Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Newspaper Days: Gratitude

The French essayist Montaigne indicates somewhere that one benefit of a poor memory is that one cannot tell long stories. You're in luck, dear reader. The stories in this and the next post will be short, more in the nature of thumbnail sketches. In this post, I want the names standing out and the verbiage  trimmed back, garden sculpture in an understated garden.  Tomorrow, when I salute the newspaper photographers I have known and allow myself room to meander, there will be more stories, but each will be digestible and arguably worth telling as my newspaper career comes to a close.

This is about The Indianapolis Star: I'm grateful to Bo Connor for hiring me in 1986, recognizing that I could contribute  something The Star found useful, chiefly about classical music. This was expressed through a few early raises that moved me up the reporter's scale comfortably. I honor too the memory of Corky Richmond, who had the difficult task of running a department that was nominally headed by the grand old man of Indianapolis arts journalism, Corbin Patrick. Pat had started working for The Star in 1925 and became the arts doyen five years later, successfully promoting the formation of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. More than six decades later, his gentle manner hid a fierce territorial impulse, and I had to work my way in with circumspection.

Thanks too to my subsequent supervisors as a reporter:  Dick Cady, Dennis Royalty and (after my copy-desk sojourn), Shelby Roby-Terry, and finally Amanda Kingsbury and Neal Taflinger, whose passion and focus in blazing new trails in arts/entertainment coverage I could not follow as well as required.

About that desk detour: Thanks to Jim Lindgren, John Hawn and Maureen Gilmer, who brought me to the very brink of adequacy as a features copy editor over a 13-year period.

Finally, gratitude is in order to the leaders of the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild, starting with Dave Remondini and including (this list is not exhaustive) Abe Aamidor, Marc Allan, Dan McFeely and Tom Spalding, concluding with our media-hallowed Superman Bobby King. I have always believed that the value of labor must be collectively protected and defended, and I'm enough of a Marxist to believe unions in a free society are needed to win for labor some of the surplus value of capitalist goods and services that would otherwise go wholly into profits.

I have admired so many reporting and editing colleagues at The Star during the  past 26-plus years that I will name no names here. I'll follow the same practice tomorrow with Star photographers, using examples from my former paper, The Flint Journal, instead. But my appreciations of them will be recognized as applicable to Star photojournalists as well, mutatis mutandis. (You could look that up, but I'll tell you that like most Latin phrases, it's designed to neutralize quibbles.)