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A prayer for Van McKenzie

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Dave Kindred, Jan 25, 2007.

  1. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Von - condolences to your family. Thanks for taking time to visit.
  2. patchs

    patchs Active Member

    Von, I really enjoyed the time I spent with your dad.
    I wish I had worked with him but having a few beers was a memory I'll never forget.
    My condolences to you and your family. I'm not sure if I met you or your brother at the Orlando APSE convention, I remember he's a sheriff's deputy.
  3. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I hope the Van McKenzie tribute section is as big as those football sections that Orlando is legendary for...

    The three people who "mentored" me during the early stages of my career, people who I owe everything to, all had worked for Van. I had heard stories about Van when I was an intern.

    For a Florida grad, McKenzie had a pretty great final year sportswise... It's still so tragic to lose someone like him at 61. Way too fucking young...
  4. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    I never had the good fortune to beat Van, but again, to hear that cancer got another of the good guys ... that stinks.

    RIP Van. Keep Pounding.
  5. Creig Ewing

    Creig Ewing Member

    I never had the pleasure of meeting Van McKenzie. I worked for 15 years in Orlando and left for Louisville the year before he came.

    What amazed me is how he was able to get the honchos to open their wallets.

    It used to be just little ol' me and Lynn Hoppes supervising all the writers.

    Suddenly, there were new beats, new columns and especially new assignment editors popping up everywhere.

    I'd never seen anything like the pull he had.

    Best wishes to Van's family and friends.
  6. marorl

    marorl New Member

    This is so devastating to me. I will never, ever forget Van, and his influence on me. This is the man who wrote the three-screen e-mail affectionately called "The Vanifesto" before he took over at the Orlando Sentinel. I was a copy editor there at the time, and I was so excited to work for Van, who took the toy box, emptied it out, and started to play as if the sports world were full of action figures and G.I. Joes. There was the time in Seattle at APSE when he and I skipped the festivities at the hotel and instead went to a summer solstice street festival. Van was totally in his element. Girls painted green wearing only leaves riding by on bicycles? Van thought it was fantastic. There was the time he came to my party - that's right, the boss came to my party! - held in a room off to the side of my house. It was full of great and tacky black light posters from the 70s, lava lamps, beads, a grreat sound system, etc. Van walked in, looked around, and said to no one in particular: "Genius!" Well, I have never received a compliment that topped that one. Now he's gone, and I am so, so sad. I will never have the chance to sit in a bar as Van orders shooters based on the colors of every Tribune newspaper. I will never have the chance to watch him sketch a layout and toss it to the designer. I will never be able to get his opinion of the Prince halftime show at the Super Bowl. (I'm a huge fan of Prince, and Van really appreciated him as an artist - BELIEVE IT OR NOT!) I will never be the same, because Van is gone, and I will not have a chance to watch him shake his head and tell me something like: "Look, we've run the action-figure showdown for a whole summer. It's run its course, Mario. Someone around here has to make the decisions." I looked at him, told him that I wasn't happy and that I thought he was making a mistake, but that I would follow orders because he indeed was the Big Boss, and replied, frustrated: "Then let me create something else. I just don't want to be an everyday copy editor." Van said to me: "You're not just an everyday copy editor." Nobody will ever know how much that meant to me. Van, rest in peace and know that I loved you.
    Mario Orlikoff/Daily Press
  7. Creig Ewing

    Creig Ewing Member

    Nice post, Mario.

    I wish I had been at that party.
  8. mediaguy

    mediaguy Well-Known Member

    Sad, sad news, but some great things shared on this thread. Lot of talented people chiming in -- says a lot when nothing moves them to post here until something like this happens. McKenzie was at a ton of superb publications and made all of them better along the way.
  9. patchs

    patchs Active Member

    Last year, I had Van sign my copy of the final edition of The National.
    I have it in a safe place but I have to get it framed.
    I'm going to have a beer or 2 tonight and toast a great man.
  10. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member

    RIP to a man whom I was never lucky enough to have met, or had a few drinks with.

    This thread, however, is making me cry over the loss our industry suffered today.
  11. Gary Robinson

    Gary Robinson New Member

    Here's my brush with Van:

    It's the late '80s and I'm attending an APSE regional in Atlanta. We've had several sessions and everyone was planning to congregate in the hospitality room (I think at the Omni hotel). It's a Monday night. I stretch out to watch a little Monday Night Football before I go up, and promptly fall asleep (may have had something to do with the hospitality room the night before, but I digress). The phone jangles and shocks me out of my sleep. It's Van McKenzie, who was running the Atlanta shop at the time. He tells me they are breaking a story about a bunch of college athletes who had already signed with an agent. Two of the athletes were from Memphis State. He invited me to join him walking across the parking lot to the AJC so I could review what they'd done and see how my paper could handle it.

    Several hours -- and a half-dozen calls to my office -- later (they had caught wind of it and were digging in), we finally walked back out of the AJC offices. Calling me was something he didn't have to do. I'm not sure he even knew who I was. But he was such a professional and he knew it was a good thing to do, so he did it.

    We were talking about that very story in the office the other day and now this sad news comes out. Thoughts and prayers for his family.
  12. writing irish

    writing irish Active Member

    "...And until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand."
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