DICK WEISS is an award-winning writer and editor with more than three decades of experience at American newspapers. While keeping his day job at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Weiss started WeissWrite LLC in 2003 as a writing, editing and coaching service for anyone with a story to tell. WeissWrite recently has been burgeoning with requests for journalism and business writing workshops, ghostwriting, and editing consultations. In 2005, Weiss decided the time was ripe to devote all his energies to WeissWrite and retired from the paper. Joining him is his wife, Sally J. Altman, an accomplished writer, business professional and seasoned consultant. with broad experience in civic life, particularly in healthcare.
The two are also editors for the St. Louis Beacon -- stlbeacon.org -- a new online journal started in the spring of 2008. The Beacon offers "news that matters" for the St. Louis region.
At the Post-Dispatch, Weiss was a metro editor and writing coach. He oversaw the development of enterprise stories, with a particular emphasis on narrative writing. He also held training seminars for a newsroom staff of 300 reporters and editors, and coached reporters one-on-one.
Weiss is a frequent speaker at the American Press Institute and was site director for the National Writers’ Workshop in St. Louis from 2001-2004. He is currently touring as a speaker for the Washington-based Reynolds Center for Business Journalism where he shows business writers how to weave their facts and figures into compelling tales. He has also served on the faculty for the Neiman Narrative Program at Harvard University. He offers media commentary each Monday at 8:35 a.m. on the McGraw Milhaven Show on KTRS (550-AM).
Two series appeared in recent years under Weiss's byline that struck a chord with the public. His five part series “How to be a world famous, fabulously successful writer’’ charmed, educated and entertained middle schoolers and many adults as well. A writing contest he started in connection with the series drew 800 entries. He has since turned the series into a book.
In August, 2003, the Post-Dispatch published Weiss’s three-part series called: Public Man, Private Struggle. It is the story of Al Kerth, a civic leader who committed suicide. Kerth suffered from bipolar illness. The series drew praise from mental health professionals and the families of many St. Louisans who suffer from the disease. The series won both a local and national award from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.
In June of 2000, Weiss produced a four-part serial narrative on the revival of an inner city neighborhood, called “ A Better Place to Grow Up.’’ It recounted how blacks, whites, residents and businessmen forged an alliance to rebuild the neighborhood and improve a substandard elementary school. The work was recognized by the St. Louis Newspaper Guild and the local chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.
July of 1997, Weiss began training a team of 18 writers, editors, photographer and designers in profile writing. As part of that effort, the team has produced a series of in-depth pieces about important and interesting St. Louisans.
As features editor, Weiss both wrote and edited stories ranging from tragic to sublime. He was honored in 1995 with the best feature writing award from the Missouri Press Association for an article on a couple whose four children were murdered by a 14-year-old boy. The couple went on to bear three more children, but they and those children remain haunted by the prospect that the killer could receive parole.
Weiss lives in Richmond Heights with his wife, Sally J. Altman. They are the parents of three girls.