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Tom McEwen, 1923-2011

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by reformedhack, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Longtime Tampa Tribune sports editor and columnist Tom McEwen died today at home. He was 88. Tom had health issues in recent years but continued writing a blog for the Tribune's website since around 2003. Controversial for his behind-the-scenes advocacy of the local sports scene but homespun in his humor and writing, Tom was a Red Smith Award winner in the early 1990s.

    Tom took a liking to me for some reason and hired me at the Tribune in 1986 while I was still in college (University of Florida, of course), and he remained a friend and colleague for the years that followed -- which hundreds, if not thousands, of people also can say. Had the pleasure of editing one of his several books as well.

    Tampa Tribune story here: http://www2.tbo.com/news/sports/2011/jun/05/14/tom-mcewen-tampa-tribune-sports-editor-and-columni-ar-235230/

    St. Petersburg Times story here: http://www.tampabay.com/sports/humaninterest/former-tampa-tribune-sports-editor-tom-mcewen-dies/1173777

    I'm sure more information will be posted throughout the day, and it would not surprise me if a special section is in store.

    Safe home, Tom.
  2. mediaguy

    mediaguy Well-Known Member

    RIP Tampa's Tom McEwen

    Sad news from Tampa today. Tribune sports editor and columnist Tom McEwen passed away at age 88.

  3. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I came up from Beloit, Wis., through the Bradenton/Clearwater area and worked at a lot of Bucs games with Tom. I also read the Tribune daily, and he was one of the hardest working guys ever. Some would say he dropped in on the beats of others a little too often when a big story came up, but he was incredibly connected, and there was no denying the amazing work ethic.

    He was also an complete gentleman, nothing but nice to me and opened his home and hospitality to the APSE group -- and a few big-name guests -- at the winter judging every time they were in town.

    He was a very powerful guy in Tampa Bay sports, and I'm sure he was hard on some. But he's another "end of an era" guy as our business continues this transformation, and I'm sad that we're losing these people one by one.

    RIP, Tom.
  4. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Re: RIP Tampa's Tom McEwen

    Missed his Sunday morning breakfast menus that always led off his notes column that morning. Florida sports fans may not have realized how good a group of columnists they had at one point with McEwen, Guest, Pope and Mizell working at the same time.

    Favorite McEwen story, told by a colleague. Late in his active career, he took some time off for some kind of surgery. He lost some weight, didn't have much color and when he returned, the colleague asked with some concern how Tom was feeling. McEwen replied: "Well, I sort of feel like a [vagina] ... I look bad on the outside but feel good on the inside."
  5. When I started as a copy editor at The Tribune, it was like my second day there and I had to edit a column by Tom about a trip to Africa he had taken.

    One copy editor said to me in a joking voice something to effect "That will serve you right for coming here." It took about three hours to edit his column. Another copy editor was sitting next to me and laughing every time I bitched about his words that were mashed together, commas where they shouldn't be the "what the hell is he trying to say here?" moments.

    I met Tom a few times, and from the first time I met him, he always remembered my name.

    The city of Tampa will miss him.
  6. Fran Curci

    Fran Curci Well-Known Member

    I don't think they'll use your anecdote in his obit, Mike
  7. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Maybe not that specific one, but probably one or two out of hundreds like it. :)
  8. Ha Fran, no you're probably right.
  9. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    This graf right out of the Tribune obit:

    To English teachers from Pinellas to Polk County, there also was the matter of syntax -- or, in McEwen’s case, the lack of it, run-on sentences and his excessive commas. Many a copy editor at the Tribune earned overtime pay trying to figure out “McEwenese.”
  10. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

    SF hit it on the head. To which I'll add, the visit to the McEwen home was a highlight of the winter judging. In that setting, he will be remembered here as a gracious dude who knew how to live.
  11. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I remember one visit, he had ham and collards and black-eyed peas and all sorts of great Southern cooking, and one of the APSE guys from New Jersey or New York said, "Wow, this is great Mexican food."

    He also always had about 10 unbelievable desserts.
  12. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    The annual staff party at his house each November, in the back yard and on his dock overlooking the bay, was always exceptional, with food brought in from the finest restaurants in town. But the Super Bowl soirees were nothing short of must-have invitations, with guest lists nothing short of jaw-dropping, and the APSE cocktail parties were great sources of fantastic industry tale-swapping.
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