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Role models in this biz

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Joe Williams, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    Maybe this has been done before, but I never saw it. So here goes:

    Who are the role models, the legitimate role models, in this business?

    I don't mean the lucky few who get the really plum jobs, like SE or columnist at a major metro. Or, obviously, the big bosses or senior writers at SI or ESPN.com. Maybe 1 in 20 (200?) deskers or scribes ever get to that point, so I'm talking about role models for the other 19 of us. I'm talking about ham-and-eggers, the solid pros who set the standards in this business even if they haven't gotten the pat on the head or felt the magic wand of management touch their careers.

    To make this worthwhile, let's have some guidelines:
    -- Role models should be active and living (not necessarily in that order, but we can all dredge up retired or dead folks whom we admired).
    -- Role models should be at least 40 years old, and better still if they're 50 or more. Since that's where we'll want to be some day, assuming the business hasn't spit us out or vice versa.
    -- Role models should be no higher than No. 2 (if desk folks) at a major metro, or beat writers at a major metro. If we're talking medium-to-small, I suppose an SE or a columnist who is a fixture rather than a climber is qualified to be a role model.

    My contention is, this business has few role models. Lot of folks 40 and up get shunted to the side for the "next big thing," desk or writing. The pyramid to big-time SE or columnist is too steep to be a realistic career path for the majority of us. So who are the few, the proud, the ones who handle their jobs with class and give more than they get?
  2. Full of Shit

    Full of Shit Member

    I like this topic, and I hate to hear all these crickets chirping, so I'll start:

    Bill Van Smith at the Miami Herald. The epitome of a rock-solid desk guy (who can also write very well) and a mentor to several generations of young writers who came through the halls of 1 Herald Plaza. (Lebatard, he couldn't do anything about.)

    BVS came immediately to mind when I read this thread.

    And no, I'm not him.

    But I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

  3. gingerbread

    gingerbread Well-Known Member

    Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald.
    For beating an illness that would have killed most of us.
    For surviving in a business (and in a city) that spits people out right and left.
    For still having the energy and desire to write about and deal with athletes sometimes half her age.
    For always smiling, never complaining, and gladly showing young women the ropes.
    For having the respect of everyone who's ever met her.
  4. Sandman

    Sandman Member

    First person that came to mind for me was Marc Pendleton, A.S.E., Dayton Daily News. I ran across him early in my career when I was a lowly agate guy begging for bylines. He helped me get a few and even had time to lend some advice when I had a couple opportunities drop in my lap at the same time.

    Also, not sure if this still goes on, but in the late 90s and early 00s, Marc organized a summer golf tour for all the Cincy-Dayton area mediafolk. Once a week, anywhere from 15-20 writers, editors, broadcasters, etc. would play at a reduced rate at local courses. It was a great way to escape the grind of the newsroom and just kick back with co-workers and colleagues. Marc was the ringleader of this endeavor and probably wasn't thanked enough.

    Cheers, Marc.

    (And no, I'm not him.)
  5. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Dave Anderson .. pure class, never big-timed anybody, was willing to help young guys from smaller suburban papers while some of his fellow New York columnists looked down upon anyone younger or from the 'burbs.
  6. OrangeGrad

    OrangeGrad Member

    Nolan Weidner, former ASE at The Post-Standard in Syracuse. As a young pup trying to impress folks, you could pitch any story idea to him and he'd always listen. He'd usually let you write it too. He's a good guy who helped a lot of young writers get a feel for the business. Plus he's one of the sincerest guys I've met -- a class act all around.
  7. Cansportschick

    Cansportschick Active Member

    Joe, my two role models, are in their thirties. However, I think they are incredible ones at their age. See I don't understand why age matters because someone can be in their twenties and thirties and be remarkable people and one we can consider a role model.

    I am thankfully younger than both of my so called "role models".
  8. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    There have been too many to pick one or even five. The really cool thing about Full of Shit's selection is that BVS really brought a sense of calm to the most hurried desk environment imaginable. Some BVS trivia:

    His dad won a Pulitzer for writing about migrant camps for the Miami News.

    Someone decided that BVS' part-timers were his "henchmen" and a derivative of the word stuck. Part-timers there were known as henchers. It even became a verb, to hench, as in, "Yes, he henched for BVS in the '80s."
  9. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

  10. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

  11. Keith Parsons

    Keith Parsons New Member

    I'll go with Jim O'Connell, the AP College Basketball writer. College hoops always was my favorite sport to cover (most people assumed it was NASCAR), and he was a big help early in my tenure with the AP. He's the kind of guy who goes to the postseason NIT semifinals on one of his off days simply to watch and possibly help out, then heads to the Final Four.
  12. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    In no order: Dave Smith. George Solomon. Bill Dwyre.
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