of policy. Thanks to the generosity and support of our readers, the Observer is again out of debt and we have some running time during which Frances Barton, our business manager, and Cliff Olofson, our advertising and special projects director, are establishing a routine of regular promotional mailings and carrying forward plans for our incorporation. R.D. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3