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John Keasler was an American newspaper columnist for The Miami News, which folded in 1988. Keasler grew up in Plant City, Florida, which is 26 miles east of Tampa. He got his start in journalism with a newsletter he penned while serving in World War II.[1] He parlayed the newsletter into a job with the Plant City Courier. From there, he moved on to the larger Tampa Tribune and then to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before settling in for decades at The Miami News.[1] While at the Post-Dispatch, Keasler was one of the founders in 1956 of the Catfish Club, which eventually became the Press Club of Metropolitan St. Louis.[2]

During his 30-year career, Keasler covered both the Kennedy assassination and the 1969 moon landing.[3] Keasler's 7,000 mostly humorous columns about South Florida life were a great favorite. Some of them were collected into books, although Keasler also wrote a novel. Keasler also enjoyed playing pranks on his fellow reporters, including some at the rival Miami Herald.[4] He and cartoonist Don Wright, who won two Pulitzer Prizes while at The Miami News, in particular played tricks on one another.[4]

When the News folded, no one was more distraught than Keasler. “I feel half numb, like I've got a head full of cold Crisco,” he said at the time. “The News was a living thing with a heart and a soul, and it's dying.”[5]

Keasler′s satirical novel, Surrounded on Three Sides, first published in 1958, remains in print.[3]

He died in Plant City, Fla., in 1995, at the age of 74.

A scholarship to the University of Miami for a student majoring in print journalism, the John and Marjorie Keasler Journalism Scholarship, is given in his memory.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Yanez, Luisa (7 September 1995). "John Keasler, 'News' columnist". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 16 October 2010. 
  2. Smith, Verna Green. "History of the Press Club". The Press Club of Metropolitan Saint Louis. Retrieved 24 November 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Borders Bookstore. "Surrounded on Three Sides". University Press of Florida. Retrieved 16 October 2010. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dymond, Richard (17 January 2010). "Reunion recalls good old days". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 16 October 2010. 
  5. Nevins, Buddy; Luisa Yanez (15 October 1988). "Journalists Mourn End Of `News`". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 
  6. "Scholarships". University of Miami School of Communication. 

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