1. 1984: WHAT'S NEW WAS BORN ON THIS DAY, 23 YEARS AGO.Who offed Bob Park at the APS? Who will whats-new "What's New?"?
WN was in Orwellian peril from the start. My wife asked how long I planned to keep writing this thing. "Not long," I said, "if I tell it like I see it, they'll end it in a year." After I became director of the new Washington Office, the APS Council asked me to make my weekly report public - but not advertise it. Some wanted Big Brother to approve each issue before it went out. If so, someone else would have to write it. Much later I agreed to add a disclaimer - not everyone liked that either. After more than 1,200 issues and growth from 112 subscribers to 15,617, APS finally ended WN. My department chair, however, asked that I continue writing WN, but with the University of Maryland as sponsor. He made it my principal teaching assignment.
4. 2007: WN LIVES, BUT THIS IS MY LAST DAY WITH THE APS.
I am truly grateful to the APS for allowing me to speak my mind, not just in WN, but to the media and in congressional testimony. In a university like Maryland it's expected, but it's unusual in Washington. For those who hope for a gentler WN, I refer you to H.L. Mencken's epitaph: "As he grew older, he grew worse."
[Update: In looking for a photo of Park, I found this...“I’m not really going anywhere,” Park advises friend and foe alike, “I just won’t have the title anymore.” So it goes.]