|Occupation||Writer, pundit, editor|
|Notable award(s)||Investigative Reporters and Editors Top 100 Investigations; Distinguished Commentary, Society for Professional Journalists (Sigma Delta Chi)|
Wayne Laugesen is an American columnist, video producer, gun rights advocate and editorial page editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette, procured in 2012 by conservative Colorado billionaire Philip Anschutz. Laugesen writes for the National Catholic Register, Faith & Family magazine, is a former editor of Soldier of Fortune, Boulder Weekly, and was managing editor of the former "Consumers' Research" national magazine in Washington, D.C.
Laugesen, who considers himself a conservative libertarian, has criticized ambitious urban planners for creating elite environments that exclude minorities and the poor. His work became the topic of a journalistic ethics debate in 2004, when he smashed historic windows from a Boulder, Colo., home in protest of historic preservation orders by the Boulder City Council—an act that led media critic Michael Roberts to coin the phrase "commando journalism".
As assistant editor of Soldier of Fortune in the 1990s, Laugesen helped obtain guns and training for women in a Boulder neighborhood that was stalked by a serial rapist. He brought an obscure vice principal to the forefront by giving him Soldier of Fortune's annual Humanitarian Award for using a handgun to stop a school massacre in Pearl, Miss.
Laugesen stirred controversy among Soldier of Fortune's conservative readership with a cover story that criticized modern police for exceeding their authority and violating the rights of citizens. Timothy McVeigh, four years after perpetrating the 1995 Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing, was asked by reporters to "describe his motivations" for his lethal actions. McVeigh mailed a copy of the March 1999 Soldier of Fortune article along with a letter to Fox News reporter Rita Cosby.
As the National Catholic Register's correspondent covering the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops when the Catholic sexual abuse scandal emerged, Laugesen is often cited for research that has put the problem in context by comparing abuse statistics of Catholic institutions with those of other religious and secular organizations.
Though preferring to be seen as a social conservative, Laugesen defends illegal immigrants and has been critical of the war on drugs. His drug war research often appears on web sites hosted by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and other organizations devoted to drug legalization. Laugesen's research into the DARE program (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) has led to articles that have been used in campaigns to get DARE out of public and private schools.
Though Laugesen often defends Israel and Judaism, he was accused of anti-semitism in a 2008 article in the Independent, an alternative newsweekly that intercepted an e-mail conversation between Laugesen and an official of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an organization that fights against military efforts to establish religion. Other media reported on the controversy and the allegations were quickly refuted.
A defender of religious liberty, Laugesen has become a frequent topic of criticism by atheist leader PZ Myers who is best known for desecrating the Catholic Eucharist. Dozens of other well-known atheist activists have come out against Laugesen, including the atheist expert of About.com.
Laugesen has stirred controversy in Colorado and the mostly-conservative Christian city of Colorado Springs by advocating for Mosques, inviting them to build in Colorado. Conversely, Laugesen has defended the controversial Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow against attacks from the secular media.
Laugesen has won numerous national and regional journalism awards, including Top 100 Investigations from Investigative Reporters and Editors, for exposing police brutality against minorities, and the Society for Professional Journalists' top award for commentary in Colorado.
Laugesen and his wife, Dede, are co-producers of Holy Baby! and Holy Baby! 2, a popular set of multilingual prayer videos for Catholic children that have been referred to as the Catholic Baby Einstein. The videos are broadcast internationally on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), and on New Evangelization Television (NET) in New York. Three cartoon characters from the videos—Baby Scholastica, Baby Bosco and his puppy Gregio—are sold internationally as plush toys in Catholic and non-Catholic Christian bookstores.
Laugesen, a Philadelphia native, explains that his philosophy was heavily influenced by his "hippie" mother, the sudden death of his father, and his conservative stepfather.
- Boulder Weekly
- Poynter Institute
- Boulder Weekly
- "Making our schools safe: the Virginia Tech shooting rampage highlights the vulnerability of our schools to gun violence, but the answer to the problem is not more gun-control laws," The Free Library, Roger D. McGrath, Ph.D.
- Fox News
- CBS News/National Review Online
- Boulder Weekly
- Scienceblogs; Pharyngula
- Catholic Mom
- Spirit Hit
- The Gazette
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